Videos that inspire

It was the Virgin London Marathon over the weekend, which is always an amazing event. Thousands of people run for charities that are close to their heart and thousands turn out to cheer them on along the route.

The week following the marathon is a  timely opportunity for charities to thank their runners. It is also a prime opportunity to inspire people to sign up to run for them next year.

Here is a fantastic video from Oxfam, personally thanking EVERY runner who ran the marathon for them. It is a brilliant example of how a video can be made on a shoestring budget yet be really powerful and effective.

Another, quite innovative, video from Anthony Nolan (who are the official 2014 Virgin London Marathon Charity partner) encourages runners to sign up to run for them next year by giving runners in a local park a little taste of what to expect on marathon day.

Both of these videos are not slick, expensive ‘corporate’ videos but rather short, simple videos using real people that bring a smile to your face and make you want to take action.

I also recommend you read Ross McCulloch’s blog post: Your Charity’s videos are crap. Here’s how you can change that.

Why, when tragedy strikes, does common sense goes out the window?


Now, I love social media and champion it for the most part but when tragedy strikes where does everyone’s common sense go?

Within mere minutes of the Boston Marathon tragedy, people on Twitter were:

a) Speculating as to how many casualties there were

b) Retweeting bogus accounts, such as the one pictured. If people had just clicked on the account ( @_bostonmarathon) they would have seen it was fake and, like me, report it for spam

c) blaming terrorists when no one even had any facts

We all need to take responsibility when something of this magnitude happens and resist tweeting and retweeting unreliable sources and spreading fear and speculation. And yes, even ‘eye witnesses’ can be unreliable.

And it’s not just Twitter. I saw a photo on Facebook of the ‘8 year old girl who died in the Boston Marathon blast and who was running for Sandy Hook Kids’.

Firstly, eight year old children cannot run in marathons and secondly it was actually a boy who passed away. I shudder to think of the repercussions of posting this young girl’s photo all over the internet and also how her family must feel, particularly extended family who have seen this and may now think she was a victim.

And of course, my sympathies are with the three people who have lost their lives, their families and friends as well as the 140 or so people who are injured, many critically. I hope that, in time, they will heal.

As we all know, in times like these, social media can be a great support system. Remember the London Riot cleanups organised on Twitter and Facebook?

But it can also be taken advantage of by trolls, bogus accounts, spammers and people spreading untruths ( whether intentionally or not.)

So please, THINK before you tweet. Inspired by Damien Clarkson, here are some tips to help you spot a fraudulent Twitter account:

1. Click on the account and look at what is written in their bio. In the case of _@BostonMarathon they clearly stated they were the unofficial Boston Marathon account.

2. If it is coming from a well known charity/business/event it’s likely that they would have the blue verification tick to say that it is an official account.

3. Have they tweeted the same message to a number of people over and over?

4. Do they follow hundreds or thousands of people with few people following them back?

By taking just a few minutes (or even seconds), you can help prevent spreading spam or untrue tweets. If you believe an account to be spam, please report it to Twitter.


Why I had to unfollow you

Today I unfollowed a charity on Twitter. I’m usually in the habit of following charities, not unfollowing them but it is the manner in which this charity tweets that compelled me to part ways with them. This time is was a case of ‘It’s not me, it is you’.

I unfollowed them (and tweeted about it) and was just going to leave it at that. Then Ian Griggs, journalist at Third Sector magazine, said I should explain to them why I had unfollowed them.

This was met with lots of agreement, from charity people and even charities themselves, as constructive criticism should help them improve. So I sent them a number of direct messages on Twitter to explain why I had decided to unfollow them – the main reason being that they retweet practically every tweet they receive, which clogs up my timeline.

I’ve thought about it further though and these are the three cardinal Twitter sins this charity has committed:

1. They tweeted me and asked me to follow them even though I had never engaged with with them before. And I’m pretty sure they’d never engaged with one of my tweets either.

2. They retweet far too many tweets. Charities – you don’t have to prove to us that people are talking to you. We can see that ourselves by the conversations you are having. Or should be having.

3. They do the whole ‘follow us, we follow back’ thing. Why? As charities you should be selective in who you follow, not just follow people for the sake of a follow back.

As Leo Birch, Digital Marketing Coordinator at British Heart Foundation, so eloquently put it, this charity is committing “social media bad practice bingo!”.

Any other examples you’d care to add that would compel you to unfollow an account?

The art of saying ‘Thank You’

I spotted this tweet from social media monitoring business Sprout Social who had baked a cake for one of their staff to say ‘thank you’ and to show their appreciation for the great feedback she had received from a client: 



It got me thinking how simple it really is to say ‘thank you’ and how we probably don’t say it often enough. 

If you know me at all, you know how much I love Storify so of course I have collated some great ‘Thank You’ examples from charities – from photos, to Vines, to video.

When last did you say ‘Thank You’?