Blog

Our thinking, things we've spotted elsewhere, and vistas into life at Helpful...

Social Simulator: now in New York City

5 Feb 2018 in Writing elsewhere

We’ve been doing business in the USA for several years, helping clients in sectors from pharmaceuticals to financial services, energy to agritech to stress-test their crisis and emergency preparedness through crisis drills incorporating a realistic and dynamic social media element. This month we enter an incredibly exciting new phase, as we’ve opened our first North […]

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Leaders at a table


Plotting my travels

12 Dec 2017 in Blog

My Grandparents were very proud of Dad’s travels with the Merchant Navy. On the wall of their home was a world map, with pins to show all the different places he’d visited. I used to spend hours looking at those pins and wondering. Since 2010 I’ve been using Foursquare and its later stablemate, Swarm. These two apps allow you to […]

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Ian Blakeman

Empowering prisons to engage online

18 Aug 2017 in Blog

Open government is a driver for the way we deliver a lot of our work at Helpful. The challenge with open government is that it’s often difficult to see the impact of changes to laws and processes, on the citizen. Prison reform is a case in point, which is why we chose to work with […]

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Front cover of InsHEgram

Book recommendation: InstHEgram

13 Jun 2017 in Blog

Digital skills building doesn’t always lend itself to books. If you want to learn something you’ll Google it, speak to colleagues, or seek out training if you want more depth and support. Books have their place, but often for inspiration rather than practical learning. Sometimes I’m proved wrong and this is one of those occasions. […]

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4 things you need to know about Instagram

21 Apr 2017 in Blog

If you’re anything like me, I get used to doing things in a routine and often become blissfully unaware that there is an easier way. So when I discovered a few nifty things about one of my favourite apps, Instagram, I thought I should share it with you all to hopefully make your image sharing lives […]

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Breaking the fear of blogging

21 Apr 2017 in Blog

Blogging, or its video equivalent, vlogging, have an important role to play in sharing ideas, encouraging feedback and explaining work that might be too detailed for 140 characters. Blogging tends to be overlooked, because it doesn’t offer the immediate gratification and ease of a social network. On something like Twitter you can publish within seconds and see responses […]

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Examples of the Facebook I'm Safe button

5 reasons Facebook is better than you think

18 Apr 2017 in Blog

The UK faces another vote this Summer. Whatever the impact on how the country is governed, we can be certain that the election process will generate a fresh round of speculation about how social media, and principally Facebook, is influencing political views/wrecking lives/creepy/sinister (delete as appropriate). It won’t surprise you to read that we have a […]

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The Apple and the Worm: Stories in an online age

29 Mar 2017 in Blog

Stories today are shapeless, slippery fellows who slip through the fingers of all those who try to grasp them. To demonstrate this let’s look at the made-up story of the Apple and the Worm. 1986 Charles bought an apple from the Acme Fruit & Veg stall. When he got it home he took a bite […]

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How Doris kicked up a social media storm

9 Mar 2017 in Blog

One of the topics we discuss during crisis training is the way journalists use social media to find context for stories, including photos and videos they can use in their reports. We show participants examples of how, before journalists even arrive on the scene, rolling news reports on their websites feature updates from eyewitnesses and […]

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Apps on a phone screen

The merits of being messy online

9 Mar 2017 in Blog

In a world of perfectly curated Instagram profiles and success-filled Facebook profiles, it’s good to have a messy space online. Somewhere you can experiment, explore and not worry too much about what others might see. You’ve probably read about fake news, the filter bubble and good or bad campaigns. It’s understandable that you may not want […]

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A rogue Digital Jedi

15 Feb 2017 in Blog

Bias effects everything. From what we wear to how we design websites. And I am as guilty as everyone else. I think I know what an audience will react to. I think I know what will look good. I think I know what channels certain audiences will use. But I don’t. I found this out the […]

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Are hyperlocals part of your engagement strategy?

2 Feb 2017 in Blog

Hyperlocal channels including blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook pages and groups, vary in size, scale and value. Finding the right ones to engage with could make a real difference to the success of your organisation’s communications strategy. For press teams used to dealing with more traditional media, the usefulness of hyperlocals can sometimes be overlooked. We’ve […]

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It’s time to do a little bit more online

27 Jan 2017 in Blog

With all that’s going on in the world, reading websites, blogs and social media can be a little disheartening or overwhelming right now. A lot of high profile comments, views and headlines are seen by millions of people, just because of the person behind them, or the issues they’re discussing. It’s easy to feel like […]

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4 easy ways to share your social media highs from 2016

31 Dec 2016 in Blog

It’s that time of the year when everyone seems to be writing blog posts to reflect on the year that’s about to end. All very well if you have some time on your hands or lots to say. But what if you’re busy on New Years Eve or need to remind yourself what’s happened for […]

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How to avoid mistakes when scheduling social media posts

21 Dec 2016 in Blog

Good social media is engaging, timely, and visually appealing. The pace of change and expectations for good quality content are ever increasing. For example more and more channels offer live video streaming. However, scheduling still has its place and done well can make your life a lot easier. Do try different tools There are a wide […]

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2016, the rise of emojis

19 Dec 2016 in Blog

 ➀➅🌅😀 I’m calling it. 2016 is the year of emojis. The past year has been famous (or infamous) for many things, but those little faces and pictures that we use in our digital messaging have really etched their way into our lives in 2016. Love them or hate them, emojis have now emerged as a […]

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