Help yourself

Time and time again I find myself here. Without work and at the mercy of my dyslexia. Today without my friend and co-collaborator of the past few years business has been harder than ever. Having a co-worker who I could talk through my disorientation with was invaluable. Without being able to secure enough project work to support the team I'm on my own again and  its tough.

I called the Dyslexia Association helpline to ask for help and I never manage to actually ask for it more over I made excuses, stumbled, got rather upset and politely ask if they could recommend assistance. Ultimately I just end up in tears and unable to work.

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I try. I really do. I'm just not very good at finding the help I need. 

(Sept 1st 2015) I might have made progress. Access To Work, a department of the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) provide accesses assistance to Dyslexics. I'll let you know how it goes.

(Sept 3 2015) I've spoken to Arts Council England about their access program to help artists with dyslexia to complete their application forms. I'll let you know how that goes too.


Just stay still - Dyslexia

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All day! and if they aren't dancing on one page they are startlingly absent from my mind all together leaving me staring at a blank text box with its vacant void burning into my retinas. I have two really good projects I need to complete funding applications for and one I missed coz I couldn't get my words on the page. I feel like a bloody jester hopping and skipping in a vain attempt to land something sharp, coherent and insightful. As a jester, the funny bit is me. The pathetic helplessness that dyslexia subjects me to. I can perform the mundane I can do the job I pursue with passion yet can I write down the construct to express in words what it is I do and there for why anyone should pay me for it? NO. Its so frustrating.

BAFA article - Mobile Apps (article from the archive)

As I'm planning the 2015 live bit of BAFA's November conference in Lichfield I came across this article about some of the thinking behind the TEDx App created for TEDxLaceMarket and thought I'd share it with you, the PCM in Action blog readers. I'm really looking forward to the 2015 Conference for Festivals - MIND THE GAP on 11, 12, 13 November 2015 in Lichfield UK.

Its going to be a very small european wide live-stream going out to nine satellite venues. Its a micro cosmic Digital Audience Experience bloggers lounge and mini continuity studio all wrapped up in a neat Google+ Hangout package. So excited.

This was writing in Jan 2014 for a newsletter to BAFA members.

This article has been produced for BAFA by freelance digital projects manager and collaboration coordinator at PCMprojects & Cellar54, Caron Lyon. Caron has created professional social networks for Arts Council England, the Federation of Entertainment Unions and Audiences Europe.

TEDxLM 2012Making media, capturing content and engaging with it’s intended audience is the primary objective for the team at Cellar54 where Caron works closely with video blogger and brand advocate Phil Campbell. Together they work ‘on the ground’ to make the media you want for starting conversations and maintaining audience attention before, during and between/after a festival or event. They work closely with the in-house team to document planning and produce media for social networking distribution. Alternatively they can empower you through support and training to manage your own media and supplement it with Cellar54 media output created on your behalf. This is how Phil created the app created for our own event delivered under license from - TEDxLaceMarket.

Ever considered an app? Make it part of your social media. We can help you do this.

'Why we put an app together'

In 2012 Phil worked with Caron on an event in the heart of the Lace Market region of Nottingham.

Phil was assigned with putting together both an event guide and legacy application for the event that could give a listing of all the speakers before people arrived but then also gave them links to the videos for each speaker after the event.  

We came across a fantastic company appbaker that provides a lot of the layout especially for tedx style events all we needed to do was add our event content and branding to produce an application easily.

We bought an apple developer account package and working together with the company we were easily able to get our application into the app store.  We had limited time and zero budget to put together something across all platforms so we used this platform to have a go with minimum risk. It worked out ok!


Your crowd can be social

One of the things that really attracted us to the appbaker solution is they have a great add-on set of modules you can put inside the application that enables your audience to network with each other so if they met someone on the day you can find that person from a picture (or name) and contact them via their shared social digital channels.  A really nice touch to empower your audience outside of your event.


Releasing it to the wild

It was hard work to get everything ready in time.  It’s quite a lot of intensive work for a one person and can be made easier if you share the load with someone who is up to speed on the requirements of the graphics needed. You do have to have a number of different sizes for different devices so make sure you read the documentation and also remember that getting approval for the app store takes a bit of time as well. Once it’s up however making changes is online so the application will incorporate changes so you do not have to submit the app again unless you change something which runs via an add-on module.

Your app is a digital download gift

Always wondering what you can put in that newsletter or what your audience is expecting regarding information? Make your app a free digital download which can contain updates, news and exclusive content they cannot see anywhere else.  Being able to track the amount of downloads your application has had and how long they keep it installed is a lot more metrics that leaving a stack of leaflets on a side hoping that people are picking them up and reading them.

App as a legacy

The wonderful thing about having an application installed on a mobile phone from a previous audience member is that if we had paid for the added extras we would have been able to send push notifications to the audience member that had downloaded it to tell them about future events and updates.  They receive this message directly on their mobile phone’s home screen.  It’s a great way of reminding people especially if events are quarterly or yearly.


Working together

From working together organising the event, delivering the event and producing the social media we did realise that our collective offering was much more useful to sell on to clients.  We looked at the bigger picture and we often call on each others services anyway for elements of projects with out own clients.  This propelled us to pull together our talents under the Cellar54 umbrella.

