New blog

All new content on my restarted blog is here

Saturday, July 18

Two flip interviews at #psw09

Socitm held its annual 'Building perfect council websites' event this week at Olympia, London. Must have been over 200 people there and a very interesting line-up of contributors.

I took my Flip camera along and managed to grab a couple of people for short interviews.

Kingston upon Thames councillor (and former Mayor) Mary Reid is a real pioneer in use of social networks in the UK. She's had a blog for a long time and driven a lot of development in her council. Here, continuing from a point I'd made in one of her sessions, she talks about whether the development of social media policy is really needed.

Gerry McGovern is an old hero of mine. He's basically a usability guru but he doesn't talk like one. His presentation style is very funny, pointing out the silliness of how much web design looks to an outsider - woods'n'trees stuff.

Here's the website for 'psw09' with links to other posts and presentation slides.

It was also the 'soft launch' for Socitm Web Professionals - of which more later!

Socitm web professionals banner

Colalife: using sugary drink distribution for good

Russell on the plinth

My friend Russell Tanner spent an hour on Friday afternoon furiously tweeting away whilst precariously perched on top of a plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Of course he was part of the One and Other project and decided to use his hour to promote the Colalife project.

ColaLife is a campaign to get Coca-Cola to open up its distribution channels in developing countries to save lives, especially children’s lives, by carrying much needed ’social products’ such as oral rehydration salts and high-dose vitamin A tablets.

For the latest on the campaign, please visit the blog. ColaLife is an independent and purely voluntary movement backed by thousands of supporters on its Facebook Group. ColaLife is not an organisation.

It was launched by Simon Berry, who had an idea while working on the British Aid programme in 1988:

What about Coca Cola using their distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts? Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as ‘the life saving’ compartment?

Having made no progress with the idea for 20 years, Simon decided to try once more but this time using the convening power of the internet. Since floating the idea on his blog in May 2008, he has managed to create a huge community around the campaign, through a Facebook group and appearances on Radio 4’s iPM programme. He is now in discussions with Coca-Cola and is looking to engage with an international NGO to move the project forward.

Here's Simon and Russell talking about Colalife.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, July 14

Listen to Gay Life After Saddam

Here is the BBC radio report on the situation for Iraqi LGBT. It is nothing but horror (and heroism) and here's the thing: life was better under Saddam.

Iraqi gays report a (discrete) gay life before 2003 which reminds me of the life which currently exists in Beirut. There were clubs, people could meet by the river. An exile says "no one was killed for being gay under Saddam regime".

This brilliant report goes to Baghdad and visits the Iraqi LGBT safe house. It is very hard listening.

"They had thrown [my boyfriend's] corpse in the garbage. His genitals were cut off and a piece of his throat had been cut out."

Some LGBT find their way to the UK. Very, very few. The UK Border Agency in every instance says they can go back and just 'be discrete'. I kid you not.

Not surprisingly (sic) both David Miliband and Phil Woolas refused to give an interview for this programme.

It includes a lot of background from my friend Ali Hilli. I can't begin to express my admiration for him. He is a true hero.

Listen to the show (60').

Gay Life After Saddam

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, July 13

People + Power - Iran: Inside the protests

This is a really excellent account from a reporter from Al-Jazeera English in Tehran of the protests. Starting from the election results announcement she follows students and protesters and gets a unique perspective.

23' well spent to watch.