Sunday, October 31, 2004
Tanned, Rested and Ready
Osama bin Laden is enjoying the fruits of Paradise and 24 virgins, alright, but if he's still sending VNRs, we have to assume it's an earthly paradise. Or resort. At any rate, he is clearly still among the living, and has ready access to video production and distribution. And he reaches more viewers than Sinclair.
The sight of that man, more than three years after 9/11, looking healthy and happy, is just one more reason to vote for Kerry.
GW Bush claimed the war was won last year. I am not sure what "won" means, but if the guy you're fighting is fit, healthy, and able to send out VNRs at will.... you haven't won.
Lessig posts and accepts comments on this.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Can Rubel Endorse? Could Madison Review Sushi?
Shel caused a flare-up when he jumped on Steve Rubel about endorsing Kerry (Shel later apologized). What's of note to communicators is that the flare-up ain't about politics -- it gets right down and dirty to "why blog? where does your cred come from? what makes an influential blog?"
Questions, indeed. Gets right down to philosophy.
The short story: Rubel endorsed Kerry on his blog (his added point being that candidates should embrace blogger endorsements with the same love they give paper endorsements). Shel jolted and noted that political endorsements aren't what he's looking for on Rubel's blog. The political part died down right away -- Shel and Steve are big boys, and on the same side. But the question about what is appropriate on a blog has been discussed a few days more at Shel's place.
The threads are on all three links I cited above: important because it's a discussion I hear in one form or another almost daily, online and off -- I suspect most bloggers do.
Here's the thing. Most of us want our blogs to be influential. Lessig influential might be a stretch, but influential enough to add substance to the debate isn't.
But how to do it? Shel, Steve and their correspondents argue about this. Here's one answer: To be influential, blogs, like brands or political campaigns, must never waver. They must be focused and on-message, every time. Rubel cannot long meander off into politics and retain his blog's influence. Shel can't post a travelogue about his and his wife's weekend in the wine-country without a shel of my former self losing influence. I haven't a clue what Lessig gets up to in his free time, but if he posted about it, his blog would lose influence.
It's about consistency and focus.
Look at the Federalist Papers. Hamilton, Jay, and Madison wrote editorials, deftly woven to build on and refer to one another's posts, to argue for ratification of the US Constitution. A conversation in public to provoke a wider conversation. It worked. While only the editorials of Madison, Jay, and Hamilton are today collected as The Federalist Papers, those editorials sparked dozens of opposing editorials, hundreds of letters, thousands of fist-fights.
That's quality blogging, 18th century style. Ratified a Constitution, too.
But what gave Madison & Co influence? Timeliness and relevance, sure. But stict focus helped. John Jay never gives us sushi-bar reviews. Madison never interrupted his closely-reasoned argument with moblogs from weekends at George and Martha Washington.
If that was blogging.. and it was, just low tech, then the same rules will apply to high-tech blogging.
Or... is blogging entirely different?
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Blogger or PR professional? Both!
Dan Gillmor broke a story yesterday about a PR agency (nameless) offering to help clients "manage" blogs and bloggers that are critical of the client.
Gillmor rightly points out that bloggers cannot be "managed" but only worked with and engaged with. Yet several commenters -- presumably PR pros -- disagree.
What is ugly is that the PR agency's view seems to be that one can be a PR professional or a blogger, but not both. This is absurd on its face, yet seems to be the general belief. So how much do PR professionals who blog risk being viewed with distrust by clients?
One thing though.... the contrarian in me knows that if corporations, the PR industry, and traditional media all distrust the blogosphere, the blogosphere must be doing something right.
Friend (and deep thinker) Gunnar Langemark prompted this post.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Dude, Where's My Car? (Mazda M3, I mean)
Update: the Mazda blog has been taken down. I guess they didn't want it becoming a cautionary tale. Still, the story will go into my next presentation on blogging & marketing.
Reading the feeds this 5 AM, I see Steve Rubel and Pamela Parker roasting a fake blog set up by Mazda to tout its M3 line. I just knew it had to be so bad it would make my morning....
But Mazda may be quicker than we think: Apparently, the instantly-loading video that Rubel and Parker complain of has been taken down. And the one thing that Parker could find to praise -- comments! -- is no more.
Of course, if the comment Parker quoted is right, Mazda probably got cold feet about allowing commments:
This commercial sucks. Maybe if it wasn't for a piece of shit car like a Mazda it would have potential. Only an idiot would ever buy a Mazda!!!
The blog is still lame: the copy is almost a parody of teenspeak, and the premise is utterly cynical. Still, how many cars does it need to sell to pay for itself?
via Micro Persuasion and The River
Thursday, October 21, 2004
More Moose, Less Bull
Political junkies will remember the "Bull Moose" as the 1912 Progressive Party alternative to GOP Elephant and Democratic Donkey. Led by Teddy Roosevelt, "Bull Moosers" were conservative in foreign policy, progressive in social affairs -- well, generally speaking.
Today's Bull Moose is a revived blog with bite and wit.
"The Bull Moose advocates a progressive poltics of national greatness that promotes a strong national defense, economic justice, political reform and national service. The Moose hopes that Democrats, Republicans and Independents who share this vision will join together to forge a new politics that defies the current partisan polarization.
The Moose will often vent, kvetch, rant, rage and complain about the events of the day. Hopefully, he will also occasionally amuse."
NewComm Forums Announced -- Must for PR Pros
Friend Neville Hobson brings us welcome news of two conferences devoted to new communication strategies.
What is welcome and significant is the speed with which the organizers are moving... these conferences, at two days each in early 2005, promise to provide more knowledge about new communication than either PRSA or IABC will be able to offer before mid-2005.
