Apr 15

The Story 2018: Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis Cocker

WARNING: liveblogged – left in first person

Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis Cocker

This is about the Extraordinary

Artists are storytellers, they tell us different versions of the story about what it means to be a human being. Lots of people want to be an artist, but everyone of you is an artist, but perhaps you have not realised it yet maybe you have been looking for information on how to be an artist in the wrong place.

You are trying to be unique, like everyone else. But you unique and maybe you are overlooking at in your quest to be unique.

I’m going to teach you how to be an artist. And teach you how to fly. I will tell you how I learnt. Where do people learn how to do things – at school. School did not teach me how to be a popstar – which is what I wanted to do. So I formed a band. It was the standard line up, drums, bass guitar and plastic tortoise. Decided wanted to play concert at schools – tickets 20p for live Pulp…but if were going to offer 30mins of live songs, you need to have the songs.

Where do we look for inspiration?

In Pulp’s case, it began with Shakespeare, inspired by an English lit lesson [he played an extract of Shakespeare rock]. It was a bad song that illustrates what starts to happen when you start writing songs; and as a singer, it is often your job to write words. So, to get round fear, so you may write a funny song or the sixth form poetry route (a song that sums up the total of human existence in 3 minutes). Between the 2 pols, you have to try and find the way for something to say.

So a definition of an artist could be someone who has a unique and convincing way of saying something.

If you look that part can you be that part. At 15-16, i knew I wanted to be in a group, but did not know how to do it. My look reflected this. Hair – from Ian McCulloch. I loved Echo and the Bunnymen – perfect for hair that tended towards bushiness. A ‘beard’ from Stranglers Hugh cornel singer. Glasses – from Elvis Costello. That was good – it turned NHS glasses into cool rockstar glasses. Thought if I looked like the stars, then maybe I would develop their talent…

I learnt that I should be looking at closer and more mundane. There anything more mundane than a bus journey (reads lyrics from Inside Susan, about a bus journey) recorded in 1992, based around events of the school picture – so 11 year lag. It took 11 years to recognise the inspiration that was all around him at school

The next chapter, was St Martins School of Art, when it was at Long Acre. The name gave me hope, school of art. surely you learn how to be artist there. We got lectures about artists, etc, but I never got to write a song about the artists. But i got into raving. I wasn’t supposed to, obviously not, but it was an education [he read the original poem song that became “sorted for es and whizz”]. So this was on album in 1995, about events in 88, so down to a 7 year gap ( I’m not going to talk about the other song about st martins college)

He had escaped from Sheffield, felt I had to keep escaping by writing songs. (quotes lyrics of Wicker Man, on the last album – as story about a river in Sheffield). In the end inspiration I’d been looking for had been under my nose all the time, it took a change of scenery. that’s what makes it easy to miss, if you are always gazing towards the horizon it is too easy to discount the underlying reality. the scenery the mundane, the everyday life. but no, that is you , that is the important things.

I promised to unlock your creativity. [picture of a traffic cone]. If you think about an everyday object, you become aware of associations eg town planning, cars, traffic. If you were at uni, the ones on tops of statures or buildings. If you download video, you may think of VLC. Or the album of kraftwerk. Or works of art.

The point is that we see the same world everyday but the way we reconstruct that world inside our heads is to be the complex web of associations of upbringing and culture etc. A human eye is also a projector, we see the same world, but we reconstruct it in different ways, may be slightly different, but everyone is doing that. All you have to do is write that down, express that in some way. it will be a unique and creative work of art. accept uniqueness and capture the associations and you will be artist

You have to tune in to the wonder that is all around you, it is all there

The ordinary moments…becomes the extraordinary.

Apr 15

The Story 2018: Zoe Whitley

Zoe Whitley (Tate Modern)

Zoe Whitley

Zoe Whitley, curator at the Tate

She wants to talk about the “never meet your heroes” statement…because she’s never met hers. It’s about expectations. When you meet people that are larger than your life, you don’t want to meet any who may show something that does not meet that, that shows their imperfections.

She wants to talk about artists as people. She can’t assume that anyone has seen the exhibition she curated, so how does she talk about the exhibition if you have not seen it. So, she’s going to talk about the artists.

On Monday the Obama portraits were unveiled. Her Instagram feed was 100s of pictures of Michelle; every other black curator was so excited about it. She was shocked that ‘regular ‘ people weren’t too happy about them. There were big stories in the press. She challenged friends perceptions, eg how the flowers in barrack’s portrait represented things. She talked about how the artist used colour in particular ways. But those are not the types of things that interest everyone. A starting point – what does it mean to curate for ‘regular’ people (ie not art appreciators). For Michelle, this was a painting that would exist in an intuition that little black girls could visit.

In working on soul of the nation, what it would mean for people who looked like her, what would they think. How do you communicate ideas about who gets to be an artist, the different types.

She started to study art history at 14. She had gone to an elite high school, in which she could do studio art as history. By 15, she could name and recognise modern artists, people who would put LA on the map – male, white etc. However, there were other influences – Guerrilla Girls; a group of visual artists, who talked about representation. She talked to her teacher about this – who did not get defensive but gave her a book about African American artists…so she could learn about the relevant artists.

Thinking about soul of the nation, about physical objects that people would pay to see, to make it a subject matter that was relevant to the lives of young people, to get people through doors in London. They commissioned a series of films that exist on line – you did not have to come to museum to be introduced to the artists.

An artist needs mirrors to see themselves. The young white artist can cobble themselves together from many artists, the young black artist can’t. That is changing. It’s why there is such excitement about Black Panther. It is not everyday that people like her see themselves as nuanced characters in popular culture.

For Soul of the Nation, the lead image was by Barclay Hendricks, a self portrait, in a superman t-shirt, but naked below waits. He created it as it as an icon – with metal leaf. It is focusing on what it means about seeing yourself (about being mirrored).

One artist was Betty Shae, born 1926. She always knew she was going to be an artist, she has one image from when she was be 5, it opened some of her recent shows where there was a lifetime body of work, started with the early crayon drawing. At what age do we become artists – or get messages from society and family that we should not be that, that we need to follow a career path. Picasso said all children were born artists…and the challenge is to remain that.
It was really important that they kept the artists foremost, instead of the work, because of the struggles that had to do the work

Apr 15

The Story 2018: Camilla Wright

WARNING: Liveblogged. Edited for clarity

Camilla Wright is the founder of Popbitch

Camilla Wright

Camilla Wright

You think you know what the story of our time…but often what you see is what one paper wants you see, or an advertiser wants, or a couple of people made up. So what we see becomes narrow. Popbitch can be broader. Founded over 20 years ago, every week they send out about 500k emails, covering the news of the week. In 1998, (the time of Britney Spears, One More Time) pop culture was not the daily currency it is now. Pop for 1998 was just for kids, the coverage of music was boring; they thought there was room for pop coverage for adults.

There was little shared culture. They looked to set up a magazine, but the costs were enormous. it was hard. just getting WH Smith to stock was impossible. A year later, with the initial growth of the net, newsletters were starting. This is something they could do. They were working in news industry, so they know there were more stories than were being told.

They decided to write up the stories and send out to friends. They had one night with weed and whisky to try and come up with something. The following morning, woke up with the name on a piece of paper. Popular and populist is important. They wanted to cover it and cover it properly. They really started with a text email, sending out to friends. Started off talking about Notorious BIG. The first issue ended with Boy George having an ironic death (nearly), being hit by a glitter bomb. They sent lots of trivial facts out. eg Robbie Williams new dog, Mel b Xmas present. Over the next few weeks they tweaked. after a few weeks we realised that people were trying to subscribe to it, people they did not know. It was all handrolled then.

The media started to cover it…people asked to subscribe and they started to share their stories (back with them) they did not pay (fees), people just wanted to share. eg Madonna wanting to name her baby, Geri Halliwell writing cheque to the dentist. A lot of it was trivial gossip, but occasionally was more.

In 2002, they almost blew the story of the phone hacking. In one of their stories, they mentioned d how they could dial into messages. It was 4 more years before the rogue reporter arrested and 2009 before it was pushed out by The Guardian.
They recognised that it is in popular culture that real shifts can take place. They told stories that turned out were important – but the most important was the one they could not tell. One story that got linked to them – Beckham having an affair. It was never published in the newsletter but discussed with a few people on the message board. But that was enough, the lawyers all came down on them. They did write an article about the hassle and there being no smoke without fire…but added nothing about the affair. They were on the 10 o’clock news, the front of the newspapers – all about how they were gossiping and scurrilous. The press punished them (even though everyone was after the story). The press chased them; Popbitch was still a hobby, they were stalked on way to walk. 1000’s signed up; they couldn’t cope. if they were antagonising the lawyers, they were doing something right. The PR world was worried about them, they tried to close it down. the old world was getting worried.

They were telling the stories that people in the know were talking about anyway, but not telling their readers. They just decided to open it up, the democratisation of gossip. You don’t want there to be one approved line, you want there to be many stories, the truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle….doesn’t mean everything is right, nor that they are always right.

Saville: when alive was eulogised for charity. In Popbitch, he was more likely to be a creepy gangster that too close to the girls. When he died, Popbitch said that they had the most bad stories about Saville; when alive everyone loved him, he was now a monster when dead.

