All 12 entries tagged Communications

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May 30, 2008

Academic Fakery

Writing about web page

Interesting article in The Chronicle about instances of academics photoshopping images to falsify research outputs.

Andrew Keen’s argument about Digital Amateurism is a good one to debate in this context. His call for cultural and educational institutions to stand up and be counted in the face of erosion by hoards of amateurs is undermined by this sort of thing and rather hands the initiative away.

Credibility and authority is the cornerstone of our ability to be heard – protecting that is crucial.

April 24, 2008

A video a week for half of web users

Writing about web page

A report from Universal McCann gives some interesting stats:

- 59% of internet users view at least one video clip a week
- 73% have read a blog
- 57% are members of a social network
- 48% have listened to podcasts

The report surveyed 17,000 people across 29 countries.

I don’t necessarily see this as surprising but it’s interesting – what would be good would be to get a sense of whether there is a growth in long-form video consumption via the web. If the stats for iPlayer are anything to go by then there is evidence that the perception of the web as essentially a short-form medium may be in need of revision. Whether the BBC could get the same numbers for content not also broadcast on TV is up for debate.

November 21, 2007

Why no hate in Web2.0?

I’ve been recording sessions from the What’s IT all about day today and was very interested in the presentation by Roo Reynolds on metaverses and 3d worlds. All good stuff but I was struck by the relationship diagram that he put up which was a fairly standard affair showing you >> your immediate friends >> your colleagues >> everybody else in concentric circles of connection.

In fact – here it is:

Relationship diagram

Slide is taken from Roo Reynolds’ presentation so be nice to it.

Now, i’ve seen this sort of slide many many times and the following thought struck me:

When talking about Web 2.0 and social media within enterprises presenters only ever map positive relationships – your friends, colleagues and customers.

Nobody ever (to my knowledge) maps negative relationships – enemies, people you don’t like, blockers and naysayers.

And that got me thinking – many advocates and evangelists for this technology map models where workplaces are essentially positive, collaborative and co-operative spaces and I would hazard a guess that many many organisations and teams are just not like that. So, therefore, what is the implication and impact of negative relationships on the dynamic of social networking tools in both the workplace and between organisations and customers.

For example, how does the fact that I don’t get on with X affect my relationship with Y, and does this situation create a tension when trying to achieve objective A and is this tension negated or amplified by the presence of social media tools.

I am trying to work out whether this positive view is something inherent in a certain sort of IT company / silicon valley start up and it’s just not the done thing to plan for bad relationships or whether there is a method of mapping these into the model that allows for the creative management of such tensions.

Anyway, the upshot is that I would be interested to know whether anyone has had a go at expanding this essentially positive view to accommodate the opposing experience.

Hopefully we will have Roo’s presentation up as a podcast shortly – it’s a good listen.

October 27, 2006

Second life and University communications

Writing about web page

There has been a lot written recently about Second Life, so I thought I’d dip in yesterday to take a look and see what ideas formed about how a university might make use of such an environment.

Firstly, I am going to split my comments into two groups – Communications and eLearning.


There are some interesting possibilities here – largely international in focus I would guess.

Create a virtual campus and host student recruitment sessions there – invite people to meet and talk with recruitment office avatars and current students
Second Life Orientation – international students who have been accepted could meet and get to know each other in Second Life before arriving on campus
Taster sessions – provide videos or audio of University life or teaching environment to give people a flavour of Warwick
Virtual Accommodation – build an accommodation block with examples of how student accommodation can look
Student Society stalls – give student societies a place to set out their wares
Alumni Relations – this could be a biggy. Provide a space where Warwick Alumni can meet and socialise. You could create a virtual Top Banana or some such. Photo gallery’s etc would be good too.


I am not so sure about this side of things. There are examples of education programmes going on in Second Life, but I am not sure whether they are that effective. I suspect that the QA system at Warwick may not yet be ready to accept an SL taught module.

However, it would be interesting to see whether the Centre for Lifelong Learning or WBS would be interested in piloting something.

Also, the space seems to be well suited to modelling – engineering could do some neat things, as could Comp Sci. Some of the more science focussed areas in SL are pretty awesome.

I am sure the eLearning team could provide some further insight into this.

