Blogging

18 January 2008

Bloggers push China to prosecute beating death

International Herald Tribune.

The government investigation, which was reported by state-run news outlets here, was touched off by bloggers in China who were outraged that a 41-year-old man had been fatally beaten while trying to use his cellphone to photograph a dispute between villagers and city inspectors.

There's been a tendency to downplay the potential political power of bloggers in China and other non-democratic countries, so this is a particularly interesting episode. I wonder if we will see more of this in the next year or so, and what impact that might have on the larger political structure?

15 January 2008

Melbourne blogger earns $US250k annually from ads

From Wall Street Journal: "Darren Rowse, the Melbourne, Australia-based writer of ProBlogger.net, a popular blog that teaches other bloggers how to make money, earned roughly $250,000 in 2007 off ads on three blogs he writes. Mr. Rowse says he makes the most off traditional display advertising, where advertisers pay a fee to appear, but he also has used affiliate ads and Google AdSense." That's a fair bit more than most journalists and PR types. But can it be replicated by other Australian bloggers?

04 January 2008

Blogs and self promotion

Seth's Blog:

The truism of the web: people talking about you is far more effective than talking about yourself.

Which funnily enough has always been true in traditional media. Its why PR, in the form of third party endorsement, is more effective than advertising. When you say your work is good, the audience thinks he would say that wouldn't he. In short, they discount for self-interest and bias.

03 January 2008

Some interesting lessons from an A-list blogger

Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger. There are 40 in Robert Scoble's list but here are a few that really resonate with me:

6. Everytime my ego tells me I’m important for some reason bad things happen in my life.

14. It’s easy to build an audience by tearing other people down. It’s far harder to build one by building them up. Why is that? Humans love messes — it’s why we slow down on the freeway when there’s a big wreck. Building up people and companies is a lot more fun long term, though.

16. The more I read, the more interesting my life becomes.

24. The best clients are ones who believe in you from the start and don’t need to be sold.

31. I did six Amazon Kindle videos. The one where I was a jerk got 10x more traffic than the other five, where I was much fairer.

33. Whenever someone says that they are unsubscribing (or unfollowing on Twitter) my subscriber and follower numbers go up (and I’ve compared to my friends and they also say the same is true). Me? Maybe if you aren’t making some people mad you aren’t being interesting enough?

39. Big mistake? Not spending more time working on posts. The ones where I thought about the post for hours turned out great. The ones I banged out really fast without thinking too much? They are the stupid ones.

16 December 2007

The best thing about blogging

kimbofo: New look -- and a bit of history about this blog.

Blogging has enriched my life in ways I can't even begin to describe. In my day job I'm a journalist, so having my writing published is nothing new. What I like about maintaining my own blog is the freedom to write what I want to write, when I want to write it and without having to answer to a higher authority (such as a sub-editor) or to toe a company line.

It has also opened up my eyes to a whole world of other bloggers (albeit most of them American, Australian or British rather than the more exotic global community one might have expected to discover) and shown me that there are thousands of others out there that share similar interests in photography, literature, travel, cycling and (strangely enough) food.

And through my blogging I have met people, online and in person, that I would not normally be exposed to in the course of my normal life. If you have never met a fellow blogger before, I have to say the experience can be slightly weird, as if you're meeting a long-time friend who knows your inner-most thoughts and has followed your escapades for years. "How do you know that about me?" you want to say, before realising that they've read it all online.

Very well put.

29 November 2007

The Long Fail?

There's No Money In The Long Tail of the Blogosphere.

It is often forgotten that money is to be made by leveraging the collective long tail, however, making money while being part of the long tail is very difficult. Specifically, in the blogosphere, the vast majority of blogs have very few readers. It is not realistic to expect these blogs to make money. As the enthusiasm and the incentive in the long tail begin to wear off, what would be the impact on the businesses that depend on them? Likely, the impact is going to be large.

19 November 2007

Blogger meetup: Kim Forrester

We had a great chat and a few more pints of London Pride in a cosy pub (The Queens Arms, Queensgate Mews) with one of my favourite bloggers Kim Forrester and her partner on a wet London sunday afternoon yesterday.

Kim is a real online veteran having started with a hand coded site back in about 2000 before switching to typepad a few years later. Her blogging about books has been a tremendous success - she gets flooded with review copies.

Big blogging issue - while Kim reveals when a book she reviews has been provided for free, many other lit bloggers do not. Check out Kim's blogging at Kimbofo and reading matters.

16 November 2007

Jackson Wells has a new blog

I hope everyone's enjoying Trev's London tales. I certainly am.
Now that Trev has left Jackson Wells, we thought we should set up our own blog.
Keith Jackson and I have been busy establishing it over the last few days and invite all of Trev's subscribers and casual visitors to please check it out here.

26 October 2007

Building a more diverse media landscape in Australia

Surprise! Surprise! Old media hacks bag food bloggers again | Tomato.

Australia was a media oligopoly with the power concentrated in the hands of a few. What the internet and blogs have done is start to take some of that power away. Two years and a bit ago there were 30 active food blogs in Australia. Perhaps half of those have fallen by the wayside but alone in Melbourne there are near 100 active food blogs and perhaps over 200 in Australia as a whole. These are real people with real stories and a real audience. I am by no means the most popular but have 10,000 visits (that’s people not hits) each month

The same is happening in other subject areas and the net result is a better media landscape for ll of us.

14 October 2007

There's nothing 'social' about social media

Better Communication Results.

This correspondent has long been a fan of Trevor Cook. His insights into PR, politics and the general business world have been of value to me in my own life.

Many moons ago I joked that one day I’d overtake him in the subscriber numbers — a joke because he has better content that is of more interest to more people than I do.

But a glance today at our respective Feedburner subscriber numbers (as displayed on our blogs) caused me a little flutter

Yeah right - 'a glance' - I know you monitor these comparisons on a daily basis. Not that I'm concerned, competiton yeah bring it on I say. But seriously, my friend and collaborator, I'm glad to see you doing so well. Well not that glad. As Gore Vidal said: "Everytime one of my friends succeeds another little piece of me dies". But really seriously a rising tide floats all boats I believe and I wish there were a dozen Aussie bloggers in our general area of professional expertise with four-figure feedburner counts. That would mean that the cause we champion was getting a lot more airplay in the Australian corporate world then it currently is.

08 October 2007

B L Ochman's big audience

Psychology Today: The Laws of Urban Energy.

B.L. Ochman is a blogger with an audience of 100,000.

I don't know how they (she) made the calculation but it is certainly impressive.

05 October 2007

Its bound to be good

From Metaldudu@blog: (本文摘自《社会化媒体(Social Media)》这本书,原作者: Trevor Cook & Lee Hopkins    译者: Ewine 。书的电子版可以在译者的blog下载到,下载地址 ). I'm yet to get used to this aspect of the global nature of the blogosphere, I just hope its favourable!

GreensBlog

GreensBlog - the official blog of the Australian Greens Senators. Another interesting social media experiment to emerge as we get closer to the campaign proper; this one has the politicians actually blogging, something which the major parties seem to have baulked at.

Re-assessing the impact of blogging

Seeking Asylum Down Under: To blog or not to blog...and is that the question?.

As I peruse my almost daily 'jousting with windmills' blog posts I wonder whether there is a method to my madness.

As human rights violations stack up and government hubris appears to know no bounds, I catch myself repeating the same phrases and sentiments. There is a limit to the lexicon one can tap to give vent to a growing disquiet at the casual indifference of so many toward the Howard Government's systematic use of fear mongering and populist xenophobia.

As I trawl through the blog-o-sphere I am amazed at how little overall attention is paid to the devaluation of civil and human rights and the ongoing flagrant violations against refugees and weaker sections of our society. The recent vote by Australia against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) is a case in point.

It can be demoralising but if the alternative is to say nothing at all?

03 October 2007

New convergence: blogs and online media start morphing

FT.com / Home UK / UK - Blogs get the old-media habit.

Perhaps the most dramatic - and revealing - recent move was to hire a handful of well-known journalists to do old-fashioned reporting. "Our goal," Ms Huffington says, "is basically to become an online newspaper".

Others blogs, such as Gawker, Talking Points Memo, PaidContent and the Drudge Report, have also matured into fully fledged businesses with multiple staff on the payroll, advertising revenues and regular conferences.

They are moving to the mainstream just as traditional news companies are making a determined effort to become more "new media".

"It gets confusing when the New York Times starts launching a ton of blogs, and the Huffington Post starts offering news," said Jonah Peretti, a 33-year-old MIT graduate who is the company's resident tech whizz. "Things start to blur."

Blur indeed. Why call our sites blogs anymore they are just websites afterall?  Easy to use, cheap and proliferating wildly but websites nevertheless. A lot of media sites are looking more like blogs with each new re-design. They have comments, RSS, they link more than ever used to do. Why worry about what is reporting and where, its all becoming just one big new information and ideas exchange?

26 September 2007

A tortuous process

Australian Government Proves Why Blogging Is Best Left To Everyone Else.

the irony of launching a consultation paper on a consultation blog seems lost on them

Good comment from Duncan Riley.

24 September 2007

Rushdie: Relax, Blogs Aren't Killing Book Criticism

The New York Observer.

Then Mr. Rushdie went off-message: “I think it’s rather unfortunate that some of the coverage tries to pitch print reviewing against the new media. I think they complement each other very well.” To those familiar with the ongoing debate in the book world about whether lit blogs are destroying western culture--as Rushdie's listeners were--his meaning could hardly have been clearer: Blogs aren't the enemy.

08 September 2007

SMH wrong again

Bob Meade writes:

Today's Sydney Morning Herald has a minor editorial piece, "Giving Sydney the green light." It's on page 30 of the paper.  It's meant to be a snide article about the traffic disruption being caused in Sydney wherever President Bush goes.  Specifically the (traditionally) anonymous writer refers to yesterday's journey by President Bush  "to the National Maritime Museum to visit the bell from HMAS Canberra ..."

However as you know from my piece here, and Mackenzie Gregory's account here, the bell Pres. bush visited is the ship's bell from the USS Canberra, a United States Ship named at the direction of President Roosevelt in honor of the HMAS Canberra.  HMAS (His Majesty's Australian Ship) Canberra  was sunk in the Battle of Savo Island on the 9th of August, 1942 with the loss of 84 Officers and Men.

The ship's bell of HMAS Canberra can be safely assumed to be resting in the ship's watery grave at

Why waste time with fact-checking, eh? If you pointed this out to the editorial writer the response would probably be - 'yeah, whatever'.

15 August 2007

Blogging as art

Artfulblogging Art News Blog: Artful Blogging Magazine.

Stampington has released a new quarterly magazine called "Artful Blogging". It's a magazine that focuses solely on artists publishing creative blogs and online journals.

14 August 2007

Canberra plans citizen sample blog

Australian IT.

FEDERAL plans to enter the world of blogging are well under way, with a discussion paper due soon on the proposed "rules of engagement".

Getting there slowly.

08 August 2007

Don’t Rank Blogs By Numbers

=Young PR .

Humans obsess about popularity and numbers, and nowhere so much as the blogosphere. Whether it is because of residual thinking left behind from the recent days of TV ratings ruling all, or something deeper in human nature, we feel like we need to rank blogs in order to discern their *influence*. In my opinion, this is completely the wrong approach to this new world.

What works in the blogosphere is relationships with people based on common interest. Not whoring yourself to those with the biggest numbers.

Another point is that there is limited value in being well-read by other PR bloggers or by people outside your market. So you could be a popular PR blogger without any benefit to your business at all. You need to be of broader interest than just writing endlessly about social media and its impact on PR (because most clients, unfortunately, are not that interested at the moment) in my view and you need to think about where your readers live and who they are. All this is a big challenge I think but if its not addressed successfully than frankly blogging only has limited value. Certainly, as Paull says, being high up, or even appearing, on some list of 'influential' PR bloggers is meaningless.

25 July 2007

Making money from blogging

Bloggers Bring in the Big Bucks.

23 July 2007

Australia blogs less

Trends in the Living Networks:

"Of the top 25,000 blogs globally, around 9000 are in English", says Mr Dawson. Of those, only 75 originate in Australia. But there are 420 million native English speakers in the world. "With Australia's population of 21 million, we comprise 5 per cent of English speakers. But with 75 blogs out of 9000, we comprise less than 1 per cent of English blogs. We are underrepresented by a factor of six or so."

17 July 2007

Bloggers on the future of journalism

A new book - Talking Point: The Conversation Age.

16 July 2007

Who was first? Bloggers bid for history

Wall Street Journal Tries to Re-Write Blogging History. Pretty petty stuff really.

15 July 2007

Aussie blog juice rankings

Link: Discovering Australia: Australia Top 100 Blogs and Blog Juice.

14 July 2007

Australian bloggers annoy Murdoch editor

Polls apart at the sausage sizzle - Opinion - smh.com.au.

The real curiosity, irrespective of Shanahan's sausage sizzle, was The Australian's display of extreme sensitivity in devoting two full broadsheet columns of its opinion page to editorialise in its political editor's defence. Perhaps bloggers' repeated reference to the paper as The Government Gazette tweaked the editor on a bad day.

Expect more of this 'sensitivity''.

28 June 2007

New Australian political party has blogs!

What Women Want Australia-Weblog. Maybe this will encourage some of the others to break the marketing straitjackets.

13 June 2007

Corporate Engagement tops 1000 subscribers

Feedburner A milestone? Let's hope it doesn't plummet.

05 June 2007

Healthy Men

Healthy Men. Lee Hopkins comes up with another great blog idea.

22 May 2007

Even the NYT can be unreliable

(Scripting News).

Friedman told the story of an Indonesian woman who thought Al Gore is Jewish, something she heard on the Internet, which Friedman says is untrustworthy. But we remember when Friedman warned of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, who explained to us in his audience why we had to go to war. If I had time to ask a question, I might have asked him what regrets he has about the mistakes he's made, the lies he told that caused more death than the lies the Indonesian woman who thought Gore is a Jew. The mistake we make is when we blindly trust any source, including the NY Times.

Exactly. Don't blame the source for your own laziness. (Disclosure: I believed the stories about WMD too and I'm disgruntled about it, Mr Friedman)

17 May 2007

Southwest Airlines has a blogging pilot

By Benjamin Haslem

US-based Southwest Airlines has a Phoenix-based pilot, Ray Stark, posting on their company blog, Nuts About Southwest.

As Angelo Fernando says:

A great example for those who are in trepidation about allowing those without the title of communication or marketing in their titles to actually have their say.

... it lends a perspective that no communicator in a corporate office would have a clue about, which is why employee blogs are so valuable.

We communicators may know a few things (or not) about split infinitives or RSS feeds, but we could never come up with stuff like this:

Due to the curvature of the earth, the cloud tops were hiding out of sight over the horizon as we left PHX. We can now start to see the mass of moisture in our path.

I'm a plane nut, so I think this is really cool. But it's also a neat marketing tool too, I think. It humanizes the airline, and could generate brand affection.

A Chicago-based flight attendant, James Malone, also posts on the blog.

16 May 2007

Bloggers battering the literary citadels

calendarlive.com.

A war of words breaks out between print and Internet writers as newspapers cut back coverage.

The fascinating thing about this stoush is that it is being replicated across all the areas of expertise that our society values and many more that it doesn't.

Somehow, the media is insisting that it is the authority, the credible ones. That someone employed by Rupert Murdoch (or any other corporate media conglomerate) is somehow a better judge of literature than someone who just writes about it because they love literature (good grief, can you imagine?)

As any good communicator knows, authority and credibility are the product of relationships. If I read you and I find your stuff is good I'll keep reading. If I thinks its crap I won't bother. I don't care who you write for.

I think a lot of people in the media who are used to the perks and privilege that come with using the masthead on your cv are becoming terribly threatened.

Oh well, another step in the journey from a closed media environment to an open one.

11 May 2007

Parents who blog

I noticed two today - Dave Winer's dad and Paull Young's mum. And, of course, my son blogs so I'm a parent who blogs too. I guess there must be a lot of parent / offspring blogger duos these days?

Daily Telegraph (UK) starts reader blogs

NevilleHobson.com.

Today the Daily Telegraph newspaper launched My Telegraph, a free service that enables readers to set up their own blog. An interesting move - a first by a national UK newspaper? - which is a good example of how a mainstream medium can use social media as a means of connecting its readership with the paper and vice versa. Maybe it will even develop where reader blogs become news sources for the paper. Look at Le Monde in France as an example.

07 May 2007

A rare endorsement

My mother in law said to me yesterday: "When I have trouble sleeping, I read your blog". (sigh).

04 May 2007

Blogging economists draw cyber-crowds

Technology | Reuters.

To debate leading economists on hot topics like globalization and free trade, you can hang out at Harvard -- or log on to a growing group of brainy blogs. Blogging, the soap box for the masses, is getting a bit more high-brow as elite professors look to share their views on the issues of the day and interact with an audience that may not spend much time on exclusive college campuses.

Not just people talking about cats after all. And much more informative than Australia's paltry media coverage of economics.

03 May 2007

Time to turn that stream of b grade news releases into a blog

I was talking about this with Steven Lewis last night. We have both had clients and employers who insist on a steady stream of news releases and media alerts that are missing one essential ingredient ie 'news'.

Now, of course, anything that is new is news to someone but from a journalist's p.o.v unless it is of interest and importance to a whole lot of people its not news. And being pitched dopey stories is a pain.

Some of these media releases are just a form of vanity publishing and really ought to be on blogs targeted at tight groups of family and friends.

Others are actually interesting but not right now or not to enough people to justify MSM attention.

A corporate blog is just ideal for this last lot. If its interesting but not likely to make the cut for you national newspaper why not just blog about it?

That way you can target a (smaller) audience that might actually care about the latest appointment to the SW region or the breathtaking splash that product X now comes in 5 colours etc. And you can give them a lot more context and detail than is ever likely to get into the newspaper.

Best of all the media will get to know that when you do put out a release and get in contact with them it might actually be something worth their while following up; and you'll save your business a lot of time and money (blogging is so much cheaper than writing and distributing media releases).

29 April 2007

Paull Young tells how blogging took him from Bathurst to a job in Manhattan

Young PR.

Only a year-and-a-half ago, Paull Young was just another PR student at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. Today, he is preparing to relocate permanently to New York, where he has just accepted a senior account executive position at a high-flying Manhattan communications agency, specialising in social media. And he puts it all down to blogging. ”It’s funny, I drove out of Bathurst 18 months ago with everything I owned in the boot of my car, and now I’m flying in from New York to speak to the graduates there”, he said of being asked back by the University to lecture on blogging and social media. Young’s remarkable journey began in December 2005 with his blog Young PR (youngie.prblogs.org). Throwing himself into the PR blogosphere, Young started making virtual contact with world-renowned PR professionals, and by the end of last year had developed such a digital rolodex of names that he was able to embark on a social media “world tour”, where he took the opportunity to put faces to the names he’d been electronically conversing with over the past year.

There you go kids, the trail has been blazed!

23 April 2007

Blogging, liberty and Bryan Appleyard's failed appeal to authority

For the past few years, the media's coverage of blogging has been largely restricted to patronising and contemptuous pieces portraying citizen publishers as bizarre and, mostly, irrelevant. Now, there is a new genre wherein the Internet is on the verge of destroying our civilisation. The new message is be afraid, be very afraid.

Bryan Appleyard's piece from Britain's Sunday Times reprinted in Murdoch's Australia today is a pretty bland statement of the new fear-laden template.  Anarchy of distance | Features | The Australian.

But like a lot of op-ed and feature writers, Mr Appleyard seeks to give his opinions more gravitas by appealing to a great philosopher in this case, Isaiah Berlin. Unfortunately for him, he cocks it up monumentally:

Web prophets tend to celebrate this revolutionary transformation in straight libertarian terms: it gives people freedom. But simple libertarianism is a meaningless and easy creed. It takes little or no account of Isaiah Berlin's crucial distinction between "freedom to" and "freedom from", the latter requiring external controls of the individual.

Or, as Kris Kristofferson put it rather more resonantly: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

I'll leave aside any link there might be between Kristofferson and Berlin. That's just a bit of journalistic cuteness.

But this line: "freedom from", the latter requiring external controls of the individual" is precisely wrong. Freedom from, or negative liberty, is the ability to do what you like free of restraints. Freedom to, or positive liberty, is the capacity to take control of your life. The distinction is based in the idea that simply being unrestrained does not mean that you are necessarily free to live a good life.

Interestingly, its the freedom to rather than the freedom from bit where controls might come in with the potential to justify the use of state power to force people to do the right thing.

I studied Berlin at university, decades ago now but enough has stuck with me to recognise the blunder.

Appleyard could have googled and consulted something like the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and he would have avoided his gross error.

His efforts to appeal to a greater authority, and the pretentiousness of the effort, once again reveal just how poorly we have been served by the news media.

19 April 2007

Your Company Blog Sucks, Now What?

From Mark Collier:

I recently was contacted by a company that wanted to improve their blogging efforts. Their blog wasn't having the desired results. But they were posting almost daily, and several members of the company, from the CEO down, were involved in writing for the blog.

The problem was, the blog wasn't positioned from the reader's point of view. It was presented as an "online brochure," with every post focusing on one of the company's offerings. There was zero interaction with its readers, and no reason for the readers to interact with the bloggers.

18 April 2007

An OPML file of Australia's top blogs would be great

New Australian Top 100 list.

I’m going to have a Dave Winer moment here and ask the question: is there any way to pull this data into say an OPML file of feedurl’s or similar so I can subscribe to all of them at once?

Who will provide us with this overdue service?

Another list of top 100 Australian blogs

Dipping into the Blogpond. Corporate Engagement comes in at 33 on this one, significantly higher.

16 April 2007

Comments are not the heart of blogging

The media has lapped up the whole code of conduct for blog comments story with its usual relish for anything negative about the Internet (this is because the Internet is eating their lunch and they feel very threatened - but that's another story).

The idea that 'comments are what blogging is all about' frequently comes up at conferences and in discussions with media.

The comment-centric view of blogging is a way of denying the validity and importance of social media - people say 'oh blogs are like bulletin boards and online forums' and 'oh its just people airing their opinions'.

That's not the big story folks. The big story is about publishing and broadcasting. The Internet is now a media platform where everyone can publish and broadcast their views to the world and yes they can find audiences for those views. The audiences might be small but they are often the people you want to reach not some huge slab of people not interested in anything much but the latest offerings of the FMCG crowd.

The way you stop being part of the audience is to start publishing and broadcasting yourself (as the Youtube tagline says). That's the revolutionary bit. That's where you can really make a difference - for yourself, your community, your organisation and your cause.

So if every blog closed off its comments the revolution would still go on, the main conversations would be between blogs, podcasts and vodcasts as they already are. Through the magic of feeds and links.

The main conversation / community revolution here flows from linking behaviour and feeds. Comments are fun and can be constructive, challenging or just downright awful - but they are not the main game.

It would be too hard for journalists to grapple with the idea that everyone can publish (whither media when mediation is no longer needed?), so they promote the blogging = commenting myth.

But there is no reason for us to fall for the same three-card trick and allow social media to be pigeon-holed into something that suits the self-perception of some media fossils.

Comments welcome, of course, :-).

13 April 2007

Top 100 Australian Blogs

Top 100 Australian Blogs.

a rather nifty blog roll of Australia’s top 100 bloggers based on Technorati Rank (right side bar).

Corporate Engagement comes in at #71 this week.

It's an interesting list with a lot of great blogs on it.

30 March 2007

Learning and social media

The CEO of one of JWM's clients quoted Ghandi in a speech a few days ago: "We should live as if we might die tomorrow but learn as if we will live forever". It reminded me that Socrates spent his last few hours while he waited for execution by teaching himself a new tune on the flute. Learning is not a preparation for life, it is the best way to live.

On the same day, a potential client rang me and opened up with those wonderful words: "I read your blog ...". As we got to talking, she made the point that reading blogs and listening to podcasts on PR, marketing, management etc has given her a competitive edge.

The edge is lifelong learning. We've been talking about it for decades. But the reality is that the occasional conference and training day just doesn't cut it.

Learning has to be a passion. It has to be part of your daily life. It needs constant fueling, the more you learn the more your passion for learning grows. Social media seems to me to be the best way we have yet invented to make that passion a life-long reality.

Want to get some of that passion for learning back into your life? Get yourself a news aggregator and start subscribing to blogs, other websites and, of course, podcasts.

27 March 2007

Trioli applauds "death of blogs"

By Benjamin Haslem

Further to Trev's post below (from Tim Blair):

Virginia Trioli this morning introduced a segment on her 702 ABC show: “Wither blogging. It seems the much-hyped blogging phenomenon is disappearing. I say good riddance.”

26 March 2007

Blogs dying? you wish

News.com.au News Blog.

An estimated 200 million blogs have been started, then abandoned. One group of analysts points to last October - when 100,000 blogs were being created each day - as the possible high point in blogging. The number of bloggers is expected by some to plateau this year at 100 million worldwide. Other analysts predict it will fall to 30 million.

Only 30 to 100 million blogs will survive. Sounds like a working definition of dying doesn't it?

Confirmation that the limitations of media, and journalists, guarantee the survival of blogs.

19 March 2007

Euro PR industry's rapid embrace of social media (but still plenty of pushback)

By Benjamin Haslem

The changes in PR practitioners' attitudes to social media in Europe in 12 months have been dramatic.

From Euroblog 2007:

"The second pan-European survey to investigate the use of weblogs in professional communication reveals a maturing but also a demanding new communication specialisation. The survey asked practitioners to give their impression on the influence of social software such as blogs or wikis on public relations and communication management."

409 PR professionals completed the on-line survey.

Interesting findings include:

  • 79% of survey respondents read blogs, compared with 37% 12 months ago;
  • 51% leave comments on blogs (10% 12 months ago);
  • 38% run blogs (21% 12 months ago); and
  • 50% use RSS feeds (31% 12 months ago).

"Factors limiting the use of Weblogs or Social Software can summarized in a lack of demonstrated return on investment, linked to the absence of robust  measurement methods, as well as a lack of personnel capacity to handle the new communication challenges."

An interesting finding is that 7% of respondents never read or contribute to blogs (down from 26% a year ago). Considering the survey was voluntary, the real figure must be higher. I'm amazed it's that high.

Factors limiting organisations' use of blogs include:

  • We do not have personnel capacity (69% up from 22% in 2006); and
  • We cannot demonstrate return on investment from blogs (42% up from 31%).

The lawyers are still sticking their oars in, with 34% of respondents citing legal concerns as a factor limiting blog use.

In the media release accompanying the survey results, researcher Ansgar Zerfass from the University of Leipzig, Germany says:

“Organizations are in a double bind right now. Firstly, they are unsure of the proven bottom line benefits in terms of monetary outcome and clearly measurable results that can legitimate budgets and programs.

"Secondly they lack employees with the necessary skills to handle the new communication challenges posed by Social Software.

"Put bluntly, the key question for organizations is: ‘Where is the beef and who can deliver it to me?’ This is the strongest and most powerful factor holding back the use of Weblogs in organizations.”

In answer to the second "bind": How hard is it to learn how to use TypePad!!?

The survey's authors discussed the findings over the weekend. Philip Young promises updates.

13 March 2007

Does the blogosphere think?

From Businesspundit:

A little over a year ago, I wrote about Why Good To Great Isn't Very Good. I assumed that since I was questioning the research behind one of the greatest business books of all time, the post would be pretty popular and lead to a blogosphere debate. It went unnoticed, except for the occasional nasty emails I received when someone stumbled across it via Google search. They usually want to appeal to some authority (their boss, their professor, a business celebrity) and tell me how much their authority figure liked "Good to Great" and how wrong I was about it. The funny thing is - no one ever addressed my questions about the research.

Many bloggers have had this experience. Often the most trivial remark will get a lot of comments, whereas a well-thought out piece will get passed (seemingly) unnoticed.

I don't think that it means that blogging is necessarily trivial or ephemeral. Far from it. Perhaps, people just don't see blogs as a forum for serious and prolonged debates. Well, not yet. Perhaps, its the immediacy of the new medium that matters most to people and perhaps, hopefully, that might change as the medium matures and the novelty wears off.

07 March 2007

Its crazy, its mad, its the Howard Government's attempt to regulate the Internet

Freedom To Differ:

This regime would have a significant chilling effect on free speech in Australia

We're all to be turkey slap collateral damage according to Larvatus Prodeo:

After the turkey slapping scandal on Big Brother last year, Ministers and other proponents of intrusive censorship were horrified to find that they had no power to rate or censor comment streamed over the net. So, as was no doubt predictable, we now have a completely confused and misdirected draft bill to remedy this omission. As you might expect from a government characterised by control-freakery, the bill seeks to regulate content far broader than just streaming video from reality tv programmes.

Hey, those TV boxes have off switches you know and getting up in the middle of the night to switch on your computer and navigate towards the big brother site in the hope of seeing some adolescents engaged in (shock) 'lewd' behaviour now thats what we call opting in. Also known in some small l liberal circles as freedom.