But the very nature of this type of gossip mean they get things wrong. Or right.
James Corden, most newspaper coverage would suggest he is the most popular star, but there is no one recently we have had more negative stories about. The story about Ant McPartlin is not the story behind the scenes. Gordon Ramsay’s father in law ( Chris Hutcheson – ran his restaurants) They got a story about him, a second family. They wrote a blind story; his lawyers got in touch and took out a super injunction to stop the press talking about this. So could not talk about it (until recently, when Sun applied for it to be over turned. And Hutcheson is a story that keeps on giving.

They do push the bitch with the pop, but try not to be mean. They try to be sharp. but have got this wrong sometimes, They want people to feel love and warmth, not just bitching. They want people to share, you may want something sharp to take off the saccharine of the celebrity culture.

Mar 25

The Story 2018: Elijah

WARNING: Liveblogged, only minor edits

Elijah at The Story

Elijah at The Story

Elijah (and on twitter) talked about his history with Grime music and culture from London pirate radio in early 2000s.

Jamaican parents, born in Hackney, lived there all life. Got involved in music in late teens, eg in Notting hill carnival 1994. The sound developed, reggae, jungle, garage through to grime

He listened to pirate radio, and did not realise that not everyone had the same experience; he thought the radio was the radio, music is music, grew up listening too all types of local music. It was something he wanted to do that..but was at school and was being pushed toward an education – get exams, get a job, make money, make family proud. The push was not to be the guy that left behind…but he still loved music.

He got his a-levels, then studied business (to be employable). Lots of people he was listening too were selling own records..making music in house, sell locally, plough money back into the making. He was not ready to go to his mom and say he was going to be a grime dj..so off he went to Uni in Hertfordshire. It was a shock, he was not used to it being that quiet! There, he met a music partner and started to work with him. A year into degree, started on Rinse FM, a pirate station, hidden away. The first time he went, there was no one there..got to play for ages. Asked for feedback, he was just asked to come back (nothing else!)

He graduated in 2009, but the crash happened. He interviewed a lot and no one had anything; he was being told he was not fit for anything. So in end 2010, decided to take the music seriously, to be independent on his creativity. So he moved from asking for things and asking for permission to just doing things. And then people started to ask things from him. the moment he decided he was not going to look for a job and he stated he was going to make music and he had a label…so people started asking him stuff. His first album was 200 quid cheaper to do in 2 colours, that’s why black and yellow in his label colours.

He has never been in the charts, or ‘blown up’ (something he could tell his grandmas, for them to understand what he does) but has had freedom of creation, and chances to travel etc. Far better than what he expected, entering a the office job treadmill

Even though he does something niche, he wants to show it is good, he wants to get niche ideas in front as many possible..so he put his label logo up in shopping malls etc, he just put his stuff out there. Don’t have staff, interns etc, just learning things as they go. It was comfortable, doing things he wanted. Grime particularly gave them a blank canvas, there were no rules..they were forming them as they went.

Does not take for granted his living in london…he may not have lots of privileges, but still many than most places, the freedom of speech should not be take for granted.

You hear the phrase ‘bring people though’ a lot in grime..getting people into the scene, giving back to the community, share info, share with other people. help people make deals etc. He’s now doing a lot of that.

Mar 15

The Story 2018: Mandy Rose

WARNING: Liveblogged. Only minor edits/amends

Mandy Rose and Video Nation

Mandy Rose and Video Nation

About 25 years ago, she found herself watching a tape that had arrived in the post. There were shots of mirrors around the house. Then colonel Gordon Henshaw started talking..about how mentally you don’t feel older, the mirrors show you the reality of time

He would have been the last person you would go to…and wouldn’t necessary ask the question. but in his home with his own camera, he was great.

This was the first of Video Nation. 2 min stories at 10:29, just before Newsnight. Before youtube, something not seen much before.

Gordon was one of 55 people who had been given cameras a year before and asked them to record everyday life. it came from a bbc team, to open up public space and get people to tell own stories on their own terms.

They had been experimenting with camcorders with video diaries..15 mins programmes. this was intimate, brought a sense of place, a breath of fresh air instead of what was seen as documentaries then

Video Nation developed this, a group of people around the UK to record over time

Mandy had found the traditional docu making process problematic, using someone’s story for own project. She had found herself on arts programmes, the Late Show. less ethically problematic for her. She saw an advert that married video diaries and the mass observation project. this had 2 aspects..the traditional anthropological study of UK life…oxbridge went to live in Bolton to look at locals. the other aspect, a national panel was established, to write diaries about their own lives.

It owed as much to surealism as it did to journalism, as their manifesto illustrated. eg shots and gestures of motorists, the football pools, bare armpits and eyebrows.

Mass observation offered an alternative approach to docs. They started with an intriguing challenge..how to get a group of people to record everyday life. They visited the mass observation archives to get ideas.

They puzzled how to reflect it in a group of 50 people they may not be accurate in a scientific way. but they had a model to represent diversity, to reflect what was really out there. 50% women, 20% over 60, a wide range of political views, a wide range of incomes (split into 20% cohorts), and different communities

The stories were about family life, about identity, about being others, when it came to migrants.

As the tapes bagan to arrive, (they were sent in the post). it became clear the project was tapping into a rich seam, you would never know what would appear next. they refused to conform to expectations. the emotional world was rich, full of details, often tender. they were often in the home (where people felt comfortable).

It was not just handing over cameras. training was key, showed people different ways to record them self. straight to camera, behind the camera, the handheld selfie’. They encouraged people to say things aloud, to articulate values, to reflect their world, when things both good and bad, when things were on their life.

The bbc edited, the people had the right of veto. and this was critical, as people were free with what was recorded as they knew that they could see the final version and could say no (the lawyers were not originally happy with this, but it was a good thing)

Mostly it was pretty banal..occasionally things were more serious (eg something about northern ireland)

Shorts was not something the audience were that comfortable with…the call log was interested, people called up what aws the point of the programmes, were they supposed to real.

The BBC needed to find ways of reflecting the wide range of people that were out there, and this was one of the ways this was done. over time the calls stopped, the audience started to accept the form. they were seeing how there were many different views, how they reflected the people and finding out how complicated people are.

They got films they would never had asked for (eg lady with pregnancy bump) You look on yt and there are many similar videos now, (the woman at about 39 weeks) but they’re not on bbc2

Many people watched shorts, could get an audience of 5m, people never knew what they were going to get. they paid attention. people often spokes about them

When she was asked about them, she described the whole process,and she felt the interest drain away, it was though this took away the magic if the films the collaboration was not a compromise but the best way to get the story

The participants were in control of their agenda…they developed that opportunity over time, to understand how to use it

Video Nation’s success was about the balance between the edit team and the subjects, a co creation.

Mar 14

The Story 2018: Tanya Byrne

Note: this was liveblogged at The Story 2018. Minor amends and edits only

Tanya Burn

Tanya Burn

Will be talking about ‘Who am i’

It should be a simple as ‘I’m Tanya‘. But is there anyone in the room who hasn’t asked further.

To explore that, will be telling the story of how she was born

Wed 22nd Dec, her mother was due to have a caesarean the following morning. Her mother knew the family would become three in the morning. It did, and after a few weeks they went home. That was the nice story.

The real story? It was the coldest winter on record. Her mother had had 3 miscarriages; and this was 6 weeks before due date. but there were issues, and her mother, a midwife, was aware there were issues. So they agreed to do a little caesarean. After it, she was handed a child, and she said it could have been anyone.

The nice story was what she was told when she was young. The real story is what she was told later, when her father left. Again. He’d also left 3 days after the baby was taken home, he left many times

Father was Irish, mother was Guyanese. She never felt either. She asked her mom is she was guyanese..he mom said she was british. but she never fully felt british, given the names she was called etc

She felt her mom had it easier, she knew was it is. she knew she was Guyanese

Her mom was the first to leave the village…the british had come over recruiting for nhs. she came over and was not treated well, she got training. but all of the hard shifts etc. She met the father, he was a porter. When the parents got married, they became estranged from their families…that was the story she was told, that her parent’s families had disowned them.

For much of her growing up, it was her, her mother and her brother. growing up she felt raw, unfinished, she did not know how she fit, not having the family. her father died when she was 26, that was done, she has not had that history.

She managed to get her mom reconciled with her family..and things started to make sense. she saw people who looked like her..and she could see where the behaviours came from, her sisters were the same, she started to eat food she had never had. She heard stories that she never had. the women were cooking and talking, the men in the other room drinking and smoking…she started to hear stories about her mother, how she was a little hellcat. the mom used to ride bikes (not done, she would ‘lose virginity’. she used to ride to river and paddle in the river.

she learned more about her mom in those few years than she had in the 15 years before it now a lot of the stories had gone and she would not get it back.

