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Five steps to improving your Legal Tech balance

Five steps to improving your Legal Tech balance

legal tech apps

It’s little surprise the UK’s legal sector hasn’t rushed into meeting the latest technology drive. Much like the deregulation of the financial services known as the Big Bang in the 1980’s, the rules around the ownership and running of law firms was relaxed in 2011. While the UK’s financial services responded quickly to become the world’s dominant financial centre, the UK’s legal sector has instead reacted to these reforms with a firm yet mild disinterest.

The first belated reaction came in 2015, when Gateley became the first UK law firm to go public originally raising £30 million. Even by the sloth-like standards of the law, this was slow… but not unsuccessful. In the two years since that offering, Gateley’s share price has doubled. This may have been what inspired Gordon Dadd and Keystone Law, who both floated on the markets late in 2017.

Despite now being one of the most liberalised and profitable industries in the country (generating around £30billion a year). The sector has a natural resistance to change. Partner models promote short-termism, litigation wreaks havoc on client’s budgets and the billable hour persists as an awkward deterrent to efficiency.

Yet a combination of austerity, diminishing budgets, increased competitiveness and growing caseloads has shifted the battleground. Stimulated by a £1.2bn government programme aimed at industry-wide modernisation but that in practice is designed to save costs, law firms are searching more and more for technology partners to improve practice. Not least in the running of the courts, where the UK’s are understood to produce a tower of paper the size of The Shard every 4 days. Modernisation is badly needed.

Yet as the power of the lawyer lies in the uncertainty of the law, the type of modernisation law firms are seeking is a specific kind. It’s technology that strengthens the lawyer’s hand by taking care of mundane tasks. It needs to remove mistakes but not the terrified associates who make them.

In other words, the more boring side of the technology revolution. There will be no Netflix saga on the artificial intelligence upgrades that happen inside law firms. But maybe… just maybe, there might be a few more lawyers finishing work before midnight. And deep down isn’t that something we all want?

So, we’re after evolution, not revolution in this gig. We’re after five steps firms can take to improve their legal tech balance.

Step 1 – Clocktimizer

I couldn’t work out what I liked more. This gentlemen’s name or his job title. But Mart van de Kerkhof, Head of ‘Know-how’ at Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy says Clocktimizer is definitely worth exploring for any law firm that really wants to understand what’s going on in its business. Which I estimate is just about everyone who works in a law firm except HR.

Clocktimizer says its algorithms study time card narratives to then provide actionable data on budgeting, pricing, management and firm-wide profitability. It’s taken a task that normally takes around six months and has finished it in seconds. I don’t ‘know-how’ they do it.

Step 2 – Thought River

Imagine if you could assess this article without reading it. Wouldn’t that be great? Well, ThoughtRiver have applied that blue sky thinking to contracts. Their contract intelligence software uses machine learning to scan contracts and other legal documents and presents the information in an online dashboard, allowing users to visualise risk.

And while I for one welcome our new overlord GDPR, I don’t have to read contracts for a living. Using AI technology to assess contracts for issues and provide actionable insight may become a nothing less than a necessity going forward.

Step 3 – Legal Monitor

One day the robots will replace us. Or to be more specific, find the people who will replace us. Legal Monitor combines search and analytic technologies with a huge database of legal expertise. It contains 190,000+ lawyers across the world’s largest 400+ law firms. Meaning it’s the perfect solution for sourcing the best legal candidates, following the industry’s hiring trends and conducting your own legal market research.

Step 4 – LawBotics

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This Norwegian start-up was founded by a business lawyer who felt the law was too inaccessible and found the sharing of legal knowledge to be inadequate. Good intention.

But they have built a tool named Lexolve that allows colleagues to share knowledge and details of legal documents, streamlining the process of drawing up legal contracts and other documents. Potentially saving a significant amount of time and resources while protecting client budgets!

