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May 16, 2007

Blogging: A Core Competency For New Media Professionals?

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It might be. And it can certainly be a factor in you getting hired. Case in point: Joel Postman, whose experience was recently catalogued in the San Francisco Examiner.

On the other hand, its a story that’s worth reading closely. The story is not, for example, of an anonymous blogger with no work or prior experience who started a blog which led to him getting hired into a great position at a communications company.

No, Mr. Postman’s story is that of a blogger who had a degree in journalism, who was already at HP and pioneered a blogging initiative at that company. There’s no surprise then, that he was hired into a communications firm with the purposely ambiguous title of “Director of Emerging Media”, with a mandate to help evangelize blogging amongst the firm’s clients.

While I don’t know if having a blog, or having a familiarity with blogs is a required competency for new media professionals, one would think that it would help.  On the other hand, while blogging is a tool which is clearly recognized by public relations and marketing professionals as important there’s still a disconnect between what is regarded as important, and what actions are actually taken to embrace it as a tool.

Mr. Postman took advantage of this disconnect by embracing it at his old company, which I think is fantastic.  On the other hand, one does wonder blogging as a medium is no longer “new”, and *does* become something that is required, rather than regarded as something new and ground breaking.

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May 10, 2007

UK’s Telegraph Media Group to launch blogging community

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The UK’s Telegraph Media Group, who publish the Telegraph newspaper, has announced that it is to launch a blogging community called “My Telegraph”.

It will allow registered users to leave comments about Telegraph articles, and have them collated into a single stream. They will also be able to upload their own images.

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May 4, 2007

Public Relations Is…

In the short time I’ve been writing here at the BH, I’ve occasionally used my bi-weekly column to gripe about PR and the new age of the web we’re calling Web 2.0. In our haste to try to reinvent the press release, convince our clients to podcast their AGM or industry conference, and culling lists of “influential” bloggers in order to hawk the latest goods and services for our clients, we might be forgetting what public relations is truly all about: the client.

If it seems obvious, it bears repeating: our jobs as PR professionals is to satisfy the client. By this I certainly don’t mean that when the client wants a news release we say “What kind of distribution would you like on that?”, as often the wrong tools are employed in certain situations because PR professionals are unwilling to speak up against such practices. If one of our responsibilities is to make sure the client is getting value for our work, then it’s certainly worth talking to them about using the right tools for the job. But, I digress… read more

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May 2, 2007

Making a living from your creative work

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I often write about interesting social media tools and sites. In the age of user-gen and social networks, there is no shortage of places where people can express themselves. As media creation and consumption patterns change how are writers, directors, musicians, and actors going to sustain themselves? Will it be possible for content creators to bypass the traditional distribution system all together? Could they make a living with their creative efforts by harnessing the power of the internet?

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April 26, 2007

Twitter on the New York Times

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You know something is getting better recognized by the mainstream when it’s featured on the mainstream media. Twitter has recently been featured on the New York Times, in an article which focuses on how much growth and attention the microblogging service (if you would call it that) has had in the past few months.

Twitter was created by Obvious, founded by Evan Williams, also the person behind Pyra Labs (creator of Blogger, since acquired by Google) and the recently sold-off Odeo. Evan thinks it’s not so much the way Twitter lets people micro-blog that’s important. Rather, it’s in how Twitter gives its users different options in communicating and networking with each other.

“It’s understandable that you would look at someone’s twitter that you don’t know and wonder why it would be interesting,” he says. “And celebrity twitterers are really outliers, even though they get a lot of attention.”

Instead, Mr. Williams says, Twitter is best understood as a highly flexible messaging system that swiftly routes messages, composed on a variety of devices, to the people who have elected to receive them in the medium the recipients prefer. It is a technology that encourages a new mode of communication, he contends.

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April 18, 2007

A Remix Culture

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I’m a fan of remixes and mashups. A couple years back mashups exploded onto the scene. One of the most downloaded albums of all time is Danger Mouse’s Grey Album – a creative mashup of JayZ’s black album and the Beatles’ White Album. The Grey Album was plagued by copyright issues and couldn’t be officially released but that only fueled demand and massive downloads via p2p networks.

They often say where audio goes video follows. Bands were crafting their own master pieces via their desktop computers long before it was possible to edit video on consumer gear. But with the current explosion in user generated content, large numbers of people are spitting out content for mass audiences consumption. It seems likely that the next evolution in user-gen might just be found within in a remix / mashup environment.

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April 10, 2007

Health-based online community launched

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Herbalist.com announced today the launch of its user-generated health-based online community. It has the ingredients found in most online communities, and more: bulletin boards, chat, Wiki, friends, blogs, Sudoku, photos and other ways for members to express their questions, share their experiences and learn about good health. It also includes vast amounts of information and expert analysis specifically targeted toward a natural health-minded audience.

“Our goal, at herbalist.com, is to present the most balanced of perspectives and to supply our members with the latest alternative medicine findings and how they relate to or effect traditional methods of medicine,” said Adam Guild, president and founder of herbalist.com. “This unique community empowers its members, is open to MDs as well as master herbalists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and physiatrists (physicians specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation), allowing everyone to be better equipped to make informed decisions about their health and the health of their families. There are numerous diseases where there is a benefit to a combined approach of traditional and alternative medicine.”

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April 4, 2007

Thailand Blocks YouTube

Reuters reports that the Thai government has issued orders to block YouTube from within the country after YouTube declined to take off allegedly offensive videos.

The ban was brought about by a 44-second video clip that ridiculed Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which is a crime in Thailand by virtue of lèse majesté (in which criticizing or offending the monarchy, any royal, or even the King’s image itself, are criminal offenses punishable by up to 15 years in prison). One of the notable parts that were offensive, especially to Thai Buddhists, was “the juxtaposition of a pair of woman’s feet, the lowest part of the body, above his head, the highest part of the body.”

According to Communications Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom, YouTube’s response was that it did not find anything offensive about the video, so they turned down the request to remove it. He added that as soon as YouTube puts the video online, the Thai Government would reinstate access to youtube.com.

The Thai Government has been active in banning websites they deem to be offensive to the monarch, the army, or that are in favor of Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a bloodless coup d’état in 2006.

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Cinema 2.0

For the last few years, there has been a debate brewing about the death of the theatrical experience. With so many things fighting for people’s attention, and the downward trend in box office returns, I have often found myself wondering if the communal theatrical experience of viewing films on the large screen was in fact dying a slow death. Sure people enjoy going to the movies but the only thing that keeps the institution in tact is the release window that ensures a movie can only be seen in the theater when it is first released.

About six months ago I started planning a theatrical experiment of sorts. I wanted to see if I could mashup movies, music, gaming and a bit of theater into one show. This past weekend we staged the first screening in Philadelphia.

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April 2, 2007

SonyBMG abandons demo tapes in favour of blogging

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Music giant SonyBMG has announced that from today it will no longer be accepting music demos on physical media.

The humble demo tape/CD will is to be replaced by blogs.

Bands and artists pursuing a record deal, who want to pique the interest of executive, will instead need to start their own blog on one of the company’s web sites, where they can then blog about their music, upload photos and videos, and link up to other promising bands they like.

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