What a great big fuss!

11 June, 2010

I watched with interest as the news broke yesterday afternoon that O2 was to stop offering unlimited data to smartphone users, like AT&T has done in the US.

“This can’t be fair”, “I know people who only stick with O2 because the data is unlimited!” and so it went on.

No any more - it's for your own good!

The fact of the matter is that the mobile networks all struggle to keep up with the ludicrous volumes of data downloaded through mobile connections in the UK (mostly tethered to a laptop at home I have no doubt).  The BBC report I read said that 3% of O2’s customers are using 36% of the network’s data capacity! Capacity which you’ll probably know is borrowed from the voice traffic on the same network.  If you’ve ever wondered why mobile calls are harder to place and receive look no further than the nearest iPhone.

I use an iPhone for voice and data when I’m away from the office and warmly welcome actions which make the service better for the vast majority of users.

On the flip side the appetite for unlimited fully-mobile data at screaming-data-rates is a good sign for the industry. It will be satisfied when the networks are enhanced with the best that the next generation technology developers can provide, and it will probably give us a living for years to come.


The police are listening

13 May, 2010

Must be a slow news day at the BBC. A man from Brighton was ‘shocked’ to find out that the local police force in Brighton were following him on Twitter. That’d be Twitter, the publicly viewable site where anyone can follow your updates unless you make your profile private. The one where if you mention certain keywords you quickly acquire a whole load of extra followers trying to sell you something from that industry.

Ssshh, the police are watching

As the spokesperson for the Police in Brighton said, “We use Twitter to engage with the community in a really immediate way. It’s really helpful for us because we can allay any fears or rumours going round.
We can also engage with them and ask them what they want. It’s better than traditional media in that sense.”

Quite. It’s hardly like you’re going to pick up people tweeting “just broken into a house, ROFLMAO,” but instead you might see people in the area complaining about the noise or something relevant where you can get in touch quickly to address these concerns. Twitter isn’t just a medium for businesses and the media, there’s no reason at all why public bodies such as the Police shouldn’t get involved to speak directly to those they serve.

Of course it can go completely overboard as the ‘joke’ tweet about blowing up an airport showed in what has to be one the most ridiculous court cases and conviction in memory.

The social media election

16 April, 2010

First of all, is this really a ‘social media election’?

On the back of the successful Obama campaign politicians everywhere have been talking about the potential for social media and how it will shape this election. Social media is already playing a major role, with Rory Cellan-Jones of BBC news regularly analysing Twitter trends and sentiments, and several politicians, including Sarah Brown, tweeting regularly.

While it would be mad to suggest that social media alone could decide an election, it could however make a real difference with things so close between the three major parties.

Social media not only allows politicians, (and their significant others), to directly reach out to the public, (over 1 million in Sarah Brown’s case). It also allows them to track the sentiment and reactions of its users; something that was particularly interesting from the first TV debate.

This extra ‘human’ element to the campaign adds a new dimension that was tricky, if not impossible, during the last election. Even a simple reply to a tweet can make someone feel as though their point of view is important or that people are listening; an obvious vote winner.

By tracking Twitter and forums the reaction of the public to debates and news can be analysed instantly. People are more likely to be honest on their Twitter account or a forum compared to being interviewed by either a journalist or a polling company.

In November of last year stats showed that the UK makes up 8.2% of Twitter’s roughly 6 million registered users. This is set to be one of the closest elections in years and the party that does a good job of reaching out through social media could tip the balance in their favour.

Image taken from the excellent Matt.

The image is all

1 June, 2009

One thing we are always telling our clients is that a good and interesting image will always sell a press release. The better the photo the better the coverage.burlesque-artist-with-ostrich-feather-fan-thumb7980246

On Sunday I joined what seemed like a million others to queue up at the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow at Brooklands Museum.  I had a variety of things that I wanted information on including an ostrich feather fan and headdress worn in 1924 by an acquaintance when presented at Court.  I was chatting away to the expert on the Miscellaneous table and when I suddenly became aware of a plethora of photographers descending upon us.

