Thoroughly enjoyed a series of educational short films by Isabella Rossellini I saw on a recent visit to the Natural History Museum. They bring to life the potentially niche or awkward topic of animal reproduction in a fantastically light-hearted and playful, yet thought-provoking way. A real lesson in how to captivate your audience though great ideas, even without a big budget. As long as you’re not too squeamish, check them out for yourself on the official Sundance Channel website.
Need to throw some copy around with colleagues based elsewhere? Check out www.titanpad.com, a beautifully simple document collaboration tool that I’ve been using a lot recently. To dive straight in, visit their homepage and start a “public pad” and within a single click have your document set up and ready for real-time collaboration with whomever you choose to give the link to your pad. If you want a little more privacy, sign up for a free account and you can password protect your pads or make them available only to those in your organisation. Either way it’s a very liberating tool for letting the ideas come first, not the admin of a log-in-only site. And it’s free to boot – check it out at www.titanpad.com.
Looking forward to the B2B Digital Marketing forum in Manchester next month. With speakers from Apple and TalkTalk, it will be interesting to hear the latest perspectives from the big guns of the private sector. It’s a wide-ranging bill, taking in social media, integrating online and offline, SEO and more, so there should be lots to get the teeth into. The attendee list is limited to 80, so if you fancy taking part, get in there quick.
As part of my job at The Mersey Forest, I’m aware of the reams of evidence on the health benefits of spending time in green environments. But despite this, in my home life it somehow always creeps up and takes me by surprise just how wholesome and instantly refreshing, both physically and mentally, it feels to get involved in hands-on work in the great outdoors. Tonight was the first conservation evening of the summer for our local volunteer group The Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows (whose website I built earlier in the year). Getting stuck in with rake in hand removing flood debris from the meadow, it struck me the range of sensory stimuli and even motor skills that so many of us are deprived of in our increasingly online, urbanised and technology-driven lives. Immersed for large chunks of our day in a world of point-and-click, rolling up sleeves even for just a couple of hours to do the most basic conservation tasks can be a real delight. But all this needn’t be a story of how online equals bad and offline equals good. Instead there are many signs that rather than two opposing forces battling it out, the digital and the grassroots can dovetail together. In the same way that “real world” projects like green gym and Forest Schools help young and old to re-connect with nature, so online platforms like Twitter and networks like Project Dirt are helping to spread and amplify best practice in outdoor play, get people involved in their community woodlands, and give people the skills and confidence to grow their own vegetables. So here’s to a future where we use digital to enhance our interaction with the natural environment, not replace it. Sounds like fun to me.