Step 5 – The Link App

When dealing with a lawyer time is always money. So, while these previous additions have been focused on increasing efficiency, so also is this one! This app is created by lawyers, for lawyers. It works like a portal, keeping clients ‘in the loop’ on the app without the need for back and forth communication or long phone calls, allowing solicitors to increase their productivity across the working day. Simply log into the app on your phone, you spend all day on anyway, and check if everything is in place. Putting clients first like this will only be good news for law firms.

These ideas focus on law as a service industry and set out to improve efficiency and protect client budgets. That’s why they will likely be successful in restoring the legal tech balance in a law firm.

Are you a looking to build your exposure, or perhaps reach a new audience? Speak to our team today to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.

Alternative investments you won’t want to miss

Alternative investments have always fascinated investors, with growing popularity in recent years as both individuals, holding companies and institutions look for ways to change their volatility exposure and potentially generate surplus returns beyond holding stocks and bonds.

From cryptocurrencies to mineral rights, fintech gadgets to the latest natural remedy, house sellers to tower block renters, alternative investments can be very compelling for the right individual.

We look at the top ten investment opportunities from Crowd Cube you won’t want to miss.

Glint

After launching in February 2018 Glint are securing their place in the market by introducing gold as money into the global payments system. The Glint app and Mastercard allows consumers to buy, store and sell gold alongside other national currencies. With over £1.5 million raised Glint is certainly one we are excited to watch.

Supponor

Winner of Sports Tech of the year and Most Innovative Use of Tech in 2017, Supponor is the Augmented Realist Technology company designed to increase the value of sponsorship and top-tier broadcast rights. The business uses in-stadium TV-visible signage which will enable advertisers and sponsors to target fans based upon their location and characteristics providing a much more personalised experience for the viewers at home.

Pack’D

The natural nutrition brand on a mission to fuel potential. Voted as one of the ‘Top 50 start-ups’ Pack’D now have over 1500 product listings featured in stores including Sainsbury’s and Ocado. Designed by nutritionists to give you a targeted health kick, Pack’s frozen smoothie kits are as simple as adding your choice of liquid and blend.

BABB Group

BABB is building a decentralised banking platform that aims to provide peer-to-peer banking services designed for the global microeconomy. With over $18 million backing for software development, it is now raising funds to meet the capital requirement to become a licensed bank in the UK and/or EU. BABB Group has a community of 50,000 people in over 170 countries as well as a blockchain banking app set to launch at the end of 2018. We’re excited to see how BABB carves their way into the future of banking in the UK.

Zzish

The classroom assistant that saves you hours of time. The EdTech platform is back to CrowdCube after their success in the US and Asia. With fun interactive assessment tools available for all levels Zzish is leading the way in classroom engagement.

Fans Agency

Brainchild of a ‘super-agent’. The Fans Agency is the modern football agency: part-owned by fans, a focus on players, supporting grassroots and offering a proportion of its fees for purchase and trade. The investment will aim to source players, create a trading platform and market the idea.

Coinaphoto

Over 55 million stock photos available on their site, coinaphoto’s aim is to shake up the digital content world by monetising our digital assets. With existing founder investments exceeding $3million dollars, we’re excited to see coinaphoto change the local photography community.

Monty’s Deli

Having started out as a small market stall perfecting the ultimate pastrami and salt beef sandwich, Monty’s Deli is aiming to expand their offering right across the capital with several new market sites. The FT, Sunday Times and Evening Standard have all rated the food extraordinaire as one to watch.

VITL

Backed by the founders of Zoopla, Love Film and Bulldog skincare, VITL is the personalized nutritionist service we’ve all been waiting for. Using artificial intelligence VITL can calculate what nutrients are missing from your diet and provide the bespoke pack right for you.

Rise Art

The online gallery racking up over £1 million in sales last year. The world of online art trading is growing, and Rise Art is set to help lead the way. Scouring the glove looking for the best pieces and artists the business is looking to bridge the gap between art and luxury investors.

Are you looking to raise vital funds for your business? Or are you a start-up that needs to launch your brand to the market. Our team of specialists is here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can help you gain breakthrough for you and your business.

