Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Slive: Surgery Live on Twitter

Surgery Live trending on Tweetdeck

Surgery Live trending on Tweetdeck

To round off the week of The Operation: Surgery Live with regard to its integration with Twitter here are a selection of tweets from the week. Trending 3rd, 2nd and 1st over the week reflects what seems to have been a successful experiment.

warrenfree: Enjoyed watching Channel4 adoption of twitter to allow us to question the surgeons.. Interesting to watch too #slive

OotSandShaman my question was just asked on @surgerylive! man twitter kicks ass

wisebuddha liking use of twitter integration in a linear tv show good example from C4 in UK more of this in future http://bit.ly/hevJ2 #slive

Sarahgrittin09 #slive good to see social networking sites used for more interesting things like this rather than poncy photos and relationship statuses!

Vialli25 #slive the first TV programme I’ve ever watched where they actually ask you to include this hashtag when talking about the show on Twitter!

liammoody Looking forward to Surgery Live at 11 tonight. Have just got the Twitterfall app to follow #slive discussion! It’s a rare gem from Ch4

vas_876 @ajd90 Hey, looks like #slive has brought loads of us prospective medics to twitter

mygadgetlife: #slive really C4 a great program made all the more enjoyable with twitter but poor scheduling  [many viewers were upset that the live broadcast had to end after its allotted hour]

InnerLambada: Surgery live is absolutely addicting. I just couldn’t stop watching. Although I couldn’t help but think “What if it goes wrong?” #slive

thumbfight: #3wordsduringsex (1 thumb down) VS. #slive (2 thumbs up)

anthayes: .@krishgm awe inspiring but can you be on for longer tomorrow though? #slive

beth_richards: #slive is genius

ellied18: Shame #slive isn’t on for longer… great insight!

MrCheapCalls: #slive Well, that wizzed by… not long enough!!

machotrouts: #slive This isn’t interactive enough, when do we get to vote on what bits to take out? Does the red button control any equipment?

simonday09: #slive I hope you all enjoyed live brain surgery as much as I did, simply amazing. well done channel4!

wren154: #slive Forget Susan Boyle and all the other wannabes. This programme is showing where Britain’s Got Talent

marcmcg @SurgeryLive please turn SurgeryLive into a weekly series. Most innovative and educational show I’ve seen on TV in a long time.

tweelhouse @krishgm Watching Mondays #slive – totally fascinating. Have a heart condition and helping me better understand what goes on inside me!

#slive wow this is extraordinary, just tuned in for the first time! Not for the faint hearted, but may be I could be a doctor

Bruce elrick #slive @krishgm another classic -quick work from tonights surgeon. Did you guys get started earlier? This would be great to show in schools

sotonrich watching day 3 of the amazing surgery live all week has been amazing. there should be more of this on tv #slive

Rachael90210 #slive This is one of the best things on TV! Love. It.

Unfortunately, I can’t watch #slive since I’m in the US :-( Sounds like just the kind of show I’d actually love to watch!

Chrissarnowski #slive Thank you Surgery Live; great eyeopener, makes me more determined to pursue my ambitions in medicine…

LyndaHull @surgerylive Am loving the shows. Totally mesmerising TV. Congratulations!

Ajnokia slive Great idea, always wondered what happens during surgery. Because once your under the blanket you have no idea.

Gregp94 #slive is brilliant

Lucy_locket_91 #slive: Will there be another series??? This has been my highlight of the week!

Martincollett #slive another excellent programme, shame the series has to end, looking forward to more soon!

TEDavis #slive = brilliant, loved every second of it!

Ummmdonuts #slive noooooooooooooooooooooo don’t end! more surgery! pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssseeeeeeeeeee!

J_Dizzle_: just watched heart surgery live on channel 4, twitter questions and updates.. very well done. #slive

mjmobbs: #slive excellent, see you tomorrow, really enjoyed the Twitter and Live TV combination.

philroberts: #slive this could be one of the best models for twitter, live interactive feedback brilliant twitter was a great enhancement to the show

manpreet1: Surgery live on channel 4, and #slive, was a great use of a new format.

Surgery Live trending on Twitscoop

Surgery Live trending on Twitscoop

Update 1.vi.09:

An article from Broadcast today. And one from the NHS.

