Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Travel Review: Prague

I visited Prague just before Christmas and decided to take the opportunity to write a short review about the trip.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about Prague, I went with very little knowledge of the place and indeed the Czech Republic. And with the country having come out of the Communist regime 20 years ago so I was sceptical as to what the place and people would be like.

Like I said I was pleasantly surprised and found the place to very nice and indeed full of history and incredible architecture. The architecture of the area was what impressed me the most. The buildings, bridges and surrounding areas were very impressive.

In the main area of Prague there is many tourists attractions as the city if full of history and culture. This includes the Charles Bridge, which is decorated by 28 statues and stands at 520 m long and 10 m wide. It also produces some of the best views of The Vltava River and the Prague Castle at both night and day. You can see some photo's I took at the bottom of this blog!

The Prague Castle was another highlight to visit as it is where the President of the Republic currently resides and if often referred to as the political centre of the state. A huge area with many more impressive buildings including the New Palace and Royal Palace. The St. Vitus' Cathedral is in the third courtyard of the area is a fantastic building and is regarded as the most sacred place in all of the Czech lands.

Old Town Square is a hub of activity, especially during Christmas periods as it is where the Christmas market operates. It also plays host to many cafes and restaurants and is also a few minutes walk to New Town which is again full of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. The Astronomical Clock and The Cathedral of Our Lady before Tyn and The Old Town Hall. A must visit for anybody going to Prague. Other places to visit include the Rudolfinum which plays host to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and other classical concerts and The National Theatre. Both are again superb examples of the impressive architecture in this area of Prague.

Prague was a lovely place to visit, especially considering it's a country which has only been out of Communist Rule for 20 years, but with a a big inyerest in good (and cheap) beer, good food and of course history and culture, Prague offers something for almost everybody! Check out some of my pictures below:

Enjoying a Czech Dark Beer - Krusovice
Prague Castle
View from Charles Bridge at Night
Astronomical Clock
View of Old Town Square
View across the Vtlava River including Prague Castle
View from Charles Bridge in the Day

View of the Prague Castle Grounds
Snow Falling on Charles Bridge!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Than A Club...


Just under a week ago Barcelona won their sixth trophy of 2009 by winning the World Club Championship against Argentinian side Estudiantes.

The Spanish side claimed La Liga, the Copa del rey, The Champions League, The Spanish Super Cup and the European Super Cup before the most recent win which has led me to decide that this Barcelona side is probably the best team of my generation so far.

There's a number of reasons for this and it isn't just down to the fact that they have won 6 titles in 2009 (although that is a very important factor in my decision!) I always judge a European side on how well they have done against English opposition, mainly because that is where I know most of my football knowledge and what I watch more often. Barcelona beat Chelsea on route to the Champions League Final where they beat and outplayed Manchester United. So in order to be crowned the best in Europe they had to beat two of the best (if not the best) teams in England. So clearly they have produced the goods when playing English opposition.

The second factor is that they have repeatedly impressed and won in all competitions they have played in. A very impressive feat showing their squad depth, teamwork, fitness, and all around ability to consistently perform throughout every competition they have been involved in. The array of talent on show every week at the Camp Nou is very impressive with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Henry, Ibrahimovic, Pique, Alves and of Messi on show. This side has beaten sides across the globes, across all the competitions under young coach Pep Guardiola, another aspect I like about this side is that they have a young coach who seems to know his stuff!

This leads me on to my next point. The players that currently ply their trade for the Catalan giants really are special. The partnership between midfield duo Xavi and Iniesta is a testament to the clubs academy system as both came through the famous Barcelona academy learning to play the Barcelona way. This coupled with strikers such as Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the latter having joined over the summer, give them that vital edge in the attacking third and with the recently crowned World Player of the Year Lionel Messi (also winner of the Ballon d'Or) also in that third you have a force not to be reckoned with.

Fittingly, it was Messi who scored the winning goal in extra time to crown his side the World Club Champions. Barcelona clearly are, as the club motto reads, Mes Que Un Club.


Apologies for the lack of Blog activity over the last week or so. I went to Prague and had Christmas etc! There'll be a few blogs going up over the next few days to make up for it!

Merry Christmas :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making it Easy for United isn't Really Necessary?!

