I’m at an event today organised by the World Food Programme on Social media for humanitarian change. Some interesting speakers from the worlds of humanitarian assistance and social media. Hoping to hear about how people are using social media to affect change. If there’s anything exciting I will blog it, or you can also follow #sm4change on Twitter.
Tag Archives: social media
I found the following tweet on my timeline this morning:
@euonymblog can you twitt a bit less on ordinary things ? – we’re following you bc of the eu-part, txs
I have to admit, I was (and remain) quite annoyed about it, and I’ve been trying to work out why. I think it comes down to a point I make quite often when talking about social media and made when writing about this for the Waltzing Matilda blog:
One should think of social media as a reception rather than a meeting. It’s worth going to, you make some good contacts, you often get a lot done, but sometimes you talk about tennis or where you are going for your holidays.
And so for me, someone saying what I saw this morning was like talking to a group of people at a reception and one of them saying “Actually, I’m not interested in what you’re saying, could you please say something more related to my particular interests”. In the reception scenario, if you weren’t interested, wouldn’t you just drift away and talk to someone else?
I have a lot of EU-related followers, and that of course is a major element. But I also interact with UK political commentators, a lot of science writers, people from local government, knitting bloggers and many other random, weird and totally wonderful people. This is my personal tweeting account, and my personal blog and I am someone who has interests wider than my work. If you’re only interested in my work, you can go elsewhere (including our office’s official Twitter account @eulondonrep).
So I was annoyed, and I feel I have a right to be so. Just because we’re in a digital medium, we don’t have to forget our manners.
I was at the UACES/ThomsonReuters award for Reporting Europe last night. A nice event for several reasons. Firstly because I got to see several people I like who were over from Brussels, including Oana Lungescu and Stephen Castle, both of whom were nominated. Secondly, it’s good to recognise quality reporting on Europe when it occurs, backing up my constant assertion that good reporting doesn’t mean positive, it means accurate, which is the least the public have the right to expect. And thirdly because the winner was very worthy – the Charlemagne blog written by David Rennie at the Economist. There’s pretty universal agreement among EU geeks that his coverage of the issue is just about the best around. A shame he is moving on.
If you go to the UACES award site, you’ll see a video of the shortlisted prizes put together by students at Kent University. It gave a nice impetus to the ceremony and gave a good flavour of the various candidates.
As a bit of a social media geek (as well as an EU one) I really enjoyed this piece by Mark Pack on the whole #nickcleggsfault thing on Twitter. Though this isn’t perhaps THE internet election, the role of social media has I believe made differences to how issues are discussed. It’s made it easier to find, connect to and discuss with people who are interested in the same things (even if coming at it from different perspectives and viewpoints). That is surely a good thing.
Was at a great event last night – a debate between Science Minister Lord Drayson and Ben Goldacre, of Bad Science fame, at the Royal Institution. The Times Higher carried it as a webcast and it should be online for a while. It was great for several reasons:
Firstly, it was about the quality of science reporting, an issues I’ve had an interest in since 2004 and which was an important part of my Eisenhower Fellowship. I think both made some good valid points and both didn’t. The problem was that they were talking about apples and oranges. The debate came about as a result of comments that Lord Drayson made about British science reporting being the best in the world, which Ben Goldacre challenged him on. But when the minister starts by saying “I’m of course talking about specialist science reporting” that does kind of change the remit of the debate, because Ben’s point about the problems of reporting science issues is that it isn’t always the science people doing it. There was a very (ahem) spirited defence from Fiona Fox of the Science Media Centre at the Royal Institution, and the audience certainly had some distinguished science writers there (I spotted Clive Cookson of the FT and Simon Singh was pointed out at one point). But that isn’t really where the problem (such as it is) lies.
The second fascinating issue was that this was the first truly social media event I have ever been at. The challenge to hold the debate was issued over Twitter. I, like others, heard about it through Ben’s twitter feed, and tickets sold out in 90 minutes (“the science equivalent of a Take That concert” according to Simon Mayo who was really good in the chair). So many people were tweeting about it that it (#scidebate) trended as a twitter topic (leading to a deluge of spammy tweets!).
The third issue for me was for most of the debate, you could have taken the word science, replaced it with Europe and the arguments would have been the same. But would we ever sell the tickets in 90 minutes?!
Anyway, if you are in anyway interested in science reporting, or social media as a communication tool, I recommend looking more closely at the event.