Surgery Live update

Twitter trendsThe Operation: Surgery Live trending at #2 tonight. Looks like #wordsduringsex is going to be a toughie to overcum. Hundreds upon hundreds of really interesting questions came in tonight via Twitter, email and phone (mainly the former). The integration of the TV, website, Twitter and Facebook is everything we hoped it would be.

Jemima Kiss picked up the story today over at The Guardian.

What an incredible spectacle that was tonight – a real insight. Channel 4 at its boldest – and most educative – best. Tomorrow night: Key-hole stomach surgery live at 11.05pm on C4

After just two nights Surgery Live is making its mark online…

Google - surgery

Surgery Live results

Twitter trendsInitial results of experiment (see last post) looking promising. The Operation: Surgery Live hashtag showed up on the global trend radar. Tweets were the main source of live questions for the surgeon, mainly due to their concision. And loads of great feedback via Twitter, such as:

philroberts: #slive this could be one of the best models for twitter, live interactive feedback brilliant twitter was a great enhancement to the show

manpreet1: Surgery live on channel 4, and #slive, was a great use of a new format.

lisadevaney: #slive is trending. Nice job C4

8a22a: #slive is the 3rd top trend now.

bruceelrick: @littlesimon phew – it was an amazing show – #slive is now the 3rd most popular twitter trend!

philroberts: @charlesarthur did you watch the live surgery on c4 tonight used twitter to ask live questions took twitter by storm 3rd in trends #slive

bruceelrick: @wellcometrust it was a great success on twitter. #slive now 3rd most popular trend on twitter – pretty great achievement!

J_Dizzle_: just watched heart surgery live on channel 4, twitter questions and updates.. very well done. #slive

mjmobbs: #slive excellent, see you tomorrow, really enjoyed the Twitter and Live TV combination.

greenfourth: This sucks! I sooo want to get in on #slive but it’s only broadcast in the UK D:

Furgaline: What a brilliant way to educate people… #slive

Twitter experiment with live TV

Next up from these quarters is a microblogging/Twitter experiment with live TV. From Monday at 10.25pm on Channel 4 you’ll be able to watch surgery – live. Open heart surgery, awake brain surgery (i.e. patient awake as well as surgeon and us the trusty viewers), keyhole surgery, tumour removal – alive&direct thanks to Windfall Films in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust. Wild enough in itself I hear you say but that is not all, oh no, that is not all…

We will not hold up the cup and the milk and the cake and the fish on a rake, but as the Cat in the Hat said, we know some new tricks and your mother will not mind (unless she’s etherised upon a table, as that other cat-lover said). The plan is to tip our hat (red and white striped topper or whatever) to that increasingly common behaviour of Twittering whilst watching TV and encourage people to tweet away during the live operations, sharing their thoughts and asking questions. The big difference here is that this is live TV and you can make an impact with your tweet on the TV editorial. The best questions tweeted will be fed through to the presenter, arch-Twitterer Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News, who will swiftly pose them to the surgeon at work. So a matter of seconds between tweet and the question being uttered on live TV.

There have been some pioneering experiments in this area by the likes of The Bad Movie Club (established by Graham Linehan, writer of Channel 4’s Father Ted and The IT Crowd, spotted recently on stage at the TV BAFTAS) and Channel 4 News but I think this may be some kind of first in the telly realm. Now of course there are echoes of phone-ins and combining TV with forums/chatrooms the best part of a decade ago (by Danny Baker on Channel 4) but what this new generation of social media brings is a networked conversation which is global, searchable, tagable and open.

I think it is important to consider carefully what kind of broadcast material to combine microblogging with. I personally tend to indulge in the practice while watching undemanding TV like Jonathan Ross on Friday night. Bad Movie Club has the right idea – the clue is in the word Bad, stuff you may well have watched before and is crap in a good way. There was a little unofficial attempt at it at the BBC but it was allied to radio, and egg-heady radio at that – the broadcast material was too complex and demanded too much attention to allow for multitasking. What I’m expecting with Surgery Live is that once you get into the flow of the programme you don’t need to give it your undivided attention to be able to follow the action. I, of course, will be watching over the rim of my specs to take the edge off it all, being of a squeamish disposition and never cut out to be the doctor my parents wanted me to be. I’m a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, the City livery company associated with the crafting of swords and surgical instruments, which is ironic given my phobia of all sharp edges (other than the cutting edge of interactive media ;-)  ).