When she writes a books, a lot of them are around identify, and she goes back to her teens. when you are a teen, there are massive life changing decisions being made. university or not, sex or not. but it is purgatory, making decisions but not feeling adult enough. maybe she feels that if her characters can work out who they are, then maybe she can

She doesn’t know who she is and maybe never well, she knows who she is not and who she does not want to be. she thought her story was done at 40. but she came out, and she moved..and she started her story again. she does not yet know her story and who she is

but she knows that wherever you are now and who you are then is not where you were then (as a teen) you’ll get there..and when you do, think about the story you are going to be able to tell

Mar 04

The Story 2018: Lisa-Marie Neudert

Note: this was liveblogged at the time. Minor amends and edits only

Lisa-Marie Neudert

Lisa-Marie Neudert

Lisa-Maria Neudert works at the Oxford Internet Institute, researching how algorithms are being used to manipulate public opinion. about how we as a society are having public conversations and how we are participating in public life

So this is about conversational propaganda. Starts with where are you in moments..eg Brexit and Trump

They are investigating whether what had influence on these, eg Russian propaganda. Not sure yet, but there is definitely an impact from online life. It is global, high impact and very real time..through the web, with your newsfeed tailored to your choices. The shared experience is getting lost. There is increasing talk about polarisation, about echo chambers, the loss of journalist gatekeepers.

We are living in an info rich environment, something that we have not done before, when there is so much content to pick and choose from. and how do we navigate? Attention is highly valued and sought after. How do you grab this as a politician? So we have seen attention hacking…computational propaganda

Story 1. Macedonian teens who figured that fake pro-Trump stories were things that people clicked on. so they set them up and waited for ad dollars to roll in

Bots amplify topics…also with micro targeting, political marketing and advertising to find the people interested. The problem = propaganda has changed. Propaganda is not new, but how it is created and used is. Propaganda started with Alexander the Great = he had storytellers telling about his deeds. But now the channels and forms have changed and increased. We are in the next evolution, making it more powerful and impactful.

At the core you still have manipulation – emotional. what is different know is the methods. It is data driven; it has access to the user data you volunteer as you use the web. Automation both for creation and distribution enables scale. It has never been as low cost to disseminate the message to the wider audience. You have take it out of big tv ads etc to social, where it is low cost. The media is more than a natural evolution. Social media has shifted and provided opportunities to easily get content to users. It has never been so easy to make videos and sites that look professional. Look at the pro-gun bots that flooded about the Parkland shooting, they were pro-gun, pro russia..eg that is was the lone wolf.

The mainstream phenomenon – the politics of post truth that is about playing around with narratives, pushing stuff that is not true as truth. trump on a daily basis, brexit. See it across Europe. It has become political mainstream. facts are being twisted to the agenda

So do facts matter any longer? Yes, they are important, but it gets harder to distinguish what is a fact..the politician not using them as much, the platforms not acknowledging that they have a problem in sharing things. Also citizens not being able to distinguish. WEF asked about trustworthiness of media..70 % of people said they had difficult to distinguish truth from falsehoods on social media

Her phd is looking at trying to find info…her training would be to gather lots of data about this. but it is difficult, as the platforms won’t share. The platforms that were being challenged to provide the information..as a researcher, she could not get access as not in the groups and the platforms not sharing with researchers

One area of focus has been junk news in elections (US, FR, DE, UK). Looking at sources that people were using. Looking at 30 million feeds and what was shared. Looked at the sources. Big 2 categories, the professional news sources (BBC, CNN, from parties, from candidates). On the other hand junk news. (ie fake news, but can’t use that term due to devaluation of it). this is conspiratorial, biased, non factual. So how much of the latter was being shared..so what were the proportions

US 1-1; FR 7-1, UK and DE 4-1.

So US is far more using junk news…UK/DE still quite high, but nowhere near the US.

Who was the target of propaganda?

They looked to see if swing states were targeted? They were sharing the largest amounts of junk information. They were being highly targeted. It is more than the internal society, it is targeted, from somewhere outside. Other areas – blacklivesmatter, gay/lesbian communities, veterans orgs. all targeted – they people who were unhappy with the political situation…tailored for them

‘Destroying the field’ is the technique…it is not so much about a specific agenda, it is about sowing dissent, confusion, making people feel happy in their everyday life

We are shedding light on a couple of things seen, only focused on a couple of networks, but there is so much more to focus on. there are more than political bodies, there are big corporates etc.

  • 2000000 employees are working for Chinese gov on social media and prop
  • 7/10 shared stories on Merkel were fake in the DE news
  • 126million Americans have seen junk news on Facebook alone. 19.1m interacted.
  • 16k dollars was what one person in Macedonia made from 1 news story..because they know how it worked.

Public discourse is at risk.

The junk news is scaleable, immediate, personal. And it leads to the next dangerous element – solutionalism. (something must be done)
That can impact freedom of speech.

Mar 04

The Story 2018 Conference: Juno Dawson

Note: this was liveblogged at the time. Minor amends and edits only

Juno Dawson

Juno Dawson

Juno Dawson

This talk may not be fully on brief… it’s about the side hustle of being a story teller. She is a storyteller first, and everything else second. but there is always the side hustle.

She got into writing a weird way; she was a primary school teacher in Brighton.. she was borrowing the books from her kids. There was a book with an apple on the front that a lot of girls were reading – it was Twilight, started borrowing more, it was felt to be a golden age – eg hunger games etc… started realising these books had everything. She had been a big fan of high school movie and these books were the equivalent.

But she didn’t recognise herself, the characters were very middle class, white, straight, cisgender etc so she decided to have a go at writing her own. Her friends were dubious…she started out on her own experience, about Pendle and growing up there. Took her and her 3 best friends and put them in the plot (it became Hollow Pike). She made goals along the way – sent chapters to friend, who was asking always what was next. then it was a challenge to finish it – that would be an achievement. She also used it as a hobby to keep herself busy…to prevent her cheating on her boyfriend, who was away a lot 🙂 (lots of laughter)

She sent it to an agent. The agent said it wasn’t ready…bu there was something there, so get it finished. Eventually she got it finished an get it accepted. She caught the tail end of big boom on teen fiction (not as easy now). she had her agent, and as her side hustle (the writing) was becoming the hustle..and teaching became less important… When she had a deal she left (she felt it was not fair on her kids as she was not focused on it)

It then stopped being fun..it was the job. Her second book was not easy, the sequel to Hollow Pike. Then the 1st book was not selling well, so asked to bench the sequel (after 1 week of sales)…it felt like she had failed, she could not talk to people.

Her advance did not go as far as she thought it would do. The agent got some, it came in chunks, the taxman got it, She had quit her job, moved to London and her money was dwindling really quick. So what could she do? Go back to teaching..so everyone would see she had failed.

She decided now she needed a side hustle. so that was the Carrie Bradshaw model..a freelance journalist. She had just read Caitlin Moran and recognised that non-fiction could have a character.

Had recognised that sex ed is often very badly done..down to good staff, not consistent. and LGBT is really poor. Teahcers don’t really know what they are meant to be talking about

So she proposed writing a non fiction book – and she knew she could sell the pitch rather than the manuscript. So she had a new book deal…a small advance for ‘Being a Boy’. It sold well and the publisher asked her to write ‘Being a Gay’ But she could not write this; however, inspiration struck and she decided to call it ‘This book is gay‘ (after lots of telling kids should not use this form a lot at school!)

The publisher agreed..she would also interview lots of people of different types. Through this process, she recognised that she herself was trans. The book has just been published in its 22nd language. Has lots of good feedback about it.

The reason she is still here, writing full time and speaking, the side hustle of writing non fcition has become more lucrative.

Storytelling and novel writing is now a lovely hobby again. fiction writing brings her the greatest satisfaction. The pressure has been removed and she does not have to churn out fiction, so not reliant on the advance checks. She has time to breath. Thinks her next novel is one of her best works.. it was fun to write, wrote last summer over 3 months, character just came to her. She was supposed to be writing The Gender Games…but the story was demanding to be told.

The reviews have started to come in and they have been glowing, she thinks the readers can tell how much she enjoyed writing it.

And the reason she can do that is the hustle of non-fiction…she’s just had her first commission from Cosmo.. now shes back to where she was in 2010…really enjoying the storytelling.

Maybe the take home message is get good at something and then get good at something else.

Mar 04

The Story 2018 Conference: Ministry of Stories

Note: this was liveblogged at the time. Minor amends and edits only

Ministry of Stories

Ministry of Stories

From their site: The Ministry of Stories is a local writing and mentoring centre in east London, where anyone aged eight to 18 can come and discover their own gift for writing.

What do they do:

Writing and mentoring space in East London. Hidden behind a shop. Inspired by the Superhero shop and story telling group in the US. Set up about 7 or 8 years ago.

So how did they come to sell monster supplies?

They had to work out what type of the shop they wanted, to provide the story foundations. They started off with 3 ideas: for aliens; for young pickpockets and then finally settled on the shop for monsters – Hoxton St Monster Supplies. They created the fiction around the shop (to encourage storytelling)- ie it opened the same day that Frankenstein was published. Their early products were related, eg a neck bolt tightener.

Kids come along and engage with the signs on the door, with the product etc, eg they set up everything as though it is a real monster supplies. A few principles….the shop is for monsters, it is not about them. It is a very witty joke told with a very straight face. There is no landfill (so recyclable, reusable etc). Products such as fang floss (string), zombie breath mints , ear wax fudge etc. The sales from the products allow them to provide the workshops for free to the local children (looking for more fundraising ideas, eg sponsorship, licensing)

The absence of the monsters in the shop catalyses imaginations – even the cat is invisible. the effort they put into their fiction, gives children permission to make stories

Oct 09

SMW:Wimbledon and IBM

Another session from Social Media Week London, this one social media, Wimbledon and their partnership with IBM.

