Archive for March, 2010

Infuriating and disappointing: The UK election fight is under way, but haven’t UK Politicians learnt anything on social media from Obama?

After watching Channel4′s Chancellors debate (below) and joining in the conversation on Twitter, I wanted to delve a little deeper into what the UK political parties are doing to engage with the electorate through social media in the run up to the next general election which is coming up, to be held on or before June the 3rd.

Having witnessed the social media frenzy whipped up by President Obama months before and in the run up to the USA election I was wondering why I hadn’t seen the same effort of engagement by either the Labour, Conservatives or Liberal Democrats when Obama’s landslide win was largely attributed to the engagement and grassroots funding he received through social media.

Then I came across some infuriating articles which said social media will in no way  be integral to the 2010 UK elections.  The articles are based around comments from a senior said analyst at Ovum Vuk Trifkovic who says parties are only using social web tools:

“Aimed primarily at communication and collaboration within the established caste of politicians, journalists, and interest groups”

“The parties acknowledge that social media can be used to mobilise activists, engage new audiences, or harvest a long tail of donators, However, unless the parties have a surprise up their sleeve, we do not believe that social media will play an integral part of the campaign efforts in the forthcoming elections.”

“Last night’s chancellors’ debate and the upcoming leaders’ debates make it far more likely that 2010 will be remembered as the ‘TV election’ rather than the ‘social media election’.”

If they acknowledge social media as an invaluable then why the hell aren’t they using it in the correct way and making it inclusive instead of exclusive? A TV election? What about the U.K’s 23.7 million viewers on YouTube and 23 million active users on Facebook?

Then there was another even more infuriating quote from BCS president Elizabeth Sparrow who suggested further reasons why politicians have shown insufficient urgency in getting to grips with social media technology:

“The problem is that the under 24s tend to be the main chunk of society that has not registered to vote, so even if the parties were tapped into new media it would do little to help their campaign,” she said.

Oh right, so instead of perhaps encouraging and educating young people on how to register to vote – a campaign that they could have easily promoted through social media they just ignore us instead?!

This is exactly where Obama used social media to include and engage the youth vote and it worked, proven in the stats- Young voters preferred Obama over John McCain by 68 percent to 30 percent — the highest share of the youth vote obtained by any candidate since exit polls began reporting results by age in 1976.  An estimated 22 to 24 million young people voted in the US election, an increase in youth turnout by at least 2.2 million over 2004.

It’s no wonder that more young people vote on Big Brother than in a UK general election because it is this exact neglect and disregard for the younger electorate that the UK government needs to turn around.

We are the future and we do care, If only you’d involve us or make it easier for us to vote; in a recent study three-quarters of young people would engage in politics if they could vote by text message or social media, according to a survey of 1,082 UK citizens.

But it’s not even just about the youth vote, The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is still women over 55 and the UK has the second highest global Twitter usage after the USA, so why aren’t political parties engaging?

According to Dave Briggs, marketing executive at Learning Pool, UK political parties are not rushing to test out new forms of social media because of the risks:

“The opportunities presented by the internet are one of scale because it allows the government to exhibit behaviour on a mass scale. But so much of it is so new that I think there will have to be pain before things settle,” he said.

“There will be some online conversations that don’t work with the public, but this does not mean that politicians should not innovate and try to do new stuff. ”

Politicians are scared to try out social media because of risk of transparency, but isn’t transparency what the British public need after the expenses scandle? Gordon Brown could easily build up trust through social media but he won’t take the risk which in my opinion is the wrong move – questions will be raised- What else has he got to hide?

Of course the UK political parties are using social media, but not engaging. There has been a steady increase of politicians Tweeting and aggregated on services like Tweetminster, but I have not seen one of my friends mention Brown or Cameron in the last few months, whereas during the US election many of my friends changed their profile picture or Twitter avatar to Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’ picture and were excited by the campaign.

Final Rant:

It’s disappointing our political leaders are so out of touch – I would have thought they’d have taken a leaf out of Obama’s proven social media success and invested time into social media instead of spending time on implementing draconian law like The Digital Economy Bill which is helping the UK take a step backwards and will choke innovation.

