Five things on Friday #41

Things of note for the week ending October 12th, 2012


1. Awesome birdhouses
From the stylish to the down right scary, these incredible birdhouses have been made specifically to raise money for charity (which is doubly awesome). The whole set is quite fantastic and the one I’ve used above does nothing to illustrate how artistic the creators get…  it just really makes me laugh.


2. Blogger Engagement
A good piece of blogger engagement goes a long way. This is not news admittedly and there’s probably enough in this to warrant another blog post for another day (note to self: start this draft). But for now, let’s talk about some great pieces that have happened lately.

First, from the lovely chaps looking after social media for Tsingtao Beer. I’m not a huge Tsingtao drinker but, after some great banter with the aforementioned digital team – I know I’m going to order it next time I’m out for Chinese, certainly. I’m also going to vote* in the Tsingtao Beer ‘Legacy of Taste‘ competition, which is the search to find Britain’s favourite Chinese restaurant. You should vote too.

Second, Motorola announced their brand new Motorola RAZR i the other week and, in all fairness, I rarely take notice of anything Motorola do as I’ve never used any of their devices and it’s not a brand that’s ever interested me. However, after a delightful email from their representatives here in Europe, not only have I LIKED THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE but I’ve also mentioned the phone a couple of times on the podcast AND I’m also looking forward to actually getting my hands on one and having a play.

That’s all down to decent blogger engagement.

Look, I know this all sounds incredibly pompous but I collect blogger engagement. When I was engagement director at the ‘heads I made it my job to constantly review with the way we engaged with different communities; I have given entire presentations (internally, of course) based around bad engagement copy. It’s a habit I’ve kept since leaving and well, blogger engagement done well should be applauded more often.

So, Christine at Edelman and Tom/Robbie at McCann, if you’re reading this – good work.

3. BMX Boy
This is four year old Malcolm, out BMX-ing/Mountain-biking with his dad. It’s nine minutes of smiling from ear to ear.

My dad and I used to go scrambling around tracks like that. I miss it.

4. The Mayor of Mars
The Mars Curiosity Rover is using Foursquare to track its progress across that reddest of planets and, just last week, it became the Mayor of the Gale Crater.

I love love love the way that the team at NASA are using social media tor drive interest around this most awesome of human exploratory missions. And big up to the Foursquare team who are helping them do just that. Well done.

5. Stupid stuff
My girlfriend sent me this during the week and for some reason it makes me crack up just looking at it/him –

I’m laughing right now. Hahahaha… the artist behind this masterpiece is one Natalie Dee.

Go seek her out.

Bonuses this week: a 15min speech from the Australian Prime Minister labelling the leader of the opposition a hyprocritcal misogynist is absolutely fantastic (seriously, watch it); a blog post entitled ‘the most interesting underpants in London‘ really does live up to its name; and finally, this is probably the best volcano video you’ve ever seen – hit HD, make it full screen and ENJOY.


*If you’re interested, Royal China got my vote. 

Five things on Friday #33

Things of note for the week ending August 17th, 2012

1. Extraordinary Travel Destinations


Stunning. Just, stunning. Bucket list worthy even. The full set really does need to be seen to be believed.

2. Bad Robocop
New Robocop script has leaked and it apparently it’s not looking good. Sad times.

3. Telegraph Olympics images
Now the Olympics are over (and the Paralympics just ’round the corner), it’s a great time to pause and reflect at the awesome achievements that have taken place over the past two weeks.

You could start With the ‘50 Best Images of London 2012‘, and then maybe move onto these awesome tilt-shifted photos too – that’s what I did anyway.

4. Useful Foursquare plug-in ahoy!
I’m a big film fan. I’m also a big Foursquare fan. Regular Foursquare users might know that as well being able to check in to cinemas these days, you can also check in to films at those cinemas.

Now imagine if you will, when you checked in to a film, somebody was kind enough to leave a comment on that check in telling you whether or not you should stick around after the credits.

Yeah, that would be awesome right?

Well, imagine no more.



Back soon.

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Five things on Friday #19

Five things of note for the week ending Friday May 11th, 2012

1. Back to the Future Business Card of WIN
Tom Wilson played ‘Biff‘ in the Back to the Future films. Apparently, he carries a business card that he gives to fans to answer all those BTTF questions in one.


2. Some (more) decent lengthy articles
First up, ‘Frequent fliers who flew too much‘ is a brilliant read about unlimited first-class tickets that used to be available from American Airlines.

“Creative uses seemed limitless. When bond broker Willard May of Round Rock, Texas, was forced into retirement after a run-in with federal securities regulators in the early 1990s, he turned to his trusty AAirpass to generate income. Using his companion ticket, he began shuttling a Dallas couple back and forth to Europe for $2,000 a month.”

You can see why they stopped it. Have a read.

Next, I’m halfway through this fantastic interview with Joss Whedon. He directed, amongst a whole host of other things, The Avengers. And he is awesome.

Finally, Kathryn Schulz on ‘Internal Time‘ is proving to be a fantastic read. Purely because I never thought I’d ever read the line ‘Modern human beings are not much like mimosas’. Check it.

