Five things on Friday on Sunday #297

Things of note for the week ending Sunday, May 19th, 2019.

Newsletter #297: Introduction


If email admin and tales of stupidity bore you, skip straight to the robot emojis.

If not, well…


I am an idiot.

Regular readers will know that I’ve been toying with the idea giving the FToF subscriber list a good clean this summer. Well. Earlier this week I booted up Mailchimp to be presented with a screen that said the following:

‘24% of your subscribers open your email ‘Rarely’, would you like to target them with a campaign?’

‘WHAT GOOD TIMING, MAILCHIMP. I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT DOING SOMETHING LIKE THIS!’ – I thought, naively.

Being the well-mannered bean that I am, I thought it might be a nice thing to let people know that I was going to unsubscribe them before I did so, just in case they changed their mind. AND I AM REALLY GLAD I DID.

Mailchimp, in its infinite wisdom, had failed to allow for any NEW or RECENT subscribers in its segmentation.

Cue around forty-odd emails from people (all lovely people – hello, thanks for not leaving) all telling me that I had emailed them by mistake, that they had only just subscribed, and this email (entitled ‘I am unsubscribing you’) was the first they had received from me.

A few things then:

Thank you to everyone who got back to me explaining my/Mailchimp’s mistake and hello to all the lovely new subs (I hope the hassle proves to be worth it).

Final thing on this, and then I’ll shut up forever*.

If you want to unsubscribe, please scroll down to the bottom of this email and his the ‘unsubscribe from this list’ link in the footer.

I will not be offended. Even if it happens to be a tit-for-tat thing because you’ve spotted that I’ve unfollowed you on Twitter (not that anyone would ever do that). I now know how to use Mailchimp segments properly (learnt the hard way, innit) and the other 1500 or so of you who were completely unaffected by any of this can crack on with the things as per.

If anyone fancies chatting further about the goddamn intricacies of managing a segmented mailing list, then by all means hit that reply button. If not, maybe we should get this thing moving, right? OK.

*by ‘forever’, I mean ‘at least until after summer’.

🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖

Having spent most of the intro unpacking my major mess up of the week, I’m going to keep the actual intro short. We do, as ever, have a lot to get through.

Aside from the email shenanigans` above, it’s been a good seven days. I feel like I’ve come back up for air over the past week or so – given the prior fortnight’s workload at least. And it has been refreshing to get a good view of things once more. I also managed to get a day out of the office to attend the always excellent One Question event. In its fourth edition now, ‘Does purpose really drive profit?’ is the perfect question for our current climate, one I’ll get more into probably next week once I’ve gotten around to writing up all my notes (but hey, here are some photos).

Today (Sunday) also marks the end of Mental Health Awareness week. I broke my Twitter fast to raise the flag up for anyone who wanted to talk (thanks to someone who I’ve been talking to on and off since I did the same thing last year reminding me!) and a handful of people have taken me up on it. It is humbling. Beautiful. And I am so bloody happy people feel OK to say ‘Hey’. The one thing I keep coming back to, with everything and everyone, are those three words that make a fire truck load of difference when you say them out loud.

Those three words are ‘And that’s OK’.

Life is hard.

It is. No matter which way you look at it. Sometimes you wonder how on Earth everyone is actually even managing to make it out of bed in the morning. Because if you look around, the world is falling to pieces and you, you feel like you’re not adding any value to anything or anyone. And you feel sad and hollow and depressed… and that’s OK.

Allowing yourself to feel something is OK.

Don’t shame yourself, hate yourself, or even beat yourself up for not failing to achieve the perceived societal norms for what ‘happiness’ is. I said it last week and I’ll say it again for all those that replied to say thank you and for all those that didn’t or need to hear it again: you are an unreliable narrator in the story of your life.

The world is not out to get you. But if you feel like it is, if you feel like nothing is going your way and you’re pretty down about it then for love the of God allow yourself to feel that way.

I’m sorry to wang on about this but it’s important. I’ve had too many conversations this week with too many people where the first step is a variation of the same thing: allow yourself to sit in how you feel. Soak it up. Let it wash over you. Because the more you fight it, the worse it will get. But if you let it come, open the door to it – and acknowledge it. It takes the pressure off. It really does. I speak from experience.

Did I mention that you can hit that reply button anytime?

🙂

OK. What was it I was saying about keeping the intro short? Damn.

Let’s do this.

1. VITA COCO NO NO NO NO NO… YES!

I mean, sure you must’ve seen this photo by now?

‘Address?’

No? Missed it? Educate thyself. This phenomenal response (to someone saying ‘I’d rather drink your social media person’s [actual wee] than touch Vita Coco’) is just great.

Imagine having the freedom to do that?

I’ve worked on brands where we’ve pored over every aching detail going to the SIMPLEST of replies, to witness this kind of comeback, is just GREAT.

Well done Vita Coco Water. From the social media team to the CEO, to be able to do this involves proper bravery and belief from those in charge and it is RARE AS ROCKING HORSE MANURE to see.

In a world where Burger King UK can seemingly stand up for your rights [to throw milkshakes at facists] and then pedal backward at speed a mere four hours later, this stuff puts the fresh into refreshing.

Keep it up.

PS. More here.

PPS. If you see any articles, hot-takes, LinkedIn posts or anything at all that features the words ‘What can brands learn from Vita Coco’s jar of urine?’, just close the tab and walk away. ‘Be braver’. There, I just saved you 750 words x.

2. GENDER SWAPPING ON SNAPCHAT BUT POSTING EVERY OTHER CHANNEL INSTEAD

Or as The Verge put it:

Snapchat has become a content creation tool for Instagram and Twitter users

It kinda has a point.

