Friday 16 May 2014

A Heart-Warming Story

My last post was about a social media debacle.  This week, I have been struck by something much more positive - again on Twitter.  (I'd hate you to imagine I spend all my spare time on Twitter, but I do find it fascinating!)

Stratford Caldecott is dying of cancer. His family (whom we know) are naturally distraught; but not focusing on that, they have instead been focusing on how happy they have been as a family (see a moving piece here), and how they can make Strat's last day's a bit happier.

Apparently Strat has always been a huge fan of Marvel comics, and was sad that he was too ill to get to the cinema to see the latest Avengers film, and was likely to die before it was out on DVD.

So his daughter, Sophie, took to social media to run the #CapFor Strat campaign.  She posted on her blog about her father, and wanted two things.  One was to have a private viewing of the new Avengers film at their home before the DVD is officially released, so that Strat can see it.  The other was to have the stars of the film send her photos of themselves holding signs reading [character] for Strat. Within 48 hours she had selfies from The Hulk (who seems to have been one of the first, and prompted some of the others), Captain America and many of the rest of the cast; and also the promise of a private viewing of the film at their home.

She also got a massive number of messages of good will - and many funny selfies - from complete strangers.

Click on the hashtag  #CapFor Strat on Twitter to see the huge, and heart-warming response. This is what social media can do at its best: forge connections of compassion and understanding across huge numbers of diverse people - and educate them too (in this case about prostate cancer).  For Sophie's later reflections on this, see her more recent post here

For the record, when I'm on my deathbed, I wouldn't particularly want the Avengers assembled; but if you could arrange visits from, say Asterix and Obelix, or Mafalda, I would really smile.

Monday 5 May 2014

Scott's Law

I was struck today by a small incident on Twitter.  A teacher who writes, Tom Bennett (@tombennett71) discovered that a blog had copied a piece he'd written for the TES site, without permission.

He queried this, and received this response: 

and then, this:

I was clearly not alone in thinking that a poor response. It attracted a great deal of adverse comment and ridicule on Twitter, all featuring the name of the offending organisation.  I have only included the first few here. In short, a PR disaster.

I don't think Tom's approach was unreasonable, but even if it had been, organisations are really expected to handle things in a more professional way than that.

Whilst I have no pretensions to expertise in PR, it did lead me to formulate Scott's Law (I always wanted to have a Law!) which I will now share with the world:

As well as furnishing me with a Law (which may be my single biggest contribution to human happiness and well-being), this incident also brought back memories.

Some years ago, I wrote a piece for Personnel Management magazine. I was surprised to find it turn up (uncredited) as a handout in a training course used by one of my client organisations.  When I raised it with them, they were extremely apologetic: the course (as I knew, in fact) had been written for them by one of the large HR consultancies.  In fact, the reason I came across the handout was that my client had asked me to re-write the course, as it was very poorly put together.  So I was quietly delighted to point out not only that I wrote better material than the expensive London consultancy, but also that they plagiarised my stuff to add quality to theirs...

In fairness, the consultancy were also very apologetic: which is why, I suppose, I didn't formulate Scott's Law then.  But better late than never!