Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Take On The Devastator Burger Challenge at The Red Dog Saloon on the 26th of November. Do you fancy your chances? Can you smash it in ten minutes? Meet the other challengers and join our members who love to eat (a lot)

Alternatively, if you can’t make this date why not join our Man Vs Food Crowd – For those who like a challenge! Fancy taking on the massive ‘Devastator Burger’ or pitting yourself against Londons hottest curry? Join Man v Food and experience the crazier side of the capitals restaurant scene. Don’t forget to invite your friends so they can enjoy your triumph or console you in your despair . You might even win a T-shirt 😉

After our Start Up Engine: dinner on Thursday evening we were fortunate enough to meet Sea Shepherd – Omar Todd, who is today’s guest post. What an interesting guy, a Film maker and digital security expert, Omar also gives his time to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the environmental activists featured in the TV show ‘Whale Wars’. Omar has started a Sea Shepherd group here on TableCrowd for people who want to support this important work and hear the inside story of their operations. . Interesting fact –  Omar has over 250,000 twitter followers! Join him in Sea Shepherd’s group here:  SeaShepherd – Defending Ocean Wildlife Worldwide

Being a member of the team in the Cyber Division of a Charity, it’s not often that anyone gets to hear about what we do and in fact we rarely publish articles about our work at all.  You see, we are in the back office (or on the road), in the recesses and dark places where cyber conservation is slowly starting to stir, like Sauron awakening in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the stirrings of things to come.

Social Media is changing the way we raise funds and connect with our supporters and it’s happening a lot more quickly than any of us ever anticipated.  Initially, there were the various chat programs, a number of years ago, such as Inter Relay Chat (IRC) and ICQ which were quite popular.  As the Internet matured more, the next big thing was Skype which saved us a fortune in keeping our costs to a minimum when managing our global assets.  But these were not quite mainstream, or at least were in house only.  It was when NetSpace, Facebook, Twitter, G+ started to appear that we really noticed some interesting changes.

Omar Todd - Sea Shepherd

Like others, we set up Netspace first and instantly we had thousands of users following us which surprised us somewhat and then we set up Face Book on which, we now have over a half a million followers and it has actually been Facebook which has been the most successful in terms of numbers.  More recently and more interestingly, the Twitter feed that promotes our causes with live video feeds from around the world has had an influential and fundamental impact on how we as a Charity view and use social media.

With new social media technologies like coming into play as new methods to meet possible supporters directly, we are excited of the future prospects.

You see in the past, traditional media was all we had.  It was expensive to buy so often we would have to beg and befriend various reporters who were either interested in the subject matter, or alternatively whom we could offer some news worthy item to.  So the problem was that we also had to focus on the marketability of our goals, rather than simply on our actual goals themselves!  Thankfully, this has changed now.  With Social Media, charities can now solely focus on their goals and directly communicate with their supporters and interested parties!  The news tends to follow and report on the actions, rather than the actions being defined to attract the news. This is a major development in the arenas of Charities and Social Media.

Fund raising is also an important aspect of Social Media.  There have been some excellent examples whereby charities have used Social Media to broadcast an appeal for funds for to assist in a critical area.  And in some cases, the topic has even managed to trend globally, causing enormous amounts of donations to flood in and which also had the welcome knock on effect of increasing public awareness of the Charity’s work at the same time.  As a Charity today, there are more chances than ever before to increase your profile, to raise funds and to achieve your goals without the hassle and expense of hiring the costly services of a PR firm.

An exciting development in the world of social media for charities is that of engaging directly with their supporters in real time about a particular event or issue.  Live Streaming with a Twitter feed combined with supporters asking questions and with the Charity simultaneously providing feedback is one example.  Also, other websites now help you raise funds as a Charity directly from the public.  Once you have joined, filled in your profile and then hit the “Tweet” or “Share” button, it does a lot of the work for you.

However, the most fundamental thing any Charity needs to have is a strong brand and foundation.  Social Media growth is a result of the strength of the brand or alternatively the cause it supports and growth is difficult if the cause is unknown or the brand is weak.  Having said that, the convergence of various Social Media technologies is a critical and cheap way by which a new Charity can reach out in to the world.

