Published in Online Spin, May 3 2013
From this column and hundreds like it, you would be forgiven for having ingested the mantra that journalism as we know it is over and print is dead. Social dominates, but we haven’t yet figured out how to monetize digital. It’s not uncommon to hear the word “dinosaur” in discussions of the Fourth Estate.
Which is why the presentation I attended earlier this week, by Joanna Norris, editor of local Christchurch, New Zealand newspaper The Press, was so interesting. Yes, the news industry has been turned upside down and is going through a transition more replete with confusion than any teenage boy’s puberty. But the fascinating thing about this particular transition is that the people experiencing it have access to more information than ever before. They are moving from a place of dominance through ignorance -- and what they can move toward is a place of strength through understanding
Published in Online Spin, April 28 2013
In corner offices around the world, in marbled boardrooms and in whisky bars, they gather: movie executives, trying to figure out how to keep people coming to the movies. Music titans, scheming about suing file-sharers. Television producers, debating how they can force people to watch commercials. The business models of the last 60 years are under threat, nobody’s figured out yet how to make enough money out of the new ones, and everybody’s worried.
Well, maybe not everybody. There are those who thrive in this climate, artists who delight in ditching their distributors and relish the direct contact with their fans. At TED this year, Dresden Dolls frontwoman Amanda Palmer described her wont to fall into the arms of her crowd, literally and figuratively, surfing on hundreds of upraised arms at a show or sending out a tweet pleading shelter in a new city.
Her closing commentary was arresting: “I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is
Published in Online Spin, April 19 2013
Two days ago, New Zealand became the thirteenth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The amendment to the definition of marriage passed through Parliament with 77 “ayes” and 44 “nays,” following a passionate debate that included quotations of Shakespeare and politicians saying how much their job “rocks.”
MP Maurice Williamson’s speech was the biggest hit of the night, provoking laughter and cheers with lines like this one: “One of
Published in Online Spin, April 12 2013
When 500 Startups founder Dave McClure visited us a few months ago, he was sporting a t-shirt that said, “GET OUT OF THE BUILDING,” in big, Frankie-Goes-To-Hollywood letters. A reference to Steve Blank’s core philosophy, the phrase exhorts developers and entrepreneurs to get product in the hands of customers as early and as often as possible, leaving the navel-gazing environment of the cube and interacting with real live people to see if they actually want what you’ve got.
Today, renowned Googler Craig Nevill-Manning came to speak to the faithful. He was visiting us in the same spot that had welcomed Dave McClure: the Enterprise Precinct Innovation Campus (EPIC). EPIC was created by two
Published in Online Spin, April 5 2013
In last week’s column, I discussed what I called the disturbing dogma of social media. The idea provoked some strong responses (thank you! I’m always grateful for feedback). Traci Browne pointed out that I had used a narrow definition of social media, while others got into a reasonably heated discussion of its pros and cons.
The argument might have seemed like an ordinary blog post comment thread, but to me there was a meta-layer to it, one about the nature of discussion and the nature of attachment.
I recently heard again a familiar aphorism: “Data settles arguments.” It’s a phrase commonly used
Published in Online Spin, 29 March 2013
The sun revolves around the earth.
The world is flat.
Cigarettes aren’t bad for you.
And we all need to be spending more on social media marketing.
Last month, Duke University released the results of its CMO Survey, spreading the good word that “social media spending as a percentage of marketing budgets will more than double over the next five years.”
Survey director Christine Moorman was evidently delighted about the trend,
Published in Online Spin, 22nd March 2013
I screwed up this week.
I sent an email that started like this: “So, I was a little bored on the plane…” and then went on to request comments on a report I had drafted.
The email went out to five people, all directly involved in the report. Nobody replied.
I met with the people. I requested that they look at the report I had sent out. Nothing.
And then one of them said, “You know, when I saw your email, I thought, ‘Here is something unimportant
Published in Online Spin, March 16th 2013
The other day I was out with my friend Sam. Sam is a very busy guy. He is, shall we say, “in demand.” People tend to want a piece of him.
While we were out, I took a photo. I added a caption and posted it to Facebook. As soon as it finished uploading, Sam’s phone pinged.
“Oh, yeah,” he says, “Your status updates push to my phone. Every time you post, I get a notification.”
I was taken aback. On the one hand, it’s a huge compliment that someone would enjoy my updates enough to actively seek to be alerted to every single one of them.
On the other hand, it’s also a huge
Published in Online Spin, March 8th 2013
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.” -- advertisement in a British paper in 1901, inviting adventurers to join Ernest Shackleton on his voyage to the South Pole.
I sit across from a man with that most optimistic and daunting of titles: Community Manager.
He looks haunted. Dark circles under his eyes speak of late nights pinning and tweeting and tagging. A tremor echoes through his fragile voice as he describes the thousands of sites he scans regularly in order to maintain his position of thought
Published in Online Spin, March 1st 2013
Two years ago, Sugata Mitra shared an amazing story at the TED conference. Back in 1999, wanting to see how kids who had never been exposed to computers would respond to them, Mitra put one in a hole in the wall in Delhi, turned it on, and left it there. The results were extraordinary. Eight-year-olds started teaching six-year-olds how to browse the Internet. Four hours after seeing a computer for the first time, another group of kids figured out how to record their own music and play it back to each other.