Monday, May 24, 2010

The joy of freelancing

It's about 80 degrees outside - rare for Britain in May and rarer still, it's the third day in a row that the temperature has climbed way above the seasonal norm. Of course, it's a Monday, and a busy Monday as I grapple with a deluge (well, nearly) of content for a website; some thoughts on a presentation later this week, and - for most of this morning - editing an agency's paid pitch document.

The fun part is that I've got the mother of all head colds at the moment. We've just come through the big family event of the year - Kirsty's wedding - and I held out on the germ-spreading through the chocolate-making (Rory was doing the table chocs); the 200 mile drive north on Saturday, thee dressing-up game; the big event and a drive back into Harrogate, before my defences were finally breached.

Saturday night was hot and sticky - so was I. Yesterday was an endurance, driving back home in the heat of the day. Thankfully Jac let me crash out when we got back. Nearly a day later, I'm red-eyed, hoarse, headachey and shivery.

If I was an employee, I'd be tucked up in bed. But running my own show, if I don't work I don't get paid. What I've learned over the past decade is that colds, man flu and the like are as bad as you let them be. Yes I feel grotty today, but necessity says sweat it out. I've got too much stuff to do - and simply can't afford to be ill.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spring's Connections extends the employee engagement debate

It's always nice to receive a fat envelope with my copies of Badenoch & Clark's Connections magazine -and the Spring package duly arrived this morning. I've contributed 18 of the 28 pages this time round, and am particularly pleased with the features on:

  • Employee Engagement

  • Onboarding; and

  • Social Business Enterprise
while I also had fun particularly with the analysis pieces on social media in the public sector and the legal industry's response to both a changing market place and the Legal Services Act.

I got some great contributions this time round. so if you want to read the employee engagement thoughts of the likes of David MacLeod, Mike Klein and Sean Trainor, or learn about social business enterprise from guru Rod Schwartz, or even find out how the likes of BP and E.ON bring their businesses to life from first contact until you're happily ensconced in the job, get hold of a copy of Connections. It will be on the Badenoch & Clark website soon, but the print version always gets a head start. So, if you'd like one of those old-fangled but nice smelling hard copies, email

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our friends electric

Yesterday, I found out that Gordon Brown was stepping down as Labour Leader via Twitter. The same social medium informed me that West Ham had sacked Franco Zola as their manager this morning, while a business acquaintance informed me we'd both been at Wembley Stadium this day 25 years ago to see Wealdstone grab the non-league double by winning the FA Trophy.

I've worked for much of the last five days with the BBC News website in the background, spending almost as much time working out the permutations of the UK's next Government as I have on finessing a wireframe on a new corporate website, finalising a training module I'm due to deliver, or even assessing the impact of the changes that appear to be happening inside one of my clients - a firm that was swallowed up by a bigger player at the end of last year.

While I might have cause to worry about the impact of that change (I note the MD left a couple of weeks ago), I'm not on the inside, so any change in the way they run their comms will happen to me - not with me. Change may be afoot,but I can't influence it and will have to wait and see what comes out the other side.

And, for all the 24-hour wall-to-wall media coverage, I'm feeling ever-more disenfranchised by the Machiavellian intrigue that is UK politics at the moment. The election and its immediate fallout were fascinating to follow via twitter and the political blogs. At first it felt as though we, the electorate, were actually having an impact. But over the last few days I've begun to feel ever more like the outsider looking in. For all that we seem hard-wired to the action, the politicians have defaulted to what they always do: backroom discussions leading to politically expedient deals that favour those on the inside - very possibly at the expense of the so-called 'good of the nation'.

Social media may have made us a more immediately connected and critical audience - but that's what we remain: an audience outside the action. Democracy may have set the change train rolling, but it will be a political oligarchy that charts the direction for this country once again in the coming months - with every danger that our PM may once again be anointed without the mandate of the people.

Fascinating, though somewhat disturbing times.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The social communication election

Was supposed to be writing copy; updating a website and tracking a call-over today - I'll manage the last.

Instead I've been following the election via the BBC News website and Twitter - fascinating stuff and an object lesson on how politics has moved closer to the country through social communication.

I've got to work now, or I'll be working all weekend. But will try to gather my thoughts later.