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Ian Green


Updated: 2018-03-24T15:14:40.094+00:00


I can now been found at Appendices


I've been looking to cut thing back... you can find the parred back me here:


This blog is taking a rest


Work has got very busy for me so this blog will be taking a rest for now... See ya later!

Ice Bucket Challenge: Making a meme


The latest viral internet hit is the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ – you nominate someone to dump a bucket of ice water over them – which of course is filmed and posted for your networks to see online. Millions of #IceBucketChallenges later and you have a social media success.
The idea was instigated to support the ALS Association, which carries out research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – otherwise known as motor neurone disease. Why is it a viral success? The answer: it’s a potent meme.
It has all the characteristics of meme-friendly communications:
  • It’s coherent
  • Lives long enough to be passed on to a third party
  • It’s easily copy-able
  • It’s ‘sticky’
Add the ingredients of high social media potency: make it visible, shareable and networkable – and you have a great viral success on your hands.
Where does the idea go now?
Potential future activities could be to link the idea to a specific day – ‘Ice Bucket Challenge Day’ – or to a trigger or prompt, such as when the weather exceeds a certain temperature you go out and mark the occasion with the Pop-Up equivalent of ‘Ice Bucket Challenges’.
One weakness of the meme is that it’s name and activity is not integrated into the name of the charity. So, we will witness more people doing the Ice Bucket Challenge oblivious of, and independent of any supporting charity link.
Perhaps, the originators should have integrated a message into the act of ‘Ice Bucketing’ such as having to shout out, ‘Motor Neurone!’, so as to strengthen the connection between the act and the charity.
What this episode signifies is the potency of powerful memes and the possibility of linking positive messages and acts of kindness to them.
I helped nurture the Blue Monday meme – ‘symbolically, the most depressing day of the year’ on the third Monday of January. Ironically, it depresses the Hell out of me how mental health charities have been slow, or reluctant to seize upon its potency.
I’m almost tempted to throw a bucket of cold water over them!
Maybe that could be another extension of the idea, ‘Ice Bucket Wake Up Calls’. What’s certain if you want to make a splash, cook a meme.

Time to get back on the Clue Train


It’s always good to step back and look at what you’re doing in your business. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the minutia – chasing new business, drafting proposals, billing chasing invoices… you know the rest.So recently we have gone back to basics and revisited the Cluetrain Manifesto – which is now 12 years old.For those of you who don’t know the Cluetrain Manifesto is a set of 95 theses for all businesses operating within the newly-connected marketplace that was the internet. The ideas put forward within the manifesto aim to examine the impact of the Internet on both markets (consumers) and organisations. In addition, as both consumers and organisations are able to use the Internet and Intranets to establish a previously unavailable level of communication both within and between these two groups, the manifesto suggests that changes will be required from organisations as they respond to the new marketplace environment.The manifesto was written in 1999 by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. A printed publication which elaborated on the manifesto was published in 2000 by Perseus Books under the same name.The authors assert that the Internet is unlike the ordinary media used in mass marketing as it enables people to have “human to human” conversations, which have the potential to transform traditional business practices radically.The book and website both challenge what the manifesto calls outmoded, 20th-century thinking about business in light of the emergence of the Web, clearly listing “95 theses”, as a reference to Martin Luther’s manifesto which heralded the start of the Protestant Reformation.The term “cluetrain” stems from the following unattributed quote: “The clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never took delivery.”So, offering some food for thought, here is the entire 95 thesis which form the basis of the Cluetrain Manifesto:1.    Markets are conversations.2.    Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.3.    Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.4.    Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.5.    People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.6.    The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.7.    Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.8.    In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.9.    These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.10.    As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.11.    People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.12.    There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.13.    What’s happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called “The Company” is the only thing standing between the two.14.    Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.15.    In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business – the sound of mission statements[...]

