Archive for July 2011


Cringely gives Facebook till 2014 to peak—and he may be right

22.07.2011

Bob Cringely wrote (found via Stowe Boyd):

Facebook is a huge success. You can’t argue with 750 million users and growing. And I don’t see Google+ making a big dent in that. What I see instead is more properly the fading of the entire social media category, the victim of an ever-shortening event horizon.
   Each era of computing seems to run for about a decade of total dominance by a given platform. Mainframes (1960–1970), minicomputers (1970–1980), character-based PCs (1980–1990), graphical PCs (1990–2000), notebooks (2000–2010), smart phones and tablets (2010–2020?). We could look at this in different ways like how these devices are connected but I don’t think it would make a huge difference.
   Now look at the dominant players in each succession—IBM (1960–1985), DEC (1965–1980), Microsoft (1987–2003), Google (2000–2010), Facebook (2007–?). That’s 25 years, 15 years, 15 years, 10 years, and how long will Facebook reign supreme? Not 15 years and I don’t think even 10. I give Facebook seven years or until 2014 to peak.

   I’ve said it for a while based on the opaque corporate culture at the company and its apparent disregard for privacy (the opposite to what it was like in 2006). Arrogant cultures like that don’t last long. I’ve similarly said nothing is forever, with Altavista as my example.
   It’s likely that the social phenomenon passes, not because it is invalid, but because most occidentals will have found their tribe of 150 and interact with it. Or, an economic change or a collaboration tool brings people into connection with others that sees their daily routines change.
   Facebook is a social tool, one which surfaced as a recession loomed, and grew as people desperately tried to define their networks or retreated from hardships. Once either task is done, then it loses its appeal. It loses further appeal—hence the embrace of Google Plus by the Google Kool-Aid drinkers—when networks get to a certain size and undesirable elements kick in, either people you don’t like (or have come to dislike through contact) or the need for too much maintenance. (See email’s loss of utility through spam, Wikipedia’s loss of accuracy through power-hungry editors and incompetent additions, or Google Blog Search’s loss of decent results through splogs and its own Adsense programme.)
   Facebook’s culture will likely give it seven years as it will deem itself invincible and fail to adopt to shifting consumer needs.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, culture, internet, leadership, technology, USA | 1 Comment »


The pre-blocked Google Plus Circle

19.07.2011

I might be Google-sceptic, but I’m not so daft as to risk clients and the Medinge Group, both groups having various things in my Google account, opened either in the days when Google was not being evil (many, many years ago now) or before Google acquired that company. So, I made a public profile, to prevent Google deleting it as threatened by July 31, and, possibly, affecting various things that fall under my account. My own stuff I don’t care about. Other people’s—well, they shouldn’t be dragged in to this nearly two-year battle I have had with holding Google accountable over the most basic things, things which, by its own evasion, make the company look highly suspect. (I’ve actually had more success getting Facebook to do things. Really.)
   But many people still love Google. Then again, in 1997, many people loved Tony Blair. Not so long ago, the Tories loved the Murdoch Press. Some of us just get suspicious a little earlier because we’re not too bad at understanding corporate culture and can spot the warning signs.
   All this, unfortunately, meant having a Plus account. It’s one of life’s ironies that as one of the few people who did not want a Plus account, I’ve been able to go to plus.google.com since day one and get one. No pleading with friends for an invitation. In fact, I was able to send invitations to a few friends, which was my original reason for going in—far be it for me to deny them the chance to make up their own minds. The only period I couldn’t sign in to Plus was immediately after my initial deletion or ‘downgrade’. If it were not for the profile threat made several days after that deletion, I would have let it stay shut.
   Now that I have it (again), I still have minimal use for it. I don’t post to it, I don’t plus-one anything, nor can I see Circles as being unique. I have my lists on Facebook and have sent customized messages for years. Last time I looked, we are in charge of technology, not vice versa, so why would I duplicate work just for the sake of Google Plus hype?
   One utility—and another reason for signing up—was to use the data liberation feature, to download what the company claimed to have on me. (Interestingly, the downloaded file was 4 kbyte long, mostly composed on empty directories—not really reflective of what Google actually has on me.) Its only other utility, as far as I can see, is to arm me with more facts for a speech I’m doing this November on social media for business.
   As stated in earlier posts, until Google answers just why it has held on to my Blogger data in contravention of its own terms and conditions (it has ceased responding to the email thread), and my personal details under Adsense when that account has been closed for a long time, as well as several other ongoing privacy gaffes, then I have no confidence in the Californian company to do right by Plus. They are extremely simple questions. But, Google has no desire to answer them.
   I keep finding further grounds to question Plus. For example, I have a Circle with 18 people pre-blocked. This is quite a feat for someone who has never used Plus other than sign on to it and send out some invitations. It is also quite a feat for someone who has been de-Googling for over a year. Where have these 18 come from? On what criteria has Google decided these 18 are unsuitable for me?
   None of the logical explanations fit.
   Hypothesis 1: for a year or so, despite not having a Buzz account, I get Buzz followers. Google just adds them to my account without my permission. Often they are anonymous. I still get them today, even after the release of Plus. So these 18 must be from my regular blocking of these errant accounts.
   Response 1: actually, no. If this were the case, the number would be higher than 18. Since February 2011, I have been getting three to five per week, despite having a private profile which, by Google’s own admission, would prevent me from being found in Buzz. Despite blocking another person today, the Plus Blocked Circle has not increased in number. It stays happily at 18.

