Monday, December 27, 2004
Chilling on the spot reporting from Evelyn Rodriguez, blogger of Crossroads Dispatches PR blog.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Looking for Fools, but only if you are Wise
This weeks Economist is looking for fools and uses James I as an example of the Right Stuff:
IT IS not quite clear whether it was Henry IV of France or—more likely—his chief minister, the Duc de Sully, who described James I (of England, VI of Scotland) as “the wisest fool in Christendom”. It is not even clear what prompted the coining of the epithet, though James (above) was certainly a mixture of opposites of every kind. In the words of Sir Walter Scott,
"He was deeply learned, without possessing useful knowledge; sagacious in many individual cases, without having real wisdom...He was fond of his dignity, while he was perpetually degrading it by undue familiarity; capable of much public labour, yet often neglecting it for the meanest amusement; a wit, though a pedant; and a scholar, though fond of the conversation of the ignorant and uneducated...He was laborious in trifles, and a trifler where serious labour was required; devout in his sentiments, and yet too often profane in his language..."
That's my 6th grade report card.
The Only Website I Would Take to a Desert Island
My local newspaper has a column in which they ask business leaders what they read. What's on their nightstand, what books most inspired them, which books they had to give up on, what books they would take to a desert island.
4 or 5 times a month, I know the person in question. So I cover up the answers and guess at them. I'm usually way off.
Actually, I think the whole exercise is an exercise in bogusity, because it cannot be true that:
1) Most Danish business leaders have Joyce's Ulysses on their nightstand.
2) Most Danish business leaders read Soeren Kirkegaard more than any other writer.
3) Most Danish business leaders would take Joyce's Ulysses to a desert island.
Now, I am not picking on Danish business leaders in particular; I am sure the results would be the same anywhere. And I am sure the leaders who respond "I read the Far Side, Dilbert, and my own grocery list" are not published. Still....Ulysses? Kirkegaard? I don't think so.
Were I asked in 2004, I would say Arts & Letters Daily is the website I would take to a desert island. Prints of its articles are a big part of my bedside and "in the train" reading... Where else can you go for 200 or more snippets, daily, of critical essays, reviews, and commentary?
Between Arts & Letters Daily and The Economist... one is thankful for the gift of reading.
Sort of like Munich Airport
6 to 7 years ago, I had a wickedly terrible travel schedule. And, for some reason, I was always sent through airports that were being rebuilt, apparently from the ground up. Munich was one. Heathrow. Prague. Newark. (But never Reykjavik which, by God, needs a make over).
Always there was a cheerful little cartoon bear (or bee, or what have you) on a sign to tell me that I should be happy to walk a couple of extra kilometers because "We're upgrading for your convenience!" Of course, a) it was not convenient at the time and b) they had no assurance that I would ever be back again to enjoy the new convenience.
Irritated me to no end. Much more honest to write "We're adding on. Excuse the mess. Get over it."
So, if you notice some problems and oddities with Desirable Roasted Coffee in the next week: "We're adding on. Excuse the mess. Get over it."
I'm moving the Coffee over to Typepad, and throwing in a few design changes. Aiming to have the whole thing migrate on the 30th. But it might mean a few disruptions for you, dear reader. Bear with me. Bee with me. We're upgrading for your convenience and you won't have to walk an extra step.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Financial Times has a look at internal blogging
The Financial Times takes a look at internal blogging. Neville Hobson's comments are so good that I will just say go look at what Neville writes.
I'm coming to believe, too, that internal blogs can become a killer app. A more important application of the technology than CEO blogs. When I look back on my times within a large company (87-90, 97-99) I can see about a dozen applications for internal blogging, and that's without morning coffee.
1) Am I in the office or on the road?
2) What are my coordinates on the road?
3) Project status.
4) Centers of Competence that I am following, and why....
5) Current projects, and commentary thereto.
6) Yep, I'm open to openings in the Australian office... call me.
7) I worked with Frank on project X, Kirsten on project Y, and led project B with Ashok and Christabel. Have a chat with them if you are considering me on your project.
And that was 30 seconds fast typing at midnight....
Long Tail Blog (Updated)
In October's Wired, Chris Anderson published "The Long Tail", an insightful article describing why on-line distribution turns the Law of Scarcity upside down and makes previously obscure works -- music, movies, literature -- widely available.
"Hit-driven economics is a creation of an age without enough room to carry everything for everybody. Not enough shelf space for all the CDs, DVDs, and games produced. Not enough screens to show all the available movies. Not enough channels to broadcast all the TV programs, not enough radio waves to play all the music created, and not enough hours in the day to squeeze everything out through either of those sets of slots.
"This is the world of scarcity. Now, with online distribution and retail, we are entering a world of abundance. And the differences are profound."
