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August 2012

There was no Computer when I was a Brownie!

This week (June 18th - 24th) is Child Safety Week. I was recently invited to run a web safety workshop for a group of Brownies in Grantham. My neice, aged 9 was eager to introduce me to her pack. I'd been looking at putting togethe a children's web safety portal with an existing client FairyGlam who run Lucy Locket an online shop selling all things girlie, pink and sparkly for little imagination aged 5 - 9 yrs of age. This is the age of technology. Safety when I was a Brownie was Tufty, the Green Cross Code man and Charlie the Cat. Road dangers, strangers and fire. I remember learning to safely light a match, contientiously cross the road and to never, ever talk or go with strangers. There were no online dangers but has the notion of safety really changed?

I do not have children of my own but the surface pitfalls and dangers are all to obvious and adults who learnt their safety lessons as children take those lessons in to adulthood. We use this knowledge and share it with the younger generations as they encounter the dangers around us day to day. But the Internet is an environment we didn't have to navigate as children. To many its a dark world infested with pornography and aborhent content not appropriate in polite company which can now be interpreted as off-line behaviour. It resonates with our sense of morality and questions ethics, right and wrong.

I felt a responsibility to these young girls to provide information in a fun way yet pass on seriuos information that I wanted them to take on board and reflect upon. I also didn't want to scare them. I knew some girls would be aware of the dangers with others not so tuned in. I expected that this would in turn relate to the Internet use and understanding within thier family units. What these girls taught me was propably more than I inparted to them.

Brownie - Web Safety CodeWhat I discovered was that web safety in the minds of children went hand in hand with not talking to strangers, not revealing personal information or that of your friends. The peril dangers fire and road safety were less of a priority. Blocking and reporting to moderators or guardians was a familiar behavior and what shocked me is that a majority of the girls had stories of having to do this after being exposed to explicit langauge and intimidating behaviours.

So what did the workshop contain? My aim was to re-enforce the basics and get the girls talking. Also this was to prepare for the work to be done for the Computer badge.

Its a wide gap between 7 and 11 year olds to I guess I played it safe making it a variation on a puzzle hunt and a run around game in the vein of North South East West points in the room.

I used the Zip it, Block it, Flag it campaign. I also referred heavily to the Brownie website using their web safety code as a foundation to iniate conversation. As I am not an expert in this field I wanted to reinforce the basics with out misinformation or personal opinion. What was impressed upon me most was, the parents were the weak link in the chain. New technology is merely utility to these youngsters. It's safety implication a kin to road safety or talk to strangers. These physical dangers they were aware of less.

Beyond the Barricades... I'm in here somewhere.

IMG_0792Dark times and dark skies. There has been quite a lot of rain recently and last night I lay in bed and listened as the rain began to fall. We all appreciate silence and I don't know about you but falling rain widens the silence in a way I find meditatively pleasing.

I'm not sure though I would have heard it that clearly of late as my internal dialogue has been screaming like a banshee and not in the most constructive of ways. My mind is not kind! It took a change of energy to realise just how out of control this had become and just how detrimental it been on my outlook.

Moving forward 'production like' is a kind of auto-pilot for me. Its only when I stop and look that I realise the wilderness I have consuming the world around me. I am extremely fortunate to have Dan, the heart of my world and a great friend living with us, Phil who together are the best friends ever. So I hide and withdraw ignoring the world and consequently friends beyond my barriers.

It's nothing new. Yet I come full circle eventually. I'm sure everyone has these cycles but the distress I inflict on myself reflecting on what the world around me thinks, if they even care is made all the worse my the inner insecurity I have dealt with my whole life.

So here I am again waking from a slumber, who knows the blurring of the seasons may have a part to play I do need light to thrive and the recent glorious bright spell when my straw hat came out rapidly desended in to the damp, dull, wet and unreliable spell we are experiences currently.

I don't intend to hide away and I guess me hiding away makes the external me seen even harsher and bossier than normal. Its important to reflect and remembers what being me is all about. I need to reach out and connect with the amazing people I meet so very regularly. Social media is the constant I felt I always lacked when I was on tour but now I see it in action I wonder if I'm an old dog that can't learn new tricks or maybe my state of being just stays the same. Its a great connector this World Wide Web but as I frequently nurse my workshops with... if you are good at something off line you'll master online too. Howerer struggle off line and on line is no easier. Many people find social media much easier than me. My strength is that I understand the landscape and its value when applied contextually and appropriately.

More and more I'm being drawn in to online audience engagement. The Arts where pay is low and funding is sparce. Did I not learn this working as a Stage Manager?

Corner of the desk.

So people... friends, romans, counrtrymen! Why did I pick the arts in which to make a living? I enjoy working with creative spirits and innovating talents, which are often fragile and I seem to think that strength is a resource I have to provide. This leaves me so vunerable when I need support and I find it so hard to to ask. Why this post?

