bloging, Labour Party, Poll, Women's Rights

In a shameless bid for recognition of my blog, please do vote for the Honeyball Buzz in the Total Politics Poll if you have enjoyed reading it this year.


The Total Politics Blog Poll 2009

The Total Politics Blog Poll 2009

To do this you need to rank a list of ten blogs and send it off in an email to You must vote for 10 blogs.

Other than the Honeyball Buzz, if you’re stuck for inspiration I’ll be listing over the weekend my top ten votes and why I like them. Of course you can’t vote for yourself!

I would very much like to see  more women on the Best Blog  list to encourage other women to get involved in the online political debate.

One small health warning – the poll is being hosted by Iain Dale so it does tend to have a right wing bias.


bloging, broadcasting, Trafficking, Women's Rights

As any regular readers of my blog will know, I am a dedicated campaigner against the trafficking of people. So it is music to my ears to hear that pop channel MTV have created a campaign called MTV EXIT, which stands for End Exploitation and Trafficking.

As I blogged about last week,  alternative rock band The Killers have partnered with UNICEF and USAID to produce a music video that dramatically highlights the dangers and impact of trafficking for sexual exploitation, particularly for young women.

It is now released and you can see it here:

MTV Exit say that this video is the second in a series of music video collaborations to highlight the dangers and impact of human trafficking. The campaign was launched last year with an award-winning film produced by MTV EXIT for the Radiohead single All I Need.

The Killers commented, “We are deeply shocked and appalled that women and children are forced into such exploitative situations. We hope that through MTV’s efforts and this powerful video that millions of people across the world learn about this tragic form of modern-day slavery”.

The Goodnight, Travel Well video will be released globally across all of MTV’s platforms in 168 countries. It has the potential to reach more than 500 million households worldwide.

I wholly support any efforts to make more people aware of this horrendous crime perpetrated on the weak and vulnerable in our society and exploiting them solely for the commercial gain and vicarious pleasures of others. Trafficking is truly crime that debases all of civilized society.


bloging, broadcasting, Labour Party

I have always thought that Gordon Brown basher Tory MEP Daniel Hannan is a rather silly young man. Certainly our Prime Minister Gordon Brown seemed to think so when fresh faced Mr Hannan gave his “Devalued Prime Minister” speech in the European Parliament 24 March 2009. One look at the PM’s face during Mr Hannan’s pathetic rant showed just what he thought of the publicity seeking Tory whipper-snapper.

No surprise then that Daniel Hannan wants to abolish the National Health Service. As one of the ultra right-wing Tories, who sometimes seems to be taking the Conservative whip and sometimes does not, he is notorious for showing up his boss David Cameron. Yet Cameron himself surely has sympathies with Hannan’s ultra right brand of Conservatism. How else do you explain Cameron’s decision to take the British Conservatives out of the centre-right group in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party, which includes Nicolas Sarkozy’s and
Angela Merkel’s parties, to join forces with a rag bag of rIght-wingers which may include the anti-gay and anti-abortion Polish Law and Justice Party?

Hannan is more in line with mainstream Tory thinking than perhaps we realise. Well done to Prezzer for telling it as it is.


bloging, Labour Party

logolabourlist5After my posting on how LabourList could be improved I met Derek Draper. I am pleased he has taken on board several of my suggestions. The contributors are wider and my suggestion for Ann Black’s NEC report to be published has been incorporated. Here is the first one.

Day by day as in any launch things are getting better. They are screening more and more Labour blogs. I still think it is a bit too top heavy and more grassroots contributors would be great. Derek asked me to tell all aspiring bloggers please just get on and submit pieces.

The navigation on Iphones/Blackberries still leaves a lot to be desired. To go to an article you have to scroll through dozens of contributors visages for no good reason. It is still in beta and I hope this will be addressed before the full launch next week.