Now Anderson is blogging the Long Tail idea
as he writes a book about it. The posts so far aren't particularly insightful, but I think its a blog worth watching.
Via Virginia Postrel
Update (December 22, 2005):
Stephen Pierzchala, who writes the Lost Below the 49th
blog argues that Anderson's thinking is hardly original.:
"The whole reason that the Internet retail channel was touted in the first place was for just the reason that Chris Anderson has "discovered" in the Long Tail: all-the-time access to everything in market niche X. So why is the blogosphere heralding this as a new discovery?"
Good point: Anderson isn't original. I commented at Stephen's blog, but thought I would reprint it here.:
"It's not new, and you'll note that Virginia mentioned that she had covered the concept in Forbes ASAP in 1999. Kevin Kelly's New Rules for the New Economy (1998) touched it, as did Frances Cairncross in the Death of Distance ('96, if memory serves).
"What's not new but relevant about Anderson's article is
"a) it's coming after the dot-bust. Rightly or wrongly, much of the "net punditry" slate was wiped clean in 2000-2001. A lot of relevant stuff written them was tossed in the trash heap with all the worthless stock options.
"b) In 1998-2000, little history could guide us. We only knew how going digital "should" affect intellectual property. Now we know a lot more, and Anderson did a pretty good job of pulling that together. It's not original, but it's important because many more managers are ready to think about the message.
"c) Yeah, he "invented" a term for it. A pithy one that people are latching onto. As a communicator, I can say that is only good. Again... not original, but right place and right time."
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
In Search of Robert Sillerman
Friend Ron Kattawar knows music. Knows why one dolt can look at a guitar with a blank look and why some one else can take that same guitar and give you love, death, hope, betrayal, redemption, corruption, and resurrection in four notes.
Four notes. Like Robert Johnson.
Ron's a writer. Not published, yet, but so what? I'm not either, and he's way ahead of me.
In Ron's novels, Elvis isn't dead. And his descendants are music-makers that (in a real world) would have spared us Britney and Christina A.
Our goal (OK, Ron's goal, but I am helping): connect Ron with one of Robert Sillerman's representatives.
In Search of Robert Sillerman
Monday, December 20, 2004
Ford Needs a New Car Name... and You Can Help
Naming products isn't easy. You want a distinctive, attractive, memorable name that is so damned obvious that anyone would say "Yeah.. that's it!", except no one has come up with it, yet. Harder than it looks. Look at that gin-and-tonic in your hand and come up with a better name. You can't.
Ford is asking for the public's help, which is an admirable PR stunt. But they have been down that road before.
In the 1950s, Ford asked the great poet Marianne Moore to have a whack at naming one of their new cars:
"She was even asked by Ford Motor Company officials to suggest names for a new series of cars. She gamely offered at least nineteen, the worst being "Magigravue," "Pastelogram," and "Turcotingo," and the best perhaps including "Chaparral," "Mongoose Civique," and "Silver Sword." Declining all of her suggestions, Ford chose the name "Edsel.""
I don't car how ugly the "Edsel" was... as a "Mongoose Civique", it would have been a classic.
Via Snark Hunting
for the original report.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Blogging Year in Review: Great Data
Via Steve Rubel this heads up about excellent blogging data at Blogwebinar.com.
Talk about data-mining: this is the place to get your head around the blogging surge. Highly recommended.
Elegant Open Source Stat Counter!
Today, I discovered RE_Invigorate, an elegant and unobtrusive stat counter for Desirable Roasted Coffee.
The code is a little snippet of java-script and there's no logo. Even better, the visual display of the stats is sophisticated, interactive, and real-time (if you are so inclined, you can even "watch" visitors enter and leave your site). Also lovely: it rates your site's traffic against the "average" user of the counter. Finally, it provides real-time stats of the RE-invigorate community, letting you see usage patterns, browser & system use, etc.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Ned Lundquists's Parallel Universe: What to Make of It?
If Ochman's eruption wasn't enough, turn to friend Ned Lundquist's truly bizarre corporate communication sit-com soap-opera in blogform.
"So CorpComm is in charge of this fiasco, but I assigned Genevieve (that’s pronounced “Jenn-uh-vee-EV”) D’Ecolletage, my Special Events Coordinator, to the task of running the committee, gathering the donations and distributing the material. This may have been a mistake.
"Genevieve has her degree in parks and recreation management. She is anal about details. Over organized and works too hard making sure everything is precisely so. She has what you would call an “ample figure.” She’s ample everywhere. She could use a few workouts. Her clothes are so tight that they give me a little too much information about her body. And her perfume arrives 10 minutes before she does. She told me that she wants to wear an ankle bracelet but doesn’t know the significance of which ankle to wear it on. Someone told her that if you wear an ankle on your left ankle you are a cheap whore and the right ankle means you are expensive. She’s trying to verify that. I was unable to help."