Generation Z: How to reach a digital born audience

As communicators we’re forever trying to research and understand our chosen target audience. More commonly the discussion has orientated around ‘Millennials’ but there is a new emerging audience; ‘Generation Z’. And they’re going to change everything in the world of communication.

It’s hard to define Generation Z (or Gen Z) but researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years. This means that most of Gen Z have used the internet since a young age. They are generally comfortable with technology, using social media and are commonly used to having information at the touch of a button.

Gen Z has been described as ambitious, money-savvy and more socially-aware than other generations. In fact, 80% of Gen Z is said to have a greater tendency to buy products that have a positive social or environmental impact. This generation is also said to be more diverse and even less willing to accept stereotypes. For many brands this is important to shift their perspective accordingly and reflect it in their marketing.

So, with all this complexity, how can brands connect with Generation Z?

Gen Z’ers were born social. In fact, nearly 92% of Gen Z has a digital footprint. Arguably as a result of the celebrities and media they follow, Gen Z are willing to become unique through the brands they do business with. This generation is constantly bombarded by adverts as they spend a great amount of time online but in a 2016 poll, only 59% of Gen Z’ers said they followed an advertisement online before making a purchase, and 71% of Millennials said the same.

To connect with this generation, it’s not enough for brands to just say or want to have an impact. Companies now have to align their brand and services with a cause that matters with impactful core values. Companies’ marketing messages need to be clear about what they stand for so that their brands are not interpreted as uninvolved in or opposed to social causes important to Gen-Z’ers.

In order to be successful, marketers must work on strategies that incorporate the platforms Gen Z’ers use most. That means developing a strategy for Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. In Gen Z’s ever-multitasking online world, brands have to be fluent and fluid with their social media tactics.

What type of Marketing should you use?

Influencer marketing has increasingly become a lucrative advertising revenue generator for brands and businesses. Product reviews, tutorials and “how-to” videos are a great way to market products to an engaged audience. We see a rise in brands collaborating with influencers because they know how to grab the power of social media and use their credibility to affect their followers’ views (and even their purchasing decisions). Gen Z value influencers for their authenticity, their endorsement is valuable and therefore it gives a human feel to a brand. Brand awareness is the main reason many brands focus on influencer marketing, as it is an effective way to reach a wider audience and use an influencer’s (extensive) social reach to promote a product, without being directly involved in its promotion.

The same way you need a website for Millennials, for Gen Z, you must have a YouTube presence. And while most brands understand search engine optimization (SEO) for traditional Google searches, many brands aren’t optimizing search for YouTube. In fact, the same and similar tactics you use on your website need to apply to YouTube in order to engage with Gen Z. You need more than just a presence on YouTube; you need good content. The videos you create and publish must have a clear brand voice as Gen Z loves to follow brands that are funny and personable.

We found that the brands that are experiencing the most success use YouTube as an entertainment platform to tell stories and not just post content intermittently. Chanel for example, with its Beauty Talk, “how to” and backstage video is one of the most successful brands with more than 1 million followers. Another example is the Victoria’s Secret YouTube channel. The channel’s content includes everything from workout videos to backstage glimpses at hair and makeup practices to lipsync videos, all featuring their famous angels. Victoria Secret’s commercials are also regularly posted to the channel.

Can PR help?

When trying to appeal to a young audience, you need to do more than just advertise. You need to create a PR campaign that talks to them. Keep in mind that young audiences want advertising that adds to their life rather than distracts from it. Gen Z are an ambitious bunch and want to make their mark on the world. By showing this generation that you are a vocal, impactful brand you will start to win their support. Gen Z consumers use less traditional media than previous generations and spend most of their time in the digital space.

A PR company can help you break through the noise other brands create by producing a communications strategy that targets both online, social and traditional media outlets. From pairing with influencers, to creating engaging video content, our team of professionals will help you plan and manage your campaign to make sure it creates the impact you’re after.

