Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

  • Author: Adriana
  • Published: Feb 28th, 2007
  • Category: Quotes
  • Comments: 2

Quote to remember

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What people should be embracing, to use a popular expression, is functionality. The technology itself should be invisible.
- Alan Cane, in FT REPORT You don’t need to be a mechanical engineer to drive a car

Profound insight or sad truth

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This is too good to pass:

[W]hen you work with assholes, you don’t change them for the better, they change you into an asshole.

via Jackie

An open letter to America

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It seems this is a rant season. Here we have another delicious one:

Dear American Public,

I have no excuse. I have no defense.

am a member of the American news media and have been for some time.
This means that on more than one occasion I have — willingly or
unwillingly — foisted upon you the trite, the inane and the
monumentally ridiculous, and done so under the auspices of my supposed
right to inform and educate you as to important events which effect
your lives.

Via Doc Searls

Quote to remember

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The Long Tail metaphor helps old media people feel like they’re still
in charge. So does the idea of Citizen Media, because old media people
are cynics about citizens, they think we’re lazy couch potatoes who
have never had a good idea or a noble thought, they’re the smart people
living interesting lives. We’re like the Gammas and Deltas in Brave New World, there are a lot of us, and our job is to consume, consume, consume — what they tell us to.

Just the same, we can’t understand, in our old terms, what it means to
have publishing in the hands of everyone. But it’s no longer such a
theoretical thing. In 1995, it was ridiculous to predict the world we live in now. It’s just as ridiculous today to predict that (more) big, unprecedented change is coming.
- Dave Winer, Hate the ad, love the product

Thank you Joel Johnson…

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…the former editor of Gizmodo for stating the obvious and for having one of the most marvellous (and justified) rants I have ever come across. [h]e scolds you, the Giz writers, the gadget makers, and you, dear readers, for supporting the disgusting cycle of gadget whoring. This is potent stuff:

And you guys just ate it up. Kept buying shitty phones and broken media
devices green and dripping with DRM. You broke the site, clogging up
the pipe like retarded salmon, to read the latest announcements of the
most trivial jerk-off products, completely ignoring the stories about
technology actually making a difference to real human beings, because
you wanted a new chromed robot turd to put in your pocket to impress
your friends and make you forget for just a few minutes, blood coursing
as you tremblingly cut through the blister pack, that your life is
utterly void of any lasting purpose.

This is as good a paragraph as any in this piece, so read the whole thing. I will be forwarding this to any PR people touting ‘consumer electronics’ I meet and to anyone who gets too excited about the latest ‘glossy thing that uses electricity’.

I have tried to get into mobile technology and devices – through i-Mate to Nokia E61 to Blackberry 8100 Of the three I definitely prefer Blackberry but the bottom line is that they don’t do what they promise, they don’t give me anywhere near the control I am used to online. They are shiny expensive toys whose technology, interface and functionality wouldn’t survive a day in the online wilderness. I have given up on mobile devices and indeed any kind of offline consumer electronics. The ‘user experience’ is far from the kind of fun a self-proclaimed geek can have online. I decided to wait until online geeks create mobile devices that break through the barriers network operators have created for phonesets, operating systems and applications. iPhone, don’t think so, but MyPhone looks promising. It’s got the kind of ubergeek credentials I am looking for.

Quote to remember

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Design is starting to change who succeeds and who fails. A few years
ago that wasn’t true. If I had a better algorithm, I would win.
- Alonso Vera,  senior research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center quoted in The human factor in gadget, Web design

The revolution that never happened

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Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS, the grey flannel of the
traditional broadcasting world, summed up the mood of the time.
“There’s no such thing as old or new media any more,” he proclaimed,
making a public overture to Chad Hurley, the co-founder of YouTube who
has become the face of the second internet revolution. “There is just

Bullshit! Internet is not about media, let alone ‘the media’ – whether in its first, second or whatever revolution. And while I am at it, what revolution? Only in the minds of media executives who believe their own propaganda and assume that everything happens in neat headlines. The First internet revolution! The Second Internet Revolution!! The Third Internet Revolution!!! Coming Out Real Soon Now!!!!

Chad Hurley is the face of the changes caused by the internet only because it is convenient for speeches like the one delivered by Leslie Moonves. The faces behind the trends that keep the old media awake are the ones emerging from the mass consumer demographics. But times are tricky for the ‘old media’ to pay attention to such trifles.

Technology companies such as YouTube and Apple, which
have found innovative ways to appeal to digital consumers, want a
bigger say in setting the rules for how business is done. It is not
clear yet how far the media groups, already chafing at losing control
over distribution and now threatened with ceding ground over
fundamental business issues, are prepared to go along.

So the media industry needs new strategies that incorporate the ’social media space’ and harness UGC. And job positions and budgets to create those. That’ll teach the online technology upstarts. But what is the point when the foundations of media business models are far from solid. Paid content anyone? Walled gardens? DRM? Ads? None of this was ever ‘user-friendly’ but it was bringing money in the channel world. The network works differently though. From the long tail via iTunes, BitTorrent to YouTube and to the hundreds of thousands of videos ‘produced’ outside the media supply chain, there is an alternative. And that may be more than the media executives can stomach.

Snapping at pop-ups 2.0

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Reading Alec’s blog, I saw a comment on his sweetly-titled post Snap.COM is EVIL and must DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!!! from Eric Wingren, the head of UX Research linking to their use case. I blogged about it here and was interested in what their rationale for the widget was. The blog is well written, the tone is fine but I still can’t find out why preview anywhere has been created. Perhaps I am slow of thinking but I cannot for the life of me work out why this is so essential/useful as to create a potentially major disruption for your readers!

