Tag Archives: suicide

#StayAlive: life-saving technology

24 Jun

When it comes to PR, charities are pushing themselves harder than ever to get noticed – and it’s paying off.

From WaterAid’s social media waterfall to Macmillan’s tube strike tweet, charities aren’t just sticking to their marketing strategy, they’re also going after ‘quick wins’, which is putting pressure on press teams to generate more column inches.

Having said this, I was surprised to see that Grassroots, a Brighton-based suicide prevention charity, is launching a new app next month called #StayAlive.

The app, not to be confused with the British Heart Foundation’s Bee Gees‘ inspired Staying Alive campaign, will offer support to people who feel suicidal.

Up to 4,400 people in England end their own lives each year, and 10 times this number attempt suicide, so why am I so shocked?

It’s one thing for a charity to empower you to save a life – whether that’s through a quick dose of CPR, donation or volunteering opportunity – but it’s another story to encourage people to keep living. It’s brave and the reality is that it’s a partial solution to a growing problem.

How will the app provide support?
1) Using location data to identify local services
2) Encouraging users to upload positive images to remind them of happier times
3) Advising on what those thoughts might mean and how to overcome them

My issue is that the apps on my very old iPhone are split into various categories: social, news, entertainment, lifestyle, shopping and utilities. So, I’m not entirely sure where #StayAlive would sit on my desktop. And, if I did need to refer to it, how often I’d revisit. And, if I was experiencing mental health issues, would I seek comfort in an app?

But, for a digital generation that’s logged on 24/7, there is some logic in the fact that our phones – a simple photo or a quick call – could mean the difference between life and death.

But, the one thing Grassroots lacks is maximising its social media presence. It took me a while to find the charity on Twitter – not ideal when the app name is actually a hashtag!

However, the charity’s already got the backing from regional newspaper The Argus and works closely with key stakeholders. But, I predict that it’ll get a lot of questions from the media on launch day about its innovation. So, it’s a prime opportunity to boost followers and starting conversations by setting the agenda.

After all, how often does a regional charity get to do that? This is definitely a campaign to keep an eye on.
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Cineworld indulges in childish insults

26 Apr

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Cinema brands get my goat. Why? Because they clearly don’t understand social media, but continue to put people in charge that either say too little or far too much – to the point where they insult their customers.

A few months ago I blogged about Odeon, which failed to respond to a Facebook status complaining about ticket prices. Hours became days and days became an entire weekend where nothing was done, allowing the post to gain momentum through more than 170,000 ‘likes’.

Now it’s Cineworld’s turn to commit social media suicide, although this time the brazen brand has no remorse. The tweets that you’re about to see are still on the company’s Twitter page.

Let’s start this story with a quiz. If a customer complained about costs to you on a social network would you:

A) Apologise that they feel that way and use a pre-approved policy statement to explain why costs have risen before directing them to special offers that you’re currently running etc

B) Ignore the statement, after all you’ve got so many other tweets to respond to

C) Antagonise your customer and explode into a flurry of insults and childish backchat

I’m sure you can guess by now that Cineworld took option ‘C’. The backchat included:

Well you ‘say’ we’re definitely going bust in 1-5 years. If you’re psychic can you tell me the lottery numbers.

For someone that doesn’t like talking to us, you’re certainly persistent. Excuse me I have homework to do :]

And my personal favourite:

Fine OK we’re just evil millionaires who are trying to destroy cinema, you’ve blown it wide open. Enjoy Odeon :]

Shocked? I’m guessing (and hoping) that this approach has lost Cineworld more than one customer since its 42,000 followers witnessed the feud with customer Alan Bishop.

But, what’s more frustrating about this story is that The Drum questioned whether brands should be engaging with Twitter trolls.

Let’s be clear – Alan is not a Twitter troll. He had an opinion which the company failed to recognise. Instead it was belittled and mocked in the public domain which won’t do Cineworld any favours. Perhaps the big bosses need to remind the social media managers that they’re being paid to have some manners.

Am I overreacting? Or should brands be sticking up for themselves like Cineworld? Let me know!

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