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BBC shipping container about to set sail

By Francis Moran

In a remarkable combination of innovative journalism, corporate branding and GPS technology, the venerable British Broadcasting Corporation has embarked on a unique voyage of discovery that will see a BBC-branded, GPS-equipped standard shipping container quietly go about its business for a year, all the while beaming its coordinates back to the Beeb where its journey around the world will be tracked.

Members of the public can follow its journey on a special BBC web page. As of my writing this post, the container was just west of our Glasgow-based colleague, Danny Sullivan, where it was picking up its first cargo of — what else! — Scotch whisky. From there, it will go to the huge seaport of Southampton in southern England and from there to Asia. The BBC is hopeful the container will visit every corner of the globe, and that it will not wash overboard. Its correspondents will use the container as a continuing thread to pull together a series of stories that illustrate how goods are manufactured and shipped around the world and the lives of the people involved in doing so.

I was immediately attracted to this story. I have long had a fascination with TEUs, short for 20-foot-equivalent units, the proper name for the ubiquitous intermodal container that has revolutionized the global cargo industry, and the massive vessels that carry them from port to port.

One of the more memorable events I covered as a journalist in Halifax was the arrival of the first so-called 3G, for third-generation, container ship to visit that port. The night before, another reporter and I had been guests at a schnapps-fuelled reception thrown by a Swedish trade mission and then, on very few hours sleep and far too much aquavit, we caught a 6 a.m. harbour tug that was to meet the goliath of a vessel off Chebucto Head at the entrance to Halifax Harbour.

There have been few hangovers as memorable as the one that visited me as I fought for my sea legs on the aft deck of a diesel-driven tug boat out on the freezing cold and choppy waters of Halifax Harbour, all the while focusing a long telephoto lens on the coastline, the other harbour traffic and, of course, the huge ship we towed into Fairview Container Pier.

What I wouldn’t do for a good story and a great picture when I was young and foolish!

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  • Bob Bailly : Your new mode of working means no face to face interaction yet you call yourself empathetic. How can removing yourself from daily human social interactions and possibly understand what makes other people tick. Research from UCLA suggests messages conveyed face to face are understood primarily by reading body language (57%) and tone of voice (35%), and that words convey only 7%. By interacting only through computer based non-video technology is like weightlifting only using your right forearm.

  • Anna : As a freelancer who spends much of her time on the computer writing, I find that I have a brain which connects empathically to people despite how much time I spend on technology. In fact, I am not happy being immersed daily in what I called 'imposed' social interaction (social interaction brought on by having to interact with co-workers). Such social interaction used to make be egregious, used to make me dislike co-workers, and have a generally negative view on work life. Furthermore, people like me who are generally empathic can 'hide' in our homes and be safe from others while we work; safe from their criticisms and aversions, safe from bullying and harassment. Furthermore, our talents as writers, photographers, or whatever, flourish absolutely under one important condition - freedom. I support moving work to an online domain because I see also how harmful the 9 - 5 is for people; how it drains them, how its endless cacophony of alarm clocks and ringing bells--lunch hours and lunch rooms, forced staff retreats and uncomfortable interactions with bosses--is killing them. I support allowing technology make us more efficient, happier. I support voluntary--not forced--interaction. I support eliminating the workplace altogether and creating NEW modes of working, either from home or through community-based platforms such as outdoor spaces.

  • 5 Ways to Engage With Your Brand Voice - icuc.social : [...] “A strong company voice on social media should emphasize the company’s values, objectives and key differentiators that set it apart from its competitors. These can be expressed in the tone of the communication and the content that is shared with community members and the target audience.The best social media voices are communal, grammatical, dialectical, authentic, original, contextual, relevant, timely, persistent, responsive, helpful, generous and more informal. A company’s social media voice should only be changed if absolutely necessary and should maintain all of these qualities. Any change should be preceded by lots of information explaining the change to community members to ensure they know it is deliberate and that the company isn’t suffering from some form of instability, which jeopardizes relationships.” [@TechAlly, Francis Moran & Associates – via Francis Moran & Associates] [...]

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