What would be interesting would be to find out:

1. How many current Warwick students are in Second Life
2. Whether Alumni are using it
3. How you might go about building something.

My first idea was to just get some land and let Warwick people build things that reflect those elements that are important to them – but having thought about it, if we were to do this we should be a bit more focussed.

Any Warwick Bloggers with a sense of how to build stuff in SL are welcome to make themselves known…

August 21, 2006

UK Govt enters YouTube

Well, isn't this interesting.

The UK Govt has started publishing short videos onto YouTube to promote certain intiatives – in this instance onw on 'Transformational Government' and another on department mergers.

Firstly, kudos to HM Gov for starting to use these tools. However, I would have to say that the videos seem to embody the same sort of crass self–promotion that you get with Party Political broadcasts.

The transformational government video seems to be the worst of these – considering the governments track record in implementing IT systems I would imagine most users look at this and think it's the worst kind of PR puffery. The video makes no attempt to tackle issues related to implementation, security etc etc and just jokes about without any substance.

Sharing the Leadership Challenge is much more interesting. More depth, insight and explanation. Doesn't treat the viewer as an idiot and tries to build a case and explain it. Perhaps the video could have been improved with more comment from doers rather than leaders. You can still dismiss it as propaganda but surely the point about services like YouTube is that you have a cracking right of reply mechanism. What will be interesting is whether the Public Sector Unions come back with an alternative view of TFL.

These are still early days in terms of the use of this channel, but you can start to see how organisations are going to jump in (I know we are planning stuff…) – but also how the channel users can quickly respond to communications with their own videos, comments and insight.

For your amusement here are the two vids, thanks to the power of BlogBuilder media tags – reproduced with absolutely no permission whatsoever:

August 07, 2006

PR and Youtube

Writing about web page

Interesting 'expose' of a spoof video posted to Youtube uncovered by the Wall Street Journal.

Posted by a PR firm working on behalf of the oil industry in the US the video parodies Al Gore and his campaign to raise the profile of issues related to global warming.

I am not surprised that Youtube is being used in this way. What surprises me is that all Exxon can do is take the piss – and do so in such a way as to attempt to hide a films origin.

One of the reasons that PR gets such a bad press (hahaha!) is that it is perceived to be underhand and sly in how it operates. This sort of crap just makes it harder for the rest of us.

August 02, 2006


Writing about web page

via BoingBoing – perhaps American Universities are not that far ahead in their marketing:


July 26, 2006

Academic Posters

Writing about web page

Some advice from Colin Purrington, Department of Biology, Swarthmore College on how to create scientific posters.

Now, I'll admit to have never really seen the point of these and the weird ritual of the 'Poster Session'. However, I know many academics are rather keen on these so if you are going to do them, better do'em'right as it were.

I like Colin's description of a typical poster session:

The best general advice I can give a first–time poster constructor is to describe the circumstances in which a poster will eventually be viewed: a hot, congested room filled with people who are there primarily to socialize, not to look at posters. Because poster sessions are often concurrent with the (free) "wine and beer" session, chaos is further increased by hundreds of uninhibited graduate students staggering around hitting on each other.

Sounds like fun, huh! On reflection, perhaps this is preferable to listening to 50 undergrads/postgrads stumble through presentations on their latest research – I think I begin to see the value to the academic…

July 20, 2006

Sarah Beeny and her amazing elastic pregnancy

I find Sarah Beeny's pregnancies very odd.

Apart from the fact that she seems to be fertilised simply by being on telly (seriously – have you ever seen a series where she hasn't been pregnant at some point? I think medically it's called the Davina McCall syndrome.) her pregnancy seems to expand and contract within the programme.

For example, last night she seemed to be more pregnant half way through than at the end!

Kind of gives away the programme editors art a little don't you think.

May 08, 2006

podcasts part2

Follow-up to Podcast stats from Contemplating the Frame

As a nice little coda to my earlier post I got a call from a journalist today who wants to use one of the Warwick Podcasts as part of a package of material he is producing for their publication.

This is great for a few reasons – firstly it was a request to use the original content, not edited or rebranded – we must be doing something right then! Secondly it shows that Journalists are catching on to the new PR/Comms tools and that we are right to be supplying content in this way.

I also did some fag packet maths – 1250 downloads at around 20 minutes each is 25,000 minutes of Warwick content served.


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