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helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Sep 29th, 2006
  • Category: Quotes
  • Comments: 3

Quote to remember

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Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum.

- Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

How’s your Latin?

Quote to remember

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Words are the litmus paper of the minds. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word "commence" in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say "Enter", don’t stop to pack.

- Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

Note: I wish the corporate world realised this…

Beyond Generation Y

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Jack Neal briefly became the proud owner of a pink convertible car after he managed to buy it for 9,000 pounds ($17,000) on the Internet despite being only 3 years old.

Now that is what I call starting them young! His mother says that Jack used the "Buy It Now" option to complete the purchase.

Jack’s a whiz on the PC and just pressed all the right buttons.

Oh dear. So full marks for computer literacy for the sprog, but a pink convertible?! I am worried about the generation shift now…

Nice shade of web buzz

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When Jackie at Jack & Hill beauty blog talks about the difficulty of getting a decent looking fake tan, one that doesn’t make your skin the shade of burnt hot dog, she mentions Johnson & Johnson Holiday Skin as one that she finds more than acceptable:

But I’m hear to testify: It’s good stuff. It smells nice. It has yet to stain my hands (I use Bath & Body Works Cucumber Melon Hand Soap, which is pretty granular, post-application). It’s made skirt-wearing a (mostly) apprehension-free experience this summer. It hasn’t saved my life, but it’s saved me some grief, and for that I am grateful.

As this is such a rare occurrence for me to get there before Jackie, I’d like to point out that I have known about Johnson & Johnson Holiday Skin and used it throughout the summer. Despite being inexpensive (or maybe because of it) and its unglamorous packaging, it has become the cult product of this holiday season. So I googled Johnson & Johnson Holiday Skin in order to a) find a link to support this fact and b) to see whether J&J have picked up on its unheralded success, officially or unofficially.

The top search result is a shopping site ciao.co.uk where the product got some glowing reviews. Next two are online pharmacies, an Ozzie Pharmacy Online and an UK one, express chemist, both without reviews or comments from users. The third one is a site called Razordish. With 47reviews, surprisingly, not all of them positive. The fifth link, lo and behold, is Jackie’s beauty blog and her post that inspired this one. Only halfway through the second page, there is a link to Product Information page on jnj.com. No doubt useful and necessary, but I am a fashionista looking for information about a cult product. Oh wait, at the very bottom of the page here is a crumb they throw me:

Where can I find JOHNSON’S Holiday Skin Body Lotion?

Sales of JOHNSON’S Holiday Skin Body Lotion in the United Kingdom have surpassed our expectations, resulting in "out of stock" conditions at some retailers. Johnson & Johnson Limited (UK) is working hard to resupply the market and is sending the product to retailers as quickly as possible. Availability of this product is expected to improve significantly over the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience and your interest in JOHNSON’S Holiday Skin Body Lotion.

A few points about this.

  • You can’t right-click on jnj.com site, so can’t copy and paste for quotes. I had to retype the whole text! If I were not so far into the blog post, I wouldn’t have bothered. This is the age of the ’social web’, and to do this to your readers (and potential distributors of your content) is profoundly ‘anti-social’ web.
  • Also, it means that all the trademarks and brand symbols in the original text are not going to get conveyed as I am using it for my story, not theirs.
  • There is no date or context for the statement and so not much use to me as information about when I can get hold of the product. It might just as well not be there, to be honest.

Remember my original intention behind searching for Johnson & Johnson’s Holiday Skin? The result was failure to find any meaningful information on either front – from the fashion magazines who presumably elevated the product to its cult status or from the company that makes it. Why not?

  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Sep 24th, 2006
  • Category: Quotes
  • Comments: 2

Quote to remember

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To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself. A naked body has to be seen as an object to become a nude.

- John Berger, found in an article by an artist’s model (no link) in The Sunday Telegraph stella magazine, special art issue.

Faith and reason

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I join the fray around Pope’s remarks on Islam here on Samizdata.net.

Quote to remember

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So we need a way to recognise the value of the content we create if its distributed by other people (as we already do with syndication) in this new world. The point is – if we can’t recognise that value, we won’t be able to produce the content, which means the aggregators won’t have anything to aggregate and so on.