Investing in online engagement seems like an intelligent choice;  Not only would this have been a low cost option to marketing and funding their campaign, It would have illustrated transparency and also shown the rest of the world the UK is in control of a platform which is rapidly effecting and influencing almost every industry. Instead they’ve dipped their toes in, got cold feet and stayed outside.

It will be interesting to see what tricks the parties try and pull out of the hat over the next eight weeks but I think they’ve left it too late and their lack of engagement online is a HUGE missed opportunity.

Lets see the  Labour and the Conservatives parties social media usage so far :



Channel Views: 259,90 Total Upload Views: 1,110,151 Joined: February 12, 2007 Subscribers: 2,771

Conservatives:  Channel Views: 165,791 Total Upload Views: 1,590,212  Joined: October 20, 2006


Labour: 11,675 Followers

Latest Tweet: ‘Thx to everyone who sent ideas & designs for our next ad.U can see some of our faves now at #peopleposters’

Conservatives: 22,149 Followers

Latest Tweet: ‘Gordon Brown has been caught out using misleading statistics three times in this month alone:’


Labour: 9,357 Fans

Conservatives: 28,603 fans

The Chancellor’s debate:

Live from Facebook! Using Vpype to live broadcast to your fb fans.

I recently attended the London Social Video Meetup networking event – which landed conveniently after the Social Media World Forum – where I watched a live demo by Sarah Kornfeld at Vpype – a live stream application specifically for Facebook users.

I was at the Social Media World Forum and noticed that Vpype was one of the only companies to create a lot of buzz around their stand and that their demos continued to draw in little pockets of attendees and delegates. They were also live streaming during the event.

Live streaming isn’t a new concept with sites like Ustream and but Vpype (pronounced Vee-pipe not like Viiipe i.e. like Qype) has a couple of unique features that stands out from its competition. Firstly,  you could be live broadcasting from your lounge room to an audience of more than 400 million active users!! Well you probably won’t draw in millions but having a live broadcasting application within your Fan page means you can potentially engage with thousands of people at any one time.

You can also all decide who you want to invite to the broadcast – so everyone or specific Facebook members. Interestingly, you can also block people from the back channel too. So if someone starts making some ‘noise’, you as the broadcaster, can silence them…

The application is also uniquely integrated into Facebook Events, so you can make an Events Page for your broadcast – thus you are committed to your show every week, and can build up your audience – Plus it acts like a great reminder!

We also heard from Austin Vernon from Bright Giant about how brands can use this application to engage with their customers. For example, a company could set up a fortnightly customer service call with various members of the public and chat live  – much like when companies use Twitter as a source of two-way communication. He also makes the point that brands need to think how they are going to engage with their customers because there is nothing that makes people runaway quicker online is if you are having advertising forced upon you.

Vpype – and similar applications to come – is a simple three-step process. It’s in its early stages and I think there are some key features still missing such as the ability to add pre-recorded video, slides, pictures, voting buttons and polls etc, to make the live broadcast more dynamic for the audience. But with the popularity of sites like Youtube and Chatroulette, I think the combination of the accessibility of this tool (i.e it’s free to download via Facebook) and our inherent need to interact in a social and meaningful way, we’ll see more and more people willing to use live streaming platforms to broadcast their lives – maybe in a fun and irreverent way (i.e PianoChatImprov guy) or fans can chat to their favourite band on MTV Live within Facebook.

Applications like Vpype shows me that video is going social and it’s here to stay on the net. Ten years ago if your company did not have a website, you virtually didn’t exist. These days, if you don’t use video to interact and engage with your consumers then you are just a one-dimensional brand – without any personality!

You can watch the demo below (which was recorded live during the meeting):

After watching this, how do you think you would use an application like Vpype?

Announcing’s London iPhone Boot Camp Scholarship Winner…drum roll please…Tola Famakinwa!


Here come the girls! To encourage more women to work in tech we gave away a free scholarship to the upcoming London iPhone Boot Camp happening from 9 – 11 April 2010.

We’d like to congratulate Tola Famakinwa who fought out stiff competition to become the prestigious scholarship winner.

Tola works as SEO Administrator for Dimasoft Ltd and impressively has a first degree in Industrial Mathematics and a Masters in Computing Science. She has experience working with programming languages including Java, PHP, Javascript and is looking forward to learning lots more at the iPhone Boot Camp.