Surgery Live is the second of three Twitter experiments on my radar. The first was Osama Loves which used Twitter, early last summer, to enable our two intrepid adventurers in search of 500 Osamas in 50 days right across the Islamic world to update sharers in their journey from areas where they couldn’t get online or didn’t have sufficient bandwidth and were forced to rely on mobile. The third is the forthcoming Alone in the Wild (watch this space).

I’ll report back here on whatever interesting comes of it but in the meantime, please do join us for The Operation: Surgery Live on Channel 4 on Monday at 10.25pm (then Tuesday through Friday at 10.30/11.00, varies) to watch an illuminating show and discuss it there & then.

Peer to Peer Networks: Remembering a whole 3 months back

Dirty conscience

Dirty consciences

Dirty conscience?

Dirty conscience?

In the wake of the justified disappointments and embarrassments about our democratic system this week, I switch subjects from my recent favourite of Embarrassing Bodies in the health arena to embarrassing bodies in the political sphere: namely, adding to the Telegraph’s sterling efforts this week with the House of Commons, the House of Lords, two national bodies that are neither right nor honourable as they stand. Memory being what it is – while everyday folk are getting increasingly angry at fat cats, dirty dogs and trough-snouting pigs across our society – it seems the right time to remind ourselves of an interface of Parliament and business/finance from January this year…

What Lord Taylor allegedly said

This is an edited transcript of the conversation alleged to have taken place between an undercover Sunday Times reporter and one of the Labour peers accused of offering to use his influence to deliver an amendment to legislation:

Lord Taylor: If I want to get a point over to a minister or a civil servant or someone like this, this is the place where I would do it: over this table. I can speak better and they can speak more freely over a cup of coffee or a pint, as I say, rather than over a boardroom table or a ministerial desk where everything is written down and so on … I don’t know if you know a company called Experian in this country?

Sunday Times: No.

Taylor: Experian are the company. They have got a terrific amount of intelligence and information. They are the people who advise banks on your credit worthiness and so on. You know, they will blacklist you or they will tell you how good you are. Also, they do a lot with government on ID cards and things like that, that are coming in. They have got all sorts of information. For example, I’ve been working with them on amending a statute that’s coming out, or was coming out, because I’ve got it delayed now, whereby it was going to be difficult for them to get certain information and so on. So I’ve got that amended and you do it quietly behind the scenes, you see.

Sunday Times: How did you manage to do that? Do you actually put in an amendment yourself?

Taylor: No, no, no, no, no. You don’t do things like that. That’s stupid. What you do is you talk to the parliamentary team who drafts the statute as it goes through and you point out to them the difficulty the retailer would be having on this, and how things are working and so on. And you get them to amend it that way. You’re too late when [inaudible] …

But if you can get it done when it’s in the draft form it’s far better because if you know what the principles are and if you know what the principles are of the bill and [inaudible] what you do is you meet the minister. You meet the various people, and it’s not always ministers or secretary of state or even permanent secretaries that do this, it’s some little chappie half way down the grade who does this drafting. It’s about identifying the decision-makers. It’s about identifying the people that make the recommendations.

Sunday Times: Obviously, from our point of view, this would be something we would remunerate you for. And I don’t think money is an object. But [what] I would ask you to do, I think, is to give us some idea of what a fee structure would be.

Taylor: This is absolutely difficult, this is very difficult for me because some companies that I work with will pay me £100,000 a year.

Sunday Times: £100,000?

Taylor: Oh yes. That’s cheap for what I do for them. And other companies will pay me £25,000. It all depends on what you are trying to do and how much time I think I am going to spend on it.

Sunday Times: Those fees are not impossible. They are all fine.

Taylor: Yes, but these are the sort of fees I get. I am being absolutely honest with you. I am not exaggerating. It’s whether I want to do it or not. You’ve got to whet my appetite, to get me to come on board.

Edited transcript of a second meeting some weeks later:

Taylor: I am very aware of the credibility I have achieved over 50 years of working here with government and departments. I am not going to put myself in an embarrassing situation or do anything that I think is illegal or using my position. I will work within the rules, but also rules are meant to be bent sometimes.

Published Tuesday 27 January 2009 – courtesy of The Guardian

Newspaper Report three days later:

Lord Taylor of Blackburn, one of the peers at the centre of claims about “cash for amendments”, has lost his consultancy with the credit check company for which he allegedly boasted he had altered legislation.