Alex Willis (Wimbledon)

In 2011 the Wimbledon team set out a 3 year plan to improve their digital experience. At the time they had started to engage on social, with 300k FB fans and 150k Twitter followers. They had 2 websites (one for all year round and one for the championships), and used radio and video; they had an app same as site. But their channels were not connected.

Their 3 year plan was about:

  • Extending reach
  • Ensuring everything on brand
  • Extend channels and apps

Their position is “to be the next best thing to being there”

  • Some numbers: 1.7m downloads of mobile app, 400k on iPad. These both provide a personalised experience. They have a ‘live at Wimbledon TV channel online/apps/YouTube. They had 1.3m streams – 58% of this on the .com. 17.1m visit website; 4.5m social audience. The .com is 80% of the digital audience – on desktop. (Wimbledon audience very different to CPG trends for example – so at work?, content needs the real estate?)
  • The have developed a clear tone of voice: Tradition, heritage, prestige, pinnacle, English. A slightly bumbly English gentleman. They look to be relevant, useful, unique.
  • During the Championships, they have 1 person per platform, to make sure they make the best of the each platform and to ensure the different roles are clear. (this is temp only, rest of year it is just Alex)
  • They have far higher outbound activity and earned conversations than the other grand slams. They have extra freedom as they are not limited by commercial constraints, they don’t promote sponsors and they can stay true to the brand.
  • They have started to focus on content partners for the different platforms. They worked with Grabyo for video; with specific player interviews and Q&A. Partnering with players who then shared on own accounts; they did some quirky stuff with them as well in videos. . They ran different promotions per platform, eg a Queue Selfie on Twitter, #MyWimbledon on Google+, Live video channel on YouTube. They had a Facebook photobooth in the players lounge, but it did not get any traction. They tried a Murray Digigraph, tweet and get a response from Murray.
  • They have experimented a lot with Video headlines on YouTube, they can be a lot more informal then their same video on their own site. They also did a content partnership with YouTubers and got Tom Daley involved in a partnership.
    New in 2014 was Hill vs World. Which was an in-ground activation, something they are trying to do more. They asked questions on the screen and compared answers with those not there.
  • They have tested out foreign language, so 3 Chinese feeds on Weibo, geotargeted Japanese content on Facebook
  • They have had very good growth – without paid media. FB1.6m to 2.4m; Instagram 100k to 200k; Twitter 700k to 1.18m; G+ to 1.2m. YT 15m views in the 2 wks, a 61% growth. Facebook ORGANIC reach of 12.7m on 6th July.

Chris Thomas (IBM)

Their requirements were frequent data updates (every 5 mins); the ability to identify trends and themes; be part of the conversation; demo the power of social media to their clients; provide easy to use visualisations; fully automated; offend nobody (so heavy filtering and management). Their social media hub at Wimbledon was in public view and was used for client entertainment.

Tech wise they provided Watson Content analytics, which is NL analysis. The IBM emerging tech services provided apps; the IBM research/Customer Experience labs identified influencers. It was all hosted in the Soft Layer (cloud). It was all presented through a very, very nice dashboard.

The dashboard allowed you to dig, slice and dice in may ways. Volume of conversations, trending topics, sentiment. Eg on 3 July sentiment dipped negatively, all because Sharapova commented about Tendulka. (#Wimbledon mentioned stayed positive). They could did down to show what was being said, they could then amend and change topics to keep focus on the tennis.

They measured influencers across the day/topics and this allowed them to understand the conversations and connect with it. They measure (and this seemed to be on Twitter only):

  • Engagement – responses
  • Activty – number of posts
  • Authority – who RT etc
  • Timeliness – how quick were responses
  • Followers – numbers

In summary, their key learnings were to integrate the digital and social strategies, you need a consistent brand experience and you need to organise yourself to listen and act. You need to have the right people in place who understand the digital world.

Some responses to audience questions

  • An audience question was about the bottom line and Wimbledon are in the slightly unusual position that it does not matter for them, there is no objective to make money from the digital. But it does open up opportunities as they are using the metrics to identify new territories to focus on based on interest, allows them to focus.
  • They have started a process to engage with the other grand slams to co-ordinate some activity across the year.
    For IBM it is a showcase for new business to show what they can do with partners
  • Wimbledon continuously look to innovate (and are planning next year). They tried a Fantasy format this year.
  • They are starting to use their historic archives to keep engagement going all year.
Oct 03

SMW London – Social across the Shopper Journey

For Social Media Week London, I managed to get to go to a few sessions, fitting them in around the working day. The first one I attended was run by Ogilvy, who presented about using social across a shopper journey – Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Loyalty, Advocacy.

Well presented and a good model, it sort of set the scene however for the week – I’m probably not quite the right audience for this week, it looks to be more targeted as the less experienced end of those who work (or would like to work) in social media. I’ve been using a similar model for years! So I only attended a few talks and looked for some new figures and case studies

If you’re interested here are the slides:

Some interesting facts and figures that came out of this session

  • 22% of Facebook fans (of a brand) were ambassadors. But 55% of ambassadors are not Facebook fans. So you need to look outside the obvious and easy places if you want to engage with different types of advocates. Just like it used to be before Facebook
  • As social moves to mobile, we continue to look for easier ways to pay – as form fillign is terrible on the phone. WeChat did a brilliant promotion to get people to add their details, leveraging New Year when Chinese typically send people envelopes of money. 5million joined, 20million envelopes sent. All of them added payment details which can be used for future social purchases
  • Adding a + to a bitly link can provide numbers (if not liked down). This was actually something I didn’t know, so worth going for that!
Oct 25

Playful13 – Nature of Games

Pippin Barr – What are curious games

Pippin is a game designer, artist and critic who has done many wonderful things that you’re probably already too busy cooing over to bother finish reading this. He’s just spent the past month working to create the Digital Marina Abramovich Institute, where visitors can experience exercises designed by Abramovich and view some performance art. He’ll be talking about Curious Games.

His wife calls the games he makes curious games. Will be talking about a bunch of his games, and reflect what games can do. So what does it all mean? Games allow for interactivity, something that movies do not. You can ask a question and it gives an answer, or asks a question back. A game ai made a few years ago was literal – Guru Quest. You could ask any question, or ask about the meaning of life etc. You would have these conversations. And sometimes it brings values. It’s just a chatbot – but a guru can say anything that may be important, so works well. It can lead ot deep thoughts or adsurbities. Allows player to think about things.

Games allow us to take on interesting roles- what if one of us was God. So the flood story – runs the worlds, gets bored, floods everything and starts again. So ‘Let there be Smite’ to play this role. Play god, so smite or forgive. You get asked. As the population in the game increases, there are more sinners, more dialog boxes. You change behaviour. you don;t think, you just click and to stop the dialog boxes. A moral disintegration of not caring. If there’s too much sin, hit the panic button, flood and kill everyone, start again.

We ask if games are worthwhile. Are we asking if this is fun? Or make a game about whether the game is worthwhile. Made a game about ‘The Artist is Present’ based on Marina Abromovic. So you go to Moma, NY, (in the game) and if it is open (game had same opening hours as real place). You ‘buy’ ticket, you walk through gallerys and find queue. You can wait. And wait. Queue moves every 24mins. So you may bypass the queue, walk to the front to see what is happening. A person sitting in a chair, opposite a woman in a red dress. This was a real installation – and now the game allows you to do this. You need too decide if it is worth waiting in the queue. It can take 5 hours to get through to the front of the queue.

What makes a game what it is. If you change a small piece, if it is the same game or is it something else. SO played with Pong. Made 36 different versions. Called it Pongs. Changes rules. How the paddles move. Left and Right as well as up and down. You can graft something on, so every so often you get answered a trivia question before you can carry on the game – get it right, get more points. You need to be good at more than one thing – game as well as geography for example. You can change the way it looks. The ball is little people, the paddles are flags and it becomes about refugees.

But is it art? Causes controversy, the question, So wanted to make a game, to get player to think about the question. Made Art Game. In B&W as art game. You play as an artist, live in NY, live in studio. You contribute to a group art show. You have to make something..as you paint, it turns into a game of Snake. When you lose…you have a painting. You are trying to fail beautifully to make art. Once you have some, the curator may or may not like the pictures. And some people never get a picture in the show. The you get to see your picture in the ‘museum’.

So what’s wrong with my iPhone? Video games played on hardware. Interested in iphone, it is annoyingly perfect. I wanted to make a game that is the opposite to the ease. It is Snake..but different controls. You can tilt the phone, Or turn the phone. Thrust mode – you thrust the phone in the direction of the snake. All different ways of playing Snake, the phone becomes a different object, it’s a different experience.

So Marina Abromavic emailed him…and he entered into this collaboration. She is creating an institute, where people can go to learn about appreciation of time, space etc. So made digital version. It is the only real version that exists at the moment, as the physical building does not exist (yes). Opened a few days ago. So exercises. Slow motion walk, as slow as possible up the ramp. There are representations of real performance art – climbing naked up and down a ladder. An dit changes – because in the game, it can last forever.

