Good Dads and Truthiness

From Andy: Just seen a great new film, The World’s Greatest Dad starring Robin Williams. I will not spoil your treat by giving away the plot, but just to say there is a twist half way through which turns the world upside down of the lead character played by Robin Willliams. (There is also a comic moment of great genius - you know these when the well behaved cinema audience responds with totally raucous laughter.)
The film’s other remarkable quality was its parody of how we choose to create our own reality of events, or own interpretation – and re-interpretation in the case of the film, of what we believe to be true – our ‘truthiness’.
Truthiness is an important concept for anyone being creative, generating creative ideas, and also in brand communications in getting your ideas accepted.
Sometimes you can get insight from someone outside the field of study, a non-expert in the domain.
A major philosophical concept, well at least a label, was not created by a philosopher - but by a comedian. During an episode of the political satire show The Colbert Report comedian Stephen Colbert coined the word ‘truthiness’. It means in essence: ‘the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts.’
Our reality is that we all see the world through ‘truthiness glasses’. Perceptions, are just as valid as facts in our mental landscapes,
People erect barriers in their mental landscape preventing the recognition of ‘the truth’ of any new information with which they might feel uncomfortable.
They did not want the dissonance, the anxiety to upset their existing world view, which acts as a magnet for any negative information about things you dislike, and precludes contradictory data; otherwise your definition of truth would need to be re-evaluated.
So, it does not matter if a fact exists or not, in terms of being validated by data. You can have your own facts.
On the one hand truthiness is what some people want to exist.
On the other hand it is what some people don’t want to exist.
And that’s the truthiness of it. My truthiness is that The World’s Greatest Dad is a great film.


What the F**k is Social Media NOW?

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Echo & the Bunnymen - Cutter

Bibliophile's delight in Addingham

Just spent a delightful day in Addingham, in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire. Addingham is quiet near to us and we often go to The Fleece Inn for lunch during a walk to Bolton Abbey.
However, we have never really explored the village so after lunch we took a walk up the main street and discovered a real retail gem at the TP Children’s Bookshop where we met the delightful Lou Harrison.
The bookshop is a delight for bibliophiles – especially those who retain a fondness for the books they read as a children – and Lou is a fund of knowledge on the authors and the books themselves. She’s not just a collector, she’s a reader too.
And we spent a happy half hour in conversation whilst browsing the shelves collectible copies of Enid Blyton, Rosemary Sutcliff, BB, Captain WE Johns, Richmal Crompton... the list goes on.
My wife, Annie, was particularly charmed with the girls literature - of which I know nothing - and she and Lou had a long conversation about books I’ve never encountered. These included The Abbey Girls series, The Susan Books by Jane Shaw and Rosemary Sutcliff’s Queen Elizabeth.
I was particularly pleased to find a copy of BB’s Little Grey Men – a book which charmed me as a child - and which I bought on the spot. Suffering from mild dyslexia as a child I didn’t learn to read or write until was about nine and I think it was BB that got me started.
BB was a prolific and successful writer and illustrator of children's books, his crowning achievement being The Little Grey Men, the story of the adventures of the last four gnomes in England, which won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1942.
The seeds of the idea for The Little Grey Men were sown when, as a small child, BB saw 'a diminutive being. It had a round, very red, bearded face about the size of a small crab apple. It wasn't a dream I can still see the little red astonished face.'
In later years, as a child alone (he was sickly and educated at home) BB explored the countryside around his home and created a mind set of the adventures of the gnomes, Dodder, Baldmoney, Cloudberry and Sneezewort and their life along the Folly Brook.
In 1944, Brendon Chase, a stirring tale of three runaway schoolboys living in a forest, like Robin Hood and his merry men, confirmed BB as an established writer of children's fiction.
In 1946, Down the Bright Stream, the follow-up to The Little Grey Men appeared, and in the same year, BB's Fairy Book: Meeting Hill. This book relates the magical experiences of two children, Peter and Johanna, and contains extracts from classic fairy stories, It also includes 15 exquisite colour plates by BB's alter ego Denys Watkins-Pitchford.
Anyway, if you’re ever in Addingham check out the TP Children’s Bookshop and give our regards to Lou.


Daily Mail caught red handed nicking internet content

This is a guest posting from former colleague Simon Collister:
A few weeks ago the Daily Mail caused a bit of a brouhaha by accusing brands that monitored social media to help identify and solve customer’s problems of “snooping” and “spying”.
I really can’t get anywhere near the level of hysteria generated by the article not even if I attempted a Brasseye-style spoof. Basically you should go and read it, although you actually shouldn’t as it’ll increase their site traffic.
Anyway, while there’s been enough discussion of this particular incident online I wanted to follow-up with another story of the Mail’s disgusting audacity and hypocrisy that happened to a friend.
Now, just imagine if a company was to trawl through the Internet – not unlike those companies that snoop on customers. But imagine if instead of helping people, this company used the Internet to steal things that belong to Members of the Great British Public.
Then imagine that when an aforementioned law-abiding citizen tells the company that it has broken the law and stolen something the company (or a representative of said company) was to deny it and attempt to cover up the crime by offering desultory sums of money to buy the victim off.
Just imagine if that company was none other than the Daily Mail itself!
Yes. That’s right. The sanctimonious Daily Mail was trawling the web on election night for pictures of voters across the UK reacting to polling stations being closed without all voters being able to cast their vote.
Friend and film-maker, Emily James, just happened to be in one of those polling stations and snapped away on her phone, uploading the images to Twitpic.
While other media outlets saw the images, requested permission to use, credited and paid Emily for her work the Mail simply lifted the images then claimed they were in the public domain which meant they could use them with impunity.
Emily, knowing her rights, asserted that Twitpic’s T&Cs copyright remained with the photographer and invoiced the Mail for a reasonable amount.
What followed was a series of exchanges with the Mail’s Pictures Online Picture Editor, Elliot Wagland, and the Mail’s Group Managing Director, Alex Bannister.
I’d urge you to go and read the full saga over at the Just Do It blog as it unfolds and savour in the sheer hypocrisy of the Daily Mail that on the one hand criticises companies for using the Internet to help its customers while on the other hand is happy to steal content from people. Part 1 is here and Part 2 here
Aside from the audacity of the Mail it’s also slightly worrying that its Online Pictures Editor fails to grasp the basics of copyright in relation to key social media platforms.
However, as Martyne Drake observes on his blog about this particular story, although the Mail’s Group Managing Editor claims this was a one-off
“given the number of times I’ve seen them [Daily Mail] attribute copyright wrongly and use pictures from Twitpic and other services (which retain the original copyright of the photographer), it’s not so much an incident that’s happened by accident or carelessness, but downright arrogance.”