Doing my bit for Grand Depart in Yorkshire


Standing in a steady down-pour of rain that only Leeds could supply in late May, I and more than 5,000 other Grand Depart Tour Makers marshalled outside the Firstdirect Arena, waiting patiently for a full-sodden hour to be allowed to find out what we had volunteered for.Pulling my hood over my head my first thought was – “all this just to wear a high visibility tabard”. However, the crowd, which spiralled in neat queues around the arena seemed to be cheerful enough in that dour, resentfully cheerful manner only Yorkshire people can muster. One young woman from Halifax joining the queue with her pal summed it up perfectly: “Cheer up you miserable buggers”.But still the rain came down. Later, after the presentations, inspirational videos and talks from Nicola Adams, Leeds' Olympic boxing champion – reflecting on the contribution of the Game Makers to the 2012 London Olympics -  Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, who is widely credited with bringing the Grand Depart to Yorkshire; and the wonderful Brian Robinson, the Huddersfield-born cyclist who was the first British rider to finish a Tour de France and the first to win a stage of the famous race, we all emerged into the blinding sunshine that only Leeds could supply in late May.So why did I volunteer to be a Tour Maker?Well, I had been lucky enough to go to the 2012 Olympics at Dorney Lake, near Windsor to witness Team GB take nine medals. As a competitive rower, albeit veteran, with Bradford Amateur Rowing Club, that was thrilling enough. But what impressed me most was the Game Makers – an army of volunteers who had sacrificed their own time and resources to help make the London Games the success it was and which remains an indelible mark of our Britishness. In particular, I remember a cheerful black man, sat in a tall chair calling on everyone to smile as they entered the sports arena.So, when the chance came to be part of what will probably be the biggest sporting event to ever run through the Broad Acres of Yorkshire, I jumped. I was lucky. I was chosen. Many weren’t. The process of selecting a Tour Maker is long and, for the organisers, must be a logistical nightmare. For the would-be Tour Maker it begins with an online application, followed by video ‘interview’ – where you respond to camera to a set of questions. If successful you go to the next stage – again in the age of social media and the internet you complete your training online.And then more than 5,000 us turn up at the Leeds Arena for ‘orientation’ – I know, I’m not sure what this means either – where we find out what is expected of us. It’s all organised by Asda, one of the Grand Depart’s main sponsors and I, for one, think they did a brilliant job. But this, being Yorkshire, there are some snipers.Particularly online – the true home of moaners and whingers everywhere. A Facebook group has been established and the official Rendezvous website where Tour Makers can post their views on the organisation of the event thus far.One, atypical whiner on Facebook complained: “Very disheartened with the whole organisation or lack of it. Still waiting to be told where my stage is, clearly it isn't in Leeds. To top it all I'm now lumbered with an off-route role. I'm just thinking sod it, if I don't have the information to do my role then what's the point?”Others, frustrated with the complainers, simply posted: “Leaving this group had enough of some of the rubbish posted”. Another said: “Is anyone else finding the negativity on Rendevous disappointing tonight?”Disappointing indeed! I live in Menston, two miles from Otley and Ilkley and have been assigned an off-route position between Skipton and Kettlewell, North Yorkshire, 30 miles away. Which means I won’t see the race.  Sad face. But that’s fine.It might mean getting up at five in the morning to get to my roster meeting point on July 5 but I know there is going to be 10,0[...]

Another grand day out at Bradford Sprint Regatta


Hundreds of competitors and spectators from rowing clubs across the north of England descended on this year’s Bradford Sprint Regatta organised by Bradford Amateur Rowing Club (BARC), at Hirst Weir, Shipley.The 600 metre course, down a gently curving River Aire, is a popular splash-and-dash sprint regatta which attracted crews from across the North including Mersey, Tees, York City, Ancholme, Sheffield and Doncaster. The diminutive nature of this picturesque stretch of slack water above Hirst Weir means that West Yorkshire’s only regatta attracts a lot of pot hunters and novice crews seeking to notch up their first points. And this year was no exception with 142 crews competing in more than 40 events throughout the day – all in small boats.The most heavily contested race of the day was the Junior 15A double sculls with several crews from across the north turning up to show their worth. In the event the final was decided between Curt Iles and Rhys Mould from Bradford and the York City duo of Charles Proctor and Alex Howe who snatched victory at a tight finish. Charles said: “That was a hard close race and we were chased right to the end with Bradford coming back at us. I think they might have caught something in the end which allowed us to get away.”Another tight finish saw Doncaster take the tankards off Ancholme in the women’s IM3 coxed fours while an inter-club grudge match between Bradford’s masters double sculls Smith and Hoskins and Dunhill and Hobbs saw the Smith boat go through to victory in the final in revenge for being beaten by the Dunhill crew at Tees Regatta.Mersey, who travelled the furthest to compete at Bradford in a scratch crew in the men’s IM2 coxed four, beat Bradford’s crew by two lengths to pick up a pot. Originally, Mersey had no competition but Bradford likes to give everyone a race so put together a scratch crew to accommodate the Scousers with a race.In the event the Merseysiders, coxed by Haley Rooney, beat Bradford with Matt Ward at stroke, Andy Coyne, Steve Forshaw and Chris Cheng at bow triumphed over a Bradford crew coxed by Sally Gowitts with Mick Brickley at stroke supported by Mike Gaunt, Simon Scull and bowman Carlo Smith.Regatta Secretary Celia Hickson said: “Bradford Sprint Regatta is always a popular, cheerful event in the Northern rowing calendar, attracting crews from both the East and West coasts – today we had a contingent from the River Tees and the River Mersey – and always delivers some tight competitive rowing.“The most far-flung club to attend was Mersey and they have had a great day along with everyone else – we pride ourselves on running a cheerful, friendly regatta and so it has proved today.“This is my first year as Regatta Secretary and, I have to say, I am delighted how well it has gone – the weather has held good, the feedback from crews has been very positive. There has been a lot of junior competition but it’s been good to see so many mature mixed crews during the day.”Also attending the event was a team from Hirst Weir Ltd (HWL), a charitable company set up by BARC to preserve the 750-year-old weir at Hirst Mill on the River Aire at Shipley, West Yorkshire set out its stall this.Hirst Weir is an important historical structure in Shipley and is first mentioned in 1249. Its loss would be a major blow to BARC which has rowed from the weir for almost 150 years.BARC President Richard Phillips said: “In the floods on July 2012 the weir suffered significant damage and was in danger of collapsing before emergency repairs were carried out by HWL funded by the club’s members and our annual regatta is the ideal occasion to raise funds to secure the future of the weir.”Working in partnership with the Environmental Agency, HWL is now seeking to raise £600,000 to repair the weir and introduce a fish pass which would facilitate the free migration of fish to the upper reaches of River Aire including salm[...]