I think I was photographed and interviewed by every local paper and magazine because the fan was different and photogenic, unlike the person holding it!

Value of the fan – nothing.  Photo opportunity – everything.

Twitter? You what?

29 January, 2009

I’m a late convert to Twitter. I love it, but, to be honest, it’s taken me a while to see the worth it.

Maybe this ain’t good to admit, particularly coming from a fairly young PR professional. We’re meant to be all ‘e-savvy’, right?

I do pretty well. Blogs, Facebook, audio/video campaigns online; I engage  with all of these on a regular basis. But a tool has to be useful. There’s no point just hopping on an e-bandwagon because it sounds good.

But in the last couple of weeks Twitter has returned dividends; alerting me to stories as they break, journalist-priorities, where people are…. Now I wouldn’t do without it. Twitter has also allowed me to vaguely stalk Stephen Fry, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I still maintain that man should be Prime Minister, if only for his wholehearted embracing of new technology. Twitter has, thankfully, removed the need for inconvenient fence-scaling; cold waits outside front doors; theft of mail, etc. Its the 21st-century way to follow a celebrity obsessively.

Stephen recently waxed lyrical on the virtues of Twitter on the BBC News website. An interesting interview though, frankly, Stephen’s expression suggested the interviewer had just let one off. In front of the urbane Mr Fry. Shame on you.

picture-132Ironically for a feature that discusses the presence of other celebrities on Twitter, the main upshot of Stephen’s interview will probably be to add even more fans to the 50,000 already clinging to his underbelly.

Incidentally, it’s nice to see that the BBC is conscientiously finally starting to cut corners. That car-park interview will pay for some BBC executive’s lunch of caviar and sauteed bank notes.

Tweetdeck, which one of my colleagues recommended to me, seems to be a brilliant little tool for organising your Tweets into a manageable pile, though you may find it’s difficult to look away from. First lesson of PR: Not all news is important. Bear this in mind.


30 October, 2008

Unless you’ve been living under a rock on the moon, you’re probably aware by now that altitudinous grubby beanstalk Russell Brand and his adequately-compensated colleague Jonathan Ross have got themselves in a bit of trouble.

Forget the ins and outs. Who cares? The EML blog is not a gossip column. The whole affair is boring me. What I find interesting is the reaction from certain parts of the media.

Are they fed up of reporting on the credit crunch? Or maybe they think this is of genuine public interest?

I certainly don’t accept that ‘sympathy for the elderly and abused’ is the primary cause for the public’s bilious hysteria. Even Sach’s sentiments have been along the lines of ‘Who cares, it’s done with, stupid mistake, let’s move on’. Nor do I think this has much to do with Ross.

I have two simple theories:

1) Maybe, just maybe, a lot of people hate Russell Brand? Maybe. His employers, MPs and, at heart, his viewing public? I’m not saying it’s true. Just that deep down, some people may not like him. Do your own research. Make your own decision.

2) And this is the one I really believe… That this is one of those stories whereby journalists wink from behind-the-scenes at the general public. ‘Look… Look how fickle you are. Look at your poor taste and double standards. You turn on a dime don’t you?’

Sometimes these journalistic winks are a little more obvious, as in this quote from Sach’s Grandaughter in The Metro this morning:

‘ “Me and my grandad are both really happy because it could have ruined our reputation permanently,” said the 23-year-old Satanic Sluts dancer.’

You don’t read that every day.

Go on. Have another picture.

Now I’m officially impressed

8 September, 2008

I saw a news story today about how the N96 Nokia phone was getting an iPlayer application. For anyone outside the UK iPlayer is a P2P web site providing access to re-runs of recent TV broadcasts, plus live and recorded radio shows. It has been held wholly responsible for stretching the broadband providers’ capacity here over the last year, and very good it is too.

Anyway I was about to get all cross and question why Nokia was getting such assistance from UK’s state broadcaster, when I realised something, the BBC has a whole iPlayer site for mobiles and it works just fine with my iPhone. Download an hour-long TV episode in a couple of minutes to watch in my hand at my leisure? I’ve never done that before today.