Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

Social gaffes

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Tomorrow I am chairing a lightweight panel about ’social gaffes’ at the New Media Age Online Marketing show, i.e. talking about examples of brand, marketing and advertising forrays into the social media/web with unfortunate consequences. There are many more examples that I found but here is a few slide I prepared earlier.

Quote to remember

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For 100 years companies have been pushing what they think people are interested in out through one way communications channels. But now that people are redefining the rules of engagement, companies have to rediscover how to interact with people. It’s about unlearning a lot of behaviors and reacquiring the voice that businesses used in the days before mass advertising and promotion in the conversations that occurred between the village storekeepers and the people in the community. It’s hard to do, but by listening to people (remember the earhorn?) and not being afraid to get involved in the conversation, companies can slowly find that voice.
- Marc Monseau in Hanging with Mommy Bloggers

Observer’s world’s 50 most powerful blogs…

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I am not sure what methodology the Observer line up uses to establish the ‘powerfulness’ of a blog but perhaps I shouldn’t scratch it given that Samizdata.net ranks 39 on their list of the world’s 50 most powerful blogs.

But I will given that our ‘blogfather’, Glenn Reynolds is missing from the list. And probably a lot of other blogs that I’d consider more influential.

To me it has always been about who reads your blog (and shares your ideas further), not how many that makes a difference. Of course, having an audience to start with helps. :)

Quote to remember

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Becoming a blog-friendly company by chattering on blogs is like becoming a cat person by clawing your own couch and crapping in a litter box. You have to give the bloggers something to chat about.
Don Marti in comment on Today’s re-reading assignment

via Doc

6.6 Billion potential customers

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When The Lord God Almighty’s enters the CEO blogging game, you know time’s up, all you business types… he’s got his eye on you!

With 22 operational subsidiaries employing the services of over 11800 Million members of staff, most of whom spend a lot of time trying to kill each other, it’s easy to loose touch with the needs, fears and desires of 6.6 billion potential customers.

The purpose and mission of this personal blog is to offer both staff and customers a behind the scenes, no hold barred look at the way I, the Lord God Almighty, go about daily business; offering more transparency, more accountability and more visibility to my mysterious ways and explore some of the challenges facing a modern day deity.

Hell, it isn’t easy being God. Benchmark me.

Bloomberg’s headline economy

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And I don’t mean economical headlines! Bloomberg uses a company name in a headline for an article that has nothing to do with the company. The company in question is large and with a recognisable brand – Johnson & Johnson.

We’ve questioned Bloomberg in the past about their indiscriminate use of the Johnson & Johnson name, and we’ve always been told that it is “Bloomberg style” to put company names in their headlines – and the bigger the company, the wider the readership.

So, here we have a professional news organisation being shameless about its audience-grabbing motives. And commercially ‘justified’ behaviour. How on earth is that more credible than a random blogger?!

These days I get rather impatient with people who complain that blogs are not authoritative because they are written by people. The point is that they do not pretend to be anything but opinions of individuals. Often those opinions are far more authoritative than journalists can muster and even when they are mistaken or misleading, it can be easily discovered and disputed. Bloggers’ credibility comes from the filters they provide to their readers. When I am criticising or praising something on my blog I’ll always link to the source of my opinions. You, dear reader, can make up your mind about them and over time get an idea of where I am coming from and whether I am credible. It is the same as with one’s favourite film or food critic. Reviews are based on the individuals opinions that are transparent and testable. So, here we have my equation coined a while ago, when I first realised this:

bias + transparency = credibility

Back to matters at hand. Thanks to JNJ BTW blog, the J&J people can point out Bloomberg’s dishonesty headline economy.

It’s ultimately a case of Market Value – not News Value – that factors heavily in Bloomberg’s editorial equation. Johnson & Johnson has a market capitalization of nearly $190 billion. Abbott Laboratories’ market capitalization is about $83 billion and Boston Scientific’s is about $20 billion. You can do the math.