Ned is also editor of the award-winning Job-of-the-Week
newsletter (you can read about that at Fast Company
), and the useful ABC List to help IABC
members become accredited (he also runs the Accreditation marketing effort for IABC). Oh, and has a family and a day-job.
Friday, December 17, 2004
B. L. Ochman's Parallel Universe: What to Make of It?
I don't have a clue what to make of whatsnextenmesh.com, but I sure like the idea. B. L. Ochman, who is generally ahead of many of us, rolls back her clock to blog from 1911 New York.
It's a promo for a new book about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911 -- one of the worst sweatshop tragedies in US history.
B. L. says hers is part of an 11-blog group in the project... but I can't find out where the other 10 are...
Jarvis Fascinated (Was: Jarvis Professes Shock.... again)
(Update 18 December: I probably should have written Jarvis to ask if he was surprised... as it turns out, he's written me that he wasn't. Fair 'nuff!)
Maybe I'm too cynical, or maybe I've been in advertising too long, but I find it hard to feel Jarvis's seeming surprise at learning that "politics is just a product" and that political campaigns approach it that way.
Granted, it's a product that should require more thought than buying soap. (Though, that being said, I've never changed political brand, and I couldn't tell what sort of soap I use on a bet).
What chafes Jarvis is learning that the GOP worked hard on discerning the media and lifestyle habits of its "consumers", and tailored its message and media buying to fit.
Well, yeah. That's what every brand manager at P&G routinely does. When I represented Danish tourism in the UK, we sliced and diced their database everywhichway to figure out where, when, and how we should run ads and direct mail campaigns. That's just how it's done.
What would chafe me is to find out that my party wasn't doing it.
How Blogging Helps the Yoghurt Company
Wondering how your company could use blogging? Have a look at Stonyfield Farm, makers of organic yoghurt, and committed bloggers through their four blogs, each of which has its own part of the Stonyfield conversation. (I find the Bovine Bugle a pleasant read.)
What I like about the story is that a) Stonyfield is committed to blogging for its consumers, b) they closely track readership and feedback, and c) they aren't bending themselves out of shape worring about the ROI of their blogging. So why do they do it?
Company blogger Christine Halvorson explains:
"Our blogs "continue the conversation" we've had with our readers/customers since the beginning in 1987, when we had 7 cows and a great yogurt recipe. Today we produce 18 million cups of yogurt a month!"Via Rick E. Bruner who interviews Halvorson.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
How do They Edit the Media Insider List?
Don't get me wrong... I'm happy to be included on the PR Newswire/Media Insider watchlist for PR Blogs.
I wonder, though, how some of my posts get picked up for the syndication, but others don't. As readers know, I write a mixed blog, so it's interesting to see that some PR posts don't make it, but that some "Social-Political" posts do.
Anyway... no complaints from here. I sure like the company I keep there.
Bad Coffee at Desirable Roasted
In a maladroit attempt to redesign DRC, I inadvertantly rendered the blog unviewable for most of the business day. Back in business, now.
Danish Gov't Test Gives Thumbs Up to Open Source
Good news on the Open Office front. Berlingske, a Danish daily, reports that a government test of Open Office (free) vs. Microsoft Office (€220 license) shows no real difference between the two.
Several Danish municipalities and government agencies participated in the test.
The study, conducted by Devoteam Fischer & Lorenz, says there's no difference in productivity between the two packages. Users found Open Office had trouble handling some files, but almost always where tailored systems were being used.
The Danish Parliament will consider legislation in January to require all public IT systems to use open-source software.
Via Berlingske (in Danish)
The Blogging Process Explained
Discussion at the Corante 20 Questions site is picking up. While reading the latest comments, I came across The Blogging Process by David Pollard:
"A pretentious and presumptuous attempt to document what bloggers have learned, without any formal instruction, to do every day. And then a description of what's needed to make blogs a medium for real conversation."Complete with flow chart! I'd never really thought about it, but Pollard's process is close to my own. And I suspect that of others.
What a Pity He Missed Blogging
I've said it elsewhere, but it's a crying shame that Samuel Pepys didn't live long enough to blog.
"Sunday 15 December 1661 (Lord’s day). To church in the morning... Sir W. Pen dined with me and we were merry. Again to church...
Via Pepys Diary
"I have been troubled this day about a difference between my wife and her maid Nell, who is a simple slut, and I am afeard we shall find her a cross-grained wench.
"I am now full of study about writing something about our making of strangers strike to us at sea; and so am altogether reading Selden and Grotius, and such other authors to that purpose."
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Be Autonomous! You'll Live Longer....
