Archive for the ‘facebook’ Category

My Healthchecker in action

From the Embarrassing Bodies Facebook page yesterday…

Facebook comment Embarrassing Bodies about My HealthcheckerMy Healthchecker is here at http://www.myhealthchecker.com

TV and Social Media

I spent an enjoyable morning courtesy of Broadcast the other week chewing the fat about the role of Social Media in relation to TV (and vice versa). They used the roundtable discussion as the basis of a feature which you can read here. Also involved, among others, were Deborah Rayner (Managing Editor, CNN, EMEA), Maz Nadjm (Head of Social Media, Ogilvy Group UK), Dan Patton (Director of Digital Media, MTV UK & Ireland) and Allan Blair (Director of Social at ad agency DDB), plus a few of my old muckers, namely James Kirkham (MD of Holler, who I worked with on Big Art Mob and Seven Days), Uktu Can (Creative Strategist at Mint Digital who’s helped recently with Quotables) and Rich Payne of Maverick TV (who I last toiled with on Embarrassing Bodies: Live). All fluently chaired by Lisa Campbell the Editor of Broadcast and observed by Conor Dignam (Group Editor, Broadcast). Here’s how the discussion was framed, followed by the stuff that flowed out of my gob on the subject…

Social media is now an essential tool for attracting and retaining an audience, according to the industry experts at Broadcast’s roundtable. Suzy Bashford reports on how the new technology is being used.

Social media is the buzzword of the moment. It has even overtaken porn as the most popular activity on the web, and the term is being bandied about as a catch-all phrase to sum up everything broadcasters do online. But what is it? Is it anything that allows the viewer to leave a comment on a website? Is it a marketing tool, as in Holler’s work around Skins? Or an entertainment in its own right, such as Bebo’s Kate Modern? A complementary addition to a TV show, as in Living’s Four Weddings? Or, as WPP boss Martin Sorrell said recently, is social media simply “advanced letter writing”?

AG: Social media has got different modes: the talking mode, the listening mode, the talking and listening mode, the collaboration mode. That means it’s difficult to co-ordinate in an organisation.

For the people listening to conversations in Channel 4’s Research & Insight department, social media is fantastic, free audience research of the best kind, because it’s unprompted and spontaneous. We’ve got other people using social media for customer service and showing that we’re listening and improving because of what our customers are telling us. Then we’ve got people using social media in talking mode, for promotion and marketing.

For me, social media is about collaboration, participation and storytelling. What is most exciting about social media in our industry is that it now enables a two-way conversation.

How well are organisations integrating these different modes?

AG: It feels chaotic for plenty of organisations because they haven’t really sat down and analysed who is doing what and why. We’re conscious of the different ways we are using social media and we’re thinking about different strategies for co-ordinating it, so we don’t dampen the energy but ensure we’re all moving in the same direction.

What have you learned from experience about leveraging social media?

AG: As a broadcaster you’ve got to constantly ask: ‘What am I bringing to the party?’ People will have these conversations in their own spaces, in their own ways. So what we’ve been doing with a lot of commissioning is thinking how social media can impact the editorial. Take Surgery Live – people could ask a question via social media to the surgeon who’s working live on TV, and within 90 seconds they could hear their question being put by the presenter to the surgeon. Only the broadcaster can bring that to the party. With Embarrassing Bodies Online, we gave up editorial control entirely to the users.

With Seven Days, working with Holler, we brought another relationship into play, giving viewers the ability to influence documentary contributors in real life. We created a site that became the focus of where the characters actually interact. Viewers can influence contributors’ thinking by going to the site. We’ve ended up creating strange new interactions between media and real life. Again, that’s the joy of being a broadcaster – you can bring something special to the party and really add value.

What happens to your social media strategy around a programme when you’re not on air?

AG: That’s one of the great functions of social media, it helps you deal with the troughs between broadcast periods, particularly when you’ve got something popular and returning such as Skins.

What pitfalls should you watch out for in social media?

AG: I was in a cab during one of the election live TV debates and was following it on Twitter. What struck me was how incredibly sheepish the behaviour was. The same was evident in the recent immigration discussion online on The X Factor. You see people piling into a Facebook group that then does nothing. So you have to bear in mind that social media can at times be amazingly superficial and sometimes, ultimately, meaningless.

