When I worked in the public sector there was a bunch of people a decade ago who would bang the table not being satisfied with business as usual.
They would experiment and try different things. If there was no rule book they would write their own with a spirit of JFDI – just flipping do it. Sometimes they’d put their career on the line just to try something out.
So, I’d learn more from bloggers, coders and engineers as to how to use the social web than I did from the PR establishment. Bold experiments of yesterday quickly became today’s routine.
It’s an approach that has shaped my approach and for many others in the public sector.
I’m happy to say, there is a movement centred on private sector PR just as happy to write new rule books where there are none. Through challenge, experiment and boldness there’s a feeling that there is a better way.
Stephen Waddington in his introduction to the first Future Proof: The Go To Guide For Managers of Agencies and Communications Teams talks of there never being a more exciting time to be in the industry. I’d agree with that. You can download that here for free.
Now, Future Proof: Edition Two has been published. I’m hugely excited to have written a chapter on the role of video in communications in this book. But I’m far more excited to know that there are more than 30 chapters from fellow travellers who aren’t satisfied with business as usual too.
Hats off to those who wrote chapters and to Sarah Hall for pulling this together.
You can buy the book here in print and kindle here.
A chapter a day handily is set to be released here if you can’t afford the book.
Future Proof: Edition Two chapters
COMMANDING THE RESPECT OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND THE PITCH TO EMPLOYERS by Francis Ingham
STRONG TOGETHER: WORKING TOWARDS A COMMUNITY OF THEORY AND PRACTICE IN PUBLIC
RELATIONS by Stephen Waddington
WHAT BREXIT TAUGHT US ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY FOR PR Rob Brown
ECONOMICS SOCIAL DIALOGUE AND PUBLIC RELATIONS Ezri Carlebach
SERVING THE MEMBERSHIP: IS IT TIME FOR THE CIPR AND PRCA TO MERGE? Richard Houghton
MAXIMISING THE TRUE VALUE OF MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS TO DRIVE IMPROVEMENT
FROM PURPOSE TO PERFORMANCE: A RADICAL APPROACH TO STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
CHARTING THE COURSE OR JUST KEEPING YOU AFLOAT: IS HUMAN RESOURCES TAKING YOUR
BUSINESS WHERE IT NEEDS TO GO? Elizabeth Baines
SOCIAL MOBILITY IN PR: A CAREER OPEN TO ALL Sarah Stimson
STITCHING TOGETHER GOOD CORPORATE BEHAVIOUR Karan Chadd
STORIES VERSUS FACTS: DO COMMUNICATORS HAVE A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THE
PUBLIC ISN’T MISLED? Stuart Bruce
CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD): CAN IT HELP YOU IN A CHANGING WORLD?
THE JOURNEY OF THE ENGAGED EMPLOYEE Bea Aar
PREPARING FOR THE SKILLS GAP IN THE WORKPLACE OF THE FUTURE Tim Hudson
DELIVERING A 24/7 SERVICE; INTRODUCING AN AGILE MODEL IN PR Dualta Redmond
MANAGING THE INTEGRATION OF BUSINESSES: MERGING COMPANIES, DISCIPLINES, AND
CULTURES Ella Minty
EMBRACING AGILE STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT Betteke van Ruler and Frank Körver
HOW TO AVOID #SOCIALMEDIAMELTDOWN Nathaniel Cassidy
A LISTENING AND INSIGHTFUL FUTURE: CHANGING PR PRACTICE TO DELIVER AUDIENCE LED
COMMUNICATIONS Sarah Clark and Professor Jim Macnamara
SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OF PROCUREMENT Tina Fegent
STRENGTHENING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS AND MANAGING RISK Farzana Baduel
MANAGING CLIENT EXPECTATIONS Andrew Reeves
STAFF SALARIES: HANDLING WAGE INFLATION AND SALARY BANDINGS Steve Earl
GROWING PAINS: MOVING FROM AN ENTREPRENEURIAL TO A PROFESSIONAL STRUCTURE
COMPANY CULTURE: MANAGING STRESS, PRESENTEEISM AND MENTAL HEALTH Paul Sutton
WHY GREAT LEADERS ARE GREAT COMMUNICATORS Lucia Dore
INTERNAL COMMS: LEARNING FROM THE PAST AND EMERGING TRENDS Rachel Miller
SEIZING INFLUENCER RELATIONS’ OPPORTUNITIES Scott Guthrie
HOW TO USE THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY TO ACHIEVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Ciara O’Keeffe
VIDEO AS A COMMUNICATIONS CHANNEL Dan Slee
LIVE STREAMING TOOLS: A BEST PRACTICE GUIDE Leonardo Stavale
OVERHAULING PUBLIC AFFAIRS: MUCH NEEDED MODERNISATION Iain Anderson
PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS: ENGAGING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE Emily Osborne
HOW THE #FUTUREPROOF PR CAN EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES OF SEO Darryl Sparey
CROWDFUNDING: UNDERSTANDING, INFLUENCING AND MANAGING GROUP BEHAVIOUR
HORIZON SCANNING Stephen Davies
CREATIVITY IN PR – ARE PRACTITIONERS SUCCESSFULLY HARNESSING THE POWER OF
STORYTELLING AND NARRATION? Andy Green
#FUTUREPROOFING COMMUNICATIONS EVALUATION Richard Bagnall
THE IMPORTANCE AND ART OF ARTICULATING THANKS: LESSONS FROM NON-GOVERNMENTAL
ORGANISATIONS (NGOS) Dr Nicky Garsten, Dr Ed de Quincey and Professor Ian Bruce
There is something still glorious about asking Twitter a question and then watching like pigeons returning to the coop as answers return.
