The Ilkley Business Forum Summer Showcase last Saturday was my first and I must say I was impressed. What struck me more than anything was the hard work and spirit of co-operation that exists between the businesses in Ilkley.
I spent most of the day grabbing quick interviews with stallholders mainly to find out what their experience of the forum has been - all were very positive. I would have liked to have talked more with Rob Whieldon of the University of Leeds Business School. He was very clear that in these tough economic times the local economies can be strengthened if businesses work together.
Of course the Ilkley Business Forum is much more than the Summer Showcase with events happening all year round. In this short filmyou can meet some of the businesses, and Steve Butler explains that membership is a priority with an aim for 150 members on the books.
Like this video called Gravity by Filip Piskorzynski. Good idea, intriguing, great mood, bit of a story, music works and technically mysterious.
I do spend a certain amount of time rummaging though Vimeo and it's always rewarding. I've begun to notice that Vimeo is becoming a ready source of ideas for TV advertising.
Thanks to Richard C for sending a link to a Radio Waves case study (below). Radio Waves is a truly inspiring initiative designed to provide an environment for learning which goes far beyond radio.
When I was a student at Prince Henry's Grammar School in Yorkshire I built and set up a radio station with some friends. I learned more from that than almost anything else. At Rockingham Primary School the children are fully involved in setting up their station and running the show. This ownership of the project is a superb opportunity for building confidence. As soon as the children come up with a good piece of work there is a great opportunity for the audience to give positive encouraging feedback. And I would say that it's this feedback opportunity which is transformative.
I used the radio station at Prince Henry's as a kind of escape from learning, but in fact it was a great place to learn. I did history projects as mini documentaries, drama presentations as soundtracks, interviewed notable visitors to the school. The turning point for me came when John Dyson, a friend, and the drama teacher told me they thought I had a great voice for broadcasting. I can still remember the conversations in specific detail. At 17 I set a goal to become a BBC ONE announcer and achieved just that by the time I was 24. Photo to prove it.
So my advice to schools, for what it's worth, is to give the children control over their own learning and praise the boots off them. It worked for me.
It seems to me that the time devoted to learning the details of technical systems and endless software packages should not be at the expense of more fundamental technologies.
Digital technology is a odd thing. We'd like to be able to do without it but we are strangely in its spell. Enchanted by the iPad or captivated by Facebook. In my ideal world we would be on a beach somewhere or on a mountain top with a few chosen friends enjoying the absence of all this. But it gets interesting, and paradoxical to think we might be using technology itself as an escape from technology.
I like the idea that we can use the internet to explore the world as a kind of prelude to actually doing it for real (or vice versa); Online relationships are nothing if people never meet up; Explorers aren't explorers until they set off on foot and smell the landscape. Media fills a gap (by definition) but when there is no gap then there is no need for media.
When I worked at the BBC we advertised a handful of jobs as "creatives". We had about 3000 enquiries and did about 70 interviews. It struck me that for such a technical environment we asked very few technical questions. Many applicants worked hard to demonstrate that they had wonderful technical abilities but in fact the score sheet did not favour these answers. What we marked most highly was curiosity and creative thinking together with the ability to work with people - the rest could be picked up.
Time devoted to learning the details of technical systems and endless software packages should not be at the expense of more fundamental technologies. The reason we live an breathe is to experience the world through each other - each of us offering insights and perspectives that can only be accessed by engaging and encountering other human beings. We do this in conversation, though art, film, or writing and occasionally some of this is online. Some of the greatest tragedies are when people, hurt by human encounters, use technology to engage with things that are not truthful and as a separation from other people.
Interestingly, there has been a lot of fuss about the possibility of Facebook being open to under 13 year olds. While there are big dangers a widely held view is that the children who are most at risk are infrequent users with little awareness of risk.
So perhaps we should be thinking about how we can improve our understanding of technology and the media - putting it in its proper place and then going off to do something real.
I love the Diamond Jubilee song's film. In this video Sheffield based Producer Eliot Kennedy is in conversation with The Star newspaper's digital editor, Graham Walker.
They went round the world recording the song on a small Zoom audio recorder mixing it as they went. What a great experience that must have been.