Errant Buzz followers

   Hypothesis 2: when I was first given a Buzz account—and remember, I never had a Gmail account though Google went and changed my defaults—I had some followers. These 18 are the ones I blocked then before I changed my profile settings back and got rid of Buzz. Buzz and Plus are, basically, the same thing.
   Response 2: no. Among these 18 are real friends, people I met since Buzz was added to my account. They did not know me then, nor would I have been in their Gmail address books then. While there are a few that are the same, most are not. And I have read nothing from Google to suggest that Buzz and Plus are the same thing, though I’d love to hear if Harriet J. has had a similar experience.
   Hypothesis 3: aliens from the planet Vulcan, the Obama administration, and military personnel at Area 51 have pre-blocked these 18 to warn me that I should have no interaction with them.
   Response 3: of the three, this is the most likely scenario. I’ll get you for this, Spock. Bones McCoy is a personal friend of mine.
   But whether you are blocked (by Google) or not, please don’t be offended if you see nothing from me, or if I don’t add you to a Circle. Google is a privacy black hole, and I have no desire to let it have more data about me than what it already holds on to without my consent.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, culture, internet, USA | 6 Comments »


Are you receiving me, over?

19.07.2011

I’m putting this out there in case others have experienced something similar: is the New Zealand internet constantly down?
   I’ve had the same email address since 1995. Yet, this year, a noticeable number of New Zealanders have telephoned here, saying that their messages have bounced. Even one team member has said that, if she uses her home ISP, her messages to me also bounce. In one case, we had to resort to fax to get the document across.
   This year, I’ve clicked on (foreign) search engine results or advertisements to get to an error page. Only when I hit ‘Refresh’ does the page eventually come through. This has not happened with the same frequency as it does today.
   I’m sitting here today after sending three very important emails to channel partners over the weekend, and have not had a reply to them. I’m wondering, now, since I used a New Zealand ISP’s SMTP, whether I’m in the same shoes as the others who have tried to reach me. Certainly, in one case, the domain for FTPing was unreachable on Saturday on my first attempt. And TelstraClear—though it’s not the only party with sending problems, as I know one of my clients is on Xtra—does not send me bounces.
   I should explain that despite being HQed here, our server has always been Stateside. This was a consequence of some rules regarding foreign web server traffic back in the 1990s. As we knew that most of our traffic would come from overseas—a logical conclusion given that New Zealand’s population is so small—and as local hosting companies were charging what I thought were rip-off prices in those days, we’ve always been hosted either on the US east coast (New York and Virginia) or, since 2002, a dedicated server in the south.
   But it’s not as though this domain is so new that it doesn’t reside on DNSs around New Zealand.
   My theories are not conspiratorial, for a change. But they are concerning, because it makes me wonder about our national internet infrastructure, and how far we might have fallen behind in the last decade.
   I have heard, from people who know more about the infrastructure than me, that we have fallen considerably behind in the last decade, though I don’t know exactly in which areas other than overall speed and, as of this year, civil liberties, democracy and the rule of law.
   I suspect that with growing internet usage, local servers are not resolving addresses as efficiently as they used to. There are more addresses to hold on to, so if you aren’t at the very top of the list (Google, Facebook, etc.), then you’re going to be forgotten. And since my address is the company’s one, and not Lucire’s, it isn’t really going to be among those top ones.
   It might mean that from now on, I’m going to have to use our own mailserver, rather than our ISP’s, to get emails across. At least that’s based in Texas, and I can be assured that my emails are getting to the US and the UK.
   If anything happens, at least I know I’d get a fair hearing with the Americans on their own soil than I would under our American-imposed copyright laws.
   Anyone else here with an overseas mailbox—and not one of the webmail services like Gmail or Hotmail—experiencing similar issues?