There we have it. Corporate comms guys who have had yeeears of experience dealing with the journos and have been journalists themselves, can talk about it on their own blog.

Anyway, next time you see Johnson & Johnson or other companies referenced in a Bloomberg headline, be mindful that there may be other “market” factors at work in the editing.

Rock on! as they say…

Disclosure: Yes, yes, I have had my fingers in the blog. :)

Dell made up with bloggers

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Jeff Jarvis on the end of Dell Hell.

They reached out to bloggers; they blogged; they found ways to listen to and follow the advice of their customers. They joined the conversation. That’s all we asked.

Absolutely. I particularly like this:

…note Dell’s compliance with the manifesto’s first three theses:

1. Markets are conversations.
2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.

Had I not have my blog(s) to say this, I have gone hoarse from repeating this over the last 4 years. And this is just one of the many benefits of listening:

Dell realized that engaging in the conversation wasn’t just a way to stop blogging customers like me from harming the brand. We, the customers, bring them great value besides our money: We alert them to problem. We will tell them what products we want. We share our knowledge about their products. We help fellow customers solve problems. We will sell their products. But this happens only if you have a decent product and service and only if you listen to us.

I also agree with Stuart Henshall’s interpretation:

If you want a conversation to really take hold in a company you have to teach the CEO how to listen. Today it’s never been easier to innovate in this area. From my perspective every VP Marketing should be enabling a social media listening program.

Businesses are such a top down organisations that even if you manage to start conversations inside the company, there comes a point where those people run into a wall. The organisation reacts to new ways and there is a clash of cultures, if not more. And without a clear understanding and support from the CEO, it is unlikely to be resolved. Sun Microsystem’s Jonathan Schwartz had to line up the lawyers and the comms people and tell them in no uncertain terms that blogging is going to happen within and outside Sun. I am told that without such a push, the company would have never grown such a powerful and dynamic blogging community.

So it is foolish to assume that one blog makes a conversation, just like one swallow does not makes a summer. But it just may inform people about a change of season…

Passive agressive notes

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This is brilliant! Another no-brainer use of a blog…

via Jackie

Viacom in a copyright doomloop

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This is pretty rich but somehow not surprising:

One guy thought it was so cool that he recorded the clip of Web Junk that featured his own video and posted that on YouTube so he could blog about it. And, in an incredibly ironic move, Viacom sent a takedown notice to YouTube forcing it offline. Just to make it clear: Viacom used this guy’s work without permission and put it on TV. The guy then takes Viacom’s video of his video and puts it online… and Viacom freaks out claiming copyright infringement. Effectively, Viacom is claiming that it’s infringement of Viacom’s copyright to display an example of Viacom infringing on copyright.

Here is the story from the horse’s mouth:

So Viacom took a video that I had made for non-profit purposes and without trying to acquire my permission, used it in a for-profit broadcast. And then when I made a YouTube clip of what they did with my material, they charged me with copyright infringement and had YouTube pull the clip.

Folks, this is, as we say down here in the south, “bass-ackwards”.

Well, there are many more names to call this… Another, bigger story here is that it may, just may turn out that Viacom was acting within the current laws, although I don’t think so. It appears that the blogger who used his Viacom-processed video clip was within fair use provisions. Still, the tension between Viacom using videos taken from YouTube, which is in turn under constant fire from the company policing its own content is palpable. Call it hypocrisy, call is lack of balance, something about it just isn’t right. It is like the playground bully coming and nibbling at the cakes that the smaller kids made together. Whilst beating them up for baking in the first place…

Then there is the copyrighted content that is now getting a far better reach and exposure now that various shows and film moments are living on through the clips on YouTube. Think of all the Monty Python sketches that are now accessible and can be used in blog posts! Such joy.

I wonder what will happen to the bully in the end. Will he end up hungry and with no-one to play with bully?