"New Communications Forum 2005 will be held in two venues within weeks of each other:
NewComm Forum Americas West 2005 will be held in the US near Silicon Valley in late January. NewComm Forum Europe 2005 will be held in early February in Paris.
New Communications Forum 2005 will consist of an in-depth, two-day intensive workshop for senior communications professionals, taught by experienced PR and marketing professionals, who are also successful bloggers. The event will also feature practitioner panels, keynote addresses, and a hands-on demo area. Our goal is for attendees to leave the conference confident they can not only start blogging immediately, but also convince their corporations and/or clients that they should blog as well."
Update: I can see that organizer Elizabeth Albrycht has now also announced the conferences
on her blog.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Barlow on Iraqi exit strategy
John Perry Barlow seems to find interesting conversations all over the place. In his post Exit Strategies at BarlowFriendz, he talks Iraqi exit strategies with a mercenary -- and mercenary and Barlow find themselves not all that far apart.
"The interesting thing was that we didn't disagree on much now. We both believed that the invasion of Iraq and its subsequent occupation was a tragic catastrophe that could only get worse.
" 'I'll tell you,' he said, 'before we get out of Iraq, it's going to make Viet Nam look like a good idea.'
Finally he pointed out that history provides a gloomy prognosis. "I can't think of a single case where a popular local guerrilla movement failed to defeat a conventional foreign occupying force," he said. "From the American Revolution through Viet Nam, the guerrillas always win. Usually, it takes them a long time and they suffer most of the casualties, but they win.'"
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Electoral Vote Predictor
The Electoral Vote Predictor is tracking swing-state polls each day and updating the predicted "final" electoral map.
"Kerry is continuing to get a lift from the third debate. He has now overcome Bush's 5% lead in Wisconsin and moved a hair ahead there, 48% to 47% according to a Rasmussen poll conducted Oct. 14. Kerry is now once again leading in the electoral college, but neither candidate has the required 270 electoral votes because Florida, Iowa, and New Hampshire are exactly tied."
Not for the nail-biters in either party...
And, by the way, Haloscan
commenting and trackback have been added to Desirable Roasted Coffee.
More Republican Nervousness?
Bush campaign threatens schoolteachers with arrest. Their crime? Wearing "Protect our civil liberties" tee-shirts.
More nervousness... or are they so confident that they just don't care?
Reinstating the Draft.... talking about it can get you sued
A few months ago, I noted why reinstating the draft is a poor idea.
But it's an idea that refuses to die. And now, with no end to the war in sight, and military recruitment dropping, one wonders if the Bush administration is considering it?
Rock the Vote seems to think so. Josh Marshall points out that the Republican National Committee is nervous enough about anti-draft backlash that it has threatened to sue Rock the Vote for raising the issue.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Can Corporate Blogs Be Conversations?
Friend Shel Holtz looks at some basic philosophy underlying what I call "bandwagon blogging" -- that is, the rush by CEO's to have their very own blog.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Economists give thumbs-down to W
I didn't get my Economist (the world's best newspaper, by far, if only for the droll captions) this week, but Sean Aday at the Gadfly did.
He points to and discusses an Economist poll of economists, asking them to rate Bush economic policies. If you are an American out of work or without health insurance (or both), you knew this already, but the marks are almost uniformly bad for W.
Morever, the 56 economists agree that Kerry would be far better for the US economy. Go figure: 56 economists polled by a right-of-center financial newspaper prefer the guy that W calls a "tax and spender".
The raw numbers make good reading, too.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
I'm going to be a fashionista
It's not summer where I live, but everyone knows you can get the best deals by buying out of season. So I was very happy when I found this catalogue for next summer's footwear.
Friday, October 08, 2004
Judging the Bulgarian Web
My friend Justine Toms (not the New Age gusher, but the High Priestess of Bulgaria's part of Cyberspace) has given me the signal honor of asking me to serve on the jury of BG Site 2004 "The Oscars of the Bulgarian Web". Actually, it's the fifth or sixth year running, but as long as she keeps asking, I'll keep doing it.
It's getting harder and harder to judge the event though. I judge on design and aesthetics (not writing, obviously), and since Bulgarian design is leaps ahead of what I see most of the day, it's a tough call. Will be again this year, I know.
Unfortunately, I won't be going to Sofia for the gala evening. I've made some good friends in Sofia over the years, and it's always a disappointment not to be there.
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Wangari Maathai was a pleasant surprise (simply not giving the prize would have been so tired).
"Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment," said Ole Danbolt Mjoes, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. "We have emphasized the environment, democracy building and human rights and especially women's rights," Mjoes said of the prize. "We have added a new dimension to the concept of peace."
By giving the prize to someone who tries to improve living conditions, the committee takes the view that people who live well, who can provide for themselves, and who can get into the world trade system, have every incentive to avoid conflict. In a sense, it's giving the prize for the prevention of theoretical conflicts, rather than attempts (not always successful, as a look at the list of past winners
shows) to resolve ones that were not prevented.
I like the idea. I hope the award to Maathai is conscious act for the Committee, and not just an expedient one for 2004.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
As good a reason as any?
Why is this not surprising? A 15-month study by the Bush Administration confirms what most people have come to expect, even while the top of the Administration tries to pretend otherwise: Iraq had no WMD.
Bush, Blair, and Howard are already spinning this, and I would, too, if I were them. It's that or go back to bed.
But I am truly surprised that the President has named a new reason for going to war. According to MSNBC:
"After being briefed on the report, the president cited Saddam’s 'history of using weapons of mass destruction, a long record of aggression and hatred for America' in calling the invasion the right thing to do."
Hatred for America?
going to be our criterion from now on, we'd better stock up on some more army stuff