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in business, internet, New Zealand, technology, USA | 3 Comments »


Ad networks: you might have asked them not to track you, but they do

17.07.2011

Looks like Google isn’t the only guilty party when it comes to advertising cookies.
   Andrew Carr-Smith sent me this link from Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society (CIS), which has been tracking how the advertising networks track us.
   This is slightly different from my earlier situation, which did not involve the ‘Do Not Track’ programme that one can find in Firefox 5. Mine was strictly about the opting out of behavioural targeting using Google’s own opt-out system, and that of the Network Advertising Initiative. Still, the implications for privacy remain interesting.
   You might think you’ve asked them not to track you, but they do:

Half of the NAI members we tested did not remove their tracking cookies after opting out.
   NAI member companies pledge only to allow opting out of behavioral ad targeting, not tracking. Of the 64 companies we studied, 32 left tracking cookies in place after opting out.

And:

At least eight NAI members promise to stop tracking after opting out, but nonetheless leave tracking cookies in place.

   According to the Stanford study, only two ad networks ‘are taking overt steps to respect Do Not Track’: Media6Degrees and BlueKai. Interestingly, Google was one of networks that ‘go beyond their privacy policies and remove their tracking cookies.’
   I have to wonder whether it was because it got busted with its lies about opting out.
   The ad networks have provided responses at the bottom of the page, mostly positive.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in business, internet, USA | No Comments »


The Murdoch apology does not let us off the hook

16.07.2011

News International full-page apology

Above is Rupert Murdoch’s apology for the actions of the News of the World, to run in the UK in the wake of the resignations of Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton.
   They’re great words, and they’re straight out of the PR 101 playbook.
   Some might say they’re a trifle too late, as was Mr Murdoch’s meeting with the parents and sister of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
   Some might question whether this apology would even have been issued if the Murdoch Press could have kept a lid on the scandal, if the Metropolitan Police had not rediscovered its bottle, and if The Guardian had not been persistent.
   More telling about this apology’s sincerity is whether real steps will be taken to change the culture within the Murdoch Press.
   We still have an organization with nearly half a century’s worth of bullying tactics, skirting the boundaries of the law and allegedly breaking them, and a culture of the ends justify the means.
   Shifting that culture is going to be a tough call, not while so much of the behaviour has been institutionalized.
   It is going to take some effort on Rupert Murdoch’s own behalf, because, like all organizations where the boss’s personality is so strong, it’s going to rest on him to lead a cultural change. Allowing an insider who has always tolerated such behaviour to take the helm is not going to do an awful lot: you don’t get change by reinventing the past.
   I remain sceptical when I think back to all the scandals that the Murdoch Press not only uncovered, but had a hand in generating.
   I remain sceptical when I think back to the victories Murdoch has had over earlier controversies, and whether he believes he can weather this one simply with the passage of time.
   The world is a different place, and he may just be compelled to see this out.
   He may be 80, but he still has young kids by his third wife. Let’s hope he understands that he needs to do right by the 21st century, when people in the occident are more alert to corporate moves and their unsavoury hand in our daily lives. Given that his youngest children won’t have him around for as long as his oldest ones, what he has is his legacy—and unlike Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James, Grace and Chloe will spend more of their lives hearing about their Dad second-hand than first-hand.
   I think back to when we wrote Beyond Branding, and how we forecast that consumers would drive integrity and transparency through their demand. It looks like this is being played out now.
   The question I have is this: is this merely the first salvo in everyday people taking back their power, and will we sink back into disinterest in a month or two?
   Rupert Murdoch would not be in this position if we didn’t have a love of the gossip in The Sun and News of the World. We, the people, made this man rich.
   If the Murdoch that critics write about is the real man, he’s betting the farm on disinterest being the order of the day come the autumn.
   In my own world, I recall that last September, when the Fairfax Press reported on the possibility of the resurrection of the Wellywood sign, the silence on even the anti-sign Facebook group was deafening. One person even said he would vote for my rival and eventual winner, Celia Wade-Brown, because I did not do enough to fight the sign.
   All it took was five months for one man to forget that I was the only mayoral candidate who actively fought it. I am not picking on him alone, because I don’t believe he was the only one to suffer from a short memory. We all do it.
   Instead, this one issue alone, trivial by the standards of the Murdoch story, took 14 months before anger subsided enough for it to resurface in force with a new news report.
   This is the defence of the bully boss and the pompous politician: the hope people forget, thanks to our lives being harder during a recession. The tougher the economy gets, the more they think they can get away with, since they hope our attention will be swayed. Without a comfortable life, will we have the luxury of monitoring those in power?
   It’s up to us to get wiser and realize there’s more important news than what the tabloid press tells us is interesting.
   It’s up to us to realize that celebrity news really does not affect us, unless it’s truly inspirational. And 99 per cent of it isn’t.
   It’s up to us to understand that ‘sources close to’ do not constitute the truth, nor are those sources capable of the mind-reading of their subjects.
   And it’s up to us to remember the past, rather than look fondly on it with rose-coloured glasses.
   Corporate misbehaviour alone can fill a newspaper, as can the incompetence of our leaders. Yet we see little of either since advertising is affected by blowing the lid on the first, and a power base is affected by blowing the lid on the second.
   The first is what killed the News of the World, not a sudden crisis of confidence by James Murdoch, who put his name to the announcement of its closure.
   The second contributed to the delay in a Murdoch apology, in the hope that the Murdoch Press’s close ties to the Conservative government would be sufficient to weather it through the scandal.
   Look around, especially in this election year in New Zealand, and you see very similar forces at work.
   Regardless of what Murdoch does, real change starts with us.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, culture, leadership, marketing, media, New Zealand, politics, publishing, UK, USA, Wellington | No Comments »


