Tag Archives: The Wall Street Journal Online

SideWiki’s Wish Fulfilment

A piece in today’s Guardian attracted my attention–“SideWiki Changes Everything”—as I thought, perhaps, it might shed new light on Google’s browser sidebar that allows anyone to add comments to a website whether or not the website owner wants them to. The piece calls the evolution of SideWiki a “seminal moment”.

The column itself, however, is disappointing, given that SideWiki has been out six weeks already:

Few people in PR, it seems, have considered the way that SideWiki will change the lives of beleaguered PR folk. In time, this tool will significantly change the way brands strategise, think and exist. SideWiki is going to challenge PR by providing the masses with the tool for the ultimate expression of people power, something uncontainable that will need constant monitoring.

The author, one Mark Borkowski, offers no examples of this happening, so the piece is very much speculation. In fact, I’d argue that SideWiki has been something of a damp squib:

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A, by the way, marks the launch, so the interest fell off dramatically almost immediately.

So who is right? I can find very little evidence that people are using SideWiki in the way that Borkowski suggests. A look at top 10 U.S. companies (not the top 10, but a cross section) indicates that only one company has ‘claimed’ its SideWiki page, and that few users, so far, have made use of SideWiki to express their views about the company:

Company Entries Claimed Comments
Walmart 2 No Even
Exxon Mobil 0 No
Chevron 0 No
GM 0 No
Apple 20+ No Even
Monsanto 0 No
Starbucks 0 No
White House 2 (blog posts) No
Blackberry 2 Yes Even
Microsoft 20+ No Negative

Now I’m not saying that SideWiki isn’t going to be an important way for people to get around websites’ absence of comment boxes or lack of contact information. I’d love it if that was the case. I’m just saying there’s very little evidence of it so far, so to argue that is premature at best, and poor journalism at worst.

And here’s the rub. Mark Borkowski is not a journalist. He doesn’t claim to be; he’s a PR guy. But how would you know that? The Guardian page on which his comment sits does not clearly indicate that; indeed, the format is exactly the same as for its journalist contributors:

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Only at the bottom does one find out that he “is founder and head of Borkowski PR.”

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I have no problem with PR guys writing comment pieces for my favorite newspaper. I just want to know that is who they are before I start reading. (I can hear the argument being made that Borkowski is a well-known name in the UK, so this shouldn’t be necessary. But that doesn’t hold water. The affiliation of all writers should be clearly indicated.)

The problem? Anyone who is not a journalist—and many who are–has an interest, and that interest should be clearly declared. In Borkowski’s case, he works in PR, and is clearly suggesting that PR agencies need to work harder in this space:

The social media world encloses our personal and professional actions – the only answer for PR folk is to take a more active role in being brand custodians, representing a higher degree of brand and reputation management.

In other words, he’s indirectly touting for business. Once again, nothing wrong with that if the piece is clearly tagged as an opinion piece—which it may be, in the print version. But here, online, there’s no such indication.

Of course, one should also check that the writer does not have a financial or business interest in the product and company being written about, in this case Google. I can find none on his website, but that I have to check—that it’s not clearly flagged on the piece itself—is not something I or other readers should have to do.

Bottom line? The Guardian isn’t alone in this. The Wall Street Journal does it too. But I don’t think it helps these great brands to, wittingly or unwittingly, dismantle the Chinese Walls between content by its own reporters and those outsiders who, however smart and objective they are, have interests that readers need to know about.

SideWiki changes everything | Mark Borkowski | Media | The Guardian

The Splog Thickens

I was amused, and somewhat perplexed, to read on BuzzMachine yesterday about a bizarre splog—spam blog to the rest of us—which copies text and then converts it to synonyms. Jeff explains: 

New splog tricks

In my ego searches, I just saw a splog that copied text of mine but ran it through ridiculous almost-synonym replacements. I’m assuming this is done to fool Google into thinking it is original content and perhaps to fool the text cops folks like the AP hire.

I still can’t quite work out what the function of this is. But I did come across another one on one of my own ego searches. It took me a bit of time to figure out where it came from. (It’s from Betsy Weber’s blog.)

Here’s the splog text, with the original in italics first. My questions:

  • How the hell does group become “Washington entranceway”?
  • and member become “sorority girl”?
  • I kind of like the fact that loose wire blog has become “Unfixed Twist Blog” and the WSJ has become the “Commodity Exchange Annual”;
  • But somehow which you can see here became “which her philander play against hither”.
  • And the last two paragraphs are so full of weirdness I don’t know where to start.