Finally, wanted to make a game about death. Wanted to generate a feeling about this experience. (showed demonstration)

Oct 25

Playful13: Making Mishief

Dani Lurie. Making Mischief

Graphic designer and a writer. Is really highly excitable. Especially about getting people to interact with the world in interesting ways. So that brings us to mischief. It has traditionally been bad. Associated with troublemakers. So why is it good, why worth talking about. When a toddler, her and her brothers had broken the parent’s VCR by feeding it biscuits. That was mischief. Bit it’s about learning, experiencing, Experiential learning is an important developmental process, how we grow

When studying psychology, leaned ot enjoy experiments, developing them. TO allow people to do just enough to shake up the world. Look at the 60s shock experiment (Milbrun), to see how many people would increase the shocks for people, 26 out of 40 administered the full amount – even up to lethal dose. After this, they looked at crowd size. they devised experiment, to get people to point up, to see how many people had to be pointing before others looked up. Increased group size lead to increased behaviour. 1 person gives 40%, then 85% when group was 40 students. It revealed the nature of conformance behaviour, without providing distress. That was one they recreated as psych students/We had been given a licence to mess with the mundane – silliness had a real purpose. And that is mischief.

See it as a way to conduct experiments, to learn by doing. Explore mundane by provoking else. They don’t have to be bad. it is to test and discover and have fun. so positive or purposeful mischief. Last year, Mcdonalds sold fries of all sides for equiv of £1. So students ordered so much fries they brought them out in trays – potato parties. They caused social trouble, but had fun.

We created a magazine, with content about testing and about investigations. We tested hangover cures (not good for writer), we tested ways to juice an orange, from syringe to run over with car. We anted to experiment with things we had only dreamed of doing, with things that had not been done before. Based round one question, what would happen if. If we planted a guerilla garden, made cheese, hold a pen race, walking tour at a music festival.

Some of our favourates. What would happen if you posted a banana. 21m items posted through Royal Mail. Some don;t make it. How far would they go to get items from one place to another. Would they deliver things smelly. We put stamps on items – jeans, biscuits, crisps, DVD. the crisp packet arrived empty, Then we tried items of funny shapes or textures, to outfox auto sorting systems. Scarf, umbrella, clothes peg. Et. For umbrella, we had to distract the clerk to get it into the system, It did make it to the destination (the recipients did not know, and got told off nearly every time). Scarf did not make it. The long thin letter was folded in half. The sponge did not make it (but stamps may have fallen off).

Next a group of suspicious items. Flour in a box, that arrived. The flour in a bag, refused by first postoffice, as it was unwrapped. they told the next that the packaging ws wrapping paper. Had a normal envelope, but stamp upside down – and that is treason…(outdated law). The letter contained the word ‘Treason’. We think it was received..recipient had not confirmed but discussed hate mail so that may have been it. The porn DVD did not arrive.

Smelly things. Brie – had been rewrapped. And had changed shape, so not a ‘letter’..so recipient was charged more. Wrapped banana arrived, the unwrapped did not. The vial of ‘urine’ did arrive fine

Sentimental items The flowers arrived fine. The stuffed toy was ok. The hello kitty cup did not make it.

Last we sent valuable items. Keys – arrived. Oyster card arrived fine. Lottery ticket, was fine – although postman advised choice of numbers was not good. The £5 and £10 arrived fine.

Next project – contacting people who share your name. WIth the internet, you have to share it with a lot more people. Her shared name person, was creative, filmmaker, lives in New York. She decided to contact, because she could. Emails led to Skype chat. Very good conversation, a lot of similarities. The NY person had visited home town and stayed with people who knew her family. We tried a few others in the team, a lot morenames

One last project. Playing hide and seek in busy public space. Added a few twists to make it interesting. FIrst play in bookshop or library and you learn a new fact when hiding – the one with best fact wins. Then Halfterm toyshoppocolypse. Play in children’s toyshop a the busiest time. There is no strategy to game, it is terrifying. Only option is to keep moving. Most players found quickly. Last game is Ride and Seek. Playing it on a moving train. You start at the station and need to stay on train, but can move around between carriages at stops. Once hider found, then will follow the seeker.

Oct 25

Playful13: Designing Controllers

George Buckenham – Things that go Squish
George “makes games and things” – often silly (Punch The Custard, A Bastard), often hacking existing things (Proteus Frog mod; Sweareoke Guitar Hero mod) and sometimes just straight up, fiendish games (Hell Is Other People, CUBES). George is going to be talking about videogames and their relationship with the hardware

Makes videogames and other things. Some physical. But you can make more money with videogames.

One thing that goes squish is custard…Punch the Custard. You have to punch your custard more times than the other person! You put one hand on foil and a wire in the custard, then you complete the circuit. And it does not go everywhere, as it goes hard when under pressure, so does not fly out. It’s a fun game..but not a better game than custard you just play with! The game is an excuse to touch custard!

Another game, made controllers for game, boxes with many coloured controllers. When building them, lots of websites that you can buy arcade components. Lots of tech specs to choose from. What response, what kind of dimple do you need on button etc. There is a whole world of choices. And a whole world of people discussing the various specs and the choices to be done.

Controllers have become more standardised, which he feels is shame, (but that’s the market), but there are opportunities to build your own specific ones – but far too expensive! So thinking about it from he controller, the standard. So what works with the existing controllers, what works well ergonomically, what do the controllers represent. Are the 2 triggers on standard controllers like cats paws? What is a game that will feel satisfying with the possible control movements.

A climbing game, where you have to hold down the keyboard keys to ‘grip’ on the climbing wall, So there is physical mapping – tired fingers at the end of it.

He finds it exciting when you can work on a game and decide the controller. You experiment with the form factor. What is the right distance between buttons, how they interact. You can manage the twitchiness, how things react. The connection between control and game adds up to a satisfying experience.

Oct 25

Playful 13: Designing with playfulness

Duncan Fitzimmons. Director at Vitamins

A small and nimble design agency; they work across a wide range of industries and applications and everything is multi-disciplinary.
Look to create a sense of magic and wonder in everything they do. The talk is about how they do that and how playfulness is involved.
Samsung came along; about designing a phone for the elderly market. They were concerned about that, had seen some of the phones, not really what they wanted to do. But how they could make it better. When doing research, the audience gave ‘expected answers’. So they looked to add playfulness to research around Europe. So they gave bananas, with stickers and string etc and got people to design what they wanted using that.

Some of the issues are about how people use the phone and the barriers to using it, how they explored the phone. Some of their ideas, they made sure user manual was clear and engaging. Designed as a hardback book, with step guide into set up. Everything was all in one place – the phone was embedded IN the manual, and you worked through the book as you set it up.

For Battersea performance group, challenged to make a cheap device that makes the audience think their mind is being read. They created something that changed based on galvinistic skin reaction. Some of this transferred to their work on snowboarding/Nokia. They created lots and lots of sensors and just played with them, to understand what could be done. Went to snowdome, did they work on snow? They then knew what was possible, then went to talk to snowboarders, the fans, to find out what people wanted to see in performing etc. Created a set of sensors that could be worn, then streamed data to Nokia phone. Data can be reviewed, can be visualised so that spectators could see what happens. Gave extra insight into the performance; were they confident, how did they feel.

Another project with experimentation, the folding wheel project. look back to 1870s, a patent was filed for the wheelchair as we know it. It has not really changed a lot since then – and there are lots of problems with travelling with them on planes. Use of materials and refined ergonomics. The chair part folds, but the wheel doesn’t. So how do you fold a wheel? You experiment. They played. The structure could fold, but what about the tyre? how can you fold this. The mockup, they develop prototypes. The product went on sale on February. Won transport design of the year.

Latest one they are working on, has had the longest period of playful development. A calendar and project planner they have designed for themselves. To fill gap between large scale software and the low level ones that don’t have enough power. Projects last between 1-3 months, they have 4-12 people. They had no tools. They created a Lego wall planner. They have a view of next 3 months. They can book in time. Easy to tell at glance what is available at the time. To tie it into what they are using, such as shared Google calendars. They can take a photo, send the email and that then uploads the data onto their calendars. They started with lego on wall, added it, a full journey of discovery. They needed to know when key deadlines – so 2 bricks high wall planner. Easy to plan time. You can’t move things into a place where there is brick. By being tangible, it makes it easier to work with.

Sep 25

SMW13: Social, Sport and ROI

Hosted by:Richard Ayres, CEO Seven League @7League @richardayers
Panel: Xavier Bidault, NBA @NBAUK; Abigail Sawyer, The Jockey Club @TheJockeyCLub @ajesawyer ; Richard Clarke Arsenal @Arsenal @MrRichardClarke

The premise of the panel
Is the ability to influence your sporting community and the wider media landscape through social media is a blessing or a curse?
Is there risk for of raising your head above the parapet? Do the haters make it hateful or exciting?
What do sports and their participants want out of social media? Reach? Retention? Revenue?
And what about all the participation in sport that goes on every day but isn’t professional – is there more return to be had on the social media investment of all those runners, cyclists, swimmers, golfers… ?
And how on earth do you measure engagement anyway, when all the platforms’ analytics are black boxes.

Some opening examples.

