Here in Australia, there has been a noticeable change in the velocity of conversation around digital and social media in the last six to twelve months. I no longer have the explain “blogging” to every person that I meet. When I speak or do guest lectures, the majority of the audience acknowledge their use of “Web 2.0” in the shape of Flickr, YouTube or even Delicious accounts. And Twitter – well, even the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (or his minders) tweet from time to time.
Late last year I suggested that social media was showing signs of “mainstreaming”, but there was little to show by way of corporate marketing adoption. Certainly, the folks at Telstra were leading the way, but there were few others following in their wake.
But in the last 24 hours we have seen some interesting announcements that will impact the local agency space quite considerably. During the Sydney Twestival –a global charity event promoted exclusively via Twitter networks (and organised in Sydney by the good folks at CommunityEngine.com.au) – Amnesia Razorfish announced that Ian Lyons had been appointed Social Media Director. This announcement brings additional depth to an already impressive social media team.
It is great to see agencies selecting some top line talent to lead their social media efforts. Now, it’s over to the corporates. Wonder who will be first. Oh, and in case you had not realised – the revolution will not be televised, but it will be tweeted. Get your shirt from Mark Hancock.
I love that Julian Cole keeps powering along with this great list of local Australian bloggers. I also love that there are not 10, 25 or even 50 blogs, but 129. Plenty of good reading here. Now all we need is hyperlinks – or you can find them here.
The social media world can be a surprising place. It can be filled with joy, snarkiness, horror and even insight. You can read blog posts that make your heart ache and others that will lift your spirits – but no matter where I look, I see all about me, a seething mass of creativity. I smell the stench of humanity.
In the last year I have had the great opportunity to meet some fantastic people. I have read their blogs, followed their conversations (on Twitter) and watched their online shows. I have spent time in their company and been endlessly entertained by their views on the world. But recently, two people have captured my attention.
They write with wit and charm. They make me gasp and laugh out loud – really, there is no affectation here. I am constantly bowled over by their candour and by their courage. I hope you find Annik Skelton’s blog as delightfully shocking as I. And trust Heather Snodgrass’ sharp personal observations will keep you coming back for more.
2008 has seen a significant amount of change in the Australian social media landscape. There has been a veritable explosion of new creative and critical thinking around the topics of advertising and marketing – not only have our coffee mornings received a fresh injection of energy courtesy of Julian Cole, Jye Smith and Scott Drummond, they also come armed with sharp thinking and blogs packed to the brim with social media goodness. Julian even took it upon himself to dream up a Top 50 list of marketing blogs.
But now, in celebration of this new found blogging enthusiasm, Craig Wilson is asking for nominations for post of the year. Christened “the moggies”, it will work out as follows:
Submit your nomination for the best Australian media and marketing blog posts of 2008. It can be one of yours, or it can be written by someone else. The only conditions are that the post must:
Be Australian (Craig, does this mean “written by an Australian” or “written by someone living in Australia”?)
Have a media and marketing focus
Be originally posted in 2008
Be original work.
Craig will take nominations until midnight Friday, December 12 (AEST) then shortlist the Top 10 posts before announcing the Gold Moggy at a Gala blog posting (Craig is going to stream himself eating pizza and drinking beer) on Monday, December 22. And the prize? Craig says it best:
In true web style the winner will receive….no compensation or prizes but lots of kudos, links and well-deserved praise.
Experienced journalists and new media analysts Mark Chenery and Mark Jones have agreed to help judge the Moggies. I guess that means Craig is sharing the pizza.
Get your nominations in to Craig by leaving a comment here.
If you use Twitter, you may have noticed a bunch of people are using avatars with an X across their mouths. This is a protest against the Australian Government’s plans to implement an internet content filter. This plan places a blanket of censorship across the internet which will, no doubt, have unforeseen consequences – and puts our access to information on a par with China and Iran. (My friend CK, pictured, has joined in, and I would encourage others to do the same.)
For example, when travelling in China I found that I was unable to access my blog. It is not like I write dissenting material. I put it down, in the end, to the title of the blog – Servant of Chaos. It seems China does not approve of chaos. And I am concerned that this “new Australia” may follow suit.
Furthermore, once internet filtering is in place, what safeguards will we have over excessive filtering? What rights of recourse will we have to follow to have our websites “white listed”? And how much will this cost? Is this perhaps a veiled attempt to “control the conversation” emanating from a growing and more vocal constituency via blogs and social media?
While this may be alarmist, remember, we are now just emerging from a time where political debate was managed according to “core” and “non-core” promises. It is disappointing to think that some of the first digital steps of a new government are those being contemplated by Stephen Conroy. It is frightening to consider where this may lead, or more importantly, what impact it will have on our nation’s innovation and place in a global knowledge economy.
