27 Jul

The problem with Australian media

Thanks to Gavin Heaton of ServantofChaos (a top 25 global marketing blog) for the inspiration to this post.

We’re a small country when it comes to media; traditional Australian media is owned by (less than) a handful of companies, and as a result, a relatively small group of people influence opinion and provide the “expert opinion” the public relies on. So you would expect that editors would have access to the best talent, all fighting for one of only a few opportunities to write for them.

Fairfax is one of these companies and they recently offered up a piece by Graeme Philipson “The lost art of blogging”, an article so devoid of “expert” opinion, it makes you scratch you head in wonder. (also read Gavin’s post on the topic).

Here is what is wrong. The man writes an article about blogging, but confesses that he neither reads, nor writes them. His field of expertise is IT. publishing thoughts online is about media, and essentially has nothing to do with IT.

The reason people participate in online communication at the rate they are doing is because the web is now a place where you don’t need an understanding of technology to participate. Only your ideas count, and if they are no good, nobody reads them. Imagine that kind of accountability in the printed press.
Graeme’s writes:

I don’t blog. Can’t see the point, when I write this column and others. I also rarely read them – the letters page of this newspaper and the many emails I receive is for me more than enough exposure to the unfiltered opinion of the common man.

I can write a list of 50 people who are certified experts in their field, who write online. Let’s call them blogs. However, they are not “bloggers”; they are experts, who share their expert thoughts via the internet. I wonder if Graeme would consider the Sun Microsystems CEO, Jonathan Schwartz‘s writing “the unfiltered opinion of the common man”.

On top of that, this is from Chris Newlan’s post , discussing the promotion of “The Age of Conversation

“a Fairfax journalist told a fellow contributor that they could not promote the work of bloggers because management saw them as competitors.”

So what does it mean?

Nobody will argue that there is a tremendous amount of rubbish being published in the world. I think we all agree that this is not contained to self publishing (or blogging, if you want to call it that). Graeme’s article is a good case in point.

24 Jul

The Meme of 8 – eight things you didn’t know about me

Like many, I feel a bit self conscious about this slightly daggy game of “8 things about yourself”, however, I enjoy reading others, so after Nick Rice tagged me, I thought I’d play anyway.

  1. I am 6’7″ or 201 centimeters, which makes international flight only bearable in a bulkhead seat.
  2. I left Holland age 22, lived in the Algarve (south coast of Portugal) for four years before backpacking around the world and ending up in the most livable city in the world, Melbourne, Australia.
  3. The city I live is also home to wild Penguins. Yes, real ones.
  4. When alive, my father was a journalist, published three novels as well as poetry. I wonder what he would have thought of The Age of Conversation.
  5. The reason I post so infrequently are 3 1/2 and 7 months old. So I post between 6 and 7 in the morning as a rule, in between serving breakfast.
  6. I used to play drums in a band, and recorded a single. (vinyl, that’s how old I am) It failed dismally, but my band days were fantastic. Really fantastic.
  7. I regret never learning to speak Portuguese properly when I lived there. Arguably the most beautiful language in the world.
  8. I don’t particularly like starting a sentence with “I”

Ok, let’s see if these good people will play this daggy game too…

Mike Sansone

David Berkowitz

Geert Desager

Emily Reed

Clive Birnie

Charmell Slaughter

Philip Woodgate

Pranav Chavda

20 Jul

Blah, Blah Ginger File file #2 – Buzzword Balance sheet

Leon Gettler, The Age Blogs: Management Line writes:

On the same page, thought leadership, paradigm shift, out of the loop, result-focused, total quality, ballpark, ticks in boxes, value-add, touch base, think outside the box, stretch the envelope, put this one to bed, close the loop, at the end of the day, hot button, interface, guesstimate, key players, killer apps, focus collectively as a group, user friendly, bells and whistles, benchmark, slippery slope, win-win, game plan.

Analysis conducted by Factiva over the last six months reveals that the term “fast track” is the most popular, followed by “going forward” (as opposed to “going backwards”), “user friendly”, “empower”, “downsizing”, “multitasking”, “core competency”, “customer centric”, “client focused” and “rightsizing”.

The problem with these words is not that people don’t know what they mean, the problem is that they can make you invisible. What I mean by that is that people will read through the words; we subconsciously filter the sentence for these words. (Like “What the Dog hears”)
Leon goes on:”Every such phrase anaesthetises a portion of one’s brain,” Orwell said.

To be honest, I’m guilty of using at least half of these words on regular basis. Thanks Leon, for reminding us.

16 Jul

The Age of Conversation – 103 collaborators write one book

Today is the big day; the launch of “The Age of Conversation”, tonight at 9pm.

It’s a book I have contributed to as one of 103 marketers around the world, with an article named “The Voice of the CEO”, focusing on the CEO blog, the opportunities and the challenges.

I’m curious to see where it will go. The first review is written up in Ad Age, there is a Google map showing where all contributors are from.

Check out the map. Nice to see that there are seven eight Australian contributors, which is pretty amazing if you consider we have a population of 21 million.

The Australians are:

Gavin Heaton – Servant of Chaos (who is also the co-publisher, and driving force behind this initiative)

Katie Chatfield – Get Shouty (just check it out!)

Stanley Johnson – Brand Dna – The weird and wonderful world of brands and communication

Emily Reed – Conformists Unite! Celebrating the unique and personal in business
AJ James (Who is AJ? Drop me a line AJ!)

Chris Newlan – Talking Point – Sharing ideas and encouraging debate on media and public relations trends

Craig Wilson – Media Hunter, Media & Marketing in the Hunter Region
and me, although I now appear to have a country retreat just outside of Bendigo, instead of living in Melbourne…

For more information on the book and it’s author check out the website. All proceeds go to charity, so buy a copy, enjoy the read and feel good about your contribution to a good cause at the same time.

11 Jul

“Blah-blah, Ginger, blah, blah blah…” – #1

“Our planning and implementation leverage best practice, proven principles, practical experience and world-class thinking. This enables you to translate business imperatives into action through people and their leadership.”

I’ve decided to start “The Blah-blah Ginger file”; a place to remind all of us how not to communicate.

(Title inspired by Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” cartoon. [What we say to dogs]: Ok Ginger, I’ve had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand Ginger? Stay out of the garbage or else!” [What they hear]: “Blah, blah, blah Ginger, blah,blah,blah, blah Ginger”)

10 Jul

Co-authoring “The Age of Conversation”

One book – available in hardcover, softcover or e-book
One subject – The Age of Conversation
103 authors – from all over the world, contributing one chapter each on the subject.
Thousands of beneficiaries – all proceeds going to charity

One of the chapters is written by yours truly, on CEO and blogging but what makes this book particularly interesting is that we will get views from over 100 people who are intimately involved in this age of conversation. Experts if you like.

I have set up a page here listing the contributors and with more detail on the project.

Read more on the background here. I would like to thank Drew Mclellan and Gavin Heaton for pulling this together, all in their own time, all for the love of it.

Launch date: Monday, July 16th, 2007