I'm reading about the Rochdale grooming trial as I'm editing a short film on the subject to be shown in Sheffield. Sheffield, thankfully, is tackling the issue but it amazes me that trafficking teenagers as young as 13 for sex really goes on, and that legal recognition of such crimes in this country seems late in developing.
We have been talking with boys and service providers to gauge the experience of these crimes and the risks to our young people. The feeling I get is that it's not uncommon, but due to extreme violence and intimidation very few young people come forward. The grooming process in some cases is organised within a hierarchy where young people who have been abused are criminalised and used as a shield to protect the gang bosses. One person described an area of the city as something out of Oliver Twist with young people doing the bidding or older men. Young people are moved from city to city in order to isolate and control them.
I'm not sure of the statistics, but Yorkshire is thought to be a common destination and starting point for this kind of trafficking. One teenage victim said passionately that the prevalence of Facebook and mobile phones is probably a factor in the increase of these crimes. I've been working in primary schools lately helping very young children with creative projects and giving them some direction in online safety. It's very apparent that many primary school children do have Facebook accounts. This must ring alarm bells.
Children particularly around the age of thirteen and fourteen have a strong desire to feel more grown up and to belong to a group and have little discernment when it comes to true friendship and they trust easily. The most heartbreaking thing about this is the abuse of trust and the calculated process that leads these horrible crimes.
I do feel motivated to do what I can to help. I'm sure you do.
Although my snap on the phone doesn't do justice, I think it's a great idea. I think for anyone who wants to bring an identity to a space this is a good thing to do.
If I do this again I think I'd want to put more work into achieving very bright colours, but even so the effect is good.
When I get time I'll update this post with information about the Perspex printing.
The way it's described sounds revolutionary but it appears to be a set of blogs organised according to location or topic. It's bloggyness is confirmed by the use of vimeo embedded video stories. They say that multiple sources, not necessarily from ITV, will be curated by editors (or perhaps edited by curators), "Raw news delivered in copy, tweets, weblinks and pictures" . This does sound very blog like - but without a great deal of interaction.
The concept of a live news stream is something that is very evident in the way Facebook is now being presented, their rather attractive timeline feature gives a strong sense of the stream, the nowness of what's being posted.
I wonder if the ITV streams present a kind of editorial bottleneck? There must be quite a lot of competition for the stream at any one time - how do they decide? Do some stories get bumped down the line until they are really quite old or missed out altogether? What happens if there is no news? What does "live" mean? A sequencial selection of stories chosen for us?
It can't be vey representative and in fact is harking back to the linear news channel idea. Of course a single "pipe' of news can never have the capacity to contain all that's important in the world. I can see that a continuous live stream will appeal to those journalists who want to be the first to break the news. I think this is a fatal weakness in thinking.
What I really value is a news brand that I can fully trust. This is why organisations, channels, programmes and reporters are so important. These are the identities with which the audience can build a relationship of trust. News is a selection of stories chosen by us and for us and presented in a way that reflects the editorial judgement of the author and the taste of the consumer - which can vary. The stories are crafted to be as entertaining as possible while retaining some respect for the subject and occasionally the facts. They are products aimed at a target audience. Packages rather than streams.
The live news stream will have an important role to play when there is a breaking story of speed and magnitude. The Olympics will be enhanced, no doubt. ButI see is it as an "appointment to view" facility to be used only occasionally.
I'm at the Woodhouse Community Centre this morning where two church groups are meeting. Both of the groups are taking a step of faith in that they are very new and very small in number - but with a hope that they can grow and serve the local community.
One of the groups is the new The House of Prayer which books the main hall from 10am each Sunday, but it's just the two of them and their son. The House of Prayer Community Church is the vision of Gary and Dorothy Thomas.
They say their faith and vision is about serving the local people and supporting those in need. When I asked them how they were going to meet the practical needs of the community they said that it was something felt called by God to do and that by being faithful great things will happen.
Ironically while they are worshipping and with no idea of how things will work out, I am in the back room taking the opportunity to do a bit of planning for Oblong - and being concerned about how will will meet our targets and objectives. There is a message in here about where we put our focus. It is on how we bring everything under control or is it fixed on the vision?