Quotables

Ever tried looking for a quotation online (of the literary as opposed to the insurance variety)? Wasn’t much fun was it? Not that easy to find what you want. And just how accurate was it? And why does it look like the site was made by a geek with no design skills in his stinky bedroom?

But you love great quotes don’t you? On your Facebook profile. In that presentation. You know, those ones you keep in that file – the one on your old computer. They’re everywhere – on the tube, in that advert, on that building, in that caff.

So why don’t we get the quotation sites we deserve and desire? Although there are several in the Alexa top 5000 most are labours of love, evolutions, accretions of amateur solutions stuck one on top of another like the proverbial sticking plaster. Or take Wikiquote – I search for “cars” and I get a Disney property, not a hint of shiny metallic vehicle in sight…

The world reduced to Disneyfication

And how pug ugly is that homepage?

And don’t get me started on the functionality which makes no real distinction between an encyclopedia article and a quotation. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wikipedia as much as the next man, woman or child but Wikiquote ain’t no fun.

Tear my eyes out!

Aargh. Barf. Yuk.

Suffer no more, fellow lovers of wit and wordcraft – may I introduce you to Quotables (www.quotabl.es) my latest baby, a Beta finding its feet at this stage, but already I hope lovelier and with your help, advice, input, love potentially a solution to the online quotes joylessness.

The world opened to verbal loveliness

Quotables is designed to work in four dimensions:

  • as a Utility – an accessible place to save the quotes you love, the Delicious of quotations
  • as a Reference Resource – growing into a comprehensive and contemporary repository of accurate, properly sourced quotes
  • as a Reflector of Buzz – capturing what’s most on people’s minds at a given time, indicating the trends and zeitgeist
  • as a Community of quote and language lovers – drawing together people who want to take on what was controlled by an editorial elite in the dead-tree era.

Quotables encourages contributors to draw on non-traditional sources such as bons mots heard live at public events, snappy one-liners from TV shows, tweets, a rich mix from high literature to popular culture. It also encourages short, concise selections (up to 75 words max) – that’s a “Quotable”. And it’s keen to promote the behaviour of saving our favourite quotes as we do our links on the likes of Delicious – to abandon those lost and abandoned files and notebooks and get Quotables to help that transition from old computer to new, to help circumvent that fruitless search for a scribbled upon bit of dead-tree not seen for a dog’s age.

The Beta is offered in the spirit of this quote which not so long ago defined its era:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

We know some stuff we have yet to implement or roll-out – much of the mobile dimension of Quotables, some more of the integration into social networks, one click mark-and-publish from the browser, a long list programmed for release over the next year. But for the Unknown Unknowns we rely on you, dear reader, to tell us about via Laura Grace, our producer at hello@quotabl.es – observations, suggestions, gripes, words of wisdom, all much appreciated to help us shape this baby for the greater good.

Quotables has been lovingly made by Mint Digital and co-funded by Channel 4 and Arts Council England.

That master of wit and badinage Donald Rumsfeld who blessed us with the unknowable above also produced this little gem…

Oh, Lord, I didn’t mean to say anything quotable.

Well tough titty, Donald – we’re coming after everyone from you via Donald Duck to Donald Trump, from Jonathan Franzen to Franz Beckenbauer, from Martin Amis to Amy Winehouse, from Father Ted to Ted Hughes, not forgetting my favourite contribution of my own to date – a non-traditional source (police video), the verbal pyrotechnics of Mad Mel:

What are you looking at, sugar tits?

We’d love to revel in your own favourite(s) so without further ado please do head over to Quotables, have a poke around, and share some sugar, love and inspiration…

Face(book) Time

As we move into the Review of the Year season, I just found this screengrab from my InBox of 2nd July which I remember marking the sense that a phenomenon was really happening at Facebook:

Facebook

And this cartoon [courtesy of Royston Robertson at Private Eve] marks another real phenomenon of Web 2.0 in 2007:

Cartoon

A pretty interesting year in the interactive world – here’s looking forward to an equally colourful 2008…

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