21 February 2007

Tim Blair fixated on stats

From Tim Blair:

The claim: “[Larvatus Prodeo] now has between 3500 and 5100 unique visitors a day.”

The actual stats: Larvatus Prodeo has between 1400 and 3400 visits a day.

The claim was made in my article in this month's walkley magazine. Really, everyone knows web stats are dodgy and broadly indicative at the best of times. Whatever, the 'true' number its still pretty impressive, I think.

20 February 2007

Interview with Mark Bahnisch, Queensland political blogger

Katauskas_blogosphere My latest column includes an interview with the founder of Larvatus Prodeo, The Walkley Magazine - On The Blogs.

If you want to find some of the most intelligent blogs around, look north, says Trevor Cook. No, not Asia. Queensland.

The article is accompanied by a nice cartoon by Fiona Katauskas.

17 February 2007

Corporate Engagement is three years old today

Amazing how the time flies.

13 February 2007

Online politics in Australia

Popular politics at Larvatus Prodeo.

Congrats to On Line Opinion for taking out Hitwise’s online performance award for Australian political sites. This isn’t a beauty contest, but an award given for verifiable traffic. It’s interesting to observe that On Line Opinion trounced all the political party sites, with over 100 000 unique visitors a month. In contrast to both the US and the UK, Australian netcampaigning is stuck somewhere in Web 1.0 - most political party sites either being an archive of press releases, or tedious pseudo-blogs with no opportunity for citizen engagement.

07 February 2007

Feedburner and bloglines

According to feedburner, my subscriber numbers have halved in 24 hours. This seems to be due to a sudden decline in bloglines readers down from about half of all CE subscribers to just 11%. This hardly seems to be a natural occurrence. Perhaps its due to some 'cleanout' of bloglines or something? Though my bloglines profile suggests that there are 249 readers using bloglines as opposed to 41 according to feedburner. Or a blip that happens occasionally? Site visitor numbers on feedburner are following the usual pattern. Interested to hear if anyone has any ideas about why this would happen.

03 February 2007

7 Ways to Track Internet’s Trends and Popular News

lifehack.org.

I wouldn’t want to spend more than a tick to get what I want to see, or find out if it is popular. I want to introduce seven ways of tracking trends and popular resources online.

You can find lot's of great stuff very quickly if you do it right, as well as these useful tips that takes a little practice.

02 February 2007

Snap previews - useful or annoying?

I think it looks cute but not really useful but others are quite hostile (like Duncan Riley whose comment prompted me to remove them):

Winer: I don’t know how you feel about this, but I find the little popup preview windows that are showing up on various blogs to be REALLY ANNOYING. Makes it hard to hover over a link to see where it points. And sometimes it’s pointless, like when the page it links to requires a cookie or a password. You know the web is pretty good just the way it is. And these little widgets ought to give users a way to opt out. Or why not just forget the whole thing. Your favorite curmudgii. Uncle Davey.

Scoble: I removed it before I read this ("3 reasons why snap preview is ruining your blog") because John Welch complained. Well, and a few other readers. I gave it a fair try, though, and I think it’s important to try new approaches and see if they’ll add value. One can never be sure before you try. I have been talking with the Snap folks, though, and they are working hard on answering these concerns

30 January 2007

No Amanda, I have the right to publish

Amanda Chapel hides his identity for unknown purposes. That's his right. He is highly critical of the PR industry and many of its participants. Our industry can benefit from criticism, even strong criticism. Again, fair enough.
But now he challenges my right to publish my views on American foreign policy (and the Iraq disaster) because in his view I know nothing about it. Well, people can judge for themselves. That's the beauty of the blogosphere. I'm sure some people agree with me and some people think I'm a complete idiot. I can live with it.
Until now 'Amanda' has confined his acerbic criticisms of my opinions to comments on my blog. Again fair enough. I welcome the feedback.
But overnight, I got an abusive email from the mysterious Amanda again asserting that I am completely ignorant of foreign policy and peppered with words like 'f**K' and 'a##hole' and urging me to desist.
Now, Amanda I can understand your reluctance to publish the contents of this abusive email but rest assured that it will not deter me from publishing my views on any subject I choose.
I think you have completely missed the point. In this era of Web 2.0, we are all citizens and we can all be publishers. So by all means go on condemning my views on my blog or on your blog or anywhere else but spare me the silly emails.

21 January 2007

Photo from Sydney Webloggers meeting

Img_7512 Taken by Peter Himler, read his post for more info. PS Darren Rowse is keen for another bloggers night on 7 Feb.

19 January 2007

"The Flack" downunder

Peter_himler New York PR guy and award-winning blogger, Peter Himler, took time out from watching his son's sail races at Farm Cove on Sydney Harbour (pictured right)Farmcove to visit the JWM offices and give our staff a very informative and engaging talk on PR in NYC and, particularly, the growing role of social media. Thanks Peter. After that Peter and I went to Paddy Maguires Pub in central Sydney for  a few beers at the monthly Sydney webloggers meetup. More on this in further posts.

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17 January 2007

Edelman: Use foreign blogs to boost US image

Center for Media and Democracy.

the Public Relations Coalition held a "Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy" on January 9 and 10. PR executive Richard Edelman suggested de-politicizing the U.S. image. "Take it away from the part of the media that covers politics," he counseled. "Kick it off the front page and move it to the business page or other parts of the newspaper." As an example, Edelman pointed to Israel's focus on its technological advances. He also suggested engaging foreign bloggers.

Boy, I'd love to hear more about how that would work!

Blogging at the Age in 2006

The Age Blogs: Media.

2006 saw the rise and rise of blogs on theage.com.au. There were highs and some pretty big challenges along the way, but whatever your take on them, I think it's fair to say that this particular online publication has gone further than most into the blogging realm.

15 January 2007

Using blogs to share knowledge

socialsoftware-research � KS Case Studies.

"Trevor Cook, a Director of Jackson Wells Morris, a public relations company, shares how he uses a blog to share and gather knowledge with professionals from across the globe".

Other case studies include Euan Semple and Derek Wenmouth (educator and blogger in NZ).

13 January 2007

Edelman Study: Blog Readership in Asia Far Outpaces US

Micro Persuasion:

One of the biggest takeaways is that blog readership is far higher in Asia than it is in the US. Some 74% of Japanese read blogs, followed by 43% in South Korea and 39% in China. In the US, it’s about 27% and its even less in Europe. Blog readership is significantly higher among influencers - people who for instance, contact a political, attend a public meeting etc.

12 January 2007

Link love, link baiting and other nauseating strategies

Link: The Flack.

I had a chance to catch up yesterday with my blogging consigliere Constantin Basturea, director of new media strategies for Converseon. When I asked how to grow my subscriber base, he politely chastised me for not giving enough link love to my fellow PR bloggers (or any bloggers for that matter).

While all true blog evangelists sprout the joys of the long-tail (and its mind-boggling revolutionary impact) few people actually want to be deep in the tail if they can avoid it. The blogosphere is obsessed with measurement (I love it too). Tools and lists and charts etc proliferate. We know that Steve Rubel is big time because his feedburner stats tell us that he is far more popular than the rest of us and popularity is still the main game.

All of which is fine and just part of the business as usual motivations of most bloggers. But that popularity should be in some sense earned and useful. Earned by generating decent content consistently over a long period of time. Rubel's success is a classic example - he posts a lot and it is fast and often interesting. He works bloody hard at it. Useful to you as well as to your audience.  I don't want to be wildly popular among PR bloggers in remote parts of the universe like NYC. I want people in Australia - clients, potential clients, journalists etc to read my blog - because that's what's important in business terms.

Going out to deliberately secure links is fine as long as you don't end up with a boring bunch of posts created for the sole purpose of generating links. Your audience doesn't want that and neither do you, you'll get bored and stop blogging in no time at all.

11 January 2007

5 things you probably didn't know about me

Thanks to Mick and Lee for pinging me on this stuff:
1. In 1970, or thereabouts, I won tickets from Go-Set magazine to see the first big international acts to visit Australia after a hiatus of a few years. It was a triple bill of Free, Manfred Mann and Deep Purple. I also went to Sunbury in 1974 but that's another story.
2. I bought Alan Watt's "The Way of Zen' when I was 15. I've still got the copy. It had a profound effect on the way I viewed the world.
3. My youngest son and I are season ticket holders at Oki Stadium home of the mighty dragons. I grew up near Hurstville in the St George district. St George have appeared in five grand finals during the past twenty or so years. Losing all five. I've been to everyone of them. Sigh.
4. I did badly at High School and had to do my HSC again at Gymea Technical College before going to the University of Sydney where I did an honours thesis on the very practical topic of "The concept of prudence in Aristotle, Machiavelli and Burke".
5. I met my wife at the National Press Club in Canberra in 1982 after attending an Industrial Relations Society dinner. It was a lot less romantic then it sounds.

I ping Kate, Michael, Mark, David and Gerry

Corporate Engagement ranked 11th on PR blog A-list

PR A-List Bloggers are Alexa Amateurs

10 January 2007

My son's blog

Pat's Football Page. Cool

07 January 2007

Top Australian judge falls victim of darkside journalism

smh.com.au.

A profile page, claiming to have been written by the Australian judge, also contains sordid and sexually charged material.

The case, which MySpace Australia said could be the first confirmed instance of identity fraud on the site, underlines the unreliability of much of the internet's so-called "citizen journalism".

The alleged autobiography of Justice Kirby, which has been on the site for at least 15 months, includes a photograph of a smiling Justice Kirby beside a blonde woman under the headline "I'm A Pimp".

MySpace refused to help contact the real authors of the site.

As I suggested recently, a serious push for regulation can't be far off.

03 January 2007

Because we are what we write...

Everyone should read Word Wise. Great stuff.

02 January 2007

Bloglines still holds the lion's share

Feedburner Well, according to my site stats anyway. Do others find that Bloglines is still the favourite reader in the market by a long, long way?

Win some link love from Steve Rubel

 

Micro Persuasion: My New Year's Resolution is to Highlight New Voices.

I can't link to them all, but will share the gems.

It's well worth trying for a few links from some A-listers, it drives traffic a-plenty. But they mostly come and go, nothing replaces the need to just hack away producing stuff that others want to read.

You know blogging is catching on when...

Political theory and practice. Your honours supervisor of 25 years ago has set up a blog.

22 December 2006

Happy Xmas and all the best for 2007

Bush_xmas

20 December 2006

"Blogging and Global Warming" - the Chinese version

Link: ppip: 流浪的天空 � 译文:关于全球变暖的博客争论.

 译自Corporate Engagement的Blogging about global warming。斜体的是有些疑问的词句,括号里大部分是我做的注释。国内的Blog圈中关于环境,关于气候变化方面的讨论还相当的少,虽然我并不是学气候的,但翻译一些介绍一下总没有坏处。

15 December 2006

What Rubel and other specially invited guests could have asked Gates

Geek News Central Revealing Technical News and useful links.

I am really disappointed with the Bloggers that went to Microsoft yesterday and got to meet with Bill Gates. I was pretty excited to read the commentary on their blogs but highly disappointed that none of them asked hard questions.

More disappointment - follow the link to Geek News to see some questions that could have been asked by the specially-invited bloggers.

Gartner's world is the west

duncanriley.com .

For a respected firm such as Gartner I would have expected better than just another Western centric view of the world. Asia is where it’s all happening, and Asia will deliver plenty of good growth in blogging.

So true.

13 December 2006

(Australian) bloggers must do it for themselves

Australian Newsagency Blog

We are behind in Australia. We need a more visible and robust fifth estate. Bloggers of Australia ought to unite and encourage more people to blog. No one else will talk up blogging if we don’t.

There is a vibrant, vocal and effective fifth estate in Europe and, to a lesser extent, the US. We have not found it yet in Australia. Here in Europe there are more bloggers per capita and they are fierce in blogging. They are using blogging to navigate to a more transparent democracy with more voices heard. In Australia we're barely started on that journey.

11 December 2006

Blogging about global warming

This article I wrote appears in the current issue of the Walkley magazine, under the heading "Opinion Overboard".

"Although very few scientists doubt the reality of man-made climate change, and the seriousness of the threat it poses for us all, the media and the blogosphere is heavily populated with the work of global warming deniers and sceptics. 

Indeed, so prominent is their work, that we could be forgiven for thinking that climate change is a matter for serious scientific debate as well as political skirmishing.

While the abuse of media balance means that deniers and sceptics get ‘equal time’, on the Internet they can fill search engines and sites with all sorts of misinformed and superficial commentary. 

On his site, Turn Up The Heat George Monbiot, a professor at Oxford University, a columnist for The Guardian, confronts the prominent sceptics and challenges their positions point-by-point.

Continue reading "Blogging about global warming" »

ADF bans blogging

The D-Ring:

The Australian Defence Force has banned soldiers from writing online journals and has deleted blogs from troops serving in Iraq.

07 December 2006

Blogging and the ethics of freebies

International Herald Tribune.

The evolving corporate focus on "blog placement" is part of an intensifying trend, with elite bloggers receiving gifts like show tickets and bottles of Champagne.

Intel, the chip maker, doled out free laptops to six well-known bloggers who were invited to muse about blogging over a six-week period.

There is a video circulating online that pictures four German bloggers careening around a racetrack in a shiny red Opel Astra. All of them received free use of the Astra cars for four weeks plus allowances as part of blogging project for Opel.

In recent months, the gifts and invitations have multiplied, according to an Italian blogger, Luca Conti, who lists himself as a "conversational media consultant."

On his Web site, Pandemia, he tallied the booty: a mobile telephone, several subsidized conferences and a fully paid trip to Paris this weekend, compliments of France 24, the new French International broadcaster.

To promote its debut, the channel is flying in 12 bloggers whose early invitations also included bottles of Mo�t & Chandon Champagne. The guests will also get to pose questions by video to a prime news source: Jos� Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission.

"For every one of these conferences, I have received reimbursement for travel expenses and sometimes for overnight lodging," Conti wrote in his blog, inviting debate the issue.

A surprising number of established bloggers are unaware that simple ethics codes exist to guide relations between advertisers and bloggers, according to Jaap Favier, research director at Forrester, a technology research company. He cites, for example, the ethics code of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association in Chicago, which essentially stresses full disclosure about relationships: "You say who you're speaking for."


01 December 2006

2,000 posts down the road

Corporate Engagement now has 2,000 posts. As I started the site in February 2004, I think that works out at an average of about 2 posts a day. 732 of those posts were visited in the past month, not a bad 'long tail' I guess.

22 November 2006

Meet-up with Lee Hopkins

Lee and I had a good meet-up and large quantities of excellent chinese food at the BBQ King in Goulburn Street, Sydney last night. Remarkable thing is that this was our first face to face meeting and we've already completed our first online project. We've plotted and planned version 2.0 of this popular free booklet, which is targeted at Australian organisations thinking of using social media and want to get up to speed with some basics very quickly. We're now continuing this collaboration through Google documents which is just terrific. We joked that even though there were only two of us at the dinner we represented a fairly large segment of the extant Australian PR blogosphere!

25 October 2006

Blogging about global warming

My next 'On the Blogs' column for the Walkley magazine will look at the issue of and climate change and the way they are being treated on blogs. I'm not sure what the angle might be - it would be good to get some evidence and examples of where bloggers have made a real impact on the broader public debate and I'm sure I'll get an anti-astroturfing angle in there somehow.

I'd love suggestions so leave a comment or send me an email. Let me know if you don't want your email content quoted.

The last column I did was an interview with Telstra's Rod Bruem on Corporate blogging.

BTW: this is my first post using Windows Live Writer, thanks to Frank Arrigo for the pointer.

07 October 2006

Time for a Bloggercon Downunder?

More or less on a whim, I went to Bloggercon in November 2004 at Stanford University. It was great fun, a great way to learn and to meet people (all those passionate bloggers in one room!). At the time the new big thing was podcasting and boy hasn't that moved along in the intervening two years.
The idea of Bloggercon is that it is a group of like-minded (as in keen on social media not in any political sense) individuals and get the talking about some key topics.
Building on the Bloggercon model, my suggestions are

  • There would be no lectures or presentations - each session would be 'led' by a couple or three bloggers starting a conversation which involves the audience from the start
  • It would be a one-day event, held in Melbourne or Sydney sometime next year
  • It would be in a venue which has good free wireless and can hold about a 100 bloggers
  • Participation would be on a first in basis in terms of registration
  • It would be podcast
  • Through sponsorship we would keep it free or as close to free as possible - none of those big cost conferences we want poor, starving bloggers to be able to join in as well
  • The sessions would probably cover - technology, culture, politics, media and corporate blogging
  • There will be no speaker fees and no assistance for anyone with travel or accomodation

A couple of us are kicking around ideas - Des Walsh has posted about it.

In the last day or so I have contacted some organisations which might have an interest in sponsoring a Bloggercon Downunder and the initial response has been encouraging.

While I'm keen to ensure that this doesn't become a vendor event, I think sponsorship which will be relatively minor, will convey considerable benefits for the right organisations. Its an Australian-first and you'll be associated with an enormously productive and creative event which hundreds if not thousands of enthusiastic Australian bloggers will talk and post about for weeks and months before and after the event.

Like Bloggercon in the US, we might also solicit donations from the bloggers who can afford it to help defray costs.

Thoughts, comments, ideas welcome.

Clarification: I should point out that I mean Australian-first in terms of the format (free or low-cost, no presentations) rather than the first blogging conference. Last year's excellent Blogtalk Downunder which I participated in was, as far as I know, the first blogging conference in Australia.

28 September 2006

ABC Conference: "New Realities: Beyond Broadcasting"

I am participating in a session for this conference for ABC managers and program-makers in Melbourne next week. It is being facilitated by some guys from The Media Center.

The session is a 'conversation' on the topic of ‘Where is the blogosphere and is Australia there yet?’ but we (With Mark Bahnisch, Jess McGuire ) get ten minutes to present at the start with lots of examples. And, of course, its all in the context of what it might mean for the ABC.

Here is the outline of my few points (will have to edit and adapt on the day of course for time and to avoid overlap):

Is Australia there yet?

  • No, but it is happening. We often lag. We are lagging in broadband, especially outside of Sydney and Melbourne. Our political system is much more of a closed shop. Moreover, no-one is there yet. Blogging and reading blogs is still a minority activity in the US, though the sustained rate of growth is extraordinary.

Where is there (1)?

  • Who knows, but I think it is about everyone being able to publish their content and share it with others in a myriad of formats and with a broad range of business models from.

Where is there (2)?

  • There is global competition in public broadcasting. New sources from all over the world- universities, print media, 'amateurs' - can also compete with you for listener time and loyalty.

How it affects media?

  • A traditional media organisation like the ABC does three things:
  1. Generates content
  2. Aggregates content
  3. Distributes content
  • Media organisations have to radically rethink how they perform each of these functions.

Content not conversations is the key point.

  • Well, beyond MySpace and similar operations it is.
  • Blogs are not new forms of bulletin boards they are easy to do broadcasting and publishing. Everyone wants feedback but they also want audiences. The audiences don't have to be big. Most successful blogs have far more readers than active commenters.
  • Comments and conversations are poor sources of fresh and compelling content. Their importance is declining rapidly as the blogosphere expands.
  • Unless you're focused on content you're not a media organisation.

Who has valuable new content?

  • Lots of people. government agencies, universities, industry organisations, NGOs, individual experts, companies, anyone with a passion for something.
  • The barrier in the past was technological. They didn't publish or broadcast because they couldn't, not because they didn't have important stuff to say.
  • Obviously, the ABC can't just be a conduit for all this stuff but it could guide its audiences to the best.

How is the content aggregated and distributed?

  • Search and RSS - highly successful, media organisations that aren't configured for search and RSS are going to have real problems.
  • OPML, news rivers, social bookmarking - less so now, but who knows in the future.

What about trust and relationships?

  • People rely on recommendations and linking behaviour. Your 'brand' is more important than ever.
  • You are not a monopoly anymore, so don't pretend that you are. Recognise others, link, play their podcasts etc.
  • Patronising the audience is out - we can go somewhere else and we can publish our own views.
  • Fact-checking is in, people are watching and they have a voice.

My examples of Australian blogs:

Any thoughts?

20 September 2006

The Australian Literary Review recruits a blogger

The recently launched Australian Literary Review (ALR) includes a great review of Andrew O'Connor's Tuvalu by the excellent literary blogger Genevieve Tucker. I'm not aware of other Australian mainstream publications offering gigs to bloggers, so it may be a first for this lagging neck of the woods. In any event, plaudits go to ALR editor Stephen matchett for his initiative.

15 September 2006

Are conferences on the way out?

Big conferences are dead… � Scobleizer - Tech Geek Blogger.

So, why does anyone need to go to a big conference to hear the news again? Simple: you don’t. It’s not worth doing.

Personally, I've wondered for awhile now why anyone would bother going to conferences. Of course, there is nothing like face to face. F2F bandwidth is much greater than anything but it is a huge investment of time and often money. The networking is often more real and productive online and when it comes to finding out new stuff blogging is unrivalled in my experience (and its faster, cheaper and easier to skip over the turgid bits).

At the very least, I think conference producers are going to have to rethink what they are doing and the service they can provide that can't be done more effectively online.

29 August 2006

My 'online collaboration' slides for blogs, wikis and Rss seminar

I enjoyed doing the opening talk at this conference this morning; though its a little daunting giving a talk on this subject when there are people like James Farmer, Frank Arrigo (who is celebrating one thousand days of blogging, I started a few days before Frank on the 20th November 2003, first post, so I'm also a one thousand day veteran, yeh)and Anne Bartlett-Bragg in the audience. Anyway, here are the slides I used Download online_collaboration.ppt

24 August 2006

"Asia's citizen band"

My latest "On the blogs" column covers the rise of citizen journalism and blogging in Asia.

26 July 2006

How (and how not) to pitch to a blogger

John Scalzi presents a brilliant critique on how best and how best not to pitch to a blogger.

In the process, he embarrasses a high-profile Californian PR firm and attracts a written apology from the firm's CEO, who informs him the employee responsible has been fired!

... as it happens, yesterday I received two e-mails from two different people, both of whom were trying to get me interested -- as a blogger -- in incorporating the businesses they're promoting into my site. One of them did a bad job of it, and one of them did a good job of it, both in the sense of promoting their services to me as a blogger, and (incidentally) promoting their services to me as John Scalzi. As an object example of each, I'm going to present these marketing messages to you now, and explain all the ways they do and don't work. (read more)

Who are the most influential authorities on “blog marketing”?

Hoi Polloi

A new study by Onalytica shows the role of influentials in blog marketing.

In this list, Steve Rubel's Micro Persuasion scores higher than Fast Company, and even Business Week.  

The real value of such influence measurement is if they are grounded in context, they say. Especially in a world where keywords are so important, this study opens up a few windows into the field of ranking methods (Technorati, Google etc) that most take for granted.

Onalytica says:

The difference between influence and popularity can be highlighted by looking at the parameters taken into account when measuring the two.

When you want to measure the popularity of a stakeholder, you count the number of other stakeholders who refer to the first stakeholder in the context being analysed. So the only variable taken into account is “number of referrals”.

Analogous this can be used to measure the link-popularity of a particular website by counting the number of inbound linkers.

However, when measuring influence we take one more variable into account: The influence of the endorser (linker).

The influence of academic journals and universities have been measured this way for more than 30 years, but it also intuitively makes sense: It typically means more to any of us to receive the endorsement of someone we regard as an authority in the field than from someone we know hasn’t got a clue.

 

18 July 2006

For parents who fear being uncool

Stay Cool Dad

Sydney freelance technology journalist, Simon Sharwood, whom I've known for some 20 years, has started a great blog for parents who are desperate to "stay cool".

Simon describes the blog as: "a place where parents can talk about the culture their kids consume, in the hope they don't think we are dinosaurs!"

Worth a look.

13 July 2006

"Uses of Blogs' now available

Uses_of_blogs_1 The book which includes a chapter by me, "Can blogging unspin PR?, has recently been made available.
The full list of contents is available here. Looks like some interesting stuff and I'm hoping that authors get at least one complimentary copy (hint). The back flap carries (apparently) a recommendation from blog legend, late of Microsoft now with Podtech, Robert Scoble:

"This is a broad, but deep look at the social, political, business, and academic effects that blogging is having on our society. Highly recommended!"

Presumably, Robert's had an opportunity to read it; until my copy(ies) arrive in the mail I'll have to take his word for it (heavy-handed hint).

12 July 2006

Blogging in Asia

Someone asked me yesterday about blogging in Asia and how it compares with the US, Australia etc. Which is one of those fascinating topics you sort of know a little about and are certain you should know a lot more. From the top of my head this is what I replied:

I don't have any direct experience in blogging in Aisan cultures.
You might be interested in the graph below which shows that there are more posts in japanese than in english!
Blogging is also strongly represented in the Chinese language.
Here's the link for this research which is done by the owner of technorati
Blogging and social media are big in South Korea where broadband is ubiquitous  - the ohmynews  exercise is considered a stellar example of citizen journalism world wide.  There's an international version and a korean language version.
You can read more about it in wikipedia. basically anyone can submit stories they are then edited and checked by full-time journos if your story gets published you get paid.
There's also a neat site started by the Berkmann centre in Harvard called Global Voices Online where you can find blogs from many countries including in asia.

Asia
Any other good pointers on this subject.

29 June 2006

Among the Godblogs

My latest piece for The Walkley Magazine is on religious blogging

Feminists, atheists, Catholics or bacon-eating Jews, the blogger spirits are a diverse lot says Trevor Cook.

Read more ...

27 June 2006

Did anything come out of Bloggercon

Link: Technorati Search: bloggercon. Clearly, everyone had a terrific time but any new ideas? I can't see anything.

25 June 2006

Bloggercon IV: Same old, same old?

I listened to a few mp3s of Bloggercon IV sessions today and I found it disappointing. The sessions didn't really seem to go anywhere. Unstructured unconferences might be fun in the room but don't work as webcasts or podcasts. I enjoyed being in the room at Stanford for Bloggercon III. In addition, I got the sense that the Bloggercon conversations haven't changed much since November 2004.  New media has become a lot more mainstream (as was noted by someone in the first session) but the Bloggercon audience (er, sorry, participants) hasn't. Then there is the weirdness of the whole exercise being organised by Dave Winer who is giving up blogging to write in some other format - perhaps a book.

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24 June 2006

Top 10 referrers to Corporate Engagement - Giving thanks

Darren Rowse's post and suggestion on referrers prompted me to look at my own stats. I signed up to Blogbeat a few months ago, which tells me there are 2131 referrers to this site.

  1. The top of those referrers (not includinge search engines etc) turns out to be wikipedia which has two entries which link to this site (Google Generation and Purple Cow)
  2. Lifeasdaddy
  3. Our company's new site - nice job Simon
  4. PR Studies
  5. Beyond Noise
  6. Micropersuasion
  7. Thoughts from a management lawyer
  8. Stuart Bruce
  9. Problogger
  10. John Elkington

Thanks everyone. Like Darren, I've also looked through the list and found some people I'd also like to mention.

  1. Paull Young and Erin Caldwell - especially for this podcast (my first!)
  2. Andy Lark, a cool Kiwi blogger
  3. The 'Digg for PR' site - just started but already driving traffic
  4. PR Opinions - Tom Murphy in Dublin was the first person to link to me way back in 2003 whe I started blogging
  5. Naked Conversations - I don't always agree with them but they are significant and its great to be able have some conversations with them occasionally
  6. Strategic Public Relations - One of my favourites
  7. Splatt's Blog - Because Mick is a standout in the Australian blogosphere
  8. Lornitropia - great word - love it
  9. Spinopsys - a great Australian 'entrepreneurial' site
  10. Frank Arrigo - the other great Microsoft blogger

Obviously, I could go on - it's great fun checking referrer logs. Thanks to everyone who links here - blogging would be a little dull otherwise.

13 June 2006

MSN spaces - blogging on their own

I tried to get onto josh gliddon's blog to wish him happy blog anniversary and I got asked for a MSN spaces password - what's that about? If I ever had one - I've forgotten it and I couldn't be stuffed. Sorry Josh! Happy anniversary anyway.

09 June 2006

Most visited posts in May

In May, 3,160 visitors to this site accessed a total of 731 posts (slightly less than half the total available). The most popular were:
1. Gmail not working again today - 649 visitors, posted July 2004
2. Windows Live Beta - 358 visitors, posted November 2005
3. Studying the ethics of PR - 112 visitors, posted April 2006
4. White Paper on Issues Management - 106 visitors, posted September 2004
5. Arguments against corporate responsibility - 101 visitors, posted April 2004
6. Employee communications paper - 94 visitors, posted May 2004
7. Server error - welcome to gmail - 85 visitors, posted July 2004
8. Sex at work study - 79 visitors, posted January 2005
9. Wal-mart and the return to exploitation - 76 visitors, January 2005
10. Corporate speak and corporate blogging, 70 visitors, October 2004

Shows the impact of a 'long-tail', I think.

06 June 2006

Judge: Bloggers Entitled to Immunity Under Communications Act

Link: Law.com -

Bloggers cannot be hit with libel suits on the basis of anonymous postings on their Web sites because federal law grants them immunity by explicitly stating that they cannot be treated as the "publisher" of such comments, a federal judge has ruled.