”I believe learning the iPhone programming language will make me a stronger and better developer and further assist my career as a developer and consultant which is my long term future goal, ” said Tola.

We look forward to hearing about her experience in the coming weeks. You can follow her Twitter updates here.

Congratulations Tola from and the team at the London iPhone Boot Camp!

Brilliant social media campaign: Marmite holds a Lovers and Haters Election

Marmite is holding its very own election this year to see if the UK is a nation of Lovers or Haters. They are introducing two new parties the Love Party and the Hate Party

Each party has a Marmite-related manifesto and a series of pledges to be implemented if they get in power.- See their campaign here

I wouldn’t be surprised if more people vote in the Marmite election than the general election -Marmite is definitely on par with both Brown and Cameron’s appeal factor. You either love it or hate it!

The Love Party:

The Hate Party

Top 5 Chatroulette funny (and slightly perverted) videos!

Everyone’s talking about the random video site  Chatroulette which connects you with a random stranger, pervert or naked men on camera somewhere in the world.

It’s strangely addictive and people have already been leveraging the site, producing some entertaining videos, here are our top Chatroulette videos.

1. Merton‘s Original

2. Ben Folds Does Merton live before an audience at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 20th, 2010.

3. Steve Kardynal does Chatroulette gaga

4. Casey Neistat ‘Let’s get our chat on.’

5. Urgent Content does reality Chatroulette at SXSWi.

And Rocketboom does a quick about – If you have not heard of it yet!

It’s Earth Hour! Now! Turn your lights off now!

It’s Earth Hour 2010 right now! Turn off you lights and join the world in taking a stand against climate change!

The Apprentice’s Michelle Dewberry on closing a round of funding & women in tech

This week Louisa, our London Correspondent, meets with Michelle Dewberry at TheNextWomen’s Kitchen Dinner where she reveals that has just receieved a new round of funding and that it is soon to re-launch. See Louisa’s report below:

TheNextWomen Kitchen Dinner No. 8

Recently, I went to TheNextWomen Kitchen Dinner with Michelle Dewberry as a keynote speaker. The evening was extremely interesting and rewarding and involved lots of networking with such a diverse and remarkable group of business women. After the speech by Michelle, we were treated to a delicious three course dinner. Michelle spoke truthfully and shared plenty of tips for young women hoping to start their own online business.

In the interview with Michelle, she tells us about her website , what it was like to work for Sir Alan Sugar and life after The Apprentice – as well as her female internet superhero and her thoughts for the future.

The world’s most promising tech startups -London & Helsinki

The search continues across Europe for the hottest 100 technology startups in the world, Innovate100 hit London and Helsinki- Amsterdam, Barcelona and Tel Aviv coming up!

Helsinki Winner. Sopima.

Helsinki event report.

London event report.

Innovate100 – London Event Report from Guidewire Group on Vimeo.

London Winner.  Shutl and Skimlinks.

Check out the winners from the Berlin Innovate100 Pitch Slams

The hunt to find the wold’s most promising Internet and technology startups is in full swing as the Innovate100 competition traveled to Berlin yesterday.

And drum roll please… The winners is: Numenus

And the runners up are:


And the event report presented by the lovely @thatgirl_chloe

London IPhone/iPad Boot Camp – April 9-11 – A few seats still available – Early Bird & Scholarship for Women end soon

We have a few seats still available for the London iPhone/iPad Boot Camp April 9-11 and we are extending the early bird rate for a few days. This workshop is limited in size and we expect it will sell out shortly.

Also we also are still accepting resumes for five more days for the full scholarship for a woman software developer. So far only three women have applied for the full scholarship so the chances of winning it are good and we are totally committed to efforts to bring more women into software development.

For information on the full scholarship:

To register at the early bird rate and save 333 pounds go to:

The Three Day Intensige London Boot Camp will take you step by step and show you how to develop an iPhone and iPad app . It’s not easy learning or teaching the SDK and the below developers comments on our last London workshop with Charles Gamble in January were extremely positive:

Just thought I would give you some feedback after attending the bootcamp. Well after 3 long days all I can say is what a fantastic course. I think we were lucky having Charles as here is someone who not only demonstrated an absolutely fantastic knowledge of the subject he was teaching but was very patient and stayed past 6 each night for as long as was needed to help the students.
- Gary Kind