Is your health linked to your personal autonomy?
Bill Gardner, blogger at Maternal and Child Health is publishing a series of posts discussing Michael Marmot's The Status Syndrome.
The first post presents the basic finding: that health is positively correlated with autonomy.
Via Crooked Timber
Update: Coincidentally, Dvorak notes that deadlines cause heart attacks.
Maryland Anti-Spam Law Struck Down
Would probably never have made a difference in my email box, but it's always sad to see spammers winning in court.
Maryland Judge Rules State's Anti-Spam Law Unconstitutional
He's Shocked.... Shocked!
Jeff Jarvis notes that the US Federal Communications Commission doesn't have any problem with the word "fuck" in Saving Private Ryan, so broadcasters can safely show the film without incurring fines. But that FCC does have a problem when Bono or Howard Stern uses the word, however. So those fines can add up.
Jarvis professes shock at the inconsistency, but he shouldn't. Middle America isn't threatened by Tom Hanks or Steven Spielberg. But Bono and Stern make it very uncomfortable. FCC Commissioner Michael Powell may not be consistent, but he knows his middle-brow, God-fearing constituency very well.
Homemade Branding: Good or Evil?
Via Shel Holtz, I learn of George Master's homegrown efforts on behalf of iPod. Shel, who once was Barbie's PR agent, points out that not all companies are going to be equally pleased by homegrown marketing efforts -- especially when they spread faster than the company's own marketing efforts.
Oooh.. that's an itchy problem. Do I, as a brand manager, opt for tight "command and control" over my brand? Or am I damned glad the word is getting around for free, even though I might not control the meme?
Apple is doing just fine with iPod, thank you, so they don't need any help (I don't know if they want it).
But other groups should be begging for help. Earlier I reffed the (excellent) efforts of Oliver Willis and crew to push the Democratic Party into branding itself by inviting the public to create Democratic ads. Lord knows if any institution could use a tighter brand, it's the world's oldest political party.
I think this slippery eel is going to get away from brand managers. Micropublishing (blogs and wikis) already let consumers write about products and companies in a way that brand managers could only dream about (or quake about) five years ago. Taking it one step further to homemade ads, either supportive or in parody, is a short next step.
Memo to marketing: what's our policy going to be?
Blogging: 20 Questions and Many Answers
Corante invites business bloggers to answer 20 essay questions about blogging. The site is already attracting some thoughtful comment (in addition to my own).
Corante will filter the answers and use the results in upcoming seminars and book.
Via Steve Rubel's Micro Persuasion.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Democratic Meeting Tells Loyal Bloggers to Leave
I used to be active in Democratic Party politics; I've been the chairman of American Democrats Abroad in Scandinavia, and a member of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad. So I do know how obtuse political parties can be (in many ways, they are the least responsive of organizations, far less so than well-run companies).
Still, "netizens" were immensely supportive of the Democratic Party in E2004. So it's disappointing to read Jerome Armstrong's report that he and other bloggers were booted from this weekend's DNC meeting for being.... bloggers.
The only -- only -- positive spin I can put on this is that the party suddenly realizes that bloggers are akin to press. But since these bloggers were partisan supportive press, it seems short-sighted to boot them.
Why a Code of Blogging Ethics at Desirable Roasted Coffee?
(Note: I had intended to post this at the same time as the actual code, but a lovely weekend with friends intervened).
Why post a Code of Blogging Ethics at Desirable Roasted Coffee?
Recently, friend Shel Holtz wrote about the the dark side of blogging -- when bloggers deceive readers. It is a thoughtful post, and one can't read it and just look away again. Ethical questions (and legal ones) about blogging are popping up all over. And press and public believe that some, many, most, all bloggers are the border ruffians of cyberspace, with little interest in facts and without the moral underpinnings for fairness.
Over the last month, several influential bloggers have called for Codes of Ethics.
Nick Denton suggests a Blog Ethics Committee.
"Maybe it's time that we rely, not on a volunteer watchdog, but on some sort of permanent institution. So I'm going to grit my teeth, and make a proposal: that a blog ethics committee be established."
Holtz's HC+T Update November
"Perhaps an informal opt-in program would serve as a needed first step. All that's required is a statement of an ethical code posted to a Web site where those who agree to abide by the code download a logo to appear on their sites asserting that "This blog adheres to the Blogger Code of Ethics," or some similar language. Violations could be reported to some volunteer body that reviews the complaints with the power to revoke the right to use the logo."
"As blogging's influence grows ... somebody somewhere needs to take a first step."
I can't ride that train, since I distrust authority on reflex (let me digress briefly to say I found it juxtapositionally-delicious that Scoble blogged my Code just next to the story about Barlow's Troubles with the Man
). Moreover, the vast majority of the world's 5 million bloggers are utterly unaware of this discussion and probably would never learn of the existence of a central Blogging Ethics Committee (and would be bemused that it was watching them if they did).