  • SPA can effectively establish the category of page you are linking to — a wiki looks very different than a product page.
  • SPA is effective when you link to different articles
    from the same source — differences (i.e. headlines and pictures) are
    easier to perceive once within a repeating pattern (i.e page design).
  • SPA can be used effectively on blog rolls and text-heavy directory or results pages.
  • SPA can tell the user if he/she has already read the linked content.
  • SPA can tell the user if the link points to a trusted source.
  • SPA can tell the user if the destination page requires registration.
  • SPA can warn the user if the linked content is NSFW ;)
  • SPA can help fight link rot and reduce the number of trips to such pages.

My problem has been two fold then.

  • Is the usefulness (that I can’t notice for myself but perhaps others can) sufficient to outweigh or justify adding something that users can’t control (at least initially) and is a major addition to look and functionality of the site.
  • The difference between site/blog owners installing the widget thinking it’s a cool idea and the readers coming to the same conclusion. So the number of installs is not really a measure of usability and the widget’s success, but a measure of how many people like bells & whistles on their sites and/or feel experimental enough to install it.

Geek revenge!

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This rings so true! Also $500 million marketing budget down the drain…?

"So you like Vista?"

"Not really, no. I run a Vista simulator."

"Virtual Server?" the Boss asks.

"Nah, I just turned on all the flashy crap in XP, changed the
background image, took some memory out of my box and clocked down the
CPU. Then broke Media player. Works like a charm."

via Broadstuff

Media Influencer Valentine’s day statement

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As always picture speaks a thousand words….


I refer my honourable readers to the post I made last year and here and the post before that.

Blogs threat to business? Only in consultancy land…

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Apparently, YouTube and blogs threaten retail:

…Deloitte cited online commerce, greater
transparency in product information, and the PR ramifications of sites
like YouTube as among the leading threats to traditional retail.
"In some ways," the report states, "consumers have reached a level of
information parity with retailers," making comparison shopping and
product quality research easier.

To put this in the same convoluted speak, the "information asymmetry gamble" with your customers is no
longer possible. Great news!

This, in turn, will further reduce
"the value of, and need for retail workers who actually try to sell the
consumer something."

Would these retail workers be marketers? If so, I have been saying this for years! But would anyone listen…?! [mutters animatedly whilst typing the rest of the post].

And that is far from all that should keep retailers awake at night:

The Internet presents a third threat by allowing consumers and
activists to rapidly disseminate damaging information or opinions about
companies, including retailers–a capacity amply demonstrated in
2005-2006. Angry consumers can use blogs and sites like YouTube as
platforms for their frustrations.

But wait, not all is lost!

However, the outlook
isn’t all gloomy, according to the same analysis. Returning to YouTube,
the authors noted that "at any one time, three to five of the top 100
most frequently watched videos will be ads." Indeed, "Some of the more
effective advertisements on YouTube are both entertaining and so subtle
that it’s hard to even tell if they were meant to be advertisements."

So don’t worry about retail workers, just produce more funny and subtle ads – that’ll be the first from advertising industry – and Bob’s your uncle.

The report has a rather strange way with words – retail workers (you can tell I am taken by the phrase), angry consumers disseminate damaging information (you’d think they are some propaganda-mongers), and the use of child labor, environmentally unfriendly suppliers or other
questionable activity can and will be unearthed by business-hostile
NGOs to discredit your brand
. How dare they!

There is no mention of the fact that ‘questionable activity’ unearthed is not the issue. It is no news that it’s merely a matter of time before companies won’t be able to hide behind PR and other ‘questionable’ communication skillz. The issue is  that if ‘business-hostile NGOs’ want to ‘discredit your brand’ unfairly, driven by their own not-so-transparent agenda, the same tools and environment enable companies to defend themselves directly and as effectively. And that is good news for everyone.

Pop-ups 2.0?

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After some mighty raving against pop-up ads for the last few years by techies, bloggers and other ‘netizens’, with some degree of success, it is now the Web 2.0 crowd that’s committing a similar crime.


Alec has a deliciously snarky post about the Snap plugin that embeds a screenshot preview under every link in your site, so you can ’see’ the site without actually clicking through it.

What *is* the point? Really?

  • I don’t care what the webpage under the link looks like,
  • I don’t need a popup with a search box (?) when I hover over a link,
  • When I hover and click to go to a link you recommend then it
    flashes something up which obscures what I am doing and makes me think
    I clicked the wrong thing,
  • It’s unclear why I should believe what "SNAPS" is telling me
    rather than the activity bar of my browser,
  • The popup is ugly and does not fit in with my theme,
  • and did I mention that I don’t care what a thumbnail sketch of
    the target webpage as seen from 15 feet away, looks like?

Sounds like one of those cool Web 2.0 ideas it’s got AJAX in it, so it’s got to be good for you. But after the initial few times, it becomes just another annoying little box that pops up every time you run over a link. Chris Schultz of Voodoo Ventures sums up it well:

My feeling is that installing things that start to control and take
over the readers experience can be annoying, and unless the reader has
the ability to control these and turn them off, they are not worth
violating the “browsing experience” with the reader.

Thank God that in the spirit of empowerment there is an option to disable the Snap preview on the site you are reading or on all sites. So this is interruption a la Web 2.0.

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