BarCamp Bradford video


Razor sharp Twitter Wars

I’m not shaving at the moment. Don’t ask? I’ve never liked shaving but when I grow a beard I end up looking like a member of Al Qaeda but some time it’s nice to give the face a rest.
However, you would think something as innocuous as shaving would never enter into a Twit War but I have just witnessed one. And it underscores the dangers of abusing the openness of Twitter.
Now I use Gillette and I user Azor by King of Shaves so I was somewhat surprised that following the Hand of Theirry Controversy, consumers focused on Gillette (a sponsor of Theirry) and threatened a boycott to punish the French captain’s handball. And this is where it gets interesting because Will King, founder of King of Shaves somehow found his company in the thick of it.
He takes up the story here on his blog Brand Royalty underlining the dangers of masquerading as a loyal Gillette customer when in fact you are the company’s public relations strategist. Will recounts how he received the following Tweets:

“Time for everyone to boycott gillette and go @kingofshaves #henrylecheat”

“Cannot bloody believe Gillette is standing by Henry. There goes my Mach3 in the bin”

“Wonder if #Gillette will drop #ThierryHenry now? Reputation management issue for brand, they are getting targeted for their association”

Now Will tells it in his own words…

Having (naturally!) re-tweeted tweet #1, I was then intrigued to read the following tweet from @charliedm: “A lot more people would switch to Azor if it wasn’t a cheap plastic piece of rubbish that leaves you looking all Sweeney Todd”.

Now, as I - a) I’ve shaved with our Azor for over two years now (and get the close, comfortable and cost efficient King of Shaves each morning), b) know that a lot of people are switching to our Azor - it was the #1 selling system razor handle last month, and c) know it isn’t a bit of ‘cheap plastic rubbish’ - rather, it embodies all that is great in consumer products, not all that is unnecessary - I was interested to see who @charliedm was…

Turns out he’s Creative Strategist for Porter Novelli London…Gillette’s PR agency. Ooh er. Someone’s rattled out there.

The following tweet exchange then ensues:

@kingofshaves Gillette stick with Henry. Many others not sticking with Gillette, but going to King of Shaves, Azor. Good!

@charliedm Well done for turning the misfortune and misery of as entire nation into a publicity drive. That’s not at all cheap”.

@kingofshaves “Don’t Porter Novelli look after Gillette’s PR…?”

@charliedm “It’s great for the kind of razor you might get in a Christmas cracker…

@kingofshaves “Um, you would say that given you handle Gillette’s PR. The King of Shaves Azor is a GREAT razor

@kingofshaves “Surprised that as chief strategist you make such a negative, public comment. wait until you see our october sales - bit worried?.

@charliedm “Does a lion find a dormouse worrying? Anyway, this isn’t work - this is jousting”

@kingofshaves “BA used to think that way. And learned the hard way. Joust away, my friend”.

@charliedm “Interesting. That’s just the kind of thing XL Airways used to say…”

Then, another enters the fray:
@shedmenshealth Playground bitching on twitter? :o/ Charlie, consumers can read! You should know better in PR. Will, stay strong fella!

Then another..
@peterdean1 “*enjoying* @kingofshaves tweet jousting with Gillette PR’s > @charliedm.

Then another…
@atterolognis “Interesting joust - Funny that he refers to the Azor as a bit of plastic when his is exactly that. Oh wait, it vibrates.

Then another..
Adam: Is @KingofShaves tweet jousting with Gillette PR’s > @charliedm going to turn into another great Tweet war? Hmm….

As in the real - stones and glass houses. A PR lesson for us all.

Porter Novelli have apologised here.


We did a BarCamp

We did a BarCamp. Yesterday more than 100 people from a wide range of professions and industries attended and BarCampBradford which took place at the WOW Academy and the National Media Museum.

A big thank you to everyone who attended and who presented and many thanks for our sponsors Sponsors which included Screen Yorkshire, Yorkshire Forward, National Media Museum, Panoetic, Frogtrade, Shipley College , BMedia, GREEN Communications, University of Bradford and Challenge CLC.

People travelled to Bradford from across the north with delegates arriving from Lancaster, Chester, Scarborough, Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Halifax. There were more than 40 separate presentation throughout the day ranging from doing business in Second Life and launching and iPhone App (a good representation of the day’s talks can be seen in the picture above and in the tag cloud below).

However, a flavour of the talks is listed here.

