Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Pastures New.

The time has come, the walrus said, for this jaded old adventurer to pack up his staff and head back north to find himself a single brand that needs his particular school of manipulation magic.

With the help of a LinkedIn job seekers account and the understanding of the good folks at Tank, I'm moving house and role some two hours up the A1 to the East Riding of Yorkshire. I'll be taking up a new position as Senior Marketing Manager for JD Garage Equipment, the UK's leading independent designer and supplier of workshop and engineering equipment. No more delicious coffee from Outpost Coffee Roasters (unless I buy it online), hipster vintage shops or sly breakfasts at Flavours in Hockley.

The last five years with Tank have been a pleasure and I'll miss the team dearly, but the future calls and I need to be closer to family. Tank has evolved to be a veritable PR and digital powerhouse and it's been a pleasure to watch the team grow around Trevor's vision. The Midlands has been very kind to me, but I miss my roots. My favourite brands have always been the B2B, tech, engineering, mechanical, AI, mining and automotive... so JDGE is a win from the beginning. A challenge keeps this old brain fresh and thinking, plus James and Nick Everard - the two brothers who own this multi-million-pound company - have offered me virtual autonomy with solid plans for video and outreach. Our clients range from BMW and Lambogini to Audi, Maserati, Porche, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes Benz and even high-end commercial repair and spray shops. More of an all-'round role, it'll be a joy to do more work behind-the-camera and get my hands dirty again.

I've found a converted barn in North Newbald, only 10 minutes from work, with its own water supply and a walled garden for the pooch - very handy in a zombie apocalypse. The electrics and plumbing are shocking, but I don't mind a project. To put North Newbald into context, it's home to the whipping post used in the last public flogging carried out in Britain and the phrase "He's a bit Newbold" is used locally to describe someone who, shall we say, 'thinks outside of the box.' The beast can come into the office (on a trial basis) and there's great walking along national trails and around the wind farms of Sober Hill.

I'll be carrying on this blog, potentially more frequently as there are fewer distractions out in the middle of the Yorkshire Wolds. Heck, I may even have a go at vlogging (if I can think of a suitable topic that wouldn't just work better as a podcast) now I've got a decent 4k phone.

I wish all the team at Tank, and my old friend Star Commander Palmer, the very best for the future. H, Lou, Claire, Dex, Molly, Eileen, Addie, Stoney, Michelle, J-Dogg, Ed, Dan, Fi and the rest, I can't recommend their diligence and professionalism and sheer team talent more highly. They are spacemen (and spaceladies) amongst monkeys. I achieved what I achieved at Tank by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Watch this space, and thanks to everyone who put the word out for me while I was looking.

I suppose I'll now be commenting from client side, rather than agency side? This could be fun...

Thursday, February 07, 2019

How do you go Incognito When Viewing LinkedIn Profiles?

Finally updated:

A colleague of mine at Tank was conducting some private research the other day, and asked me a question I had to think about: "How do you go incognito when looking at other peoples LinkedIn profiles?"

This is actually pretty simple, and I see it all the time in my 'Who's Viewed Your Profile' area. It's strange, but I think we all view the words "This member chose to be shown as anonymous" with a degree of suspicion and annoyance, but people do it for a variety of reasons. While it does niggle me that I pay to see who'd been looking at my profile and this is easily circumnavigated, I do see why some folks (especially recruiters and researchers working via their private profiles) might want the benefits of a little smoke and mirrors.

nothing to see here - just passing through

Anonymity isn't natural for social channels. Visibility and transparency drive ad revenue and promote engagement. As a consequence, the ability to do things like this are often hidden away and not as easy to find as we might like. As such, you'll not find this information easily unless you go looking for it:

Click the 'Me' icon (the little round picture) at the top right of your homepage then select 'Settings & Privacy' from the drop-down, to get to your settings page.

Under 'Privacy' tab there are a few interesting options worth exploring, but the one we're looking for in this instance (scroll down a bit) is under 'How others see your LinkedIn activity'. Click on the 'Change' prompt under the Profile viewing options.

Select what others see when you're viewing their profile'. You'll then get 3 options like below.

Pick an option - normal, enigmatic, or full on spy - and it'll auto save.

Bear in mind, this is your settings from now on. If you want this to go back to how it was you'll need to reset this using the same process as last time. Remember, LinkedIn is about connections. Keeping your profile like this, long-term, kinda defeats the object.

If you'd like to connect with me on LinkedIn, let's do it.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Is it Legal to use Movie GIFs in Social Media Posts?

I get asked this A LOT.

I love a good GIF - you only have to look at my Twitter - and I'd even say that using them to illustrate my posts and for commentary (with mostly pop-culture and film orientated clips) is a big part of my personal visual brand. Copyright and regional legislation is a confusing nightmare on GIF usage, so here's my 'official' (what I tell clients and panicky account managers) and 'all in one place' take on the matter.

Fair Usage

It all depends on how you define 'fair usage'. Put simply, this means that if the original content is used for a "transformative" and limited reason, like a parody, for commentary or criticism (again, see my Twitter) it's ok under US and UK law.

Transformative means that they are using the source work in a totally new or 'unexpected' way - like remixes by Pogo or CassetteBoy. This is because they don't undermine the market for the original work. Basically, people aren't going to watch a Mad Men or Parks and Rec. GIF instead of watching the original programme.

Fair use law creates an opening for copyrighted material to be remixed and repurposed, as long as the new use doesn't create any economic competition for the people or organisation that holds the actual copyright - yes, you can make money out of sound bites etc., within reason.

What are your intentions?

Where it gets tricky is the notion of 'intellectual property' and intent. If you own footage it's (obviously) cool to make GIFs out of it, but if you don't (like, say, making GIFs out of footage of sporting events and tweeting them out saying "Goal!") that's naughty. Why? Because the original content is made to show just that - goals - and pulling out the highlights devalues the original. During the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee had a zero tolerance, no-GIF policy, for this very reason. The owner of the footage would be perfectly within their rights to slap you with a cease and desist order and sue your plagiarist ass.

Another area is individual representation. By this, I mean that performers and celebs have the right to use local "right of publicity" laws that let public figures control how their image is used. This is usually applied to defamatory actions and mash-ups, however, rather than just clips - though how the clip is associated (for example, politically) could be a trigger for this. Don't take people out of context or repurpose them (too much).

On the whole, if you want to be sure, get written permission from the copyright holder and any actors, embed GIF content that's not our own (and let the site you link to take the heat - thanks Giphy) or make your own GIFs from our original content. Avoid sports, especially recent stuff. I'm an individual, not a brand, my personal accounts are totally a different matter and I'm comfy with that - do as I say (to be sure) not as I do. Use those that are inherent to platforms - use those provided IN Twitter, Facebook etc. then (while not ideal) it's down to the platform.

Clear as mud? In short, yes, you're probably ok. Legally it's a grey area, just don't use them in a defamatory way or for financial gain and don't take the piss. If you're a business/brand jump through some hoops.