Luckily for me, Jeff Jarvis (who Denton wanted to enlist in the effort, and who refused) pushed my thinking, and gets us all off the central authority hook
, by arguing:
"We don't need a committee. We don't need an authority figure or moral guidepost.
"This is a distributed world, a world owned by the whole. We are ruled by the wisdom of the crowd."
I think that's the best I or anyone can do, at least until some sort of distributed "referral and rating" system is developed. By posting a Code of Blogging Ethics that applies only to Desirable Roasted Coffee, I can promise my readers what my blog's moral guidepost is. And they can measure my words against that pledge, as they also measure my words for relevance and usefulness. If I'm useful, relevant, and keep to my moral compass when I write, then I hope readers will stay. Failing on those points will certainly drive them away, as I am driven from blogs that fail me.
In short, my Central Blog Ethics Committee (And my Central Blog Relevance and Usefulness Committee) is you, reader, and your sanction will be swift and unsparing. It always is.
Shel asks if he can sign on to my code.
No, he can't -- my promise to readers is a personal one. But if he likes my code enough, I'd be honored if he lifted it, published it, but called it Code of Blogging Ethics at a shel of my former self. Or he could tweak it to fit his values. Or he could use it as inspiration for something entirely different that would be his. The same goes for anyone who reads this, of course.
Credit where credit is due. In thinking about the Code of Blogging Ethics at Desirable Roasted Coffee, I was heavily influenced (as I have always tried to be in my writing) by my college journalism professor, Bob Bristow, whose mantra was "Check your facts, be fair, be straight with your readers, editors, and sources." I also read and was freely inspired by:
Charlene Li's wiki and its link
The Code of Ethics
of the Society of Professional Journalists
Code of Ethics
of the Australian Journalists Association
The International Journalists Network's exhaustive list of national journalist ethics codes
International Association of Business Communicators Code of Ethics
of the Public Relations Society of America
Benjamin Franklin's 2nd, 7th, and 8th Virtues
Update (16 December 2004): ran across Blog Ethics Analysis 2004
, where Martin Kuhn seeks to apply the thinking of Rawls, Ross, and Kant to the ethics of blogging (via Sandhill Trek
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Code of Blogging Ethics at Desirable Roasted Coffee
Code of Blogging Ethics at Desirable Roasted Coffee
To write, publish, and be read is a privilege and responsibility. Being mindful of that privilege and responsibility:
1. I shall not barter my words or my silence.
2. I shall write and advocate openly and honestly.
3. I shall strive for accuracy, avoiding errors and correcting them immediately when discovered.
4. I shall strive for balance; even in advocacy, I shall not distort or suppress obviously relevant facts to bolster my argument.
5. I shall welcome and invite rebuttal, debate and discussion through comments, email, and trackbacks.
6. I shall disclose my sources fully, through credits, links and trackbacks, unless the source, with good grounds, has requested anonymity; moreover, I shall trackback where relevant and possible.
7. I shall respect copyright; my own words will be licensed with a Creative Commons license.
8. I shall let the record stand; I shall not delete posts, or parts of them, unless not doing so would violate one of the foregoing principles, and shall give notice that I have done so. If I modify a post, it shall be by adding to it; and I shall mark these additions clearly.
9. I shall reveal material conflicts-of-interest.
10. I shall, as a member of IABC, a trained reporter, a resident of the European Union, and a citizen of the United States of America, remain mindful of the IABC Code of Ethics, the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists, and the laws of the European Union and the United States.
Allan Jenkins, Copenhagen, 11 December 2004
Added 13 December 2004: Why did I post this?
Friday, December 10, 2004
Kistle Writes His Own Report Card: I Grade it a C-
Ed Koch, when he was Mayor of New York, used to lean out of his limo and shout "How'm I doin'?" to unsuspecting New Yorkers, to their, I suspect, surprise and consternation. David Kistle's latest post on his blog could be called "How I am doing", but there's not, note, a question-mark at the end. He's telling, not asking, how he's doing.
And there's plenty of room for surprise and consternation.
But let's start nice. David Kistle has posted to his blog twice in the last.. oh, hell, call it week! I believe all IABC blog readers are breathing a sigh of relief... this is certainly going in a much better direction!
Moreover, David blogged from Brussels, at EuroComm. He's promised, and we all look forward to, highlights from the conference, which is IABC Europe's flagship event.
But let's turn to the less nice.
David's last post, back home in the Twin Cities, is sort of a self-written report card about how well he is accomplishing his goals this year. I like this candor because most IABC chairmen are long gone before the membership can tot up what's been achieved for them or inflicted on them. But, if you are going to lay your goods out in public, they better be good.