Record entries at 150th York Regatta


As the GB Rowing Team men’s four, stroked by Yorkshireman Andrew Triggs Hodge, battered the competition at the second World Rowing Cup in France, another crew was celebrating in the 150th York Regatta at the weekend.
A women’s novice eight from Van Mildert College from Durham University had their own special victory when they won their first race and put points on their tally for the first time.
Audrey Bellis at stroke – like the rest of the crew - was ecstatic. She said: “That was a great race. We had a really strong start and went away from St Aidan’s College (also from Durham) from the beginning. We were rating an average of 36 but at one point we went up to 40. We’re delighted.”
With its long bend at the start, York Regatta is a testing race for all crews but makes for interesting competition with all the advantage on the Minster side of the River Ouse until crews come under the railway bridge where the race is normally decided, or, at least, balanced.
And so it was for the men’s IM3 coxed four which was taken by York City, beating Durham University’s Trevelyan College by two lengths at the boat house, stroked by Luke Cooper and backed up by Micah Cooper, Sebastian Reid and Paul Wainwright at bow.
One stand-out event was the Masters I quad race between York and Nottingham. The York quad featured local legend Dick Gradley, 82, an Olympic gymnast at the 1960 Games in Rome. Though beaten by the visitors from the Midlands, both crews earned the respect of the crowds who applauded enthusiastically.
Rounding off the regatta was the Challenge Cup, a blue riband event at York for coxed fours, which was captured mercilessly by the host team at the end of a long day.
Stroke, Dan Lewis, Ben Bollans, Gav Campbell, Chris Wright and cox Andy Wilkinson took the trophy from Durham University’s St Aidan’s College by a length and half.
A special mention must be made for Nottingham’s newest club, Devil’s Elbow, whose novice women’s double made an excellent debut and collected their first points.
Afterwards Regatta Secretary Anne Homa said: “It’s been a good day of racing. We’ve had 198 entries which is a massive record for us and very encouraging when you consider we had to cancel this event two years ago for lack of entries.
“We’ve had a lot of entries particularly at the junior level with schools across the region putting in crews. And, it being end of term, we have had a lot of crews from Durham University for their last hurrah.
“Also York is such a lovely setting, with the cathedral in the background, and the fact that the Tour de France is coming here in two weeks has brought a lot of people in as competitors and spectators.

Just so you know...


I am now also Northern Correspondent for Rowing & Regatta magazine - so expect a lot of stuff about rowing on this blog. This weekend I am at Durham Regatta - the oldest in the country...

Bertie's war - you couldn't make it up!


Only the British army would take a ventriloquist’s dummy on the D-Day landings in 1944!Yes, it’s true. A British Army Captain, took ‘Bertie’, a ventriloquist doll onto the beaches of Normandy in the first few days of invasion.Admittedly, Bertie did wear an army uniform - even resplendent, proudly bearing a number of campaign medals.Just imagine if he had got captured. Imagine the Gestapo trying to interrogate him!I now have a new creative hero. Capt.E.H.‘Ted’ North.Captain North landed on the Mike Sector of Juno beach shortly after June 6th.A Member of the Magic Circle and a ventriloquist, he packed in his kitbag his dummy, Bertie, in uniform, ready for action.Alongside getting into action, Ted ensured Bertie played his part, combining inspecting the D-Day battlefield and going on to entertain the troops and wounded soldiers to boost morale.Thankfully, both Ted and Bertie survived the war. Yet, they returned to the Normandy beaches on various anniversaries and continued to entertain audiences of all ages, their last performance at the Harlow Playhouse in 1985, celebrating a partnership of 50 years together.Ted passed away the following year.Bertie is now retired and resides at the D-Day Museum, at Southsea, Hampshire, still proudly wearing his original uniform and medals, and still bringing a glow of pleasure to visitors.Their story lives on however, in a delightful book I acquired at the Royal Warwickshire Regiment Museum. (There to trace my wife’s grandfather’s World War I records)The book, titled Bertie’s War and published by Ted North’s family, contains absolute gems of the delight and absurdity of Bertie’s Normandy Tour.Ted’s terrible puns caption pictures of Bertie, in uniform on the D-Day beach. “I’ve found some lovely shells on the beach” as Bertie sits among the spent ammunition is one typical bon mots.Ted’s family recreated one of the act’s scripts [abridged version].Ted: Wake up Bertie and get dressed quick, I’m taking you for a surprise trip to the seaside.  Bertie:  A surprise trip? Do you mean like the surprise trip you had on the stairs last night when you got back from the Officer’s mess.  Ted: Just put on your battledress and boots because we’ll be wading ashore.  Bertie: Wading ashore? Gattledress and goots? What, on a nice sandy beach in France? I knew there’d be a catch in it, there always is - and what about my gucket and spade?  Ted: You won’t be needing your gucket - I mean bucket….This is a very important mission because we are going to help our lads to liberate Europe from Hitler and his armies. Just think, you might even win some medals.  Bertie: Medals? Really? Me? Well in that case pass me my uniform quick Ted, there’s no time to waste, I can’t wait to get at ‘em and get rid of that nasty old Hitler.For me, Ted and Bertie still live on as creative heroes. If you are ever thinking down, demotivated, or just need a new strategy or direction, invoke the images of Ted and Bertie and their D-Day landings.Fantasy Mentors are a brilliant 24 7 creativity tool. Whenever you are faced with a challenge simply pose the question to your role model: “How would Ted and Bertie tackle the problem of…?”Before long, your mind is taking you instantly in new, sometimes unexpected directions and lines of inquiry. Try it now.For me, I’m eternally grateful to Ted, Bertie and their generation for the sacrifices they made in defeating that ‘nasty old Hitler.I’m also grateful for their joining my portfolio of Fantasy Mentors. With a Fantasy Mentor for any situation, I’m better equipped for any battle I face in my life, by being more capable to think flexibly, and think flexibly faster.Thank you Ted and Bertie.(Please do buy your copy of Bertie’s War)MUSING ON THE COMMUNICAT[...]

