Back in the day when the social web seemed new case studies and examples emerged like roadsigns in the fog. Rarely and eagerly sought.
Today, things are different and what was once rare is now expected. Such is the pace of change. So, here’s a crack at rounding-up some of the good things in one place before they get lost. Some you may know. Some may be new. I’ve veered away from posting the sort of content I’m helping to share on comms2point0. That’s more case studies, data and think pieces.
Celtic fans respond with cocoa pops to online Turkish fans who threaten to stab them
Turkish football fans have carved out a reputation for trouble in the past with knife attacks on rival supporters. So, when Fenerbache drew Celtic in Europe some armchair hooligans took selfies with knives threatening violence.
The response from the Celtic supporters was rather sharp. They could have threatened even greater violence in response. Instead they used the Simpsons-inspired hashtag #thatsnotaknife to respond with an arms race of their own. They took masked selfies with household objects including a spoon, a banana and a box of cocoa pops. As an example of an organic self-organised campaign it’s brilliant.
— Tony Clark (@tony1888c) August 30, 2015
Original link: Daily Telegraph.
2. Star Wars scenes as album covers
I’m really no Star Wars nerd. I really couldn’t tell you the name of the bar Hans Solo walked into in Return of the Jedi. Or was it Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? But this collection of mock retro album covers really is a fabulous thing of design.
Original link: cnet.com.
3. Australian batsmen Chris Rodgers and Steve Smith head through the Long Room at Lord’s
Another Ashes series and another victory for England. As ever, the two sides went head-to-head ov er social media to see who could produce the best content. Video emerged as a key battleground. Here’ is a clip of the two batsmen coming off the field through the historic Long Room. It works for me for being real-time, slightly geurilla, unpolished but giving behind-the-scenes content. It was shared almost 200-times giving a tidy digital footprint.
— Lord’s Ground (@HomeOfCricket) July 16, 2015
Original link: @homeofcricket.
4. The Humans of New York Facebook page
There are two sides to the internet. The good and the bad. The Humans of New York Facebook page is everything that’s good about the internet. It started as a photography project by a photographer. As he took the pictures the powerful human stories behind them came tumbling out. Sometimes they make me laugh and sometimes cry. Always they tell a story with humanity. This summer the page has visited Pakistan and Iran. Two countries whose web presence in my timeline is shrouded in darkness. The Humans of New York page let some sunshine in.
Original link Humans of New York Facebook page.
5. The Homes of Football
As the Humans of New York is to cities the Homes of Football Twitter is to football. Roy Stuart Clarke has been taking pictures of the sport for more than 20 years. He’s not interested in the action. It’s what happens away from the pitch that he’s more interested in.
— Mr Homes of Football (@HOMESofFOOTBALL) August 28, 2015
Original link: @homesoffootball.
6. Pages from Ceefax… revived
Back in the day you had two choices. You went to the paper shop and bought a paper and maybe they something on Stoke City. Or you used ceefax and turned to p312. It was the internet of the day and how I loved it. But then its faster and slicker younger brother the web came along and turned our heads. But a geek in a bedroom has rebuilt Ceefax and has taken a live news stream so you can watch today’s news again. Slowly.
Original link: pagesfromceefax.net
7. The Isles of Scilly Police Facebook page
This is as close to a perfect public sector Facebook page as its possible to get. Public servants talking like humans. There’s wit, humour and drama. All of it points towards the fact that there isn’t much crime there but if there is they are ready to strike.
Original link: Isles of Scilly Police Facebook page.
8. dorsetforyou.com’s social media directory
As new sites are created it’s sometimes hard to keep track of ones that have been started. That great Facebook page. What was it called again? Councils across Dorset – there’s seven of them – do collaboration while others just talk about it. They have a shared website and they’ve got a shared A-Z where people can find social sites from across the region.