There are more details on The Australian’s website where I left the following comment:
So our government is aiming to spend more than $40 million dollars of taxpayer money on technology which can be circumvented and does not achieve their stated aims? Why not invest this money in the FUTURE of our country? Put it into the ailing education systems and teach our kids how to safely use the Internet. Or use it to bulk purchase the XO Laptop — which would deliver 200,000 computers into the hands of kids who cannot afford them. As the saying goes, give a man a fish and his hunger will be satisfied (for now). Teach him to fish and he will feed his community. We have just had 12 years of feeding. It is time to fish.
Update: Get Shouty’s "future husband" (wouldn’t they make a lovely couple if they had met) Angry Aussie gives us the lowdown on why this is a bad idea and why it won’t work.
In a misguided attempt to "protect" Australian internet users from the dangers of the world wide web, federal policy makers led by Senator Stephen Conroy are proposing the mandatory filtering of content. This will see the implementation of filters on the servers of Internet Service Providers across the country. This will result in significantly lower connection speeds (in the order of 80%). And as the filters will rely on a "black list" provided by a government body, it opens the door to potential misuse or political interference.
The government’s own tests have shown that the filters cannot adequately determine the difference between legal and illegal content, and will be completely ineffective against content shared via peer-to-peer systems used by most illegal "distributors" of content or software. Rather than wasting precious taxpayers money on ineffective technology, I suspect we would gain greater communal and economic benefit from some simple technology education. After all, if we are serious about protecting our children from the dangers of the internet, we should start by providing parents with the skills and understanding to determine what their kids are looking at.
There’s nothing like a personal
phone call to get the message across. Call the minister’s office on
(03) 9650 1188 and let them know your objections.
Write to the Minister
personalised letter to the Minister sends a powerful message: We don’t
like the policy, and we care. Letters can be sent to the Ministerial
Senator Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
Melbourne Vic 3002
Here is a template you may wish to consider using.
As an Australian and an internet user, I have serious concerns about your mandatory Internet filtering initiative.
Given the importance your Government has attached to modernising
Australia’s broadband network, pursuing a policy that can only slow
down and increase the costs of home internet access seems misguided at
best. Australian households are diverse, and most do not have young
children, so mandating a one-size-fits-all clean feed approach will not
serve the public well. I don’t think it is the Government’s role to
decide what’s appropriate for me or my children, and neither do most
Given the amount of Internet content available, the
Government will never be able to classify it all and filters will
always result in an unacceptable level of over-blocking. I feel that
the time and money could be spent in better ways both to protect
children and improve Australia’s digital infrastructure. Australian
parents need better education about the risks their children face
online. Trying to rid the Internet of adult content is futile, and can
only distract from that mission.
Recently our coffee mornings at Single Origin seem to have taken on a life of their own. For a while there were only a hardcore group of three or four regularly turning up on Fridays for a heady mix of conversation and caffeine. But now we are easily spreading across three or four tables – causing all manner of headaches for the good folk of Single Origin who good humouredly scramble to find us additional stools, tables and the odd makeshift seat.
Last Friday we must have had 20 people squeezed onto the footpath on Reservoir Street — with conversation flying from one end of the table to the other. Among the new regulars are the authors of some excellent blogs:
Katie Harris writes a blog focusing on qualitative market research. Because the world is never black and white, her Zebrabites blog reminds us all to beware of the easy answers lest they come back to … well, bite us
Jye Smith is a dynamo, holding down a marketing role with CBS Interactive, making music, creating websites, writing a blog and playing WAR in his spare time … and he seems to do it all with excessive good humour
Adam Milgrom is one of our long timers and often arrives well ahead of us all (I think to eat breakfast in peace). He helps us all to keep track of cool stuff from all over the web with his Shared by Adam blog.
But not everyone is able to make it down for coffee on a Friday morning. Tony Thomas attends in spirit as does the charming David Wesson, while I expect to see Zac Martin only when pigs fly 😉
And now all these fine folks have been properly added to my reading list and blogroll. Check them out, and you are guaranteed to learn a thing or two. I do every week.
For an industry that is supposed to be at the forefront of promotion, the advertising and marketing industries do a relatively poor job of positioning and marketing themselves. Yet, if you work in these industries, it is essential to “keep up” with the latest efforts of the best minds in the business (locally if not globally) – which means relying on (of all things) – blogs that aggregate content on our behalf. There are a couple of Australian based sites that do this extremely well – Bannerblog and Duncan’s TV Ad Land.
Duncan Macleod recently moved this popular site over to a new domain – www.theinspirationroom.com (get the new feed here) and I asked him a few questions …
Duncan’s TV Ad Land was a popular site. Why the change?
Duncan’s TV Ad Land was popular – but had become limited by it’s own branding. For one, it’s naming linked the site to me alone, and I needed to develop an approach that incorporated capacity for growth, including other writers and possibly allowing sale later on. To take it to the next level (increasing readership and income) I needed help from people with capital, contacts and connections to the creative industries. After a month of conversations I moved five blogs into one and then transferred them to The Inspiration Room, joining forces with a team with a significant business plan.
