Neverseconds: The channel-hopper

Most of you will know the Neverseconds story by now, it’s been top of the global Twitter trends for some time today. A story ostensibly not about brands or about money. But a lesson for brands and for money.

Neverseconds is a blog. Written by a 9 year old girl. She took photographs of her school meals and wrote about them. And what she wrote was largely positive.

Then a newspaper came along, wrote about her, criticised the dinner ladies, seemed to threaten their jobs. And all hell let loose.

The local council stepped in. Via the school, they banned the girl from posting photographs of school meals. So she said Goodbye in classic fashion, with a blog post.

And the twittersphere was aghast. They rallied. Argyll and Bute councillors had their fifteen minutes of fame.

And then the head of the council appeared on radio, undid the ban.

And if I wasn’t writing this now, I could probably follow some of the story on television. It’s already on Wikipedia, as a 21st century example of the Streisand Effect.

To top it all, one of Martha’s reasons for starting the blog was to collect money for charity: collected funds have grown tenfold since the council debacle. So there’s a silver lining or two.

You will see a million critiques of the whole incident, all more learned than mine. So that’s not what this post is about.

All I want to highlight is one aspect: the multichannel nature of the incident.

  • Began on a blog.
  • Grew via newspapers.
  • Went viral on Twitter.
  • Hit Wikipedia.
  • [Probably] Hit TV and cable. If not now, soon
  • Brought to a close (at least for this chapter) on radio.

And I didn’t even mention screens and devices and form factors.

Life happens. Life happens without regard for channels and devices and form factors.

We learn about life in stories. Stories that happen without regard for channels and devices and form factors.

Time-shifted. Place-shifted.

The #neverseconds story should be looked at by all who seek to “control” their customers through “channels”.

Neverseconds. A channel-hopper.

[Martha, hope your life returns to normal soon, and that you continue to enjoy life as a nine-year-old. And please keep with the blog]


7 thoughts on “Neverseconds: The channel-hopper”

  1. The speed of channel hopping was also breathtaking. Not enough time to handle PR disaster in traditional way. This means crisis management teams will need to simulate problems and be comfortable with policies – when the problem arises there will be no time to group-think!

  2. I was going to write a post about this, but its better to leave a comment someplace when someone else has already done a good job of summing this situation up.

    As my wife (who is also a teacher) said this morning upon hearing about all of this: “typical reaction by the school.” Instead of trying to fix the situation, they reacted and tried to ban something. This is definitely a good look at how information moves and travels and morphs online and between media streams in real time these days. I talked to the kids in my classroom about this situation as the school day started and then had to tell them 20 minutes later about the ban being overturned. As you’ve stated, this is a great case study about attempting to control information

  3. The power of the people. Its just going to get better. Well done all. And well done Martha and family. Keep blogging everyone.
    Agree with Clarence, good post JP.

  4. thanks Clarence. children don’t see the channels. they move naturally between them. we’re the dinosaurs///

  5. I find this story fascinating. The pace at which things moved from the ban being placed to it being lifted. It was impossible for traditional media to keep up or indeed the authorities to control it. Goodness knows what the council must have thought when this broke.

    Well done to Martha and as you say, I hope her life returns to normal soon. I understand that she wants to be a journalist, well this will have given her a great insight into how things work. I hope it hasn’t put her off.

  6. And each channel blurred the message. The council treated the blog as the source of the newspaper criticism, while in fact the newspaper was not representative of the mostly positive meal reviews on the blog at all. They didn’t think to go back to the blog and see if the newspaper was telling the truth about its contents.

Let me know what you think

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