As anyone who has read a newspaper this morning will know, last night witnessed Mick McCarthy's Wolves team make ten first team changes to face Manchester United at Old Trafford. This strikes me as pretty crazy - we are talking about Manchester United aren't we? Last season's Premier League champions and runners up in the Champions League?

From last night's starting eleven, only goalkeeper Marcus Hanhnemann retained his place from the side who played Tottenham at the weekend, whilst players such as George Friend were given Premier League debuts. McCarthy's reason was that he wanted to "protected his players from injury" after their hard fought 1-0 win over Spurs. Wolves haven't picked up many points this season, but the win on Saturday marked their second win on the bounce, their best form of the season so far. So surely the best team morale to take to Old Trafford?

I can understand rotating his squad and keeping players fresh for the big matches that they have coming up, notably against Burnley on Sunday. But when the travelling Wolves fans pay £42 for a ticket and travel up to Manchester on a bitterly cold night, surely they deserve better? Let's not forget that last night represented a good chance for Wolves to have a decent go at the champions considering their current injury crisis and form? It's almost as if McCarthy had admitted defeat before kick off, instead United strolled home to a 3-0 victory.

I realise that some players would be tired, but all in all they are professional footballers, highly tuned athletic machines, three matches in a week shouldn't be too much of an issue. The Premier League is never going to be easy, but perhaps if the Wolves first eleven can't cope with the playing schedule, then there's something wrong with their training regime?

It's important that the Premier League doesn't become like the FA Cup or League Cup where several managers rotate their squads for the sake of keeping their players fresh for league matches. As I found out from the Reuters Soccer Blog, there is actually a rule against fielding weakened teams. "Premier League rule E20 states that clubs are required to field full-strength sides in every match", clearly this didn't happen last night.

The quality of league deserves better than that. It's going to be interesting to see what Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti think of McCarthy's early Christmas present to Manchester United.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advertising Duffy or Diet Coke?

I stumbled across this advert when browsing around the Guardian website. It bought two interesting points, 1) it seems to be more of an advert for Duffy rather than Diet Coke! 2) This is the interesting part, according to reports, Police in the area had to stop a number of "copy cats" who also cycled through supermarkets in tribute to Duffy! Perhaps not the response the advertising people of Diet Coke were looking for?!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

WINOL Week 6 Critical Reflection...

Another week brings another WINOL bulletin and I'm happy to report that this week was the strongest one we have produced so far. This was especially good for myself as this is the last bulletin that I will be running as Sports Editor, the third years we now hand over the editorial roles to the second years to take on in the second semester.

Once again I have to say I was extremely pleased with what my sports team and I produced in terms of the bulletin and the website. Editorially the bulletin was strong this week as the news packages were the strongest they've been so far.

This week we were well prepared for sports and by Tuesday afternoon our content was ready for the bulletin, which was a fantastic position to put ourselves in as it left us with a relatively stress free Wednesday. We used the Wednesday to tweak and perfect things which came through in the bulletin and in the impressive comments from our lecturers during the debrief. I spent the week again writing content for the website as I had allocated the packages to my reporters once again. I think used my time to help my reporters with their stories, suggesting changes and helping whenever needed. We got some fantastic shots in the Winchester FC match of two of the players doing a rehearsed dance for a celebration. This proved vital for Tom Otrebski and I as we used it as a platform for our links and it enabled us to have some fun and produce some well scripted work.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Football Clubs Bans Local Paper!

St Mary's Stadium

My local newspaper, The Daily Echo, has been banned from from St Mary's football stadium by Southampton F.C.

The Saints banned the paper following a story it ran on the club's plans to re-develop it's existing training ground. The reason they were banned was that the club didn't want story to be published, even though it was already in the public domain. The plans had been published by the New Forest District Council following the club's planning application, and according to the Echo numerous other news sources, such as The BBC and Sky Sports News were also running details and pictures online. However, The Echo have been punished for running the story, which was officially announced on the club's own website on Wednesday, just one day after the Echo had ran it.

I think this is pretty interesting as it shows how the newspaper has perhaps overstepped the mark by going against the club's wishes and how the club has then decided to punish the paper. The Saints coverage is an important part of the Daily Echo, and is perhaps a source for many Saints fans for news, match reports, transfers, interviews etc. The decision marks the first time in the Daily Echo's 121 year history that they have been prevented from covering Southampton F.C.

The editor of the paper was quoted on the newspapers website saying that they will continue to provide "unbiased, balanced, well thought through, professional analysis of the Saints", which is all well and good but surely a large amount of their stories, especially match reports, come from St Mary's?