Useful links and advice

Get in touch!

While I am focusing on DAEx Phil is focusing on his start-up

Thanks for Reading... do check out our latest projects.

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck just don't cut it.

This is massively overdue post but with the assistance of screen clipping tool Skitch I think I'm ready.

Ok, context first

I have been live tweeting at events since 2008 and its always been a conversation and connecting tool. Who is in the room and who is not, is important. If you are not its quite nice to see photos of the speakers but all the 'hey look at me, don't you wish you were here too' photos and who's up next tweets... STOP! 

Thats a bit hash...  what I mean is they are great for 'your' networked audience but the audience following the hashtag IMHO want what all the 'on the ground' audience want, to learn from the wisdom of the programmed speakers, draw insights from discussions and panel plenaries. Oh and network.

OK So photos are welcomed to put the 'in the cloud' audience in the picture. For us in the digital audience its a common frame of reference to be able to empathise with the activities you are participating in at a distance online. If I'm commissioned to tweet my objective is to visualise the audience as a whole within the twittersphere and communicate with them. Present or remote isn't important. My challenge is always to generate a coherent stream of activity, a stand alone stream containing all reverent content, chatter, user generated media and the official event voice. I am not necessarily the 'official voice' but the conversation laser's focus operator!

Now... I'm getting to the point I promise! Networking conversations 1-2-1 are part of the experience at any conference but most of the time it's dialogue between groups or one person introducing two people to one another and is rarely binary back and forth ie @name to @name. 

There is a dialoging feature which was present in the pre twitter ownership days of Tweetdeck that made my role as connector and stream curator easier. It disappeared and never came back. 

Here's how it works - I have found a little known Tweetdeck alternative, Janetter that has the feature.

Its about responding to multiple people in one tweet in the click of a mouse, logically compiled as I, the curator reads the activity in real-time. I hope these screen shots illustrate my point.

First the tweets and colleagues I wanted to engage.

Mozilla Twitter Column
Tweets from my Firefox side panel column displaying Twitter


It was responding to them that helped me break down the long felt frustration of the missing feature in to a blog. So thanks Kate and Jen if you read this. Do let me know how your trips to Edinburgh turned out.


Kate @BustingFree and Jen @jennifermjones are not in the same networks as far as I know. I met Jen several times after she attended MediaCampNottingham and, forgive me if I'm wrong Jen also as part of the Amb:IT:ion program roadshows. Kate on the other hand sat on Equity's Independent Theatre Arts Committee with me for several years and I follow because she had the awesome idea of building a theatre in a bus. Both are always interesting reads and following their activities on twitter over the years gives me a sense of where they are at professionally always wanting to find time in my calendar to coincide locations to meet up. I remember a time when everyone I knew were numbers in my mobile phone now in the social media age they are status updates in a constantly moving stream of activity, my home twitter feed. Better but thats another post. I digress! This is about illustrating this lost feature.

Bare with me! It is a long lost feature and you are probably nonplussed by my indignation. I want to communicate when d0ing this dynamic dialoging at events and not have to faff with the interface.

Best way I could think to illustrate my point was with screenshots.

Original Tweets in Tweetdeck

TweetDeck Reply
Hitting Reply to Kate


Clicking the Reply icon creates a message to either Kate (above)


TweetDeck relying to Jen
Hitting Reply to Jen

OR Clicking the Reply icon on Jen's tweet
I can send send a reply to Jen (above)

It never used to be this way you could build replies.

Yes I can Reply by typing/pasting both @names into a new tweet or hope the autocorrect offers them up to me. But on the fly, in an event thats not really an option. I did explore Hootsuite for this 'reply building' feature and I had resigned myself to its absence. It changed the way I tweet. So what happens in Hootsuite? (it was this reply building feature that led me to favour Tweetdeck over Hootsuite back then)

Original Tweets in Hootsuite

Tweets displayed in Hootsuite
Hitting Reply to Kate on Hootsuite


Hootsuite screen shot
Hitting Reply to Jen on Hootsuite

Just as before with Tweetdeck I'm forced to reply to one person at a time. As I'm writing this it seems so minor but it fundamentally changed the way I interact with Twitter. I like Twitter less since the change happened and I have bemoaned its loss ever since. I kept an old install of Tweekdeck to keep this feature but finally it was closed down and the browser based version we have today superseded it. 


I discovered a little know, or so it seems twitter client called Janetter.

Original Tweets in Janetter

Janetter screenshot
Tweets displayed in Janetter 
Janetter reply building screenshot
Hitting Reply on Kate and Jen's tweets

With Janetter clicking a reply icon builds on the tweet being composed, it included all the other @names in the tweets and the hashtags. These replies can be from different columns or accessed by scrolling further down the stream. Once all the @named people are included you can tidy up the hashtags, remove any @names you don't need in this tweet and write the tweet... of course then SEND.

And thats it the missing feature.

Another unique (a word to use with caution but I haven't seen else where) is the ability to change the font used in the app. This means the OpenDyslexia font can be used making it super stable visually for me to read.

So... What do you think?

Do you use Janetter too? 

Have I missed another platform, tool or service you think I should look at?


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