Daddy… what’s TV?

Thought provoking tweet from Mike Butcher who’s at the Edinburgh TV Un-Festival today:

“UnTVFest live podcast dwelled overly on TV as shared experienced. My view: the Live Social Web is the new TV. Sometimes tv/video is involved”

I like it.

Meanwhile Jeff Jarvis reinforces Mike’s insight with some more stats about the fall in TV use and big increase in internet use:

“Internet usage is now approaching TV usage — in the US, the UK, Australia, Germany, and Japan — according to an IBM study to which Om Malik points us. Note also that TV networks’ share of online TV viewing is only about 33 percent, below YouTube and barely ahead of Google and social networks in the U.S. — and the alternatives are only beginning (in the life of internet video, it’s only 1954).”

I mean dosn’t it just make sense?

People want content: video, audio, text, static images…. stuff. We used to have differnet tools to deliver it. Now we have one that does it all… and better… and quicker… and allows you to join in… Jesus. I mean if that is truly revolutionary then what it?

Technorati tags: Mike Butcher, TV Un-Festival, Edinburgh, Jeff Jarvis

Tom Coates, public relations and public relationships

There’s a big discussion going on at the mo’ about the role and function of PR in the blogosphere. It was all started by Tom Coates who feels he’s been treated like “a piece of meat” by PR companies who target his blog as “influential”.

The source of Tom’s ire seems to be Stephen Davies –someone I count as a friend. Stephen adds his thoughts to the debate and asks what others think of the situation.

So… [two penneth alert] for me the issue is two-fold: it’s retrospectively about how the PR industry is missing the point about the social web and going forward how PR can engage with the online environment properly.

Firstly, the PR industry misses the point with the social web/live web/blogosphere/whatever because it is far too process driven. PR people are ever used to writing a release, creating a media list and blanket mailing it out. This is partly the problem at the heart of Tom’s predicament.

Now, this process can be improved by some extra effort and understanding and Stuart Bruce offers a good overview of how PR people can improve this process.

However, working in an online social environment the PR industry needs to abandon process and adapt to working in a networked world of individuals. This invokes real effort, spontaneity, trust, genuine dialogue with real people. It’s the stuff PR should have been about from day One but which got lost in the world of mass communications.

It would mean that PR people would know who Tom is and know not to appraoch him. Tom is vociferous about not receiving press releases from people/companies/etc but other bloggers aren’t.

But it also means more than just pitching bloggers which is really a glorified version of media relations, but media relations done properly.

PR done in the real way of the social web will – and I say ‘will’ because we haven’t got there yet – mean companies (both PR and clients) being social. That way there will be no crow-barring of bloggers and social networks into horrible mass marketing campaigns. The social worth of an organisation will be there for people to choose to engage with from the outset.

The problem is, of course, that this requires giving over control of the campaign to the ‘crowd’ and that is a huge wrench for most marketing and PR types. This means that their beloved ‘process’ is taken over by other people – YIKES!

And I think this comes down to something that my colleague Rick Murray talks about when he says we need to change our understanding of PR from being ‘public relations’ to ‘public relationships’.

That’s what I’m striving for. It’s about moving beyond doing PR where colleagues say: “Can you find some bloggers that want to write about ‘product X'” and explaining that most people – bloggers or not – don’t want ‘product X’ or ‘company Y’ pushed into their life.

Only problem is… I’m not entirely sure how to get there yet.

Other people blogging about the great debate:

Technorati tags: Tom Coates, Stephen DaviesPR, public relations, public relationships, blogging,

[Disclosure: Stephen’s work was done with Edelman whom I now work for]

Woah! There’s social… and then *social*

I’ve just read about an astounding Facebook app that probably takes ‘sociality’ to a new, possibly unwelcome level.