24 May 2006

What if your employee blogs?

The Institute for Public Relations’ website showcases new research by Dr Donald Wright and Michelle Hinson that provides a pioneering insight into PR practitioners' views of the ethics of what employee bloggers say - and how employers react. Given that as much as five percent of the workforce now blogs, this is an emerging issue.

Wright and Hinson's paper reports on a web-based study of 294 practitioners, more than half outside the US. Forty-four percent of respondents said they are aware of situations where employees have openly communicated on blogs with most content being positive rather than negative. But when an employee blogger goes negative, what then? Almost half of respondents said it is ethical for employees to write and post negative statements about their organisations. One-third disagreed.

A substantial majority (79 percent) said it is ethical for organisations to monitor what their employees are writing and 59 percent said it is ethical for an organisation to discipline an employee who writes negative statements. Wright and Hinson say that only 15 percent of US companies have specific policies addressing work-related blogging.

09 May 2006

Crikey says that blogging is dying

Yesterday, Crikey included a bizarre piece in its subscriber email which argued that blogging was in decline and would soon go the way of CB radio. Of course, no facts or evidence was supplied to support this hopeful notion.

What most realise is that blogging is the illusion of connection, publishing into a void and thus doubly isolating. Those blogs that survive will and are evolv(ing) into multi-person sites, some with collective and decentred ways of uploading, others with hierarchies essentially identical to paper editing.

Like I said no evidence was given for this predicted demise of the stand-alone bloggger. And I don't know who the 'most' referred to in the above quote are.
The author of this piece would do well to look at the latest report from Dave Sifry which shows that the blogosphere is still doubling every six months and technorati is now monitoring over 50,000 posts every hour, interestingly more of those posts are now in Japanese than in English.
The numbers of Australian blogs are also increasing (and will do better when the broadband situation improves in this country).
And with continual improvements in networking technologies like RSS and OPML the networking in the blogosphere is getting stronger.
Of course, blogging can be seen as a competitive threat to crikey, so maybe its more wishful thinking on their part than anything.

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05 May 2006

Gmail Down, Bloggers Know Before Press

Micro Persuasion: Gmail Down, Bloggers Know Before Press.

Gmail went down several hours ago. The bloggers are all over the story. The press isn't.

I discovered it when my blogbeat stats for unique visitors jumped suddenly with visitors to my post on gmail not working (from July 2004) This comment about using Google Desktop to access unread messages might help some people.

Gmailstats

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03 May 2006

Typepad hit by denial of service attack

Six Apart Status Weblog.

Since approximately 4:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time, Six Apart has been the victim of a sophisticated distributed denial of service attack. This has affected all of Six Apart's sites, causing intermittent and limited availability for TypePad, LiveJournal, TypeKey, sixapart.com, movabletype.org and movabletype.com. Our network operations staff is working around the clock with our Internet access providers to resolve the issue. We appreciate your patience and support, and will provide updates as we have them.

01 May 2006

Blogging, podcasting and God

I'm writing a piece on this subject, anyone got any thoughts? Drop me a line.

30 April 2006

Ten most visited posts on Corporate Engagement in April

  1. Gmail not working again
  2. Studying the ethics of PR
  3. Tim Costello, get off your high horse!
  4. Corporate speak and corporate blogging
  5. Arguments against corporate social responsibility
  6. White paper on issues management
  7. WindowsLive Beta
  8. Are journalists the real spin doctors
  9. Employee communications paper
  10. Wal-mart and the return to exploitation

25 April 2006

Uses of Blogs Goes to the Printer

Uses_of_blogsUses of Blogs Goes to the Printer | Snurblog. And its got an endorsement from Robert Scoble!

"This is a broad, but deep look at the social, political, business, and academic effects that blogging is having on our society. Highly recommended!"
Robert Scoble, Corporate Blogger, Microsoft Corporation

I wrote the book's chapter on PR, so I'm very happy that the project seems to be going so well.

Plug: You can preorder at Amazon and it will out in two months or so.

As you can see the cover image emphasises the multiplication of voices through a phalanx of advancing microphones.

05 April 2006

Who is legally reponsible for the content of community sites

James Farmer at incorporated subversion raises some real issues about community sites and where the responsibility lies, he concludes:

Essentially my thoughts are that if the site:

-Makes fully clear that users are responsible for their own content
-Frames / positions the site in such a way that it is clearly understood to not be pre-moderated or even ‘post-screened’ content
-Has a clear notice on the site (or indeed on each piece of content) stating where complaints regarding libellous / defamatory content should go
-Immediately investigates and takes appropriate action in the case of a complaint

There should be no liability taken on by the provider of the service.

Sounds fair to me, but how does it stack up legally?

02 April 2006

Sydney arts blogging

I found this blog  the art life. through an article in the latest issue of Look magazine, a publication for members of the Art Gallery of NSW Society, of which I am one. The magazine is not online. It knocks me out where you find articles on blogging these days. Here is a key point from the piece by Jane Somerville:

Only a small fraction of the 100 exhibitions occurring in Sydney each month receive any coverage through the traditional forms of newspapers and art magazines.

So there is plenty of scope for blogs to fill yawning gaps in our media environment in the arts as in just about every other area of human interest.

What's amazing is just how limited old media is (was) and how unquestioning we were about those limitations. Its like we didn't really recognise the problem until we discovered the solution.

01 April 2006

Who is Amanda Chapel and why is she spamming me

Anyway, I just finished and posted a new article to Strumpette, “Church Ousts
Dominatrix from Vicarage.”  It’s a lot better that the silly Ruble goose.  I
take on the “Holy Sisters.”  I think you’ll enjoy it.  Should spark some
conversation around the water cooler.  I can just hear them.  Oh, dear.

I encourage people I know to send me stuff I'll be interested in, but I've never heard of Chapel and I don't know why she thinks anyone would be interested in this sort of drivel.

24 March 2006

Euroblog2006 presentations

News.

Turning conversations into action was one of the main themes of the international EuroBlog Symposium, which took place the last two days in Stuttgart.

Presentations.and Philip Young's commentary.

17 March 2006

ASOPA PEOPLE

ASOPA PEOPLE. Keith Jackson, JWM chairman, has started a weblog for people associated with the former Australian School of Pacific Administration. A great way of using blogs to help people stay in-touch.

15 March 2006

Dave Winer leaves heaven

"God doesn't need me anymore": Media Culpa. Modest Dave says he wants to be less important.

13 March 2006

UK: time spent online now exceeds TV watching

Joel Cere

Brits spend 164 minutes online each day, equal to more than 41 days per year, compared to 148 minutes or 37 days for TV viewers. Government statistics shows that 64% of adults regularly go online.

When it comes to blogging; nothing beats experience

Below the Fold:

While you don’t need to have been a reporter to be a good PR person, you can’t be a good blog consultant if you don’t blog yourself. Blogging is experiential – you can’t learn about it only from conferences and other blogs. It’s not just about being credible when pitching a client, it’s about being able to deliver on your promises of what blogging and the greater social web world has to offer.

08 March 2006

'Supersites' and the slow takeup of RSS

Micro Persuasion.

There's been a lot of debate about why RSS usage has been slow to take off among mainstream Internet consumers. Here's one reason. Most Web users only visit six sites on a regular basis, according to a UK study. What's more, 95% say they go online with a specific destination in mind. The researchers are calling this the 'Supersite' phenomenon.

Imagine. A whole web of informaion and opinion and most people limit themselves to just a few sites (and for most people that means old media online). Will the world ever embrace diversity?

04 March 2006

Why does Australian blogging lag behind?

I was talking to a colleague about this topic the other day and we came up with a list of possible reasons:

  1. Ongoing infrastructure issues with limited (expensive) broadband and a joke approach to wifi (blame Telstra, the Government, particularly the agrarian socialists in their midst, and an archaic ALP policy opposed to selling Telstra)
  2. A political system which strongly discourages active and open participation in party preselection processes. So today 300 people will decide Simon's Crean fate, most of them factionally aligned.
  3. An Australian reticence to voice strong opinions, as opposed to a more robust American culture
  4. The absence of one or two Australian corporate case studies of successful participation in social media. Telstra has started but we need more and a more vigorous embrace of blogging.

Any others?

02 March 2006

Telstra to launch the BigBlog says SMH

More on the Bigblog 'initiative'. I'm sceptical but we'll see.

smh.com.au.

BigPond executives were unavailable for comment on the BigBlog project but Mark Dalgleish, the managing director of C4 Communications group, which developed the BigBlog initiative with Telstra, said BigBlog was an early example of how Telstra was moving to simplify its technology platforms and content.

"This is certainly the first for Telstra where you've got an integrated product - it brings mobile and the internet together," he said. "BigBlog is just the very first step in a very big play to have an integrated content service. Traditional blogs used as web diaries have a growing place on the internet for public, media and community communications ... but the real fun stuff that will capture the imagination of the most avid mobile users is being able to go out and use their mobile phones to create their own short movies and photo journals and instantly push them up to a website.

"Finally they have a place to send and store their photos and movies. The mobile phone takes on a whole new purpose."

01 March 2006

Telstra's big blog service - not quite there yet

Young PR � Blog Archive � The Telstra Big Blog.

I just stumbled across the Telstra Big Blog site.

It looks like it has just launched. If you check the archives of the current blogs they’ve all started writing since the weekend.

I’ve done a google, technorati and factiva search on the Telstra Big Blog – with no results.

Amazing, I had a look. The first page says

Telstra1_2

While the second says:

Telstra2_1

So, big blog ain't helping anyone share just yet! Why do they do that?

How to avoid blogging excommunication

Blog evangelists have the clear eye of received truth and they don't brook scepticism so  I think Charles Wright should include commandments to his list (see Bleeding Edge) along the lines that: "Thou shalt not let thy enthusiasm dim for tracts like Cluetrain Manifesto or Naked Conversations". The first faltering in belief leads to temptation to sin and scepticism. Next thing you're writing outrageous stuff like: "I'm not sure blogging will change everything...". If Dante was writing today his inferno would hold a special nook for blog doubters; they would have to read the cluetrain forever and endlessly be forced to download and install a new one of those "promise to change your life but deliver piss all" software packages everyday. This little nook would have a sign on the gateway with "Beta World: abandon all hope ye who enter here".

28 February 2006

Has blogging peaked?

The latest fad is to claim that blogging has peaked or is even tanking.

Like the Internet, blogging has been over-hyped and is now suffering from an excessive reaction to these exaggerated claims of 'revolution', 'death of media', 'death of PR' etc.

In my view, blogging adds another dimension to our media environments. A dimension of participation and diversity of voices that was rarely, or hardly, possible before.

But there are still limitations; not everyone wants to participate, or has the time; only half Australia's population has regular internet access; while everyone can be a publisher in theory in practice only a small percentage of the population will ever have the desire and tools to do it.

Still that small percentage adds up to many millions of people and that's a lot of publishers but it doesn't add up to 'big' audiences for any but a tiny few. So only a very few bloggers are going to find this self-publishing an attractive business activity.

Jason Fry has a good summary and analysis of the various aspects of this issue - WSJ.com - Real Time.

Blogs will be everywhere in the near-future, but singling them out amid the Internet tumult will seem odd, like talking about one's favorite commerce or community sites as a group. Media companies will use blogs to track fast-moving stories and bring some much-needed attitude and voice to their brands. Corporations will use them for updates and conversations with their own employees or customers. A handful of blog empires such as Gawker Media will create new ones regularly, building brands around the hits and shuttering the misses. And yes, lots of people will build their own blogs to issue family updates, share political views or offer their own thoughts on life. (Some of them will even attract loyal readers, more exposure and make a little money.) And I hope Greg and I will still be demonstrating we're the planet's most-insane Mets fans.

But blogging will no longer be a phenomenon. When people talk about it, they'll often be referring to tools for putting up simple Web sites easily, or a certain style of Web publishing: brightly written, frequently updated and inviting reader conversation. That may feel a long way from the claims of blogging's first heady days, but then that's the way most such things turn out: Wikis aside, today's Web looks very little like Tim Berners-Lee's original idea for a kind of digital whiteboard. Blogging is easier, faster and more conversational than traditional Web publishing, but that doesn't change the fact that relatively few people actually yearn to be publishers. Nor do they particularly care what category the things they read fit into, or what technological tools produced them. That may not sound like the stuff of revolution or VC riches, but it also doesn't sound like a fad or a failure.

25 February 2006

Business Sunday story on blogging tomorrow

The story that I and Frank and others were interviewed for a few weeks ago is on Business Sunday tomorrow.

16 February 2006

What to blog about?

Link: New Millennium PR: 35 1/2 Ideas for Your Blog Posts.

If you blog long enough, you'll occasionally find yourself staring at the computer screen wondering "what am I going to write about today?" We've all been there.

Here's a list of ideas to get you started, along with an example for each. If you send me more ideas, I'll include them on the list. BTW, these are presented in no particular order.

11 February 2006

Blogging continues to grow strongly

  • Technorati now tracks over 27.2 Million blogs
  • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 5 and a half months
  • It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
  • On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
  • 13.7 million bloggers are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
  • Spings (Spam Pings) can sometimes account for as much as 60% of the total daily pings Technorati receives
  • Sophisticated spam management tools eliminate the spings and find that about 9% of new blogs are spam or machine generated
  • Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour
  • Over 81 Million posts with tags since January 2005, increasing by 400,000 per day
  • Blog Finder has over 850,000 blogs, and over 2,500 popular categories have attracted a critical mass of topical bloggers

Scoble is so 2004!

Age: "We seem to be witnessing a perturbation in the blogging world. The baton, it seems, is passing from sites like Scobleizer to Gen. Y sites like Atariboy - a mere toddler of a blog run by a 21-year-old British robotics student, Andrew Nesbitt."
Wow a new generation of bloggers already ...

31 January 2006

32 per cent of Euro PR consultants plan to never use blogs (four per cent have never heard of blogs!)

Tom Murphy at PR Opinions:

Philip Young has posted some details on the initial findings of the Euroblog 2006 survey which looked at how blogs are influencing PR around the region. The survey included over 500 respondents and found that 31 percent of respondents said they regularly write or contribute to weblogs with 26 percent saying they never do and only 4 percent having never heard of blogs. In addition 32 percent said they don't plan to use blogs at all.

The report's key findings will be published later today at the Euroblog website.

Anecdotally these figures seem high to me, I think that if you took the entire PR population of Europe there would be a lot more than 4 percent who hadn't heard of blogs. At a talk I gave last night in Cork (mix of students and practitioners) around ten percent had heard of blogs. However, I'm looking forward to digging into the detail as it appears and without doubt it's a very useful piece of work.

17 January 2006

'Naked Conversations' is rocketing up the best seller list

Amazon.com: From 1677 on the Amazon best-seller rankings yesterday to 707 today - that sounds pretty good, given that its been out for just a fortnight.

 

16 January 2006

HigherEd BlogCon 2006

Preparations for HigherEd BlogCon 2006 - Overview.

HigherEd BlogCon 2006 aims to bring together in a single Web space many of the people who are transforming academe with their use of the new tools of the Social Web. Modelled after Global PR Blog Week 2.0, Higher Ed BlogCon will focus on the use of blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasts, vblogs and other digital tools in a range of areas in academe

Wow, modeled on global PR blog week - that's great

09 January 2006

The PR benefits of audience regulation (another take)

Picking up on Trevor's point on libel laws in his post below.

Trev writes that "in addition, blogs (and podcasts) are also subject to all the normal rules (eg libel laws), so that ought to be enough".

This is something of which bloggers should be mindful.

While something they write may not be actionable in the country in which they reside (and in which they wrote the post) it can be an entirely different matter in the country where the post is read.

It was a long established legal precedent in common law countries (Australia, the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, India, Malaysia etc) that an act of defamation (or libel) occurs where the article or broadcast is perceived, NOT necessarily where it is written or published.

In other words, if you write (or post) something about an individual, which under the laws of your country is not defamatory but it is read in a country where it is defamatory, you could be sued.

Looking at it another way, for a person to sue for defamation successfully, they have to establish that they have a reputation that has been damaged. You may post a piece about an individual who does not have a reputation to protect in your country (they have no public profile) but whom is well-known in another country.

If that person can prove several other people in a particular jurisdiction (country or state) read your post (and trackbacks and comments make that easy) and that the post was injurious to his or her reputation, you could be in trouble.

The High Court of Australia considered the issue of defamation and the internet in 2002 and ruled that Melbourne-based mining magnate, Joseph Gutnick, could sue Dow Jones for defamation after the latter ran an article on the subscription Barron's Online web site, run out of the USA.

The court ruled that because Gutnick could establish that people read the Dow Jones article in the Australian state of Victoria (where he resides and has a reputation), he could sue for defamation in the Victorian Supreme Court.

The decision caused near-hysteria among many free-speech advocates, who claimed the court's decision was radical.

It wasn't. It simply re-stated precedented dating back to the mid 19th century.

Australian media lawyer, Nic Pullen, presents an excellent overview of the decision.

The Court of Appeal in England, however, has more recently cast doubts over the Australian High Court decision.

Richard Ackland writes about that decision here.

The lesson here is that defamation law as it pertains to the internet is still developing and you need to be careful.

08 January 2006

Two views on blogging

US newspaper columnist Kathleen Parker (free subscription required):

Although I've been a blog fan since the beginning, and have written favorably about the value added to journalism and public knowledge thanks to the new "citizen journalist," I'm also wary of power untempered by restraint and accountability.

Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members and better serve its communities.

Newspapers are filled with carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right.... Bloggers persist no matter their contributions or quality, though most would have little to occupy their time were the mainstream media to disappear tomorrow.

Some bloggers do their own reporting, but most rely on mainstream reporters to do the heavy lifting. Some bloggers also offer superb commentary, but most babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive.

This insightful observation can be read against a recent column on bloggers by the (Sydney) Daily Telegraph's Anita Quigley, who wrote:

For the most part they are the height of egotism, nearly always banal and often a psychological cry for help.

Why some pimply-faced geek, sicko or average Joe Blow thinks someone else wants to read every random thought that crosses their mind is beyond me.

Alongside the belief that we all have a novel in us – we haven’t – blogging is the ultimate form of narcissism.

And while some are briefly set up for business reasons, many are from ordinary people in search of fame – or rather momentary attention – having probably failed auditions for the likes of Big Brother or Australian Idol.

Having said that, I have become aware of a few worthwhile, or least entertaining, blogs.

But for every informative and moving blog there are endless whingers or attention seekers sharing intimate details of an acrimonious divorce, what they like to wear, or simply launching toxic attacks on their colleagues or bosses.

Unfortunately, this column, published in August 2005, has been archived. Thanks to Tim Blair.

And thanks to Tom Murphy for the Parker column.

 

23 December 2005

The penny drops for Scoble

Looks like Robert Scoble Shel Israel is waking up to the fact that Edelman is not really a blogger just a big PR behemoth looking for some 'thought leadership' to monetize - Naked Conversations: Edelman--The Missing Linker.
Edelman talks the talk but as Scoble Shel Israel correctly points out (belatedly) he is a long way from walking the walk. Pity he and Shel Robert didn't catch-on before the book hit the decks. (Of course, as Robert, Shel and Richard all know the Edelman name will help sell copies)
Maybe Edelman's illustrious cluetrainer blog adviser, David Weinberger, could do a little more intensive education of his client over the hols.
PS I was looking forward to Edelman participating in Global PR Week 2.0 but I don't think he's interested in that sort of online collaboration.
If Edelman wants to be a blogger he has to do a little more than just do more linking he has to be a bit more supportive of the online PR blogging community. After all Richard, participating in the efforts of others to make PR more open through the use of social media is more valuable than just writing deathless prose about the need to reform PR.
PPS I came up against the same problem with Hill & Knowlton earlier in the year. These big PR corporates have a real problem with sharing the stage and that shows up in their 'blogging' efforts.

Update 1: Major league stuff-up I didn't read who posted the referred to piece on Naked Conversations and wrongly assumed it was Robert (as my 12 yr old says, assume makes an ass out of u and me)

Update 2: Have a look at Pubsub's recording of Edelman's outlinks. Game, set and match on Shel's point about his linking behaviour)

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19 December 2005

The growing list of blogging predictions for 2006

Mutually Inclusive PR.  Get in early, the list of pundits having a stab at predicting (guessing) the future is growing rapidly.

16 December 2005

Corporate reputation in the blogosphere

This interview provides an interesting insight into what affect blogs can have on a company's reputation. Drawing on her own experience Kryptonite PR Manager, Donna Tocci, points out that even if a organisation does find itself in strife and goes into crisis management mode it can take days or weeks for a company to develop and implement a strategy to help deal with the situation at hand. Even then its often too little too late. She argues that the biggest problem that faced her company was that the "Internet moves at real time but companies sometimes can't - not won't, but can't". Keeping up with the pace of technology, particularly the speed at which the blogosphere operates at is something that PR Managers and heads of companies will have to learn how to deal with in the very near future.

08 December 2005

Australian bloggers to be silenced

According to Edmund Tadros it looks like bloggers are going to have to be even more careful about what they say once the Australian Federal Government's new sedition laws come into affect. 

Evil pundit seems to believe it won’t be quite so bad.

Sam Ward says he doesn’t even care. Here’s a link to his blog- but I wouldn’t waste the time checking it out as it appears that Sam’s sense of humour is like that of a twelve year old. 

I think it would be a great shame if bloggers are suddenly restricted in what they say because of the new sedition laws. But can we let people say exactly whatever they want especially if it is being written to try to incite violence against a particular ethnic or religious group?  I suppose a line has to be drawn in the sand somewhere. 

I’d be interested to hear how other bloggers think the sedition laws will affect the blogosphere.

Telstra starts blogging

Australia's dominant telecommunications player has started a blog nowwearetalking - homepage - homepage. They are not well-loved in many quarters so it will be interesting to follow the conversations their experiment prompts. But good on them for getting involved.

06 December 2005

Australia’s 'Best Blog' is a real barry crocker

Read the outrage: Australia’s Best Blog Announced: Blog Tips at ProBlogger and some alternate opinions over here. I've had a look at the (mostly) clueless smartyblog judges.

The Edublog Awards 2005 Shortlist

The Edublog Awards

I’m very please to announce the shortlist for the 2005 international Edublog Awards. Over 60 nominations forms went into providing this year’s list – which gives a very good overview of the quality, diversity and scope of how blogs are being used to support and extend teaching, learning, and research, and to create and reinforce educational communities.

Problems at blogger?

My friend Mark Thomson can't get his site seeking asylum downunder to load. Does anyone know if blogger is having problems, nothing on their site?

30 November 2005

The CIA enters the blogosphere

Many people use blogs as a means of communicating with employees, friends or fellow bloggers. Well the CIA has found a new use for blogs- to help in the fight against terrorism.

It has started sharing some of its information regarding some of the more 'interesting' characters in international affairs including Osama Bin Laden and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il on a series of blogs it is hosting. But don't get your hopes up that this is finally your chance to see some of the CIA's top secret documents- the blogs will only contain very general information.

The official line coming from the CIA is that the decision to set up the blogs is part of the US governments reorganisation of its intelligence agencies in response to the "failures of intelligence collection before the September 11, 2001, attacks".

Should provide for some interesting reading.

27 November 2005

Only 3% use Internet to read blogs

Link: Bloggers Blog -- Blogging the Blogosphere.

A new Pew Internet & American Life survey of 2,251 American adults (aged 18 or older) found that of the adults using the Internet only 3% are logging on to read blogs. The survey results found that people who use the Internet were logging on to do the following activities:

Email 77%
Search engine 63%
Get news 46%
Do job-related research 29%
Use instant messaging 18%
Do online banking 18%
Take part in chat room 8%
Make a travel reservation 5%
Read blogs 3%
Participate in online auction 3%

For bloggers and blog publishers the information can be both good and bad news. Bad in the fact the according to the survey the vast majority of Internet users are not logging on to read blogs but good because it means the potential for growth is very high. There is also the continuing issue that many people may be reading blogs without realizing they are on a blog. 

22 November 2005

Using internal blogs

New Communications Blogzine

“Internal communicators can use blogs for short-duration events such as an important industry conference, meetings with lawmakers or shareholders, crisis situations or marketing expos,” she says. “These can all serve as a testing ground for a corporate blog. That way, you don’t just push your CEO headfirst into an eternal commitment to the blogosphere.”

We won't get fooled again ....

Link: The Doc Searls Weblog : Saturday, November 19, 2005.

I'm on IM with Dr. Weinberger, who just told me something that's so true: Bloggers are the editorial board now. Right-on. Gotta share that with the room.

I don't think so. The point is we don't need editorial boards, no more. We don't need A-listers framing the story for us nor do we need to 'listen' to whoever gets the most links or the most hits. I really don't get this stuff - why do we editors, why can't we just decide for ourselves and read what we want without needing some authority what's ok or right?

20 November 2005

Boost your traffic by schmoozing A-listers

Naked Conversations: Why do Outbound Links?.

Your link to the more famous blogger will also show up when someone does a search to see who's talking about that person, driving still more traffic to your site.

And, of course, having all those newbie bloggers furiously linking to a-listers re-inforces the elitist structure in blogging because it guarantees even more links to the 'veteran bloggers' as Shel Israel calls them.
Personally, I prefer bloggers who write what they have to say and don't fuss too much about what the schmooze strategy. I think blogging loses its point of difference when its done with a traffic-building objective in mind rather than an objective to talk and share with anyone who happens to be interested.
Actually, its funny having Shel tell all who will listen about how the PR industry is headed to hell in a handcart and we're all going to be busing tables pretty soon and then he posts advice which seems to me like pretty traditional publicist advice. That is, if you're an unknown then try sidling up to a few heavy-hitters and hope that a bit of their celebrity magic rubs off on you. Sounds like same old, same old to me.
But, hey, my PubSub ranking has been in free-fall ever since I posted about them, and linked to them!

18 November 2005

A-lister condemns Typepad for PR pitch

PR Opinions:

Nothing makes one's heart sing more than finding some common sense among the blogging fraternity. It happens so rarely that when it occurs I find my shoulders becoming less tense and there's even a chance of warm smile invading my grumpy facade... you get the idea.

I, like many others, have grown tired and weary of the self-satisfied, holier than thou, "A-list bloggers" who believe they hold disproportionate sway on the matters of the day. This isn't everyone of course but the sooner we call time on this endless circle of self-gratification the better.

Jeremy Zawodny (no link I'm sick of this cross-linking nonsense - you'll find him on MSN :-) originally proposed a black list of PR firms (yawn) and now he's launched an invective against SixAparts's (Think MoveableType, Typepad etc.) PR firm because they pitched him a story.... jaysus. [Aside: He's a little bit precious isn't he?] Of course while he could have just deleted it, he instead wasted time writing a post on it... clearly a much better use of his time.

Absolutely, Jeremy needs to get over it. Personally, I thought Typepad handled a difficult situation with great honesty, promptness and concern.

14 November 2005

Blogs, Grassroots, and Money

Snurblog.

Phew - another day spent editing the Uses of Blogs book with Jo Jacobs; we're now very close to sending off the manuscript to Peter Lang for editorial comments and proofreading. This has turned out to be a very strong collection of essays on blogs and blogging from a wide range of perspectives, and I think it will do very well. And nothing against our original cast of contributors, but we've added a few more authors in the last few months, and they've made quite an impact as well.

I finished my essay on blogging and PR awhile ago and I'm looking forward to the book's release - its not like blogging, there's such a long time between the writing and the publication.

12 November 2005

Our ACMA session on regulation in a distributed media environmnet

Logo_broadcastingconfSplaTT's Blog: The dismissal of old media?

On the 9th and 10th of November, I had the great honour of being on a panel at this years ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) Broadcasting Conference which was held in the Australian capital, Canberra.

ACMA (a federal authority) was recently formed on 1 July 2005 by the merging of the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) and Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) and is responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, radiocommunications, telecommunications and online content in Australia.

To be asked to speak on a three person panel on the topics of podcasting and blogging in front of some of the most senior decision makers in the Australian media sphere from both the government and a number of public and private broadcasting organisations was a great opportunity to spread the word about podcasting and blogging...two of the biggest technologies that are re-shaping the traditional media world.

Thank you Mick for your participation in the conference, I’ve had plenty of good feedback about the session. Personally, I think they were captivated from the moment you told them TPN was profitable after just 10 months.

01 November 2005

75 percent of government, media and senior executive stakeholders have heard of the term ‘blogging

Link: The Financial Standard.

As for what information source can be trusted, newspapers came number one (61 percent), the internet second (30 percent) and at the bottom were radio (7 percent) and television (2 percent).

Outside these traditional sources, Edelman’s research showed that 75 percent of government, media and senior executive stakeholders have heard of the term ‘blogging’, which refers to diaries that can be read via the internet.

Online blogs have risen steadily in importance as a means to get information not seen or heard on conventional channels such as the papers or on TV.

