Friday, August 28, 2009

Where's the Blogging Gone?

Most of my posting these days is done over at MBA's website.

[Updated the link has moved to here.]

It's a blog of interesting stuff, mainly connected with marketing / advertising. And the occasional opinion / rant.

Please check it out.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Irrelevance of the “Is blogging dead?” Debate

From the as yet unreleased blog of the soon to be re-launched MBA website...

An article in the Independent on Monday 20th April stirred up the ever-present argument about whether blogging (or insert any other new technology) has had its day.

Andrew Keen presented two quotes which initially appear opposing. Firstly, from Hermione Way of and, we get “Blogging as we know it is dead”, “It’s finished”.

Secondly from Matt Mullenweg of WordPress “Blogs will become aggregation points… they will become personal hubs. Places where we store all our own media content, such as our Flickr photos and Twitter posts.”

But as Andrew Keen correctly surmises when evaluating who is right “They both are, of course”. The technology will move on; people will start to use the technology in different and more interesting ways. The original static blogs will evolve into more advanced formats, just as the humble website has developed since its first incarnations. For example, the Wordpress technologies mentioned in the Independent article are just two of the myriad developments:

Buddy Press is a suite of add ons that turn a multi user Wordpress blog into a social network.

P2 adds Twitter like functionality.

In reality this debate is utterly redundant. As Clay Shirky observed 5 years ago, yes, 5 years ago…

“So forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this - the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast.”

Whilst there is cheap and fast access to the internet, whilst there are cheap and simple technologies to publish information, people will be uploading all sorts of content. Some will use it for specific purposes (income related or otherwise), others will just mess about with friends and others will do everything in between.

Websites and technologies will come and go, but people will be sharing content via digital channels forevermore.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Dimension Of Personal Balance

Contemplating Twitter the other day, as one must, and listening to people whinging on about "what's the point of it?", I got to thinking that there is no point until you give it a point. Find yourself an agenda and then speak to it. But that, of course, doesn't just apply to Twitter. It applies to all conversations wherever they're happening.

I'm also not quite achieving an optimal work / life balance of late, primarily due to increased online pervasiveness. For example, I use Google Reader primarily for work purposes and access on my iPhone has meant that work RSS feeds are now infiltrating areas previously reserved for offline "life" time. This annoys my wife tremendously. And that is not conducive to a fulfilling life!

So I drew this to represent the new balance that I need to manage.
Now this all gets highly personal and subjective. I know you can argue the validity of the online and offline distinction. And also, for some, work is life, life is work and everywhere in between.

Here's roughly where my life sits on this chart - I can clearly see where my use of Facebook, Twitter and various blogs sits within this.
I'm not convinced this is right, useful or relevant. But it seemed interesting.

Monday, March 16, 2009


"No" can be upgraded

"Maybe" can be clarified.

"Yes" means yes.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Semantics, Consumers & Social Media

Just over two years ago I had a little rant about the use of the word "consumer". I still firmly believe that it's worth avoiding. Thinking about "people" is so much more useful to good marketing.

Now I'm starting to get niggled by "social media". I've a feeling I'm going to loathe it soon.

With the assumption that it's a good idea for advertisers to infiltrate the world of social networks, you'll end up with smarter ideas if you think about them as "social networks" rather than as "social media".

"Social media" implies that you have a right to be there. "Social networks" reminds you that you don't.

On a similar subject, Robin Grant (MD of We Are Social) posted the same content on two different blogs this week about how brands should use Twitter. The first on his Brand Republic blog, the second on the We Are Social blog. Not only is the article well worth a read, but it's also interesting to note, by the number and nature of the comments, how differently the article was received in the different contexts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Seth Godin London Event, Part Deux

What I really admired was Seth's conviction and focus. He has absolute belief in his ideas and lots of examples to back it up. He's a superb presenter who makes you want to go out and change the world. Worth going for that alone.

As with my Clay Shirky post a couple of weeks ago, here are some of the thoughts that I scribbled during the presentation. I'm sure a quick Google will bring you to much more detailed reviews about the themes and detail of Seth's talk but that's not for me (here's some). Readers of his books and blog will not be surprised by the content.

1. Permission
I feel the need to use a quote here.

“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”
G K Chesteton.

You know you've got permission to do what you're doing when people miss it and ask for it. A really good check is to ask yourself the question "If I didn't do it, would anyone mind?".

2. Remarkable
This is what Seth's book "Purple Cow" is all about. And he simply defines remarkable as "Something worth making a remark about". In other words an idea that people spread because they want to.