  • Chicago Fire Soccer Club – team getting some stick. They posted a 1500 word rant about it on their website. Went national
  • You get ManCity putting hashtags onto kit and pitches
  • ECB did #rise tag during the ashes. They made it ubiquitous. In the background and in the media content
  • MLS brings data, fan social and pictures, commercials and corprorate messages all together. The have sponsors involved, giveaways etc
  • Mass participation sports, accelerating usage, eg Limelight sports. it connects chip to social tweets, puts tweets from your network onto screens as you go through checkpoints
  • Then you have the power of the celebrity, athletes etc. eg StewartCink 1.13m followers, good at it, good at adding corporate messages in it

Richard Clarke, Arsenal

  • Managing editor for Arsenal football club. manages the strategy, head of content etc. set the editorial tone across website, tv, print, social media, apps, etc. anything digital or physical that communicates. Strategy is Reach, engage and monetise. Job for Clarke is the first 2. Wants to create arsenal fans around the world. Is a large arsenal fan, from age of 5. from age of 10, wrote reports. For last 12 yrs have written Arsenal reports
  • Reach: site 6m, facebook 18.5m, google 1.4m, newsltter, .5m, twitter 2.8m, TV 100m
  • The TV content goes onto website later. TV show every match weekend, around the world (not UK). Online video only to digital members.
  • Have multiplatform approach. Pushing hard on mobile – have responsive design introduced this year. Also on instagram, YT, soundcloud and pinterest,
  • Instagram has .25m followers. all taken from RC mobile phone. don’t use professional shots, does gritty personality shotss. Added captions and narrative around them. 1-2 pictures per day
  • YT: had channel on tour. got a lot of engagement. up for 3wks when touring far east. footage on that was viewed extensively – 20yrs worth if viewing in 3 weeks.Just developing soundcloud. Pinterest are there, looking to be more active
  • Twitter takeovers, they have a player take over and answer lots of questions via the official channels. they have 2 people doing them, writing the replies, curating the responses. Will do vine video that is tweeted, intro. They are rapid turnaround., Don’t give much notice, don’t tell fans until just before. Video put up rapidly. Response has been phenomenal, use specific hashtag for each payer #askxxxxx They changed it from #twittertakeover to the personalised one and it changed the takeup completely. They often trend globally duing the period of time – they keep the time short and that drives to trending.
  • Looking at the tour videos, they often got players to voice the videos, to connect player and fan.
  • Video do not get a lot of engagement, compared to Instagram, a good picture is better engagement. easier to do images.

The Jockey Club and Abigail Sawyer

  • Group digital manager of the Jockey Club, exists under royal charter. all money goes back into the sport. Do lots of things, have 15 racecourses, aintree, epsom, cheltenham, etc.
  • Vision: underpins what they do on social media. They play a role to make British racing the best it can be for the next 50 years and belond. Stopped being regulator about 8 years ago, focus on making the best of the assets. So not often know who they are, or want to complain to them etc. They are at the beginning of a brand journey to be more consumer facing and social is key. want people to say they have gone racing with the Jockey Club (rather than at a course)
  • Look at Frankel. He is a hero to a lot of fans. he transcended the sport in the way he was dominant. Frankel would put about 20% on a gate if racing. Unlikely to seethe likes of Frankel again
  • The digital vision, it is about helping people understand the sport. about 6m people go racing across British courses, 1.8m with JC courses. only 20% are committed race goes. by getting them to understand the sport, you can move the casual to committed
  • Platforms. Focus on Faceobok and Twitter, then use Soundcloud, YouYube and Flickr to enrich the content. There are 2 distinct audiences, the industry and fans. Racing took social to their hearts early, with trainers and jockets being on there first, then the journalists, then the punters, then the rest of the fans.
  • Facebook – the Frankel factor. They use history, heritage and heroes on their Facebook pages. A picture of Gingert McCain/Amberley House to help promote Crabbes Ginger sponsorship. The community love to appreciate their heroes. so they used ginger/Amberleigh house who they knew would be popular to help this sponsorship. They want to get people behind the scenes. Eg Frankel at stud. About 20k fans.
  • Twitter is the industry platform. but there are so many industry people on Twitter that is hard to get cutthrough. So they use their access to do this.
  • Moving forward…They have lots of rich content, but people have jobs to do and can’t necessarily have time to grow.. They have launched the going, multimedia, multiauthor blog, the idea is to bring to life the stories around the industry, shedding light into the areas. So interviews and pictures and stories around the people who work in it.
  • At the moment, they have soft metrics. Social Media from the racecourses, it is selling tickets packages etc, at the top level it is about selling the bigger story. That may change. They are looking at improving sites, making it easier. they are the soft sell into the hard sell.

Xavier Bidault,NBA EMEA head of digital

  • Global brand. 760m fans, Games/programming in 215 countries. games.produce own tv channels. 10k hours annually of content. 16 local web sites. They need to adapt to the multiple fans, US is different to Philippines. They try and do lots of entertainment, not just the game. they run is as a sports entertainment brand.
  • Reach on social channels – 455m globally across ALL acocunts and platofrms. 191m Facebok. 14m in instagram, 117m Twitter., YT5.8m. A lot of fans are outside US. The finals had 7.8m tweets around it
  • Objectives: growth, content. engagement, partnerships. Some fans only ever have social media touchpoint, never watch games or go to official content. They produce locally relevant content, so US sees different to UK. They have good relationships with the platforms. They see social media as a servicing tools for media partners. They try and include media partners in social strategy.
  • Different content for diff platforms. Create exclusive content for YT, eg behind the scenes and focus on bloopers. On Tumblr, which is slightly older audience, then pushing the legends and the iconic shots. Pinterest, skews slightly female, and see more shopping and display of products than any other platforms. Instagram used in video and will be experimenting, eg video debates.
  • Top fan wants on FB: player stories, video top 10s, behind the scene, infrographics. Fans share photos and videos (photos more)
  • Top fan wants on Twitter: tune in reminders, best time is 2 hrs before the game (they know they get more viewers this way). Popular are real time video highlights, realtime updates, links to breaking news, Push often within 30secs. They can sponsor these videos.

Questions from the Audience

Q: What are the resources
Jockey Club: one person abby in comms. plus 1 at each course part time. Use agencies for specific campaigns
NBA: in US, in house, marketing depart. plus involve other departments. outside US, have 13 local Facebook pages. depends on market, sometime with agencies, partners etc.
Arsenal – have 30 people, 15 on editorial. 7 journs, half production. all internal. Social is mostly journalists. some consultancy from agencies.
Don’t use agencies a lot as they need real fans who know the sport on the accounts. it’s little things example from Jockey club, little things like switching images, horses race one way round a course

Q: will you start doing UK live updates (NBA)? is there an audience at that time.
A: they do it for the finals, and a few events. putting more resources in EU in general, eg the UK. you will see live stuff.

Q: is there commercial calculation around social that is value back to the partners?
A|: NBA do a lot of sponsored content. fans hate post about sponsors that has nothing to do with game or event, it needs to be great content that is sponsored. not just content around the sponsor. Most of the time it is part of bigger package, try and attribute value, but often part of bigger value.

Q: Are sponsors increasing asking for social.
A: Arsenal. yes, similar to NBA. our partners work together to come up with content that is relevant and works well with players. Some stuff has been brilliant! testament to relationships, this has mainly been around video.

Q: wifi enabled stadiums standard in US, only just in the UK. Will UK want to watch sport like this
A: Asenal – yes, it would be great. it’s hard to get signal consistently. it would open up the scope a lot more on every level, eg around monetisation. There is now the expectation of this. Sees huge opps for fan in stadium and their mates, connecting inside and outside. No stadium yet here can do that
A: host – business case if longer scale, and few sports will do that. difficult to get them to commit. It’s more than internal beleif, than anything else. They are not sure that fans will want to experience the game with it. but there is plenty of time usually to look at phones etc, even if onbly for 15mins at halftime, you could build a good case.

Q: what are your objectives..it was not clear
A: Jockey – growing reach. plus indi campaigns for monetisation, eg xmas, showed a good return Reach 10. Engagement 10. Revenue 5
A: NBA: bit of everything depends on country., So UK. Reach/rentention mainly. next step is monetisation, push to official destination, to get people to watch Revenue – 4 in UK (US, more about revenue. audience already engaged, high reach. not primary focus to grow. It is about sponsors and revnue)
A: Arsenal. decent reach want more. Want to retain and engage as key one. Reach high, engage extremely high, monetisation mid level

Q: what systems are you using for tracking and monitoring? what CRM systems? How do you get data out of social
A: Arsenal – the digital membership..you had to pay previously for access to AV. it was 3.99 month, then linked to memberships scheme around ticketing scheme. Now it is free for all registered users, as from the summer. So this gets the data. Uptake has been good.