31 October 2005

Blog search engines don't deliver traffic

Scobleizer .

blog search engines like Technorati aren’t bringing him any noticeable traffic. That matches what I’m seeing in my referer logs too. I wonder if Google’s blog search is going to change that much. I doubt it. Time-based search isn’t as easy to use as link-based-relevancy-search like what Google’s main engine gives us.

25 October 2005

UK companies slow to use blogs

While blogs create a public relations revolution in corporate America, the UK is only just starting to get the message.

A survey conducted by UK blog monitoring company, Market Sentinel, found that not one FTSE100 company has taken the step of launching a corporate blog.

Blogs have revolutionised corporate communications for Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Avon, FedEx, Motorola and McGraw Hill. An increasing number of corporations realise that, with 27% of Americans using blogs for news, it is vital to engage this technology.

The number of global blog users has passed 10 million and is growing at 13% a week.

16 October 2005

The challenges of academic blogging

Rhetorica: Press-Politics Journal: To blog or not to blog... “By late 2005, I'm not sure these reasons are valid. The blogosphere is bursting with academic bloggers. And many of us use our blogs as public notes about our research interests--a valuable source of feedback for those of us who imagine an audience of more than academics for our work.”

12 October 2005

A list of early PR bloggers

Phil Gomes' Personal Web Site | BLOG  “here's a list of some of the earliest blogs either from PR people or about PR, in order of date of first post. I've constrained it to 2003 and earlier.”

03 October 2005

Survey: Shoppers use blogs

We’re going to see a lot more of these surveys, they have enormous significance for corporate communication strategists

BBC NEWS | Technology |

Consumers are starting to use weblogs, or blogs, as guides to what they should and shouldn't buy, finds a survey.

More than three-quarters of those questioned in the research said they had consulted blogs before shopping.

01 October 2005

Why Write or (blog) ?

The Big Picture: Why Write ? "I write to discover what I think," Boorstin explained. "After all, the bars aren't open that early (5am)."

27 September 2005

PubSub list reveals potency of traditional media

Very few blogs in the top 100. The top .au domain is good old aunty
Link: PubSub.

The PubSub LinkRanks 1000 is a list of the most consistently influential sites that publish feeds, based on their average LinkRank scores over the past 30 days.

25 September 2005

Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents

Link: Reporters sans fronti�res - Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents.

"It's the End of the Blogosphere As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

Business Blog Consulting:  “In short, he's concerned that like video game networks, blogging networks will accelerate the boom/bust cycle, paying bloggers more and more money to jump ship, driving up ad rates, until the bottom drops out. Basically, he's warning against speculation.”

15 September 2005

Masterclass on Blogs, wikis and RSS

I'll be facilitating this masterclass in Sydney on 1 December 2005, let me know if you're interested in learning more about it.

12 September 2005

Global PR Blog Week 2.0 - one week to go

Link: Global PR Blog Week 2.0.

The Global PR Blog Week 2.0 is an online event that will engage public relations, marketing and business professionals from around the globe in a discussion about how new communications technologies are changing public relations and business communication.

Free PR Blogs

Technorati tags being ignored by most bloggers

TechBlog:

the vast majority of bloggers don't use them. For proof, go to Technorati and do a general search on Katrina -- almost 29,000 English-language posts at this writing. Then search again for Katrinia, but this time just on the tags -- 432 posts right now. Technorati tags are too much the purview of the geek elite to be useful at the moment.

08 September 2005

Radio National interview on blogging and PR

I was interviewed for the media report when I was in Canberra for my presentation to the public affairs convention. Like many Radio National programs, the media report is provided as a podcast, which is available here. This is a 30 minute program consisting of 3 interviews. The first interview is about crisis management with Sam Elam of media Manoeuvres, I'm the second interviewee and the discussion ranges across the impact blogging might have on the pr industry. A transcript should be available here soon.

Update: Here's the transcript
If you’re a regular listener you’ll know that we’ve talked about blogging a lot this year. But for the most part we’ve focused on how it’s affecting journalism. Trevor Cook has a different perspective: he’s a blogger and a PR executive.

Trevor Cook: Well I think that it’s made it more interesting in lots of ways. To be fair, it hasn’t had a huge impact on my job at the moment, starting to emerge as something we do, and it’s made it very much easier in the way I access information, the way I monitor the media, the way I can stay in touch with what’s going on, and what people are talking about. So it’s made it easier that way, and it’s made it more interesting in a sense, that there’s a lot more range of information that’s easily available.

Richard Aedy: But I mean, people like Jay Rosen, have said ‘This will be the death of your industry’, because you can’t control bloggers, like journalists can be managed with media management.

Trevor Cook: Yes, well I don’t think it will be the death of the industry, in fact I think the industry might grow quite strongly. But the industry will definitely change. I mean it’s a crossroads for the industry because PR has been a bit of a response to the media gateway. If the media gateway is gone, then a lot of those techniques about spin and things like that, controlling the message, single spokesmen and all that sort of stuff will become much more problematic.

Richard Aedy: So this is PR but in a post-spin world? That’s what you’re saying?

Trevor Cook: Yes, well spin’s always sort of a dirty word for it, but PR in a world where it’s no new cycle, things are happening all the time, you don’t know who the new journalists are going to be, I mean anyone who wants to set up a blog, and it takes about two minutes, can set up a blog and start criticising you and using search engines and stuff. That criticism can become as valid as any other criticism.

Richard Aedy: That is happening, isn’t it. I mean people are copping flak from one or two or a dozen bloggers and all of a sudden that generates its own momentum.

Trevor Cook: Yes, that’s right. Recently Dell had a service problem, with their support service for a laptop bought by one of the world’s sort of prominent bloggers, a guy called Jeff Jarvis who has the BuzzMachine blog, and he started sort of very angrily criticising their service, or lack of it, through his blog. Other bloggers chimed in and said Yes, they’d had similar problems, and Dell should do something about it. And pretty soon the media started picking up on it, you know, they started reading and then sort of Dell had this sort of snowballing thing where they had to deal with it, they had to start talking to Jarvis about it, but they should have started talking a lot earlier. I mean it was a sort of you know slow play for a company that should have known better.

Richard Aedy: What would you have told them, Trevor, if they’d come to you?

Trevor Cook: Well I think the classic response in a blogging world is to sort of take the criticisms head-on and to say, Well, you know, these people have criticised our support in these areas. You might want to admit to some failings there, you would want to say how you were going to address those failings, but you would link to the bloggers who were criticising you, you would become part of what they call the conversation, and you would try not to deny it, which is what Dell has used, a classic sort of big company response is to say Well you know, until our arse is on fire we’re not going to bother doing anything. And I just don’t think that’s appropriate any more.

Richard Aedy: So you’re talking about the classic, what I call the ‘Peter Beattie response’ to things.

Trevor Cook: Yes, that’s right. Well that’s what I’m sort of advocating. But you have to do it much more frequently and before it gets out of control. So before the noise level’s ramped up, you’re monitoring the bloggers. If you see one blogger complaining about you, you might want to respond to that. You’d certainly want to respond to it if you start noticing bloggers chiming in and saying, ‘Yes, we’ve had problems too, same sort of problems.’ And you really have to intervene before it takes off.

Richard Aedy: Are you finding that clients are aware of the blogosphere?

Trevor Cook: No. I have blogs on my C.V and a couple of CEOs in the insurance industry recently asked me what a blog was. But I think people are starting to get interested, certainly in the IT sector where I do some work, people are aware of them. I don’t think people are aware of the potential of them yet, particularly in Australia. I think in the US it’s much more developed than it is here, but it’s changed a lot in the last six months; business has become a lot more interested, I’ve been asked to do a masterclass type seminar on blogs and wikis for the corporate sector later this year. So that’s based on research that people are saying What’s this all about?

Richard Aedy: Because it’s easy to think of public relations as all about managing the media. Media relations in fact. But in fact half of what you do, or a good portion of what you do, is telling your clients what their stakeholders think of them. So blogs would be great for that.

Trevor Cook: Yes, that’s right. The classic good thing that a PR person can do is to be the sort of voice of the stakeholder internally, the person who talks on behalf of the stakeholders as if it were representing stakeholders to management. Management of companies often become a bit tunnel vision, a bit group-think in their responses, and a good PR person can say Well look, I don’t think that’s right, and with blogging, the PR person now has a lot of support. He can now point to voices of criticism, and not just say Well I think, but say Well here’s the evidence. So it could actually help a lot of PR people in dealing with management about some of these issues.

Richard Aedy: So how’s it going to change the job, do you think, over the next five years?

Trevor Cook: It’s very hard to predict, because these things move so fast. Podcasting’s only 12 months old, and so it’s changing very rapidly. But I think it will change our jobs, and make our jobs I think in PR much more interesting, because we’re much more the interface between stakeholders and managers than we have (been) before, between stakeholders and companies, and we’ll have a much broader range of tools, and we’d be able to publish our stuff straightaway, we won’t have to spend our time managing the media gateway so there’ll be many more opportunities for us. And so I think it’ll be a more open, more fluid sort of a job. I think the news cycle is just about dead as a concept, because this stuff, you know, it doesn’t have to wait till the morning papers, and let’s see whether the TV news pick it up later on in the day, or whether talkbacks pick it up. Something can happen, and it can become a big issue within an hour or two if it’s a bad enough thing that a company’s done. So we won’t have news cycles, we’ll have to respond in real time. So it will be more demanding like that too.

Richard Aedy: Aren’t most people still going to continue to get their news from the paper and the evening television, and breakfast radio? Those things aren’t going away.

Trevor Cook: No, they’re not going away at all, and prophecies of the death of traditional media are ludicrous, but people are starting to integrate blogs and podcasts and that into their media mix, you know. I think that I’m still going to listen to the ABC or watch programs like that on big things. But also there’s lots of small things I’m interested in that I’m not going to get in the media so much. If I am interested in talking about the support that Dell or anyone else is giving them, blogs is a perfect place to talk about that, and if I want to find out about that, then that’s where I’ll go.

Richard Aedy: Because with the proliferation of blogs, which have been growing so fast, you know, I don’t, how many there are now. How many are there, Trevor?

Trevor Cook: Well there’s 14-million – it’s very hard to measure because it depends. But 14-million’s a good figure.

Richard Aedy: Let’s go with 14-million. The thing is if there’s even say 10% of those are about news, or 1-million call it, it’s easier, as somebody on the web, to trust what the BBC says or CNN or The New York Times or The Australian or whoever, a trusted news brand. Surely that has more value than in the past?

Trevor Cook: It does, but I think that trust will be put to the test. We saw that with Dan Rather and CBS last year, you wouldn’t have thought there was a more trusted source imaginable, but he was brought low by bad research, or too keen to get the story up. And I think with something like The Daily Telegraph’s performance last week, that maybe people will say, Well I’d like to see other views on this, I’d like to read what other people are saying about John Brogden’s past, or whatever, before they just accept what The Telegraph might say about it.

Richard Aedy: I bet they don’t lose a single reader.

Trevor Cook: I don’t know, I think you could be wrong about that. I think the pushback, I don’t think they’ll lose readers, but the pushback, and I think there has been a genuine sort of community revulsion about going too far; once he resigned it was Game Over as far as most of the public were concerned, I think.

Richard Aedy: Yes. Trevor Cook’s a Director of the PR firm Jackson Wells Morris.

01 September 2005

ACMA Broadcasting Conference 2005 Update

The inaugural ACMA broadcasting conference is being held on 9 and 10 November this year. The 2-day event will explore the way the broadcasting industry is changing, and the implications of those changes for its regulation.

The Australian Broadcasting Authority’s annual conference was a successful event, rated highly by industry professionals, policy makers and analysts alike.

This year’s event builds on that tradition by presenting a comprehensive program with top-level expert speakers.

Day one presents a series of sessions built around the value chain of the industry:

Content Creation > Aggregation > Transmission > Access Devices > Sales & Marketing

Each session will identify current trends and likely developments in that sector of the industry, with discussion led by experts.

Confirmed conveners include:

  • Ross Henderson, Director, Panasonic AVC Networks Australia
  • Rose Herceg, CEO Pophouse
  • Justin Milne, Managing Director, Bigpond

Day two will probe a number of likely regulatory pressure points:

  • What’s the future of news and current affairs regulation in a world of blogging podcasters and search engines?
  • How can platform-based regulation deal with increasingly blurred industry boundaries?
  • What’s the future for the role of non-commercial media?

Confirmed expert speakers include:

  • Nick Abrahams, Partner, Deacons
  • John Battle, Head of Compliance, ITN
  • Trevor Cook, Director, Jackson Wells Morris
  • Graeme Samuel, Chairman, ACCC
  • Georgia-Kate Schubert, Manager Public Policy, Vodafone
  • Mick Stanic, Technology Evangelist/Digital Solutions Architect, Principus

Along with the speakers listed above, Richard Hooper, Deputy Chair of the UK’s merged super-regulator Ofcom, will present a very timely keynote presentation - a retrospective on the lessons learned from combining regulators in converging industries.

Registration for the conference is now available at www.acma.gov.au/events with savings available for those who register before 23 September.

31 August 2005

Kylie, Adelaide design student, critiques this site

Kylie's Blog Page!!: First Blog Critique: Corporate Engagment

To be honest, I would not have even looked at this site if I were generally “surfing the net” as it is not really of any interest to me.

I love enthusiasm

26 August 2005

Shel Israel: Blogging Is Becoming Ruder Than Talk Radio, Despite Its Openness and Possibility

B.L. Ochman's weblog -

Blogging is evolving, Israel says. At the beginning, blogging was a new freedom, "like getting the keys to the car when dad isn't following." Now blogs are becoming a legitimate channel. "We have credibility. We can bring down giants and then make new giants."

For companies, "blogging is conversational marketing … two way communications. Think of what blogging can do for customer support or business development."

22 August 2005

Online opinion is good news for Labor

This analysis is a little premature and a little hopeful. Bloggers in the US were described as left-wing talkback last year, but I think the right do just as well online.

Link: Online opinion is good news for Labor - Creative & Media - theage.com.au.

AMID all the discussion over the impact of the new forms of media on mainstream outlets, little analysis has been offered of the practical consequences for political opinion making.

These will be significant, at least in Australia. The rise of alternative online media, especially the extraordinary growth of the blogging phenomenon, may finally disturb a structural advantage long enjoyed by the conservative side of Australian politics.

17 August 2005

From pamphlets (blogs) to media agglomeration (tertiary blogging)

Is it a case of new medium, same old realities? (aka the triumph of the A-list probloggers)

Link: SYNTAGMA: Are There Three Blogospheres?.

Tertiary blogging is at the same stage in its cycle as the pamphlets and broadsheets that were handed out in the streets of 18th-century London. Way back then, some businesses saw the commercial possibilities of them and the best people were drawn in and consolidated. Today’s mainstream media grew out of that movement. Now the mainstream is giving way as the best of the pamphleteering blogs and bloggers naturally coalesce.

I made some complementary points in my paper "Up against reality: blogging and the cost of content" which I gave at Blogtalk Downunder earlier this year.

15 August 2005

Upcoming speaking engagements

First up, I'm doing a session on the difference new technologies can make to the way we communicate for the Media Alliance / Walkley Foundation's annual public affairs convention in Canberra 7th September. Program here.
Next up, I'm doing a session on "using blogs and wikis and podcasts to share information and improve performance" for Intranets '05 in Sydney on 27th October. Some details here. I can send you a pdf of the progam if you're interested.
Finally, I'm conducting a session on news and current affairs in an era of blogging and podcasting in Canberra on 10th November for the Australian Broadcasting Authority's annual broadcasting conference. You can register for email updates here. The ABA is Australia's radio, television and Internet regulator.
If you attend any of these sessions please say hello.

Pay-for-play can be a problem in the blogosphere

Link: FT.com / Comment & analysis / Columnists - Thomas W. Hazlett: Pay-for-play can help music  .

In music, bribery stratagems can be amusing but compact disc buyers are not much scandalised by corporate marketing indiscretions. Nor are cinema-goers who applaud films whose producers collect millions of dollars in product-placement fees. Some forms of “plugola” seem downright respectable.

But when news content is compromised by financial conflicts, jaws drop. Because journalism is valued to the degree that it delivers the straight scoop, reputable news organisations maintain rules to ensure independence and, hence, credibility. What, though, of internet-based information? How do online readers avoid trash-for-cash? Already, the blogosphere has been rocked by revelations that political candidates and corporate interests promote their views by paying some – supposedly independent – authors of web diaries to adopt them. How is the reader to know?

The network economy has brought specialised content and a greater variety of opinions, enriching the marketplace of ideas. But the advantages afforded by large, established and respected news organisations are equally real. The demand for authentic information answers the query posed by many as to what traditional media are to do in the internet age. By maintaining their brand names and values, print publications and broadcasting organisations compete to supply �journalistic integrity in cyberspace.

The big issue is whether the blogosphere - being a free maket in ideas and communication - can be self-regulating? Will the good guys expose the bad guys, and help keep them a little more honest? Or will the blogosphere be swamped in drivel and dodgy drivel at that?

I don't think anyone can answer this question yet - but its going to be a fascinating experiment - unlike anything the world has seen before.

31 July 2005

Fighting blog depression

Link: a nonist public service pamphlet.

there is a growing epidemic in the cyberworld. a scourge which causes more suffering with each passing day. as blogging has exploded and, under the stewardship of the veterans, the form has matured more and more bloggers are finding themselves disillusioned, dissatisfied, taking long breaks, and in many cases simply closing up shop. this debilitating scourge ebbs and flows but there is hardly a blogger among us who has not felt it’s dark touch. we’re speaking, of course, about blog depression.

The answer, of course, is to blog when you feel like it and to not expect that you're going to become an a-lister making big bucks.

21 July 2005

FT editor on blogging, future of newspapers

From Andrew Gowers - I Want Media

IWM: What is your opinion of blogging?

Gowers: I think it is both a fad and something of great potential significance. The faddish part is the idea that everybody can be a blogger, and that this will somehow supplant journalism. That's clearly nonsense, and the vast majority of "Daily Me" blogs are like a vast, overheated Internet chat room.

But there are some things of great value out there in the blogosphere, and the growth of blogs has brought into vivid relief the true interactive potential of the Web.

IWM: Younger consumers are said to be abandoning traditional newspapers for alternate news sources. Are newspapers in danger of becoming irrelevant?

Gowers: I don't believe so -- but I do believe newspapers have to change. They have to focus on what they're good at -- summarizing, prioritizing, analyzing and reflecting on the news, providing unique and unexpected insights, and also using the Web as a real-time companion.

IWM: Are more of your readers moving online? Could the paper version of the FT completely disappear one day?

Gowers: Yes, more readers are going online all the time, and we welcome that. Does it mean that print will disappear? I doubt it -- at least in my lifetime. But I'm middle-aged, and I'd never say never.

18 July 2005

Another journo about to get bloggered

One of my favourite bloggers, Scott Burgess, is making waves in the UK after revealing a trainee journalist at the Guardian newspaper is a member of one of England's most extreme Islamist organisations.

Scott's efforts have been picked up in the Independent newspaper.

Dilpazier Aslam, who has been allowed to report on the London bombings from Leeds and was also given space to write a column in last Wednesday's edition of The Guardian, is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical world organisation which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law.

Aslam is no Dan Rather but maybe another journalist is about to be bloggered.

12 July 2005

Bad pitching migrates to blog relations

Tom Murphy has assembled an extensive list of links on this important issue:

For as long as I can remember, and that's quite a long time, journalists have bitched and moaned about the inadequacy of Public Relations. They are inundated with badly written, badly pitched, irrelevant stories and ideas. No matter how much they give out however, it never seems to change. That's not to say there aren't fantastic pitches taking place every day - there clearly are - but there are just as many poor pitches.

As blogs continue to proliferate, it should be no surprise that the art of poor pitching has migrated to the world of blog relations. We regularly read bloggers giving out about poorly thought out pitches. Furthermore, these inept PR pitches are potentially far more damaging than their media counterparts, because bloggers often name and shame the perpetrators - wouldn't that fact alone make you think twice? Obviously not.

Like Tom, I'm disappointed by the way people pitch bloggers. I still get people who send me the old "I've blogrolled you, so why not blogroll me" pitch email. Good grief, that's so 2003! 

Really, I love getting tips on good stuff I'm interested in. But like a journalist, I find it so annoying when I get pitched about stuff from people who clearly do not read my blog. As with good media relations, the trick is to know the work of individuals (journalists and bloggers) well enough to know what they'll want to hear about.

The 'hail mary' passes are lame in media relations, they absolutely absurd in blog relations.

Blogging up the Ladder

From Citizen Spin: "Time spent on your resume or CV could be better spent blogging according to an article in the latest edition of The Economists Intelligent Life (Summer 2005, p141). The article Blogging up the Ladder suggests that an intelligent blog can be an aid to creating and individual online brand, which in turn can be used to further your career."

25 June 2005

Tom Murphy punctures the Rubel hype

 Tom Murphy of PR Opinions has taken the machete to Steve Rubel’s latest piece of fantasy, and good on him for doing it. I doubt the sort of silliness that Rubel and some other ‘evangelists’ go on with really helps the pr blogging cause. I mean who can front up to a CEO or a corporate communications manager and say things like ‘the press release is dead’ or ‘forget wire services and use RSS’. You would just be dismissed as a ranter. And with good reason, where are the real-world numbers to back this hype. The growth of blogs and podcasting has been extraordinary, and there is no sign of it stopping. But, and its a big but, we’re talking about a small, small percentage of the population that uses blogs and RSS. Plus, and its a big plus, new tools / mediums don’t have a good record of replacing the old. We still want to get coverage in print even with the ubiquity of TV. It’s horses for courses, basic stuff. The only sensible thing to say to a client or a boss, for the forseeable future (and I’m talking years) is that we should be using press releases and blogs, wire services and RSS (and, no kidding, the telephone) and so on. Use what works where.

Here are some pertinent quotes from Tom:

Steve Rubel's recent post on 'blogs are the new press releases' has annoyed me sufficiently to pen a response.

 The sooner we acknowledge that we are in the business of effective communications the better.  Putting forward the notion that blogs will destroy all that's gone before might create fantastic 'link juice' among the blogeratti but in my opinion it's not credible.

All PR practitioners understand that the most effective campaigns use the appropriate tools, in the appropriate manner to reach, educate and inform a specific audience.  These audiences vary from staff, to customers, prospects, analysts, journalists, the local community etc. etc.

Do we think that blogs will turn an unnewsworthy press release into something that's newsworthy? No. Will blogs turn badly written content into well written content? No.

Will RSS replace wire feeds? Not in the near future.  That's the 1990's equivalent of putting press releases on your web site and assuming everyone that matters to your organization will read it.  Is that what you really think?

All I ask is that we take a pragmatic look at how blogs intersect with our existing tools, let's get realistic.

C’mon Steve you’re a real world pr practitioner, as well as a big-time blogger, I think its time to reality test some of your evangelism.

12 June 2005

Stop evangalising, stop dismissing and let's start using

A PR Guru's  Musings:  "... My view about blogging is that it is simply another communications channel. It has its own nuances that you must understand if you are to use it effectively. But just as the web and email haven't yet killed off the printed newspaper or TV advertising, neither will blogging.

My very strong belief is that any business that is not blogging very soon will be making a huge mistake, but it's not going to change your world. It's another tool that communications professionals must understand and adopt.

... So let's inject a bit of reality. Blogs are simply another communications channel. Stop evangalising, stop dismissing and let's start using."

11 June 2005

Trust the bloggers? Who can you believe online?

Citizen Spin: "Dan Gilmor, in his book 'We the Media. Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People', asks whose information you can trust online? He concludes there is a lack of framework for establishing the veracity of information and the credibility of the author. He calls for: "A reliable reputation system world allow us to verity people and judge the veracity of the things they say based, in part, on what people we trust say about them."

There are already some systems in place for checking the reputation of individuals within online communities - look at the way eBay operates its ratings system. Would this be appropriate for sources of information online, or corporate web sites?" 

Bloglines indexing half a billion RSS posts

Bloglines indexing half a billion RSS posts  "Looking for a sign that RSS is exploding? Bloglines will be announcing today that they're tracking half a billion news  posts and blog articles. This has doubled in six months, and is adding between 2 million and 2.7 million syndicated articles a day. At this rate, I'm guessing the index reaches one billion before the first pitch of the World Series."

10 June 2005

RSS and the future of websites

B.L. Ochman's weblog Umm, I was joking when I said that instead of individual blogs we should all just publish RSS feeds that can be read on Feed Burner, etc. I was being sarcastic.

Perhaps you were joking BL but I’m starting to think that RSS might change the whole web and that people will have to re-think their website strategies. I’m just not interested in any media site that doesn’t have RSS for instance. And my blog reading habits are only possible because of RSS. The consequence is that my main contact with blogs these days is through my aggregator, like it or not.

04 June 2005

RSS and the future of 'traditional websites'

I’ve heard a few people speculating on this recently, RSS may make websites less relevant perhaps even a tad passe. From Matt McAlister: “The day InfoWorld's top news RSS feed received more requests than our home page, I started thinking a frightening thought: RSS is doing to the Web today what the Web has been doing to print for the last several years.  We have disintermediated our Web site by offering our news in an easier to access format...again.  Just as the Web ultimately created more opportunity rather than less, RSS will open up some new doors for the media business.”

Blogtalk downunder interviews

Mick Stanic talks with me and:

G’day World - The Blogtalk Downunder Sessions #2 (MP3 - 13.6MB - 39min 32sec)

31 May 2005

Naked Conversations: Trevor Rebuts our PR chapter

I’ve submitted my 500 words to Shel Israel and Robert Scoble as requested and its online:

Last week, after we published a chapter entitled Survival of the Publicists, we received a good deal of unfavorable feedback that was split into two camps, one of which argued that we had been too kind to some PR practitioners we had spotlighted favorably in a chapter that wonders if PR as it is currently being practiced may be among the casualties of the blogging revolution. The other group argued, that despite my 25 years in the field, we were clueless as to what it was all about. Among the latter group was Trevor Cook, a director of the Sydney-based PR firm of Jackson Wells Morris, whom Robert and I thought took an intelligent and constructive approach in trying to dissect our chapter point by point. As a result we will be making some changes to the chapter, including excerpts of Trevor's additional comments which he submitted at our request. They are printed in full here: Naked Conversations

You can also hear discussions of this ‘episode’ on the Hobson and Holtz reports for May 26 and May 30. You can also read a great interview with Neville Hobson in PR Week.

26 May 2005

The full-feed RSS debate hots up

From Desirable Roasted Coffee:

Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome comes down hard on full-text RSS feeds, ostensibly because ... well, it's never apparent why he doesn't like them. Just that he's not going to have them anymore.

I'd bet, though, it's because he'd like to drive his site ad revenues up.

B. L Ochman comes down with four feet against full feeds. Why? It helps click-through on ads.

Also read Constantin Basturea on "Why I'm asking for full-text RSS feeds?".

UPDATE: I've switched back to full feeds

25 May 2005

Trevor: Help Us Write a Better Book

From: Naked Conversations:

Trevor,

Thanks for some very constructive comments. Our editor will be incorporating some changes into the chapter based on your input. We'd also like to incorporate your voice and perspective more directly.

Could you send us 500 words or so about why you disagree? We'll post them on this site, and then insert them into the chapter, just above or below the "Blog or Die" subhead near the end of the chapter.

We'd like to use you as a third-party viewer, the same way we used Walt Mossberg in Chapter 2, disagreeing in part with what we had to say on Microsoft, or how Seth Godin in Chapter 3, inserted comments on why word of mouth alone is not enough.

Thanks for helping us write a better book.

I said yes, of course.

24 May 2005

How could the Scoble / Israel chapter be improved?

On the comments to chapter 7 on publicists, Robert Scoble asked how I would change the chapter (as opposed to just criticising it) which is a fair enough challenge, so here is my response (which I also posted as a comment on Naked Conversations):

1. drop the "blogs vs PR, good vs.evil" stance.
2. acknowledge that most of us hacks spend most of our time trying to get what our clients' want to say to their audiences (their messages if you will) through the sieve of the media. In fact, PR is as it is because the media is at it is. Media are gatekeepers and we're the guys who try to get our boys to the top of the queue and through the door. We do that by making their pitch to those cynical and jaded journos as compelling as possible.
3. on other occasions we play gatekeeper when our clients are worried (often with bloody good reason) that the media will do them over and focus on the negatives and emphasise the conflicts and all that other good 'life as a football match' stuff that journos love because it sells and if the story sells they get in the paper or on the bulletin and further up the front of the paper or maybe even lead the bulletin
4. another reason we worry about our clients is that the media can destroy a reputation on the front page one day and when you point out their errors, and mention litigation, you'll get a grudging retraction on p3, and they'll come after you again as soon as they can (believe me I have recent personal experience. man if you think pr people are control freaks you should try talking to some of the media people we have to deal with (they ain't the truth-telling saints they make out to be)
5. If you understand the reality of pr as we live it day in and out you can then see a lot of quite sensible reasons why pr should love blogs
6. For instance, blogs allow us to engage directly with audiences and to escape the noose of the media. We can correct errors, we can publish reports and transcripts, we can converse with real people in real times and so on.
7. People who want to know about us can come visit they don't have to rely on media stories
8. And so on ...
9. For real communicators, as opposed to the cartoon PR version, blogging promises to be the breakthrough we have been waiting for.