A few more swashes for JY Pinnacle Italic

15.07.2011

Pinnacle Italic Pro

JY Pinnacle Italic will be re-released as a Pro version shortly, and above are some of the extra characters we’ve added.
   I know the swash k still needs work, and it will be fixed up by the time of release.
   Pinnacle always had a decent bunch of ligatures, but if you have the chance to add more thanks to OpenType, then why not?
   Hard to believe I originally drew this over 15 years ago—it really doesn’t seem that long ago.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, design, New Zealand, typography, Wellington | No Comments »


I wanted to grow up and be the Dean Martin version of Matt Helm

15.07.2011

As a child growing up in Wellington, there were a few TV series that shaped my beliefs about being grown-up in the occident. The first I’ve written about before: The Persuaders, which is in part where this blog gets its name. I’ve probably mentioned Return of the Saint elsewhere, not to mention the plethora of TV detectives and cops. It’s the old-fashioned idea that good beats evil, and that one man can make a difference.
   But there was also one movie that appealed to me. Tonight I watched, for the first time since the 1970s, The Wrecking Crew. This was the final Matt Helm spy pic starring Dean Martin, and it’s amazing what sticks in your memory from age five, when this was aired on television. Considering my memory goes back to c. nine months, I realize remembering stuff at five is not that remarkable, but I surprised myself at what visuals I recalled, nearly perfectly.
   It may have also shaped my idea that when you rescue the girl, you have to sing like Dean Martin. If anyone wants to lay blame somewhere for my impromptu crooning at parties (or, more embarrassingly, at restaurants), this is where it all started. This is also why I sing ‘Everybody Rock Your Body’ to the tune of ‘Everybody Loves Somebody’.
   As a child, I had no idea there was a series of Matt Helm films. So, as a teenager, I began renting them or recording them off telly. When I saw Murderers’ Row air on TV1 in 1982, I set the video recorder to tape it, but could see nothing from it that I remembered from the first time I watched a “Dean Martin spy flick”—I could not remember the title of what I had seen in 1977. At five, I actually didn’t care.
   Then there was The Silencers, actually the first movie, rented at the Kilbirnie Video Centre around 1990. Hmm, still not the one I saw.
   I then rented The Ambushers, the only other one they had there—still not it.
   So, by process of elimination, I knew it had to be the last one, The Wrecking Crew—or I could not trust my memory. Finally, thanks to DVD, over three decades on, I was able to relive what I saw as a five-year-old—and it was this one after all.
   This gives you an idea of what piqued my interest as a child.