The One Minute Friend app works thus:

“you add this application to your Facebook account, give it your phone number (just US and Canada for now), provide some selection criteria, and wait for your phone to ring. You’ll be connected, for free, to another person on Facebook who made matching selections. You talk for a minute and it disconnects. You see their first name and their photo, but no other information, such as your phone number or profile, is revealed. At the end of the call, if both of you so agree, the application will re-connect you for a more extended conversation. Otherwise you can move on to the next person”

I’m not sure I like the sound of that personally. Never does David Weinberger it seems, who admits “I haven’t tried it. I’m not that social.”

[Via  David Weinberger]

Technorati tags: Facebook apps; One Minute Friend

Daily Mail woos online readers with "the look and feel of a printed newspaper"

Anyone see the news story yesterday announcing the first fully audited online readership figures for the UK’s most loved/hated newspaper, The Daily Mail?

According to The Guardian, the Daily Mail website received just over 11m hits last month making it the country’s second most popular newspaper website.

The figures put it behind the Guardian which received 16m hits last month but just above The Times at 10m hits.

I find the figures interesting because although The Guardian has a really strong online offering and a traditionally young, web-literate readership, the Mail is really giving the paper a run for its money.

Of course, this may be due to the sheer volume of the Mail’s readership but it could also be because the Mail now seems to be making an effort to woo its paper readers online.

A good example of this is the recently launched Daily Mail e-reader. I’ve not seen anything about this (mainly because I’m a Daily Express reader – JOKE!) but it looks like the kind of thing Mail readers might want (and here I enter into sweeping generalisations – albeit it generalisations based on years reading newspapers).

According to the website, the e-reader offers the following:

“Uniquely combining the look and feel of a printed newspaper with the ease of the internet, the Mail eReader allows you to see the day’s top stories at a glance, flick from one article to the next, switch between sections, view picture galleries and much, much more – all while looking like your regular newspaper!”

To me this sounds like the kind of thing you could buy from the Innovations catalogue if there was an online version.

It doesn’t really make reading the news easier or even give you any of the exciting functionality made available by RSS.

It does, however, make you think you’re reading a real newspaper – ie. it gives you a familiar, traditional experience through your laptop. And that, I generalise, is what Mail readers want or at least it’s the kind of feeling enjoyed by people who happen to read the Mail.

I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it does show the institution behind the Daily Mail taking seriously the importance of providing a substantial online offering beyond republishing second-hand.stories.

And that demonstrates another evolutionary step in online media.

Technorati tags: Daily Mail; online readership, ABC, e-reader

Back from holiday. Anyone else noticed BBC’s new footer?

Back from my hols and not knowing where to start with 2049 unread items in my feeds. Anyone got suggestions how to make digesting all the important posts as painless as possible?

I also had a look at the BBC’s news pages today and spotted they’ve added a content sharing footer to their news pages:



I appreciate this may be old news by now… but I thought it was worth a post. It something lots of other media outlets have been doing for a while. The Telegraph was one of the first I came across but since then I’ve noticed even local newspaper websites allow you to share the story about the lollipop lady winning a £500 on the lottery with the world via Digg.

Interesting to see the Facebook icon on their…. not sure what it does yet. I presume it adds a link to your news feed?

Miliband’s brother Ed to join the cabinet blogerati?


Wonderful scoop from Stuart Bruce who informs us that David Miliband’s cabinet Office Minister brother, Ed, is set to launch a blog.

One thing I would advise him to do is to sort out his Wikipedia entry…. it’s a bit scant and there’s no image available. I presume he’s planning to blog to make himself and his role at the Cabinet Office more accessible. Well, being able to put a face to a name would be a good start! 

Monday morning news round-up

Work’s busy at the moment so blogging will definitely be light for the next couple of weeks.

In a final burst of activity here are’re a couple of good tidbits of enws fro a Monday morning:

  • UK tech PR gossip blog …theworldsleading… has set-up shop on it’s own website [screenshot above]. You can find the new jazzy site at The interesting news is that they may ditch their RSS feed claiming:

“It seems to have the same effect as bouncers; repelling intelligent people while attracting sink estate vermin donning black slip-on shoes and gelled hair. We’re thinking fuck RSS, fuck Technorati and fuck all those two-bob ‘influence surveys.’ We’d lose points for not having RSS, but perhaps we’ll lose the undesirables too?”

