Irritating Twitter feed @NottinghamNews announced today:
As part of the redevelopment of Nottingham Railway Station (The Hub), a new facility for short and long stay cy.. http://bit.ly/aUvrcY
It irritates me no end that the Council muck up Twitter like that – they use it just to duplicate a feed somewhere and they never care that their titles are too long for Twitter’s character limit. It means that the important word from that press release CYCLE or BIKE is totally missing from the tweet.
Still, that’s not where the success lies. I haven’t persuaded the media people to use Twitter correctly.
No, I retweeted their announcement, fixing it so that all the necessary words were included:
RT @NottinghamNews At Nottingham Railway Station (The Hub), a new facility for short and long stay cycle parking opens. http://bit.ly/aUvrcY
And got an immediate query from a friend: how much does it cost? Is it free?
Good question. At the time of writing, the press statement on the Council website is silent on the issue. And because it talks of the investment and the cost – new facility, CCTV, solar powered LED lighting – it all invites you to think, ooh, expensive!
It seemed pretty likely to me that it would be free, so I phoned up an officer in Transport Strategy to check. Didn’t get the officer I know from committee, but the polite receptionist had exactly the same reaction as me – um, I expect it would be free, but I’d better check. She checked, phoned back. Yes. It is free.
So I phone the media department, and here it’s the same schtick: person answering phone needs to go away, but in a few minutes, the press officer who made the press release gets back to me. He agrees with my point. It is free. It would be a good idea to mention that in the press release. I’ll get onto that, councillor.
Five minutes and five phonecalls later this paragraph:
The facility will provide safe quality sheltered parking for 92 cycles that can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The area will be well-lit, with lighting columns and solar-powered LED lighting within the shelters and will be monitored by CCTV.
… becomes this paragraph:
The free facility will provide safe quality sheltered parking for 92 cycles that can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The area will be well-lit, with lighting columns and solar-powered LED lighting within the shelters and will be monitored by CCTV.
Can you spot the difference?
If I hadn’t had two copies of the statement open, I’d just have assumed I’d overlooked the word on the first time through. But that is not the case! Today, something good actually happened because of a suggestion I made.
In these Coalition days, you have to take your triumphs where you find them.