The Wrecking Crew
1. That the bad guys had a Mercedes W111.

The Wrecking Crew
2. Elke Sommer. Probably not due to the fact that I was a perve at age five, but that she was the model flogging Lux soap on telly at the same time. (If I was a perve, then I would have noticed Elke’s very low-cut dress in her first scene. Then again, I remember the dancers from The Monte Carlo Show, but I was eight by then.)

The Wrecking Crew
3. Dino punching some guy in a Merc and running off.

The Wrecking Crew
4. This set, meant to be the interior of a train.

The Wrecking Crew
5. Villain Nigel Green’s trap door on his getaway train.

The Wrecking Crew
6. Dino making sure Sharon Tate didn’t fall through.

The Wrecking Crew
7. Dino making sure Nigel’s stuntman did fall through.

   I presume I knew who Dean Martin was probably because of my mother, who explained it—this was back in the day when parents made sure that what you watched was OK before they went off and prepared dinner. I can’t remember what was on the other channel, but I must have enjoyed this sufficiently to have stayed with it—and there were no remote controls for Philips K9 sets.
   Might have to watch it again tonight. It was genuinely ridiculous, but certainly better than The Silencers (whose theme you still occasionally hear on Groove 107·7 FM here in Wellington) or The Ambushers. Watch out for the second-unit actors on location and the fact that Dino and Sharon Tate stayed firmly in Hollywood; the fake grass on top of padding which moves when Dino pushes down on it; the director’s expectation that we could believe Dino’s character could build a helicopter from bits in a few minutes; and the really bad ride Mac (the boss) has in his Lincoln Continental.
   I’d still pick Murderers’ Row as the best one of the lot, thanks to Ann-Margret being very groovy, Dino’s Ford Thunderbird with rear lights that doubled as a dot-matrix display, the Lalo Schifrin score, and Karl Malden being evil.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in cars, culture, humour, interests, New Zealand, TV, USA | 3 Comments »


Has it really been 20 years? Billy T.: Te Movie débuts August

14.07.2011

I still have a lot of the Billy T. James shows on video cassette, and I’ve avoided many of the compilations, since I just don’t feel right seeing the sketches in an order that Billy himself might not have had a say in. Silly reason, I know. However, this does feel right: a film about New Zealand’s greatest comedian’s all-too-short life, directed by one of our finest directors, Ian Mune, whom I had the pleasure of meeting 19 years ago.
   You just know that Ian—who, of course, directed Billy at the height of his fame in the screen adaptation of Came a Hot Friday—has done his homework, and will have put this documentary together with great care. Billy T.: Te Movie comes out next month in New Zealand, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Billy’s death. There are clips from the shows, and snippets from friends and colleagues.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in culture, humour, interests, New Zealand, TV | No Comments »


The dystopian future has arrived, and it’s called Ryanair

12.07.2011

Ryanair plane

This was too priceless to share only with my Tumblr readers. It’s an excerpt from a review of Ryanair, sent to my friend Nadine Isler, who has since published (with permission) on her site:

Entering the cabin, I was greeted by a blindingly bright yellow ceiling that would be more at home on the back of a poisonous tree frog or gay banana. Below stretched a farm of sterile blue plastic seats that looked like they were taken straight out of a Smurf porno. As if plastering the overhead lockers in tacky advertising wasn’t enough—we’re talking ‘buy buy buy, free free free, super extra premium gin rum vodka’—they had actually glued the safety information cards to the back of the seats, completing a scene that had all the ambience of a South Auckland brothel.