"Gmail not working"

In July last year, I was angered by an outage on gmail which stopped me getting access to my mail for many hours. Naturally, I blogged about it. For the past ten months, 'gmail not working' has been the number one way that people come to my site by googling. So much so that if you google, 'gmail not working' my post comes up number one.

This is a bitter-sweet thing on a number of levels. I'm actually very happy with my gmail account and I use it all the time. (obviously not everyone is because it continues to generate lots of unhappy comments). Second, this little consumer complaint of mine continues to inflate my traffic count. Not that it matters much I suppose, but it leaves me wondering whether one of the best ways of boosting traffic is to write lots of stuff about products, good and bad. Steve Rubel, for instance, ...

22 May 2005

Analysing Scoble and Israel on PR

There is a lot of cheering out there for this stuff – Naked Conversations: Chapter 7: Survival of the Publicists – but its hard to see why:

The end result is a large number of people see the PR practitioner in the way of the truth, someone who guides company spokespeople to mislead or at a very minimum, control the message to the advantage of the company, not the public who feels it has a right to know what’s going on.

This ignores the reality that PR is about communication – some are not good at it – but PR has always been about getting information out in a way that advances the cause of the company. I can’t imagine companies setting up blogs to get out information that damages their interests.Do you have examples of a company encouraging its employees to blog against the interests of the company, now that would be revolutionary.

Bloggers enjoy a reverse image. They write in the plainest of language—so unrefined that postings sometimes scream for a good edit.

All bloggers are honest and always tell the truth – how naive do you have to be to buy that one.The image of bloggers beyond the blogosphere is trite they are seen as teenagers, ranters, pyjama-clad obsessives, nutters and so on. Bloggers do not have a good reputation, or any reputation at all, among the general populace. This inability to take a broad perspective is a major flaw in this chapter.

Blogs just get posted by a single, approachable person (as opposed to the ‘authorised’ media release).

Does Robert Scoble blog on behalf of Microsoft, does anyone? Does Microsoft leave it to bloggers to announce corporate strategies, new products, financial results and so on without talking to anyone else in the organisation. Just go for it, no rules? I don’t think so.

The only PR involvement was Scoble requested—and received— PR agency permission before he publicly cited his CEO Steve Ballmer’s internal document.

The only? Has Scoble ever made a request rejected by the PR agency (what did he do after the rejection), and why does he need their permission? And what about all the bloggers sacked for writing about their companies? Even if Scoble’s experience has been uniformly positive, is that true of other companies?

While traditional PR most certainly has the ability to amplify, the difference is that, in blogging, receivers decide what gets amplified. In traditional PR campaigns it’s the senders and their budgets.

In traditional PR the receivers are journalists and they decide what gets amplified not the PR person.

Indeed, may (Sic) people have come to call the traditionalist PR practitioners the “command and control” school.

Who? What evidence do they have that PR people ‘command and control’, some days I have wished this was true, but it ain’t.

How does Waggener Edstrom adapt? The PR agency e-mails Microsoft’s bloggers, giving them the information and having them serve as a global distribution system of company news.

A great way for traditional PR to incorporate blogging in their traditional strategies? I suspect this is the real story. Like IBM, many companies will encourage employees to blog good news and promote the company, and boost its performance.

Noel Hartzell, at Sun Microsystems says cultures will determine which PR teams will evolve and which will not. “Our PR team is thinking about how to use technology and culture as a corporate weapon and blogging does both. We help feed the right information into the right channels. What could be better for a PR organization than blogs,” he said.

Yep. They’re all at it. Same old. Same old. Are bloggers so gullible that they just rush off and spruik whatever the PR company feeds them?

Rubel has found himself catapulted into a position of great influence somewhat to his surprise and his innovative programs for clients may elevate also to guru status.

Oh please! Rubel has been working his butt off to get himself elevated to guru status, good luck to him. But it didn’t just happen! In fact his rise shows how a PR person can use blogs to promote his most important client, himself.

This, it seems to us, changed the traditional PR role. Instead of standing as a gatekeeper in the middle of the conversation, Rubel connected the parties then stepped back to let them talk directly without him.

Every PR person does that – its called an interview.

Rubel posted several blogs at Micro Persuasion and in characteristic humility

Hhhmmm

Rubel remains the sole CooperKatz blogger,

Why?

Edelman takes advantage of his prominent position to demonstrate his own thought leadership as well.

Good grief, what follows in the chapter is a lengthy and breathless ad for Edelman

Before starting a blog, she advises people to know what image they intend to project. “It’s important to think about how that new ‘voice’ will impact your client’s business and how and where it can benefit them strategically.

How is this different to traditional PR?

Holtz sees blogging fitting progressively into this chronology of online activity. His blog is an extension of a subscription-based newsletter that he’s done for years, which if course is now RSS syndicatable. But there are modest changes, including the time he invests in his blogging and podcasting.

Sensible stuff.

Despite his attempt to put blogging into perspective,

Much better to just hype it beyond belief I suppose?

“But when I read that blogs will replace press releases (as one example), I just have to laugh. A press release is the official, authoritative, final statement of record by an organization. A press release can be distributed in a manner that accommodates securities regulations. They may be lowly, but they have a place. Blogs can't replace that. Blogs also can't brew a perfect cup of coffee. What am I trying to say here? You'll find no bigger advocate for companies understanding and employing the power of blogs -- and recognizing the awesome impact of blogs on the business -- than me. But I have always believed that new media don't kill old media; they only force old media to adapt. Blogs are, unquestionably, transformational.

Excellent.Good old Shel Holtz is almost saving this otherwise ludicrous piece of self-parody.

It seems to us legal compliance is a weak argument for the time, expense and occasional animosity releases require.

Weak argument? Risking a jail sentence? Tell that to a CEO!

What’s wrong with releases, we think, is not that they exist, it’ in their inability to speak with clarity and succinctly on the subjects they seek to amplify.

Why can’t they? Its just a writing task.

Blogging is not the answer but it is clearly an answer.

This conclusion hardly seems in keeping with the lurid rhetorical thread running through this chapter about the death of PR etc.

To lovers of communications command and control—we think Holtz is right, you never were in control.

But if there never was control in PR than what is changing?

And guys – It would have been good to have looked a bit beyond IT and to have looked at PR in a bit more detail, with perhaps some facts somewhere in the chapter to just give it a bit more grounding. Its floating like a balloon at the moment.

Will a Scoble link make you a PR Genius?

There’s a lot of this sort of nonsense floating around these days:

Public relations in the blogosphere seems to operate under a new set of rules than traditional PR. With traditional PR you hire a PR firm that has relationships with various journalists and media. With the new PR, you start your own blog (assuming of course you have something worthwhile to say) and you work to become one of the blogging elite. The goal is to get the more influential bloggers to notice you and blog about you. You wouldn’t just leave this to chance; you’d help the process along. If, for example, you want to catch Scoble’s eye, then you would say something interesting that somehow relates to Scoble and work in a mention of his name. Scoble, like many other bloggers, follows what’s being said about him in the blogosphere by subscribing to a PubSub search results feed for the word “scoble.” If Scoble likes your post, you could end up with a mention on Scoble’s link blog or, better still, on the Scobleizer blog. » PR in the blogosphere @ Stephan Spencers Scatterings

This sort of thing is often written up as ‘revolutionary’ when really it is the worst sort of schmoozing and publicity-seeking dressed up as something else. It has nothing to do with public relations, as most practitioners would understand it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if PR was as simple as setting up a blog and getting someone like Scoble to notice you – good grief.

The victim blogged about his murderer

Simon Ng, a New York college student, was murdered earlier this month. His sister's ex-boyfriend, Jin Cheng Lin, has been arrested; Simon blogged shortly before his death that Lin wouldn't leave. Thanks, Mark Bernstein & Elin. "I told him to wait downstair while I get them for him. While I was searching them, he is already in the house. He is still here right now, smoking, walking all around the house with his shoes on which btw I just washed the floor 2 days ago! Hopefully he will leave soon, oh yeah working on the jap report as we speak!"

 

18 May 2005

Rosen doesn't understand public relations

Rosen continues to pump out this cartoonish view of PR as some dark art of manipulation when we practitioners know that our days are mostly taken up with the hard work of communications (researching, thinking, writing, speaking, distributing and so on). Sure PR suffers from its share of unethical practitioners but so does every occupation, and its stupid to characterise us all on the basis of the crimes of the worst performers.

Jay Rosen: I think the public relations industry is in deep trouble. I think that the whole world of public relations, of shaping messages, and getting the word out through the mass media, and dealing with professionals as a way of accessing the public, the whole world of the public relations person is coming undone, and because that world is totally about control, and it’s so much harder to control what people learn now, there’s going to be more than a challenge there, I think there’s almost a crisis there for that craft. But people might figure out a different way of doing that job, and they’ll probably have to, if they want to survive. The Media Report: 12 May  2005  - Media Futures

Like many practitioners, I’m enthusiastic about blogging and podcasting because they offer many more opportunities to get out what our clients want to talk about. What’s more, we won’t have to go through media gatekeepers quite so much and be subject to their judgments about what our audiences want to hear.

Rosen again: But now, any specialist who has the ability to communicate with a large audience, can be a highly qualified reporter in the area where they are an expert. And they are, in effect, going to be in competition with the journalist, because your local expert on cars or chemicals or tennis, or whatever, is equally able to reach the public, and that’s what’s so different about the present.

That’s right Jay, and guess what my clients are experts and I think they are starting to relish the notion that they can blog about their expertise to their customers and others directly.

But guess what they’ll still need help with all that (increased) communications leg work (they are not quite ready to give up their day jobs and become full-time DIY communicators) and that could add up to a bonanza for the much-maligned pr practitioner. 

11 May 2005

Blogtalk Downunder papers are flowing in

An ever-expanding list (RSS) and just two-weeks to go:

Chris Chesher - Paper - Blogs and the crisis of authorship
ZedTycho.com: Kevin Leversee, Barry Steele, Scott Farrell & Mark Neely - Panel - Desire Lines, Memes & the Blogosphere
Trevor Cook - Paper - Up against reality: Blogging and the cost of content
Senator Andrew Bartlett - Presentation - Blogs and Politics in Australia and globally
Zenon Chaczko, Venkatesh Mahadevan & Emil Wajs-Chaczko - Paper - Blogging as an Effective Tool in Teaching and Learning Software Systems Development
Robert Ackland - Paper - Mapping the U.S. Political Blogosphere: Are Conservative Bloggers More Prominent?
Glen Fuller - Paper - The eventual potential of Blogs
James Farmer - Paper - Centred Communication: Weblogs and aggregation in the organisation
Gavin Sade - Paper - Weblogs as Open Constructive Learning Environments
Carol Cooper & Lyn Boddington - Paper - Assessment by blog: Ethical case studies assessment for an undergraduate business management class

02 May 2005

Blog commentary on Radio National Blogging story

References to last thursday's blogging story on Radio National have come from far and wide:

30 April 2005

The decline of newspapers

There is much being written at the moment about the decline of newspaper readership, particularly since the emergence of blogs as a legitimate force in reporting, shaping public opinion and affecting outcomes (eg Dan Rather).

I remember similar sentiments when the web generally emerged as a force in the mid to late 90s. As a then journalist I explored whether I should go and work for a web-based publication over (my then place of work), Australia's only broadsheet national daily.

However, Adam Penenberg, assistant professor at New York University notes in Wired that more people than ever are reading newspapers and newspaper formats -- they're just doing it online.

Penenberg argues there's as much need for teaching the fundamentals of good journalism and reporting as ever but we should:

also experiment with novel ways to approach reporting and writing. There will always be a market for young reporters who know how to gather facts and write them up in a clear, convincing manner. For that, you can't do much better than showing students in our introductory classes how to craft a killer lede (sic), a well-honed nut graf and an airtight structure.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't harness the power of the digital medium. I assigned blogs to my graduate students this past semester so they could cover a business beat. Other professors have also jumped fingers-first into digital journalism, most notably Jay Rosen, founder of the media blog PressThink.

Thanks to B.L. Ochman for this one.

28 April 2005

Fitness to blog

The full transcript of this morning’s ABC Radio National Media Report onAll the news that’s fit to blog is now available on the ABC website. The line-up includes some prominent Australian bloggers including Corporate Engagement’s Trevor Cook, from whose contribution this extract is taken …...

There are some blogs where a tradition of discussion has built up, and commenters will respond to commenters rather than just to the poster. It’s almost like the person who runs the site has just become a moderator for a discussion, not even a moderator, just someone who says why don’t we talk about this, and then everyone talks…..

In fact Quiggin does that on Mondays with a Message Board. It’s a bit like talkback, saying talk about anything you want to, and people do, so that’s very interesting…..

The media has a 24-hour cycle, often it goes through that cycle, it wants something fresh. But a lot of bloggers can say ‘Well no, we want to stay with this, we want to talk about this, we want more on this, there’s more information on this’. And the real power of the blogs, I think, is in that sort of extending the agenda, being able to emphasise things that we want to talk about rather than just what the media editors might want to talk about.

27 April 2005

All the News that's fit to Blog

Tune in to Radio National's Media Report in Australia tomorrow (28/04/05) at 8.30am or 8pm for this:

All the News that's fit to Blog
  28 April  2005

  Blogging is having a big impact on American journalism - with bloggers using their posts both to leak to the media and to challenge it directly. Dan Rather, the iconic CBS News anchor who retired last month, is the bloggers' biggest scalp to date. But what impact is blogging having in the Australian media? Jason Di Rosso has our special report.

If you miss it, you can listen on-line here.

UPDATE: I now realise Trevor was on this program! I didn't realise when I first posted. Trev says he didn't tell me in case he ended up on the cutting room floor! I heard the first 10 minutes and it was pretty good. Includes Tim Blair, Margo Kingston and others. It's on line now.

 

24 April 2005

Political blogs versus big media - why so quiet in Australia?

Mark Bahnisch comments on his blog:

“Online Opinion, which has been running a series of articles on blogging and new media, has published my piece - Political Blogs versus Big Media? It’s the wrong question to ask. I’d be very interested in feedback. I’ve also posted the article here at LP so that it becomes part of the archive of this site.

My argument, in short, is that to counterpose blogging to big media and ask, as journos often do, “why don’t Ozbloggers break stories and influence the political process?” is to misunderstand the role blogs can actually play - I argue that there are aspects of the form itself (primarily interactivity) that make blogging significant:

As blogger Ken Parish put it, we become monitorial citizens, and, I’d add, better citizens. I hope, just as I’ve argued that blogging reflects broader social patterns, that this political interactivity is a sign of the times. It’s certainly a sign of hope, and as the song goes, maybe “from little things, big things grow”.

19 April 2005

Readings on blogging and journallism

Here’s a great set of story links on this persistent but somewhat futile debate, put together by Eric Eggerston over at mutually inclusive:

A Sampling of Postings on this Topic

Peter West: Journalism vs. Blogging
Neville Hobson: Blogs & Journalism Panel Discussion at NewComm Forum
Shel Holtz: The Wrong Queston
Dan Gillmor: More on Who's a Journalist; Defending Journalism, Deciding Who's a Journalist; Note to Business Week: Bloggers Aren't Immune to Libel Law
Jeremy Wright: Bloggers Aren't Ethical
Jack Shafer: Bloggers Freer than Reporters?
John Hiler:  Are Bloggers Journalists?
Apophenia: Are Bloggers Journalists? Wrong Question
Gary Goldhammer:  What Is Journalism? Don't Ask the National Press Club

I think Eric is on the money when he says:
Maybe we need a new term for the kind of blogger these commentators seem to be talking about. Until then, lumping all bloggers together and making sweeping statements is as useful as trying to categorize all people who use cell phones or felt pens as a certain personality type.

17 April 2005

Judge orders news source disclosure

Mainstream news organisations are backing three online journalists who published articles about a technology product Apple Computer says was protected by trade secret laws.

Apple sued 25 unnamed people - probably Apple employees - who allegedly leaked confidential product information to three people running web sites read by Apple enthusiasts.

Apple demanded the reporters' ISPs identify the leakers and turn over email records. The reporters countered by saying that identifying sources would create a "chilling effect'' that could erode the media's ability to report in the public interest.

Last month Judge James Kleinberg ruled in Apple's favour, saying reporters who publish "stolen property'' aren't entitled to protection. The reporters appealed.

Now eight of California's largest newspapers and Associated Press have submitted a court brief that online publishers be allowed to keep sources confidential. The media companies said the ruling, if upheld, could impair the ability of all journalists to reveal important news, from financial corruption to government cover-ups.

"Recent corporate scandals involving Worldcom, Enron and the tobacco industry all undoubtedly involved the reporting of information that the companies involved would have preferred to remain unknown to the public,'' the 38-page brief stated. "Just because a statute seeks to protect secrecy of such information does not mean that the First Amendment protections provided to the news media to inform the public are wiped away.''

Dave Tomlin, assistant general counsel for the AP, said the case has implications for bloggers, online reporters and traditional journalists. "For us, this case is about whether the First Amendment protects journalists from being turned into informants for the government, the courts or anybody else who wants to use them that way,'' he said. ``We believe strongly that it does, and that it's a good thing for all of us that journalists have this protection.''

[Source: ‘News organizations support bloggers in apple trade-secrets case’ by Rachel Konrad, Associated Press, 12 April 2005]

15 April 2005

Murdoch wants to 'harness' bloggers

Bill Gates said blogging was important last year, now its Rupert Murdoch’s turn. Still, something big is happening in the media world if rupey is turning his machiavellian talents to recruiting blogs. What a concept – ‘this blog brought to you by News Corp’. (No mention of human rights in China if you don’t mind. Thanks, mate.)

Welcome to Our Lair, Murdoch Says to Bloggers - Center for Media and Democracy

Murdoch also mused on the possibilities of harnessing bloggers to the corporate news cart. "We need to be the destination for those bloggers. We need to encourage readers to think of the web as the place to go to engage our reporters and editors in more extended discussions about the way a particular story was reported or researched or presented." Newspapers might experiment with using bloggers to extend coverage, he suggested. However, Murdoch cautioned that bloggers could pose a risk to "our standards for accuracy and reliability."

 BTW, can anyone read that last line – “our standards etc” – without chortling out loud.

13 April 2005

My first media event as a blogger

Well, I guess it had to happen to me sometime in this strange new medium.

The good folks over at the ABC’s Dig operation (radio over the Internet)  invited me along to the media event for the launch last night of their new country channel because the manager, Tony Walker, noticed on the heading of my bluescastnews blog that I’m also a fan of alt country.

I’ve got a lot of admiration for DIG and for the ABC’s digital efforts overall, including podcasting as I mentioned in a recent article I did on blogging and podcasting in Australia.

It was a great night at the Vanguard in Newtown last night with a concert by one of Australia’s great bands The Flood, which was recorded by the ABC and will be replayed on Radio National this friday at 7pm and Sunday 4pm on their popular ‘live on stage’ show.

Great fun. But I must say it felt kinda strange in a ‘what’s my role’ sense. PR hack, blogger and invited ‘media’ (free food and drinks) all at once. Still, I reckon I could get used to it!!

I plan to do a longer look at the country channel and the general role of Internet radio shortly, plus I’m going to interview Tony Walker for bluescastnews.

Blogger Blair hits the hustings

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has his blog up and running in anticipation of next month’s general election. Presumably written by an aide, it adopts an informal and breezy style – such as might be expected to appeal to rank and file citizens.

The first few blogs twice included the word ‘relief’, which may or may not be Freudian. The following extracts will provide you with a bit of a taste of how Blogger Blair is rising to the challenge.

“What a relief it was finally to get into a proper debate about serious economic issues at our first campaign press conference today.” [Sunday 10 April]

"Well that was a relief - safely adopted by Sedgefield Constituency Labour Party to stand as their candidate on May 5. On the way in, the daughter of one of our activists asked what would happen if my nomination was rejected. My agent John Burton answered straight back, "We'd have a bit of a problem because we've already got all the literatire printed." It was a beautiful day up in the constituency, warm and sunny with a gentle breeze, though as you mave seen on TV, a bit too hot inside the Labour Club." [Wednesday 6 April]

05 April 2005

What future blogging?

Looking for a good encapsulation on the current state of blogging?

What it means for the mainstream media?

Its use as a marketing tool?

Predictions on its future?

Then you should check out this interesting article produced by the Wharton Business School. They use their own academics but it's a good read.

The big question is whether blogs, short for weblogs, have the staying power to become more than just online diaries. Will bloggers upend the mainstream media? What legal protections should bloggers have? Is there a blogger business model? While no definitive answers exist just yet, experts at Wharton advise questioners to be patient. Blogging, they note, will be around for a long time.

Thanks to the Hidden Persuader.

04 April 2005

Blog coaching for small business

Jeffrey Hill over at Voice of the Blog has an interesting interview with Griff Wigley, a blog coach from Northfield, Minnesota in the US.

Griff makes some intersting observations about small business using blogs to engage with customers.

Difficulties for small business include finding the time to regularly update the blog and getting away from PR-speak and replacing it with language that's more appealing to blog visitors.

Griff talks about small business blogs as brochures.

This whole personal touch that they bring to their business dealings typically goes out the window with the website.
The website is this dry, impersonal brochure that it just sitting there. So I think the voice of authenticity and keeping the site current are probably the two main benefits.
I also think a lot of them are surprised when they see how low they come up in a simple Google search for some of their products or services. So another benefit is that Google and the other major search engines now key in on weblogs because weblogs are typically full of links.
So once you let Google know you’ve got a blog on your site and you post to it regularly, its spider comes back frequently.

Read the whole thing here.

State-of-play: Blogging and podcasting in Australia today

My article on this subject has been published on the Online Opinion Journal site this morning. They are running a feature throughout this month on new media to mark there 5th anniversary. Should be well worth following. Sophie Masson also has a blogging article in today on 'wikis, blogs, moblogs and more'.

Conference Paper draft 2: "Up against reality: blogging and the cost of content"

Thanks for comments on the first draft, especially to Philip Young who gave me some lengthy feedback. The main point of which was  that I was lumping all blogs together. SO I've fundamentally re-written it and put in a lot more stuff and now its 5,000 words. You can Download it here.

Or read the introdiuction and conclusion below.

Continue reading "Conference Paper draft 2: "Up against reality: blogging and the cost of content"" »

02 April 2005

The "New Journalism" interview

This is a very funny spoof. Not that everyone seemed to think so:

Our group is torn between being impressed by him and being troubled by him. Merrill Brown is not so impressed. He says that one of the most important things for good journalism is to be dispassionate in the face of overwhelming events. Michael Schrage says that the Jon Stewart approach to news is an "abdication of everything journalism stands for." Jeff Jarvis says that Stewart reminds us the importance of being human, which is the appeal of blogs. Bill Gannon points out that half the people in this country hate Jon Stewart, that his appeal is not universal.

Lighten up guys!

1,000 posts and still blogging

This is some sort of milestone, I guess, there are now 1,000 posts on Corporate Engagement. As the blog has been going for just under 14 months that's an AVERAGE of 2 to 3 posts a day.

1,000 posts is a lot of stuff, I reckon, and you wouldn't think you could write that much about pr of all things but with the world of communications changing rapidly and the great debates swirling around about the future of this and that and the other thing it just all sort of accumulates quickly.

I stumbled onto blogging in November 2003 with a blog on the blogger platform. Then in February 2004 I switched to Typepad because blogger was in the middle of some seemingly interminable revamp and weren't offering anything but their basic service.

The best moment in my early blogging days came when Tom Murphy of PR Opinions actually mentioned my blog on his blog - wow, someone had noticed. That sort of thing is verry encouraging. BTW, Tom has a good piece on the future of PR today.

In March, rather presumptuously, I published my first article on blogging, in the Australian Financial Review.

Doing the research article was a great learning experience. I made use of the opportunity to do email interviews with people like Rebecca Blood, Jay Rosen, Tom Murphy,and Elizabeth Albrycht

Since that first effort I've done two other blogging related pieces for the AFR - here and here - and also for New Matilda and Walkley (here and here). Writing about blogging is very good fun, and I'm working on two projects at the moment - a paper for Blogtalk Downunder and an article on blogging and PR for a book tentatively titled, Uses of Blogs. Although mostly written by Australians this book will be published by a New York company.  I'm still hoping to get an Australian book publisher to accept my proposal for a book on blogging but so far they have knocked me back because a) bloggers don't read books and b) everything is moving too fast anyway.

Another great thing about writing for arrogant old media, like the AFR, who have the temerity to charge people for reading stuff is that they pay sad old fools like me to write stuff for them. Its an idea that I hope is not quite dead yet.

Making contact with Robert Scoble has also been inspirational for my blogging efforts. Scoble, of course, is A-list but amazingly generous with time and links to encourage other bloggers to get involved and keep going. I've quoted Scoble in a couple of articles and also interviewed him on corporate blogging for Global PR Blog Week.  And later had the opportunity to meet him briefly at Bloggercon. I hope to one day soon be able to sit down and have a meal with him.

I originally put forward the idea of a Global PR Blog Week last year when I was thinking about important it was that bloggers get encouragement and recognition for their efforts, in the way that Tom Murphy and Robert Scoble do so unselfishly.

When I drew up an initial list of PR bloggers to email with this idea, I could only come up with about 20. By the time we had the event in July there was about 30. Now there is a list of 180 or more and its growing every day. All of which is going to make this year's event, planning now underway, many times larger than last year's which exceeded our expectations at that time.

I like to hope that Global PR Blog Week played some role in promoting this strong growth rate in pr blogging. I'm also encouraged by the fact that more people are getting involved in blogging in the communications area in Australia. It was something of a red letter week for me this week because I discovered two new comms bloggers in Australia, that's never happened to me before. So welcome again to adblogoz and better communication results.

One big change since last July has been the advent of podcasting. This year's global pr blog week will feature podcasting from Jeremy Wright of the Podcast Network where he does the bizblog show and Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz of the For Immediate Release Show. And who knows there maybe are other podcasters who come forward and want to get involved in our event.

Another big change is that so many of us are on Skype now and can chat for free about how to organize these things.

But perhaps most importantly of all, many of us now have clients who are blogging, or about to blog. So I expect this year's event will be much more focused on the practical than last year's event.

Another big change for me is that I had never actually met another blogger in the flesh when we did global pr blog week last year. That all changed when I walked into Ming's the night before Bloggercon last November and met about 100 all at once. Unforgettable experience. Since then I've got to know some great Australian bloggers / podcasters like Cameron Reilly and Mick Stanic among others and I'm looking forward to Blogtalk Downunder and meeting a whole lot more.

Looking back after a 1,000 posts, I can only say its been a fantastic journey and I'm looking forward to what lays ahead for all of us. The early days of any medium / technology are probably always the most exciting and we'll all look back and laugh about how modest our efforts were and how naive and laugh about all the stuff-ups and stupidities. But that's the fun of it. I'm glad I stumbled on blogging on a boring night in November 2003.

01 April 2005

The ethics of 'sponsored' blogging

Lee Hopkins points to an emerging problem. Now that blogging is getting popular, ie drawing significant audience numbers, advertisers, sponsors and the rest are looking for a way of leveraging those eyeballs. Problem with blogging is that there is no tradition of separation of editorial and advertising, or disclosure according to some established and broadly accepted code of ethics.

Not sure what the solution is, or if there is one, but its a minefield out there. Blogging practices could make movie product placement look tame by comparison.How do you really know if some blogger who is happily slamming microsoft or google or anything else really doesn't have some commercial conflict? Sure we can say people should declare these interests, but it could be as Hamlet said a principle "more honoured in the breach than the observance".

The problem is growing. Most major league bloggers, keen to turn their blogs into commercially sustainable enterprises, are openly accepting sponsorship and carrying ads on their sites. This will work for some, at least, of them. But many will also be tempted by less transparent forms of support. Added to this desire to earn a living from blogging, as more businesses and governments start appreciating the power of blogging, and especially of all those 'authentic voices', the temptation for blogging world cash for comment or ketchum episodes will grow.

30 March 2005

Bloggers are to Kryptonite as Kryptonite is to ...

Last year US company Kryptonite had to recall 40,000 U-lock bike locks after bloggers revealed the security devices could be breached with a ball-point pen.
An exchange program cost the company $10 million.
It's an excellent example of the ability of the blogosphere to damage a brand's reputation.
PR News spoke recently with Steve Down, Kryptonite's general manager, about doing business in the age of bloggers.
Bob LeDrew at FlackLife has posted it here.

27 March 2005

Draft paper: The maturing blogosphere.

Recently, I posted the synopsis for my paper for Blogtalk Downunder and really appreciated the comments and feedback, so now I'm putting up my first draft for comment (Download). Naturally, I will be developing the ideas and arguments and polishing it considerably during now and the 4th April when it's due to be submitted. I've basically been thinking about it for weeks and bashed it out today. Best to get something down on paper.