Q: different social platfomrs. So you have a way of monitoring who is active on the pages. how many oare paying tickets etc, buying merchandise. Whichis most effective platform
A: Aresenal – there is a lot of work going on around CRM. done by commerical team. Have not seen that insight yet.
A: NBA: tonnes of data but hard to combine. how to cross reference etc. working on it
A: Racing – looking at it. new CRM tools as moving to new ticketing system but can be really dififcult to analyse, with people having user names etc

Q: how do you manage content when having bad press
A: Arsenal – difficult, but he is a fan, so gives him perspective on the values and traditions and the way the club presents itself. more difficult, importnat to keep offering a consistent product and stand for what you beleive in. they have a lot of positive stuff to beleive in
A: Racing – they own the venues, but don’t own the ‘players’. often don’t know who is there. Thye have to look at if this is a customer service issue, as venue owner. they make sure person is given attention if complain. More general negativity, they have key mesages and that they believe in but also fans as well. Elements where you want to share emotions and show that. Eg horse welfare they are well positioned, will engage constructive argument

Q: is there a robust response plan?
A: Racing…you can always have bad days. but how you deal with people is your brand. they work hard on the people and their repsonses and how to turn criticism to advocay.
A: NBA: try to have constant tone across all the accounts. thre is a lot that they can’t do (eg comment on transfers) we do same with sponsors. We get less than some, as they are the league, rather than a team. get some back comments, they try and turn them around in the same way
A: racing – one of the most powerful thing you can do on FB is show them you are human. Repsond with a name. so they know they are talking to a person and horse racing fan.

Q: on twitter account, you only follow 5 persons. why? (arsennal)
A: Arsenal – fair comment. it’s a bit of a legacy. started at the beginning and it grew and hten there was too many pople to have greater meaning. They do monitor sentiment on everything that happens, e see replies and DMs. it grew quicker than expected.
A: Racing – they follow industry people back, it’s not practical. Twitter is about listening and comms with industry,

Q: do you as a club, etc and your sponsors seek to take hold of players accounts. why or why not?
Host – it used to be covered under image rights, now standard contract does not include digital rights for a football players.
A: Arsenal – asked some of the players ot use the hashtag. They used it on the tour. Until they signed urzel, they did not have a player with more than a club., but everyone else had. they asked the players to retweet the officual channels for the tour. They took a player to film a video around London, the player started taking picture and it turned into a live twitter event
A: racing. all the jockeys are all on there, all tweeting away. There are strict integrity rules, eg not allowed phones at certain parts of racing day, It is about public data. you can go to Newmarket and watch the horses working on the gallops, so may know more about horse than jockey. They are really good for sport, they get involved, they are advocated.
A: NBA – players are powerful media entities. NBA does not control what they do and say. Top players love it, very good at it know what to post (even if using team). they have a few rules, eg not during or immediately before a game. they induct all players and this includes social media etc. A lot of players do contact them for guidance

Q: In some countries, you can’t access facebook, in other counties, there are more popular platforms.

A: NBA – work with biggest platforms in china. In russia, use biggest platform, work directly with them, workthrough partnerships get specifc sites and social media. Those are the main 2 big exceptions.
A:Arsenal – are on the chinese platforms. THey have a chinses journalist a lot of games, they do bespoke content, they do across the platforms.

Jun 06

LeWeb London: Peer to Peer lending

Sharing Economy Money Panel
Moderated by: Nina Dos Santos, News Anchor & Correspondent, CNN World Business Today
Samir Desai, Co-Founder & CEO, Funding Circle
Raffael Johnen, Co-Founder & CEO, Auxmoney.com
Renaud Laplanche, CEO, Lending Club
For established industries, the sharing marketplace — with rapidly shifting social, cultural, and technological disruptions — is forcing them to respond too. Never more true than in the financial sector. Does crowd funding threaten traditional funding sources indefinitely? We’ll hear from the $$$ experts about the state of funding and financial models in The Sharing Economy.

Leweb London 2013 - Day2
Photo by: Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/

NDS Crowdsourced funding is growing – twice as big as last year. For Funding Circle it has trebled since last year. About 10m a month,
Rafael, tell me what you do

RJ: we facilitate peer to peer lending. Loans btw 1k and 20k. We started last year at first 2p2, now we are doing secured loads – can pledge car as collateral.

NDS: the collateral is changing, what can be put up as collateral
RJ: it’s an interesting market, removing the bank as the intermediary
RL: Business has trebled…we will faciliate $2b, but total market is 15 trillion.

NDS: are you diversify to offer new products…(out of 2p2)
RL: we often get used for credit card balances, we offer a lower cost way to pay these off, a more predictable way to manage the credit

NDS: if people are investing in debts, they expect to be paid back
RJ: we don’t guarantee it, but we have a good record of predicting return, has been 6-7%. The company goes after the borrower.
SD: we lend to established businesses, trading for 2 years. We have full risk analysis, return is 6-8%. Business lending is political…we now have gov money through lending circle.

NDS?: how big will you get?
SD: I think this will be a huge [art of the market, thinking 10-20%. Our survey found that 77% of borrowers would come to them first. it’s faster, quicker, it’s internet based (no need to go into branch). Half of our loan apps are outside business hours. It’s not an alternative, it’s a better product. We started off to £50k, now up to £1m. We are getting same kind of acceptance rates
RL: there is a transformation in way the industry is received. We don’t get the bank rejects only, we have a better customer experience, we have lower cost and more convenient, has generated positive selectance, get first choice.
RJ: same thing, plus great market for startup people to get a loan. Banks don’t touch them as high risk. If you do risk management right and get the right things in place, then manageable to do. It is a new niche, where too expensive for banks

NDS: in Germany it’s hard, lots of regulations. Will yours get big enough to regulate?

NJ: getting regulation could be good, gives stamp of approval. In Germany, heavily regulated, we comply anyway with a lot of the demands. We are asking for gov support, we are giving gov the tool to provide capital to people or companies

NDS: in UK, companies can’t get access
SD: we do, central gov, regional gov go through us. We have been lobbying for regulation and will be from next year…it helps for our credibility, That we are serious and is here to stay.

NDS: the US doesn’t like regulation either?
RL: we fell into the framework already. But as a matter of public policy we worked hard to be the good guys and the financial services see us as that. We are transparent., great service and people like us. We start with a tight credit policy, with different levels of return. Investors can choose their risk. We get about a 3% loss.
RJ: again 3-4% default rate across the full spectrum
SD: default is about 1.5%, and slightly higher return 6-8%

NDS: how about China, will growth be there?
SD: possble. we are at a generation shift, with finance. We have a shift in public trust in banks. The core business of banks, loads, balance transfers etc, the first real time internet coming to finance. So not just China, but western markets as well
RJ: we though there was a better way to allocate capital. We thought about how we could be more efficient. We were not waiting for right time, we had the idea and went for it
RL: ideation often comes from outside. I though it was nuts to pay the high credit card rate. So that was the business problem, most people it was fine, went to change it We had a slow build up in first few years. Now 6 years, we have investors earning, we have large investors.

NDS: do companies know what companies invest in and can they help them succeed
SD: yes, it’s a market place., you can chose which ones to invest in – ot have them assigned. you can have a relationship, we have restaurants, furniture makers etc. We have a lot doing local investments. It’s not about anonymity, it can be about transparency. YOu can see the data, the loans, the defaults and explore it, Owners seem to like being asked questions – that means someone is interesting.
RJ: we talk to investors and borrowers, learn what they are after, starting early and it helped scale it
RL: transparency is key, it is safer and sounder, people can see what happens, unlike banks that hide things
NDS: but will it be safer
RL: We have better matching, we have investor and lender matching, It’s not pooled. All of us have matching, it’s not leveraging, it’s one to one

NDS: can the banks learn from that?
RJ: we built our tech from the ground up. Banks have a long history, difficult to move away from process

NDS: is the virtual currency the indictment of the financial system? What do you think of bitcoin
RL: you need more stability.. You can’t have that much volatility. and more liquidity, then prices stabilise. Not a buyer or lender of bitcoin

NDS: you are backed by VC
SD: we lend to different types of companies. Mainstream – restaurants, etc. We lose money to get to the scale. A bank won’t lend us money, our VC are supportive

nDS: could you start a similar company through crowdfunding?

SD: there may by the opportunity, Need to to decide if get big quick or slow growth
RJ: it takes time to build the important pillars and only then can you scale up.

NDS: the sharing economy is alive, but you three are competitors.
RJ: it is a local market. We are Germany only.

NDS: where will you be in a year
RL: managing growth of platform, keep doing what doing, keep growing
RJ: it’s all about growth. we know it works
SD: Regulated, and bigger.

Jun 06

LeWeb London: Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau, Writer, Entrepreneur and Traveler

I was thinking about what can I share, what can I contribute to this conversation. I wanted to talk about adventure and travel. But adventure is almot an opposing value to optimisation, efficiency etc. I recently finished an adventure to visit every country in the world, over 11 years. It could have been quicker if i’d been more efficient. But even so, it brought a lot of meaning. There was a value in adventure; in meeting people. There are a lot of peopel sharing the same valueof freedom, of self evaluation. THat they wante dto forge own destiny, make own path. IS this something that is shared..the love of freedom is the link to sharing economy. How can we live a life that we want and that serves others. So I though i would share 3 lessons with you.