All That Was Left


All That Was Left: The remnants of Bede Company from the Durham Light Infantry
Since 1853 Durham Regatta’s blue riband is the Grand Challenge Cup, which this year garnered a significant resonance during the 100 anniversary of the First World War.
In 1910 a crew from the Durham University’s College of the Venerable Bede won the Grand by three-quarters of a length.
This “excellent” crew – R Wheldon (bow), RH Robson (2), JO Wilson (3), CE Walker (stroke) and cox AW Bramwell), won the cup by three-quarters of a length and were later to join the Durham Light Infantry alongside other students from the ‘Bede’.
‘A’ Company of Durhams were known as the Bede Contingent, comprising more than 100 students from the college. They were soon thrown into the front line trenches on Gravenstafel Ridge during the second battle of Ypres.
The Bedes’ spirit was not extinguished by their first experience of gunfire and the regimental history records that “'through the darkness came the voice of some irrepressible Bede College member of ‘A’ Company as a shell passed over: “Aye it reminds yer of Durham regatta. Now lads, up goes another! All together! Bang! Mind the stick!”  Then someone called “Who’s won the Grand?” And there were rival cries of “City!” and “Bede!”
In the fighting which followed on April 25, the Bede men helped save Ypres, but they suffered grievous losses with 17 killed, 10 wounded, and 31 taken prisoner. A picture after the conflict, shows the Bedes poised rather like a athletes posing for a post-race picture, with poignant message: All that was left.
The Bede men had good reason to wonder about the Grand at Durham - the regatta would have been due within a week or two – and the soldiers would not have been forgotten that the Bede had won the Grand Challenge Cup for the first time in 1910.
Of the Bede crew who had won the Grand in 1910, Robson was killed, Wheldon lost an eye, and the cox Bramwell became a prisoner of war. Only Wheldon is in the photograph.

RIP: Liverpool Daily Post


Today the last edition of the Liverpool Daily Post after 158 years – it’s a very sad day for regional journalism.
The Daily Post, a pioneering newspaper that challenged the decision makers of the city and Merseyside, was my first newspaper where I worked for a while on the subs’ bench for the business desk. Since then I have worked on a number of regional newspapers as well as a spell on Fleet Street.
Back then we thought newspapers would last for ever but even by the 1980s we could see circulations were declining and that strong regional journalism was at risk and then the internet came along and newspaper management were left scratching their heads about how they should respond.
Indeed, many simply ignored the world wide web and were unable to accept that the internet was one of those disruptive technologies which would impact on every industry including newspapers.
The slow, predictable decline of the UK's regional newspaper decline is continuing unabated.
For the 257 regional and local papers that reported stats for the first six months of this year, there was a total year-on-year decline in circulation from 7.32 million to 7.1 million - a drop of three percent. Very few publications had anything very positive to report when to print figures:
15 regionals saw a fall in circulation in excess of 20 percent.
61 suffered a decline of at least 10 percent.
 40 saw a rise in circulation, but only four of those added more than 10 percent.
It's not a great picture, but not a terrible one either. Industry-wide declines of three percent year-on-year seem sustainable for a while yet, even if some regionals are doing far worse than others. The transition from print to multiple digital screens is not an overnight phenomenon.
Among the top five dailies - total circulation dropped more than 40,000 year on year, or 10 percent of the total.
Looking at the sector from the outside – although I speak to journalists regularly – the future does not look good. Management still continue to make swinging job cuts, newsrooms are under staffed and under resourced.
There has always been a traditional of gallows humour in the newsroom. Even in my day when I think the regional press was still reasonably strong – the hacks would hark back to the good old days of boozy lunches, generous expenses and the opportunity to take the time to investigate and write really good news stories which impacted on peoples’ life. 
It’s a sad day for the Post – but I do not think this will be the last obituary written for the regional Press.