25 March 2005

Blog Burnout spreads as major leaguers slow down

I was expecting this: Micro Persuasion: Blog Burnout.

Robert Scoble is getting a life and giving up his linkblog. Good for Robert. Marc Orchant also is getting a little blog-worn, as is Neville Hobson. And Richard Edelman is taking a blog break. Even I was only able to get two posts up today. Maybe there's a trend here. Blogging can lead to success and fame. Couple this with an economy showing life and what do you get? Burnout. No worries. I am still here to keep my blogging pace. Travel, client work and new business pitches do make it challenging, at times. How would you feel if I took the blogging equivalent of a "mental health day?"

I think we got to keep it all in perspective and Scoble's 1,100 feed marathons lasting 3 or more hours every night always seemed unsustainable.

When I was writing this article on information overload for the Australian Financial Review at the end of last year I emailed Robert and asked him whether he was thinking of cutting back. From that article:

One of the world’s best-known ‘feedaholics’ is Microsoft’s Robert Scoble, who currently subscribes to about 2,000 feeds (including feeds from over 900 blogs). Each night he spends about 3 to 5 hours ‘reading’ these feeds.

When I recently asked him whether he was getting sick of this regime, Scoble told me he was ‘having a ball’, his only problem is that his feeds still amount to a tiny piece of the action on blogs on any one day.

But, it simply couldn't last.

Bloggers must be mindful of defamation

There’s an implicit caveat for all bloggers in this story from the London Guardian. Know thy defamation law:

The ability of users of internet bulletin boards to remain anonymous was placed in serious doubt yesterday after Terry Smith, chief executive of City firm Collins Stewart Tullett, won a landmark libel settlement.

Mr Smith and his firm won "substantial" damages from Jeremy Benjamin, a fund manager who posted false allegations on the Motley Fool web site using the invented web name "analyser71".

Mr Benjamin was traced after Mr Smith's lawyers, the City firm Rosenblatt, won a court order forcing Motley Fool to reveal what details it held on "analyser71", including the identification number of his computer and his email address. Motley Fool had refused to volunteer the details without a court order.

Mr Smith's lawyers were able to establish that the bulletin board postings were viewed from 49 computers before they were removed by Motley Fool. Oliver Smith, of Rosenblatt, argued that the relatively small number did not diminish the seriousness of the libel.

As well as undisclosed damages, Mr Benjamin has agreed to pay the claimants' legal costs, which are understood to be three times as much.

The Benjamin case is thought to be possibly the first internet-related case in which a defendant has settled publicly after making comments anonymously.

Rosenblatt's Mr Smith said: "In September and October 2003, he may have thought he could say these things anonymously and would not have expected that in March 2005 it would end up costing him a substantial amount of money."

[Source: Collins Stewart hunts down internet libeller by Nils Pratley, The Guardian, 24 March 2005. Free subscription available to site.]

20 March 2005

Looking beyond A-list blogging

What a great idea: Mutually Inclusive: 6 Degrees of Culturally Diverse Separation.

The more I wander blogland (sorry, I refuse to refer to it as the blogosphere unless I'm mocking someone), the more homogenized the place looks. Which is weird, since there are millions of blogs out there.

So last week I took a Six Degrees of Separation tour through various blogs and sites.

18 March 2005

More debate about levy

World O'Crap, like many others, gets stuck into the amazing sensitivity of Jeff Jarvis:

It sounds like somebody is taking Levy's comment about the homogeneity of the top-rung bloggers kind of personally.  (Jeff, you may be one of the top 100 "bigmouths of the white-male variety" that Levy was talking about, but you aren't really the boss of the blogosphere, and so you don't have to bristle at every criticism made about blogging.)

And it got some great reader comments: 

If you want some real fun, insult Jarvis on his blog and see how long it takes him to call you a tw*t, and no, that's not an "i" in there... I'm convinced Jarvis suffers from multiple personality disorder and in actuality is the only commentator on there, making up email addresses and posting names to pretend there's some interest in his blather. I didn't actually INSULT him, just brought up two inconvenient facts, and Jarvis is allergic to facts. No, actually when he was rude to me, I did insult him but he kind of insulted me first. The first fact was that he lies about where he went to school, not lies completely just kind of obfuscates, and gets INCREDIBLY defensive when called on it. The second was when he attacked Professor Juan Cole, Middle East expert and author of the blog "Informed Comment" -- I asked Jarvis the obvious question -- how did his stint at TV Guide make him an expert on the Middle East? Was TV guide in fact the equivalent of Cole's experience i.e., do they teach Arabic at TV Guide? Are its offices located in Lebanon or Iraq -- or do Guide staffers take a six year abroad exchange? Jarvis did not respond just resorted to name calling. Seriously, go ahead and do it -- teasing Jarvis is not a blood sport, though perhaps he'll have a stroke and rid us all of the know nothing excrement he calls a blog. Honest Injun • 3/15/05; 6:13:43 PM Note: Jarvis took a side swipe at Informrd Comment for being too negative about the Middle East.

And this one:

Sixth, so if there aren't enough unwhite and unmale bloggers blogging, am I supposed to stop? Is it my fault? No, it's not. Good Lord. A hungry, colicky 8-month-old with a soaking wet diaper is less peevish. Uncle Kvetch • 3/15/05; 4:06:58 PM

On the positive side Blogtyme included this commendation:

On another note I want to commend Robert Scoble because on a daily basis he sees who is writing about him, he responds and interacts with people. He has more of a realistic idea of what is really going on. He will read a blog that is not on his blogroll, he will link to a blog because he found worth in what was written. He doesn’t seek out new blogs for any other reason than he wants to keep up with what that blogger is saying. I wish more of the A-List bloggers were like him and I hope they open their eyes and learn from you. Agree, absolutely, if more A-listers were like Scoble the problem would be much diminished.

Nevertheless, I suspect this debate, which has largely dismissed male dominance of the blogosphere as irrelevance, will only give further impetus to plans for a Bloghercon later this year.

Especially when you have egos like Dave Winer (the guy thinks he invented blogging, RSS, podcasting - or damn near as invented it as not to matter boyo), the founder of  Bloggercon, making 'jokes' like this:

I wish women would pick up some of the load and write about new stuff that interests Scripting News readers. I feel victimized by having to always point to men. We do all the work and they do all the complaining. Women, how about doing your fair share, i.e. half, of the work? What a trip. We're doing most of the work and they've got us feeling guilty. Heh. What else is new?

Having gone to Bloggercon last November where part of the day was lost with one of Winer's trademark dummy-spits, I was amazed to read this piece of advice he offered Chris Nolan:

2. If you call people names and expect them to link to you, well, don't. Didn't your mother teach you that when you were a kid. Don't stare and don't call the other kids names.

Besides being kinda unself-aware on Winer's part (he's always kinda wandering why he doesn't get the credit he deserves), it also tends to confirm the point that A-listing is a club: 'be nice to us and we'll be nice to you'. The A-listers power to offer links and drive significant traffic, really is power no matter how much people pretend otherwise.

Meanwhile, Keith Jenkins who helped get this debate rolling is keen to clarify his point (with a comment on Blogtyme) which has got lost somewhat:

Point of clarification; I was not making note of the lack of bloggers of color, or women, or bloggers from countries other than the U.S. Or that they were not getting linked to enough. I was, however, pointing to the fact that most of the conversations about blogging, journalism, and their futures were being carried on in ‘official’ conferences that were not reflective of the diversity of the online community and many msm newsrooms.

Personally, I’d like to see more people with diverse backgrounds and experiences become part of these discussions; I think all of us can learn more that way. It may not fit the off-line demographic numbers (for the U.S.), but wouldn’t it be great if we could strive to be better on-line.

I think this debate will run for awhile yet.

17 March 2005

White male and american: don't like it? Then sod off.

Jeff Jarvis is squealing like a stuck pig because Steven Levy dared to point out that the blogging A-list is less diverse than the Bush Cabinet. He's had three goes at it so far - 1, 2, 3

This is the way it starts:

First, what's wrong with being a white male? I'm white and male. Not much I can do about it. Not much I want to do about it. I'm sure as hell not going to apologize for it. I'm white. I'm male. I blog. You got a problem with that? Tough.

Jeff and many other respondents just won't deal with Levy's key point: if everyone can blog and its all so wonderful and equal how come the A-list is so predominantly white, male and American. So why is everyone so afraid to answer this question?

Here, from Steve Gillard, is a classic example of the confusion:

White America has a very hard time hearing what non-white America thinks. Why should blogs be the exception?

This guy seriously doesn't get the point. Steve, blogging is supposed to be different to 'old' media. Strangely, a lot of the comments on Jarvis' site also take this 'hey, we're no worse then them' approach.

Jarvis also has a second line of defence along the lines that everyone can blog so old notions of class, race, gender don't matter anymore. At least, not on the blogosphere. Weird stuff. But Jeff, aren't you even just a little perplexed about why the A-list is so similar in its characteristics to the dreaded mainstream media?

But these pathetic efforts pale in comparison to the 'analysis' offered by Kevin Drum who a few weeks ago turned his intellect to the delicate question of why do few women are in the top league of blog political pundits:

So what's up? There aren't any institutional barriers in the traditional sense of the word, which means either (a) there are fewer female political bloggers and thus fewer in the top 30, or (b) there are plenty of women who blog about politics but they don't get a lot of traffic or links from high-traffic male bloggers.

My guess is that it's a bit of both, and the proximate reason is that men are more comfortable with the food fight nature of opinion writing — both writing it and reading it. Since I don't wish to suffer the fate of Larry Summers I'll refrain from speculating on deep causes — it might be social, cultural, genetic, or Martian mind rays for all I know — but I imagine that the fundamental viciousness and self aggrandizement inherent in opinion writing turns off a lot of women. Which begs another question: does this mean that women need to change if they want to enter the fray, or does it mean that the fray needs to change in order to attract more women? As usual, probably some of both.

Unfortunately, the blogosphere, which ought to be an ideal training ground for finding new voices in nontraditional places, is far more vitriolic than any op-ed page in the country, even the Wall Street Journal's, and therefore probably turns off women far more than it attracts them.

Unbelievable. 

Shakepeare's sister gave him what for:

In any case, the discussions of any predispositions toward political blogging that are allegedly unique to women aren’t useful. You just piss us off, and in the process, usually make yourself look like an ass.

Which still leaves us with the question, why? So far one of the best attempts at analysis has come from Chris Nolan.

But we need more analysis of this phenomenon which is limiting the new medium's potential for changing the way we see the world.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for Jay Rosen to step up to the plate. Usually, he is so quick to criticise. Bet if he does weigh in, it will be to take his usual elitist swingeing attacks against anyone who doubts the sanctity of the blogging A-list.

Plus ca change: A-list bloggers are mostly white, male and american

Steven Levy has a good article in the Bulletin (and in Newsweek) this week looking at the way the A-list blogging tribe has become something akin to an old-style (white) men's club with members linking to each other furiously and all-but ignoring the millions of non-white, female and non-american and third world bloggers who are often somewhat condescendingly referred to as the 'long tail'.

As many of these A-listers are the same guys who sprout the loudest about the revolutionary nature of blogging (which is going to transform the media, political and corporate worlds you live in) it seems like a great paradox to me and one that I will cover in my blogtalk downunder paper on the problems of maturity: can blogging retain its revolutionary fervour?.

  • Will we have to introduce affirmative action laws to adjust the biases in blogosphere?
  • Why is the market for ideas and opinion so skewed in ways we would find unaccpetable in our offline lives?
  • Will this bias stifle the emergence of blogging and undermine its credibility?

Here are some excerpts from Levy's piece:

At a recent Harvard conference on bloggers and the media, the most pungent statement came from cyberspace. Rebecca MacKinnon, writing about the conference as it happened, got a response on the "comments" space of her blog from someone concerned that if the voices of bloggers overwhelm those of traditional media, "we will throw out some of the best journalism of the 21st century". The comment was from Keith Jenkins, an African-American blogger who is also an editor at The Washington Post Magazine (a sister publication of Newsweek). "It has taken 'mainstream media' a very long time to get to the point of inclusion," Jenkins wrote. "My fear is that the overwhelmingly white and male American blogosphere will return us to a day where the dialogue about issues was a predominantly white-only one."

After the comment was posted, a couple of the women at the conference – bloggers MacKinnon and Halley Suitt – looked around and saw that there weren't many other women in attendance. Nor were the faces yapping about the failings of Big Media representative of the human quiltwork one would see in the streets of Cambridge or New York City, let alone overseas.

They were, however, representative of the top 100 blogs according to the web site Technorati – a list dominated by bigmouths of the white-male variety. Viewed one way, the issue seems a bit absurd. These self-generated personal web sites are supposed to be the ultimate grassroots phenomenon. The perks of alpha bloggers – voluminous traffic, links from other bigfeet, conference invitations, White House press passes – are, in theory, bequeathed by a market-driven merit system. The idea is that the smartest, the wittiest and the most industrious in finding good stuff will simply rise to the top, by virtue of a self-organising selection process. So why, when millions of blogs are written by all sorts of people, does the top rung look so homogeneous?

It appears that some clubbiness is involved. Suitt puts it more bluntly: "It's white people linking to other white people!" (A link from a popular blog is this medium's equivalent to a Super Bowl ad.) Suitt attributes her own high status in the blogging world to her conscious decision to "promote myself among those on the A list".

Responses to Levy include Chris Nolan who has a long thoughtful response of about eight points the first three of which are:

1)This medium was first taken up by techies. Most of them are men. It's not worth going into the statistics on men and women in tech, and the reasons and whyfors. There are more men, that's all you need to know for this conversation.

2)Those men prefer to link and read men like them. As it was in the beginning so shall it ever be. When they wonder where the women bloggers are what they're really saying is "I don’t read any women bloggers."

3)Even though the "blogosphere" has gotten much larger, most of these men are still reading the guys they started out with three years ago., linking to them and talking among themselves.

Personally, I think the blogosphere is still far too dominated by geeks and gadgetary.

Rebecca MacKinnon also has a good response. She is not worried about gender balances in A-list blogging but she is concerned about the capacity for otherwise for Americans to think beyond their small part of the globe:

I left my mainstream media job out of frustration with the assumption by CNN and other U.S. broadcasters that news about most of the world's population is uninteresting to Americans. What attracted me to social media and blogging was the potential to expose Americans to a more global conversation.  If the blogosphere winds up proving the assumptions of my former MSM bosses to be true - that the majority of Americans are indeed incapable of caring about the rest of the world in any sustainable way - then shame on us all.

16 March 2005

Blog book proposal gets the go ahead

I was very excited to hear last night that a book that I will be contributing to has got the go ahead from Peter Lang Publishing, New York. Tenatively titled"Uses of Blogs" it will be edited by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs. A full list of the contributors is set out below but first some info from the proposal:

As an edited collection of scholarly articles by experts and practitioners in their fields, Uses of Blogs offers a broad range of perspectives on current and emerging uses of blogs. While there are considerable connections between many of the themes addressed in these articles, and between the individual contributors (demonstrating the social networking facilitated by the blogosphere network), these articles will be grouped into a number of key categories which address key uses of blogs from both practical – blogs in research, blogs in business – and conceptual – blogs and identity, blogs and community – perspectives. Each of these categories are framed by a brief piece introducing the articles and providing a wider context.

There is a clear need to interrogate the range of blogging styles used by different disciplines and cultural groups and to develop a lexicon to articulate the most effective blogging mechanisms for different contexts. Examples of how blogs are already being used can provide some insight into how they can be further developed for particular industry sectors. The use of blogs in generating competitive advantage, and their application as knowledge management tools is crucial to understanding the relevance of blogs for a range of professional organisations as well as community groups. Drawing on the experience of blogging pioneers and researchers from a variety of professional and community contexts, this book documents the growth of blogs online and provides a detailed scholarly analysis of successful and powerful blogging uses.

Organised by discipline as well as by concept, it will examine the utility and limitations of blogging styles and blogging practices. The psychology, politics and sociology of blogs is set against the utility, profitability and convenience of the practice, so that clear guidelines emerge as to the future direction of blogs in industrial and personal contexts. In essence, this book records the current state of play for blogging, and provides a snapshot of various professional applications of blogs as a means of informing businesses and individuals of how to derive value from this wave of personalised publishing.

My contribution will be on public relations (and corporate communications more broadly) and I will be looking at the question of whether blogs are another tool for professional communicators or will they have a larger, transformative impact. Anyone who reads this blog will be unsurprised by this theme :-)

One of the great things about this proposal is that it brings together experts from the USa, England and Norway as well as a strong Australian contingent and across many disciplines. I feel quite chuffed about being included in the list below:

Continue reading "Blog book proposal gets the go ahead" »

15 March 2005

Follow-up on "the problems of maturity"

I like this idea of putting out a synopsis and getting feedback, I think it will really help the writing the process.

Today, Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz spent a few minutes discussing my outline on their excellent PR / new media podcast - For Immediate Release - basically I think they were of the view that revolution is an early stage and the fervour dies away naturally but so what? Shel says people can still do 'revolutionary' stuff with their blogs. I'll have to think about that! I kinda assumed that if the passion goes out of it then that means blogs just become websites.

One point that did occur to me today is about audience size. If it doesn't matter about audience size, as one of the reviewers of my proposal commented, then what is the advantage of blogs over chat groups, email lists etc. Its easier, granted, but are blogs a big deal if they don't get audience sizes that allow them to make an impact.

Also Simon Jackson has posted a long response at transmIT. Some excerpts:

Every technology goes through this maturing process; it is not usually a bad thing. For example, it's arguable that blogs represent the maturing of the internet - remember when we were all learning HTML and starting web sites? As they mature, technologies move from fad, to acceptance, to institution. This process creates myriad opportunities, many more than the initial breakthrough. Nothing stays a revolution forever; what will blogging be when the revolution has finished?

Participation may also suffer when audiences get very large - something the scale of a newspaper, for example. Instead of the online discussions that occasionally break out now, comments may become the equivalent of the mainstream media's letters to the editor.

coming up with novel, fresh content is difficult. The rate of churn may be high in blogging, especially ego blogs, where the blogger is the blog. Editorial type blogs, where news on a small range of topics is gathered and analysed, will be longer lasting.

Thanks guys, keep the ideas and comments coming!

13 March 2005

Study: Blogs Reach High Income, Educated Audience

Link: Adrants: Study: Blogs Reach High Income, Educated Audience.

BlogAds Founder Henry Copeland has published the firm's second blog readership study. The results align closely with last years. Highlights include:
* 75% are over 30    
* 75% are men    
* 43% have HHI over $90K
* Most, 14%, are employed in education
* 71% have signed a petition    
* 66% have contacted a politician
* 50% (highest of any media) rank blogs tops in usefulness for news and opinion

12 March 2005

Conference paper: Can blogging retain its revolutionary fervour?

I'm currently working on a paper to be presented to the Blogtalk Downunder conference in Sydney in May.

Basically, my thesis that as the blogosphere matures it will increasingly come to resemble 'traditional' media.

At least one aspect of this - bragging about traffic size - is currently causing some angst (here, here, and here) around the web.

I'd really appreciate comments on the synopsis below - either as a comment or an email.

  • Do you think my argument is basically sound, or just reactionary crap?
  • Do you know of any evidence that supports or undercuts my thesis and key points?]

tags: blogging internet weblogs

Continue reading "Conference paper: Can blogging retain its revolutionary fervour?" »

06 March 2005

Most Americans Don't Read Blogs, So What?

The fact that 26 percent are 'familiar' is an extraordinary achievement, I reckon, given how long the new medium has been around.

Link: Micro Persuasion: Most Americans Don't Read Blogs, So What?.

A CNN/Gallup Poll finds that more than three-quarters of Americans - 76 percent - said they use the Internet, but only 26 percent said they were "very familiar" or "somewhat familiar" with blogs. This is hardly surprising. But don't for a second let it fool you into thinking that blogs aren't important. The fact is blogs have a major influence on the press. Just look at MarketWatch's Frank Barnako, for example, He lives in the blogosphere because he knows there's news in thar hills. So even though most Americans don't read blogs, they do read/watch/listen to the media and THEY are certainly influenced by bloggers. Net, blogs are a force of influence on the American psyche. They just may not realize it.

02 March 2005

Newcomm magazine

Link: New Communications Forum 2005: Blog University.

Welcome to the latest issue of the New Communications Blogzine. This bi-monthly online publication is dedicated to exploring new communications tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication, (i.e. blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasts, etc.), the growing phenomena of participatory communications and their effect on traditional media, professional communications, business and society at large.

In this issue we will continue to explore the issue of ethics in the blogosphere with an article by Jeremy Wright. In addition, we examine Internet libel with some thoughts from Elizabeth L. Fletcher, take a look at the new "Blogger's Bill of Rights," and present a primer from Dee Rambeau that guides us through how to increase Internet visibility using traditional and non-traditional methods, as well as other updates and insights from the New Communications Forum community.

100 PR blogs - the list

Its great to see that the number of PR bloggers continues to grow. Link: PR meets the WWW - PR Blogroll.

Even on blogs: content is still king

Link: Joel Cere on Reputation Protection And Brand Promotion In The Blog Era.

While they may purposely downplay the value of network over content to emphasize their point, I would argue that good content is still key to create a good network.

Making corporations aware of the ecosystem surrounding them is an excellent thing and many executives will be fascinated to see how messages are relayed and amplified in the blogosphere. The question is what role these corporations want to play in this ecosystem? It obviously depends on their communication needs but most companies are looking to benefit from the thought leadership deriving from authoring or aggregating content.

Increased links to a company websites or blogs will certainly increase search engine ranking but why should someone link to a website at the first place if there is no interesting content there to be found?

01 March 2005

Even techno-neanderthals get blogging and RSS

Got this email message this morning - "Hi TC, thanks, just read it. Great stuff. Being a bit of a techno-retard-neanderthal I'm not sure I totally understand it all but it sure still seems to make sense to me as the way to go."  He's referring to my article called "here comes everything: can technology solve information overload?"

28 February 2005

How to write good blog posts

Good tips and advice from BL Ochman: Bacon's Customer's Resource Site.

Writing blog posts and commenting on them are actually very simple. The basic guidelines are to keep your copy lively, factual, tight, clear and short and search engine optimized. Here are basic blog style guidelines to follow:

21 February 2005

Abovitz on Jordan

Audio Link: A blogger who brought down a CNN executive

ABC Radio National's Stephen Crittenden interviews Rony Abovitz, who blogged Eason Jordan’s ‘off-the-record’ comments at Davos about US troops ‘targeting’ journalists.

Excellent stuff!

Thanks to Tim Blair for this one.

20 February 2005

Making tekcoms comprehensible

In an effort to make technology more comprehensible to your average technophobe (me), Simon Jackson's launched a new blog that seeks present  IT geeks' (and, dare I say it, bloggers') jargon  in a way most of  the rest of us can understand. More power to his send button, I say.

17 February 2005

Blog power

Tim Blair has just posted this interesting observation from Roy Eccleston, Washington correspondent for The Australian, who has encountered blogging’s trickle-up effect:

The blogosphere’s potency hit me in the final days of the US presidential election campaign during an interview with an Amish couple attending an election rally for George W. Bush.

"You’re Australian aren’t you,” said a bystander, listening to our conversation. “So what do you think about John Kerry’s sister interfering in your election campaign?"

I was stunned. Here was a particularly well-informed American - he not only knew Australia had held an election but also seemed aware of a small story of mine that The Australian had published on page 15 six weeks before. The piece quoted Diana Kerry claiming Australians were more vulnerable to terrorism because of John Howard’s support for Bush in Iraq. It wasn’t alleging any interference in the Australian election - but some obviously saw it that way. Yet how did this man come to know about it?

In my case, the Kerry comments had angered conservative bloggers - such as captainsquartersblog.com - who bounced it caustically around the internet, where it was read by mainstream conservative columnists in Washington. The story eventually had the ultimate conservative treatment: a piece in The Weekly Standard, a prominent political magazine, and a column by Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

As Tim puts it: "Not bad for a piece originally buried on page 15".

Scoble accused of spinning

Battelle calls it 'moving the goalposts' (but another description would be 'spin) when Microsoft's Robert Scoble construes the tremendous success of firefox as a'win' for Microsoft.

Perhaps Robert is being 'ironical'. 

Of course, Robert's remark about firefox being the most successful Windows application is also literally true. And most of us would think that a microsoft competitior winning by using a windows environment is actually a good thing for the world (sorry, IT industry). 

Perhaps Batelle would prefer a straight out admission of defeat on the part of Microsoft. But I don't suppose they're ready to throw in the towell just yet.

John Battelle's Searchblog: Firefox, MSFT.

21 January 2005

Rosen's reporting falls short of the mark

Jay Rosen criticised PR bloggers because his research (using Technorati) found that few PR bloggers had addressed the Ketchum-Williams fiasco.

Rosen and Technorati stuffed up. At least four prominent PR bloggers posted on the subject and apparently didn't get picked up in the Technorati seach. Dave Sifry of Technorati is looking into this, see PS at the end of the previous post on this site.

Rosen's criticisms are still valid. And the industry, and PR bloggers, need to address these incidents of grossly unethical behaviour in a more a systematic and effective way.

But, Jay, as they say in news rooms (or used to in the good old days), check it. You shouldn't make bold generalisations and name names just on the basis of a quick and dirty Technorati search.

It turns out the PR blogging community actually did a better job than your original story suggested.

UPDATE: Here's another one Rosen missed in his rush to go to print.

Anyone got any more 'missed' comments.

WHOA: I've just found links to two more 'missed posts' - David Murray and Colin MacKay. That's seven now, by my counting. Eight, including one in Spanish by Octavio Rojas.

It could turn out that I was one of a minority of bloggers who missed the story!!

What the hell happened at Technorati! Or did Jay misuse the search facility?

20 January 2005

Rosen, Ketchum and the failure of PR bloggers

Let me say at the outset that I think Rosen's criticisms of the (general lack) of interest PR bloggers have shown in the Ketchum story are valid and important.

Initially, I also thought what the hell what do I care about a bit of a scandal in the USA.  Its a local american thing. Ketchum doesn't even have a presence in Australia, so there's not even the prospect of a hit on a feared rival to tantalise my interest.

But this is a pretty parochial approach, especially given that I helped organise globalprblogweek last year, which is partly premised on the idea that we do have common interests across national markets.

In fact its worse than this, I admit that the Ketchum story hadn't even registered on my radar until I received Jay Rosen's email this morning (Australian time).

Which is strange because we had a major scandal along these lines a few years ago in Australia.

Dubbed the 'cash for comment' scandal, it involved payments to powerful radio broadcasters to, allegedly, make favourable on-air remarks about some of Australia's biggest corporations.

The scandal got incredible high-profile publicity and has become an icon in Australian political and media life.

See for instance, this interesting exchange at a Senate estimates hearing with a representative from Telstra, themajority-owned Australian telecommunications company:

Bill Scales: Telstra doesn’t involve itself in cash for comment.

Senator Mackay: So would you regard Telstra’s deals with Alan Jones and John Laws as cash for comment?

Bill Scales: No, we do not Senator…
-Senate Estimates Committee, May 25 2004    

Despite the publicity and public inquiries the disappointing thing is that little was done.

Some, largely unworkable and ineffective, disclosure rules were put in place but you get the sense that life goes on pretty much as it has in the past.

My firm - Jackson Wells Morris - has long advocated for stronger controls over the industry. In fact, we resigned from the Public Relations Institute of Australia because we thought it wasn't being rigorous or tough enough on self-regulation.

The particular issue at that time was astro-turfing. We have a code of ethics and the watchword there is transparency. Our firm does not make political donations, of any sort. Though quite a few of us are active politically in a private capacity. Nor would we ever make undisclosed payments to public advocates.

Nevertheless, the problem is that unethical practices affect the PR industry overall and something should be done.

Government regulation is not desirable - though it may become inevitable if there are too many scandals.

Effective self-regulation by industry bodies seems a forlorn hope.

So, maybe we should turn to blogging to focus attention on the practices that give our industry a bad reputation.

But, I'm not quite sure how that would work.

Would PR people attacking each other look just like an attempt to snare some shred of additional competitive advantage?

Still, Rosen's article is a wake-up call, I think, and I hope it prompts more vigilance on the part of PR bloggers everywhere.

Follow the debate: Jeremy Popper, technorati watch on ketchum, PR Fuel, Dan Gillmor, Steve Rubel, Tom Murphy, Shel Holtz

(interestingly, Tom and Shel actually did post about the ketchum affair before the Rosen article but Rosen's research didn't pick it up - I think that shows that you can't rely on services like Technorati in Rosen's case to pick up everything. Just because its not on Technorati doesn't mean it didn't happen.)

PS - Dave Sifry, head of Technorati, commented here - "Interesting! I'm passing this on to our engineers to see why Technorati didn't catch those posts. We'll get that fixed right up. ;-)"

18 January 2005

Memo to self: get up to speed on technorati's tags

It seems like every second blog I visited last night was having two bobs' worth on tags. Sounds great, as soon as I get time, I must investigate. Link: IrishEyes: Tags that point.

