Category Archives: News

Vizia 2 featured content

Beautiful data visualisation – the way to employees’ hearts?

I did a 5 minute talk the other day as part of a Show and Tell. The talk was on the Twitter account I’d just re-launched, why I was doing it, and what I hoped to get out of it. After the talk one of the internal communications team came over and asked if he could put some of my slides up on the digital screens around the building.

That was great – a result – some engagement! And someone was actually listening to my talk. But of course I started thinking about how relatively unexciting the slides were and wishing I could put be putting something really eye-catching up on those screens.

It’s increasingly common for businesses and organisations to have display screens in their reception areas, lifts and other high-footfall parts of the building. This internal network (aka digital signage) needs content. And not bland corporate videos or 1984 style maxims either. These screens need something that grabs the attention, engages and entertains.

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Fajer Qasem - project manager at GDS

A career in tech is for everyone

The Government Digital Service (GDS) turned five years old this week. As part of their birthday celebrations, the team tweeted a series of one minute videos. I love these birthday videos so much, I wanted to keep a log of them here.

I’m presenting to my local school’s Code Club next term – it’s a really diverse group and I want to talk about careers in technology and help them believe that these types of jobs are for everyone. Women and people from black or minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds are still under-represented in STEM roles. These videos will make perfect little demos.

Code Club is a brilliant way of teaching children to code, and giving them that empowering idea that they can build anything they want. But it’s also an introduction to the concept of a UK digital industry.
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Me with Sue (left)

Collaborative, fun and deceptively simple – that’s the power of #techmums

I’ve had a nice time over the past few weeks delivering not one but two #techmums programmes. The #techmums course is made up of five modules: Google Apps (Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs), app design, web design, social media and coding (Python). The ethos and approach is simple: have a go, enjoy yourself, don’t worry if you don’t know everything (none of us do).

I first met #techmums founder Dr Sue Black (above left) ten years ago at a Google Women in Tech event – we got chatting and became friends. Since then, Sue has saved Bletchley Park, written a bestselling book and become an OBE. But she still remains the same warm, funny, down-to-earth person – now committed to doing whatever she can to share her success with others and open up technology to everyone – especially women who may lack confidence because they’ve taken time out of work to raise children.
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Royal Holloway - Founder's Building

Social media – the art of digital storytelling

On 3 December I gave a lunchtime seminar at Royal Holloway University of London. The brief was to give an overview of social media marketing and also talk about how social tools are being used in other aspects of business, such as CRM and project management. Here are the slides: Social media – the art of digital storytelling.

Royal Holloway was originally a university for women – men weren’t admitted until 1965! The Founder’s Building – in all its Victorian gothic glory – is quite amazing. It wasn’t snowing, as in this beautiful pic, but it was cold enough. I hope to get the chance to visit again soon.

Photo: S Tore

Spying on your kids online is not the answer – my piece for Vodafone’s Digital Parenting Guide

Vodafone Digital Parenting No3 p9Big thanks to Alison McClintock and Sunday Publishing for asking me to write a piece on kids using social media for Vodafone Digital Parenting – my article’s on p.9 of the latest edition (download full PDF). There’s loads of other useful stuff covering everything from online bullying and stranger danger to interviews with Jamal Edwards and six digital media moguls under the age of 21. So, this guide is inspirational and practical at the same time. If you’ve any friends worried about the effects of digital media on their kids (and mainstream media does its best to hype up the issue), please help spread the word and pass this link on.

From shorthand to live-blogging: my Liebster Award (part I)

That's shorthand for...
Thanks so much to the fabulous Events Northern for nominating me for a Liebster Award. The Liebster award is a peer-to-peer award passed around the blogging community. And there’s nothing like a bit of appreciation from your peers – Events Northern, you rock!

Here’s how the Liebster Award works:

Thank the person that nominated you and link back to their blog
– Display the award “badge” on your blog
– Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you
– List 11 random facts about yourself
– Nominate up to 11 bloggers and let them know you have nominated them
– Set 11 questions for the bloggers you have nominated
– Post a comment on the blog post of the person that nominated you so they can read the post

So, first off, here are my answers to Events Northern’s questions:

1. When and why did you start blogging? I started blogging in 2005 when I was commissioned to write Monkeys with Typewriters. The thought of writing 80,000 words terrified me so I had the idea of interviewing people and writing up each one in a blog post. The blog posts became the first draft of my book.
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Wishing you a fabulous Christmas & ultra-social 2014!

Christmas Ampersand by James Stopforth
How has your year been? For me, 2013 was the year of exciting developments with social media & social business becoming increasingly mainstream. It was the year that social advertising gained traction with LinkedIn launching sponsored updates & Twitter offering promoted ads to SMEs; Instagram launched its video feature & YouTube hosted its first annual Music Awards; Twitter went public for $2bn & Snapchat turned down a reputed $3bn from Facebook; TechCity proved itself as more than a just a pretty concept with Pinterest setting up shop in London & New York’s Mayor championing London over Silicon Valley; “Selfie” entered the Oxford English Dictionary with Miley Cyrus and Rhianna leading the celebrity Selfie circus; and business at last began to look beyond pure money metrics with sustainability and business purpose coming to the fore. What were your 2013 highlights? What do you hope for in 2014? Whatever you’re doing, I hope it’s as exciting & eclectic a year as 2013 turned out to be.

Photo: Christmas Ampersand by James Stopforth

Cover story

Like an old-fashioned dad pacing up and down outside the delivery room while my wife gives birth, I’m a bundle of nerves, anxious and excited in equal measures.

 

Today, after two years and 1,500 (or so) coffees, my wonderful, difficult baby is finally going to print. Those fabulous guys at Triarchy Press are just putting the finishing touches to the proof – any minute now I should get the call letting me know the book’s gone off safely.

 

In the meantime, it seems only right that you should get some kind of sneak preview – so here’s a detail from the fantastic cover, brilliantly drawn in pen and ink by Devon-based artist, Heather Fallows. As you can see, the monkey is smiling. You’ll just have to wait a couple of weeks to see what she’s written…