I will be taking Derek at his word and submitting pieces and I hope other Labour Party supporters will do so to.


bloging, campaign, Labour Party, London

I have to say the idea of a conference with Ken Livingstone monopolising the front of the programme sponsored by the GMB, UNITE and ASLEF filled me with some dread. What could possibly be progressive about that was my initial reaction. On further investigation this was not even a Labour conference. Greens and even Liberal Democrats were there in force. This confused me even more. As a pluralist use to the European spirit of discussion and compromise, I heartily approve of cross party working. But is this what our trade union comrades see as the way forward?

In actual fact, it proved a good day, an event which included a number of imaginative workshops. I attended “Blogging London – The New Media and London Politics” chaired by Ivor Gaber, Research Professor in Media and Politics at the University of Bedfordshire, with Adam Bienkov from Tory Troll blog, Martin Hoscik, editor of MayorWatch and Tom Barry from It was a shame about the all male top table and the overwhelmingly male attendance. However, it was a good hour and a half and very good indeed to meet other bloggers. Given that I get concerned about the disembodied nature of the blogosphere, the workshop provided a welcome opportunity to meet people and discuss issues face to face.
Ivor introduced the session with the idea that the online environment had been significantly enhanced by the Obama campaign. They had collected 10 million e-mail addresses. Staggering though this achievement was, information needs to be used in the right way. Left of centre blogging appears weak on the whole (except perhaps for Liberal Conspiracy) in contrast to the more vibrant work done by the Right. Moreover, left blogs in London did not appear to have any impact on the mayoral elections.

Adam Bienkov from Tory Troll said that as newspaper readership declines more people are turning to blogs which are now read by a number of people engaged in politics, including activists, journalists, civil servants. A blog needs to be distinctive to get noticed. Local newspapers are very stretched so there is often scope to follow local authorities. Adam was convinced that the main impact of blogs was on the politicians themselves.

The editor of the MayorWatch website, Martin Hoscik, pointed out that during the Mayoral election all the candidates were keen to harness some blogs. The smaller parties, especially, found blogs useful for getting their message across. However, bloggers need to make sure their content is attractive. Left politicians should also engage more with blogs; sometimes there is a feeling that it is beneath them. MayorWatch has, in fact, been rebuffed by every Minister of London since it was set up.

Martin predicted that by the next GLA elections there will be much more audio and video content on blogs. YouTube is becoming more popular, and politicians will be increasingly do interviews to be put on the internet.

Tom Barry from gave an amusing talk, concentrating on how blogs can be used for reporting. He had found out where Boris Johnson wanted to site the new London airport by plotting a dredger Boris had taken down the Thames Estuary and noting where it stopped.

It won’t surprise you to hear that these presentations were followed by a lively discussion. I am particularly grateful to LabourList who not only provided a blog from the whole conference, but gave me the following mention when I made a contribution at the blogging workshop:

Mary Honeyball MEP makes the point that Labour bloggers need to be linked up far better. She also goes on to illustrate how driving more people to blogs like her own could show up just how fringe and nutty European Tories actually are. All fair points, in our view.



This article from today’s “Financial Times” makes some interesting points.

The new corporate firefighters
By David Gelles

Published: January 22 2009 02:00

When advertisers launched a campaign last September for the pain reliever Motrin, they hoped to attract the attention of mothers whose backs might be sore from wearing baby-carriers. The advertisements implied that while baby-carriers might be fashionable, hauling a child around could be painful.

Mothers were not amused. Soon after the ads were released, anti-Motrin campaigns appeared on Facebook and blogs. Outraged mums, furious at the suggestion that their babies were a hassle, posted rebuttal videos on YouTube. Through Twitter, the microblogging service, thousands of people attacked the company.

Motrin was caught off-guard. For days, no company representative replied. Critics accused the company of being not only insensitive but also unresponsive.

Eventually a marketing executive at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that markets Motrin, e-mailed individual bloggers to apologise for the campaign. But the damage was done.