17 January 2005

The big trend right now is trend spotting!

Here's some trend blogs recommended by re:invention blog - for women entrepreneurs.

1. Alex Barnett's Blog
2. Small Business Trends
3. Just Foods' 2005 Food Trends
4. PSFK 2005 Trend Forecasts
5. Agenda Breaking News
6. Trend Central
7. Reveries/Cool News
8. Herman Group Trend Forecasts
9. Trendwatching.com
10. Yahoo's Buzz Index

Six Apart Guide to Combatting Comment Spam

Six Apart Guide to Combatting Comment Spam.

This document describes how malicious or unwanted comments ('comment spam') affect weblogs, the techniques spammers use to abuse weblogs, and the tactics that can be used to prevent and defend against these attacks. Also included is a review of the strengths and weaknesses of each tactic, instructions for implementing them on your weblog and ones which we recommend for the best protection.

16 January 2005

Blogging for Dollars

Link: Blogging for Dollars - Hang Daily Kos, but not for taking money from Howard Dean. By Chris?Suellentrop.

Teachout named two prominent bloggers in particular: Jerome Armstrong of myDD.com  and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos. "On Dean's campaign, we paid Markos and Jerome Armstrong as consultants, largely in order to ensure that they said positive things about Dean. We paid them over twice as much as we paid two staffers of similar backgrounds, and they had several other clients," Teachout wrote. "While they ended up also providing useful advice, the initial reason for our outreach was explicitly to buy their airtime. To be very clear, they never committed to supporting Dean for the payment—but it was very clearly, internally, our goal." In the past, Teachout has also fingered Matthew Gross for writing about Erskine Bowles while Gross was on the candidate's payroll.

Armstrong and Moulitsas have complained vociferously on their blogs about Teachout's post and about the Journal's story, and they have a point: Armstrong quit blogging for the half-year that Armstrong Zunida, the two men's political consulting firm, was on the Dean payroll, and Moulitsas posted a somewhat grumpy disclosure on his site's front page during the same period. If the two men were journalists, those disclosures would be woefully insufficient.

But Armstrong and Moulitsas aren't journalists. Nor does having a blog make someone a journalist. (emphasis added).

Bloggers may not be journalists but the principle is the same and that principle is about have sufficient respect for your audience (or fellow conversationalists) to deal with them honestly and forthrightly.

Bloggers are usually quick and acerbic in their criticisms of journalists, so we ought to be even more scrupulous in our own commitments to accuracy and openness (people in glass houses etc).

31 December 2004

Comment spam attack

This morning I got hit by an organisation using multiple IP addresses simultaneously and delivering hundreds of spam comments simultaneously; here is a list of the offending IP addresses for anyone who wants to take preemptive action

24.13.158.205
209.88.128.9
216.195.206.249
66.98.212.79
203.144.143.6
216.219.242.239
66.65.139.135
148.244.150.57
216.249.43.4
148.244.150.58
69.50.168.130
217.65.159.99
196.28.48.100
24.1.245.39
218.145.25.84
206.204.190.7
216.249.43.3

If anyone knows an easy way of dealing with this stuff on typepad let me know!

30 December 2004

Bloggers Beware: Debunking Eight Copyright Myths of the Online World

Well worth reading.

A handful of myths have spawned practices, particularly among bloggers and Website owners, that turn copyright law on its head. These myths are rooted in the assumption that everything is up for use online unless and until proven otherwise. It doesn’t help that technology has made it so easy to take and share images, text and files. Those myths and that ease have fostered a presumption of entitlement that causes Netizens to treat the Internet (and non-electronic sources as well) as a buffet spread of photos, articles, sounds and multi-media files free for the plucking and posting.

Link: LLRX.com - Bloggers Beware: Debunking Eight Copyright Myths of the Online World.

22 December 2004

More Women Blog Than Men

Its certainly true that the political pundits are overwhelmingly male but across the blogosphere the numbers are much more even. And women are more likely to stick with it. So those fears that women would be left out of the new publishing revolution seem to be ill-founded. Link: Blog Brandz: More Women Blog Than Men.

21 December 2004

When it comes to blogging less is more

It took me a while to realise that the secret of the iPod is the playlist and using it (them) to continually refine your list so that you never listen to anything but your absolute favourites. Previously, I thought it was uncool not to listen to the whole CD.

Same thing with blogs. The good stuff rises anyway, and there are 'conversations' around the stuff that interests you, so you don't need to read everything all the time.

My blogroll is in a state of continuous flux as I build it up to about 500 and then winnow it back to about 200 (the outer limits of what I think is any sense manageable). I get the new blogs mostly by importing the bloglines subscription lists of bloggers I like (by creating an OPML file).

Working my way through someone else's blogroll is fabulous fun. I keep finding blogs that I knew nothing about and may never have stumbled upon.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from one of my recent discoveries, how to save the world, which explains less is more as the first of 14 tips on how to blog more efficiently.

Read less. Whether you use 'push' tools (RSS feeds) or 'pull' tools (browsing your blogroll), you're probably trying to read far too much every day. How much of what you read, and see in the news, really matters? I've cut the number of periodicals I read by a factor of 5, and I rely on the people in my blogging and other communities to catch what little I miss as a result.

20 December 2004

Careful of those predictions

Bit like the IBM guy who said there was no market for more than six computers globally, or the brit who said the telephone would never replace telegrams.

“Dissemination of information is great, but how much of it is trustworthy? [Blogs] are an interesting phenomenon, but I don’t think they will be as talked about in a year’s time.”
-Mike Smartt, editor of BBC News Online, 25 March, 2003

Link: the big blog company | it's all about who's on top and who's on the back

14 December 2004

Is this blogspoitation?

PR Watch – despite its obsessive dislike of us PR types – provides a valuable service in monitoring and reporting the excesses of the industry. In the current edition of its Spin of the Day feature, PR Watch directs us to what is perhaps an early instance of the exploitation of blogging for somewhat dubious ends.

Joseph Mailander of the Martini Republic weblog wonders if the US government is "blog trolling" in Iraq: "touting the 'right' messengers with a mix of above-board, official recognition and below-board, ideology-based, sustained pump-priming, to generate a following for propagandistic messengers far beyond their natural level of interest."

"The phenomenon of blog trolling, and frankly of blog agents provocateurs secretly working for a particular group or goal and deliberately attempting to spread disinformation, is likely to grow in importance."

12 December 2004

Blogging's big day just around the corner

A prediction from Wayne Hurlbert for 2005, I hope he's right:

Blogging in general, and business blogging in particular, is poised to become a multi-million dollar industry. 2003 and 2004 saw massive growth in the numbers of blogs in existence. Blogs are now commonly found discussed in both the mainstream media and among many members of the general public. Blogs are now sitting on the brink of an enormous breakthrough as a business tool. Whether for marketing, public relations, or for creating and developing product buzz, blogs are about to enter the business mainstream with an explosion

White House staff monitor blogs

This little vignette seems to symbolise for me just how fast things are changing: "

"Mohammed said the President understood what blogs are and their importance and they found the staff in the White House views reading blogs as part of their jobs now. The brothers said they were in the White House not just as Iraqi citizens but as representatives of the blogosphere." from Buzzmachine.

11 December 2004

The more things change, the faster they change

Jeremy Wright has a piece today which accurately captures the amazement we all feel at just how fast this blogging thing, and everything related to it, is taking off.

The world is ready for this idea and with hundreds of thousands of creative and passionate people working at lightening speed the momentum that is building is just phenomenal.

Even in Australia, which so often lags the world on these things (I can never quite put my finger on why that might be), we're starting to see some more action.

Cameron Reilly and Mick Stanic have just successfully launched their G'day World podcast. 250 downloads in the first week from all over the world (China was number third on the list).

Cameron, Mick and I and a few others are aiming to hold Australia's first ever blogging conference in Melbourne.

I've had some good 'meet-ups' in recent times with Cameron in Melbourne and Mick in Sydney. Cameron, who worked for Microsoft for 6 years until recently and now has his own business, and Mick, who heads up the digital side of John Singleton Advertising, both are bursting with energy and ideas and a great sense of urgency to get the blogging momentum building in Australia. Not only for fun, but hopefully for profit too.

Of course, we all share a frustration that Australian business has been slow off the mark on blogging. But, I think that will change dramatically over the next year or two. People were slow on the uptake with Internet sites too a few years back but then it quickly became the case that you had to have a website or fall behind the competition. Same deal with blogging. The first companies to do it will not only get the first mover advantage but they will also force other companies to get involved too.

Mark Jones, Deputy Managing Director of IDG media in Australia, which publishes a suite of computer magazines, is blogging himself (filtered) and is very positive about the blogging conference. Of course, Mark is not long returned from 3 years in San Francisco, so he might have a running start on many other Australian media types.

Nevertheless, I had a long chat to Chris Warren (Secretary, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance) not long ago and he's very knowledgeable about blogs and thoughtful about their likely impact on the media.
I've put Chris in touch with my buddy Jay Rosen of NYU who is coming to Australia for the Alfred Deakin lectures in May. Rosen is keen to do a conference session or something for the MEAA if time and scheduling permits.

The Walkley Foundation has just asked me to do a panel session on blogging for its Freelance conference on 1 May with Anthony Lowenstein of the SMH who had a blog on the paper's site during the recent Federal election. There may also be a third panelist.

I've got more articles on blogging in the pipeline, including one on podcasting for the Walkley magazine.
Podcasting really is an amazing thing. It was the toast of Bloggercon3 where many of the early stars were gathered: Dave Winer, of course, who helped Adam Curry develop the program, along with Michael Butler, Dawn and Drew, and Dave Slusher amongst others. Links to all these and many more on the ipodder site.

A US colleague has approached me with an idea for us to do a joint podcast. It's exciting that something like that can be done - whatever happened to the 'Tyranny of Distance' we Australians used to suffer under? So, I'm thinking about it. To tell you the truth, until this proposal came up, I hadn't even considered doing a podcast myself. But the more I think about it, hhhmmm.

I recently did an article for New Matilda on building online political communities as a way of re-vitalising the centre-left in Australia which has drawn some significant interest. I'd love to get involved in setting up a moveon.org or something in this country. I'm fascinated by Trippi's ideas, the whole question of 'connected politics, and particularly the approach the Clark campaign adopted. I'm having lunch this week with someone who read the article and wants to explore the ideas. More on this if anything develops.

So, looking forward to 2005, I think its going to be an exciting year in the history of blogging. The most exciting so far and 2004 was a pretty amazing ride. There's so much momentum building

08 December 2004

New cancer blog launched

Steve Rubel points to the launch of a new blog covering cancer, which seems like a great use of the new medium. This recent post gives you an idea of the style and content:

I often get asked when we might see a cure for cancer. We keep seeing miraculous headlines about new treatment breakthroughs and discoveries. While it is true that we are making progress, most headlines are only hype and even PR for pharmaceutical companies. What makes cancer in general so difficult to treat is that each tumor is biologically different, so for some people the treatment works while for others it does not.

The biology of cancer is so complex that I think we are still scratching the surface of the problem. I know this is not what we like to hear, but it is unfortunately true. Current chemotherapy is like droping an atomic bomb to kill a few criminals while killing everything surrounding it. The benefit comes at a very high cost. And there is nothing better currently available. We have very few treatments that are really targeting a specific molecular mechanism (such as Gleevac), but even that has been shown not to be curative. Also we don’t have nearly enough people doing research, and also research money is a problem. People are trying to solve it, but I think it will still take take decades to see some real cures.

06 December 2004

Companies Mine Blogs

WSJ reports on companies who are monitoring and responding to blog product and service comments

People who rave online about their favorite new gadget -- or gripe about the products they hate -- are turning heads in the business world.
The growing popularity of blogs and other online forums has prompted companies to pay more attention to what is being said about them on the Internet, and has given rise to a new kind of market research aimed at finding useful information in the sea of online chatter.

Corporate Engagement: The Acme of amateur achievement

Scott Burgess has posted a piece that goes to the heart of journalists' deep-seated fear of bloggers.

We are a "socially harmful" phenomenon, according to The Independent's Terence Blacker.

And if the mainstream media were to start imitating bloggers they could become "more openly opinionated and slanted in the way that they present news". (No, I don't think he's being ironic.)

Read Scott's post here.

01 December 2004

New site launched for Australian Blogging Conference

Scheduled for Melbourne in February 2005, the Australian Blogging Conference will be the first event of its kind in this country. The site is well worth having a look. It won't be exactly the same as the Bloggercon model but the broad purpose and spirit will be the same. Bloggers coming together to discuss issues of importance to the development of this exciting new medium.

Blog is the 'word of the year'

So its not just me that discovered blogs less than twelve months ago.

Link: 'Blog' Tops U.S. Dictionary's Words of the Year.

A four-letter term that came to symbolize the difference between old and new media during this year's presidential campaign tops U.S. dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster's list of the 10 words of the year.

Merriam-Webster Inc. said on Tuesday that blog, defined as "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks," was one of the most looked-up words on its Internet sites this year.

Springfield, Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster compiles the list each year by taking the most researched words on its Web sites and then excluding perennials such as affect/effect and profanity.

A Merriam-Webster spokesman said it was not possible to say how many times blog had been looked up on its Web sites but that from July onward, the word received tens of thousands of hits per month.

30 November 2004

Blogs as tall poppy cutters

Bill O'Reilly has gone into bat for Dan Rather arguing he has been unfairly vilified over the Bush National Guard service story on US 60 Minutes.

Without actually using the word Blog, O'Reilly raises the point that bloggers can defame. The law is grappling with defamamtion and websites. It won't be long before blogs are focussed on. And the use of opinion as a defence (in common law countries outside the US) will surely be relied upon.

Some would say it's a bit rich for a bully-boy like O'Reilly to be taking the moral high ground on this one!

O'Reilly writes:

"All famous and successful Americans are now targets. Unscrupulous people know that any accusation can be dumped on the Internet and within hours the mainstream media will pick it up. It will be printed in the papers, discussed on radio and TV and become part of the unfortunate person's résumé whether he or she is guilty or not. A click of the Internet mouse can wipe out a lifetime of honor and hard work. Just the accusation or allegation can be ruinous."

Read O'Reilly's piece here.

Thanks to LGF for this one.

28 November 2004

SMH continues to be Australia's most linked to domain

Smh.com.au is number 54 today on the PubSub list.
The Age comes in at 84, news.com.au is at 122. The AFR 2256 and abc.net.au 77.
The AFR suffers in linking terms because it charges for a lot of its content.
Corporate engagement (trevorcook.typepad.com) ranks 8,237
PubSub says: 

LinkRanks are our way of measuring the strength, persistence, and vitality of links appearing in weblogs. To calculate LinkRanks, we generate a link score for each domain. Link scores are calculated in three steps: first, we find a point value for every site that links to other sites. Second, we use the point values to generate link scores for each domain. Finally, we weight the daily scores over a fixed period to arrive at an aggregate score for the site - this ensures that more recent links are given more value than links from several days ago

PubSub currently tracks over 3.5 million active sources.

27 November 2004

The 'blog' revolution sweeps across China

It took a chance online encounter between a software engineer from Shanghai and a teacher in a remote province of China to start shaking up the power balance between the people and the government of the world’s most populous nation.

In August 2002, Isaac Mao, who worked at the Shanghai office of the chip maker Intel, was one of only a handful of people in China who had heard the word “blog”. A regular web surfer, he was fascinated by the freedom these online journals gave to ordinary people to publish both their own and their readers’ views online.    

Surfing the US website blogger.com, Mao was thrilled to find Zheng Yunsheng, a teacher at a technical school in Fujian province. He left a message on Zheng’s blog, and two weeks later Mao and Zheng started CNBlog.org, China’s first online discussion forum about blogging technology and culture.   

They soon gathered a small but devoted group of participants, many of whom went on to develop the technology that makes blogging possible for China’s half-a-million bloggers.

Read the whole thing here.

Thanks to Instapundit.com

25 November 2004

More on Rather

Further to Keith's post about Dan Rather.

This is taken from CNN's report on Rather's resignation:

.... immediately after the broadcast, the documents came under fire in media reports,with some document experts saying that they were produced with a computer word-processing program, not by a 1970s-era typewriter.

Wrong.

The documents came under fire from bloggers not the media, who were slow on the uptake.

Amazing how the media thinks it broke this one. They didn't!

Thanks to Tim Blair for this one.

21 November 2004

Blogging and PR/marketing primer

Roland Tanglao of Vancouver is a fellow PR blogger who participated in Global PR Blog Week in July and more recently in Bloggercon (plus a follow-up blogger dinner with Dave Winer, Bloggercon organiser, back in Vancouver) has posted an interesting presentation (available here) on blogging that he and Darren Barefoot gave to a recent conference.
 
The presentation was for a new media seminar called "Building 21st Century Websites with Weblogs and RSS" and it covers all the basics - particularly emphasising the creation of more dynamic sites which involve customers and other stakeholders in conversations.

At Global PR Blog Week, Roland contributed one of the most interesting and provactive posts, "PR is dead". Here's a quote from that earlier article that also covers the theme of the recent presentation:

let's get people who are passionate about your corporation to write about your company. People who believe and who can tread the delicate line between public and private, and the myriad of laws and regulations and write in an informal, natural and conversational voice. People who can tell your company's stories.

17 November 2004

Be complex for blogging success

NYU journalism professor (and major league blogger) Jay Rosen sees blogging as an antidote to the limitations of mass communications. Note blogging is not a replacement or substitute for mass media, it supplements and enhances the media environment by offering an alternative for people who want more on a particular subject or viewpoint than what's currently available on TV and in newspapers. This strikes me as a powerful insight into the future media role of blogs.

So this is how Press Think (Rosen's blog) operates. Instead of simplicity, repetition, and volume, its complexity, length, and depth, and nuance. So this of course limits the success of my weblog, but I want to limit the success of my weblog. Five thousand to 6,000 readers who are educated and interested in what I am doing is fine for me and works for my purposes. Sometimes it balloons higher than that and that's nice, but I really can enjoy myself and do something good at this level.

So right away I'm in competition with the mass media, because my ethic of drawing people to my side competes with theirs. Theirs is everybody should be drawn, and mine is I don't care if you don't like it. It's only for a certain kind of reader, a certain kind of user. And if those people self-identify and hang around Press Think, that’s good for me.

In a sense I'm trying to compete with the mass media by adopting a different attitude towards the audience. And the very last thing I would ever assume about my audience is that they need something drilled into their head. And they need slogans and catch phrases and they need to have this truncating of discourse in order to "get it."

Link: PJNet Today: Blogging Advice from Jay Rosen: Be Complex.

15 November 2004

Earnings Cast!

Link: Earnings Cast!. Keith Teare (the creator of earningscast) talked about this in the podcasting session at Blogger 3, it sounds like an idea with real potential.
BTW, you can podcast, download or stream the podcasting session from IT Conversations (a great site for lots of audio stuff on technology and social/commercial/political change).

14 November 2004

Trevor Cook at Bloggercon (pictured)

Here's a photo taken by Micki Rimmel .

08 November 2004

The Bloggercon 'politics' session

One weakness of Bloggercon was the overwhelming left / libertarian nature of the audience. It would be good to have heard some pro-Bush voices. The US political blogosphere is afterall about 40 percent conservative by some reckonings. The clear lesson from 2004 is that when it comes to online politics the killer app is still email. Though, again, blogs seem to have been good tools in local campaigns and in raising money (specifically the Dean campaign's $40m). Some key points to emerge is that a blog doesn't work if it reads like a medai release, it has to feel like a conversation with the candidate. The other major point is that a blog takes years to build a strong and sizeable following. So we can expect blogs to be far more prominent in 2008 then this year.

There are also lots of demographic and socio-economic issues around blogs and campaigning which unfortunately didn't get enough attention. How do you build an online relationship with someone who can't afford a computer?

Some Bloggercon reflections - the podcasting and journalism sessions

Overall, it was a sensational event. The 'unconference' format works. The use of discussion leaders rather than presenters or panelist really enables a lot more people to get involved. Of course, this is an educated, enthusiastic audience bursting to make a point or three.

Continue reading "Some Bloggercon reflections - the podcasting and journalism sessions" »

07 November 2004

Bloggercon goes down a treat

Dave Winer reports enthusiastically about the second international meeting of bloggers held in San Francisco yesterday.

We soon hope to get some analytical appraisal from Corporate Engagement’s Trevor Cook.

Last night's opening dinner was wonderful. One of those dinners when everything came together,

We come together to talk about all kinds of stuff. Weighty issues, new technology, professions, tools, but like all other serious subjects, they just serve to distract from the real reason we worked so hard and traveled so far to be with each other. We came to fall in love.

And this is something humans do very well, very easily. Last night's bright bouquet of flowers will be gone in a flash, by the end of the weekend we'll all be back in front of our usual screens.

But when we read something written by another blogger, now there will be a better chance that we know something about them, something important, that they're a person, like we are, doing the best they can.

05 November 2004

Norewgian Opposition Leader starts Blog

Norway's opposition leader, Kristin Halvorsen, has started her own blog.

We've had plenty of spoof (joke) politicians' blogs in Australia, such as John Howard P.M., but as far as I know, not an official one like this.

Media Culpa has more info on Halvorsen's blog here.

02 November 2004

Race stops nation

At ten minutes past three on the afternoon of the first Tuesday in November, Australia screeches to a halt for the running of the nation’s premier horse race – the Melbourne Cup.

And yes, Virginia, there is a Melbourne Cup blog. It’s hosted by our esteemed Typepad and you can access it here.

01 November 2004

We all have barrels now

Further to Keith's post below, Scott Burgess has encapsulated the potential impact bloggers will have on journalists in this reply to The Guardian's Polly Toynbee:

Welcome to the new media world, Polly.

Up until now, an information elite has been able to misrepresent and manufacture fact with virtual impunity - sometimes accidentally, sometimes as a deliberate means of pushing a chosen agenda.

For example, if a newspaper polemicist wanted to contend that "Scandinavian countries are best of all" at overcoming obesity, it was unlikely that many would notice and connect the fact that: "Norway has the highest percentage of overweight men in Europe, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO)."

Those who did notice such "anomalies" had no easy means of communicating them to others interested in issues of journalistic integrity.

As you see, that's changing now. What you (and many others) are in the process of learning is that, from now on, reportorial sloppiness and dishonesty will be noted, exposed, and punished - quickly and very, very publicly.

Journalists who are accurate and honest have little to fear - the facts will out. Their less capable (and less truthful) colleagues risk the humiliation of public ridicule.

Best of all, in this new media environment the once-wise maxim "never get in an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel" no longer applies, for we all have barrels now. Ardent proponents of equality would no doubt applaud this development, were they not the ones whose superior status was now under threat.

Very Truly Yours,

Scott Burgess

31 October 2004

Bloggers flog media

On the eve of next Saturday’s Bloggercon III, at which JWM’s Trevor Cook will be the lone Australian delegate, an article by Jim Rutenberg in the Sydney Morning Herald reports on bloggers’ impact on the US elections.

Practising cheap and dirty politics, playing fast and loose with facts and even lying: these accusations, and worse, have been nonstop this year.

The accused are not the candidates, but the mainstream news media. And the accusers are an ever growing army of internet writers, many of them partisans, who reach hundreds of thousands of people a day.

Journalists covering the campaign believe the intent is often to bully them into caving in to a particular point of view. They insist the efforts have not swayed them significantly, although others worry they could eventually have a chilling effect.

Many of the internet writers say they have been empowered by the web to begin serving as a long-needed real-time check on mainstream outlets and reporters, who they say wield too much power, sometimes irresponsibly and often with hidden partisan motives.

"The traditional players, including the press, have lost some of the control or exclusive control they used to have," said Jay Rosen, chairman of the journalism department at New York University, who keeps his own weblog.

30 October 2004

Want more blog feeds?

Here is the Technorati: Top 100

6 Time Management Tips for Bloggers

It had to happen. These are all good ideas. via corporatebloggingblog

29 October 2004

If I was in Boston

Which I'm not, I'd not only be celebrating the Red Sox triumph I'd also be securing a spot at this event. I hope they'll podcast the session for the rest of us (hint).

Introducing 'Media Insider' as a Blog

Makes a lot of sense.

Effective immediately, we stop maintaining two Media Insider sites, and focus on just one -- this one, in Blogware. It's easier to administer, it supports multiple authors, and it enables us to think seriously about how to ultimately build ProfNet in RSS and other so-called "thin media."

28 October 2004

Great blogging cartoon

093004borgman600x403 From the Cincinnati Enquirer, courtesy of Kevin Dugan and Tom Murphy

Bloggercon

I'm going to Bloggercon on 6 Nov and I'll be in San Francisco the week before and the week after, so if anyone wants to catch-up for a beer and a coffee and talk about blogging, politics, wine, etc let me know.

Choosing a blog platform

Heather Carle - director of communications for Internet domain name registry Afilias Limited and chair of PRSA’s Technology Professional Interest Section - has put together a great comparison of commonly used blogging platforms, which will be useful for anyone thinking about starting their own blog, including would-be corporate bloggers. Download pdf

26 October 2004

Three ways RSS can make your Web life better

CNET. Good stuff. But also you can use voidstar to convert your google alerts into RSS feeds and free up your email inbox.

22 October 2004

A new spin on blogging

Here is an article I wrote for the October / November edition of the Walkley Magazine (a publication of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance which covers journalists, pr professionals, actors etc). The article covers Dan Gillmor's We the Media, Jay Rosen on PR transparency, Global Pr Blog Week and Bloggercon. The full text is below or here is a pdf
"Blogging is the new frontier for journalism and public relations. For some it promises excitement and limitless potential; others worry that it is ushering in a chaotic and perilous information jungle without recognisable standards or controls.

Continue reading "A new spin on blogging" »

20 October 2004

Finding Influential Blogs That Reach Your Key Audiences

A neat three step process and all free. Particularly like this google search page. Talk about idiot-proofing. Well done Steve, but hey aren't you honeymooning?

15 October 2004

Moving fast - podcasting & google desktop

From Media Culpa

Googling "podcasting" got 15-20 hits a month ago. On October 8 it gave you 13,000 hits. Today, one week later you get 66,000 hits.
Podcasting even got covered in the Age this week.
This is big too - desktop search. While Microsoft says it will include a search engine in its next desktop, Google decides to put your desktop in a search engine. Cute. Here's the Slashdot take. And the O'Reilly network introduction:
The Google Desktop is your own private little Google server. It sits in the background, slogging through your files and folders, indexing your incoming and outgoing email messages, listening in on your instant messenger chats, and browsing the Web right along with you. Just about anything you see and summarily forget, the Google Desktop sees and memorizes for you
Initial blog reaction seems very positive.
Whoops spoke too soon: Geek fun, Scripting News

Blogging at the end of the earth

Computerworld:

Giles, who manages Sun Microsystems's partner accounts, thinks Australia is usually disadvantaged by its geographical isolation and has the most to gain by blogging as a way of staying interconnected.
"If we apply this technology more assiduously than others, our culture and our economy may well jump ahead," he said.
AGREED

14 October 2004

State of the blogosphere

4 million

13 October 2004

The Power of the Industry Blog

Catherine Parker has written an interesting piece on the power of industry blogs.

She cites Gmail as an example of using highly-respected industry bloggers to spread the word.

12 October 2004

Major PR CEO on the blog

Our fraternal congratulations to Richard Edelman – CEO of Edelman Worldwide - for establishing a new blogsite. Edelman bills itself as the world’s largest independent PR firm and Richard has promised to post a new blog each week.

My intention is to share trends in communications, the issues, lessons and insights that I gather from managing this firm.

08 October 2004

Blogs, RSS and PR Professionals

From imediaconnection.com -

The seminar "PR and Emerging Communication Channels," sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) addressed the emerging phenomena known as Web logs (blogs) and Real Simple Syndication (RSS); they also discussed how blogs are reshaping the communications industry.

Read the whole thing here.

03 October 2004

Time for refreshment

My old Papua New Guinea teaching buddy, the Rev Dr Barry Paterson, who ministers to the needs of indigenous people in Far North Queensland, has begun a blog offering pearls of wisdom from many different cultures, religions and philosophies. It’s always refreshing to take a break in the mind of a sage.

29 September 2004

Bloggers as punks

PistolsAn interseting e-mail has been sent to Andrew Sullivan dawing parallels between bloggers and the punk movement.

As bloggers move further into the mainstream do they risk taking on the ugly characteristics of big media?

Why business should blog

Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, authors of Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force, argue there are Seven Reasons Why Businesses Should Blog Now

With thanks to MarketingProfs.com

28 September 2004

BloggerCon - session leaders posts

I'm going to Bloggercon111 on 6 November at Stanford University in Palo Alto. The session leaders have started putting up their thoughts on their assigned topics and there's some interesting reading.

That NYT magazine article

A ten page story on blogging in the NYT magazine is a milestone, but the story itself has drawn a lot of (very justified) criticism. I was disappointed that it was sort of mocking the new medium and missed many of the really interesting changes that are taking place. Here is a nice assemblage of the critical perspectives.

