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Lee and Sachi LeFever at Commoncraft have produced another cracking video explaining how social media works.  As part of our job we spend a lot of time trying explaining to people how and why Web 2.0 works and there you go –  they’ve done it in all of 4 minutes. Watch and enjoy – or you can download it here.

Next Monday, 21st January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year and as such is named Blue Monday. It is the start of the last week in January and a combination of the debt, weather, time since Christmas, time since New Year resolutions are broken, lack of motivation and need for action can be represented in a mathematical equation. I’m not sure about the accuracy of the equation but it is certainly a depressing time of year, for all those reasons just stated.

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The campaign to ‘Beat Blue Monday‘ was started by the Creativity at Work consultants and is being promoted by Green Communictions here in Yorkshire. There is a facebook group (of course) and the Samaritans are part of the partnership.

They suggest you try and do something to cheer yourself and others up such as:

“Blog – Write a blog about what you are doing to Beat Blue Monday. Make your readers smile. If you do write a blog post on Monday 21 – make sure to tag it: “beatbluemonday”.
Try something new -Be creative, or learn something new to get your brain active and start thinking of new things instead of dwelling on the old.
Get physical – By changing your physical state, from a simple shoulder-shake at your desk to a full work-out at the gym, you can change the way you feel.
Contact a friend or relative – Get in touch with someone you have not heard from in a while; thinking of someone else takes your mind off you.
Take a break – Go somewhere different, whether it’s a coffee bar you have never been into, or a faraway luxury holiday; by changing your physical location, you change your perspective on the world.
Be nice to a stranger – Do a random act of kindness; doing good for others is the best form of self-satisfaction.
Help the planet – Be a good ancestor in some way; the planet will be here long after you are gone.
Pamper yourself – Spoil yourself, from a small indulgence to a luxury you have been promising yourself. You can even dye your hair blue to create a stunning eye-catching change.
Plan something new – Whether it’s planning a holiday for later in the year or deciding what to do at the weekend, looking forward to something new or different can be uplifting and refreshing.
Share your thoughts – A problem shared is a problem halved. Visit the Blue Monday blog to see what ideas people have come up with for dealing with life’s little problems. ”

Having read all those, I got a day’s pampering at the Spa of a rather smart hotel locally for my birthday so might just take that up next week.

I went to look at the City of Manchester Stadium as a possible event venue yesterday morning. As always, I parked at one end of the stadium and the conferencing facilties where right on the other side. Although the stadium is now the home of Manchester City football club (I didn’t see Sven!) the conferencing facilities are not in any way jingoistic or football orientated. As part of this search I had telephone Old Trafford, of Man United fame, and stopped the conversation within about 2 mintues. The ‘hold music’ consisted of football songs about Man United and bits of commentary on games. I interupted his sales pitch with – ‘There is no point going on with this conversation, that music has annoyed me and I think the attitude will alienate half of the people we want to come, so sorry’. Anyway, the City of Manchester Stadium, where the Commonwealth Games were held seemed to be smart, slick and hopefully we’ll have a successful event there.

I took a half day’s leave in the afternoon and went to Haworth of Bronte fame to hear a talk by Margaret Drabble the novelist on the influence of the Brontes on her work. She was very good, funny and certainly knows her literature, or so I thought. I went with a retired professor of English Literature, who is a Bronte researcher. ‘Well she was wrong about that bit of Wuthering Heights, it was in the January 2 months before the baby was born that, that happened’. Somtimes you can know too much.

We’ve been trying to put together some videos at work this week, to both introduce the team and to pass on information. Needless to say when faced with a video camera everybody collapsed into frantic giggles. It was astonishing, and it’s not as if it is new technology, but point a camera at me and ask me to behave ‘normally’ – it’s never going to happen. Eventually, Kev put together a nice piece with each of the team introducing themselves, which hopefully will go on our TV channel next month and an even longer blooper collection which may get put up to Youtube if we are feeling brave enough. If you haven’t seen our TV channel check out www.rsc-northwest.ac.uk, click on publications and then select RSCTV. It’s fab and put together by our ACL adviser John.

The Bob Dylan website has a fantastic piece of viral marketing. Using the cue card scene (which the writers of Love Actually stole) from Don’t look Back, you can send your own message to friends. I’m told you can embed it in your facebook page but the technology is getting the better of me so I can’t seem to do it but you can see my message – here.

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