The question was the challenges that face housing communications.
Twitter, what are the three biggest issues facing the social housing sector today? Asking for a friend. Thanks.
— Dan Slee (@danslee) August 31, 2016
And like a flock of pigeons they gathered and returned. Not three but 17 issues.
I list them here a) to provide a checklist for those inside the sector and b) for those dealing with the sector.
It’s an impressive list, but the speed of which the Twitter community returned them shows that there are still people out there bothered and keen to help.
issues that face housing communications
- Alack of money in the sector.
- A lack of houses in the sector.
- Welfare reform making it harder for social landlords to secure the rent due.
- Right-to-buy makes the pool of social housing smaller.
- A lack of grant to build new social houses.
- The attitude of public, press and politicians to tenants in shared accomodation.
- A lack of tenant voice in the national housing debate.
- Risk of poorer tenants to be sidelined in a race for higher paying tenants.
- A decline in affordable rents for tenants.
- No long term strategy.
- Less local government money for supported housing where vulnerable people can live and be independent.
- Complacent housing authorities.
- Distraction caused by mergers or the chance of rumours.
- The sector doesn’t tell it’s story well and gums things up with jargon.
- More homelessness is likely to read to a bigger bill for temporary housing.
- Reducing social rents paid to councils will hit local government in the pocket.
- The lack of land in rural areas to build new social houses.
So, how does that all sound for you?
Thanks to Manpreet Kaur, Faye Greaves, National Tenant Scrutiny Panel, Helen Gore, Richard Sage, Tom Murtha, Greg Burns, Kelly Quigley-Hicks.
STATS 2016: A pile of things every comms person needs to know from the Ofcom communications market reportPosted: August 5, 2016
Here’s a thing. Everybody apart from maybe your Gran should know what’s in the Ofcom Communications Market Report.
Everybody who is interested in communicating as part of their jobs should know it.
Press officers, comms people, social media mavens, marketing people and internal comms too. You all should know it.
Why? Because quite simply, this is a report filled with data that you can hang your hat on and use as a reference point for what you do. Cricket has Wisden. Comms people have the Communications Market Report. It’s that good.
If you are a communicator in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland there’s also a national breakdown of your nation’s media use too. How useful is that?
So, here is a quick summary so you all go off and read all of its 266 glorious pages.
4G now reaches 97.8 per cent of the population.
86 per cent of homes have an internet connection.
66 per cent of people use their mobile phone to access the internet.
41 per cent think they spend too much time on the internet.
11 per cent check the internet 50 times a day or more.
15 per cent say they are ‘hooked’ on theiir favouriote device.
34 per cent say they have difficulty disconnecting from the internet.
51 per cent go to bed with their mobile phone within reach.
71 per cent of adults have a smartphone.
Over two hours a day on average is spent using smartphones.
59 per cent of households have a tablet.
26 per cent use video on demand sites like Netflix.
91 per cent watch live TV.
25 per cent watch online video clips
70 per cent use email.
Instant messaging is rising
43 per cent use instant messaging apps like WhatsApp
63 per cent send SMS texts.
21 per cent use photo messaging
The Digital Day
An adult will consume the media for eight hours 45 minutes a day – 27 minutes more than sleeping.
An adult will be second screening for two hours and seven minutes a day to consume extra media.
SMS text messaging and email are dropping.
Instant messaging is increasing.