New book from my mate Joe Moorwood


Congratulations to my old colleague Joe Moorwood who has just had his first book published.
Joe, a former account manager with GREEN and now a fire fighter in South Yorkshire, wrote The Yorkshire Meaning of Liff.
Inspired by John Lloyd’s and Douglas Adams’ cult-classic The Meaning of Liff, first published thirty years ago, The Yorkshire Meaning of Liff recycles the lesser known place names of God’s own county, and twins them with all things in life there should be words for (aka ‘liffs’)…
John Lloyd says: “After 40 years in radio and television, I think I’m right in saying I have never produced a show, directed a movie or got involved in a book based on a script sent to me out of the blue by someone I’ve never met. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s never happened yet. Until now, that is.
“Joe first wrote to me earlier this year, after hearing an appeal on Radio 4 for contributions to a programme called The Meaning of Liff At 30. Designed to mark three decades in print of a book I wrote with Douglas Adams in 1983, listeners were invited to submit new ‘liffs’ – definitions of ‘things there should be words for’ brought to life by attaching them to a place name.
“Some 400 people responded to the BBC’s call and the standard of entries was impressively high, but one person in particular stood out. He had not, like most contributors, come up with one or two ideas, he had written an entire book.
Here’s some of Joe’s Yorkshire Liffs:
The tilt of an imaginary pint glass to ask if someone on the other side of a noisy pub wants a drink.
Holding areas used for guests on The Jeremy Kyle Show.
To lock eyes with someone inside a parked car in the process of checking out one's appearance in their window.
An adolescent male's first attempt at sideburns.
The high-pitched screaming noise emitted by fairground ghost trains.
The first person in a motorway traffic jam to get out of their car and walk about sighing.
You can buy the book here.

Goodbye to the Bunker


Every day I drive past it in the morning on the way to work, and for many years I worked in it – under a murky glass dome in stygian gloom – and now that it’s going I can’t say I am sorry.
Anyone familiar with Leeds or northern provincial journalism will know the Yorkshire Post building on Wellington Street home to some great regional journalists and one of Yorkshire greatest indictments of 1960s Brutalist architecture. It always seemed risible to me that it was officially opened by Prince Charles The Carbunclist.
The huge joint newsroom – housing the Post and the Evening Post - was often referred to as the “bunker” as it was surrounded by grey concrete with no windows. Later is was known as the aquarium after the management thought it would be a good idea to paint the interior walls aqua-marine – which just seemed to add to the gloom.
English Heritage said in February the building would not be listed owing to the tight integration of the architecture with the building’s use for printing, and the loss of that use diminished “its ability to demonstrate its original function” and had “impacted on the integrity of the building”.
Yesterday it was announced the building in could be bulldozed, after a demolition order was submitted to Leeds City Council.
It was never a beautiful building compared with the old premises in Leeds city centre on Albion Street but it still contains many happy memories for me, especially through old colleagues. Nowhere else have I experienced the buzz I’ve had from a job other than as a journalist but even then back in the late 1990s we knew we were witnessing the last huzzah of good, quality journalism where the work of the reporters, sub-editors, production editors and snappers were still recognised by management.
Serious journalism was still cherished then before the swathe of takeovers and mergers turned regional newspaper journalism in to a homogenous mash of bland and tepid news reporting.
The building on Wellington Street, which used to house 1,300 people, is now empty with bug For Sale signs plastered all over it – which is a neat testament to the decline of regional journalism.
The Yorkshire Post is still there – stoutly supported by a loyal team of journalist determined to do their best during a time of cuts and redundancies. I wish them luck.



