Tell the story

January 27, 2010

How to get a community talking instead of posting dry comments on a forum

Filed under: Featured — andrewchilvers @ 6:43 pm

My little boy plays for an under 8s football team as a defender – and he’s pretty good at it. His team is chock full of highly competitive little boys, watched over by highly competitive mums and dads. And the relaxed Saturdays of old have now become a rather fraught, fractious and sometimes tearful affair depending on the fortunes of the team.  

“So what of it?” I hear you mutter.

Well, this team has a website and after each match one of the dads writes up a small report about the game. Most kids’ football teams have this type of weekly reportage after each game. Outside the team it’s only of interest to the highly competitive mums and dads of other teams and is more often an excuse for a frustrated dad to try out his John Motson hat (not to mention coat).

Athough only a handful of parents and children read the match report, I still reckoned I could come up with something a little more interesting. So I took my little Flip camera along and filmed a rather bemused coach and manager after the game (see Grant and Richard below). I told them I wanted the to “do a Fergie”.

The day after I uploaded my experiment I had calls from other parents and children telling me how much more they enjoyed looking at the report.

Comments included:

“It suddenly comes to life.”

“I wanted to hear more from them.”

“Is this going to happen every week?”

“Never bring THAT camera to a game again!!” (that was the coach)

Suddenly people had become immediately more engaged. The small footballing community I belong to started laughing and joking and talking more.

Going forward I want to persuade a parent to comment each week after every match, taking the engagement idea one step further (altho the coach and manager are still in the denial stage). Simple really – and fun. Shows what you can do when you get a community talking rather than emailing or posting dry, humourless comments on a forum.

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January 13, 2010

How Fiona Phillips made me think again about the nastiness of dementia and the awful plight of all the people who care

Filed under: Featured — andrewchilvers @ 5:39 pm

Early morning telly is soo bad.

I really mean it.

BBC and GMTV.

From the saccharine niceness of the presenters to the largely fatuous content involving recent polls by YouGov, the bland mediocrity of the editorial mission simply encourages you to think gratefully about your working day and the delicious commute ahead.

So when I tuned in to Dispatches on Channel 4 to watch the former doyen of GMTVness Fiona Phillips talk about dementia, I wasn’t expecting much. I knew she’d been a cut above the early morning crew with some testy chats with the likes of Brown, Cameron and Blair (I omit honorifics and first names deliberately). But she was, after all, a GMTV PRESENTER!! Guilty till proven innocent.

So what I witnessed next was nothing short of an epiphany on the scale of nasty Saul’s hasty transformation to nice Paul en route to Damascus. No exaggeration.

In Dispatches: My Family and Alzheimer’s, Fiona (for that is what I’ll call her from now on), spoke openly about the tragedy of dementia that has afflicted her parents. Her honesty in presenting her own pain as a long-distance carer (Fiona had to travel to Wales to be with her mum during her final years) and her graphic account of her father’s deterioration was at times eye watering.

Furthermore, she interviewed and filmed several other couples – one not so elderly – highlighting the ordeal of the sufferers, the plight of the carers and the insane bureaucracy involving health and social services, which often denied these people essential help. It also, again, highlighted the unfairness of the postcode lottery system for social care.

Dispatches commissioned YouGov (yes, them again) to do a survey of 767 people who care for dementia sufferers and the findings revealed:

almost half of those who care for Alzheimer’s sufferers receive no help from social services whatsoever
half of carers have little or no respite care
over half frequently feel threatened by the sufferers they look after
27% of sufferers waited three years or longer for an official diagnosis
17% never received one.
Some 700,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia.

Recently I started work with the dementia unit at Stockport NHS. They are eager to get involved in Stockport council’s video blogosphere to highlight all the issues above. I hope to meet with them next week and will post a follow up video blog then. I sincerely believe this network will start a process of real engagement that will help everyone involved make their lives somehow more bearable.

Meanwhile, if you have time and you have the patience to get past the infuriating ads on Channel 4s iplayer, click on the URL below and have a look at Fiona’s film. It’s not easy viewing, but then if you want that you can always tune into GMTV.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches

How Fiona Phillips made me think again about the nastiness of dementia and the awful plight of all the people who care

Filed under: Featured — andrewchilvers @ 5:39 pm

Early morning telly is soo bad.

I really mean it.

BBC and GMTV.

From the saccharine niceness of the presenters to the largely fatuous content involving recent polls by YouGov, the bland mediocrity of the editorial mission simply encourages you to think gratefully about your working day and the delicious commute ahead.

