February 28, 2009

Piping / drumming community harnesses power of social networking

The collective power of online social networking properties like Facebook has been realized like never before in the wake of two contentious news stories concerning the pipe band world.
To date, nearly 2,000 people have joined Facebook groups in support of the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band. “Save the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band!” has gained more than 1,300 members since pipes|drums was [the first publication] to break the story of the potential demise of the competition-focused band. Another Facebook group called “Don’t Let the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band Be Disbanded!!!!” has attracted nearly 450 members.
Although it has not said so outright, the storm of online protest may have been considered by the Strathclyde Police force, which confirmed within 24 hours that its band would be permitted to compete at all five RSPBA major championships.
Since its launch in 2005, Facebook has served as a virtual petition system for those wishing to join heartfelt causes, often in reaction to breaking news developments.
Shortly after pipes|drums was first [publication] to reveal the news that the RSPBA had not assigned any of its “international” judges to major championships in 2009 due to a perceived discrepancy in providing sample score sheets, the Facebook group “We’re sorry the RSPBA discriminates against judges that are not Scottish” emerged, and has so far gained almost 450 participants.
Unlike the Strathclyde Police force, the RSPBA has not yet responded to widespread condemnation of their decision by the world’s piping and drumming community.
Sean McCartney, a soldier with the United States Army currently stationed in Germany, organized the Save the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band Facebook group. He said, “All I know about the Facebook thing is that Tuesday night I started the Save the Strathclyde page around 12:30 AM CET. The next evening it was close to 1,000. A few minutes ago, it was over 1,330 people worldwide who are very pissed off about this whole thing. There is something there. I’m sending the link to SP HQ and a few others in the UK. I figure it can’t hurt.”
The SundayTimes newspaper reported on the RSPBA matter concerning international judges after reading the news on pipes|drums.


  1. We all make mistakes. That’s how the subject material for the article was created in the first place. The important thing is acknowledging this fact. Also, the point about our Brave New World” influencing the overall situation is well founded. In the past

  2. Actually Mr. editor your facts are wrong. You cannot take credit for posting the Strathclyde Police Story first, it was in fact announced on two forums before it was announcced here. since both of these forums are in the public domain, how can you announce that you were first? Incorrect facts. I would post the links, but since posting to other websites is not allowed i cannot. Scared of competiton maybe?

  3. First publication, anyway. If someone posted something to a forum that’s great – more evidence of the power of the net. We don’t pocket any money from pipes|drums, although we do share the proceeds with other non-profit piping/drumming efforts, so there’s nothing really to fear.

  4. For what it’s worth Andrew, I am a retired Paratrooper. I do live here in Germany, My Wife is a Regular Army Doctor. All I do is pretty much partake of the local brews and play pipes in the Clan Pipers, Frankfurt & District. Golf when it’s nice out…

  5. The end result is all that matters here, gents. It would appear that some sense has prevailed. Let’s hope it is not window dressing from the top brass, but a genuine statement of intent that will be followed through. Facebook etc etc all helped……but I would have sent my protest via carrier pigeon if necessary!



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