Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

Communications propaganda

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A revealing comment can be found on Euan’s blog about internal propaganda communications at the BBC that could have only been made by a communications professional (read PR) who drinks his own koolaid.

Having the opportunity to hear hard hitting questions put to the director general, listening to people talking ‘live’ in a group situation can be powerful tools.

The point must be that in any organisation communications are layered across a range of media and through both formal and informal interactions. The overall effect will always be cumulative.

…to suggest that the internal bulletin board makes more than a minor contribution to a sense of organisational cohesion stretches credibility.

Oh dear. Euan’s response was vehement and healthy – after all he is speaking from his own experience:

ah there speaks a comms professional. To be honest to most of the people I knew at the BBC the comms stuff not only had minor impact it was actually negative. It made us feel more disengaged and cynical.

Communications professionals do not speak as people. They are meant to (and paid to) represent the corporate and collective voice, in the best possible fashion. That is not a voice which allows conversations, which are messy, chaotic and do not follow a script. So internal communications end up being another form of broadcast to the populace, the audience being the employees who can’t escape. Staged and tightly managed townhall meetings with no meaningful discussions dispel any delusions that employees matter or have any impact on what is going on within the company. Ultimately, interactions among employees (and beyond) cannot be controlled but that is precisely what every communications professional I have encountered so far does. After all, it is their job.

Giving people tools, or allowing them to use some, to communicate among themselves, might just get them to communicate as themselves and not as disembodied voices parroting the corporate message. Once they can use their own voices, external communications won’t be a problem.

The problem with Wikipedia

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… and the internet in general, I might add.



Sun unplugged

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This is rather important. And one lawyer is ok with it.

I wanted to alert everyone to a change we’ll be making this quarter – related to how we publish those results, and going forward, other timely information about our financial performance. It’s a small, but exceptionally symbolic change.

I’ve asked our investor relations (known as "IR") and press relations ("PR") teams to gear up to announce our results via Sun’s web site and RSS feeds. We will announce our results to the general public via Sun’s IR web site before making that same information available through the third party news services that traditionally distribute such information to paying subscribers. We will simultaneously file a Form 8-K with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (for their redistribution).

Specifically, we will publish our results to this web site on July 30th at 1:00 PM (Pacific Time), which will in turn be
disseminated via open syndication protocols (namely, RSS) to those who have subscribed to Sun’s news feeds. 10 minutes after publication to the internet, we will distribute this information via traditional news wires for dissemination to private news agencies and distribution vehicles.

via Jackie

Happy birthday, Doc

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Doc Searls turns 60 today. This does not make him old. He is one of the youngest people I know although the youngest one is Lorna Arnold, who is 92. So Doc has some way to go still. 

Doc joined Richard Sambrook and I for dinner
in a Persian restaurant in Fulham a few weeks ago.

David Weinberger has a few tips on how to treat Doc as he is getting to, er, respectable stage in his life. :-) My favourite ones:

  • When in an Internet cafe, Doc’s packets get sent first. You can just wait in line, sonny boy.
  • Before your press the "post" button on your blog, you will now spend a few seconds thinking to yourself, "What would Doc say about this?" You will then obey your inner Doc.
  • Doc is now entitled to not reply to up to six emails a day. And he doesn’t have to let us know which ones they are.

Rock on!

Major vulnerability in FireFox on Windows

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A public service warning! You surf the internet at random using FireFox (which generally you should), you may stumble across a website, which could infest your machine with a virus. But this is nothing new, I have heard about these evil websites full of Trojans and other nasty viruses and I know better…  I hear you cry. Apparently, this particular attack does not require a download. Which means that is unlikely to be trapped by your anti-virus software, certainly in the short-term.

Protecting yourself for now is fairly simple. You will need to make a trivial modification to your FireFox settings.

To do this, start FireFox, enter the URL “about:config”, scroll down, and for each of the following entries make sure it is set to “true”.

If it isn’t, right-click the line and choose “Toggle”, which will set the value to “true”


This will at least give you a warning that Firefox is being asked to do something suspicious; you will have to judge for yourself whether it is nasty.

Thanks to Alec Muffett and Geoff Arnold for the heads up and advice.

Ride through Cincinnati

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Last Saturday, two memorable things happened. It was Jackie’s 30th birthday and we were offered a ride in a 1930 Packard around Cincinnati. You can see Jackie and Tom (the landlord of her new flat), who is the proud owner of this amazing machine.

Marketing joins advertising in circling the drain

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Thanks to Seth Godin for spelling out one of the many reason why…

The idea that people would seek out marketing, ads and content the same way they sought out books is radical.

Go ahead and make what you want, as long as you stand behind it and
don’t bother me. If you want to sell magnetic bracelets or put risque
pictures on your website, it’s your responsibility, your choice.

Junk turns into spam when you show up at my doorstep, when your noise intercepts my quiet.

The result of Google and the prevalence of search means that people
are far more forgiving of things that need to be sought out, and less
patient than ever with selfish marketers that insist on showing up in
your face.

Amen to that. Permission marketing has never made much sense to me anyway…

Norway unhinged

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Harry Hutton joins the dots. Taking Mark Steyn’s words to heart:

Socialized health care is the biggest cause not just of the infantilization of the citizenry but of the state. The unloveliness of any British city after six in the evening is a natural consequence of what happens when the state relieves the citizen of primal responsibilities.

he draws a conclusion:

The country with the second-highest level of healthcare spending in the
world is Norway. So according to Steyn’s theories, Norway should be an
absolute moral cesspit.

and relocates to Norway… Hutton is a man to watch.

On the road

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I am in Cincinnati right now, visiting Jackie Danicki to celebrate her 30th birthday. There has been much to see, people to talk to. As a result I haven’t been online much. As I checked my RSS feeds after a couple of days offline, I was reminded of this little gem (old but still worth a chuckle) thanks to the trusty Tuscan Tony. A sure sign that recycling can be fun.

Dystopian advertising

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It’s so oddly dystopian – these poor schlubs who must only get 20
minutes for lunch, so they eat at this giant cafeteria and they don’t
talk to anyone, just get whirled around in this dizzying haze of lunch
choices until they come out the other end and swipe their Visa card,
wolf down their food and get back to work.

In years to come children will hear about ads (the same way we are hearing about horse drawn carriages and chamber pots) and say: You were forced to watch these short promotional movies in the middle of something you chose to watch to sell you something?! Why would you let them interrupt you?! They will find it as absurd as most people find the proposition that Advertising as we know it will die out – advertising may survive in some shape and form, although I wouldn’t hold my breath. I have blogged about this distinction before.

I am sure that in the future current adverts will offer great insight into various visions of the world that advertisers and their clients try to represent. God knows what social theories that will spawn! Take the Visa ad, it’s not too far from lunch rush-hour, only with silly music, more colours and OTT gestures. The reality is that lunch is a rushed affair because your time belongs to someone else. And that in my book is the opposite of utopia…

Sad truth of business

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Nine times out of ten, regardless of the industry, strategy is a by product of a series of tactics.

Found here.

End of the internet

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via American Digest (hat tip Alec)

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