30 days of human comms #9 The BBC respond to The Sun

In the olden days large organisations when they came in for a shoeing by the tabloids had to grimace and bear it. 

Today, in an approach pioneered and perfected by the BBC they can make their own voice heard online.

The Sun – whose owner owns a media group in opposition to the BBC – ran a frontpage piece attacking journalists who were asleep at heir desk in the small hours.

The BBC used Twitter like a fly swat to point out the areas of trust:


Organisations can have a human voice just as people do.

30 days of human comms: #8 a fire’s station’s rescued bench tweets

Human comms can come in different shapes and sizes from the deliberate to the instinctive.

One lovely example of the instinctive is from Hampshire’s Fire and Rescue Service.

They have many stations equipped with social media accounts to keep people informed and educated. When fire broke out at a church Rushmoor fire crew tweeted the information.

A worried social media user enquired about a memorial bench at the church.

Happily, the crew took a few minutes to find the bench and tweet an assurance with an image.

Twitter 23 June 2015 - Fleet church fire

I know the value of memorials like benches. They can take huge importance.

So, for fire crew to take a few minutes to be human is excellent.

Be more human.

30 days of human comms: #7 the basketball playing Gainesville Police officer

Sometimes good human content is deliberately created and other times it was an accident.

When a Gainesville police officer responded to a complaint about kids playing basketball in the street as a viewer you fear the worst. Why? Because the in-car footage of what is playing out reminds you of so many times American police officers have shot and killed someone.

You fear the worst.

But what happens is wonderful. The officer starts to play basketball with the kids. Three other kids who ran off when the patrol car pulled-up drift back.

It’s a human interaction. The officer plays and then asks the kids in a parting shot to keep the noise down a bit.

The police department – department as this is the US – release the footage and get half a million views.


Because it is recognisably human at a time when police are struggling to retain trust.

Be more human.

30 days of human comms: #6 Sydney Ferries name their new boat Ferry McFerryface


It had to happen.

After the British Arctic Survey kind of ducked naming their new boat Boaty McBoatface every new naming contest has been shadowed by the prospect of the hive mind getting to work.

And so it came to pass.

Step forward Sydney Ferries who named their new boat ‘Ferry McFerryface’. You can see the Facebook post here:


This is the greatest thing to happen in Sydney ever. Including England lifting the 2011 Ashes.

Why is this great? Because it is the boat company being human and rolling with it. The local media saw the funnyside too.

As someone pointed out, there will be hundreds of tourists just waiting to take a selfie with the ship and its name.

Be more human.

VIDEO KIT: Your essential kit-out-your-team-for-video-for-around-sixty-quid guide


Cost has always been a factor in helping to train comms people into how best to use video.

Gone are the days when a video production company could come and shoot a five grand video for a conference of fifty people.

Sure, there’s still a place for an externally-made video. But when you have the technology on your smartphone that’s in your pocket the smart thing to do is to look at ways to use that.

Over the past three years, myself and my colleague Steven Davies have trained more than 1,000 people. It has been a delight. Often people think the kit will be expensive. Not true. You can just use your phone or tablet if you like. But for a small investment you can improve what you do.

The sixty quid kit

If you have a device and you want the basics, a Rode clip-on microphone and a mobile phone tripod will cost you around £60. That’s roughly an Americano a day for a month. But if you want some extras, you can pay your money and take your choice.

A tablet or mobile

You can get a video camera if you must. But then you have the faff of keeping it charged, keeping it in a place where people can find it and hope that people will remember how to use it. Or you could use a smartphone or tablet. You are more likely to have that with you, have it charged and know what the buttons do.

Use your own phone if you can or your office device. But don’t use Windows or Blackberry. There isn’t the editing or social media software for them.

If money is no object, I’d reckon my colleague Steven suggest a Google Pixel 2 phone. Cost: Around £700.
Pixel 2 Phone (2017) by Google, G011A 64GB, 5″ inch SIM-free Factory Unlocked Android 4G/LTE Smartphone (Just Black)

I’d recommend a Samsung Galaxy S7. Cost: Around £400.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32 GB SIM-Free Smartphone – Black

Or if you are after a tablet, the ipad will suffice. Cost: Around £300.

Apple iPad 9.7″ 2017 32GB Wi-Fi – Space Grey

Sound and shooting extras

A tripod is a good idea. A pocket one will work just fine. Cost: around £10.

Rhodesy Octopus Style Tripod Stand Holder for Camera, Any Smartphone with Clip

A Rode Smartlav clip-on microphone is handy to improve noise and has been roadtested by Steven. Cost: Around £50.

Rode Smartlav+ Lavalier Microphone for Smartphone

As an optional extra, a cable extension for the Rode Smartlav clip-on mic is an idea. Cost around £18.

Rode SC1 Cable

Shooting video can be a drain on your phone battery. So, a powerbank you can plug in to top-up your charge is always a good idea.

Anker PowerCore 10000, One of the Smallest and Lightest 10000mAh External Batteries, Ultra-Compact, High-speed Charging Technology Power Bank for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and More


You’ve a choice of editing software. For ios, you can use imovie which is free. Or you can go for kinemaster which is ios or android. There is a free version. That’ll do great things and if you can live with the kinemaster logo in the top right corner even better. But the Pro version gives you extra resources to draw from and is worth it, frankly. You can get it for £23.25 a year if you pay upfront or about £3 a month pay-as-you-go. Cost: From free to up to £23.25 a year.


There are sound libraries available that charge a subscription. But there are also creative commons options which allow you to use for free so long as you fulfil some simple criteria. Crediting at the end, for example, is common. I’ve blogged about this here. Cost: free.


Our workshops help you to plan, shoot, edit, add music and text and post at the right length and in the right place. Give me a shout for more @danslee on Twitter or dan@comms2point0.co.uk.


Birmingham on January 22. More here.
Manchester on January 24. More here.
London on February 1. More here.


London on February 2. More here.

Pic credit: Kurt Clark / Flickr

30 days of human comms: #5 Virgin Trains

For me, trains get people from A to B quickly so long as there are no leaves on the line.

Virgin Trains are pretty good at coming across as human while getting people from A to their B.

So, it was no surprise to be sent a phone camera shot of the company’s announcement of a new train.


It’s fast?

It’s crazy fast.

Be more human.


30 days of human comms: #4 Edinburgh City Council

For a good three years 365-days-a-year I was a public sector account.

I realised I was taking things a bit too seriously when I insisted that Christmas Day dinner be put back five minutes so I could post a gritting alert in 140 characters.

To make the channel work, I had to become customer services, too. Why? Because I’d post a missive and be greeted with: ‘That’s great. Can you tell me why my bins weren’t emptied?’

So, for a good while I’ve admired Edinburgh City Council. They have staff who sign on as themselves and speak human.

In the evening, they also pass their account onto the out-of-hours team who sign on as themselves and monitor out-of-hours.

Be more human.