Find out more about our consumer, business and social media services or discover just how influential your brand is with our communications strategy tool. The Influence Formula.

The leading women speaking at the London Real Estate Forum

Notoriously a man’s world, property has built a name for itself as a chaps’ playground. As the industry progresses, this stereotype is slowly being chipped away.

With organisations like Women in Property, Property Week’s Open Plan campaign and RICS Visible Women platform, key industry names are playing a pivotal role in challenging the industry’s attitude to women. Events like The Presidents Club, the Gender Pay Gap and even the unravelling story of Harvey Weinstein, have all acted as an incubator for change. Eyes are now slightly ajar to the disparity between the treatment of women in the workplace compared to their male counterparts.

This week (13th-14th June) in Mayfair – seen by many as the old school male bastion of finance and property – is the London Real Estate Forum. The line-up of speakers is impressive at first glance, but even better is the diversity amongst those taking the podium. As a nod to some great women in the industry, here is our roundup of the top 5 women driving change and speaking at London Real Estate Forum:

  1. Anna Bond

Director of Development, Grosvenor Group

One of the world’s largest privately-owned property businesses, Grosvenor Group, welcomed Anna in 2008 where she climbed from Senior Development Manager to become Director of Development in 2015.

Anna has led several diverse development portfolios -from the small and medium development teams, to ownership of the residential development sector as well as the large project development portfolio.

What began with developing swamps, pastures and orchards into London’s fashionable Mayfair in the 1720s, the Grosvenor Group is a name synonymous with world-class real estate. This talk from a woman who works with its portfolio up close and personal is not one to miss.

  1. Sadie Morgan
    Founding Director, dRMM

Stirling prize-winning English designer Sadie Morgan is a force to be reckoned with in the industry. In 1995, she founded dRMM, the RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architecture practice, with Alex de Rijke and Philip Marsh. The firm is most renowned for its award-winning No. One Centaur Street project for which Morgan was Design Director.

A woman not uncomfortable with the public eye, Morgan has been seen speaking on how design can provide solutions to social problems, and as the only architect on the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission, has vowed to put design at the heart of a £100 billion revamp of UK infrastructure.

Her talk is bound to inspire, educate and challenge the audience, so be sure to attend.

  1. Lucy Musgrave

Founder, Publica

Lucy Musgrave is the founding Director of Publica, a London-based urban design and public realm practice. They survey neighbourhoods and undertake rigorous research to help make cities more “efficient, integrated, vibrant and safe”, and going by their work, they stick to their word.

Over a notable 25-year career, Lucy has and still actively plays a key advisory role in policy recommendations, strategic planning and the advocacy of design quality. She is currently a Mayor’s Design Advocate and sits on the Mayor’s Night Time Commission and the Sounding Board for the Mayor’s Public London Charter.

Since its inception in 2010, the practice has had restored and creatively reimagining some of London’s most significant streets and civic spaces. Don’t miss a chance to hear the woman behind this magic speak.

  1. Rajdeep Gahir

Property Disruptor & Founder, CoCreations & VivaHouse

Currently the Founder & Managing Director of CoCreations, Rajdeep was formerly the Head of European Expansion at WeWork. Having held the role from early 2014 to 2016, she was responsible for the huge expansion of the company, including taking it to new heights in London and Amsterdam.

Having started her career on a London trading floor, Rajdeep has expertise in real estate disruption, technology start-ups and financial market innovation. She has been involved in the scale-up of fast-growing start-ups and huge corporations and investment banks alike.

Her current company CoCreations, whose clients have included eBay and Merrill Lynch, is a consultancy and venture builder which specialises in property disruption. CoCreations also fosters its own businesses such as VivaHouse, a modular pop up accommodation solution.

From a consultant standpoint, Rajdeep’s talk promises some useful insight.