It's always interesting, especially from a trainee journalists' point of view, to see these tussles between newspapers and organisations. I imagine the paper will have thought that running the story would have been more influential on their sales than the lack of Saints reports will have whilst they try to solve this problem, providing they do! But perhaps for the sake of running the story a day earlier than the club's official website it could easily have been avoided, but then in the newspaper world, getting the story earlier than your rivals is the name of the game!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Media Law Notes

Here are my notes from today's media law session:

Defamation: Any statement which will cause a person to lose or diminish their reputation. A statement that exposes the person to ridicule, hatred, causes them to shunned & avoided or lowers them in the minds of right thinking people of society.
Malice: Writing down with intent anything you know to be untrue.
Public Interest: From the PCC code of conduct The Public Interest includes: 1) Exposing danger to the community or 2) Exposing a health risk to the community or 3) Exposing the fact that the public is being misled.
Malicious Falsehood: A statement that may not be defamatory but is damaging to a person's reputation. It is a statement that is written with the intent to damage the person it is written about even if it isn't actually defamatory to their reputation.
Innuendo: A statement that is used to imply that someone has done something. The idea that you are safe if you defame somebody without naming them isn't true.
Juxtaposition (libel): Unintentional libel arising from placing a defamatory article/picture/package next to an innocent article/picture/package.

Three Elements of Libel:
1) Publication - It is libel if the defamatory statement is published to a third party.
2) Identification - The person the statement is about has to be identified. Be careful of Jigsaw Identification where the person could be identified if the audience can work out who the person is from the description in the article.
3) Defamation - See above.

The plaintive has 1 year to take libel action - you must therefore keep your rushes and notes for at least a year.

Three Main Defences Available for Libel:
1) Justification: The statement is true & can be proved.
2) Fair Comment: 1) You believe the comment to be true, 2) The comment is based on fact, 3) The statement has to be in the public interest.
3) Qualified Privilege: There are two types. Statutory QP gives protection to things reported from law courts, parliaments, local authorities etc but are subject to refutation. The reports need to be accurate, contemporaneous and without malice. Common Law QP gives protection to bodies not mentioned in the statute.

How Media is Regulated in Relation to Political Bias:
According to the Representation of The People Act it is a crime for a broadcast to show political preference to any political party. Unless we are in a general election period, the broadcaster only has to show balance over time. If we are in a general election period, the broadcast has to give each political party time in proportion to the votes they received in the last election. It has to be precise and is called strict airtime.

Newspapers are not controlled by the Representation of The People Act and can therefore be biased for or against a political party.

Regulations to do with taste and decency:
Swearing in broadcasts:

The "F-Word": This can be used if it is not gratuitous and is it after the watershed.
Profoundly offensive language - "C-Word": Never allowed to say without special prior consent from Ofcom.
Material which may be offensive to religious viewers: You must be reporting on religious issues.
Interviewing Criminals: You must not pay criminals or glamourise them or their crime. (You musn't pay witnesses for interviews as well.)

Contempt of Court
Contempt of Court exists so that the accused can have a fair trial.
There are two types of court, Magistrates Court and Crown Court.

Functions of a Magistrates Court:
1) The starting point of all cases
2) Applications for injunctions in civil cases take place here
3) Bail hearings - applications for bail take place

Types of Cases at a Magistrates Court:
Summary Cases - Minor offences
Committal - Serious offences, a Magistrates Court does not have the power to deal with these cases and therefore commits the case to Crown Court
Bail - Bail cases take place at Magistrates Court - You can report that bail has been denied but the reasons for the denial cannot be reported.

*All are protected by Qualified Privilege when the court is session in the presence of a judge and jury or magistrate*

The case becomes active when the accused is arrested and charged - this means that you cannot be sued for libel for reporting what the defendant is accused of. The case is no longer active once a verdict has been given.

Accused on remand/bail/awaiting trial: Whilst on remand you must not report anything as there is danger of contempt of court as this is the time that a jury is being assembled.

You musn't report anything in a Crown Court when the jury is not present - contempt of court.
But you have Qualified Privilege to report when the Judge and Jury are present.

Interviewing the Jury:
You cannot interview members of the jury whilst the case is active.
You can interview members of the jury after the case but only very generally.