The “Motrin moms” episode illustrates the power of social media – the expanding network of websites that allow users to interact with each other and, increasingly, with companies. It also demonstrates the perils for enterprises that are unprepared to interact with social media.
But now a growing number of companies, including Ford Motor, PepsiCo, Wells Fargo and Dell, are creating new high-level jobs to ready themselves for engagement with social media, with titles such as director of social media, head of communities and conversation, vice-president of experiential marketing and digital communications manager. The role of these new executives is to monitor and influence what is being said about their companies on the internet.

Johnson & Johnson made its own appointment in the wake of the Motrin debacle. Having already dabbled in social media, in December the company promoted Marc Monseau, a 10-year company veteran and former director of media relations, to director of social media. “My responsibility is to work with the corporate office and the individual companies to better interact online,” Mr Monseau says. “It underscores the fact that we realise this is an important audience and one that we need to develop relationships with.”

These new jobs represent a broad shift in media relations strategy at large companies. “Corporate communications has radically changed,” says Andy Sernovitz, chief executive of the Blog Council, an organisation for heads of social media at big companies. “It’s no longer just companies talking to the press, and customer service talking to customers. All these other people showed up in the -middle. They may not be press and they may not be customers, but suddenly their collective voice is bigger than the traditional channels.”

The essence of social media is conversation. Rather than a one-way stream of information, where companies make announcements to the press and customers, social media enables a great deal of interaction, where companies are in constant dialogue with the public. “We’ve seen a shift from doing things the old way to now having conversations with our customers,” says Jeanette Gibson, director of new media for Cisco Systems.

Ms Gibson, who began her job in 2007, says there is now a mandate at Cisco that all staff be attuned to what is being said about Cisco online. “It has definitely shifted how we’ve done communications,” she says. “Our executives are video blogging every day. Everybody’s job is now social media.”

Dell, the computer maker, has one of the most robust corporate social media programmes. Bob Pearson, former senior vicepresident of corporate communications, became vice-president of communities and conversation for Dell in 2007.

He now has 45 people working for him. The core team works on “blog resolution” – trawling the web for dissatisfied customers, then attempting to contact them to make amends. Others on Dell’s social media team manage the company’s 80 Twitter accounts and 20 Facebook pages. Still others manage IdeaStorm, Dell’s forum for customer feedback.

Dell is taking its customer feedback seriously. When the company launched the Latitude laptop last summer, six of the features, including backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader, were ideas that came from IdeaStorm. “It’s always worth talking directly with your customers. It’s always worth listening to them,” says Mr Pearson. “It’s the wisdom of crowds.”

Peter Shankman, a social media expert and founder of Help a Reporter Out, a service that broadcasts reporters’ requests to a network of experts, says many companies are still reluctant to get involved: “Companies are slow to adapt because they’re still not 100 per cent sure they can make money with social media,” he says.

Yet Dell, for one, has made a business of it. By broadcasting discount alerts on Twitter, it says, it has generated more than $1m in sales. And in the US, 59 of the 100 leading retailers, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart, now have a fan page on Facebook, according to Rosetta, an interactive marketing agency.

Other savings can be realised through the Web’s ability to reach many people at once. “If you solve someone’s problem on the phone, nobody knows,” says Mr Sernovitz. “If you solve that same problem in writing on a blog, it costs you no more, but thousands of people are satisfied. And then, if 100 people never call because they found the answer, you very, very quickly get to multimillion-dollar savings.”

Other companies are using Twitter to douse public relations fires before they erupt. Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford Motors, used Twitter to appease users who were angry after the carmaker sued an enthusiast website that was selling unauthorised Ford merchandise. When fans of the enthusiast site posted angry messages, Mr Monty “tweeted back” to explain the company’s position.

Bonin Bough, who was appointed director of social media for PepsiCo last year, also used Twitter to defuse a brewing crisis after the company released a series of advertisements depicting a cartoon calorie character committing suicide.

“Social media is much more than getting out there and having conversations,” says Mr Pearson of Dell. “It transforms a business if you use it correctly.”


bloging, internet

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