Community journalism to the fore in Florida storm

During Ivan, Blogger made it easier for the paper to immediately post an array of items – lengthy news articles, briefs about where to find emergency supplies, lists of insurers' and distributors' phone numbers – that hopefully helped online readers. The paper's Web site became its main source to publish information during the hurricane. During its peak, the site received 12 million visitors.
More..

27 September 2004

SplaTT's Blog: Australian Blogging Conference

I'm going to be helping to organise this conference next year, if you're interested fill in the survey and subscribe to the RSS/XML feed to follow developments.

26 September 2004

NYT magazine covers political blogging

Big time, real big time. The cover of the NYT magazine, no less. Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail26cover3862_1

17 September 2004

Untainted by the media dollar

Likewise, I (Douglas Rushkoff) believe the greatest power of the blog is not just its ability to distribute alternative information - a great power, indeed - but its power to demonstrate a mode of engagement that is not based on the profit principle.

14 September 2004

Fact-checking ain't the main game

From Scripting news: The latest we-fact-check-your-ass story was about an irrelevant detail of an irrelevant issue. Come on guys and gals, there's a real story out there. Which one of these losers should we bet our future on? Hint: It's even worse than it appears

31 August 2004

Sacked for blogging

Ironic & bad PR for Friendster which their website says

is an online service that helps you connect with your friends and discover new friends and interests.

25 August 2004

Rosen to blog Republicans

Rosen's convention site is called sky box.

22 August 2004

Dan Gillmor weighs in on the IOC's blog ban

Arrogance

This is about greed, nothing more and nothing less. It is about the historically corrupt International Olympic Committee's desire to please the giant media organizations to which it has sold "rights" to tell and show the world what is happening.
The irony here is that the olympic officials are inadvertently telling us something about the future of journalism, though I'm certain they don't understand it themselves, in the context of their heavy-handed (and probably illegal) action. Because the more that regular folks -- OK, that's a stretch for the athletes -- put their own work on the Web or send it to each other by other means, the more they are becoming some of tomorrow's journalists.

21 August 2004

Olympians Banned From Blogging

More on the IOC's media control tactics, at the unattended games.

Using blogs to by-pass the media

One of the big problems in PR is the limited - and declining - space available in traditional media for getting information out to customers, investors, citizens anyone. Add to this the lack of interest and expertise most journalists have in specialised areas - together with their obsession with finding the latest little Watergate - and you have a communication nightmare. Most people most of the time are very poorly served by the media but many US associations are now using blogs to engage their audiences directly, a development with far reaching implications. Not only is it a nightmare for trade publications, it will also start weaning people off their dependence on the 'media' as a quasi-religious and quasi-state institution which carries with it some authority because of its monopolistic control of the traditional communication channels.

20 August 2004

Is blogging banned in Athens?

The IOC's idiocy continues to be one of the blogosphere's topics du jour. Of course, the IOC's strategy is to create water-tight monopolies and then onsell this piece of rent-seeking to the highest bidder at wildly inflated prices - still they need lots of money to keep this corrupt, fascist-inspired global circus going. I went to a few Sydney Olympic events and the atmosphere had all the excitement of a big school sports carnival.

IOC tries to control the Internet

Media culpa rightly ridicules the IOC's linking policy

a) Use the term ATHENS 2004 only, and no other term as the text referent
b) Not associate the link with any image, esp. the ATHENS 2004 Emblem (see paragraph below)
c) Send a request letter to the Internet Department stating:
-Short description of site
-Reason for linking
-Unique URL containing the link (if no unique URL than just the main URL)
-Publishing period
Contact point (e-mail address)
The send 'a request letter to the Internet Department' is gorgeous isn't it? Such a kafkaesque or orwellian phrase - 'the Internet Department'.

16 August 2004

The first post is the deepest?

Single Planet, blogging in China, has come up with a fabulous way to celebrate his first birthday of blogging, here's the introduction but its well worth looking through the sites he lists:

As it comes up to the first birthday of Single Planet I started thinking about my first post, and then how others had launched their blogs. It became a bit of an odyssey, reading the first posts of the China English language blogs, and considering how they write now.
Blogs have almost become mainstream, and the early blogs - anywhere, not just in China - will eventually become a valuable source of information on early 21st century social history.
Blogs published by people who do not write for a living tend to start coyly - nervously even - anxiously wondering how their public will receive them. Most evolved rapidly into a specific style.

15 August 2004

The importance of visitor traffic

Good post on at a vexing issue at Blog Business World:

There are many types of achievements in blogging. One of the most important, but not often given the attention it deserves, is reaching a visitor traffic milestone. Many bloggers are self conscious about their visitor traffic. Some bloggers even avoid having a visitor counter for their blogs entirely.
Yet some sites are achieving phenomenal results and watching the stats can help you see what readers want - which seems to be -
interesting and informative posts. (that) also let their (authors) personalities and personal thoughts and values flow freely throughout their blogs.

10 August 2004

Charities using blogs to spread their messages

Well worth reading

Since the blog was added as the featured part of an overall site redesign a year ago, the number of hits on Earth Share's site has more than tripled. While the site generated slightly more than 3,000 hits per month before adding the blog, it now gets as many as 12,000 a month.

05 August 2004

Time for IABC to get blogging

Neville's right - time to join the debate, folks.

26 July 2004

Blogging, why do we do it?

Reading this new paper by Drezner and Farrell on the weekend, called "The Power and Politics of Blogs", got me thinking about the future and reality of blogging. (Thanks to Steve Rubel for the pointer).
Early adoptors of blogging have tended to see blogging as an alternative to the main media, or at least as a corrective to the worst excesses of the mainstream's haughtiness about its privileged position as our society's information priests (we tell you what you need to know and when).

Continue reading "Blogging, why do we do it? " »

23 July 2004

Peer-reviewed?

Now here's a perspective that would shock many old media types - but I love it - Blogging, which already works by a form of peer review (links, comments, PageRank), has the potential to take its place alongside academic publishing in value and credibility.

22 July 2004

Blogging and marriage

new_yorker
Ross mayfield

20 July 2004

A blogger's lament ...

Who amongst us doesn't know this feeling and the dilemma that goes with it ...

I felt far too tied to the blog, bound up in it. The blog very rapidly became part of my identity. I would scan book review sections with the sole purpose of finding something to write about. Even when I read a magazine cover at a newsstand I was thinking about the blog. I love books, but the blog quickly took over until I was thinking books in a different, unpleasent way.
In the end, I will continue, and I'll probably emphasize books, but I don't think it will be the sole focus. Unless I change my mind.

19 July 2004

Why read blogs?

A US study by Blogads (via Hypergene Mediablog) found that people are reading blogs for some reasons that seem to reflect poorly on traditional media.
blogreaders

13 July 2004

Blogging growth explosive, displacing TV

From Ross Mayfield's Weblog: A Forrester Research report asked Internet users which activities they were spending less time doing in order to spend time at their computers. 78% of the people polled said that they gave up television viewing. A study from The Georgia Institute of Technology's Graphic, Visualization and Usability Center showed a clear shift in media habits with more than one third of respondents saying that they "use the Web instead of watching TV on a daily basis."
The number of weblogs covered by Technorati is exploding (charts from Sifry's Alerts):
trackinggraph-06-2004
technorati-newlyadded-06-2004

12 July 2004

Bloggers Suffer Burnout

I really think you have to keep all this in perspective - either it's a paid gig or its just some useful fun. BTW, I just had the w/e off and went to Melbourne and saw the Producers and the Impressionists and ate and drank and caught up with friends. With PR Blog Week starting today, it was really refreshing to have a break from obsessing about how the blog is going. You can easily get to be like a teenager worried about whether you get as many party invites and SMS messages as your friends and classmates do. Blogging is only going to be a sustainable proposition for us amateurs if it fits comfortably into our real lives.

07 July 2004

Blogs as a new medium

Looks like Elmine Wijnia's forthcoming thesis, previewed at Blogtalk 2.0 (Elmine has posted the slides on her site), will be an interesting contribution to the theory on blogging as an emerging new medium. I particularly like the idea about the power relationships underpinning blogging being more even then in other mediums, but will the 'marketplace' become increasingly dominated by 'blogging stars' and the old power relationships simply become replicated as the blogging medium matures further. Let's hope not.

30 June 2004

Rosen's tips for Bill Gates, blogger

In fact, the tips, and the thinking behind them, are far more generally applicable:

Finally, a history lesson glancing backward. Rich, famous and powerful people have always had three options in dealing with a micro-inquisitive press. The first is to have it threatened, muzzled, jailed-- a method still at large around the world. The second is to simply hide from the press, lock it out. (Think Sonny smashing a photographer's camera in The Godfather, wedding scene.) The third, more modern and truly American way is, of course, public relations, which is not just a practice but a mentality, the business of selling applied to self and all possible forms of publicity.
An original weblog by Bill Gates--rich, famous, powerful, controversial person--could be a fourth way a business titan deals with the press: as author and critic, reading the headlines, putting certain ideas at risk, inserting himself into public conversation as a citizen of the planet, a reader of the news, (a sharp, funny person) editing the Web like all good weblogs do, and finding a honest voice in which to speak. Cure your blog of public relations, every hint and drop, or don't do it at all.

26 June 2004

Time's 50 Best Websites

Worth a look.

24 June 2004

Blogging in Iran - a link to the world

While we quibble in the West about whether bloggers are really journalists or not (ho,hum) in some places blogging means much more than that.

Pedram Moallemian, an Iranian who runs the English-language eyeranian.net from San Diego, reaches many of those Iranians with observations on everything from the Iranian elections to US news programs. "The blog in Iran is truly an amazing phenomenon," Moallemian said. "It shows that Iranians are saying, 'Look, we're part of the world as well'."

21 June 2004

Blogory

Not only am I finding Findory Blogory a good read, but its also driving a healthy traffic flow to this blog. Two good reasons to sign-up in my book. The more bloggers that sign-on the better it will be. I'm also enjoying my Kinja Digest which is a nice way to stay across some of my favourite blogs.

19 June 2004

Blogging forms a continuous feedback loop

Everyone knows that the feedback loop in communications is the pathway to real success, but usually its either non-existent or clunky and over-controlled. "The power of the Web medium to provide instantaneous feedback shapes and influences ideas and stories." Read more ...

18 June 2004

Blogging is Here to Stay, According to WordBiz.com Survey

It's amazing how fast things are moving. "In a recent survey of its readers, WordBiz Report discovered that marketers see blogging as more than just a current fad. 63.8% percent of readers surveyed felt that blogging was here to stay, while only 8.5% percent believe it’s just a passing trend. The remaining 27.7% were unsure, either because they didn’t know what a blog was, or they did not have complete confidence in the future of this new technology."

BlogOn 2004 Roster of Experts Tops 35

BlogOn is looks like being expert-laden

15 June 2004

Findory Blogory

The new Findory Blogory is a good way to find the blog posts you want to read. What it needs now is more registered blogs. I've registered mine, why not have a look?

14 June 2004

Time says blogging: 'important'

Now doesn't that make us feel better. Every blogger seems to be linking to Time's article. I thought it was a bit ho-hum. But I liked Robert Scoble's 'interview'.

Interesting: Blogging as an antidote to TV

PJNet Today: Participatory Journalism and Social Capital

13 June 2004

News from blogs only?

Some think Steve Rubel's blog-only diet was a silly PR stunt - apparently a bad thing - but it's excited more general attention than anything we've seen on a PR blog (at least in my recollection). It is an experiment, it is an interesting experiment. Does it prove anything? Probably not. Would there be any point to not following the links on blogs to mainstream media? Probably not. But Steve's novel idea does show that if you were relying on blogs you could stay pretty well-informed. And its fun, sooo lighten up a little.
Think for a moment about the way bloggers communicate these days. Could any of us now survive on a media-only diet. That would be limiting, our world would lose much of its richness and nuance. I'd be interested to know if we had to choose between media and blogs what would we do? Steve's experiment shows we could survive on blogs, but I doubt we could survive on the media. The world has changed dramatically.
Now a blogger has decided to do the media-only diet. Good luck, Costa.

Addictive blogging

netaddict

It's important to consider what all that weblogging time replaces. For instance: what if, for most webloggers, weblogging time replaces hours that they used to spend watching television? If so, is this really a negative thing?

11 June 2004

Recommended Aussie site

Shannonsays is well worth reading

Some thoughts on blogging

One of the more interesting questions about blogging is about where it fits in and what role it plays and will play in our media environment, so based on my own experience over the past few months I thought I would make a few observations:
Continuous learning: Life-long learning has been around for a long-time as a concept. More often than not it has been life-long credentialism (what do all those MBAs do?). Blogging allows you to learn on a daily basis from experts in your field of interest. I've learnt so much over the past few months,its remarkable. Best of all, its learning as the experts tell us it should be: participatory, self-paced, self-directed and so on. Learning for its own sake with no guarantee of a specific outcome or material / status benefit.
Convergence: I was excited by convergence a decade ago. But watching TV on my PC doesn't really work and sending emails from a TV set is sort-of silly. It strikes me that this hardware convergence is ho-hum but software convergence is another matter. I mean a convergence between speaker and listener, author and reader, between professional and personal, work and life and so on. Blogs really can be a great way of overcoming these artifical industrial age concepts; maybe that is what the information age can help us do: re-integrate our lives and our-selves.
Humanised communications: For sometime, the goal of most communication disciplines has been to 'industrialise' communication activities. We teach communications as if it was a factory process based on easily applied algorithms. Say this and this will happen. Overtime, this approach has de-individualised and de-humanised much of social communications in politics, the workplace and the marketplace. The success of blogs is a reaction to the 'fast food' approach to communications, blogs are a slow food movement in the world of communications. It is anarchic, cacophanic, un-disciplined, unpredictable. That's why we love it. Indeed, many fear that the mainstreaming of blogging will lead to an industrialisation of this form of communications as happened earlier with internet sites. Let's hope not.
Anyway a few of my (shower) thoughts. Happy to hear any reactions.

Grandstand blog - a first for Australia?

The ABC radio program has established a blog "Grandstand Blog" in the last week with daily sporting updates, wouldn't it be so typical that a blog devoted to our national obsession is the first out of the blocks by a major media organisation in Australia? Good on them.

08 June 2004

PR Blog awards

I admit that I'm the kind of person who generally likes awards I do well in, but congratulations to the PR bloggers who came up in trumps in the Marketingsherpa awards.
Winner: CanuckFlack
Honorable Mention: PR Machine
Reader write-in award: Strategic Public Relations
Well done! to all.
Also a big round of applause for Steve Hall at Adrants for his award - this is one of my favourite sites.

02 June 2004

Rebecca's handbook

Chapter two of Rebecca Blood's Weblog Handbook has been posted. I think this piece of advice is particularly true:

No matter what your situation, you have the greatest chance of enjoying and continuing your blog if it is an extension of one of your existing activities. By folding your new pursuit into hours you already spend on another activity, your schedule will be minimally disrupted and you will not be forced to choose between doing two things. If keeping a blog means adding one or two more hours of "schedule" to your day, I predict that you will drop it in less than a month—the same reason many of us have difficulty maintaining an exercise program. But if, instead, a blog is an extension of an activity you already enjoy, I think that you will find the time you spend to be very rewarding.

Bloggers find ways to profit

SF Chronicle reports.

Some top bloggers who carry advertising say they make hundreds or, in a few cases, thousands of dollars a month. The typical take is more like $20 to $50 a month, which covers the cost of running a typical Web site. The percentage of blogs that have ads is still quite low, but it is likely to grow now that companies like Google are making it easy for bloggers and advertisers to connect.
Glenn Reynolds, a law professor who runs the libertarian blog Instapundit. com, starting running Blogads three months ago.
Reynolds says he's been pleasantly surprised at the results. Ads on his site cost $375 a week ($1,000 a month), and he made $4,000 in each of the last two months.
"I don't think I'll make that much this month. There's an initial wave of excitement which is likely to phase out," he says.
His site gets about 150,000 page views and 110,000 visits per day.
via Anil Dash

Top ten referrers to this blog

These figures bounce around a lot, of course, but I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to publish a 'top ten' from time to time. If you enjoy this site, you might like to look at these as well. I haven't included search engines and news aggregators. So here's the list as of today. They are in descending order.
1. Micro Persuasion
2. The NewPR Wiki
3. PR Opinions
4. Strategic Public Relations
5. A penny for
6. PR Studies
7. PR meets the WWW
8. CSR in China
9. PR Machine
10. Streamline

01 June 2004

Australian academic communications blogger

Blogging in Australia is still lagging well behind the US and Europe, but I have found at least one Australian academic in the communications field who blogs and its well-worth a look.

Continue reading "Australian academic communications blogger" »

PR Resources

After just a few weeks, 75 items have already been posted to the resources page of our NEW PR wiki. There are articles, book chapters, white papers and so on. If you are looking for information have a look here
And don't forget, because its a wiki you can add a link to your own work just by editing the page yourself. The more that gets added, the more valuable the resources page will become and the more people will use it and so on - a virtuous circle! The resources page also has a RSS news feed so you can easily keep a track of new stuff as its added. Couldn't be easier - and all free. What a world!

28 May 2004

Blog readers: old, male, educated, affluent

From Whatsnextblog.com:

Henry Copeland of Blogads had 17, 159 responses last week to his survey of blog readers. This survey found 61% of blog readers responding to the survey were over 30, and 75% make more than $45,000 a year. They are also 79% male. 21% are themselves bloggers and 46% describe themselves as opinion makers, 82% say that television is worthless or only somewhat useful as a source of news and opinion. 55% percent say the same about print newspapers. 54% say the same about print magazines.
Or does it show that the old, male, educated and affluent are more likely to answer surveys. I'd like to see a survey on why people answer surveys, and a survey about why people conduct surveys and an examination of how many people who conduct and answer surveys have even a basic idea about how to construct a survey and analyse the resultant data. Tomorrow's saturday I'll feel better then.

Obsessive Compulsive Blogging

I thought this was a funny article but my non-blogging wife didn't :)

Micro Persuasion: Obsessive Compulsive Blogging

Will bill blog?

Marketing Playbook has brought together some comments from around the blogosphere on the question: if billg thinks blogging is so great how come he doesn't have one?

26 May 2004

The first 100 days - a traffic report

Its now 100 days since I started Corporate Engagement on Typepad (transfering from a short-lived experiment on Blogger), during those 100 days the site has attracted over 6,100 hits and the average daily hit rate has steadily increased from about 20 to 30 in the 'early' days to over 60 now for the 100 day period. According to my Blogpatrol stats that I started keeping recently because I wanted to know visitor numbers not just 'hits', I am now getting between 50 and 80 visitors a day during the working week and about half that on the weekend. As to sources, I think about 50-60 percent of these visitors are the result of searches - with Google being the most popular search engine, but Yahoo does pretty well, too. The other 40 to 60 percent are regular readers and people referred from other (mainly PR) sites - thanks guys. In terms of searches, topicality seems important Abu Ghraib and the Bulldogs' sex allegations crisis have drawn a lot of interest recently. But a lot are also people looking for PR topic stuff eg 'employee engagement'. I think I still get more visitors from outside Australia, which is fine but I hope to build the domestic readership. One of the problems is that there are so few bloggers in Australia compared to North America in particular and no other PR bloggers at all, which stuns and disappoints me.
Still, overall I'm pleased with the way things are going and I've learnt during this time that being a blogger and just participating in this fabulous new communication 'something' is both exciting and tremendously educative.

25 May 2004

Bloggers writing books

From the New Yorker: "Two years from now—give or take—Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor of the gossip Web sites Gawker and The Kicker, will publish her first novel. Around the same time, Glenn Reynolds, who writes the political Web log Instapundit, will also have a book in stores. So, too, may writers from the blogs Hit & Run, The Black Table, Dong Resin, Zulkey, Low Culture, Lindsayism, Megnut, Maud Newton, MemeFirst, Old Hag, PressThink, I Keep a Diary, Buzz Machine, Engadget, and Eurotrash. Suddenly, books by bloggers will be a trend, a cultural phenomenon. You will probably read about it in the Sunday Times. And when that happens the person to thank—or blame—will be Kate Lee, who is currently a twenty-seven-year-old assistant at International Creative Management."

Micro, as well as macro, media strategies

Steve Rubel has been on the A side instead of the Q side with Media Insider. Including: "PR pros need to make sure they have a micro as well as a macro persuasion strategy no matter what audience they intend to reach. The two actually work hand in hand." Absolutely.

24 May 2004

Growth of blogs

Shifted librarian - "Technorati started out on Thanksgiving weekend 2002 as an effort to find out "who was talking about me" in the blogosphere. Since then, it has begun charting an increasing number of blogs -- an average of:
- 3,000 a day in January 2003
- 4,000 a day by that March
- 6,000 a day by June 2003
- 8,000-9,000 new blogs a day by September 2003
- 10,000 at the end of 2003
- 11,000 to 12,000 new blogs a day today"

Gates causes a blogosphere stir

Micro Persuasion's Steve Rubel is quoted saying that Bill Gates' comments on blogging will not only lead to an upsurge in corporate blogging (let's hope so) but also concern among outfits that provide blogging technology and services now because the world's most significant monopolist maybe at it again (let's hope not). Meanwhile, the Direct Marketing Bulletin has an article that is almost an on-cue example of this 'if Bill Gates says its good for business, it must be worth looking at' phenomenon. From all this coverage, it doesn't seem that Gates said anything new or particularly insightful - but it almost sounds like if something can't be taken seriously on the Internet until the corporate gouger from Redmond signals his interest.

18 May 2004

Good advice: Search Engine Optimization

We all rely on search engines for much of our traffic, so this search engine advice is very useful. Personally, I think, the big idea is good content and plenty of it - as well as linking to as much as possible in your posts become a hub not an island.

17 May 2004

Great analysis of weblog coverage in the media

Overstated has looked at the number of times the media has covered blogs in recent years - including this graph, which seems to show that blogs are getting cited more often, and journos are finding less need to explain what they are
weblog-cites

15 May 2004

Third most influential PR blog

According to a survey by Media Culpa using Technorati, Corporate Engagement is the third most influential PR site in the known universe. Micropersuasion is first and PR Opinions came second. It's nice to think that's true but I must say I think Technorati is not that reliable or accurate a measure. One good thing about Media Culpa's list is that there are 28 PR blogs on it, which I think is terriffic because it is growing all the time and that's good for all of us - and ultimately for our profession. PR has needed open discussion about what it does and why for some time.

13 May 2004

Academic confusion - Trammel mangles her position

People love to theorise, especially people who get paid to teach other people in fancy-named institutions. Problem is they keep wanting to say something new and push the boundaries and so on which often just gets you tied up in knots when it comes to theorising. Over at this USC site some particularly bewildered and confused individuals are having themselves something called a virtual roundtable. During this rather contrived discussion Kaye Trammel an LSU academic who is just about to be awarded a doctorate in blogging - which is interesting because it means she has been theorising about blogging for about as long as blogging has been around - makes the following very interesting point based on her doctoral research

The majority of the people (bloggers and commenters) who made political statements concentrated on the issue, rather than the person they may have attacked. This issue over image is different than what we find in other forms of political communication. In a medium where people are often chastised for navel-gazing and rants, this is somewhat surprising that the quantitative data finds a concentration on the actual facts of the issue and disagreements rather than the person behind them.

This is interesting because it runs counter to the usual depiction of bloggers used to distinguish them from journalism. But then a little way along she slips back into the usual denigration of bloggers and contrasts that with a highly idealised version of journalism.
I do not consider bloggers journalists, but feel journalists can be bloggers. At best, bloggers (citizen journalists) can perform random acts of journalism. However, the day-to-day accounts found on blog posts are not journalism in my eyes. Instead, these are biased accounts of what one person believes to be true. There is no fact-checking, no adherence to ethical standards, no other similarity between blogging and journalism beyond the fact that both use words and imagery to tell a story to an audience that may not experience it firsthand. Blogging tells the story through one person's own unique ability to discern the truth whereas journalists are expected to work the long hours and trained to present information without bias.

Now, anyone who has had to deal with actual live journalists over any period of time will choke on this depiction of the journalist as selfless seeker of truth - 'trained to present information without bias" - it amazes me that anyone with a theoretical grounding in communication could make such a naive statement. As they joke around one newspaper office in this town - a branch office of a global media empire - when you're up against a deadline the motto is 'don't get it right, get it written'. I know many journalists think they are uniquely placed to ascertain the truth about what is happening in the world, but such knowledge is of course impossible - especially based on a few hastily made phone calls. We are all just trying to work it out as we go along as best we can.
Have the recent problems at USA Today and the NY Times escaped her notice? One particularly disappointing aspect of the second quote is the way she contrasts what she (now) says actually happens in blogging with what journalists are 'expected' to do, or would do in the best of all possible worlds. It's a silly little debating trick that a serious theorist should avoid.
But most importantly note the direct internal disagreement in her own position. In the first quote she speaks of bloggers exhibiting 'a concentration on the actual facts' and in the second she says in blogging 'there is no fact-checking'. So lots of concentrating on facts, but no checking them.
In fact, one of the emerging roles of blogging is fact-checking what some of our less scrupulous journos get up to. In a famous case Australian blogger Tim Blair's investigations brought down a Chicago journalist who had invented and then interviewed an expert to comment on a race riot in Sydney. Definitely not what a serious fact-checking journo is supposed to do, but hey it happens in the real world.
There is simply no reason why a blogger can't be a journalist. There is simply no reason not to think of many existing bloggers as journalists. It seems to me that the trend towards 'blogger as journalist' is a major part of what is happening in the world today. Trammel's problem is partly that the question asks you to think that there is some sort of solid theoretical distinction to be made between journalism and blogging. If there is, I'm yet to hear it. She thinks there is a clear distinction to be made, but her own research seems to undercut this position. She also fails to draw a distinction between the activity (journalism) and the distribution channel (blogs, newspapers). The first is not determined by the second. If it is, then you end up with a meaningless theory of journalism. Hence, the knot of contradiction.
Note: I'm sure (Dr) Trammel does fabulous work - but I'm sick of people (academics and journalists) denigrating blogging by using spurious theories and arguments.

11 May 2004

Rex chats about THAT Bush blog & more

Another great blogside chat over at MicroPersuasion. I first heard of Rex Hammock and his burst of blogger famedom when I was researching for my Financial review article on blogging. His experience is fascinating - but he's also got a lot more to say about blogging as this interview reveals.

10 May 2004

This guy writes a piece of fluff and its supposed to be...

Why do journalists need editors? And why do they write nonsense and think they are being profoind and witty? and why do they think drivel in print is ever so superior to drivel online? This idiot could have answered those questions but didn't.


07 May 2004

Who's winning in online China?

Chinese authorities say they have shut down more than 8600 unlicensed internet cafes in the last three months in their latest campaign to bring the communication channel under tighter political control. But the volume of internet messaging may be overwhelming the net police. As soon as they are shut down, political critics are managing to find ways of reopening chatrooms and websites.
Is the chinese effort ultimately futile? As business becomes more reliant on the Internet in its many forms it seems likely that the control problem will get more difficult. Let's hope so.

04 May 2004

Great resource for people interested in PR and blogging

Don't know how long it's been around but it looks very comprehensive and it is thoughtfully laid out. A great research tool.

02 May 2004

What's a Blog, and Why Should Nonprofits Care?

An interesting article on non-profits and blogging from the Nonprofit quarterly via Green Media Toolshed and PR Opinions. The article includes 'how-to' info and plenty of links but I liked the following case study info:

When she encouraged her staff to blog about their work, Sisnett recognized another benefit of nonprofit blogging: She could now easily keep up to speed on her staff's work and the progress of various, concurrent projects. Soon, between the executive director, the technical staff and volunteers, Austin Free-Net had three staff blogs full of updated and archived information that could easily be incorporated into strategic plan updates, VISTA reports, press releases, newsletters and grants. When a colleague, a sponsor or even a journalist needed information about a project or issue, Sisnett could refer the interested party to a blog.
Free-Net's experiments with staff blogging fit a trend developing in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. According to Teresa Crawford, Technical Director at Advocacy Project and a leader in the movement to provide technology assistance to international nonprofits, blogs with an "internal focus" have made it easier for organizations to capture the knowledge of teams and support their collaboration. "Rather than only a linear discussion list for a team," she points out, "individual and collaborative blogs make it possible to see ties among team members and issues they are working on."
More typically, an externally focused blog can transform informal knowledge sharing into a new asset for an organization. Blogs can enliven your group's Web presence and engage clients, supporters and strangers alike in your work. "We think that there is a good chance blogging is a new way to express the nonprofit voice," says Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech, a nonprofit organization that puts technology to work for social needs. "We feel we have unique things to say, so we should be saying them." Since October 2003, Fruchterman has been authoring the Beneblog, a component of Benetech's Web site where he has highlighted the work of his organization's staff and partners, commented on legislation affecting his field, documented his speaking engagements and attendance at conferences and described in real-time the impact of world travel on his work as Benetech's executive. "Blogs provide a more immediate form of communication than my quarterly update," he says. "They bring new content to our homepage and give us a chance to bring up ideas and links in a less formal conte