David had three goals at the beginning of the year: growth for the association, visibility for the association, and a good transition to next year.
In his mid-term report card, he offers himself for grading in two of the three areas. Let's look...
In "Growth" he notes that 9 members have been accredited. I think that's wonderful news, and I applaud my friends who have achieved this.
The problem: this isn't "growth". IABC's membership level has been basically steady at 12,000 members (depends on how you count them) for 15 years. The goal is to boost that to 20,000 in five years. What I want to hear from a chairman is.. how well are we doing on that effort? How's the marketing going? Is recruitment up? Is retention up? Because, frankly, accreditation has zero... zero... relationship to growth.
Grade? C Yes, it's a high mark, but we have to curve the grade here. He's not starting with a good hand. [Clarification: No, the accreditations are not David's accomplishment, and therefore not his to claim. Still, we keep his grade at "C" because he's doing no better or worse than his predecessors.]
David stays with Growth for his second score. "We may expect a chapter to organise in Denmark before the board meets in February."
This knocked me out of my chair, because... whoa... I live here. We are 17 members in Denmark, almost all of whom know each other. I won't and can't speak for the group, but my informal poll this afternoon came back 100% with "What? That would be cool but.... who's leading this? No, I haven't heard a word about this..."
That bothered me, so I wrote David Kistle, Barbara Gibson (IABC Europe Regional Director), and Gretchen Hoover at IABC HQ to ask "what's the story?"
David hasn't responded.
Barbara told me that our new Danish chapter organizer would "reveal herself" at the appropriate time, but not until after the New Year. Well, suspense is fun in a thriller, but hardly useful here.
Gretchen, always honest, wrote "I think the regional board is just exploring the options for new chapters in places where we have several members." Which is exactly what I think happened... until it was turned into an accomplishment.
So... the Danish story has the Danish members scratching their heads. We'll join any chapter that gets set up for us, and if that helps David punch a ticket... great. Odd, though, that the Danish membership has to hear about a chapter formation on the chairman's website... and that the news is -- as far as I can make out from banging the pipes -- pure puffery.
Grade? F. As my drill instructor said "I don't give a crap about 'gonna do.'"
Finally, Dave shoots for Visability. David met with some folks from his home town. What they talked about would have been great to know. Did anyone learn anything? I wasn't there; perhaps IABC's visibility was lifted off the charts. But I don't see anything more here than any IABC chapter does once a month.
[Later post: Brian Kilgore asks if David met any business reporters in Brussels, or gave a speech there... surely more valuable than meeting his hometown team. Good point... Did he?]
Grade? Ok, a C. But it counts as a quiz, not a term paper.
In short, if this is a mid-term report card, David is getting a D+ in my book. But... extra credit for two blog posts in a week. Call it a C- And I am sure he can bring his grades up by summer.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Better Use of IT in Healthcare
I used to lead Internet communication at Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharma company; and I have had the privilege of serving other pharma clients. People who know me know I'm happiest at the intersection of healthcare and communication (which, today, usually means having a good IT infrastructure).
So I was cheered this morning to read Interfaculty initiative aims to heal U.S. health care from the Harvard Gazette. The same subject is covered in Renaissance Health Improves Patient Care with IT.
I attended the conference on IT & Healthcare at Harvard in the spring of 2000 where the panelists grappled with the question of how to improve patient-physician relations, using IT, at a time when HMOs were pressing doctors to be as efficient (read: "fast") with patients as possible. Frankly, I thought little would come of the conference, but apparently it sowed a few seeds that germinated.
Via Jim Horton
Legal Issues of Blogging
Steve Rubel assembles links to notes taken last night at the eBig "Blogs and the Law" event. Lots of notes. Thanks Steve!
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Bill Bennett's Withering Take on Mainstream Media
I've no brief, politically, for William J. Bennett, author, talk-show host, blogger, and former US Education Secretary, but his intelligence is a given. His article "Wither the Mainstream Media" describes with great insight a symbiosis between bloggers and talk-radio, and goes on to say that this symbiosis may be the biggest political story of the 2004 election.
Noting that 21% of American voters relied on the Internet for most of their election news, Bennett notices:
"Yes, people cared about something more than job losses (as Ohio, which may have lost more jobs than any other state in the last four years, proved)—but the information about the context of the job losses, as well as the “something more,” came from places other than the mainstream media." (Emphasis mine)
Bennett goes on to describe the experience that confirmed for him the importance of the blogosphere:
The value of the blogosphere, combined with talk-radio, teaches another lesson: the experts can often be wrong—not just about facts but about what people care about, and even who’s in charge. Seven months ago, I started a nationally syndicated radio show and only recently learned something very valuable. I began the top of my show two weeks ago with a menu of news items (as I always do), and I was prepared to discuss them ... I opened the phone lines and every single call—every single one—was about the Marine in Fallujah who had shot an Iraqi in a mosque, a news item I did not read in my opening menu of news. The lesson: people often care about something different, and know something more, than what the news providers want to provide or think the people should care about.