Have you found there are pitfalls with this type of rebranding? I was fully aware of the pitfalls of rebranding, having previously moved my blogs from Blogspot. Those include the loss of RSS subscribers, the sheer hard work required to update past posts, and a temporary setback in Google page rank, Alexa and Technorati ranking. However, with the use of redirection, I’ve been able to retain my place in the search engines. The main thing missing now is the number of links to images on the site. That could be a good thing for just now.
What would you do differently next time? What would I do differently next time? I’d set up my RSS feed with email subscription right from the start – much easier to migrate to a new address. I’d choose a domain name that wasn’t linked to my name.
The Inspiration Room caters to an audience interested in advertising and marketing. Do you see it growing outside of this market? The Inspiration Room’s growing list of regular subscribers does tend to be from the advertising and marketing world. However an analysis of visitors to the site through search engines reveals that over half of the visitors come from outside that market – people interested in reading about advertising, looking for the name of the music used, treating advertising as an art form. With the increase of shows like The Gruen Transfer, we’re moving beyond the “Funniest TV commercials” approach in the general public.
There is no discussion or comments allowed on the pieces you show. Is this a conscious decision? Discussion/comments is allowed on every post. However the front page is designed to show the first section of each post, to allow 10 posts to be loaded quickly. Some posts have had up to 210 comments. I’m looking into a way of making it clear that there’s more to the first post on the blog. However most visitors come via search engines directly to each post and never encounter this problem.
Julian Cole has extended his Top 25 Marketing Blog list to well over 100 entries … which, no doubt, takes a great deal of time and effort. It is great to see a growing number of writers taking the time and making the effort to engage in discussions about marketing and brands in a landscape that is under constant transformation. Be sure to check out the full list at AdspacePioneers. I have chosen to list those blogs ranking in the last 10 of the 100 — each of which contains fantastic content. It seems that there is a great depth of quality thinking right across the list — boding well for the Australian marketing landscape.
I remember when Telstra’s Now We Are Talking blog launched. It made a bit of a ripple, but did not really dint my consciousness, which is surprising because I am always on the lookout for brands (especially big brands) who are digging into social media. But what I do recall was a brief visit to the site and a feeling that this “blog” was going to be just what the name suggested – a whole lot of talking and not a lot of listening.
Last week, Mike Hickinbotham (from said blog), tagged me to give my two cents on whether nowwearetaking is hitting the mark. It was a nice tactic as the previous week we had a short Twitter conversation on the topic of Gartner’s hype cycle (and yes, I am still working on a post about that) … so Twitter was used effectively to reach out and break the ice, and then the blog activated to extend and deepen the engagement and conversation. “The old one-two”, as Maxwell Smart might have said.
But for me, the old one-two in social media is about the exchange of value. It is about the easy fostering of conversation and the swift conversion of that dialogue into action. In many ways, it’s more about doing than talking, after all, actions speak louder than words. And now, at least thanks to Mike, I was curious – and wanted to see just how Australia’s largest corporate blogger was dipping into the big pond.
When I visited the site, I thought I might comment on Mike’s post. Then I noticed that before being ABLE to comment I needed to register. But this is no simple registration process … I needed to also provide my postcode as a form of identification along with some demographic data. Within seconds, I have TWO barriers in place before I can even begin to have a conversation.
Recommendation: Open up comments. Make sure that a valid email address is provided, but registration is an inhibitor to conversation (which is supposedly one of your aims).
As I stepped through the registration process, I was greeted by a link to the Terms and Conditions. And while I knew what awaited me, I just couldn’t help looking for it:
By submitting material to a Forum, you:
grant us a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable worldwide licence to use, copy, publish, publicly perform, communicate and adapt that material, and to sublicense those rights through the operation of the this site; and
agree to its public disclosure.
So not only do I have to register my details, I also have to sign over the rights to any insight I share as part of a discussion!
OK, to be honest, this does not really bother me. It is, however, an indication of the lack of “transparency” despite what seems to be good intentions on the part of the bloggers.
Recommendation: Go crazy and republish your blogs under a creative commons license. This will not only demonstrate that you GET social media and its economy of mutual attribution and participative value co-creation, it will also build you enormous and instant goodwill.
Now, I am no stranger to corporate bureaucracies, to legal reviews or brand guidelines; so I have to tip my hat to Telstra’s social media team for making it this far. But, to be honest, as Cameron Reillysuggested, there is a long way to go.
There are a growing band of active Australian bloggers who also provide consulting services, strategic advice and insight as to how you can plan for, build and execute an integrated strategy with social media, trust and transparency at its heart. I am sure they would help accelerate your successes in this space (especially now that you are throwing Twitter into the mix). It’s time to slay some (corporate) sacred cows and really get the message out. Telstra has made a great start but is also faced with an almost unmatched opportunity. I’d like to see them take it.