Experian said it was “surprised” by the Labour peer’s descriptions to undercover reporters of his role for the firm. “We have agreed that Lord Taylor will retire with immediate effect,” a spokesman said.

Taylor is the second peer to lose a consultancy in the row over possible abuses of rules which allow members of the House of Lords to earn money outside their parliamentary work. Lord Truscott resigned from Landis+Gyr on Wednesday night.

Taylor’s parting of company with Experian came as peers made a flurry of changes to the official register of Lords’ interests, which lists paid and unpaid work and appointments that could be thought to affect their parliamentary work.

On Tuesday and Wednesday they made a total of 37 amendments to the register, more than twice the normal rate, with several declaring paid directorships, regular jobs and sponsored overseas visits months later than they should have done according to their own code. Normally only 20 to 40 changes are made in a whole week.

A fresh version of the list, which is usually updated online every seven days, was last night posted on the House of Lords website for the second time this week as officials strived to appear as transparent as possible.

The apparent rush to ensure all interests are correctly registered comes after peers were thrown under the spotlight by allegations in the Sunday Times that four peers told undercover reporters they were willing to use their influence to help to amend legislation, for money.

Maurice Frankel, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, said: “It’s an indication that self-regulation has been failing until now. It’s only the threat of exposure and the allegations that have come out in the last week that has pushed peers into taking the register seriously.”

Taylor, a peer since 1978, and Truscott, a former energy minister, allegedly said they had used their influence to alter legislation indirectly on behalf of clients.

A further two Labour peers, Lords Snape and Moonie, allegedly indicated that they were prepared to use their influence to help clients. All four deny wrongdoing.

Taylor was reported to have told them he had helped amend draft legislation “quietly behind the scenes”. He allegedly said of Experian: “I’ve been working with them on amending a statute that’s coming out, or was coming out, because I’ve got it delayed now, whereby it was going to be difficult for them to get certain information and so on.”

Experian said last night that Taylor had overstated his role. “The full extent of Lord Taylor’s role as consultant was limited to providing us with general advisory and introductory activities, which he declared as an interest,” the spokesman said. “His role was to keep us apprised on developments which may be of interest to our industry, and provide basic advice on the appropriate people our team ought to speak to.”

The peer was one of 18 who made changes to the register of interests on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 30 additions to the register of interests far outweighed the five removals and two alterations.

Lady Verma, opposition whip and Conservative spokeswoman on education, skills and health, made 11 additions to the register, the most of any peer. She declared for the first time her paid directorship of DCS Foods, seven months after she should have done so according to the peers’ code of conduct. She also registered foreign trips to Kenya, Switzerland, Norway, Bangladesh and New York, as well as a 50% stake in Domiciliary Care Services.

A month late, Lord Adebowale, appointed as a “people’s peer” in 2001, registered his appointment as a paid non-executive director of St Vincent Healthcare, a company which is advising on the NHS national cancer information management system, in which he holds shares.

Lady Amos, former leader of the House of Lords, registered a paid directorship on the board of England’s bid for the 2018 football World Cup more than two months late. Her declaration of a position on the global advisory board of a University of California “action tank”, Global Health Group, came a month late.

The leader of Essex county council, Lord Hanningfield, revealed his role as patron of the Academies Enterprise Trust, the organisation behind five secondary schools in Essex, two months late.

Published Friday 30 January 2009 – courtesy of The Guardian

Given my job and the organisation I work within, I spend a lot of time reflecting on Public Service. If nothing else, reminding ourselves of January’s shenanigans and absorbing last week’s revelations and reactions, one can only conclude that this country’s notion of Public Service needs a serious shake-up for our times.

Clean conscience?

Clean conscience? (asks the poster behind)

Adult Learners’ Week 09

Adult Learners' Week

AdultLearnersWeekFolk, here are the website addresses for the projects demoed:

Big Art Mob www.bigartmob.com Public Art

Landshare www.landshare.net Landsharing and growing food

Picture This www.channel4.com/picturethis Digital photography

Empire’s Children www.channel4.com/empire Family history

Embarrassing Bodies www.channel4.com/bodies Health

Medicine Chest www.medicinechest.info Traditional approaches to health

Adoption Experience www.channel4.com/adopt Adoption

Who wants to be a 20 millionaire? – I do

Channel 4 Factual

Factual Fingers

Yesterday was a big day for Embarrassing Bodies online (and indeed for Factual Cross-platform at Channel 4) – we passed the 20 million pageviews mark on the EB site a year after launch. This is off the back of 2.2 million visits.

