Posts Tagged ‘Social media’

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How to reach 380,000 music fans in a week – YouTube

January 15, 2010

The brilliant, brilliant video for This Too Shall Pass, by OK Go, has been viewed more than 381,000 times in the week since it was posted on YouTube.

Here is the video (follow the link – it cannot be embedded): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJKythlXAIY

X-Factor winner Joe McElderry sold around 450,000 copies to reach number two in the highly contested Christmas UK music charts.

That was almost certainly one of the most promoted releases in the UK in 2009, yet it was ultimately pipped by Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine after a social media campaign that was probably skillfully – i.e. quietly – encouraged by the record label.

Social media is becoming such an important part of music promotion, it may be close to becoming more effective than traditional promotional activity.  A band I know, Georgia Wonder, are amazing at promoting their music entirely via social media.  They even funded their most recent single, Destroy, via Twitter.  Remarkable, and brilliant.

I’m now really looking forward to another of my favourite bands, Archie Bronson Outfit, to see how well they can leverage their large MySpace and Facebook followings.  Their new videos (totally home-made by the band members) look superb.  Here is their trailer:

(Disclaimer – I also know Archie Bronson Outfit, though the only personal gain I can expect by promoting their new videos is – if I am VERY lucky – a pint at some point).

Posted via web from The good, the bad and the ugly

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Zuckerberg has lost touch

January 11, 2010

On watching this interview, I was struck by the naivete of Mark Zuckerberg’s view of the world.

The Good

Zuckerberg, the 25-year-old CEO of Facebook, argues that privacy is ‘no longer a social norm’.  It’s an interesting proposition, and one that deserves exploration.  Are people’s views of privacy changing?  Was privacy ever a ‘social norm’, and if so what does that mean?  Is there  evidence now that public views of privacy have changed?

Interesting questions.

The Bad

The problem is that these are not simple quesions, and it is unclear whether Zuckerberg’s view is based on anything more than his particular 25-years’ experience.  The closest thing he has to an argument is this:

When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was, ‘why would I want to put any information on the internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?’.  Then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way, and just all these different services that have people sharing all this information.

It’s not an argument, it’s a personal anecdote, followed by a platitude about the growth of blogging and ways to share information online, reaching a conclusion about the views of all the people, presumably, in the world.

Zuckerberg’s argument is further flawed because it is so obviously self-serving.  In a way, no matter the validity of what he is saying (and it is not valid), he of all people just can’t credibly say it.  If Facebook wants to make this case, it should find ways to come across as objective.  Let others say it, perhaps, or provide evidence.

The Ugly

Facebook’s decisions about my privacy, which are taken from time to time without my permission, are simply out of my control.  That is not the same as my not expecting privacy – which is what Zuckerberg is implying by his statement about social norms.  Perhaps he has some evidence that paints me as abnormally focused on privacy.  If so – let’s see it.

The long-term issue here is trust.  The more Facebook fosters distrust among its users, the sooner they will leave at the first genuine opportunity.  Don’t get me wrong – Facebook currently is the best platform in the market for doing what it does.  But it won’t be forever, and it’s popularity can disappear as quickly as it has grown.  Time to go back to having a ‘beginner’s mind’, Mark, and start listening.

Posted via web from The good, the bad and the ugly

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Blogging could disappear as quickly as it has risen

November 18, 2009

 

Poll from PR Week: the PR industry should not trample all over social media

When something comes along and breathes life into a staid industry, but has not had time to establish deep roots, we should be careful to preserve it.

Blogging has challenged the media. Every week, bloggers rail against sloppy journalism. For perhaps the first time, there is a democratic and immediate response to any weak-minded argument that makes it onto the pages of a newspaper. It’s David and Goliath stuff, and its refreshing.

Nobody knows how the relationship between blogs and media will develop.  So far, it seems bloggers are becoming more skilled and better resourced, potentially challenging journalists. Meanwhile, most journalists I know are being asked to blog as well as write (or, from their perspective, being forced to write more for the same money!).

But the critical difference is that bloggers have not been confined by commercial interests from calling things the way they see them. This is liberating, and is something the mainstream media, with its vested interests, can never hope to compete with entirely.

Which is why its disappointing that it appears blogging is becoming tarnished by a lack of transparency.

In a nice post last weekend, Laurence Borel asked the question – should bloggers be paid to write blog posts? It’s a multi-layered question. Firstly – why not? Good bloggers should be paid, just like good online media should be paid-for.

But the big question is about transparency and the flow of money. The money should flow from the consumers of the blog, rather than from brand owners or companies. Otherwise it reduces blogging to advertising – undisclosed advertising.  This would be no more acceptable than if an ‘expert’ sold you a mortgage without telling you they were paid to sell you that particular one. Transparency is the big issue.

We should value the independence of bloggers. Sadly, the credibility of all bloggers will be damaged if there is a perception that they are taking money from the brand owners and companies they blog about. This is why it’s so important that we don’t allow this practice to take hold.

And why it’s so depressing to see that the majority of PR people in the UK have got this one wrong in a PR Week poll. The emergence of social media presents an enormous opportunity for the communications industry.  There has never been such demand for watertight strategy and precise implementation of complex and increasingly targeted communications campaigns.

The PR industry should be nurturing social media, not trampling all over it. Under pressure from the media on the one hand and encroaching regulatory scrutiny on the other, blogging is fragile enough.  Let the PR industry take a lead in setting out best practice.

