Weeknote 15: Heatwaves, podcasts and the benefits of being quiet

26 Jul 2019 | Communications, Copy-editing

One of the joys of being self-employed is the flexibility, and I’m particularly grateful for this when the weather gets hot. I’ve been experimenting with different working patterns, including siestas and  working at night. (I haven’t done the laptop-in-the-garden thing yet, but it’s another option.) I’m still not as productive as I’d like to be, but I’m glad I’m not in an office.

I’ve been reading some old diaries as research for something I’m writing, and was reminded that 1995 was another of those long hot summers in the UK. It hasn’t gone down in history like the summer of 1976, but it broke records. Back then, people were still making jokes about ‘global warming’. It doesn’t seem so funny now.

The tweet from BBC Weather in the photo didn’t go down well either, as you can see from some of the replies. (There’s a lesson there about tone.)

Tweet from BBC Weather: picture of weather map showing 39 degrees, with the words 'Morning, if we're going to do it TODAY'S THE DAY!  We will of course keep you posted. Lou L.'

What I listened to this week

Mick Houghton, music journalist turned publicist, was guest on the Rock’s Back Pages podcast this week, promoting his book Fried and Justified. He was one of my favourite PR people when I was working as a music journalist, partly because he was working with bands from Liverpool, which was my patch, and partly because he was easy to get on with. He said in the podcast: ‘I didn’t think I was cut out to be a publicist, because I was quiet, but it worked in my favour. Plus I knew about music.’

What I read this week

I’ve been reading How To Own The Room by Viv Groskop, on the recommendation of someone at a meetup (my books-to-read wishlist just keeps growing!).

It’s advice on public speaking for women, but it focuses on confidence not content. She approaches it through examples from different female role models. I was pleased to see that one of them was Susan Cain, who wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. A must-read for introverts but it would be great if extroverts read it too.

Shameless self-promotion bit

Sorry, but I was so pleased to get this LinkedIn recommendation this week:

‘I have worked with Penny on three substantive research papers, and she is a fabulous editor. She respects and maintains the voice of the author, while making the writing much clearer. As a result of her keen eye and attention, the paper is always much better for having been in her hands.’

In other news

The Metropolitan Police website and Twitter got hacked. At least, it turned out, their MyNewsDesk account – the app that publishes press releases, news items and tweets – got hacked. I had a look on MyNewsDesk’s social media to see how they responded, but they haven’t posted on Facebook since June, and their Twitter account hasn’t been updated since 2015. Even if it was (probably) the Met’s fault, I can’t help wondering if they might want to do some reputation management.

Twitter started rolling out their website redesign. The good news – the web app now has the same useful features as the mobile app, such as the ‘bookmark’ functionality and the ability to switch between accounts. The bad news – lots of users don’t like the interface, because it is still trying to push ‘personalised’ content. Most Twitter users prefer to personalise the content themselves. As this article from Wired says, what people value is: ‘finding likeminded users and responding to each other in real time’.


Tweet from BBC Weather: picture of weather map showing 39 degrees, with the words 'Morning, if we're going to do it TODAY'S THE DAY! We will of course keep you posted. Lou L.'

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