- Simon Waldman, Towards a decentralised publishing model

“Even the thief doesn’t have any privacy, right?”

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Technology is dangerous! Ben Clemens is a Yahoo! employee and his mobile phone was stolen on his commute. So far, so mundane. His phone had a camera and a photo blogging software called ShoZu configured to post any picture taken by the phone camera to his Flickr photostream. Nice. The fun starts when the thief not knowing about it, takes pictures of his family, dog etc and they are automatically uploaded. Ben becomes a 15 minute celebrity.

There are a couple of things interesting about this. One is the way in which technology of ’social web’ captures behaviours and make new ones possible in an unprecedented way. It’s not about ‘privacy’ but about connectivity and ease of use. There is no longer ’standard’ configuration, the user determines the final shape and configuration of the technology used in his/her environment (phone, camera, ShoZu, Flickr). Ben remarks:

But: what a great illustration of how social media, inadvertently or not, blows away all normally private separate identities and separate worlds! I don’t just know something about the person who took the phone, I see some of the more intimate details of their family and life. Social media and applications create conditions which would otherwise be impossible. These technologies are only beginning to have a profound impact on social norms and behavior.

Another interesting thing about all this is the insistence of some commenters on Ben’s pictures that this is a hoax and some kind of a guerilla marketing campaign and no amount of Ben’s dissociation from such practices could clear things up for them. It becomes part of the story:

Despite assertions from the independent makers of the software that the tale is not a promotional stunt on their part, some Web users — who may have fallen for so-called “guerrilla marketing” tactics in the past — rounded on Clemens, accusing him of making the story up.

First time I read about the story I didn’t doubt its veracity, then noticed a mention about it being a guerrilla campaign and my heart sunk. So I decided to look at the comments myself and most are from what in political blogosphere are conspiracy theorist aka as barking moonbats. It seems that any mention of branded technology bring on their condition and they conclude it must be a viral marketing campaign. As companies making more social web applications proliferate and make their way to everyday life, these people might be in danger of regular moonbat attacks. Ben repeatedly says in the comments:

Hi: sorry, this activity has taken me by surprise! Unfortunately, this is not a hoax. I am a Yahoo employee, but I have no connection to ShoZu. I am not sure what I would do to prove it’s real. The phone was taken from my seat on the Amtrak train I take to work every day, during the 30 sec that I turned my back to get off at my stop and then went back for the phone. I contacted streetfire and they are as bewildered as I am how that pic ended up in my photostream, I will change the title. Thanks to the people who pointed out that I should make private the kid’s pictures. Blessedly, it looks like the function has been turned off, as there haven’t been any posts in a few days.

Here’s a comment by ShoZu person on one of Ben’s photos:

OK. If its a hoax it not a hoax by ShoZu. Just because an image was uploaded to the Flickr account that came from the net doesn’t mean anything, ShoZu auto send option will send all photos to the Flickr account attached to ShoZu regardless if it was a taken on the phone or blue toothed over for a wallpaper.
If it is a hoax from some other source you would have to be pretty sad to upload pictures a someone’s kids to proliferate the hoax.

1 – Yes I work for Shozu/Cognima
2 – No we did not create this we have no connection with benvolut
3 – But hey free publicity is free publicity after all we are a small start-up without large viral or otherwise marketing resources.

Then sense of humour takes over:

I actually didn’t know what to expect :) "this" is "legit" as far as it goes, but I am not sure what that means?

I am not used to anyone other than my immediate family looking at my photos. Bryce is a coworker at Y!, and he’s joking. I now have a whole bunch of people at work saying that I don’t actually exist, that I am just a marketing campaign here. Maybe I can start over with a whole new persona!

Conclusions…

  1. Technology makes people more powerful and we are seeing only the beginning of behaviours and attitudes affected and enabled by social media.
  2. Geo-tagging would have completed the story wonderfully. Bring it on Yahoo!
  3. Viral/guerrilla marketing campaigns are even more dangerous than technology for unsuspecting thieves as people can get really upset once they discover they were manipulated.

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