Directors' blog

Links, thoughts and updates from the directors of Dim Sum Digital.

Archive for the ‘social media’ tag

Social Media Surgery Richmond: First event

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North Yorkshire organisations turned out to Richmond’s first social media surgery last night.

Held in the tiny village of Hudswell, it was the first rural event of this type I’ve attended and I was interested to see if the issues raised would be different to those encountered by participants at the city-based events I more usually get involved with.

They weren’t.

Ok, people may have had to travel further to attend, but the issues were familiar ones around visibility, measurability and the return on the investment of time spent participating on social media platforms with some hands-on how to assistance.

The format of the evening held at North Yorkshire’s first community run George and Dragon pub (more about that on my other blog) followed what’s become known as the Podnosh structure ie.  A group of volunteers with some experience in social media (surgeons) offering informal advice to organisations looking to maxim ise their online activity.

Personally I only got to speak with two different community organisation representatives – someone interested in promoting wider understanding of the activity of freemasons and the organisers of a local arts festival.

Conversations flowed, contacts were made and a good time was had by all. Organiser Graham Richards tells me that a repeat event will be organised soon. I’ll update this blog when I hear more.

Written by sarahhartley

October 12th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

links for 2009-04-28

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Written by sarahhartley

April 28th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

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links for 2009-02-15

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Written by sarahhartley

February 15th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

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Social media and moden warfare


It was interesting to see this item from the BBC this week; New media plan to combat Taleban

According it its “Whitehall sources”, the BBC reports that “a radical new plan is being considered by the UK government to counter growing Taleban propaganda in Afghanistan.

“The programme involves using new media like mobile phones and the internet to empower ordinary Afghans to contradict the prevailing Taleban message.”

As readers of this, and Charlie Beckett’s , blog already know, the fact that the military is moving to utilise social media platforms isn’t a new idea.

Activity in this area already includes active bloggers for the US military, a dedicated UK video unit and the openness to engaging with new audiences using the tools of Web 2.0 to better communicate with the public were explored at the recent NATO Public Affairs Conference.

But what I found interesting (but not surprising) about the BBC report is the response from the interviewer. Part way through this radio clip he says, while chuckling; “Well it’s certainly a different way to win a war!”.

He later goes on to dismissively say something about “a Facebook thing going on”.

It demonstrates an oft-experienced scepticism when dealing with the issues social media throws up.

I blame part of the problem on the silly names the developers too often give these services – I mean, whoever came up with Plurk was just having a laugh and getting a business-minded professional to engage with something called Dipity is always going to need a leap of faith!

But aside from the naming, there’s something else going on here, a sort of unwillingness to accept that these tools are used for real communications, really serious endeavour and meaningful engagement.

Anyone who doubts that should spend just a few minutes looking at how terror groups have successfully embraced the possibilities of the internet and utilise mobile and Web 2.0 tools.

When the Talaban mash up a video showing death and destruction and distribute it across mobile and online platforms, it’s unlikely they have much of an issue with the name of the app. or the purpose for which it was created.

It’s a tool, it does the job they need they need it to do, it’s low cost, high visibility - and it works. 

The projects mentioned above are all an acknowledgement of this fact, however difficult a pill that is to swallow.

Yes, these tools may have been dreamed up for use for innocuous reasons but, like technologies throughout history, it’s the real-scenario take-up which then changes the world.

Written by sarahhartley

October 12th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Slideshows about social media

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As I go on my travels of blogs and social media I come across some very clever people who have created slideshows of their thoughts on the topics. So I’ve started collecting them and will post them here to share.

This has got some great advice on starting out in community – policy, staff roles etc.

Provocative first slide to wake up any audience. Plenty of good and thought-provoking points for newspaper types to take away. From the blog of Mark Media.

Found this one at KatieLips, a blog introduced to by Craig McGinty, so thanks for that. Katie comes at the topic from the point of view of an arts organisation but the same challenges exist. It’s all about audience.

