I've got myself back into Twitter. A 3 month little boy and a wife who needs me to stop pissing around the computer means I'm dealing in syllables rather than procrastination.
I did the right thing and signed up to follow all the people I'm supposed to - your Rubels, your Scobles, your NobJockeys - but fucking hell - the digital PR industry doesn't half pump out a load of hot air. My little Twitter feed fires out URLS like little shit pellets - offering new ways of doing nothing. One caught my eye last month, "click here to synch your iPhone phone book with your Facebook friends." It's just people pissing about going to conferences and getting paid. Keep going lads, but there's a few people who are going to want to see a return on investment soon.
Nevertheless in an ironic kind of way, today I'm directed to a delicious piece of software that lets you write distraction free. This post is written using Writeroom. All your Facebook, Twitter, IM email bings can fuck right off. It's just you, your brain, your fingers and a black screen for writing.
How do you persuade people, particularly younger ones, to get involved in volunteering when they think it's all wiping grannies' arses or tending Mr Perkins' spuds? Answer: show the quality of the experience on offer, and then change the language to something they get.
We launched a campaign with vinspired today. Rather than guilt-tripping kids into doing the right thing, or positioning volunteering as a tidy CV filler - we instead are asking people to 'do someone a favour.' It works in a simple way. Two-thirds of kids think volunteering sounds a bit iffy, but then 80% say they've done a favour for someone outside of their family or mates. They're already doing favours - just do some more. Once you do someone a favour you always feel a bit better and you can see the world around you improve a notch. It's an instant feel-good dividend.
Plugging our own work is extremely wanky, but quite proud of this and keen to see where it can go in the long term. The first initiative sees Ben De Lisi call on people to do a favour and contribute a piece of customised clothing to his Fashion Favours collection. The PM and his wife have donated the clothes they wore on the podium in Manchester this week, so if they can manage to do something, a few more of us ought to be able to cope. Do me a favour and download a pack here.
One universal truth about UK kids is that, by and large, they don't have much respect for their elders. At school, kids develop a canny ability to spot vulnerability in people who should have authority. A successful lesson meant driving a failing teacher to explode in rage, or erupt in tears of frustration via quality goading. They were supposed to be in charge. We brought them down. Result. Perhaps that behaviour explains why our English ancestors led the world in the establishment of liberal democracy. Who knows, and who cares? This blog is about how people sell shit.
Anyway, it's a link into a quality bit of work from EA today in the UK, who have used the same trick to sell a video game to kids. The authority this time, appears to be an "indignant with rage" MP, and a load more "angry residents," queuing to use words like "completely irresponsible." Mercenaries 2: World In Flames available now on Amazon for £24.99 on PS2 features "Venezuelan-style fuel riots." EA offered free fuel to people. It was over-subscribed massively. A "Venezuelan-style fuel riot" then takes place in Hornsey, North London - just like it was in the picture above. Except it wasn't really - it was a bit of a traffic jam. Coverage appears for the game on the front page of BBC Online. It'll be elsewhere too. Outstanding.