The whole piece is here, though I am at a loss on what a ‘gay banana’ is.
   Everything I have heard of the airline turns me off, though I have never flown it. I can tolerate some budget concessions, such as having to pay for your meals, but most (negative) stories are along the same lines as the review on Nadine’s site (though not as humorous). The taxes and inconvenience are sufficient turn-offs. As I was raised to believe that good manners should be free, the review indicates that Ryanair skimps on those, too. But you begin thinking what else they have skimped on. Aircraft servicing? Passenger safety? Pilots with sanity?
   I can’t criticize them for outright deception. It’s not as though the marketing tells you that the airline is comfortable when it isn’t. Everything screams budget, so it’s a case of caveat emptor. Naice airlines do not publish calendars with their air hostesses in swimsuits or nothing at all. If they’re willing to objectify their own staff, you’re not in much hope of getting a red carpet. (Meanwhile, this union has some concerns about the airline.)
   The plus side, which I’m sure Ryanair and other low-cost fliers would state, is that people can now get to where they want without too much cost. It wasn’t that long ago that jetting about would necessitate taking out a mortgage. I remember looking at an ad in 1980, where it was considered a “special” for a family to fly return to Hong Kong for NZ$3,000. That’s 1980 dollars, too.
   The Ryanair stories, nevertheless, remind me that the flip side can go too far. How much more toward the dystopian 21st century of last century’s films do we need to go? Is the rich–poor divide now so pronounced that Ryanair can even fioat the idea of standing on your flights, locked in à la Hannibal Lecter? The battery-hen analogy in the review suddenly seems more apt. Let’s make it as undignified as we can for those who didn’t pay for it. Let’s serve Soylent Green on the flight in a few years’ time (with an extra charge, of course).
   I know, I can easily get political from this point, and segue into water ownership or a similar issue. One rule for the rich and one for the poor. It jars with not only my social conscience, but all the ideas I developed practising and (many years ago) teaching design: that no one should go without good stuff.
   So my impressions of Ryanair are all second-hand. Still, they’re enough to keep me hoping that I don’t have to experience them first-hand.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, culture, humour, marketing | 3 Comments »


As News of the World closes, we might be getting better at making business accountable

08.07.2011

So James Murdoch has announced the end of the News of the World. It’s no biggie: as others have discovered, a domain name for The Sun on Sunday has been registered, and if this is by an agent of News International, it simply makes sense for the Murdoch Press to consolidate its tabloid brands and raise the circulation of The Sun.
   Chatting about it here at work today, my view was that the problems plaguing the Murdoch Press were cultural, and shuttering one paper really wouldn’t make much difference. I described Rupert’s former hands-on style and, like him or not, the man was the master of his craft for years. He knew the sort of headlines that would shock and get sales. Whether one admires the craft is another matter, though, it should be noted, it made the guy a multimillionaire.
   It’s easy to forecast that News will allow the shock of the death of the 168-year-old newspaper brand to set in, push through with the BSkyB deal, and relaunch the paper under its new name, hiring some of the 200 staff back.
   It’s not the first time Murdochs have rejigged or renamed a newspaper. Already I can envisage a ‘Reach for your new Sun’ headline being proclaimed in a Saturday edition, apeing what happened in the 1960s.
   Interestingly, another writer also believes in the cultural explanation. Simon Dumenco points to how News behaves in the US, seemingly operating in a fantasy-land.
   In Britain, on Wednesday morning, every newspaper carried the hacking scandal on the front page—with the notable exception of The Sun, which led with a pregnant Victoria Beckham. (The Guardian had all 10 papers, but The Sun’s page one has since disappeared, presumably due to a copyright complaint. I have put that front page below.) The hacking scandal appeared on p. 6. Dumenco points out that when gay marriage became legal in New York, everyone there carried that news prominently, except for the Murdoch Press, which relegated it to a bottom-of-page headline in its New York Post, and a second ‘What’s News’ in-brief item in The Wall Street Journal.
   Dumenco predicts that the public will tire of it, though, as I blogged earlier this week, in 1997 a lot of people swore off tabloids. Not a lot changed in the immediate years after that. But we can only hope: one of our predictions in Beyond Branding was that consumers would demand greater transparency and integrity. That certainly has held true for a lot of sectors. They are true, even of media, but the cycle is longer thanks in no small part to the habits some people have with news providers. Nevertheless, it is happening.
   As news consumers move online—and there is plenty of evidence of this shift—it’s possible that the audience will shift to media that are perceived to be fairer. Those wanting confirmation of various biases can find them in niche media or blogs. There are more people analysing the media, so it may be easier for people to discover critical thinking behind the stories.
   There’ll always be a mob mentality (people have banded together since they began socializing) and tabloid journalism will not disappear (there’s a sense of Schadenfreude, especially of celebrity stories, while there’s inequality in society). But this week’s example of the fairly rapid withdrawals of advertising accounts from the News of the World—Ford, Reckitt Benckiser and Renault come to mind—shows that the public has a line that shouldn’t be crossed. The internet has allowed people to group together to make their viewpoints known, and it’s refreshing to note that, more often than not, we do so for good causes and a sense of justice, rather than for divisiveness or harm.

The Sun, Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in branding, business, culture, internet, marketing, media, publishing, UK, USA | No Comments »