The Difference A Word Makes

A year is a long time in politics! Just last year I wrote this post celebrating the 40th anniversary of a landmark in Australian history — the recognition of the the citizenship rights of our indigenous people. Today I watched as the opening of Parliament under a new government placed the spotlight on indigenous culture — with the traditional "welcome to country" performed in Canberra’s Parliament House by local Aboriginals.

And tonight, the Australian people sit at the precipice of a change that I feared would never occur in my own lifetime … our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will tomorrow read an apology. He will say the word "sorry" three times. This single word, "sorry", has been a contentious political issue here in Australia for years. But in refusing its utterance, in banning its debate, it has hung like an albatross around our necks — each individual silently bearing the weight of history and apathy in equal measure.

I hope tomorrow’s speech reignites the spirit of reconciliation that I joined in over twenty years ago. It is time to move forward — to confront with open eyes and open arms, the opportunities before us as a nation. There will be challenges, no doubt. Disagreements, many. But in addressing them, one by one, step by step, we will surely build a better place for us all to live in.

The full text of the speech is as follows:

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history. We reflect on their past mistreatment. We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations — this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future. We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country. For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation. For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians. A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again. A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity. A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed. A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility. A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

Tomorrow, some time after 9am I will live in a different country. Who knows what it will look like in another 12 months? But I look to that future with, as Shakespeare would say, "a glad eye".

Digitial Natives — Is Your Google Tattoo Showing

Originally uploaded by lowereastside

Last week I gave a lecture to Dennis Price’s MBA class on social media. It was great fun (for me), and I hope, beneficial for the students. One of the questions that kept coming up was "why do you blog" — or more precisely, what is the value model that drives/informs my blogging.

My standard response is this — blogging provides me with a disciplined approach to creativity, innovation and writing. This blog is a scrapbook of my ideas that I use to map and document my thinking, often returning to an idea months later. This makes my blog, for me at least, a veritable feast of content and concepts — though sometimes the connections between ideas and actions, between strategies and activations are less than clear. Often this is because I am wanting to provoke potential methods of activation, not constrain them.

Often an idea will come upon me unexpectedly. In this situation, I normally login to the blog and type up a one line or one paragraph entry. If there is a link I will include it. Then I publish this as a draft. Later, when I have more time, I return to the draft to think it through and provide some context.

One such draft that I have been meaning to return to is this one. It is on the concept of digital natives, and in particular, on the podcast between two very clever social media thinkers and commentators — Anna Farmery and Paull Young. And while I admit that there are problems with the terms "digital native" and "digital immigrant", they do provide a starting reference to form a conversation as you will notice in Show #136 of Anna’s The Engaging Brand podcast.

I won’t spoil the podcast for you, but there are some excellent points that Paull and Anna make, including:

  • The identity of digital natives is in flux (as it is for all of us in our early 20s) — and as such it is not yet aligned with our profession. This means there is a focus on the way that "work" and "life" co-mingle
  • One of THE most important aspects of job choice is the opportunity to work with friends (or to make friends)
  • This brings a special focus on the alignment of PERSONAL values and BUSINESS values. For businesses wanting to attract and retain digital natives, this touches concepts such as corporate social responsibility, flexible working conditions and accelerated responsibility
  • Digital natives are impatient for outcomes. They are caught between wanting to overcome barriers to action (short term achievement) and achieving longer term beneficial change in the workplace and the world.

There are many other great points raised through the podcast, so it is well worth a listen (or you could simply subscribe to Anna’s iTunes store). Paull mentioned that the digital natives are the first generation to be born with a Google Tattoo (he attributes this to Geoff Livingston). Think about that from a brand point of view. Listen to the podcast. How is understanding that level of commitment going to impact your hiring practices (it should), how will it change your search for talent (it will) and why will this transform the marketplace for your products and services (it already has)?

Remember, if the digital natives have a Google Tattoo showing, then the digital immigrant also displays the marks of their history. How are your markings influencing your future strategies and visions? Perhaps it is time to recast our ideas and approaches.

The New Mobile Office

I keep thinking about the impact of Audience 2.0 on business — on the way we work, who we are while working (ie the changes we make to our persona according to role etc) and the way that technology is transforming our lives and our workplaces. Increasingly, I am sensing that the old B2B models — where we target our messaging and our communication efforts towards faceless, yet professional audiences — are on the way out. And as we all begin to emerge from behind the "professional" masks that we wear, the brands that leapfrog their competitors will be those that speak to us knowing the mask but reaching for the complex person behind it.

This, piece for Fedex is a great example that showcases technology, power relationships, office politics, and the realities of business deadlines while also bringing in the personal, lifestyle and social orientation of our work/daily lives. Nice.

When a Brand Speaks with a Customers Voice

Erin Esurance
Originally uploaded by scottmw1971

Conversations swirl around the touchpoints of a brand. We mention our favourite brands over lunch, we wear them, carry them and sometimes even drive them. And what makes their study so fascinating and the demands of their stewardship so challenging is that they can and do embed themselves very deep in the human psyche.