A significant insight, and one that bodes ill for mainstream media and companies, too, if they fail to talk about what readers and customers care about (of course, the reverse is, joy!, also true). Bennett closes with "This new media gives us all not only more and better information but more and better democracy."
And I would add "much more power as consumers and employees."
I'm one of Kool-Aid drinkers that David Murray chortles over
; I do believe
that the Net is the most significant communication innovation since the printing press.
What Murray has missed, and what Bennett gets, is that the effects of the innovation are subtle from day-to-day, but that they are inexorable and telling.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Neville, Shel Slam Blog Scoffers
People, you do not want to scoff about blogs in front of friend Neville Hobson and friend/client Shel Holtz unless you like your arguments handed back to you, deep-fried. Though it's surely an education to watch them react. What's great about their posts today is that, independently, they have crystallized much of the progressive thinking about corporate blogging.
(And, by the way.. when I say "slam" I mean in a civilized way).
Let's have a look, starting with Neville...
Neville takes issue with Fredrik Wackå's objections to the Forrester Vision described by Charlotte Li.
"This reminds me of similar negative views when PCs began appearing on corporate desks everywhere in the late 80s and early 90s. Managers, product developers, sales people doing their own word processing? No way! That’s what we have secretaries for. Anyway, managers can’t type, they use dictating machines, they don’t have time, that’s not what they’re there for, and myriad other reasons. And what about when email first arrived on the corporate scene? Or when websites first appeared (“this will never catch on in business”)?
"Forrester’s vision seems to takes a longer-term and sustainable view, I believe. While the technology clearly does exist today to enable people to do what the vision illustrates, the cultural and business environments within many companies aren’t necessarily ready for it just yet. So this is also about the workplace, working practices and, indeed, visionary leadership and management (as well as practicalities like IT budgets).
"I’ve spent years trying to help employees at all levels in companies become effective communicators. Like Fredrik, my efforts have included coaching people in writing skills. I’ve also worked with employees on how to present, how to turn meetings into events that are worth spending time in, you name it. In all such cases, there are some who are naturally good at it, some who really do need coaching (and really want that coaching), and others who will always resist and not want to participate. This just represents the spectrum of different human attributes, so it will undoubtedly apply in the workplace environment as envisioned by Forrester."
Read Neville's much longer posting
..... good stuff
Shel Holtz responds to another quarter: David Murray's blog-bashing commentary
at The Ragan Report. (Ironically, Neville and the David Kistle blog-let are used as examples by Murray).
"Back when the Internet was new, we heard a serious argument among the early adopters in the communication profession. Some of these “Internet geeks,” asserted that the Internet was as important as the invention of the Gutenberg printing press...
The argument was imbecilic then, and it hasn’t gotten any smarter or more relevant in the meantime.
Well, we’re hearing similar hysterics from blogging enthusiasts among the ranks of communicators "
Ooof! But Shel responds with an open letter to Murray
(again, just a few quotes from a long and logical post):
"The impact of blogs has little to do with technology and much to do with culture. The ease of publishing through a blog has resulted in the fulfilment of one of the Internet's great promises -- that anybody can publish. Now there are millions of people publishing and even more reading what they write. According to some estimates, more than 11% of those who go online read blogs.
"Because the community is large and growing, it wields a certain amount of influence. Some examples:
"Bloggers report news the mainstream media misses or ignores, often forcing the media to cover stories they otherwise wouldn't. US Senator Trent Lott's remarks about Strom Thurmond, which led to his loss of the Senate leadership, is a good example.
"Many reporters have turned to bloggers to promote their stories, hoping to drive traffic to their publications' web sites.
"Bloggers have corrected misinformation reported by mainstream media, most famously Dan Rather's claims to have documentation of US President George Bush's failure to fulfill his National Guard service.
"Similarly, popular blogs have served as platforms to complain about institutions and their products and services, influencing opinions and affecting reputations.
"I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Just read some of the blogs of those CWTOBs, as you call them (communicators with their own blogs), and you can gain even more of the insight that appears to have escaped you.
"There is, however, an even bigger picture. As a consequence of the blogging phenomenon, we are witnessing the birth of the "social constituency." These are audiences -- running the gamut from customers to shareholders, from activists to employees -- that have the ability and the expectation to interact with real people. As one writer put it, by listening to members of social audiences, "companies have the opportunity to create the tightest relationships between vendor and customer we have seen since the days of the corner store."