  1. Annelie Kvick Thompson
    Principal, Grimshaw

Annelie joined Grimshaw in 1997 and has since progressed to a senior member of the practice’s international design team. Before her return to London in 2016, she played a central role in the establishment of Grimshaw’s office in Sydney in 2010. Her experience straddles a comprehensive range of sectors including strategic urban and master planning projects, aviation and transport infrastructure, commercial, residential, public domain integration, industrial design and education and research.

Grimshaw Architects is an architectural firm based in London. One of the pioneers of high-tech architecture and recipient of the Royal Institute of British Architects Lubetkin Prize, Grimshaw boasts a portfolio of incredible work including the design of transport projects such as Waterloo International railway station and the award-winning Southern Cross railway station.

Annelie’s directs and leads large and complex projects which often integrate transport with mixed-use regeneration so from a future of cities point of view, her talk is one to watch.

 

If you would like to find out more about Property PR then please get in touch with a member of our award-winning team today.

National Barbecue Week: Kings and Queens of the Grill

We’ve just celebrated the late May Bank Holiday and that means one thing: it’s National Barbecue Week. A time for the nation to show its mettle as we brave the heat or huddle under an umbrella to flip a pack of burgers.

It’s fair to say that barbecues are now as much a British summertime tradition as strawberries and cream and complaining about the heat.

Now in its 22nd year, the national awareness week has seen the number of barbecues per year increase from nine million since its inception in 1997 to 131 million today. The British barbecue really has come a long way since those early days of tucking into burnt, charcoal flavoured sausages.

Chefs and culinary entrepreneurs are embracing the grill and inspiring the country’s restaurants, pubs and homes.

So, this week – whether you’re a back-garden grill specialist or a disposable barbie in the park kind of person – join us as we raise a toast to our favourite al fresco food.

Levi Roots

British-Jamaican chef and entrepreneur, Levi Roots, first captured the public imagination as an applicant on Dragon’s Den. He charmed the dragons into parting ways with a £50,000 investment to kickstart his business in 2006.

12 years on and a barbecue would be almost unthinkable without a bottle of his Reggae Reggae sauce among the selection of condiments. Levi’s story goes to show the enduring power of a broadcast appearance and he continues to surprise us with some dazzling recipes like his Reggae Reggae beer can chicken.

Genevieve Taylor

Genevieve Taylor is determined to put women on the culinary map when it comes to barbecues and takes control of the fire. Her book, How to Eat Outside, encourages women to do more cooking in the great outdoors.

The year her book was released, she helped lead a campaign with like-minded female cooks, lighting up the grills at various festivals up and down the country.

We admire her entrepreneurial spirit and passion – something that shines through in her book and her mouth-watering social feed.

Benjamin Bartlett

Ben Bartlett, also known as Barbecue Ben, was the first ever winner of Britain’s Best BBQer. The award proved to be a platform for an illustrious career in al fresco dining, which has taken him from Bristol to Kansas City via Italy.

Ben is now the esteemed president of the British BBQ Association and represents Britain globally on the world’s grilling stage, including regular appearances on TV shows such as Ready Steady Cook and This Morning.

Following the success of his first book, The Haynes BBQ Owners’ Grilling Manual, Ben recently launched Carry on BBQing, delivering healthy and inspiring recipes for all occasions. A must-read for anyone looking to blow away the culinary cobwebs and wheel out the barbecue.

At PHA we are inspired by entrepreneurs from all walks of life. Regardless of your grilling abilities, if you’d like to talk about taking your PR outreach to the next level, please contact us today.

 

 

Putting The PR in GDPR

With less than a month until the new European legislation, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), comes into force in the UK we look at what this really means for the PR industry, whilst putting some of those rumours and myths to bed.

Find out the basics

You can’t prepare for what you don’t know. So, the first crucial step is to make yourself aware of the key facts surrounding the GDPR. If you haven’t received training at your organisation it is probably worthwhile embarking on some personal research on the dos and don’ts when it comes to data protection. Sites such as the ICO are really detailed and can help you answer some of those burning questions.

Our Legal and Finance Director, Marina Hall says “Don’t panic, GDPR is a good thing and allows you to organise your data and the information you store. The legislation is enforcing best practice and requiring all businesses to have the same standards when it comes to processing and storing personal information.”