Interviewing the Witness(es)
It is permitted to interview the witness(es) but against the codes of conduct to pay them. You cannot interview a witness when the case is active.

Anything can be reported after conviction but before sentencing because the case is no longer active.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights deals with Privacy.
"Everyone is entitled to the 'normal enjoyment of family life.'

A good example of this is the case of Princess Caroline of Monaco. She won a major legal battle over the right of newspapers to publish pictures of her. The European Court of Human Rights said that the newspaper shouldn't have published photos of her and her children even if they were in a public place. The Court ruling said: "Every person, however well-known, must be able to enjoy a legitimate hope for the protection of... their private life ". You can see the BBC report on this here.

Practical Measures to be taken by a Photojournalist or Videojournalist:
Ensure that in GV's (general views) nobody is identifiable unless they have given their consent. Explicit consent is given by a signed consent form, waving at the camera etc.

You need permission to film on any private property. If you are filming on private property and are asked to leave you must do so. The person is not allowed to take your tapes.

The information protected by confidentiality must have:
1) Quality of confidentiality
2) It was imparted in circumstances implying confidentiality
3) It has to be proven that it caused detriment.

Ten Point Test: Reynolds Defence:
This is the ten point test of responsible journalism and if you have done these ten things then you have a degree of legal protection:
1) The allegation must be serious. The more serious, the more protection will be applied.
2) The nature of the information must be of public concern.
3) The source of the information must be good. The more authoritative source, the more you are entitled to report their allegations.
4) The steps taken to verify the allegation. You must try and put the allegations to the person.
5) Status of the information is not old, e.g. allegations are not being bought up that have already been denied.
6) The urgency of the matter - reasons for running the article now.
7 Whether comment was sought from the claimant.They may have information that others don't possess. It may be practical to get the other side of the story and give the person the opportunity to deny it but it is not always necessary.
8) Whether the article contains the jist of the claimant's side of the story.
9) The tone of the article - the article should be written in a sober way, sticking to the facts.
10) The circumstances of the publication. The allegations should be bought to public attention as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More Jimmy's, Less Bobby's...

I've read an interesting article today explaining Bobby Zamora's bizarre celebration on Sunday. (I'll be honest my house-mate told me about the article, check his blog out here)

Anyway, after Zamora scored the only goal of the game against Sunderland on Sunday he celebrated by yelling "Shut your fucking mouths" towards a section of the home fans. A bizarre way to celebrate you'd think? The reasoning given was that a selection of Fulham fans have been badmouthing Zamora on a Fulham fans forum due to his lack of goals for the club, so this was his answer.

I find this pretty interesting for a number of factors. First of all, was he right to react this way to a small selection of fans? Secondly, Zamora now joins a list of players where the Internet has been involved in their careers recently. Thirdly, Zamora's goal scoring record for Fulham isn't fantastic, so do the fans have a right to voice their protests over his lack of goals?

I think reacting this way to a small selection of fans was somewhat naive, especially as a lot of the Fulham fans do actually like Zamora and regularly chant his name for his efforts, (he has even received some praise on the Fulham fan message board for Sunday's celebration!) So in voicing his opinions at Craven Cottage towards the home fans he has also abused perhaps the same fans that may have been chanting his name during the game. I don't think he was right to react the way he did, the perfect reaction was hitting the back of the net. Criticised for lack of goals, scores a goal - what could be a better way to answer critics?

The Internet is clearly becoming involved in football (like it is with pretty much everything) and is giving fans and players the chance to voice opinions, apologise, praise and discuss football even more so. Social networking sites such as Twitter have been used by Darren Bent to vent frustration over transfers, Thierry Henry used to apologise for his infamous handball which led to France qualifying for The World Cup over the Republic of Ireland. This could be a good thing though as it opens up another platform for people to discuss football, voice their concerns, praise players etc, this goes works for players and fans alike. But, clearly a problem that comes is with issues such as racism, for example, that plague football in certain areas can now be written anonymously. 

Now, the obvious problem for Zamora was that he was receiving some bad treatment because of his lack of goals for Fulham. I looked into his goalscoring record for The Cottagers and to be fair it isn't fantastic. He has scored just 6 goals in 44 league starts (source: Soccerbase), so perhaps the criticism is justified? I think it's fine for fans to criticise players, after all they pay to watch and I would expect the players rather enjoy it when the same fans sing their names and praises (us football fans are notoriously fickle!!)

