#SocialWhirl: 5 Days on Radio Scotland

Well I’m not long back from my final day on the Kaye Adams programme on Radio Scotland. While, over the years I’ve done dozens interviews on radio and TV shows (both the BBC and STV) – this week it was different. I was handling a slot they call the #SocialWhirl – which was basically discussing five social media stories each day – airing just after the 11am news.

I was brought in on Monday and Tuesday, initially, to see if I would be worth bringing the rest of the week. Trial by Fire – as it were.

Each day I woke up at 7:30, showered and immediately started looking at stories from all kinds of sources. Facebook trending. Twitter trending. The Guardian, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Buzzsumo…anywhere and everywhere.

I’d then make suggestions to the team, and they’d either accept or reject them. Each day they ended up accepting a few of mine and opting ones that were their own.

Fair enough it’s their show…

I’d arrive at the Pacific Quay at 10:30 and get my notes. (I was working with a lovely young girl called Emma this week). Emma would provide me with bullet points of the stories and I would also take my own notes on my iPad.

DAY ONE

Monday morning’s #socialwhirl – I will admit that I was nervous. Though I’ve more than twenty three years of radio experience, I found this week to be a real challenge – especially day one. I think it showed.

When Kaye asked me follow up questions at points – I choked and ended up bumbling along trying to regain my footing…Totally nerve-wracking.

Day ones stories ranged from Taylor Swift taking on Apple, ‘Anakin Skywalker’ getting busted after a car chase, why hangovers are so bad (note: I’m teetotal!), #EndAusterity now (which frankly I am still unsure about) and the lovely Ewan McGregor intimating there may be another Trainspotting (we pondered where the story could go 20 years later!)

I survived it, just…and they said I did ok but I think we all knew there was much room for improvement. Later that day they did give me notes on how to do better on Tuesday.

Notes like “Breathe and speak a bit more slowly. Remember you have a couple of minutes on each story to fill. Own it!”

And when I am asked a question that I don’t know – “don’t panic”, explain I’m unsure and then refer them to the Kaye’s Adams Facebook page for the full stories.

Day two

By Tuesday, I was keenly aware that, if I hoped to be invited back for the rest of the week, I had to do better. I think I did. By now I was a little bit more relaxed and frankly we started to get into a good zone.

The stories were pretty good – we had the wee blind Jack Russell Glenn with his guide dog Buzz needing a home, Taylor Swift follow on backlash from an English photographer, how skinny jeans can be dangerous and couple of challenges (for me anyway) – about a bomb going off in Afghan parliament and North Korea’s alleged cure for Ebola and other deadly diseases. So I sort of choked again but clearly did good enough because at the end Kaye said “See you tomorrow Thea” and I felt as though I’d passed the test. Phew!

Here’s a link to Day two’s stories on Facebook

Day 3

Day three, Hump Day, as we say in the US of A…and I’m back at PQ again. Feeling slightly more confident, though still not 100%, as we work our way through more Social Media stories.

The first story of the day resonates with me as the founder of So You’ve Been Dumped (the website for the romantically challenged which celebrates its 15th birthday in just over a week). It’s about the guy Martin who makes a video in honor of his ex-wife Laura who he’d been with for 12 years. In the video, he saws various items in half so he can auction the items off on eBay…He saws Teddy Bears, cards, mobile phones etc…16 in total – I think. All with a story of their own. This thing goes viral…but even when I’d seen it in the Metro (while on the tube to town) I was dubious.

The video’s been viewed nearly 6.5 million times. Bonkers…

But the story this particular morning is that it was all a hoax created by a German Law firm’s portal to raise awareness about divorce: “Too few married couples take precautions for the case of a possible separation – for example with a marriage contract.” – With a close friend going through a divorce in Germany right now I’m hearing first hand how traumatic it is (especially there!)

Other stories we talked about were about Google and the Chromium browser…note that Chromium and Chrome are not the exact thing. I did state it was Chromium not Chrome but I could have better articulated this story – to be sure.

“The key here is that Chromium is not a Google product. We do not directly distribute it, or make any guarantees with respect to compliance with various open source policies,” Google developer Mgiuca said.

I tried it on my own Chrome browser on my Mac and Google asked if I wanted to allow the mic to work.

Again it’s always good to check settings in all your browsers, apps and websites.

Don’t even get me started about Facebook or WhatsApp!

We then went on to talk about Condoms that change colors (S.T.EYE) and a study about siblings – but not necessarily in that order. I gave my own experience about my sister and I (who are like “chalk and cheese”) and Kaye said her daughters are the same.

