Why government shouldn't have a sense of humor

You’ve heard it before… social media is a cocktail party. You have to be interesting and interact. Lurk at a cocktail party and you will get bored. Even worse your friends will get bored of you and not invite you again. So get stuck in there.

The problem is that this is a metaphor… Being funny at a cocktail might be ok. Being amusing on social media? Not always. Not for the first time I put forward this view at a discussion between politicians and social media scholars in Borås.

Here I argued that tone of voice is important and government bodies should be wary of social media. In particular I used examples of the police in a Swedish town creating and using their own Gangnam Style parody. I tried to explain that this was problematic in relation to copyright law, use of government property and the way in which the police are to be perceived.

Not everyone agreed. They argued funny was good for government and that parodying popular memes could only create a popular buzz. We agreed to disagree. So today, not without a touch of schadenfreude, I read this on Torrentfreak:

Four mayors in Denmark now know what it’s like to become a target of an international recording label out for blood over copyright. The controversy stems from the publication of a YouTube video featuring the officials dancing to Gangnam Style. Universal Music, the company holding the copyright to the original track, have warned the mayors that unless they pay $42,000 by tomorrow, a copyright infringement battle will follow.

Supposing they “chose” to pay rather than going to court my question is who should pay? Should the Danish taxpayer be forced to pay for the mayors’ lack of judgement? Or is it a personal liability? Shouldn’t the mayors been doing something better with their time that attempting to follow the tail end of a dying meme?

So the next time someone questions my ideas about the importance that government bodies not have a sense of humor I shall ask if they can afford their own amusement.

Granny's Dancing on the Table

Three years ago Hanna Sköld did a bold and daring thing. She took out a private bankloan to produce her film Nasty Old People and when it was done she made things worse by releasing it under a Creative Commons license and spread it via The Pirate Bay. The prophets of doom were wringing their hands and predicting her eternal financial, artistic and commercial doom.

The film quickly spread across 113 countries and was downloaded more than 50,000 times. It was translated, remixed and screened all around the world. She made back her money and established herself as a filmmaker to keep your eyes on both in Sweden and internationally. Naturally people with an interest in CC thought she was pretty cool too.

Now she is launching her new project its a story about a grandmother called “Granny’s Dancing on the Table”. Her early experiment in licensing and radical distribution continues, this time she has begun with kickstarter funding. Check it out here:

Together with you, we will create a granny-invasion! Because this time we are not only creating a film, we are creating a whole universe – the GRANNIVERSE – which includes a feature film, a psycological adventure game and International Grannyday.

Also consider the Granny Philosophy!


We do believe that stories can change the world.


We do believe that the world should be seen from different perspectives.


We do believe that everyone can contribute with something. Money, ideas, energy, sharing, support, beers……


We do believe that freedom of speech and stories should be carried by people, not by big companies.


We do believe that shared information is a way to create a more equal world.


We do believe that by listening to each others stories we will expand our world.


And preferably on the table.

Let your own Granny be part of The Granny Invasion at www.granniverse.com. Join the #granniverse!

Demonstrations without video are pointless

Fascinating quote from the research of Tina Askanius (recommend that you check out her publications):

You cant have a demonstration without filming it. that makes it pointless… there are riots in Copenhagen, they’ll only go global if there’s video footage. Otherwise its pointless; and you may as well not bother.

I find it interesting that we move from “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (Gil Scott-Heron) to “the revolution will be televised” (does this even have a source?) to the stage where it would be pointless to have a revolution if it isn’t televised.

If a revolution occurs (in the woods) and nobody sees it – does it bring about social change?