There is a reason why I try and search for people outside my home sector.
While I love things I’m local government and the public sector you can always learn.
It’s why I follow Madeleine Sugdon on Twitter. She is third sector but she’s always on point.
Her delicious eye-roll of a post about cheque presentations is a good one. You can read it here. The post in three words?
‘Don’t do it.’
I liked it for three reasons.
It is a useful reminder of something I first heard as a junior reporter in the 1990s. It’s not a giant cheque that is of interest. It is what they did to raise it or who they will help.
News is people.
It’s also striking that 20 years on we still have to tell people to steer away from such old school things.
It’s a useful reminder that the job of a decent comms person is never done. Some battles need re-fighting over and over.
It all comes back to asking the question… ‘What is it you are trying to achieve?’
And I’d add a second one:
Picture credit: Psheubj / Flickr
There is a point I keep coming back to over and over and over again from a blog post I wrote a while back.
It comes from a poster in Apple designer Jony Ive’s office.
“Believe in your f*cking self. Stay up all f*cking night. Work outside of your f*cking habits. Know when to f*cking speak up. F*cking collaborate. Don’t f*cking procrastinate. Get over your f*cking self. Keep f*cking learning. Form follows f*cking function. A computer is a Lite-Brite for bad f*cking ideas. Find f*cking inspiration everywhere. F*cking network. Educate your f*cking client. Trust your f*cking gut. Ask for f*cking help. Make it f*cking sustainable. Question f*cking everything. Have a f*cking concept. Learn to take some f*cking criticism. Make me f*cking care. Use f*cking spell check. Do your f*cking research. Sketch more f*cking ideas. The problem contains the f*cking solution. Think about all the f*cking possibilities.”
But especially ‘educate the f*cking client.’
This isn’t a rant at the nice people who I work with. Far from it. This is more a reminder that we need to remind people that the poster, Twitter account or press release they want isn’t maybe what they need.
Picture credit: Gotcredit.com / Flickr
You need good boots and a wise head to walk the Appalachian Trail. It is 2,190 miles long and cuts through the lonely American wilderness.
Almost 3,000 people walk it’s daunting dark length from end-to-end every year and from time-to-time people go missing.
Risks faced by the traveller include the American black bear, mosquitos, yellowjackets, poison ivy, biting flies and dangerous streams.
The trail is linked by camping points a day’s walk apart. Sometimes they are just clearings but they are places walkers pitch a tent, meet and swap trail stories. Knowing there is a ford ahead can make the next day safer.
Five years ago we launched commscamp on a clear blue sky excited about the power and possibility of exploring the green empty space of the internet.
This year, there was the sense that things have evolved. There was a feeling more people used the event as safety trail camp. New things to learn? Yes. But most of all a sanity check.
The world has changed and we are trying to all change with it. Fractured channels. New audiences. New demands on time. Income targets. Bad intranets. Bad comms plans. Bad managers. Not enough time. Time taken over by an emergency. Not enough budget.
Not enough regard for what we do.
There are still people looking to innovate and get good at new things. But there are less people wide-eyed at the possibility. The militant optimists from the early years have moved on. I miss them. Those that remain on the trail are quieter somehow but more determined. They know that they are still travelling through uncharted forests. Through the trees they can sometimes hear the crunch of nearby footsteps of fellow travellers. We are alone together. We know this path will take years to complete.
It’s things like Commscamp, the Public Sector Headspace Facebook group and other places that are the safe camping points to rest.
Knowing you are not alone is just as important today as it was five years ago.
Picture credit: VinceTraveller / Flickr
A couple of days on from the 5th commscamp in Birmingham and the dust has settled a little. I’m on a train reflecting.
Please speak human
Please listen to people
Please, please, please…
The BBC are known for quite a few things… Wimbledon coverage, Comic Relief, the Nine O’Clock News and now cutting rebuttals.
What is a rebuttal?
This is when a media organisation has written something which you disagree with.
Take the case of the Daily Mail. They hung a story on the back of digital figures which show the screening of Blue Peter had zero figures. Zip.
This, ladies and gents, is a national outrage.
Only thing was that it was being economical with the truth.
The episode had almost 300,000 viewers. The screening in question was a repeat at 2.30pm in the afternoon when kids were at school in sign-language.
Rather than sit and seethe the BBC Press Office did what every organisation should do now the internet is here. It used the web to challenge and rebut the piece.
Zero viewers? We beg to differ… pic.twitter.com/LhkcrzGzJQ
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) 5 July 2017
So, what have we learned?
Don’t sit and seethe. Something shareable gets shared. And if you are a journalist? There’s every likelihood that the full picture will emerge.
This isn’t the first time these two have been at it…
— Paul Vale (@PaulVale) July 6, 2017