What data is included?

The GDPR may sound as exciting as watching paint dry but it’s important to know the details, especially as it will affect every business in the UK. You will need to know what qualifies as ”personal data”as you’ll probably find that you process it a lot more than you realise. The main areas could be:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Mobile number
  • Bank account details
  • Addresses
  • Driver/passport number

The legislation covers indirect identification of personal data, as well as direct. This means marketers will need to think about pseudonymisation, a data management procedure by which personally identifiable information fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers. When these elements are brought together, such as a postcode used with a surname, this could lead to someone being identified.

Do I have to get permission from every journalist?

No; if you are using aggregator sites such as Gorkana, Agility or Response Source you’re covered. These sites require the journalists or organisation to opt-in to have their details shared, meaning you have permission as a subscriber to the site to access that data. In addition, business emails that are published in the public domain such as John.Smith@parliament.co.uk are exempt from GDPR and you are able to make an approach.

Freelancers can be a murkier ground. There is a grey area within the new legislation around “legitimate interest”. If, for example, you were representing an environmental charity and you wanted to contact a freelance environmental journalist, you can argue legitimate interest as the journalist would more than likely want to hear about your story. However, if you included the same freelance journalist in a big promotional email about something totally irrelevant to them it would be deemed misuse of their data and could lead to other problems.

How does this affect my client work?

Our top tips for most PR professionals would be to focus on the following.

  1. Make sure you know where to find your new updated contracts and how to explain them if your client comes back with any questions.
  2. Ensure you are vetting any third-party suppliers you might be using, such as photographers, copywriters or website developers. It might be worthwhile having a supplier agreement in place.
  3. Password protect your spreadsheets. If you have media lists, client to do lists or simply a data capture from an event, make sure they are securely stored away and password protected. If you’re unsure how to lock your work down seek help from your IT team who will be able to advise you.
  4. Don’t pass on details you don’t have permission to share. If you haven’t got permission, make sure you don’t share data with any third parties. If you do, this could it could lead to larger issues. If you’re unsure, check with the Data Protection Officer within your organisation for the correct process.
  5. The right to be forgottenthe new GDPR rules provide “data subjects” (individuals) with the right to request that their information be erased completely. This is not optional.
  6. Finally, know who your Data Protection Officer is. Most organisations will have an appointed person or team. Make sure you keep them in the loop if you’re unclear about the process or just want to clarify what you’re doing is the correct way.

Finally, we’d just like to add we are not qualified to provide legal advice, so if you have some bigger questions please do contact your legal counsel.

We hope you enjoyed our top tips; if you’re looking for a PR agency to support you or your business please get in touch with our award-winning team today.

What #PressforProgress means: Jenny Campbell

By Jenny Campbell 

When the Equal Franchise Act was passed in 1928 giving all women over the age of 21 the right to vote, many expected a mass upheaval of society and women’s position both within the home and workplace to follow suit.

However, fast forward 90 years and despite significant progress being made towards pursuing gender parity, there are still great disparities present within society. Whilst there is a growing body of women promoting change, there are still many stuck in the shadows of their male counterparts.

PR for Jenny Campbell

This gender bias is something I have become all too familiar with throughout my career, experiencing first-hand the double standards women are subjected to within the workplace. During my banking career, I was initially given a ‘Band B’ ranking as opposed to a higher tiered ‘Band A’, based on the assumption that at some point I would take a break from my career to have children. My male counterpart, who I knew I was doing a better job than, received a ‘Band A’, so I challenged this and after eighteen months of fighting it, I received the ‘Band A’ that I deserved.

Shaping a corporate career as a woman is no easy feat and I have spent a large proportion of my working life challenging similar bias that could potentially hold me back. However, perceptions are gradually being corrected and the past year alone has acted as a platform for women calling out for this position to change with campaigns such as #TimesUp and #MeToo coming to the forefront of society.

