The Break Up – A true marketing message

Ok, this video clip, The Break Up, has been with us for already 1.3M views and I’ve had it marked as a bookmark for quite a while, but I thought I’d come out of the closet and show my appreciation by adding it as today’s post. It is a good reminder for marketers in case you haven’t seen it. From www.bringtheloveback.com.

US consumption of news – De Palma strikes at the heart

As an American living overseas, you sometimes get bombarded with the (often well merited) criticism of American provincialism. And, the general line of argument centres around what type of news Americans follow. A recent study by McKinsey encouraged possibly a different conclusion. The report suggests that when the Americans read news, they are brand promiscuous. On average, an American will use 12 different sources in a week for his/her news, going across 5 different platforms (tv [6], internet [3], magazines, newspapers and radio). And, considering the cross-frontier nature of internet news which accounts for 1/4 of the sources, one has to imagine that Americans are thus being fed more than a local-only news, with a wider range of opinions (unless the internet source is just the online version of the tv or newspaper). Of course, this same spectre is happening in other countries where, similarly, the typical tv newscast is somewhat biased or localized. Brand promiscuity with regard to the news provides hope for the democratization — or rather the liberalization — of news for many countries.

As testament to internet-generated news, the soon-to-be-released Brian de Palma film, “Redacted,” was nourished by the internet to get to the bottom of the [horror] story of the US war in Iraq, and features the story of an Iraqi girl raped and killed by US military soldiers. This article describes de Palma’s own dissatisfaction with the general news and how he used internet sources, including blogs, to find out about the truth. De Palma is quoted as saying, “It’s all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it’s not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment.” Launched at the Venice Film Festival, Redacted has clearly caused a stir.

Came across Journalism 2.0 (good read and justly points out that the title of the study is misleading) and Dick Stroud on the same survey. Stroud concludes “don’t waste your precious marketing dollars on news related promotions to the young (ish).” Just going to have to qualify the news to the younger generation is my opinion.

Since when …

“Ch-ch-changes… Time may change me, But I can’t trace time.”

Not alone to think that the USA Today Top 25 pivotal changes (in honour of their 25th anniversary) makes for quite fun reading, found a few other similarly minded posts (including gadling). Among the changes that seem to have happened so long ago, it was only in 1995 that Delta Airlines [for the first time] banned smoking on all flights. I shake my head when I hear the cabin announcement about “this is a no-smoking flight.” Are there any commercial airlines left allowing smoking on board? Another “change” of note: this year 50% of travel bookings will be done on line.

Putin at it again…stomping out the BBC?

Technical complications? Bad luck? Bad press? It would appear that the BBC’s difficulties to be on the air (both on AM and FM) in Russia are more evidence of President Putin’s shutting down of the free press. As the IHT reports, these BBC problems come on the heels of many other more or less covert clamp downs, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America. The IHT article reports that the “German broadcaster Deutsche Welle has also had problems with its German and Russian-language medium-wave radio programs in the past.” All told, it just doesn’t bode well. The unspeak, double talk and lack of transparency seems to be growing at leaps and bounds. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be anybody (perhaps other than the Brits) putting up any resistance. What’s to be done? Insofar as the internet is terribly difficult to control, I don’t see how Putin will manage to shut down all the non-favorable commentary. What is he preparing that he doesn’t want anyone to talk about? His next Presidency? I found this post and the follow-up comments from Swedish expert, Vilhelm Konnander, plentiful.

When a blog becomes institutional

iblog doesn’t stand for institutional blog

I have been a fan of the freakonomics blog for quite some time — a testament to the power of a good book (now available for $17 on amazon, down from $28 list price!) going on line per se. However, the very notion of a blog is up for grabs at this point as this lunch over ip article points out. Freakonomics is an institutional blog, an anathema to blogging as considered in the blogging world of the [recent] past.

The evolution of blogging

Now that we have more than 70 million blogs (per techorati), it may well be time to add some marketing muscle to the very term of a blog (beyond splog). As Bruno Giussani points out, the blog concept is migrating and, with it, the ways of communicating. Blogging is even entering into an evil phase as this IHT article points out. Incentive enough to make sure that I have a comment policy (see below).

I take note of Joe Jaffe experimenting with the interface of his jaffe juice blog, facebook, twitter, itunes podcasting, and potentially so many more (netvibes, bloglines, myspace, linkedin, plaxo. flickr…). Same idea over at Twist Image, with Mitch Joel, where we are looking at ways to concentrate the multiple [social] media avenues to grow your on-line community. And it’s true that agglomeration is the new buzz word which is going to be a major part of the near-term evolution of the net, not just blogging. The web has cast a wide reach with a whole host of new opportunities, but managing the tangle of [even one’s own] links and gaining critical mass will be the name of the game in the future. By the way, I do love the new Google blog search which is helping to clear up the confounded blog search.

Anyway, as far as blogs are concerned, we might consider creating subcategories of blogs. I propose that we create a new list of definitions for what we have broadly been calling blogs. That list could go something like this:

  • persoblog for those personal life blogs, shortened to plog
  • communiblog for community blogs, shortened to cubelog polyblog for multiple author blogs, polyblog (like it as is)
  • musiclog for the music aficionado, mclog
  • marklog for marketing blogs, as is
  • medialog (aside from the issue of the company of the name), for news blogs
  • shoplog for shopping addicts, as is
  • institulog for institutional blogs (ban the idea!), i-blog (perish the thought twisted)

and final idea (for today that is):

  • noblog for not only bullshit logs…

The question will become: who is capable of setting the pace and giving these names? Us, the community of bloggers… but that’s a whole of people to galvanize. Probably will need the New York Times or Herald Tribune to pick up a piece like this one and then, kapow, it’s off to the races.