I felt pretty good when leaving Wednesday…The stories for the day are all here.

Day 4

Another day another dollar, or should I say pound? Day four’s stories were as varied as ever. We kicked off with the sweet but sad story of Alex McDougall a 77 year old Rangers Fan and Army vet who passed away in a care home in England. He never had any family or friends come to visit so the staff there put the call out to social to get people along to honor him. (His funeral is 2 hours from now.) Runner Lynsey Sharp, a Scottish track star, is going along to it. She was on the phone saying why. That story struck a cord in me too as he reminded me of my father in his picture. Another old fella who’s been married to his job. That’s the only story from yesterday they put on Kaye’s Facebook page (probably an oversight)

The other stories were” Working mums can start to feel less guilty! It turns out it can actually be good, for daughters especially, according to a Harvard study.  Obama gets heckled “No no no not in my house” type of thing. The see-through toilet at Glastonbury. (Surreal you can see out of the porta-loo but people can’t see in! Still, it could prove challenging to “go” regardless…).

The final story was also near and dear to my heart because it was about #thepowerofmakeup!

Given that I run a makeup business – I definitely had an opinion on this one! It started because of this video Nikkie who runs Nikkie’s tutorials on Youtube. She did a tutorial doing half her face which caused quite a stir. 


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Kaye ended by saying it was our last day together and that John Beattie would be in doing the Friday show. I was a little bummed as I felt as though Kaye and I had built up a pretty good rapport. We have a laugh and now there I was – going to have to have start over with someone new on my last day…

Day 5

Today was Day 5 of the show and this time it’s with John. Now I’ve met John once or twice – even had conversations with him at the Scotland Tonight party (not that he’d ever remember meeting me especially with some Miss Scotland in the room at the time!) but I’d heard good things about John so I figured it would be fine. And it was. I suppose.

It’s a totally different dynamic in the studio but that’s fine. We kick off with a spooky K9 suicide story. It’s about a bridge in West Dunbartonshire that 600 dogs have simply jumped off (50 of them have died as a result).

We had a guy Paul Owens who’s written an unpublished book about the bridge – asserting it’s a ghost Lady Overtoun’s perhaps? Anyway John’s signalling to me to speak, I guess and ask what he believes the real story here is…but I don’t pick up the cue (Awkward)….So he asks himself bottom line – why do these dogs do so? Paul reckons it is something supernatural going on there. John remains skeptic. I am simply curious and now I want to go to the bridge!

In true Back to the Future style, we discussed how Lexus has created a working Hoverboard. Then how some bonkers person on Instagram decided to deep fry a Big Mac. Revolting. Americans getting slammed for frying everything but we’re not the only ones – Deep Fried Mars Bar anyone?

Two final stories: Burning money: a new Internet challenge featuring people burning money.

When John asked “why?” I didn’t have an answer for him…

Look at the story on the BBC website  – there’s not much to it…so not my fault I didn’t have answer!

I tried to find the blog of people slamming it (and suggesting they should use it to buy medicine or food) — but what I should have said “it’s the internet, there doesn’t need to be a reason”.  Frankly the internet’s filled with pointless junk isn’t it?

The last story was a Scottish Farmer’s choir singing about the future of milk to the tune or Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary. Anyway a slightly bizarre way of raising awareness to their plight but these days I guess that’s what we do – we take to the Internet…we make videos. We create hashtags and we jump on other people’s hashtags too.

#SocialWhirl Summary:

I have to say, I enjoyed my week on the Kaye Adams show. It was definitely an “out of my comfort zone” situation. That’s no bad thing.

I had some stories that I managed to cover much better than others. If was grading myself (on an American scale) I’d give myself a B-, but as one of the producers of the show said to me on the way out today, “you’re your own worst critic Thea” and she was right. I am. I always have been. (I can be fair too honest which is sometimes my downfall but then I am human and we’re all flawed eh?)

But you know what? I can also be very good to myself too…so am off to treat myself for all my hard work this week. I am off to find the perfect tea and scone – as it’s #nationalcreamteaday and it would be rude not to.

It's #nationalcreamteaday

Wish Luss was closer because I’d definitely nip in to my fave place and have one of these!

Meanwhile for me, it’s back to my normal radio work, doing what I love and feel comfortable doing,…presenting a show on Celtic Music Radio: Sunday at 10pm

Get off Your Damn Phone!

MOBILE PHONE BLESSING OR CURSE?