In the claiming of a brand, we seek to own, consume and digest some spirit that projects beyond ourselves. And the open identification of our selves with a brand allows others of the "tribe" to spot us in a crowd. The brand marks us out to our kin and kind — fugitives, family and refugees all at once.

And yet even as we begin to take ownership of brands, even as we incorporate branded trademarks and language into our everyday speech, there are many companies who fail to notice our actions. They avoid our incantations, turn away from our devotions and swivel their eyes inwards. Meanwhile our efforts of brand cocophany provide the meaningless backdrop for discussions on typeface, look and feel or customer experience. Surely a moment’s attention is not too much to beg?

Ah yes, but what happens when a brand that you have lovingly crafted takes on a life of its own? What happens when your own efforts at outreach fall flat, while the community’s efforts vastly outstrip your own — in popularity, in style and in AUTHENTICITY? What happens when your brand voice sounds better coming through the mouths of your customers?

I only ask because of this discussion started by Chris Kieff around Erin Esurance. Chris nicely documents a series of brand eruptions that have broken out across the social media landscape and charts their effectiveness. It is clear that the work of fans resonates more strongly than efforts of the company and its agency.

So what is one to do? Chris has some good answers. What are yours?

Time to Chat? MyOovooDay is for You

Oovoologo "Getting" social media is difficult. It is a participatory format … and that means that you have to get involved. You have to try things. Install things. Sign up and register. If you are like me, that means that your computer is littered with half forgotten applications that were of use or interesting once. And my web browser is worse — the toolbar is littered with active or half hidden items that capture data, make it "easy" to search, rate sites or track my viewing habits. But there are things that stick. Sites that work. Places that become part of my own personal web. Applications that I turn on and leave on.

My buddies Scott Monty and Greg Verdino have been subtly spruiking the merits of their client, ooVoo for a while now. But it is all stepping up a notch with the launch of MyOovooDay. This initiative is pretty neat — sure you need to download and install the ooVoo client — but there is more. During MyooVooDay (which actually lasts for a little over a week — February, 10-21), you can sign up for a conversation with some of the social media scenes leading lights. You can choose to chat with any (or all) or the following:

And if that was not enough of an incentive to test out the capabilities of ooVoo’s video chat/recording features, ooVoo have also come to the party — donating $1500 per session to the Frozen Pea Fund (the fund established to support the American Cancer Society’s "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" campaign, in honor of blogger and cancer patient Susan Reynolds). So not only can you chat with some super-bright folks and play with some cool technology — you can also help do some good:

  1. Choose who you want to talk to
  2. Download the software
  3. Sign up for a session

For those of us outside of the US, the times may not work so easily. To make things a little easier to schedule, take a look here and see which times cross-over for you. I plan on talking with Mr Conversation, Joseph Jaffe on February 11 at 8pm (which is midday on Tuesday here in Australia) … and I would love for you to join in! I am keen to see if ooVoo is a keeper or a sleeper 😉

Competition Reminder – Target Your Message


In case you missed it earlier this week, there are still a few days left to get your entry in for my TARGET YOUR MESSAGE competition.

This is how it works:

  • Go here and read the background
  • Download TargetCompetition.jpg  the sample Target Billboard ad
  • Add your own message
  • Write it up for your blog and link back to this post (so that I can find you)

The winner will be drawn out of a hat NEXT MONDAY — 11 February, so that you will still have a few days to hit Valentines Day without getting yourself into trouble. And what do you win? A $50 Amazon gift voucher — or if you prefer, an eGift card from Target. Your choice 😉

Note: Judge’s (ie me) decision is final. No correspondence may be entered into.

Coffee Morning – February 8, 2008

Single Origin
Originally uploaded by cityofsound

If you happen to be in Sydney and can make it to Surry Hills, it would be great to see you tomorrow morning around 8am. We will be there drinking coffee and discussing ideas.

You are more than welcome to join us — and it is a great chance to meet luminaries such as Katie, Emily, Stig and Gregg (isn't 2008 the year of the blog, Gregg?).

Single Origin Cafe
60-64 Reservoir Street
(Cnr Reservoir Street and Hands Lane)
Surry Hills

How to Look Great in Photos

Now if you are like me, you are bound to have suitcases full of bad photos of yourself. If so, take a look at the following video to learn how professionals reduce the chance of a bad shot.

I was asked recently what would Web 3.0 look like? And not that I make predictions or am really close enough to the emerging technology side of things, but it seems to me that the innovations that we are likely to see are grouped around the "micro". Think micro-charities. Micro-communities. The niches of niches. The Web 3.0 innovations, in my view, will make Web 2.0 useful.

Hence this post on "looking great in photos". While this is useful information (and to be honest, I need all the help I can get), really what I want to draw your attention to is the launch of Howcast (via Techcrunch). This is a new venture from some some ex-Google folks (Jason Liebman, Daniel Blackman and Sanjay Raman) — with a focus on instructional content. There are wikis as well as videos. It will be interesting to see how the quality of user generated content goes. Now, all I need is a crash course on the Photoshop Healing Brush and I will be set!