  • Google's hidden gems by John McLear - Primary Technology and Welcome3's MD exposes some of googles hidden gems including Android, CSE, Analytics, SSO, Adwords & Adsense.
  • Twitter for Business - the dos and donts of Twitter and how it can make or damage a brand's reputation – Thomas Atcheson
  • How a small local team of individuals are trying to find new ways of bringing social history to life - and aiming to change attitudes to open data along the way. (Jon Eland
  • Rethinking the Presentation - how to not kill people with Powerpoint. - Ian Smith
  • iPhone Application Development - Things I've learned from making my Zombies game - Matt West
  • Setting up an ecommerce business & use of social media, blogs, Twitter, Facebook... - Chris Wildman
  • A Decade of WebDesign - Tracking trends in design - Monica Tailor
  • Retro Gaming - A session, round-table, discussion, demos of retro games and retro tech - Mohsin Ali & Pawel Dubiel
  • The 'Civic App Store' - Round-table around OpenCities, OpenData, Cities as Operating Systems, Streets as Platforms, Unique AR useage & Mobile apps for cities - Mohsin Ali
  • Version Control - An introduction to how we use it to develop large CMS projects - Panoetic
  • Legal Challenges of Web 2.0 - Will cover such issues as ownership of copyright and other intellectual property in user generated content, liability for user generated content, privacy, dispute resolution and much more - Jane Lambert
  • Internet marketing workshop - want more website visitors? Conversion/sales/downloads? Reputation? Round table IM problem solving with John Allsopp
  • Drupal For Good - presentation on how Gentlehost are using Drupal for Social Change, then it's over to you for discussing ways in which Drupal can be used for good - Alice K√¶rast
  • How to sell yourself better at interview - we've interviewed somewhere in the region of 50-60 developers this year, and only hired two. What we've learned in this process - Adam Hepton
  • User experience in .net magazine December 2009 - a response on a couple of articles in the latest issue: interview with Brian Kalma from Zappos, and article by Craig Grannell on 'Master user experience design' - Keith Doyle (Usability Analyst)
  • Making a Game! - A presentation on the process of game making and the various markets. (Simon Barratt - hoping he'll be able to get by just working from his bullet points!)
  • Get rich with Free Software - Free Software, what it is, how it works and how you can get fat rich with it. John Leach

Some other facts about the day:

  • More than 300 cakes were consumed at breakfast - baked by my daughter Mercedes
  • 240 cups of tea and coffee were served
  • 50 pizzas and countless chips were consumed at lunch
  • 1,000 tweets were posted to Twitter at the last time of counting
  • 200 bottles of water were drunk
  • 59 bloggers wrote about the event before it happened and more are emerging as I write.
  • 40 Twitpics were published and a Flickr account has also been set up
  • Beers where drunk at the end of the day but no-one kept count

Will we do it again? You bet yah!


Learning about social media from an old fart

Now this story might appear a bit crude, but it really happened, and inadvertently provided a wonderful metaphor for understanding new developments in communications, particularly social media.
Picture the scene: my colleague Andy Green is in a busy Edinburgh pub, crowded with delegates from the CIPR Local Public Services Annual Conference, where he was a speaker.
At the end of the evening, Andy and some acquaintances were still talking shop at the bar, with one delegate airing his view that he ‘really didn’t see the significance of this social media thing.’
One senior delegate patiently sought to explain how social media was not just another channel for communication, but required a different mindset. And then, without announcement, surreptitiously, slipped away from the bar.
His new found friend at the conference, an Irish guy then declared in his Dublin brogue: "Someone has farted - and it’s not me!"
Andy reassured him that it genuinely wasn’t him either. The absent friend seemed prime suspect.
The episode instantly provided Andy with a metaphor: "This is how social media is different. You see, normal communications is telling the world what you want to say. Social media, is picking up conversations which may be about you, and may, in many instances not be instigated about you. So, you would not issue a press release for the equivalent of ‘You have just farted’. The fart, however, is a reality for those out there. And is more likely to be picked up as a conversation piece, regardless of your embarrassment.”
He added: "If you’re not out there listening, and appropriately responding you are in danger of living in an artificial, You-Centric world, and not being part of the real conversation. That’s the real difference with this social media thing.”
The metaphor seemed to work in making his new friend understand the different mindset of social media. It’s funny, how an ill-wind can bring new insight.