Why are we here? And the lifecycle of blogs

So, what’s the blog all about? Aside from facing the inimitable existentialist questions about oneself, I have seen a slew of posts on the “why” of blogs and what is it all for? A few observations come to the fore. As cited in Opinionated Marketers, it really depends on your own objectives (fair enough) to establish what is a successful blog. Blogs continue to crop up at an incredible rate, although there appear to be signs that the rate of growth has matured as people have been moving their energies into the social networking world; and the life cycle of a blog is decidedly short (evidently many don’t last past 4 months).

David Sifry’s (founder of Techorati) State of the Blogosphere report in April 2007 says that “Technorati is now tracking over 70 million weblogs, and we’re seeing about 120,000 new weblogs being created worldwide each day. That’s about 1.4 blogs created every second of every day.” And, in the Live Web report, I was fascinated to see that there are more blogs in Japanese (37% of all blogs) than in English (36% of all blogs); only 8% of blogs are in Chinese. In 10th position, funnily enough is Farsi.

In a true sign of self-consciousness, meanwhile, bloggers are questioning why they are spending so many hours on their site, writing about themselves or otherwise exposing themselves. I am conscious, if also conscientious, about the ‘challenge’ posed by blogging. In a sign of the questioning, per a technorati study (that I haven’t been able to track down), apparently 79% of all blogs are abandoned — points to the pointlessness that many discover. Notmike reports from Gartner that there are now over 200 million dead blogs (see NY Post report). I have myself a second blog that I voluntarily began as a one-time experiment. Otherwise, my attention is uniquely consecrated to this site. This Caslon site (from down under) is interesting for accumulating stats on blogs. A Perseus report (see NYT article) says that 66% of blogs haven’t been updated in the last two months — which they claim is tantamount to dead.

In a Pew study , dating mid-2006, they surveyed 7,012 US adults by phone, including 4,753 internet users of whom 8% are bloggers, said that Bloggers write about the following topics (not including the splog, or spam blogs which apparently account for just under 10% of all blogs): Source no longer available on line.

“My life and experiences:” 37%
Politics and government: 11%
Entertainment: 7%
Sports: 6%
General news and current events: 5%
Business: 5%
Technology: 4%
Religion, spirituality or faith: 2%
Hobbies: 1%
Health: 1%

When I look at that list, I get a little scared, as I continue to post on all of the above but religion, spirituality and faith… (per my cloud I also specialize on France!). Sounds like a little lack of blog focus (which is one way not to get a quick, easy audience).

On another level, there is a whole lot of posting on how to make money on one’s blog, including my blogging friend at St Bloggie and at eMoms. And even making money on abandoned blogs, per this post at Bloggingexperiment. The motivations for blogging are varied, but apparently if a blog is to last, the posts tend to need to have content/length and the author must truly enjoying writing…. Personally, I am counting 10 months and going strong… Haven’t made a cent yet; it’s not part of the master plan. But I have enjoyed making the random virtual contacts (‘tlogs) and I plan to continue, at least for now.

Aggregating Blogs as new form of Journalism

My posting on the Tour de France was picked up by this “Bloggers looking for the straight dope” article in Slate, an online magazine, owned by The Washington Post Company. Again, this is a new form of journalism — picking up on the beat on the ‘net. I’m flattered to have been tagged on this site. In the meantime {and, if you can believe me, irrespective of my quote} Slate is an interesting place to go pick up interesting viewpoints and analysis.

Clean Slate

Cyber journalism may be taking on a new slant… What if [new age] journalists just spent their time outing the silly things people say and do, behind the slim veil of anonymity, on the net. Take this most recent outing revealed by Lucy Caldwell on Slate via a Facebook entry, in which Rudy Giuliani’s daughter, Caroline, apparently joined Barak Obama’s Group. Caroline was apparently not hiding her identity. I once saw a person [unnamed] reveal on Facebook that he had just been given a promotion; however, the promotion had not been officially released within the company. Sounds like a little pre-release if you ask me. One has to be careful about spilling one’s beans. The edge of the allowable content is awfully tricky to navigate, especially if you have a higher than average level of visibility, or even if you are working in higher executive positions. In any event, for those of us on the net, such new cyber journalism sounds like Big Brother in your home.

12 kinds of ads

Here’s an example of on-line learning, from Slate. There are only 12 kinds of ads. I thought this slide show by Seth Stevenson, revisting Donald Gunn’s 1978 theory about there being only 12 kinds of [master] ads possible, was a great little exercise. It certainly got me thinking about ad formats… on tv.

The only problem with this theory is that television ads are a thing of the past… (ref Joe Jaffe’s “Life after the 30 second spot.”) I am not able to refute the 12 ad formats, but I would be looking for the 12 new kinds of communication. I believe that with the evolution in channels and the consumer’s new and higher level of engagement, ads are turning into dialogue — pushing into the conscience and sub-conscience in a conscientious way. What about the concepts of opt in, consumer generated content, no logo [intuitive to the max] advertising, only logo [no message], word of mouth triggers… It would seem that transparency will be a seminal word for advertising of the future.