Comic Sans fights back


Listen up. I know the shit you’ve been saying behind my back. You think I’m stupid. You think I’m immature. You think I’m a malformed, pathetic excuse for a font. Well think again, nerdhole, because I’m Comic Sans, and I’m the best thing to happen to typography since Johannes fucking Gutenberg.
You don’t like that your coworker used me on that note about stealing her yogurt from the break room fridge? You don’t like that I’m all over your sister-in-law’s blog? You don’t like that I’m on the sign for that new Thai place? You think I’m pedestrian and tacky? Guess the fuck what, Picasso. We don’t all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros. Sorry the entire world can’t all be done in stark Eurotrash Swiss type. Sorry some people like to have fun. Sorry I’m standing in the way of your minimalist Bauhaus-esque fascist snoozefest. Maybe sometime you should take off your black turtleneck, stop compulsively adjusting your Tumblr theme, and lighten the fuck up for once.
People love me. Why? Because I’m fun. I’m the life of the party. I bring levity to any situation. Need to soften the blow of a harsh message about restroom etiquette? SLAM. There I am. Need to spice up the directions to your graduation party? WHAM. There again. Need to convey your fun-loving, approachable nature on your business’ website? SMACK. Like daffodils in motherfucking spring.
When people need to kick back, have fun, and party, I will be there, unlike your pathetic fonts. While Gotham is at the science fair, I’m banging the prom queen behind the woodshop. While Avenir is practicing the clarinet, I’m shredding “Reign In Blood” on my double-necked Stratocaster. While Univers is refilling his allergy prescriptions, I’m racing my tricked-out, nitrous-laden Honda Civic against Tokyo gangsters who’ll kill me if I don’t cross the finish line first. I am a sans serif Superman and my only kryptonite is pretentious buzzkills like you.
It doesn’t even matter what you think. You know why, jagoff? Cause I’m famous. I am on every major operating system since Microsoft fucking Bob. I’m in your signs. I’m in your browsers. I’m in your instant messengers. I’m not just a font. I am a force of motherfucking nature and I will not rest until every uptight armchair typographer cock-hat like you is surrounded by my lovable, comic-book inspired, sans-serif badassery.
Enough of this bullshit. I’m gonna go get hammered with Papyrus.

This is courtesy of Timonthy McSweeney

Blogs are still going strong


With the rise of Twitter and Facebook many people downgraded blogs. In social media’s evolutionary history they were regarded as some kind of Neanderthal anomaly that had served its purpose.
However, like the Neaderthal the blog has been surprisingly robust – I personally have at least ten “musr-read” blogs that I visit every day ranging from the history of typography to a rather wonderful blog on life in the East End of London.
As a marketer you write off blogs at your peril.
A recent  MORI survey for Hotwire warns against a blind corporate blogging frenzy in response to growing power of blogs. Blogs are becoming an influential source of information across Europe, according to the MORI research, with more than 25 million adults in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain having changed their minds about a company or its products after reading comments or reviews on a blog.
The direct link between user-generated content and people’s intentions to purchase a product or service is highlighted by the new research which found that a third (34%) of Europeans say they have not purchased a product after reading comments on the internet from customers or other private individuals.
Other key findings from the research include:
Blogs are now a near second to newspapers as the most trusted information source: A quarter (24%) of Europeans consider blogs a trusted source of information, still behind newspaper articles (30%), but ahead of television advertising (17%) and email marketing (14%).
High spenders are most trusting of blogs: Of those who spend more than £100 online every month, the proportion of people who trust blogs rises to 30%.
France leads European blogging, Britain lags: Across Europe, six out of ten (61%) internet users have heard of blogging, and one in six (17%), have read a blog. France is the most blog-savvy country in Europe, with 90% of respondents familiar with blogs. The British are the least blog-aware, with only 50% having heard the term. In Germany, 55% have heard of blogs, 58% in Italy and 51% in Spain.
Blogs are now driving purchase decisions: More than half (52%) of Europeans polled said that they were more likely to purchase a product if they had read positive comments from private individuals on the internet.
They also block purchases: Nearly 40 million Europeans have not bought something after reading negative comments posted online.
Gareth Deere, head of technology research, MORI said, “We all trust people’s opinions in the real world. Now we’ve proven the same link online, and it’s having a major impact on people’s buying behaviour. Word of mouth is no longer restricted to close friends and family, it can have the same level of influence upon millions of people across the world.”

Are you a digital media expert?


God give me strength. Just been spammed by a “digital media expert” offering a training course on “New Digital Training”. Here it is verbatim:

“As the world of new media continues to explode, I’m writing to introduce you to our new training course: Digital Marketing & PR.
“This in-house course gives a comprehensive overview of the different aspects of new media. It shows delegates how digital techniques can be simply and successfully integrated with more established PR strategies to generate new revenue streams for your agency.
“Who is it for? PR professionals with a basic knowledge of new media, wishing to advance their skills, speak the language with confidence and sell more digital work to their clients.”

Oh Dear. I am not sure that new media is exploding nor do I know what a “digital technique” is – I wish I had one though.
The curious thing is the person who sent the email – obviously blind CC’d to all the unfortunate recipients – has not got a clue about social media. Otherwise, she/he would not have spammed me in this manner. Meanwhile, their online presence is decidedly Web1.0 – no blog, no social networks, no Twitter.
I’m finding that a lot of PR companies which have, up until recently, ignored the possibilities of social media as a medium for communications – and in some cases even derided it – are now putting themselves forward as experts on social media. All this on the strength of a month-old blog and a Twitter account with five followers.
As with traditional media relations, the sloppy agencies which gave the industry a bad name with the media, will tarnish us with same brush with their backward approach to social media.
There are some excellent agencies out there doing some fantastic work through social media – but now that others have spotted the bandwagon they threaten to turn it over as they struggle to get on board.