An illuminating example of how things have changed is the situation that unfolded when our flagship “The Steve Irwin” was detained in Lerwick in the Scottish Shetland Islands on the orders of a British Court during the afternoon of Friday July 15, 2011. This detention was subject to a civil lawsuit brought against us by a Maltese fishing company, Fish and Fish Limited.  Applying the new technologies discussed above, we managed to raise the substantial bail money which came to hundreds of thousands of British Pounds in only two weeks.  This was mostly thanks to the social media campaigns we initiated in response to this drama and to the resulting actions of our core supporters.  The use of Twitter formed a substantial contribution to our fund raising efforts.

The most apt word that comes to mind to describe these new and exciting developments is “convergence” and whether we like it or not, the cyber world of Social Media and the world of conservation are starting to combine together.

You can follow Omar on twitter @OmarSeaShepherd (verified) (verified)

Have you seen this amazing image for London restaurants at different underground stations? There’s Burger and Lobster on the Piccadilly Line, Hakkasan on the Central line and Coq d’Argent on both the District and Circle lines. Imagine the announcements from the operators:

“We apologise for the delays on the Central Line but a customer has eaten too much at MeatLiquor and is struggling to remove himself from the restaurant!”

For the full image click here: London Restaurants on the Underground

She came, she saw, she conquered. Well almost.

The Start Up Engine table on 6 November saw 3 entrants to the renowned ‘Devastator Challenge’ at Red Dog Saloon (Hoxton Square) – two of them willing and then me. I boldly laid out the gauntlet that “I’d definitely take on the Hot Wings Challenge” (6 hot wings in the hottest of hot naja chilli sauce) if they took on the ‘Devastator Challenge’. After trying a tiny dot of sauce on my little finger from our table neighbour and crying for around 5 minutes I realised that taking this on was not an option (weak? No! They issue you with rubber gloves to hold the wings!). Clearly there was no way out, I was then compelled to take on the only other available challenge…

So that was it, I was presented with a tower of 3 burgers, 3 breads plus pulled pork in each layer plus bacon – oh plus chips, a side of coleslaw and about a litre of milkshake which was practically solid ice cream. They started the timer and we had 10 minutes.

The time flew by. I looked at my comrades with 2 minutes to go, I was around 10% of the way there, Joe to my left was around 75% of the way there and Tom was tipping his milkshake onto his chips to kill two birds with one stone. It got messy. Very messy. Tom made it in 9.59 minutes and Joe just missed out (he left himself with just burger to eat and it beat him). I was up to around 13% of the way through when time was up. Oh, and Tom’s prize, well a free tee-shirt – you still have to pay for your dinner (clever, clever Red Dog Saloon, silly silly diners).

It was however rather delicious so I carried on eating. An hour in, I decided that it was important that I also won a tee-shirt and that this was a case when sexism should prevail. I brokered a deal that I would still qualify as a winner if I finished every last bite on my own, basically because girls never do (nor attempt to). So on I plodded.

The table was very supportive; happy to order more beers and advising me that slow and steady was the best strategy. The last 10% was the hardest. I resorted to cutting the food up into small chunks (like a child would) to make it ‘look’ like there was less to eat and successfully fooled myself. There was a dark 2 minutes when I questioned whether I could do it, but with such great support from my fellow diners and strong will, I completed it in about an hour and a half. I received my tee-shirt (a larger size that I needed pre dinner) and my photo now sits proudly on the Devastator Challenge wall of fame.

I walked home doubled over in pain and felt rotten for about 2 days. Not sure why I did it really….

So, if that has inspired you or made you think it is totally pointless and gluttonous, come and try it for yourself, or scorn at others that are, on 26 November 2012. And look for me on the wall of fame!

One last fact for you, at the time of writing, the fastest time on the wall of fame was 4.48 minutes. Unbelievable (and no, it wasn’t Man V Foods’ Adam Richman!).

Good luck!

Bacon will turn you into a true warrior!

Thanks for the mention Here Is The City.

Our love of food and dining dates back to Ancient Rome. This important aspect of human social interaction has, consequently, had an age to develop, mature, and become a way of life. It brings us together like nothing else: sitting around the table talking and chewing! In London we are privileged to enjoy a plethora of places to dine. Why not explore a few ways to dine differently in our blessed Capital, tried and tested by yours truly.

For the rest of the article click here Dine Differently In London