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The Moir-Gately debate: impact of free comment

October 17, 2009

I have just read about 200 articles, blog posts, tweets and comments about Jan Moir’s sickening article in the Daily Mail on Stephen Gately’s death.

For the record, I didn’t feel much at all about Gately’s death – apart from the tragic fact that someone my age died unexpectedly. So I was surprised, last weekend, when it dominated the BBC News all day Sunday.

It was still dominating on Monday, which surprised me further. But I figured it was merely a case of an establishment figure (you know, friends with Louis Walsh and Elton John – establishment) passing away.

Moir’s article doesn’t deserve comment. It’s just stupid, and I’m sure she knows that. Her logic doesn’t follow at all, but it doesn’t matter because she’s written something to provoke a response, which is her job. Fair enough, no matter how much I think the article itself is horrendous.

But what has interested me (and why I got sucked in and spent an hour reading literally hundreds of posts and comments) is the response.

I started off reading Damian Thompson’s post on the Daily Telegraph blog.  It’s a fairly balanced piece, and makes an interesting comment about the freedom of speech among those living in the ‘social media world’.  His contention is that these ‘liberals’ believe offense is fine if you are ‘liberal’, but should be closed down otherwise.  Freedom of speech, in other words, should not be gifted to people like Moir.

This is a stupid thing to say because what Moir said was not wrong because of her particular viewpoint, it was wrong because she used a false argument to establish a falsehood as a fact.  There is a case for penalising that sort of ‘comment’.  Journalists have a responsibility not to go down that road – the freedom of the press in this country rests on that responsibility.  Her editor should have been the one to throw the book at her.

That Moir’s ‘fact’ was hateful and deeply prejudiced only makes the matter worth doing something about.  Hence the hundreds of complaints.  I would hope that only a small number of these complainants are actually saying ‘nobody has the right to say something I don’t agree with’.

But don’t say ‘gay people are X’ (X could mean sordid, or licentious, or depraved, or evil, or whatever Moir wants it to be) and assert that people who are X (Robbie, Amy, Kate, Whitney, Britney, for example) will die in a bad way.  It is not a logical argument that deserves to be aired and debated.  It is a small-minded error.

So what of Thompson’s point about ‘liberals’ and their attitude to free speech?  The reason I’ve added inverted commas to the word ‘liberal’ is because I want to make a point about Thompson’s use.  I understand the distinction between his use of the word, and it’s real meaning, which is to say something along the lines of ‘broad-minded’.  But it’s a bastardisation, and something popularised by right-wing commentators in America, such as Rush Limbaugh.

The irony is that the comments after Thompson’s post – and hundreds of other comments, posts and tweets I’ve read – are full of precisely the same illiberal (that’s how the word should be used) view that Thompson is rightly criticising.  There are always going to be some people who argue against free speech – it’s nothing to do with being ‘liberal’ or not.

But this brings me circuitously to my main point.  What really interested me was the extremity of many of the views I have read, whether extremely against Moir’s article, or extremely in defence of it.  These extreme views would not have had an airing at any point in our history, but today social media gives them oxygen.

There are religious fanatics and small-minded anti-gays, deeply ‘progressive’ blockheads and anti-capitalists, all happily (or more likely, angrily) making their case on the issue of the day.  And the issue isn’t about poor Stephen Gately at all, it’s about socially important issues – what we are entitled to say in public, how we should live our lives, how concerned we are about the direction of travel of our society.

It is the fact that these views are being expressed for free that makes them poignant.  If your livelihood doesn’t rest on what you say, you can say what you really think.  It makes for a noisy debate, and one that contains some outrageous views.  But it is impossible to argue that – if you read hundreds of those views – it is not balanced.  It just takes a while to find the centre ground.

And so I can say, I have found the centre ground, and here it is: the great British public are sad to see Stephen Gately die, they prefer to judge people based on their character rather than their lifestyle, and they think Jan Moir got this one very, very wrong.

Good for the British people.

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Things newspapers do better than technology

August 2, 2009
Picture courtesy of Noodlepie

Picture courtesy of Noodlepie

I am an advocate of digitising and socialising all media, not least because it would make journalism more sustainable, with lower distribution costs and higher audience engagement than is possible on paper.

But there is one strong argument for sustaining the print version of newspapers: the second-hand market.  It is the very throw-away-ability of newspapers that means they can be used to start fires, cover furniture when painting the ceiling, pack fireworks, act as the collar inside cocktail umbrellas, or catch the falling flecks of boot polish that detach from the brush as you work your office shoes up to a shine.

And the most cherished use of all – I doubt you would be happy to see someone wrapping tomorrow’s fish and chips around your Kindle DX.

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David Potter: there’s value in investigative journalism

July 17, 2009

OK. Here’s the argument:

  1. News is spread highly effectively by people talking (known in the trade as “word-of-mouth”, or WOM, which – preposterously – can be used as a word, to rhyme with “bomb”).
  2. WOM is accelerated by social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or social bookmarking. Social media creates WOM on steroids.
  3. Consequently, the intrinsic value of news diminishes. Newspapers begin to worry about charging for their content (currently, hardly any charge for their web content – though some are experimenting).
  4. Long-term prognosis for newspapers: unsustainable.

Which is why an announcement today in the UK’s Press Gazette could be very exciting, heralding a new niche for newspaper journalists.

The Potter Foundation, run by Psion founder David Potter, has invested £2m in the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit start-up designed to support investigative, public interest journalism.

In theory, if demand could be created for purely investigative journalism, there could yet be money in them-thar pages. Or screens. Or Kindles. Or whatever device you choose to mention.