I admire the committment and hope Gary and Dorothy are displaying. They don't know where the people are going to come from! We can't always know how things are going to turn out. In most situations we make plans based on our ability to control the outcome, but for them there is no business plan or numbers, but certainly there is passion for loving their community.
If you would like to join The House of Prayer for Sunday worship you are welcome.
Woodhouse Community Centre, 197 Woodhouse Street, Leeds LS6 2NY Sunday between 10.00am and 12.00 noon. Or call 07570 609297
Just had word from Richard Crook about Pocket Praise for iPhone. Pocket Praise is part of the Praise Pod family, a brilliant idea to reward children for good behaviour This is a brilliant use of technology to encourage children and make them feel valued and capable. Go to the Apps Store
Pocket praise takes sticker charts to another level.
With this app you can create a multimedia reward chart, capture good behaviours as a photo or movie then watch again and share successes with family and friends.
A sticker has always put smiles on faces and helped promote good behaviours. So just imagine what a talking sticker can do. . . We’ve tested it and it’s pretty amazing how things change when people use pocket praise.
Pocket praise works for everyone; so don’t just let the kids have all the fun. Why not use pocket praise as your own personal reward chart to help you reach your targets?
Where we live in Yorkshire is surrounded by hills which I find protective and always beautiful. However when we visit Deborah's home territory the thing that always strikes me is the wide space. The sky seems much bigger and the land less so. This is Poole in Dorset just a few moments walk down the cliff steps from the in-laws.
Had an interesting afternoon at Kadugli House in Steeton yesterday at the Bradford diocesan centre for the Church of England. I was there on behalf of All Saint's Church, Ilkley. The session was led by Bryony Taylor social media manager at Reach Further
Feedback from the group suggested that there were fears about embracing social media as a corporate communication tool - mostly around the flood of information that is difficult to assimilate or control. The Bishop of Bradford made it very clear that it was easy to lose control and how vital it is that churches become adept at engaging with the media.
The Bishop's knowledge and command of the media, and his support for these sessions suggests that more churches may want to improve their media skills and visibility.
In the long term, online media will continue to transform the way people share information and interact, the internet has become ubiquitous. We have gone from being somewhere to everywhere.
With a few exceptions, it seems that there is a drift away from specific destination sites to a presence which is defined by content rather than channels. The bishop gave an example of using twitter to search for articles published by the Guardian. The use of search terms and other forms of metadata seems to be the key. For this reason a website based on a blogging platform may be better than a static site - offering better connectivity and a more dynamic experience.
The internet is all about links (of course) and an internet presence should be designed around the use of multiple services linked together The automatic distribution and flagging of content between services like Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the new kid Pinterest
But let us not forget the much bigger picture in which old forms of media continue to be important - flyers and posters, notice boards, phone calls, house to house drops. The media mix of any communication campaign should be broad and appropriate for the message and the audience. Online media does not replace old media. As Bryony said - "E" stands for enhanced (does not replace). The people who provide the content for websites should not be the geeks - encouraging newsletter editors to submit content for the web may be a way forward, but remembering that editorial has to be re-written and presented in a different way; different audience, different media.
The provision of quality content continues to be a challenge but increasingly there are sources of content issued under a creative commons licence. Flickr & Mixter for stills and music. Even if you have to pay for content iStockphoto is a source of affordable quality images. Evidence shows that stories without images tends not to engage readers quite so well - newspaper editors have always known. And many are saying that without video you may become invisible!
So what do I think? I'm really pleased that the diocese is seeking to encourage and equip churches to be more media literate. This signals a willingness to connect with the outside world. I am loyal to my local church which does some superb work but it feels like the Galapagos Islands (where isolated evolution has thrown up unique species that are not able to associate with normal creatures).
In the business world it would be unthinkable not to have a communication strategy of some sort. Identifying need, mindful of language, finding creative ways of connecting with new customers, listing - being outward looking. It seems to me we at last have communication tools that are cheap and actually fun to use.
"Go out into all the world" if you dare.