30 days of human comms #12 North West Ambulance Service’s response to a man abusing a paramedic

Paramedics see the best and worst that life has to offer. In an emergency they save lives.

So, when a viral video of a man swearing at a parked ambulance in Runcorn went viral the Liverpool Echo took the video and ran it as part of a news story.

They newspaper approached North Western Ambulance Service for a response.

The press office could have taken the tack that they don’t comment on individual cases. But that wouldn’t have been particularly human. Instead they offered this comment reported by the Echo here:


By being human in their media statement they were human in their response.


30 days of human comms #11: London Fire Brigade remember the Kings Cross fire

Thirty years before Grenfell Tower there was another fire in London that cast a long shadow over the capital.

More than 30 people were killed at Kings Cross after debris that had gathered under a wooden escalator caught light. Amazingly, in today’s terms, back then you could still smoke underground.

The fire changed fire safety and a long list of changes followed. It’s worth remembering that for some these changes are ‘red tape’. But red tape is often written in the blood of people whose death taught a lesson.

London Fire Brigade told the story in real-time on Twitter drawing in a range of sources.

What was also interesting was that the hashtag – #KX30 allowed for people to contribute their own memories.

Amazingly, the thread brought together people whose lives had been changed:

Statistics make sense of the big picture. Human stories bring them to life.

30 days of human comms: #10 Doncaster Council’s gritter World Cup 

There have been fewer things greater than Doncaster Council’s World Cup competition to name its two new gritters.

Warm, funny and above all human the campaign has grown a life of its own taking in an appearance on Channel 4’s ‘The Last Leg’  and a tweet of support from Bob Mortimer.

The aim of the Twitter campaign was to encourage people to come up with names for the two gritters. There was no call to action beyond that and that’s fine.

What did people learn?

That there are human being s working in local government. Some even treat the roads when the weather is icy.

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.