3. 100,000 LED Lights Illuminate a Japanese River

4. Retro-active Foursquare tracking
For some reason (and this is proper geeky) I love the idea that you can track your check-ins with GCal. Use case: ‘Had a meeting with Robbie the other week at that cool place on Wardour St., what was it called?’ – which means I now have a 4sq layer in my Google Calendar.

So simple.


5. Useful Apps / Plug-ins is a great Chrome plug-in for searching through Gmail attachments. It’s proved to be an absolute life-saver lately. And their CEO, Jesse Miller, is a thoroughly nice chap too.

Build apps in iOS? Take a look at It’s like, but for app download tracking.


Bonuses -  Stunning Star Wars toy photography (click) and Avengers Concept Art (below) have both made my day today. Until next time…

‘Aftermath’ – click to embiggen

The Hunt for Hanna

Just over a week ago I was sent an email about the new Blu-Ray/DVD release of the child/assassin-based thriller, Hanna.

Note: this is not your average email, but we’ll come to that shortly.

If you’ve not seen the film before (I haven’t), it’s about a teenage girl (the amazing Saoirse Ronan) who has been trained by her ex-CIA father (Eric Bana) to basically be a complete bad-ass. Think Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass [but slightly older and with less pink wig-ness] and you’re probably halfway there.

Anyway, like I said, she’s been trained to be THE PERFECT ASSASSIN and then well, from what I can see from the trailer, Cate Blanchett turns up and the proverbial really hits the fan.

Speaking of which, the trailer is worth a look –

What do you think? I missed this at the cinema as I had only just got back from my mad trip across Siberia, but it does actually look quite good. IMDb gives it a solid 7/10 and, I think I probably will pick this up at some point also.

So, why am I blogging about it? Given that a) I haven’t actually seen it yet and b) although the film looks good, it doesn’t seem to be the kind of epic masterpiece that normally drives me to put e-pen to e-paper.

Well, it’s that email I mentioned at the top. It would seem that HMV and Universal have teamed up to create a rather awesome Foursquare-based treasure hunt across three major cities in the UK (London, Birmingham and Manchester) that kicks off this weekend.

Based around the central themes of the film, each hunt contains six codes that need cracking and from there you end up with six locations that need checking into.

The prize for completing said task? Er.. a weekend in Berlin! Sweet.

If you’re any of the above cities, your orders are available c/o The Galinka Project (but be quick, you only have until Monday). In the meantime, I have codes to crack.

Catch you later.




The Social Media Rollercoaster

Round we go...Summer is coming and – between the torrential downpours – the sun will be shining once again.

Last weekend, while queueing up* for Adventure Island‘s RAGE rollercoaster on Southend Seafront, I began wondering how theme parks could use social media and further engender positive word of mouth.

And, it was after reading Joe’s post earlier this week around the Social Season Ticket, did I then decide to put my thoughts down on paper – so to speak.

To my mind, theme parks and attractions have a fantastic opportunity when it comes to social media. Standing in line amongst the other would-be screamers, my brain started buzzing. So much so, I made notes –

‘Wouldn’t it be cool if each main attraction at a major theme park had its own Twitter account broadcasting not only for ‘on brand’ messaging [ie: ‘Boo!’ for the haunted house] but also – and much more importantly – up to date queue time information. As a guide for the more socially-savvy guest, this service could prove invaluable.’

This is not an untouched area in this industry. Back in February, Alton Towers announced they were a launch partner for Facebook Deals here in the UK. According to their site:

“On Friday 18th February 2011, the Alton Towers Theme Park opened a day earlier than planned for the Half Term holiday, offering exclusive use for anyone who checked in with Facebook Deals on that day. Guests were able to enter the Theme Park with up to three friends, completely free. 100 lucky people will also claimed a hotel stay on the night of 18 February 2011, completely free!”

Very swish.

As with any industry, it really does depend on how much time and money theme parks want to invest in making this a success; is it a case of a simple Facebook promotion [Like ‘Thorpe Park’ on Facebook and get 10% off your ticket entry] or do you want to go the whole hog and have Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare integrated across every branded touch point [including your entrance ticket].

My advice?

As ever, choose an objective and stick to it

  • Want to increase footfall?
    Great, run an online ticket promotion
  • Want to sell more gifts + toys?
    Offer Foursquare deals at specific stores across the park
  • Want to help control traffic around the park?
    Introduce ride-only Twitter accounts which tweet when the queues reach over an hour

One last idea from me –

Why don’t theme park ride photographs post straight to Facebook?

This is such an obvious and quick win. Photos get uploaded to Facebook, guests like the page and then are able to tag themselves post-visit. Ultimately, sharing branded experiences with their Facebook friends using branded photos.

It’s certainly better than forking out £8.00 for an old school photograph that you’ll probably get crumpled up on the way home…

All of that aside; as an avid theme park fan myself, if Twitter was used as an information service for each ride? I’d be there like a shot.


*Yes. This is how my brain works even on my day off