Meanwhile, since September  Sexperience has clocked up 14 million pageviews.

This means in respect of many key metrics these Factual projects are right up there playing with the big boys of C4 Entertainment.

Entertainment Fingers

Entertainment Fingers

Adoption Experience

Britain's Forgotten Children

Britain's Forgotten Children

Yesterday afternoon saw the launch of my latest project – Adoption Experience www.channel4.com/adopt – this is the thinking behind it:

“Adoption is an area of childcare and family life shrouded in misconception, myth and confusion. The best way to untangle the realities from the rumours and hearsay is to focus on real people’s real experiences.

Adoption Experience shares valuable first-hand experience of Adoption from every perspective – people who have been adopted, adopters, social workers, siblings, people left in the system, potential adopters, every viewpoint that helps give insight into the realities of Adoption.”

Now those of you familiar with the peripatetic, seemingly random wanderings of my oeuvre will notice distinct similarities between Adoption Experience and Sexperience. Here was the thinking behind Sexperience:

Sexperience enables people to share their first-hand experiences (as opposed to opinion or theory) of a broad range of sexual issues, problems and solutions in video and text form, thereby recognising the complexity and individuality of the subject through multiple perspectives and transcending the easy, often over-simplified answers of self-help manuals.”

When it came to the subject of Adoption, it struck me that the same grounded insight brought by a focus on direct experience to the realm of sex and relationships might really help to shed light through the fog of preconceptions obscuring my understanding of this other subject. For me what first sprung to mind was a nightmarish, intrusive process; social workers telling you you have too many books in your house or are too pale for your own good; a recent tale of an adoption imploding and tearing apart the family and marriage of my friend’s sister; compelling tales of retracing birth families; happy sorties filming childcare projects with Emerald Productions and ArkAngel Productions for Barnardo’s; various celebrity stories headed up by Mia Farrow (recently on hunger strike over Dafur – good on her), Angelina Jolie and Madonna; and a few lovely, sometimes quiet kids at my sons’ schools. So what I decided to do was to lift the infrastructure of Sexperience wholesale and reapply it to the subject of Adoption.

The production company/digital indie, Mint Digital, said it would probably work but they’ll be a 5% difference in the structures. I stuck to my guns that it could work as a pretty much 1-to-1 match and that’s what we went with. So, in effect, it’s my first attempt at an online format. (Another class implementation by Mint in the wake of Sexperience and Osama Loves. Video content by Betty TV. Reminds me, Sexperience has just been nominated for a Broadcast Digital Award [Best use of Interactive] and the Osama Loves documentary, Osama Bin Everywhere, is up for a Rockie Award at the Banff TV Awards in Canada.)

Now Sex is of universal relevance whereas Adoption is something of a niche concern, so I wasn’t sure what kind of take-up to expect. The signs so far are good and I feel like we’ve found our clear blue water. There’s little out there on the Web which captures first-hand experience of Adoption issues in a non-textual, engaging form. The first two hours, from a standing start, saw:

  • 29,448 pageviews
  • 5,578 visits
  • 5.3 pageviews/visit (promising since the user-created content which drives the creative concept was very limited, starting empty that very afternoon)
  • 170 experiences and questions were posted by viewers, many very illuminating and detailed

This came in unsolicited from a recent adopter today: “I think the site’s great – fantastic that it’s open to the public to post questions and responses about their experiences. This is what the adoptive and adopted audiences really need I think!”

The site was created out of the Channel 4 Cross-platform dept. as part of the Channel’s Britain’s Forgotten Children season broadcasting all this week. It springs from the themes of the documentary series Find Me a Family, commissioned by my equally mad-haired colleague Dominique Walker. This is the striking trail created by Brett Foraker of 4Creative to communicate the thrust of the season.

Paranoia Twitter-style – part 5

With a Russian idiot, a blonde babe with big tits, the blank generation and something big and green on my tail, that stalked feeling persists…

In reckless pusuit

In reckless pusuit

In relentless pursuit

In relentless pursuit

But maybe it’s time for the hunted to turn hunter…

The worm has turned

The worm has turned...

I will follow

I will follow

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