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The Missed Call: The Decade’s Zeitgeist?

By Jeremy Wagstaff (this is a longer version of an upcoming syndicated column.) When people look back at the last decade for a technology zeitgeist they may choose SMS, or the iPod, or maybe even Facebook. Me? I’d choose the cellphone call that rings, briefly, and then is silent. It’s one of those social phenomena that has so embedded itself in the culture that we don’t even notice it. It developed its own syntax, its own meaning, and even shifted the boundaries of cultural mores and social intercourse. Even I didn’t realise it was so widespread until I started researching this article. And yet, atContinue readingThe Missed Call: The Decade’s Zeitgeist?

The Revolutionary Back Channel

A tech conference appears to have marked yet another shift in the use of social tools to wrest control and flatten the playing field. Dan Fost of Fortune calls it Conference 2.0 but I prefer the term (which Dan also uses): The Unconference Movement. (I prefer it because anything with 2.0 in it implies money; calling it a movement makes it sound more like people doing things because they want to.) Dan summarizes what is being billed as a pivotal moment: an ‘interview’ session where columnist Sarah Lacy faces a growing discontent of the audience for her interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg. (You canContinue readingThe Revolutionary Back Channel

How to be a Press Expert

Interesting post (a bit late reading of it; apologies) On Being a Press Expert and dealing with the media by danah doyd [sic], a PhD student in SIMS at Berkeley and a social media researcher at Yahoo! Research Berkeley. She makes some good points, and she’s clearly exhausted after three years of becoming sought after (eight matches on Google News is quite a whack, one of them after she wrote this blog entry). She makes some great points, which I encourage you to read. It makes me realise that despite the sophistication of the news gathering process those playing the role of “expert” have only limitedContinue readingHow to be a Press Expert

My PR Pet Peeves

On the whole, I find PR people to be great —  helpful, quick and thorough. But some have their quirks. I know I shouldn’t but I’m going to anyway. Here are some of my current pet peeves, all of them including examples I’ve collected over the past few days. Let me just first say that of the 100 or so communications I have had with PR people in the past week, these represent a small minority. But you know who you are! The Who Are You And What Do You Intend To Do With My Daughter? Response  I have a stock email I send PR peopleContinue readingMy PR Pet Peeves

Markets May Be Conversations, But Weird Ones

My conversations with some quite senior PR people are often somewhat bizarre: stilted, me trying not to sound like I’m the ghost in their machine, the castle-wall destroyer, them so defensive about their product and brand they could easily be replaced by robots. Cluetrain Manifesto should be required reading for these guys. Or at least Micropersuasion. Recently, inspired by Kate Fox’s observations about the role of SMS in her book Watching the English and recalling Motorola’s sponsorship of research a few years back of Sadie Plant (PDF only) I approached a major handset manufacturer to see whether they had anything similar on how people used SMS andContinue readingMarkets May Be Conversations, But Weird Ones

Being A Reporter And Being A Columnist: The ‘Good Story’ Trap

I’m a journalist. You probably knew that. But since focusing on being a columnist (rather than a reporter) I’ve tried to avoid the journalist crowd. Not because they’re not interesting, dedicated, very smart people, many of whom I count my friends. It’s just that journalists have a certain way of thinking, and I’m not convinced, at least as a columnist, that that is the best way to think. Last night, back in Hong Kong, I think I was able to pin down another reason why. I was hanging out with some old former colleagues. Nice guys, all of them. We were talking about stuff, and IContinue readingBeing A Reporter And Being A Columnist: The ‘Good Story’ Trap

Plaxo Gets Lax?

Sometimes things change, and it’s hard to stay on top of them. Plaxo is supposed to help with this — an Outlook plug-in (i.e. a little piece of software that attaches itself to Outlook) which will update your contacts with other Plaxo users you know, and vice versa. Nice idea, and on the whole they did a good job of executing it. But now things are changing in PlaxoLand, and I’m not sure I’m on top of them anymore. There are privacy issues: who exactly gets to see your data? And then there’s the money issue: how is Plaxo going to make money out ofContinue readingPlaxo Gets Lax?

News: Journalist Blogs, Gets Fired

 And more on the growing pains of technology and journalism from Poynter: “[name removed at request of journalist] a Chinese journalist who worked for the Bloomberg news service, was fired because of statements made on his personal Weblog. [name removed] is not the first journalist to experience troubles because of his personal Web site. A long-time writer at the Houston Chronicle was fired for what a Chronicle editor called “gonzo journalism” on the reporter’s personal Web page, and a columnist at the Sacramento Bee must now obtain an editor’s approval before posting his blog.”   Hmmm. More on this in a future column.  

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