The Digital Day: Activity and time spent
Live TV 2 hours 55 minutes Live TV
Live Radio 1 hour 54 minutes
Recorded TV 1 hour 12 minutes
Video games 1 hour 9 minutes
Paid on demand video 1 hour 2 minutes
Email 1 hour
Other websites or applications 55 minutes
Instant messaging 48 minutes
Social networking 45 minutes
Streamed music 44 minutes
Books (print and digital ) 44 minutes
Personal digital audio 39 minutes
DVD and Bluray 37 minutes
Newspapers print and web 31 minutes
Short online video 29 minutes
Phone calls 27 minutes
CD and vinyl 26 minutes
Sports news and updates 25 minutes
On demand radio 24 minutes
Texting 21 minutes
Video calls 16 minutes
Other online news 14 minutes
Magazines print or digital 13 minutes
Online shopping 12 minutes
Photo or video messaging 9 minutes
Other activities 1 hour 16 minutes
How much media we consume
People consume eight hours and 45 minutes media a day.
The majority of those under 65 use social media at least weekly.
50 per cent of time on social media is spent on a phone.
Those aged four and above watch three hours and 36 minutes watching TV.
Those who listen to the radio listen to three hours and three minutes a day.
19 per cent of media is consumed while multi-tasking.
40 per cent fceel ignored at least once a week by someone engrossed in a smartphone.
34 per cent say they had taken a digital detox.
16 per cent choose a holiday dfestination that has no internet.
Popular social media and instant messaging sites
In 2016 64 per cent of adults use social media
The popular sites by users
38.9 million Facebook
22.5 million Facebook Messenger
21. 8 million LinkedIn
20.9 million Twitter
16.7 million whatsapp
16.5 million Instagram
12.8 Google +
11.5 million Pinterest
7.1 million Snapchat
15 per cent said that they were most likely to keep in touch with friends through social media.
69 per cent said that if they could not access the internet their life would be boring.
49 per cent said that they have communicated with someone who was in the same room by using the internet.
60 per cent think its unacceptable to communicate using the internet with someone who is in the same lesson.
61 per cent have had a device taken off them as a punishment.
16 to 24 year-olds
99 per cent use social media weekly spending 2 hours 26 minutes.
They spend more of their time communicating (32 per cent) than watching 29 petr cent.
Instant messaging is more important than any other means of communication.
Playing video games is as important as watching live TV.
The smartphone is used five hours a day.
87 per cent said they kept up to date with current affairs or social issues
Watch 55 minutes less TV a week than they did since 2014.
Watch 43 minutes more on demand TV than they did in 2014.
25 per cent say they feel nervous or anxious without the internet.
60 per cent say they spend too much time online.
72 per cent say that they missed out on sleep to use the internet.
25 – 35-year-olds
84 per cent use social media spen ding 1 hour 1 minute
Watching live TV has dropped by 37 minutes.
35 – 44-year-olds
77 per cent use social media spending 1 hour a day.
45 – 54-year-olds
64 per cent use social media spending 1 hour a day..
Watching live TV has dropped by 37 minutes
55 – 64-year-olds
Listening to the radio has increased by 23 minutes spending on average 58 minutes.
24 per cent use social media spending 35 minutes on average.
Picture credit: US National Archives / Flickr
How do we look back at London 2012? If Twitter is anything to go by with fondness and nostalgia.
That glorious summer where Mo Farah won double gold, volunteers with foam fingers greeted the nation and Horseguards Parade got turned into a beach volleyball venue.
For some, 2012 was the last of Britain. A summer where we came together and welcomed the world and the world were impressed. For others, it was a summer where it was harder to get to work and G4S had to be bailed out for bungling the security.
Me? Some mixed feelings. One of the #localgov community left us early which cast a shadow. But of the sport and the feeling of unity looking back with fondness. I liked that Britain. I’d like that one back, please.
What did Twitter think in the run-up to London 2012?
In the run-up to London 2012 we ran some analysis of what people were saying on Twitter to benchmark. Of 1,393 tweets:
38 per cent were positive.
32 per cent were negative.
26 per cent were neutral.
Bearing in mind the months of negative stories those figures were hardly surprising. In the run-up to the games the security, venue completion and what would be in the Opening Ceremony all took a beating.
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) July 23, 2012
— Paul Rogers (@paulrogers002) July 29, 2012
But exactly four years people look back with fondness
Looking back the same analysis of 1,505 tweets but four years on in 2016 looking back to London 2012 show a positive picture:
87 per cent were positive.
3 per cent were negative.
10 per cent were neutral.
A BBC Sport tweet that looked back to London 2012 shared more than 200 times led the way. A similar one from BBC Newsbeat was shared almost 40 times.
Four years ago today we put on the greatest show on earth. And when our time came, Britain, we did it right. #London2012
— James Rowe (@MrJamesRowe) July 27, 2016
The moment of the #London2012 opening ceremony?