  • Hugh MacLeod has posted about why he thinks we’re all blogging less. Hugh cites one reason for less blogging as: 

“Some of us have better things to do than continually having to justify ourselves to a crowd of self-loathing, passive-aggressive, loser fucktards.”

Which is, I suppose, a less roundabout way of agreeing with …TWL…‘s comments above.

Technorati tags: …theworldsleading…; Hugh MacLeod; B.L Ochman; RSS; blogging

Google News adds comments

If you’ve not seen the news via Steve Rubel (here), Google has added a comment facility to it’s Google News making it – in Steve’s words – “an editorial product rather than simply an aggregator”.

This leads to Steve’s next question: “can a PR agency comment on a source’s behalf (assuming they represent them) and if so how is our affiliation verified?

It’s the same question being asked by the fore-father of citizen journalism, Dan Gillmor – only from the other side:

How will this work? How will Google verify that the people commenting on what’s been written about them are actually the people in question? What kind of data-gathering will this lead to on Google’s part?

Dan’s argument is that traditional media outlets have missed a very big trick to allow readers to add their voice to news coverage and as a result the ability to do so has been claimed by one online media giant.

What this means for the future of news coverage remains to be seen.

Technorati tags: Google News, Steve Rubel, Dan Gillmor

Why politicians still don’t get the real power of social networks

Did anyone read yesterday’s article in the London edition of the Financial Times about the use of social networks in the US presidential election?

I only ask because I did, and found it to be pretty un-insightful. OK, if I want up-to-the-minute commentary on social networking and politics I might turn to David Weinberger rather than the newspaper, but from the lumpen headline: “Battle for blogosphere ballot box heats up” to the closing para, little light was shed on what US candidates were actually doing with social networks.

First up the piece told us how many Facebook and MySpace friends the top Democrat and Republican candidates have. Then we got this insight from strategist, Thomas Gensemer, managing director of Blue State Digital:

“You can be putting a message out there in far more powerful ways than just e-mailing or on your own website … Instead of pressing ‘send’ to half a million people today, it’s activating a message that will be active for days thereafter”

Hmm. Enlightening.

Maybe Peter Daou, head of Hilary Clinton’s online campaign team can offer us a better explanation:

“More and more the internet is becoming essential to the political process”

Maybe not.

The most interesting questions are raised by the article’s critical voice of reason, Colin Nagy, director of Source Communications.

His argument is that:

“Collecting friends is superficial and doesn’t require any real effort on behalf of the friend …Would you rather have 20,000 friends who do nothing, donate nothing, or 10 friends who are active, crazy fundraisers?”

And he has hit the nail on the head. The real question is how do you get your 20,000 friends to become “active, crazy, fundraisers”.

The answer is: you change the way you do politics. I’ve said time and again that simply pushing out the same, tired, two-faced political crap that most 12 year-olds can see through but doing so via exciting new tools like social networks won’t work.

What politicians and their campaign teams need to grasp is the change in power dynamics within social networks. It’s a flat structure rather than a top down or even slightly hierarchical network. Rather than the network being there for them, they are there for the network.

People, like Colin Nagy don’t get it. He expects his 20,000 friends to do something for him or his candidate, when in reality they want him to do something for them. And isn’t that what politics is all about?

XP: edemocracy Update

Technorati tags: US Presidential elections, social networking, Financial Times, Hilary Clinton, Peter Daou, Colin Nagy, Thomas Gensemer

JCMC – Great resource for online communications research

I’ve just come across a great resource for anyone interested in academic research in and around the field online communications.

The Journal for Computer Mediated Communications seems to make almost all of its content available for free via its website. I’ve used some of their stuff before while completing my post-grad diploma – the dissertation for which I am currently struggling to research and write.

The JCMC frontpage currently has links to a special section on blogging which lists some interesting articles:

{via Danah Boyd]