I think it's a shame to see Bobby celebrate the way he did, especially as it comes just a week after we saw one of the best Premier League celebrations of all time. Jimmy Bullard's celebration was full of banter, aimed at his manager of all people, and that's the sort of celebration and playful banter I like to see in football. The game needs more players like Jimmy Bullard, full of wit, banter and a general love for the game and it's people.

You can see Bullard's celebration here. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm A Celebrity...Gets Serious

Having read the news surrounding I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here winner Gino D'Acampo and his fellow contestant Stuart Manning I decided it was worthy of a blog!

The two contestants took part in this years show and during their time in the jungle beheaded and turned a rat into risotto. This happened when the pair were living in exile and therefore were forced to live on inferior rations. Professional Chef, Gino, beheaded, skinned and cooked the rat which the group, including ex Hollyoaks actor Stuart, ate. They now both face criminal charges for animal cruelty as it has emerged that the reality TV show didn't have permission to slaughter the rat, even though the show is based around trials which often see celebrities eating live insects and constant use of animals, such as snakes, to scare them.

According to most newspaper reports, there are codes of conduct in New South Wales, Australia, that dictate how animals can be used and killing a rat is deemed as not acceptable. I know rules are rules and the law is the law etc but this strikes me as quite bizarre as Gino, who went on to be crowned King of the Jungle, had to eat a rhino beetle in one of the bushtucker trials as well as other contestants being subject to tasks involving other insects and animals. But, I guess the key thing here was that the beetle was served to him dead and is therefore allowed?

A statement in a report on the Sky website said that the rules would not relate to insects and grubs which had been eaten in the past. The allegation against the two is that an animal was creully treated, but judging by the fact that the two contestants were on a diet of rice and beans, I think it would be harsh to lay the blame at just their feet. Perhaps having a look at the conduct of ITV and the programmes producers, who put the celebrities in the this position, would be more just?

I am not particularly fond of the programme, or any other reality TV show for that matter, but I do find it bizarre that two people are being penalised for eating a rat on a programme that promotes the eating of kangaroo testicles, among other things!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Gents Game?

Arsene Wenger's recent touchline antics have caught my eye this week and have made me think differently of a man whom I have associated as being one of the best managers around.

Wenger refused to shake Manchester City manager Mark Hughes' hand on Wednesday night following his sides 3-0 defeat to City in the Carling Cup. Wenger has been one of the best managers of my lifetime but it's little things like this that spoil the great image I have for such a great manager.

There's no doubt things are tough at Arsenal at the moment, no trophy since 2005, big name stars leaving the club, a supposedly limited transfer budget (although this is something Wenger denies), struggling to compete with Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool...but surely the gentleman foundations that football was built on haven't left Arsenal as well?

Football was built as a gentleman's game and surely with all the problems that football has seen over recent years (diving, cheating, match fixing, dodgy transfers to name but a few) the common courtesy of shaking hands and being magnanimous in defeat is something that can easily be saved? Shaking a hand is easy, congratulating the winner is easy, being graceful in defeat is easy and are all things that, in my opinion, should be seen as mandatory by all managers and players.

And the thing I find most disheartening is that Wenger has no regrets about the incident, even with hindsight he couldn't even admit he was in the wrong.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Winol Week 5 Critical Reflection...

So we had another week of WINOL last week and I have to say I think the overall bulletin this week took a step back as there were more errors than the previous week, however many of these were down to technical difficulties.

Once again I was very pleased with the Sport section that my team and I produced, I feel that it is perhaps the strongest part of the bulletin. Mainly because we always meet our deadlines and week on week the quality in terms of picture, sound and script quality has improved. The main reasons for these improvements is the feedback from the debriefs from our lecturers and the guest editors, as we have tried to work on the errors they have picked up on. For example, Brian asked me to work on Grant's voiceovers this week and we spent a long time (and probably a quite frustrating time for Grant) making him re-do his voice-overs until they sounded much better. I was very pleased when Brian picked up on the improvements during his debrief and I hope that I have helped Grant with his future voice-overs.

Unfortunately this bulletin was savaged by technical difficulties which affected the overall quality. We had problems with the auto cue again as well as the MAC which is used to play the VTs. So hopefully this coming week we can eradicate these problems and produce a seamless bulletin.

