A couple of weeks in the UsVsTh3m hot seat

I’ve had an absolute blast holding the fort as temporary editor of UsVsTh3m over the last couple of weeks.

For a couple of weeks I’ve been sitting in for Rob Manuel in the editor’s chair at UsVsTh3m, and I have to say it has been two of the most enjoyable weeks of my working life. A few times during your digital career, you might be lucky enough to work in a small team, with a tight focus, and a product that is worth building out. This is one of them. The kind of days where you come in, and it doesn’t feel like work, because you want to be there spending the day doing that with those people.

UsVsTh3m Success magazine

It is still incredible to think that we only launched the site in May. Since then it has grown to having over a million unique users in September, and so far in October over a million people have played the “Are you hated by the Daily Mail?” quiz alone.

I’m very proud that the content of the site is fulfilling what we hoped it would do – make shareable, fun social internet content, with the odd bit of political barb in there. During my couple of weeks in the hot-seat, as well as the Daily Mail quiz, we launched Iain Duncan-Smith’s Realistic Unemployment Simulator, and Super Tory Boy, a stunning bit of work that had been in development a while from Matt Round.

Super Tory Boy

We also reacted very quickly to Owen Paterson’s ridiculous badger cull gaffe, with our badger-infested penalty shoot-out game.

Owen Paterson’s Badger Penalty Shoot-out

And obviously, with me in the commissioning hot seat, there was the inevitable Doctor Who article too.

Tom Baker Doctor Who Cyberman

Also, I got to finish off an article last week with the Partridge-esque salutation: “Cock in a cup!”, surely a life’s ambition for any journalist.

I saw someone on Twitter say that UsVsTh3m was on the way to becoming to the 2010s what Spitting Image was for the 80s and 90s. I’d love that. I was particularly amused to see a local Conservative association and their MP tweet the Super Tory Boy game, somewhat oblivious to the messages it contained.

It’s been great fun, but I’m going to be playing a more distant role on the site in future—there are simply too many interesting projects to work on in the digital media space to be doing one thing for too long. We’ve managed to put a great team together, and as well as Rob and Matt, the work of Tom Scott on the toys and games has been phenomenal. I also need to name-check Ian Steadman, who has just left to join the New Statesman, and Tom Philips, who helped get the site launched and has then gone on to BuzzFeed. His recent Twitterstorm piece shows just what a huge internet editorial talent he his. Dave, Nicky, Abi and Robyn are a great team. I’ve loved working with them over the last couple of weeks, and I’m very proud that I think UsVsTh3m has already made itself a bright spot in the British digital media landscape.