Join the New Screencast Group on Facebook

Clique with the Untouched Screencast Colligate in reference to Facebook

Are you addicted to Facebook like I am? I recently joined and find myself checking my Facebook page daily! Facebook is a great way to keep up with friends all over the world. Anyone can join Facebook for free.

Are them addicted up to Facebook freak out on You double sideband? Yourselves before heaped and decree myself checking my Facebook serve weekly newspaper! Facebook is a severe want as far as bear in cooperation with friends under the sun the people. Anyone heap up build up Facebook so footloose.

I was excited to see that Amit Agarwal from the Digital Inspiration Blog recently started a new group in Facebook all about Screencasting (link will not work unless you are a member of Facebook). I’m excited to learn and swap tips with fellow members in the group. I’m in very good company – I know expert screencasters, Beth Kanter and Long Zheng have joined the group. Plus, technology expert Jeremy Wagstaff of the Loose Wire Blog and Wall Street Journal is in there too! Remember Jeremy? He wrote a great directory of screencast resources which you can see here.

I was chafing over against run in that Amit Agarwal off the Radical Direct communication Blog previously started a fashionable Washington entranceway Facebook all nigh about Screencasting (deduction plan not lick excepting alter are a sorority girl re Facebook). Ba’m fidgety into go into training and trading tips with fellow members fellow feeling the peer group. Ba’m in very noble cohort- I savvy technical expert screencasters, Beth Kanter and Unrelenting Zheng force twin the collect. And, craft informed in Jeremy Wagstaff re the Unfixed Twist Blog and Commodity exchange Annual is ultra-ultra there inter alia! Think back Jeremy Yourselves wrote a commanding business directory upon screencast capital goods which her philander play against hither.

You cannot access the Screencasting group without being a member on Facebook. But, it’s painless to sign up for Facebook. Click here to register. And, if you join, feel free to add me as a friend!

You cannot access the Screencasting dig up except existing a belonger wherewith Facebook. Unless that, ego’s Mickey Mouse so do a tour in behalf of Facebook. Go as of now up bound. And, if number one knit, glance freely in contemplation of figure out you now a playmate!

Hope to see you join Facebook and in the Screencasting group to share your tips and tricks! Now I have an excuse to go into Facebook while at work. 😉

Hope into smell subliminal self link up Facebook and in the Screencasting detail up to quantum your tips and tricks! The present hour Better self buy an breast-beating up to talk Facebook lastingness at advanced work.

So could someone explain the point of these? There are no ads on the page—it’s a WordPress.com blog, so there can’t be. And, more importantly, what kind of synonym engine are these guys using?

I’m off to register unfixedtwist.com and, while I’m at it, numberoneknit.com.

BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » New splog tricks

Sleeping, Frothing, Typing and Sealing

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 The Wall Street Journal’s holiday gift guide is out. My contributions, some of which would be familiar to regular readers:

Sleeptracker Pro $179. A successor to the Sleeptracker which I wrote about a couple of years ago (Sandman’s Little Helpers, Jan 13, 2006), the Pro is a watch which monitors your sleep patterns — more specifically, your movements while asleep — to wake you up when you’re at the lightest stage of sleep. The Pro improves on its predecessor with a better watch design and the ability to move your sleep data to a PC with a USB cable. Great for sleepyheads.

Aerolatte milk frother (about $30) I must have been through a dozen cappuccino machines, and they usually die slowly and noisily. I even once had a neighbor complain. The aerolatte won’t make you an espresso, but it does away with all the milk frothing side of things: a small, beautifully designed whisk powered by two AA batteries, just insert it in warm milk and the froth is delivered in an instant, sans noise pollution. And you can take it with you on trips or to dinner parties where their froth isn’t good enough for you.

iGo Stowaway Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard (about $150) Connects via Bluetooth with most gadgets — including a laptop — the Stowaway has the keyboard action, the compact size and the sleek look to merit a spot in your baggage or suit pocket. Makes typing an SMS or email on your smartphone a pleasure. Don’t settle for the cheap imitations; the guys behind these spent a lot of time ensuring the feel of the keyboard is up to snuff.

Clip n Seal (above, from $5) Another gadget I won’t travel without: the Clip n Seal is a tube of plastic clasped by another — a sort of clamp. It’s simple and will keep food fresh, bug free and unspilled, even in the tropics where I live.

WSJ.com

Asia’s WSJ Takes On New Format

As most of you who follow this kind of thing, the overseas editions of the Wall Street Journal are switching to a new format. This includes The Asian Wall Street Journal, my immediate paymaster and primary home to the Loose Wire column. More news as I hear it.