I feel that as a newsroom we need to make sure we are hitting 10 minutes (or under) for the bulletin as when we go over it cannot be uploaded to YouTube to go out at five. The other problem that comes with this is that a sports item is usually cut to make it go under 10 minutes, which I understand as the news is the more important section as we are a news bulletin, but I am disappointed that this has happened a few times now and hope that we can work to make it under 10 minutes so we can keep all the sports items that we have produced.

I spent the week writing news stories with the other members of my team before compiling a running order and then helping the rest of my team with their packages and suggesting improvements before we handed over to production. Unfortunately this week I wasn't available for the editor's meeting, so my deputy sports editor Tom Otrebski went in my place and I feel that Tom and I are working very well together on the editorial side of the Sport section. This week we sat down and rescripted the Sports script and links to improve them and found advice from Andy Steggall last week again helped us to produce better links.

Here are my other WINOL reflections:

The End of Free Online News?

Google Logo

A few blog posts ago I wrote about how Rupert Murdoch and other publishers have been discussing ways to charge the public for viewing online news from newspaper websites. This issue has been circulating the journalism world for a while now, especially as newspaper readerships continue to dwindle, which therefore sees advertising revenue decrease as a result. 

This week has seen two big announcements which have made the possibility of charging for online news more real. Earlier this week, Johnston Press (The UK's largest regional newspaper publisher) announced plans to begin charging for access to six of it's online titles. A move which has come about following a 42% slump in advertising revenue. This is a clear indication that news in traditional newspaper format is a dieing trade as the Internet continues to dominate the media world. 

The second announcement came today from search engine Google, which has said it will limit the amount of free news available to people using the site. Google plays a massive role when it comes to websites and their traffic. Getting into the Google Index (which makes your site available to Google searches) is pretty key when it comes to earning more traffic, purely down to the amount of traffic and users Google gets itself. The move follow claims that the search engine is profiting from from online news pages through online advertising revenue.

The new changes will mean that publishers can now limit users to no more than five pages per day without subscribing or registering and may mean that users will start to see registration screens when they click for a sixth time.

I think that over the new few years more and more news websites will be charging viewers to read their online content, especially as online news continues to win the battle against newspapers, an especially as newspaper revenue continues to suffer.

The battle between Old Media and New Media rages on, but these recent developments seem to suggest that the tide is continuing to turn in favour of New Media and inparticular, The Internet.

BBC article:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Twitter Taking Over?

Twitter Sticker

I seem be to reading and seeing more and more about Twitter over the last few months, especially in news reports about celebrities.

Twitter now boasts millions of users and between February 2008 and February 2009 the social networking site saw it's number of users increase from 475,000 unique users to 7 million! Having recently been named as the most used word of 2009, 'Twitter' beat 'Barack Obama' which came in at number two, it clearly is becoming a very very popular social networking site.

Newspapers, especially sport sections, have found Twitter to be particularly useful. Over the Summer during the football transfer window Darren Bent got into a spot of trouble with this rant aimed at Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy over the delay in his transfer from Tottenham to Sunderland; "Do I wanna go Hull City NO. Do I wanna go Stoke NO. Do I wanna go Sunderland YES. So stop f*****g around Levy." That produced a decent story for many newspapers, I used to The Sun to source the quote (

Just today there was a bit of a Twitter mystery when Gordon Brown's wife, Sarah, tweeted a random set of letters. Turns out her young son was behind the bizarre Twitter entry but even that made it onto the BBC (!

Twitter also provides a good opportunity for companies to promote brands, websites to promote themselves, blogs to be plugged (I am a culprit) and has proven very popular with celebrities. Just last week Cheryl Cole posted a Twitpic showing off her wedding to answer suggestions that her marriage to Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole is on the rocks: (

It seems Twitter has many different uses and can be useful for pretty much anyone, whether you're just using to socialise or using it to promote your business!

World Aids Day - Go Red

The (RED) Manifesto

Today is World Aids Day and brings this years fight against AIDS into the public domain. Today (RED) announced their partnership with Nike which sees football stars such as Didier Drogba promoting the cause. (RED) is a "is a simple idea that transforms our collective power as shoppers into a financial force that helps those affected by HIV in Africa."

Social networking sites are proving useful as well. By typing #red before you tweet on twitter you can turn your twitter (red) and you can also help turn facebook (red) here:

Help turn the world (RED) and support World Aids Day.