Time and Money
If you can understand early on all the different costs of a goal or quest, ot becomes more easily to conceive and to follow and pursue. I started off just because I loved travel. Had done about 50 through business and general travel. So set goal of 100 and started to organise this, to look at all the costs and realised that it would only cost about $30k. SO thought that if I was goign to do this over a few years, it is quite small ove rthe time and it would definitely be worth it from the experiences. I started writing about this abouthalf way through. When I first shared the goal, I got a comment that this goal was stupid..that anyone can do this.. that all it would take is enough timeand money. WHen thinking critisism, peopel are often projecting themselves..but if you think about critisism as a nut, to get into the shell and find something useful in it. Decided that I would really look at toime and money, Ti understand the challenge in that way. As I embraced the logical thinking about this, it made the whole experience easier

Experience produces confidence
I started with a love of travel. And with goal setting. I set the 100 and got closer to 100 sooner than expected and then decided to change goal. As I gained experience, I gained confidence. The same when I wrote about it, started sharing with a small number of people and then it grew. there are about 100k readers. There are people here who serve millions, so respect to you. And now I help people get their confidence, to start that transition. To get them over the first steps. When you are doing something for the first time, it is a big deal. So get this first experience as soon as you can. It makes a big difference

The new demographics are less about where you are from, but about who you are – psychographics
It’s about who you are. You are not alone. There are shared values and ideas. If you have a crazy idea and you think you are alone..the sharing economy, connecting, then there are all kinds of people who will share this interest. So one of the greatest things is in hearing people’s stories and seeing how othe people are doing. One of my goals is to get better at telling their stories.

With all of the opportunities available, hopes that they are not wasted. We take advantage. So w suggestions. So pursue a quest of your own. Chase your own brand of adventure. Musk said we spend too much time on small ideas. When started travelling, it scared me. I made tradeoffs. But I could not get out of my head. And that’s what i have heard all over. Peopel had the idea, maybe for a long time, but all were glad they took the next step and tried it. If no try, then they would have regretted it.

The second is to try and find a way to tie your request to something that makes the world a better place. A friend went to Afghanistan. Went all the way in country, asked for a shower and internet cafe. There was no running water…but there was brilliant wifi! In Africa, it’s mobile first. but often lack access to water and education. YOu need to think about tthe question of contribution,. What are we doing to help. It’s part of ourown fulfilment, our own meaning. As we seek to contribute and engage, we ourselves gain value from it as well.

Jun 06

LeWeb London: John Perry Barlow

John Perry Barlow, Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Leweb London 2013 - Day2
Photo by:Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/

I’ve been a hippie since sometime in 1965,when I quit being a beatnik. I’m fine with it, as part of what it’s meant, is that I know which side I am on in the struggle between certical and horizontal, religion and net and authority from consensus. I started writing songs for a band called the Grateful Dead, and there was also something that we did that was practical. By it’s nature, hippie is often someone who has done a bad job, but for us, it was practical. We started out early letting people sharing the concert. They could not take, as we’d played it already. They started, and there was resistance but we said what the hell, reproduce the tapes. And that was the viral marketing. By the time we quit in 1995, we could fill any stadium in the US. because we had shared our music.

THis led me to understand the economy of the virtual world in a way that few can do today. There is a difference between atoms and bits. Atoms have a value, a relationship with space-time scarcity. To make things valuable, then make it scares, as De Beers does with diamonds (which aren’t really rare). But when you talk about ideas etc, familiarity is much more important than scarcity. If I had the largest diamond in my pocket, it is valuable because it is scarce. If I had a song in my head, it is valueless until it is shared. It is in my best advantage to share. I have been trying to get a whole load of folks/institutions t understand this for the last 25 years.

I wrote in 1985 that it was extremely difficult to get people NOT to share anything that they found valuable and interesting if it could be reproduced and distributed at zero cost. The desire to share information that is interesting is fundamental

We are at the interesting point where the forces of the past, about controlling information, are vigorously trying to claim what can be known, keep as theres and make it harder for us to claim the possibilities that are here. That anyone on this planet will have the means to know anything about anything that interests them. The access will be there. We are coming into the ability to convey a right that no-one has thought before, the right to know. If there is a right to know, the human race will advance more, as we will seek the truth.

I was talking to Jimmy Wales…about wikipedia. Talking about what he was going to do…warned that he would still have this pile of disinformation and slander etc. Wales thought he was right but it was worth a try. Now he goes to Wikipedia to look at something he knows something about and finds, to his satisfaction, that there is good stuff on there and it grows. We care so much about knowledge and the truth and that we are doing this

We are willing to go to a lot of unpaid trouble to make it available to anyone about what is the truth about stuff, eg molecular biology. A few years ago I went and got a British Library card. I wanted to write the dot communist manifesto, even though I’m a rightwing republican. If you look at the Communist Manifesto know, it is more true and germane than it ever was. It is easier to share songs than cars. Marx thought there would be a revolution and all that was solid would melt into air and that is what is happening and stuff is not properly subject to property and sharing is easy. We now need to kill a few things, institutions and that is good.

As a musician I find it ironic that a record label talks about piracy when that is what they have done to us. But thinks about thing.s If you use content, ask if there is a container. Now we are taking something and turning it into a noun that can be owned. The word consumer, what is the word. When reading or listening, I’m not consuming. It is when eating, but not an idea. A consumer is about placing us into a subservient position which is where the institutions want us to be.

Asked what law he would change? He would abolish the idea of intellectual property, a very recent idea. It used to be a licence, a limited term to exploit the idea. It is impractical to own this stuff. There are other relationships to this stuff that we can have. But we will have to wait for things to get really bad before that happens

How will you make a living? He gets asked this question all the time. He gave away their songs all the time, and still made a decent living. The Dead Heads had access to all their music, but all of their studio records went platinum. I’m talking about musicians getting paid. If you have a model to strip them of their work and for something else to own the songs, then they don’t get paid!

People fail to recognise what sharing goes on all the time. Ask people if they would give up their assets or their relationships, then assets will go. Relationships are squishy…they are all about sharing.

We are still in the middle of a bloodbath around this and it will get worse before it gets better. The online dimension is extremely powerful and can express itself, (even if sometimes horrible) but it has meaning. We will still see horrible stuff, horrible crimes, but liberty resides in the rights of the person you find most odious and you have to defend that. But on other hand, you have wikpedia, you get works being put out there, not locked behind ownership.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Nick Halstead and Data

Nick Halstead, Founder & CTO, DataSift Inc
How Social Sharing Built a Billion Dollar Market
Nick Halstead has been at the heart of the social sharing economy for five years, creating the world’s first social sharing button and building a business upon the data that it generated. Nick will talk about the evolution of the sharing economy, from the early days of RSS and TweetMeme, to the prominence of social now and give his insight on the future of sharing in a social driven world.

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 afternoon
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

What Nick has created, is powered by the sharing economy. Is going to tell us the story of how he got to where he is now.   It started off with the RSS icon and an argument with his Dad. His Dad did not understand it, why it was in the browser. He could not get to the content he wanted to. THe original name was fav.or.it. It was how o take huge amount of data and use social signals (interaction with content) and use that as in indicator of whether that was good or bad. Engagements, votes and the source.  It was OK

Then Twitter came along. And Nick saw that the data from Twitter could be used as a replacement for the signals. A wider set of signals. Without a lot of people using favorit, then little signal. So build on top of Twitter, where even then 1 of 4 were links, so pulled our what was hot. We brought in the idea of the authorit yof the people, not the publisher source. We looked at how people sharing links, who reshared.   Then provided a sharing button, the RT button to put on signs. It wasn’t really a ‘invention; for an evolution. In 9months were doing 1.5b page impressions a day. That was all about sharing economy, share what was the best content. Behind that, we were developing a data business. We had access to the data, people were asking us to help them understand the behaviour of the users. We now have many other social networks as well, to share content out there

YOu have now got share buttons in 50% of sites, to allow content to be put out to social networks.   When Nick joined Twitter, it was few, now >500m tweets a day. Growing all the time.

How is the data use? There is a symbiotic relationship between people on the networks and the companies that use the data. Look at when Alex Ferguson resigned, the news broke and spread quickly via Twitter. Businesses are using this to drive actions, eg something that would have impact on stock price.   4 years go, it was pretty simplistic. Keywords, plotting trends etc. Look at something like SecondSync, which is using social channels to assess TV popularity. They are tracking all the tv programmes and assessing impacts. Can assess popularity.   The data gets sold onto the programme makers, so they can see how the programme was being received minute by minute. You have the network who cares about demographics and then the ads care about their placements, their ads.   That’s why programmes use hashtags.

We talk about the value with no context. Whether people who mentioned you were actual customers. Now that is changing. A company called Phace (Face?) getting info and using the social info to assess who is talking.

Bloomberg supply Twitter data into their terminals, so traders can track things. The social data has changes things.   But how are you empowered rather than companies?  Now you can impact Bloomberg and the markets. A football shirt company uses social signal to determine the favourite players so they can impact the supply chain and get right volume into the marketplace. A retailer is using geolocation to see where people are shopping and use it to influence if they should open a store there.

There are huge advances in being able to understand intent. Bringing in context.  If you have context, you can ask questions. Eg who should I then sponsor?  Another way is starting to join the data together. Starting to connect the data, to be able to prove the value, being able to understand social alongside other data to get the whole picture

Forrester is thinking that next year, social media marketing will be over $3.1b. Growth will come from China, connecting social activity to inshop activity. We’re going beyond the button, beyond the Like button are becoming less and less value. It is about implicit actions, rather than explicit. You can look at photos, at what is being said

It’s only going to keep in growing!