How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

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Get a new business model

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The sense of entitlement of payment for your efforts is palpable here. Danny Carlton has blocked Firefox users from accessing his site in protest of a popular browser extension that blocks text and display ads.

Accessing the content while blocking the ads therefore would be no less than stealing. Millions of hard working people are being robbed of their time and effort by this type of software.

Nobody owes Mr Carlton for his time and effort. The fact that he has or wants a deal with advertisers to pimp his readers’ attention is not exactly a fair arrangement either. Welcome to the world where users can and take control. And about time. Companies and advertisers have abused everyone’s attention for decades assuming that their ‘content’ is a fair exchange for idiotic ‘messages’ spewing from every medium available. In the world where you can get much more than content (interaction, conversation, relationships, self-expression), that kind of devil’s bargain has a snowball-in-hell’s chance of survival.

There is a different bargain to be struck and it is one directly with your readers. They are your audience but also your distributors as they can pass your ideas and creations along. Distribution off-line is one of the most expensive things, so the deal is pretty good. That is why Carlton’s attitude is nonsensical as he is cutting himself off from those who can make him more visible online, and bring him more readers. It is the old grab’em & lock’em in attitude that looks stone-age and unviable online.

It is worth noting that Carlton complains that he can’t block only those Firefox users that have the extension installed, so he’s blocking all Firefox users since it’s “the only alternative.”

The real problem is Adblock Plus’s unwillingness to allow individual site owners the freedom to block people using their plug-in.

This is a misplaced need to control people, namely his readers and visitors to his site. He seems to consider the ability to do that his birthright. This is the same attitude that’s burying the media industry.

Online you’d better control what you can, not what you wish you could. Controlling others has always been a delusion, controlling your identity and your own expression is where it is at. Otherwise… :

nobody_cares_sml2.jpg

The hard-line opinions of journalists are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of bloggers

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Michael Skube is having a fit about the demise of what sounds like beautiful, beeeaaauuudiful journalism in Blogs: All the noise that fits.

The more important the story, the more incidental our opinions become. Something larger is needed: the patient sifting of fact, the acknowledgment that assertion is not evidence and, as the best writers understand, the depiction of real life. Reasoned argument, as well as top-of-the-head comment on the blogosphere, will follow soon enough, and it should. But what lodges in the memory, and sometimes knifes us in the heart, is the fidelity with which a writer observes and tells. The word has lost its luster, but we once called that reporting.

Who’d have guessed that he’s describing journalism in the above?! Skube reads like an old journalist pro (and I use that word in the loosest possible sense) who bemoans the fact that his hard-earned ‘right’ to be published is being trampled upon by the barbaric hordes of bloggers. Well, the Big Editor in the Sky is no longer, there is just the internet with the online equivalent of printing press. With distribution bundled in. The bargain of the millennium. But the likes of Skube want to convince the world (or what’s left of those who haven’t taken to blogging) that this is bad for the luxury brands of MSM. We already know that, Michael. The real luxury is not having someone like you misrepresent what people are, do and mean by your selective ‘fact-sifting’, out of context quoting, and sloppy reporting. I am not accusing Michael Skube of such practices here, I’ll leave that to Ed Cone, I am targeting the entire profession here. I am an equal opportunity ranter.

It always amuses me – right after it annoys me – how his type (Andrew Keen et al) only trawl through the bad stuff online and construct their argument around the worst they can find. Granted, nowadays they find a parenthesis or two to reluctantly admit that bloggers have some influence.. but no matter, if things continue this way, we are all dooomed. DOOOOMED! Well, yeah, dude.

Instead of supporting their arguments about the plebeian nature of the blogosphere and the rubbish we are all inundated with, they merely demonstrate their lack of skill in navigating blogs and finding the daily gems. So Jay Rosen of PressThink put together a blowback that’s worth bookmarking – a collective effort of many to list examples of a blogger doing a journalist’s job. It has also been published in LA Times. For the record.

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