I go back and forth on Snapchat a LOT. The constant innovation is definitely the defining factor of why it is still interesting and it is of course by no means a dead app. User numbers are not growing, revenue is, and the feature set is siding with the latter, not the former.

Did you hear about the filter on Twitter first? In the news? Or did someone upload one to Instagram? Like Miley Cyrus? Snapchat, like Vine, like TikTok as well to an extent, is become a content creation tool for sharing on other platforms. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. It’s interesting. But not bad. As long as it’s monetizable then I guess they’ll be OK, right?

OK, ignore what happened to Vine.


As a closing side, this look at the technical ability of the gender-swap filter is EXCELLENT.

3. SKY WANG INVESTIGATION REAPS TRANSCRIPT GOLD SHOCKER

Thanks to one-time FToF author, Matt Jones, for this beaut.

Do you remember a couple of years ago there was a big hoo-hah stateside about a couple of Navy pilots drawing a giant penis in the sky?

No?

Well, it looked like this:

You’ll be pleased to know that the Navy Times (no relation) executed a perfect example of why the Freedom of Information Act is so important AND GOT HOLD OF THE TRANSCRIPT FROM THE DAY.

And, like the sky phallus itself, is a sight to behold.

“Balls are going to be a little lopsided,” the pilot advised.

“Balls are complete,” he reported moments later. “I just gotta navigate a little bit over here for the shaft.”

“Which way is the shaft going?” the EWO asked.

“The shaft will go to the left,” the pilot answered.

“It’s gonna be a wide shaft,” the EWO noted.

“I don’t wanna make it just like 3 balls,” the pilot said.

“Let’s do it,” the EWO said. “Oh, the head of that penis is going to be thick.”


And that’s not even the best bit.

Go read the rest – and wear that grin for the rest of the day.

4. JUST BUY THE F***ING LATTE

A solid deconstruction of why the ‘you-can’t-afford-a-house-because-you-buy-too-many-$5-coffees’ BS is simple that: BS. Reminds me of a podcast my friends threatened to start once: just eat the damn rice.

Point is: it’s all BS. All of it.

“This isn’t about the lattes. It’s never been about the lattes. Or any of the other ways we women are told we’re deficient around money. It’s about changing the narrative to recognize the real challenges we face as women and tackling real issues. It’s about demanding a fairer playing field from our institutions (paid maternity leave, anyone?). It’s about holding the companies at which we work accountable by demanding that they report out, and close, their gender pay gaps. It’s about giving all of our children the tools to live the lives that they deserve. It’s about balancing out our existing power structures. As Gloria Steinem has said, “We will not solve the feminization of power until we solve the masculinity of wealth.””

Good reading.

5. THE TOILET STUDY

This has actually given me an idea.

And I’d like your feedback on it.

But first, the thing: The Toilet Study bills itself as a dirty little peek into the mind of the opposite sex by comparing what women write in public bathrooms vs men.

It goes on:

“The messages found in over 100 public bathroom cubicles from men and women were documented, analysed and then finally compared. The following is a unique look at how the sexes privately differ on everything from sex and politics to spelling and pop culture.”

And it’s great reading.

‘Oh that’s great’ you’ll find yourself saying.
‘Hilarious’
‘Typical!’

All completely fine and normal responses to the lol-content herein.

However.

I got to these two charts and I stopped.

That’s not very good, is it?

I mean, I know men’s toilets aren’t exactly the most social of places to hang out but still, if we can’t try and help each other out when we’re having a moment on our own, then what’s the bloody point?

So I had an idea.

And I want your help.

In the name of Mental Health Awareness week, I want better messages for men’s toilets.

I know you probably know this but eff me does it deserve repeating: suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK today. I know people that have attempted it. I have lost people too. For what it’s worth, I count myself in the ‘attempted’ category. I’ve not said that out loud before. Not here at least. So that’s out there now. It’s coming up on the three year anniversary and I reckon it’s probably time. For now at least, it’s a story for another day.

Right now I want to talk about writing better messages in men’s toilets.

I work in the creative industries. That means I am fortunate enough that at any given time I am within 3m (max) distance to a Sharpie (I normally have at least two in my bag and one in my pocket) and, well, I want to start putting them to use (outside of meeting rooms).

So I’m going to.

And I want you to too.

So here’s the pitch. Go grab a Sharpie. Next time you’re in a public toilet – and it’s safe to do so – write something better than the guff featured on the above study. Anything. I’m going to start with the basics. Stuff like:

‘Things will be OK’

‘This too shall pass’

‘It’s OK to feel the way you’re feeling’

‘Try talking to someone about it’


(these are all mainly pants but I’m open to suggestions)

Once you’ve done it, take a photo of it, then reply to this email with it as an attachment. I’ve no idea if it’ll make a difference. But it’s a start. And Christ knows we need one.

Caveats:
I am definitely not telling you to break the law (I am but you know what I mean). This is completely at your own risk! Any photos I upload will not be tagged (unless you specifically ask me to). Please do not put yourself in danger. And don’t do anything stupid / get yourself barred from any pubs or bars.

It was around this time last year that Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit, chose the long-term solution to a short-term problem. One of my favourite lyrics of his is simply ‘And while I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to earth’ – this, what I’m asking of you right now, is that.

Try it. And see.

Hit reply and let me know how you get on.

THE ESSENTIALS:

The Essentials are the weekly links to the #MeToo movement. Any article. Any press. Any story. Any white male firing. If it happens, it’s here.

THE BONUS SECTION OF BONUS LINKS.

STOP. BONUS TIME.

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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x