Learning about social media from an old fart


Now this story might appear a bit crude, but it really happened, and inadvertently provided a wonderful metaphor for understanding new developments in communications, particularly social media.
Picture the scene: I am in a busy Edinburgh pub, crowded with delegates from conference.
At the end of the evening, me and some acquaintances were still talking shop at the bar, with one delegate airing his view that he ‘really didn’t see the significance of this social media thing.’
One senior delegate patiently sought to explain how social media was not just another channel for communication, but required a different mindset. And then, without announcement, surreptitiously, slipped away from the bar.
His new found friend at the conference, an Irish guy then declared in his Dublin brogue: "Someone has farted - and it’s not me!"
I reassured him that it genuinely wasn’t me either. The absent friend seemed prime suspect.
The episode instantly provided me with a metaphor:  This is how social media is different. You see, normal communications is telling the world what you want to say. Social media, is picking up conversations which may be about you, and may, in many instances not be instigated about you. So, you would not issue a press release for the equivalent of ‘You have just farted’. The fart, however, is a reality for those out there. And is more likely to be picked up as a conversation piece, regardless of your embarrassment.
If you’re not out there listening, and appropriately responding you are in danger of living in an artificial, You-Centric world, and not being part of the real conversation. That’s the real difference with this social media thing.
The metaphor seemed to work in making his new friend understand the different mindset of social media. It’s funny, how an ill-wind can bring new insight.

Raise a glass to NetConstruct for making the DADI Awards


Congratulations to our client NetConstruct for beeing short listed in the prestigious Drum Awards for the Digital Industries (DADI) for its work with one of our favourite brewers Theakstons. Masham-based Theakstons, one of the region’s oldest brewers, has been nominated for two DADI Awards for Best Consumer/Retail Website and Best Use of Visual Design alongside award-winning digital agency NetConstruct. Other companies in their categories include Sony, Samsung, Glenmorangie, XBox, Doc Martens and Visit Scotland. The winners will be revealed at an awards dinner at Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium in November. Wetherby-based NetConstruct, one of the top Kentico developers in the UK, was commissioned by Theakstons to design and develop a website that captured the company’s values as a family brewing company which takes pride in its track record as a craft brewing innovator. NetConstruct’s Director of Development Jonathan Healey says: “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into developing the new Theakstons’ website. We sent a team of 25 over to the brewery to ensure that we truly understood the values that stood behind Theakstons’ famous ales and that is reflected in the new website’s design. “We have also integrated a lot of interactive features including an ale selector so visitors can select their preferences from the ale characteristics and an interactive history of brewing in Masham from 835AD to today. Other features include an online shop.” Since its launch the new website, which is built on the Kentico content management system, has seen a significant rise in traffic, and a rise in trade enquiries and bookings for brewery’s popular tours. Victoria Bramley, Consumer Marketing Manager at Theakstons, says: “As one of the oldest family brewing companies in the country, it was important for us to work with a digital agency who truly understood the heritage and tradition behind Theakstons. “From our initial meetings to the design and implementation of our new website, NetConstruct has appreciated our brand values and the integrity of our company. We are absolutely delighted with the result and these nominations for a DADI Award underscore the quality of the work.” The DADIs, now in their sixth year, bring together individuals and companies at the forefront of digital technology and aim to recognise and reward digital excellence in design and development. The Theakstons’ website, which is powered by the world class Kentico content management system, was officially launched at the Internet World 2012 exhibition in London where visitors were in for a refreshing surprise on the Kentico stand. In contrast to other stands Kentico and NetConstruct were offering tasters of Theakstons’ legendary Old Peculier ale. “The juxtaposition of a bar stocked with Old Peculier on the Kentico software stand was an opportunity too good to miss,” said Director Simon Theakston. “It was the perfect way for us to launch our new Theakston website and online shop and enjoy some good, honest ale.”MUSING ON THE COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY AND THE MEDIA IN GENERAL. NO AGENDA. NO THEORIES. NO PHILOSOPHY. JUST TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD. PR, Media, Blogs, blogging, press, internet[...]

Share this - the banks hate you


allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="420"> Have you been fucked by the banks - join Bully-Banks and name and shame HSBC, RBS, Barclays, Co-op Bank, NatWest erm... every bank I think

Paramount movies - can you name them?