The career opportunities for women have increased considerably, especially with the rise of the female entrepreneur. However, despite 1 in 10 women wanting to start their own business, just 9% of funding into UK start-ups goes into businesses run by women.

The entrepreneur, regardless of their gender, is a crucial driver of the nation’s economic growth and by disregarding women’s capacity as business owners and employers society is overlooking a great resource of untapped potential.

It is not a question of drive and ambition among female businesswomen, but that of opportunity, specifically linked to access to funding channels in order to embark on an entrepreneurial path.

A recent report found that a quarter of all female small-business owners experienced difficulties when trying to access funding, with women in business receiving just 7% of venture capital investment. This comes in comparison to the male entrepreneur, receiving 86% of venture capital funding.

This stark contrast speaks to wider gender issues of male investors in the venture capital world simply ‘lending to their own’. It is these disproportionate barriers that continue to challenge women’s position and capabilities within the workplace; for example, female entrepreneurs still have a 15%-20% lower loan approval rate than their male counterparts.

Despite vast efforts for gender parity to transcend industries and sectors, there is still a distance to go within the business landscape. However, this is not a battle that should be shied away from. Female entrepreneurs have been found to bring 20% more revenue with 50% less money invested, and Deloitte has suggested that targeted help for early-stage female entrepreneurs could provide a £100bn boost to the UK economy over the next 10 years alone.

Indicators such as these evidence a crucial need to champion an overall change in how we view women in the workplace, with concerted efforts to remove the gender bias women face. Employers often expect women to act in a certain way and repeatedly underestimate individual’s capabilities due to their gender. Women need to take a greater stand within the workplace to ensure that these expectations don’t pigeonhole their careers and instead fight for the position they deserve.

Regardless of the industry or sector women always face challenges, however, it is important not to be put off by the hurdles in your way and instead to take each challenge as a new opportunity to help break through the stereotypical moulds in society and to forge the career you want.

Ultimately the decision whether to support an enterprise should be taken irrespective of gender and based on business merit alone. Whilst there is a revolution building around British entrepreneurship there is still a great deal of progress to be made in transforming the culture and mindset surrounding a women’s place, and this change in my view cannot come quick enough!

Is Twitter news?

As is fitting with the nature of the platform, there are two potentially extreme opinions which should be taken when determining if twitter is news.

The first is that it is nothing more than an endless abyss of arguments, abuse and throwaway opinions that collate to paint an entertaining if not slightly terrifying picture of humanity.

The second and far more controversial opinion is that Twitter is now the biggest and best outlet for news in the world – a news outlet fit for the 21st century.

On the day of the presidential election, Twitter star and still president Donald Trump was elected. It was the largest source of breaking news worldwide, with 40 million election-related tweets sent before 10 pm.

From that perspective, Twitter, is the best place to go for news companies who are seeking readers. For breaking news, it’s even better, and will usually have a plethora of first-hand witness accounts and theories for you to decipher through once an incident breaks, long before any news network gets hold of the story.

In fact, the obvious likelihood from this is rather than being the ones delivering the news, it’s now the case that Twitter is delivering it to the news companies. The Oxford Circus terrorist attack Daily Mail Oxford Circuswas a perfect example of this.

In hindsight, we now know that a fight breaking out on a tube platform rippled through crowds in one of the most congested and visited parts of London causing widespread panic. Many were following the feed on Twitter as more and more people contributed their 280 character accounts of what they had seen. The Daily Mail was also doing the same, reaching the below conclusion.

They had come across the below tweet about a lorry that had crashed and a combination of tweets that claimed to have heard gunshots. The problem with the tweet was it had been sent 10 days before the incident, the problem with the gunshots were there weren’t any.

Twitter was now supplying the Daily Mail’s journalists their stories and consequently the nation’s largest paper headlines. It is usurping the newspapers most powerful instrument, it was dictating the news cycle. This isn’t the only time where the “news” generated on Twitter fooled everyone.