Original link: dorsetforyou.com
9. The Official North Korea Instagram
Access to the life under the Pyongyang regime is closely restricted. But bizarrely, one of the few routes is via Instagram. The official North Korean government account @northkorea_dprk_today is one route that’s open. Propaganda posters, pictures of crops and smiling people prevail along with lengthy narratives in support of the socialist utopia. If you want to get a flavour of what the USSR would be like on social media it’s here. A historic oddity. No pictures of starvation or opponents getting machine gunned, however.
Original link: @northkorea_dprk_today.
10. RNLI crew rescue a man from a sinking ship
When the RNLI go to work they do it miles from view with no-one really to see. The trouble is that people love to see what they get up to. This footage from the onboard camera is raw and unedited but was seen by almost 3,000 on the Facebook page and more via mainstream media. This demonstrates the benefit of sharing the sweets by sharing access to those on the ground as well as the usefulness of video.
Original link: Peterhead RNLI.
I was in local government communications and we had started to post gritting updates in real time on Twitter. We were talking with our residents directly without going through the Priesthood of journalists.
“The thing is,” the reporter said, “When you post your updates to Twitter, newsdesk want you to give us a call as well, so we know.”
I declined. I pointed out that they needed to be on Twitter themselves. I shook my head in despair.
I started in newspapers in the early 1990s and spent 12 years as a journalist. I still love them despite themselves and despite a further eight years in a local government communications team.
There was a time when I despaired of local newspapers utterly. Declining newsrooms, re-locating to ‘hubs’ far away and shedding staff still make me shake my head.
But just recently, I’ve had cause to think that maybe the penny is dropping and that newspapers really can use the social web and create journalism that will be relevant to the channels of the future.
Telling a story with the web
Making brilliant use of the web are the Evening Mail in Birmingham. They are telling the story of the Birmingham pub bombings which killed 21 people 40 years ago today. They are doing so with imagination and passion. The incident remains an unhealed wound in the city. Nobody has been brought to justice for it. Six people were imprisoned wrongly.
They are using thunderclap to gather support for the case to be re-opened. You sign-up using a social channel and agree to share a message.
For audio, they recreated the IRA telephone call to the Evening Mail offices which came minutes before the explosion.
For images, they created a gallery of news images from the time from their archive.
On Twitter, they used the hashtag #justiceforthe21 and #BirminghamPubBombings to promote the call to bring people to justice.
On the web, the posted the news story in which they name the man, now dead, they allege is responsible for the attack.
On Facebook, they shared content and drew scores of responses.
Also on the web, they hosted as as if real time recreation of the 24-hours leading up to the incident. Anecdotes and snaps of life from those who were living their last day. It is a docudrama told in realtime and you can see it here.
This is what future journalism looks like. Story telling on a range of platforms. It’s sharable and commentable and has a purpose. But above all it is human. I just can’t tell you how much I like this.
They still make me shake my head do newspapers. The public subsidy they get through the government insisting local government pay them for print small ads for public notices at a time of 85 per cent internet connectivity is plain wrong.
But the Evening Mail have shown peerlessly how to tell powerful stories on the web. This really does tower over anything else I’ve seen in the 21 years I’ve been involved with local journalism. Sincere congratulations to them. Buy shoe polish and make sure your suits are pressed. You’ll need them for the awards.
Brilliant work and the lessons to take
This is brilliant work. Genuinely brilliant. This is using the social web to tell a very human story. It’s powerful. It’s moving. But it has a sense of purpose. The purpose is to mobilise public support for a specific aim. It is is to press for justice.
Yet there are lessons here for the public sector where I now work. Just recently the #housingday initiative saw a 24-hour campaign which saw housing people talk about the jobs they do and the people they serve. Very soon #ourday will do a similar task for local government. I’m an advocate for them. They tell hundreds of stories that tell a bigger story. They empower people. They connect people too.
But wouldn’t it be something if that wall of noise was made easier to follow with a live blog? And wouldn’t it be something if there was one single call to action, whatever that was? What is the biggest issue facing housing? Or local government?
What would that campaign be?
Wouldn’t it be something if that energy was pointed at something?