Then I found this one at Simon Waldman’s blog and have since discovered that more than 4,000 people have already viewed. Some good case studies in there.

Feel free to point me at some more.

Written by sarahhartley

May 17th, 2008 at 8:53 pm

An eighth psychological complaint of bloggers and social media addicts


Spent too much brain power thinking of something witty to add to the Seven Psychological Complaints of Bloggers and Social Media Addicts (which I thoroughly enjoyed).

Then had the ironic realisation that I was suffering from the eighth : Wit Anxiety Gloom Syndrome (WAGS). The sufferer feels what they have to add to the world is so humourous it must be shared – but only after every one of the 140 characters has been considered in depth. Stems from a deep-rooted phobia of “comment shame”.

Usually cured by remembering there are other things that need doing – like life.

Patient may require regular doses of reminding – otherwise known as nagging.

Written by sarahhartley

May 5th, 2008 at 11:17 am

Posted in Journalism

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Let Twitter be


I thought it would be fitting to kick off this first post on my new blog with a look at Twitter. After all, the fact that this weekend the Today programme saw fit to mention it, must mean it’s mainstream now.

I’ve been twittering along with the best of them recently but notice that there’s already something of a backlash brewing – and maybe the first seeds of privacy doubt have started creeping in.

As newsgatherers, there’s aspects of Twitter which could prove invaluable – TweetScan  for instance has the potential to be a great tool for coverage of any sort of news event where a lot of people are gathered at one time.

But how public are these Tweets? It’s easy to be bullish and claim anything published is in the public domain, but the closed circle nature of the engagements mean this is slightly more intimate medium than, say, posting on a blog.

It was an aspect which struck me when I blogged 

the utterly harmless bit of fun – that was Twitter cartoon day. It struck me that those involved might not wish to be named as participants in something which could be regarded as trivial and, while they might be happy for their identities to be known to those who “follow” them, maybe a wider audience would be an intrusion too far.

It’s a point also made by Andy Dickinson who blogged on the same event asking; “ Am I being rude by posting a link that popped up in a twitter conversation? It feels kind of like e-eavesdropping”.

 It’s a difficult call to make and it remains to be seen whether the PCC will be able to get to grips with it in any meaningful way during its deliberations.

But the most often discussed part of the social media movement, of which Twitter is the flavour of the month, is its ability to be distracting or time consuming (i.e. successful).

 The influential Bivings Report published a post by  Todd Zeigler in which he admits to having doubts about it, or more accurately, doubts his ability to invest enough time into making it valuable: ”I am finding my current Twitter use unsustainable and have more or less abandoned the tool over the last week.”

 He cites the example of Hugh MacLead of Gaping Void who announced that he was leaving Twitter because he found it was distracting him from what he really wanted to be doing: writing books and drawing cartoons.

The issue of time spent on Twitter and other social networks is also a concern for those in the Museum world. (The shared issues of the Museum and News industries is something I intend to explore further with this new blog so all contributions welcome.) 


At the Museum 2.0 blog, Nina Simon reveals the discussions about time spent and comes up with an interesting classification of users – participant, content provider and company director – depending on how much time is spent.

Interestingly this puts Twitter at the entry point of all Web 2.0 activity. But wther it’s time-consuming or not, surely the hours spent on such activity should be judged on the outcome? Is spending your afternoons learning about a topic, sharing ideas or pushing a service on Twitter any less worthwhile than addressing invites, undertaking telephone research or posting free newspapers through doors?

The Guardian’s Jemima Kiss  thinks it’s too early to write it off. After speaking on the Today interview she posted: “…we should all be a little more willing to explore these tools without feeling the need to classify it or nail it down to some definite function when it is still so young. So many inventions were born out of a completely different idea; vinyl records were a spin-off (no pun intended) from a project for talking dolls or some such… It’s far easier to dismiss something out of hand than to be open-minded, creative and playful.”

So right. Be playful and have a private Twitter today.

Written by sarahhartley

April 20th, 2008 at 11:53 am