I have to re-establish an equilibrium. Show Time good... hunting for new new jobs dull. My independance is important I have always been self employed for tax purposed I'm not a natural business developer I am a natural freelancer.

I must pursue opportunies. These are not  unknown to me I just find it hard to do everything. Am I supose to be contacting you? Please get in touch. Events teams, do you need digital audience enegagement, on the ground, real time coverage posting to your website or online community presence? This is what I do. I get to know an audience. I'm just rubbish at telling people that! I never approach two projects the same. The fundementals are inhehent... digital coverage, but the audience and the client are alway fresh and unique in my approach and treatment of them. There may be cross overs from previous audiences too. I try to be a real part of who they are. So to end, returning to my dark skies I give alot of myself to my projects and finding like minded clients is key. There is a danger I get lost in digital so bring off line and on line together are important in my projects, but the rewards in the results for project success is worth it. I'm off to pursue those opportunities. Blogging is quite cathartic. Thanks for reading. Should I be working with you? 


Introducing - The Lace House - Notttuesday June 2012

2012-05-25 13.45.28The discovery of The Lace House was delightful. The potential for casual co-working is tangible. The light is wonderful, the seating chic and comfortable, the hospitality warm and engaging, the space absolutely perfect for PCM style events. I like the place! Sach the owner is treading a path of sustanable realistic development mirroring the FibreCamp ethos of sharing and word of mouth to get thier 'show on the road'

Get an event in ASAP, I thought... So,

This months Notttuesday is being hosted by The Lace House a new cocktail bar specialising in Rums and is super close to PCM HQ at Lace Market House. 

As ever Nick Barker has lined up a speaker to provide perspective on our technology driven businesses and insight to those interested in tech in general.

This month is Ian Fletcher Chief Technology Officer of Workflow and Playout. He was formerly CTO at OmniBus Systems and is responsible for the development of the iTX automated playout system used in many TV production houses around the world.


2012-05-25 13.44.56

The hefty co working table (shown above) lends it self to group dining too. Bhooka, 'Hyper Local' gourmet curry, lunch time delivery service have offered to deliver later in the day especially for us. There are 12 places at the table, would you like to eat before the main event? Cost: £3 a head << use this link to reserve a place. Food will arrive at 5.45.

More info about The Lace House...
The venue is new, the website is not live yet... FaceBook is though

Whether you want to join us for food or to attend as usuall for drinks and a good speaker, this venue will I hope, delight you too. Our usual venue has an in-house event preventing us from hosting there this time. I hope you will find your way to The Lace House. See you Tuesday!

2012-05-25 16.32.56


Jubilee round up and reflection

IMG_1874Activities at PCM & FibreCamp seem to have been punctuated by the UK's Jubilee festivities. So I got out my little boat to join in the festivities. I had hoped to follow along on Twitter but although the tweets tumbled down my screen there was no officially curated stream. There was little engagement from the mainstream stream media in the wider social digital consciousness.

I was wondering if my twitter spiddy sense was a miss but it seems it wasn't only me who experienced this frustration. 

Why is there a need for a curated stream? I finally ended up tracking Jubilee, DiamondJubilee, Jubilee Nottingham, Jubilee Sneinton across Twitter and dipping in to ZeeBox on my iPad.

There was lots of shouting but no coherent conversation or chat.

I've returned from Audiences Europe's final "Extending the Margins" program event which was the international element of Rotterdam Festivals' Performing Arts Congress. FibreCamp's Phil Campbell has headed to the US taking a road trip from Tampa Florida to New York for Blog World Expo 2012.

'On the ground' is a phrase we both use when working on projects out of the Lace Market House office and studio. The aim and objective of these outings is to share an experience, offer a perspective to an event, capture it's essence and reflect on the content presented to stimulate engagement and generate interest. This is for both those who attend and those who did not. The collected media consequently provides a picture and record of the moments, people and presentations that took place 'On the Ground'

Why didn't people attend?

There are multiple reasons.

  • Previous work commitments
  • Lack of finances
  • Alternative priorities
  • Geographic or physical access ability
  • Employment position
  • Family

Social technologies and its resulting media published in real-time across digital channels such as Facebook, Twitter, or niche social network is relatively inexpensive and 'Extends the margin' of engagement exponentially, reaching an audience unprecedented prior to the emergence Of Social Media.

Mass media is lazy, passive with ease of access leading to consumer apathy. (ZeeBox is a great antidote to this with its related content links and twitter filter but there is no voice.) It is also expensive and it's production mechanism expensive. Comprehensive coverage be it mainstream production or our 'on the ground' insights require planning and preparation before the delivery of the experience.

That's what I'm thinking on.

Back to work tomorrow.