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 27, 2016
Gold and Pandemonium
At the time, the sea change in perception felt like it happened with the Opening Ceremony. If you’ve forgotten it this Buzzfeed round-up does the job perfectly. Me? I started it a cynic and within 15 minutes I was in tears. This wasn’t synchronised gymnastics or Kings and Queens. It felt like my story. This was the story I learned from my Grandpa about how life was hard and all the good things we have we had to struggle for. Would the Empire Windrush appear at an event today? I’d like to think so but I’m not sure.
But on the night, I knew I was in safe hands when I heard a snatch of the Sex Pistols. Anything that has that in wasn’t going to send anyone to sleep.
That the results on the track, field, pool, velodrome and everywhere else resulted in medals was great but the Opening Ceremony gave my strongest memories.
There’ll be a whole series of other metrics on London 2012 to judge if it was a success.
My favourite day of the year from a professional point of view is one where I earn no money and work like a Trojan with others to make happen.
Commscamp has been staged for the past four years in Birmingham and brings 180 largely public sector comms people together.
It’s an unconference which means that the agenda is decided on the day.
But aside from the conversation, ideas and connections from the day the best thing was hearing some people also want to stage an unconference too. There may be one. There may be two. Who knows? Fantastic. I really hope they do it.
The basics about unconferences I learned from Dave Briggs, Steph Gray and Lloyd Davies. All wonderful people. We staged unconferences because we’d been to a few and fancied having a go ourselves. John Peel used to say punk made it easy. All you had to do was push over a telephone box and sell your brother’s motorbike and you had enough money for a demo. It’s not that different with an unconference.
So here are a few tips.
- No-one owns it. Lloyd is quite right in saying that unconferences are not owned by anyone. So have a go.
- Find some likeminded people.
- Just book some space.
- Put up an eventbrite to distribute the tickets.
- Scrape together a smidge of sponsorship and UKGovcamp can help with that.
- Shout about it.
- On the day relax and have fun.
- That’s it.
- That’s really it.
See? It’s that simple.
I’d also be tempted to do it slightly seperate with what you are doing at work. So, it’s not the day job. But it’s a seperate thing helps the day job. That way you get all the fun stuff but none of the middle manager barriers.
One absolute true-ism from Lloyd is that everyone who goes tends to to love them. But then would like to make a minor change. ‘It was great, but if only we could pre-plan the sessions, that would be marvellous.’ Or whatever the suggestion is.
Keep it simple.
Just have some space. A Facebook group works to get people thinking about sessions beforehand. Decide what you are going to talk about on the day. Then give the thing to the people in the room and they will always, always, always deliver.
Picture credit: Sasha Taylor / Flickr
It’s happening again, I can feel it.
I wasn’t sure if the magic would return somehow but it feels as though it has already.
The magic is Commscamp. It’s a sort of magic that happens once a year when 150 people come together determined to make brighter ideas.
What makes the magic? People who give a damn and want to do things better. People who want to help see that too. And people who like cake. Definitely, people who like cake.
The truth is it also feels like there’s never been a more important time for an event like commscamp. It feels as though it is really needed this year. Against the backdrop of Brexit, cuts and rapid change there is a need for people to come together compare notes and work things out.
The phrase that runs through what I’ve done over the past seven or eight years is ‘militant optimism.’ At its heart is a resolve to do things better despite everything
At times, optimism takes a battering. A change of boss. Cuts. More cuts. Brexit. Change. New platforms. Keeping pace. The firm request for a back of bus ad you have to push back on. The easier thing would be to throw in the towel.
Why I think the magic is back
Planning an event like this is easier the more you do it. Writing emails to printers at 11pm when you haven’t seen your family all day is not ‘fun.’
But one moment this week made me think the magic was back. Late night I was looking down the session idea pitches in the Commscamp Facebook group.
- Income generation. How do we?
- Live streaming video. How should we?
- If everyone is a comms expert how do I make my professional advice heard?
- How can you stay politically restricted and still have a voice?
- How can I put a cat amongst the pigeons?
- Coping with guilt and reality post-cuts.
- Virtual reality video: a beginners guide.
- A cathartic session just to let rip a bit.
I want to go to them all. Reading them I was reminded why I love it. And I looked at the list of people who want to volunteer to make that happen.
If you can’t come you can still play a part
There’s a limited amount of room and we know that not everyone who wants to come can come. We’ll look to livestream some sessions, post to Twitter on the #commscamp16 hashtag and blog. If you are out of the room we’ll try and find a way you can catch-up.
But one thing makes it worthwhile
If there is one issue that makes commscamp this year really worth it for me it’s Brexit and how we cope with it. I’ve got this strong sense that there’s a strong sense of uncertainty that we would do well to tackle.
It would be great if we could tackle that together.
It feels like the magic is back.
Let’s make it so, shall we?
Commscamp is staged in Birmingham on Thursday July 14. Tickets are sold out.
Picture credit: Ann Kempster / Flickr