So when I tuned in to Dispatches on Channel 4 to watch the former doyen of GMTVness Fiona Phillips talk about dementia, I wasn’t expecting much. I knew she’d been a cut above the early morning crew with some testy chats with the likes of Brown, Cameron and Blair (I omit honorifics and first names deliberately). But she was, after all, a GMTV PRESENTER!! Guilty till proven innocent.

So what I witnessed next was nothing short of an epiphany on the scale of nasty Saul’s hasty transformation to nice Paul en route to Damascus. No exaggeration.

In Dispatches: My Family and Alzheimer’s, Fiona (for that is what I’ll call her from now on), spoke openly about the tragedy of dementia that has afflicted her parents. Her honesty in presenting her own pain as a long-distance carer (Fiona had to travel to Wales to be with her mum during her final years) and her graphic account of her father’s deterioration was at times eye watering.

Furthermore, she interviewed and filmed several other couples – one not so elderly – highlighting the ordeal of the sufferers, the plight of the carers and the insane bureaucracy involving health and social services, which often denied these people essential help. It also, again, highlighted the unfairness of the postcode lottery system for social care.

Dispatches commissioned YouGov (yes, them again) to do a survey of 767 people who care for dementia sufferers and the findings revealed:

almost half of those who care for Alzheimer’s sufferers receive no help from social services whatsoever
half of carers have little or no respite care
over half frequently feel threatened by the sufferers they look after
27% of sufferers waited three years or longer for an official diagnosis
17% never received one.
Some 700,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia.

Recently I started work with the dementia unit at Stockport NHS. They are eager to get involved in Stockport council’s video blogosphere to highlight all the issues above. I hope to meet with them next week and will post a follow up video blog then. I sincerely believe this network will start a process of real engagement that will help everyone involved make their lives somehow more bearable.

Meanwhile, if you have time and you have the patience to get past the infuriating ads on Channel 4s iplayer, click on the URL below and have a look at Fiona’s film. It’s not easy viewing, but then if you want that you can always tune into GMTV.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches

January 7, 2010

Goodbye to all that – here comes everyone

Filed under: Featured — andrewchilvers @ 2:30 pm
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Back in the early 1990, QuarkXpress revolutionised publishing, cutting out highly skilled workers from well paid NGA jobs.

Everyone was going to be a publisher and, more importantly, everyone was going to make money out it; publisher-writers, printers, dodgy advertorial telesales firms, the lot.

A gold-rush of tacky, home-based publishing outfits followed. The picture quality might not be so good, the keylines around pages might be missing, but who cared about the quality of paper. Publish and be damned. Goodbye unions, here comes everybody.

That was then.

Now publishing has imploded, advertising is an industry transformed and journalism looks set to follow suit. Nowadays it’s social media that is fast taking the place of traditional publishing/journalism; it’s a new way of communicating, of telling stories, of working with and for the local community.

But what is social media and more importantly how can you make money out of it? According to Wikipeda, social media supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.

In the past couple of years I’ve done a lot of sleuthing in e-space around the subject and found that social media applies to a host of different programme agendas, from democratic utopianists, e-community radicals and post oil and climate change transitionists to e-government civil servants and journalists. In short, the focus is wide and varied.

I’m not here to teach you to suck eggs, but if you’re interested to see what some of these people are doing and saying, look at my blogroll at the bottom of this page.

So what am I doing that’s different?

In short; Candie (or communication and interactive engagement). It takes the early 90s publishing revolution to its conclusion. It’s a space where everyone talks, listens, comments and keeps in touch – without the dodgy advertorial telesales staff. It’s about telling stories.

In essence it’s a managed online video blogosphere. The idea is to set up a platform and framework for local health and social care services to communicate with staff and everyone in the community; that’s parents, carers, young people, older people and people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. It’s a way to help vulnerable and isolated people keep in touch with their friends, relatives and the professionals who supply their services. It also helps professionals to keep in touch with their peers ensuring better practice.

It’s a virtuous circle of communication, paid for by the local council; a managed network with a proactive emailing service to all registered users. I suppose in some respects I’m not too different from the e-community utopianists mentioned above.

Here’s a recent blog I did with Robert and Charlie in Church Stretton, Shropshire, explaining about an awareness project they’ve been working on. The workshop was organised by Shropshire CC as part of their CAF programme (more about that in the previous 2 posts).

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