Are you someone who talks on your phone during checkout at the supermarket? Do you sit in restaurants yapping away? Or how about on the train, the tube, a bus or a plane (before takeoff or when landed)? During a concert? In the back of a taxi? How about at a funeral?

We’ve all seen, or heard, people do it, haven’t we? Maybe we’ve been guilty of doing things like that ourselves. I am not completely faultless when it comes to mobile phone rudeness, (I am sure my friends would be the first to tell you that…)

But I like to think I have some amount of awareness when it comes to being on the phone in public places. To me it seems like it’s becoming far too common an issue at the larger, modern, societal level.

Call Kaye Show on BBC Radio ScotlandOn Friday, last week, I made my first appearance on the Call Kaye show on BBC Radio Scotland. It was an absolute delight to do the show and the topic was inspired by the woman, Jo Clarke, who made such a stick about having to hang up her call before the Sainsbury’s cashier would put through her groceries. [NOTE: If you don’t know what I am talking about, here’s a BBC report about this somewhat controversial subject.]

Now-me, I tend to see both sides to every story. It’s one of the things I actually LIKE about myself…and frankly, I thought both women were RUDE in this particular case. If I had to side with one of them though, it would be the clerk not the Chatty Cathy, I mean Jabbering Jo.

According to one report I read, the woman, Jo, was allegedly just calling her brother to say she was leaving the store. Really? Was it that important you had to do it then? Could it have not waited until after you got through the checkout?

I, myself, was at a superstore in Greenock a few weeks ago. I chatted to my best buddy in SF the whole way around the store, and when I got to the checkout line I said to him, “Hey I’m at the checkout, I’ll you back when I am through” and that’s just what I did.

No phone call is that important. If it is, then don’t make it in a supermarket, or wait until it’s a convenient time to break the call, and then join the line.

Or, heck, stick the mobile in your pocket until you’ve handed over your cash and bagged your groceries and hopefully greeted the clerk doing the tedious, thankless job.

Then, resume your oh-so-important call.

Before and after the radio show appearance, I posted a few posts (mostly on my Google+ page) about this very subject. The feedback from my peers was in line with my own opinions. One comment that really highlights the issue for me was from Garry, who will hopefully not mind me sharing this,…(as it was made on a public post, I am going to assume it’s OK):

The worst place for me was when I was at funeral. A woman in front of me in the Church proceeded to take a call in which included giving her kid instructions on how to use the microwave!! Astonishing!

Weirdly…There are currently 82m handsets in use in Britain with one in six people admitting using their phone at a funeral.

WTF?

Anyway, if nothing else, this whole incident has sparked quite a debate on Mobile phone etiquette here in the UK.

Sure, we can all be guilty of being anti-social when it comes to mobile phone usage…As I said before, myself included. But taking it back to the checkout at Sainsburys, if it had been me who was told to get off the phone, I’d have been annoyed, sure, but more so embarrassed.

Having customers hang up their phones at checkout isn’t Sainsbury’s policy, but maybe it should be?! To me they were a bit spineless, and sure, go ahead offer the vouchers to Jabber Jo, but maybe they could have also said “it’s an unwritten policy” and then offered her the vouchers,…Then it’s up to her if she wants to trundle off to Waitrose in the future.

SO COMMON PLACE, TODAY

These days we’re so used to being connected anytime, anywhere that we have come to believe that we’re entitled to be on mobiles – texting or talking – whenever we want wherever we want. When we are riding public transport, in a line at the bank, supermarkets, post offices, airports, on planes, in taxis – wherever….

Is it getting better or is it getting worse? I don’t know. Depends on who you talk to, I guess. I was out with a guy recently who seemed to have his phone surgically attached to his hand. If he wasn’t texting or IM-ing on it, he was talking to this person or that. I found it so distracting (and a little insulting) – so much so that it’s really made me consider my own usage when in company of friends or indeed with the general public.

Sometimes, I’m sad to say that I honestly feel that we’ve lost the art of communicating in person – I have friends, close friends, near by whom I almost never see anymore. All we do now is instant message on WhatsApp, Facebook or text. And when we do get together those phones often still take center-stage. I’m now trying to make a conscious effort to switch mine to silent or off altogether. (Shock horror).

When was the last time you sat around a table and there were no phones out at all? Well, if this has become an issue with your family or friends in the future, I’ll leave this video – by way of a a solution with you. It’s worth a try! Enjoy! 🙂

References:

  1. “Phone Stack (Don’t Be A Di*k During Meals) by Lil b | Funk’d Up Films” · shitasiangirlssay · Jan. 12, 2012 · YouTube