3. General Sethness
Build the product to fit the customers' worldview rather than having a product and then working out how to sell it and who to sell it to. The product is the marketing.
Old ways of interruption are dead or dying. Internet changed the rules etc. etc.
We're trained to be average. Spending marketing money on average products for average people used to work... no longer.
Go read the blog and books.

4. Reframe the Problem
e.g. Tiffany's charge for the green box not for the diamonds.

5. Tribes need a mission
A similar thought as came out of the Clay Shirky presentation, that once the goal is achieved that the Tribe can splinter. What's happening now Obama is President?

7. What's the new scarcity?
Rather than concerning yourself with why your business model is crumbling and trying to prevent it disintegrating (luddite music industry), find other ways to make money. Build communities. Create limited edition or unique products e.g. recordings of specific concert delivered next day etc. Well done Radiohead.

8. Remember we're human
"The motivations are the same, the souvenirs are different"

Human needs drive our behaviour, whatever it is we're selling.

9. "Only connect" - from Howard's End by E M Forster.
This wasn't mentioned by Seth, but "human connection" was a major theme.

"Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die."

Note to self... must read Howard's End to make sure I get this properly (especially the bit about the beast and the monk, I'm not sure why we want them to die), but it feels like it's expressing that we need to find meaning and that meaning comes from being involved in humanity. To live and experience.

(Update: here's video footage)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Seth Godin London Event

(Picture taken with the QuadCamera iPhone app. Thanks Russell for the tip off).

Went to see Seth present today. Inspirational stuff. More soon when I've processed it a bit.

Update: here's a video clip...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Clay Shirky @ LSE

Last night I went to see a presentation by Clay Shirky, the author of "Here Comes Everybody". Interesting stuff, but not as illuminating as I'd hoped.

He summarised his book as "Group action just got easier". (A similar statement is oft quoted on Gaping Void).

Here's a couple of thoughts that I noted from the talk:

1. Groups unite against an external threat

2. Successful groups act as platforms not as organisations

3. Groups no longer need a formal body to organise on their behalf - the workers could unite to disobey the union.

4. When your fans break your business model, you know you're in trouble (relating to fans posting content from newspapers).

5. Companies can no longer expect to break news on a busy news day to hide bad stories. Someone that cares will find it, republish it etc. etc.

6. A big question is one of legitimacy. This is linked to the fundamental flaws of democracy.

7. This is all about new tools being made available. It's not a change in human nature, it's a change in access and the ability to connect. The Invisible College in the 17th Century was a group of scientists sharing ideas for the greater good - group collaboration is not new behaviour.

One point that Clay made during the presentation was the speed with which events are now made public over the internet, exemplified by the Sechuan earthquake. Here's a few links to Clay's LSE talk being replayed on the internet, including a blog post from the chair of the evening, Charlie Beckett.

You can download audio from the presentation here.

Update: an official podcast of the event is here.

Update: Image credit to cubicgarden. Weirdly, the text placed in the post by Flickr crediting cubicgarden appears in draft format, but not when publised. Apologies cubicgarden for you not being credited initially.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama Mania Hits Eltham Library

Not even the children's section of Eltham library is safe from Obamania.

And with possibly the worst ever typography on the inspiring quote at the bottom.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

adiZone: Marketing by Being Useful

Well done Adidas and whoever else has been responsible for the adiZones built in parks in some of the less well-off parts of London. From a tiny bit of Googling it looks like an initiative with London 2012 to create a meaningful legacy from the Olympics. I spotted this one near where I live in Charlton Park.

It's a place for young people to let off a bit of steam - robust outdoor gym equipment, a "street" style basketball court and a climbing wall.

Tremendous initiative adding value to the local communities. A genuinely useful addition. The only grumble I've got is that the launch wasn't that well promoted, so I missed seeing the All Blacks!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mourning Morph

Isn't this just the saddest thing?

Thank you b3ta for this Tony Hart memorial.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Futurology: Richard Watson at the RSA

Check out the video here.

"When you think about the future, most people think in terms of new things that are going to be invented. Well, yes that's part of it, but it's equally about the things that are old and familiar that are going to vanish".

Lots of juicy thought-provoking stuff.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Still Not Getting It Automotive Style

After the much derided decision to turn up to Washington in private jets, it seems our American car industry friends still haven't got it. World Car Fans reports that Chrysler have used some of their money to fund an ad campaign to say thank you. Doh! Stop wasting money, even to say Thank You.

Proposition for Troubled Times

Hot on the heels of Flybe's "redundancy cancellation insurance" emails (see Herd for details), comes this from Hyundai - a no strings attached deal to hand back your car if you are made redundant.

Hat tip to World Car Fans.