Granny Envy

Granny envy 1Becoming a grandparent to my now 1 year old grandson was a wonderful thing. Having been one of those sceptics who mocked other grandparents when waxing lyrical about their precious grandchildren, I must eat humble pie and agree that there is nothing to compare with the love you feel for this new member of your family. Previously, being bombarded by photos of babies and toddlers that I had never met and whom I was never likely to, make my skin crawl, however I seem to have joined the cult of proud and boastful grandparents and am only too quick to flash my flip photo album to unappreciative non-grandparent friends. [Read more…]


TED Talks – Ideas Worth Spreading

Do you know about TED Talks?

TEDTED started out in 1984 from an idea by Richard Saul Wurman who wanted to hold a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED). Luminaries such as Bill Gates, Frank Gehry, Al Gore, Billy Graham, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Quincy Jones, Stephen Hawking, JK Rowling and Bono have spoken on subjects ranging from technology to culture, the environment, science, and social trends.  Each talk is limited to 18 minutes, apparently long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. According to TED curator Chris Anderson it forces speakers who are used to going on for 45 minutes to bring it down to 18 “you get them to really think about what they want to say”.  You can watch a video by Chris Anderson here on ‘What makes a great talk, great’, although at 23 minutes this is not a typical TED Talk! [Read more…]


MAC-UK A Positive Spin on Gang Culture

In the wake of the recent riots that occurred throughout the UK there has been strong condemnation of Social Media as the catalyst for inciting violence as well as a huge outcry in the media about the sophisticated use of Social Media platforms to orchestrate looting by organised gangs.

In an article at The the Labour MP for Westminster North is quoted as saying that “the Government should launch an independent inquiry into the triggers for the events, focusing in part on the role of social media in the spread of gangs…”

In Karen Buck’s view there has been a widespread denial of the seriousness of gang culture in central London and she added: “The way that gangs have emerged very strongly in the past few years has been facilitated by the use of social media.” [Read more…]


Social Media – Celebrities Behaving Badly?

US actor Ashton Kutcher was a pioneer user of Twitter. One of the few celebrities who was tweeting before it became a popular form of social networking and back in the day when using Twitter was a source of material for comedians and commentators who couldn’t understand why anyone would want to let others know what they were eating for breakfast in 140 characters or less.

However Kutcher, whose Twitter profile has built up a following of more than 8.2 million, seems to have a love/hate relationship with the very social medium that kept him in the public eye and ensured he featured in traditional media on a regular basis. [Read more…]


Golf – Andalucía Masters Returns to Valderrama – October 2011

Andalucía will host the final European Tour event of the year to be held on European soil for the second successive season, and once again the venue will be the prestigious Club de Golf Valderrama.

The tournament will take place from Thursday, 27th October to Sunday, 30th October 2011 when a number of world ranking players will compete for a prize fund of €3million. [Read more…]


Social Media Sharing Made Easier!

Facebook are rolling out a whole host of new privacy settings tomorrow, Thursday 25th August, and now that we also have Google+, with the option to share with others via Circles, social networking seems to be getting easier! Keeping it simple has always been a good idea, and now some of the Social Media platforms are finally getting to grips with the fact that users like sites that are undemanding and easy to use. [Read more…]


Social or Anti-Social Media?

Social or Anti-Social Media?

Social Media has featured heavily in news headlines in the past few days and has been blamed as one of the catalysts for the riots that dominated the UK recently. Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that Social Media platforms should be blocked to prevent further riots, saying that the Government was looking at how this could be implemented.

Speaking in the recalled House of Commons, David Cameron said ‘Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media.’ Cameron added: ‘Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.’

In an attempt to crack down on using Social Media to incite disturbances, two men were handed jail sentences of four years each on Tuesday that seemed overly severe. Ironically, and although they had pleaded guilty to inciting disorder via a social networking site, their call to violence did not elicit any response! During the sentencing, Judge Elgin Edwards, QC, said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent to others. The jail terms are the most severe yet to be handed out by the courts following the riots, and may seem to be disproportionate when compared to sentences handed out to some of the rioters and looters.

However, Social Media shouldn’t be tarred with the anti-social brush too quickly as it can also be seen as having been a force for goodwill, with hundreds of people galvanized into action and turning up at riot scenes to help clear up. #riotcleanup saw people from all backgrounds armed with dustpans and brushes responding to this Twitter campaign, volunteering to help repair the devastation created by the rioters in their local neighbourhoods. Putting the ‘social’ back into Social Media and bringing communities together will hopefully help to demonstrate the value of sharing information via social networks, and prove that there are members of the public who are ready to challenge misinformation and provide a considered response that can aid and assist others.

So is restricting social networking the answer, or is it a knee-jerk reaction by a Government looking for a quick fix to the problems that spread throughout the UK?  Let’s hope that sense prevails and that democracy isn’t replaced by hypocrisy!


Evening of Baroque Music in Sotogrande Raises Money for Local Children’s Charity


Evening of Baroque Music in Sotogrande Raises Money for Local Children’s Charity

A special charity event to raise money for Casa Abril, a residential home for children in San Roque, was held in the grounds of a beautiful villa in Sotogrande. A fortunate group of people had bought tickets for the romantic candlelit evening of Baroque music played by The London Soloists, a trio that included musicians from The London Philharmonic Orchestra. After a welcome reception of Cava and canapés, the soothing strains of classical sonatas wafted over the nearby hills, with compositions from esteemed composers from the era including Vivaldi and J. S. Bach.

Sponsored by Grupo Mercedes Sotogrande, over €1,500 was raised during the night which included proceeds from the superb Raffle prizes generously donated by local businesses. One lucky child will be the beneficiary of a replica Mercedes children’s car!

Organised by Mariposa Events, the evening was such a success that further charity occasions will be held in the near future.



Don’t Blame Social Media!

Don’t blame Social Media! Suddenly, Social Media has become a scapegoat for rioters, looters and revolutions around the world.

Social Media is a great tool. It has opened up the world in a way that was never thought imaginable when Tim Berners-Lee published the first web page 20 years ago! Let’s look at the benefits, and never mind the doubters who blame Social Media for current problems.

How easy is it now to connect with friends and family, no matter how far away they are!  Did you think that the once imagined gadgets shown in Sci-Fi films would ever become reality?  Skype calling and video conferencing have changed the way we can connect, wherever we are. We couldn’t have imagined these devices 20 years ago, so it is just as hard to envisage how the next 20 years will pan out with regard to user generated social networking.

Whilst Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can be seen as a new form of  ‘gossip mongering’ (no more chatting over the garden fence), and even in poorly conceived cases a form of the old fashioned parlour game Chinese Whispers, it is still one of the greatest phenomena of the 20th century.  In this world of modern globalisation any story that is newsworthy can be relayed in real-time to a worldwide audience.

So let’s not blame the Tottenham riots on Social Media anarchists. The riots in London would have occurred with, or without, tweets on Twitter and status updates or direct messages on Facebook. The media always has, and always will, play a specific role in worldwide political and social structures. Propaganda campaigns have been conducted throughout time and whilst Social Media might be the ideal vehicle with which to further fundamentalist ideals and social unrest, Twitter and Facebook do not foster social revolutions in the same way that pamphlets in the French and American revolutions did. Although this form of media can play a significant part, it is not the catalyst, and should not be blamed for inciting a minority to orchestrate violence and looting in recent days. Social Media can break the news, but does not fan the flames!