"Clearly, then, there is a role for communicators to play."
Damned refreshing to get two posts like this on an ordinary Tuesday.
Blogging Just Went to a Higher Plane
Blogging took a leap upwards last week. If these two intellectual heavyweights can make their collaborative blog work, then MSM pundits can give up scoffing at the blogosphere.
I'm talking about The Becker-Posner Blog, a partnership between Economics Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker and US Appeals Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner.
Both are prolific writers, often irritating, and often really irritating. But always erudite.
I can't gush enough, so go read their opening salvo on economic and legal aspects of preventive war.
Fundamental Shift in Communication -- Albrycht is writing
While Scoble, Shel Israel, Hans Henrik, Jeremy, and Fredrik fray it out over who is really writing an open-source blogging book (update: Jeremy writes me that his is not open source), I am looking forward to Elizabeth Albrycht's January blog on "Moving to a New Communication Model".
Not because I don't think the other projects won't make fine reading, but I like EA's interest in synthesizing the effects of all the recent network tools on the broad range of communication disciplines.
Let Albrycht describe it:
"Over the past few years, I have watched and participated in the changes confronting communications practitioners due to the Internet, the web, mobility etc. -- all of the new networked communications tools. I think something more is going on here than just a bunch of new tools added to our professional communicator's tool kits I believe a fundamental shift in the entire model of communications is now possible.
"I am talking about moving from the old command/control, uni-directional, war-metaphor driven practices of the past to a cooperative, multi-directional model a la the Cluetrain."
And she's asking for volunteers (if you have the right stuff):
"I will be leading a blog week at the International Association of Online Communicators blog in January on this topic. I am currently looking for a few people to join me. Richard Bailey has already said he'd like to, and I need at least three other folks. This will be a very academic, research-oriented discussion, which I hope will offer fruitful paths forward to the creation of such a model."
Read her full post.
Update: her further clarification
(which I excerpt here):
"For the primary authors of the week-long blog at the IAOC, I'd ideally like people who feel comfortable moving in other disciplines (than marketing/comms) who could highlight and explain how their work could tie into a comms model. For example, econometrics, game theory, the psychology of cooperation, pragmatism/philosophy, node theory, future studies, etc. etc."
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Amusing Time-Sink and A-1 Blog Directory
A month or so ago, I stumbled across Blogshares, which bills itself as "fantasy stock market for weblogs. Players get to invest a fictional $500, and blogs are valued by inbound links."
I like simulations and, while I don't have all that much time on my hands, thought I would give it a go.
$14 billion (fictional) later, having pumped-and-dumped Neville, Shel, DRC to a fare-thee-well, and having realized that the "market" is not really a market (and that "Ideas" and "Chips", not blogs, are the valuable commodities), I don't need to play anymore.
But... and perhaps this is the point of the game ... for the "market" to work, blogs must be filed and catalogued into various "industries", which can range from the language of the blog ("English", "French"), to the subject ("Advertising", "Cooking"), to the location of the blogger ("Russia", "North Carolina"). Players make these assignments by "voting" on a blog's industry (and thereby earn the ever-valuable "chips").
It's not a Blog-taxonomy-Wiki, but it has every attribute of one.
The result: a complex, comprehensive directory of the most active part of the blogosphere. Not every blog is here; on the other hand, I've not met a blog recently that wasn't here. And by exploring various "industries", I find myself on a journey of serendipity.
Don't worry about playing... but sign up. The directory is worth real gold.
Are Bloggers Journalists? Legal and Ethical Issues Abound.
"Bloggers should enjoy the same legal protection as journalists".
That's how Steve Rubel reads Eugene Volokh's blog and NYT Op-Ed piece. Steve interprets Volokh to say that bloggers should be extended the same 1st Amdendment protections as reporters (Jeff Jarvis interprets the Op-Ed the same way).
Steve and Jarvis are cheered by this. But with all respect to Steve (and Jarvis) , Volokh's real point is anything but happy news for bloggers:
"Yet when everyone is a journalist, a broad journalist's privilege becomes especially costly. The I.R.S. agent, for example, no longer needs to risk approaching many mainstream journalists, some of whom may turn him in. He can just ask a friend who has a blog and a political ax to grind. The friend can then post the leaked information and claim the journalist's privilege to prevent the agent from being identified. If the privilege is upheld, the friend and the agent will be safe - but our privacy will be lost."
I believe Volokh is saying that 1st Amendment protection would be too costly to extend to bloggers. While he believes that the law should not discriminate between bloggers and "traditional" journalists, his solution is not that protection should be extended to bloggers, but that protection should be further circumscribed for "journalists."
Not being a lawer, I never thought about this, but I am thinking now.