Ben Rothenberg’s excellent article on Slate exposed the perils of “Twitter news” in dramatic fashion. After tennis legends Billie Jean Kingand Martin Navratilova condemned comments made by Margaret Court that Tennis is “full of lesbians” and that transgender people were the “children of the devil,” a young Macedonian tennis player cut through the controversy and announced on twitter he would refuse to play at Margaret Court Arena should the opportunity arise.

Darko Grncarov, the Macedonian star labelled her views “totally unacceptable and disgusting.” The court named in her honour, became the centre of a heated online debate calling for it to be renamed. Grncarov’s own story now became one of extreme interest. Not only was he prepared to hinder his career to do what he thought was right, he then got an opportunity to announce on BBC Radio that he had just woken up from a six-month coma and was now, miraculously, going to take the ATP tour by storm.

tennis

Serena Williams followed him on Twitter, telling him it would be an “honour” for her daughter and her to meet him. Navratilova retweeted his story. James Blake wanted to commentate on his future matches. Adidas tweeted him “Welcome to the family Darko” after he tweeted the company offered him sponsorship.

Grnacarov amassed a huge following through the social network. Macedonia, a country so desperate for a sports star had one it could now adorn with national pride. He was now their biggest star, and nobody had even seen him play. More than 200 Grncarov Twitter accounts appeared devoted to him. Fuelling the fire of his fame, they tweeted about his crush on Nicole Scherzinger and his net worth of $1.5million. The official Twitter accounts of the ATP tour and ITF Tennis joined the fun, pestering Ellen DeGeneres to have him on her show. Rothenberg believes the tweets, which occasionally turned vicious in defence of their star, may have been from Twitter’s now infamous troll factories. The synchronised nature of the behaviour and the curious language raised eyebrows. News being generated by the site was causing a racquet in the tennis world.

As you have guessed, Grncarov isn’t a tennis player. He is a real person, he has played tennis (albeit poorly, as one of his Twitter videos demonstrated) and he did speak out in defence of transgender people. The problem is, that it was all just the first part of a well-organised ploy to use Twitter to catapult a young Macedonian into the world of fame. Twitter was generating news, but it was fake. Macedonia’s rising sun quickly became a false dawn.

It’s the effect the social network is having on the industry. Where a journalist would once knock on doors or wait outside houses, for better or worse, they can now open Twitter and peruse first-hand accounts of events, with nothing to corroborate the information, other than an anonymous name. Journalists don’t need to even leave their office anymore to report events with reasonable accuracy. Multiple accounts with familiar stories tend to form an impression of legitimacy, although we know they can be coordinated and organised. Some people just know how to use Twitter better than others.

The difference between the main stream media and Twitter aren’t vast but they are significant. It has blurred the lines between trained journalist and Joe public, and now both fall readily into each other’s traps. Twitter has levelled the playing field and it isn’t always pretty, at times it goes beyond the realms of sanity, but it is here to stay, and it may be here to dominate.

67 percent of American adults now rely on social media platforms such as Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Snapchat for news. That means a lot of people are now relying on themselves to determine the fake from the real. The Grncarovs from the Rothenbergs.

While newspapers are struggling to successfully monetize their product. Twitter posted $2.1 billion in advertising revenue in 2017.  “We are not the arbiters of truth,” said arbiter of truth Nick Pickles, the UK’s Twitter executive.

“We are not going to remove content based on the fact this is untrue. The one strength that Twitter has is it’s a hive of journalists, of citizens, of activists correcting the record, correcting information.”

Twitter is lowering expectations about its role in policing its news and by doing so, enhancing the power of those that use the platform. That’s why it is successful and that is why it is dangerous. It’s blurred the lines between journalist and citizen, and by doing so became the news outlet fit for the 21st century.

And if threatening nuclear war against North Korea doesn’t get your account suspended, let’s be honest, nothing will.

If you would like to find out how The PHA Group can help you grow your social media community and engagement speak to a member of our team today. Alternatively, check out our award-winning team Digital Studio.