 Is one of the reasons we are in a wave of Jubilee and Olympic celebrations that they have better memes than their rivals? I would call my position as being one of ‘individualistic stance’. But now I’m even more annoyed that I recently missed ‘Levellers Day’.I have been largely passive to the euphoria sweeping the nation surrounding the Jubilee celebrations, and also the hysteria of the Olympic Torch running past our doorways. I did go to a Jubilee gala event organised at the Archbishop of York’s palace which gave me an opportunity to speak to Dr John Sentamu - who turns out to be both a charming man and a brilliant bongos player (I kid you not) I would describe myself as a royalist agnostic in that I uphold principles of meritocracy and don’t believe in deference by birth.At the same time however, I somehow espouse a muddled political pluralism and the PR man in me sees how potent monarchy is for the British band, while republican regimes seem to spend just as much on their elected royalty. As for the Olympic torch parade is it only me who sees the underlying mechanics of a PR stunt for corporate sponsors? But my wife was right; being critical without being constructive was rendering me the status of being a ‘miserable old git’.Serendipiditously, I came across a reference to Cornet Thompson and Corporals Church and Perkins who, until recently were buried in unmarked graves in Burford church, Oxfordshire. They were executed on Cromwell’s orders on May 17 1649. The three soldiers belonged to a movement popularly known as the Levellers, with beliefs in civil rights and religious tolerance. During the Civil War, the Levellers fought on Parliament's side, they had at first seen Cromwell as a liberator, but now saw him as a dictator.They were prepared to fight against him for their ideals and he was determined to crush them. Over 300 of them were captured by Cromwell's troops and locked up in Burford church. Three were led out into the churchyard to be shot as ringleaders. Now, over 360 years their deaths are honoured by those willing to celebrate and commemorate our political freedoms -which in 1649 were seen as radical heresy - and the wider quest for a fairer, more just society. The only problem is, as I see it, the Levellers need better memes.A meme is a self-replicating form of communication. The song ‘Happy Birthday’ is a meme - you know the words without having to go on a training course. So, in order for Levellers Day to be better known its meme-shopping list should include:Connections with current brands and values - the heroic story of Cornet Thompson refusal to repent his ideals must echo with heroes throughout the ages, such as the ‘tank man’ in Tiananmen Square (commonly referred to in Chinese as Wang Weilin.)Iconic acts - what can you do, wherever you are in the world to celebrate Levellers Day. St. Patrick’s day for example, has been hijacked by the ‘drink a pint of Guinness’ meme. What can each and every on Levellers Day supporters do? Maybe plant a tree is one idea?Iconic image - what picture can capture the act of celebrating Levellers Day. It needs to be more than a Sealed Knot re-enactment, and perhaps symbolise peace and social justice.Sticky phrase - what is the sticky message we need people to pass on about Levellers DayA constant date - at the moment celebrations seem to be around the weekend ahead or after May 17th.My advice would be to keep it constant as the weekend befo[...]



Chris Oakley: On the future of regional journalism


I used to work with Chris Oakley, former editor of the Liverpool Echo later owner of the Birmingham Post and Mail and then the Yorkshire Post, and he was and is a fine newspaper man. Later, he became chairman of where I was editorial director. Venturedome no longer exists – but local newspapers are still around. Not for much longer according to Chris.As a person obsessed with print journalism I was going to do a critique of a speech delivered by Chris last night to the Society of Editors regional conference in Manchester. However, there is not much to critique.Entitled Five Minutes to Midnight:  The death and possible re-birth of the regional newspaper industry, Chris gave his own devastating critique of the current state of the regional press, which he argued now needed to be rebuilt from the bottom up. Here is the speech in full:We live in strange times.That theatre of selective amnesia, the Leveson inquiry, plays to a largely indifferent public at a cost of tens of millions to reveal what? That politicians saddled up and sucked up to media tycoons who, in turn, sought favours as all leading businessmen with access to ministers do, that journalists buy their contacts a pint or four and that celebrities want publicity – but only on their own terms. Well, surprise, surprise.When the curtain finally falls, what will have changed? Politicians will still be slippery, businessmen will still seek to influence them, whining celebrities will still be trying to get their non-stories into newspapers…and we may have some new curbs on press freedom to work our way around.Hacking into people’s telephones and emails is already illegal and those who do it should be prosecuted unless they can show an indisputable public interest. We don’t need to spend lorry loads of public money at a time of austerity to tell us the obvious.On the other hand, the regional and local newspaper industry, whose titles are read by more people than all the nationals and which have a bigger influence on the lives of individuals and communities, is on the point of collapse. Twenty per cent of the UK’s local newspapers have closed in the last seven years, more than 240 titles, leaving sizeable communities from Port Talbot to Cannock from Leominster to Long Eaton without a title.What is the government doing about that? It stood aside when Ofcom prevented a takeover of weeklies in Kent that would have saved titles from closure. In contrast, the Welsh Assembly has already launched an investigation into the local Press and the Scottish Parliament is considering a request to do the same.Meanwhile, our wise, impartial and incorruptible Culture Secretary is devoting time and money to stimulating the launch of local television, a tried and failed experiment long ago, in an age with less competition for viewers’ time from satellite channels and the internet. Just 50 years late then.If this is the best that arrogant, posh rich boys can do, then no wonder the Caravan Club has more members than all our political parties combined.This week Greece has been back in the news, the disintegration of a country where the economic growth of the boom years wasn’t invested for the future but recklessly spent and used to accumulate debt.Now Greece is no longer an independent country; it’s a province of Brussels or Berlin. Real power lies with bureaucrats and bankers whose priority is not the future of [...]