communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.


This is how I feel most of the time :-)

key sections:




Social media and politics

For a while now I have been listening to the BBC World Service in the morning. It's been giving me a different perspective on blogging and social media and its relevance for the world, especially with recent world events bringing services like YouTube and Twitter in the limelight.
When you've had enough of local bickering between bloggers and journalists have a read at how social media helps and makes a difference in conflict areas
- Social media in Iran
- Iranians use video to tell stories
- Iran and the use of media

also a very decent analysis of why blogging is what it is here

[oh, and to journalists: have a read to learn how good reporting and interesting stories are made]

Blogger vs Journalist 2

A few more thoughts on the "blogger vs journalist" debate concerning the "money" issue.

Like it or not, it all does boil down to money like this: journalists make money in the form of salaries from writing [their salaries represent a small share of the income of the newspaper which comes from advertising]. Bloggers also make money from writing but not in the form of salaries but directly from advertising deals. The essential difference between the two lies in the amount. While journalists do not get a significant share from the advertising in the newspaper they write for, bloggers get all the money from advertising on their blog. Also, journalists have to share the advertising income with owners, shareholders and the other members of the staff. Bloggers, if they know any coding at all, do not have to share revenue with anyone. So, the reason journalists are pissed off at bloggers is that, supposedly by the logic above, they make more money.

Secondly, bloggers are more famous. Journalists write for the brand of the newspaper, so their personal brand is secondary. [On an aside here, editorialists, very much like bloggers, are more famous kinda proving my point]. Bloggers only write about and for themselves. So, the reason journalists are pissed off at bloggers is that, supposedly by this logic, they are more famous.

Interestingly enough, again, both sides are missing some points, namely:
- one blogger with one blog can only make a limited amount of money: because there is only this many banners and this many endorsement deals you can have. You cannot, unlike a newspaper, endorse both Coke and Pepsi. You lose credibility and then you, as a blogger, lose money.
- one blogger makes less money the more famous he gets - simply because he gets famous by pushing some very strong points of view. Advertising means compromise so the more extreme the blogger's views the less likely advertising money is to be directed towards him.
- journalists make a steady pay despite newspaper performance because salaries are fixed and not always connected to revenue [especially for lower ranking staff]
- journalists usually get a wider audience to begin with as newspapers have wider distribution than a blog [at first].

So, the reason bloggers are pissed off at journalists is that they make a steady paycheck despite performance while bloggers have to hustle for every buck, and the reason journalists dislike bloggers is that they feel these are stealing their advertising money and limelight.

Again, as I was trying to point out below, journalists objectives and performance are different from those of bloggers and should be remunerated differently. And if, as a journalist, you want personal fortune and personal fame, get an effing blog and start taking shit from your former colleagues! :-)


Blogger vs journalist

Today I witnessed a most distressing confrontation between people who write for newspapers and people who keep blogs. During the first session of Ronewmedia, the theme was "Journalists vs Bloggers" and some of the face value opinions that were expressed there included:
- bloggers are most definitely not journalists - from a journalist who keeps a blog
- journalists have a standard of behaviour and a code of ethics and bloggers do not - idem
- bloggers are better informed and more objective than journalists - from a blogger
- journalists steal material and do no quote sources - from a blogger
In spite of, or maybe because of, the obviously biased moderation the conversation spiraled into what to me sounded like the most absurd line of thinking possible: "bloggers cannot be reliable sources of information because unlike journalists, who are trained to be journalists and not mere pen-pushers, they have no ethics and no standards".
This is not the first time I have seen people coming from offline newspaper-work placing themselves into a category superior to anyone involved in writing, under the "badge" of journalism. This is also not the first time I have heard bloggers calling themselves journalists. And most importantly this is the umpteenth time people speak of blogging as a non-ethical and non-standard form of expression (you should watch State of Play for some decent insights into how to join blogging and newspaper writing)

Interestingly enough I find both positions essentially wrong for the following reasons:
- bloggers are NOT meant to be journalists - what, then, would be the difference between journalists online and bloggers? For me, blogging is more like editorializing because the power of a blog does not rest in its ability to break news, but rather to interpret it in a fresh new way and to shed a different light on existing information. There is practically no way bloggers can beat newspapermen, except on the technology beat where information is generally taken from online sources. But, in practice, information needs a lot of interaction and a lot of people checking out a lot of sources: this, a blogger with 10 h of writing per day required, cannnot do but the staff of a newspaper can.
- journalists and bloggers do have standards but they are different because of the essentially different motivations of the two. Journalists are held by their paycheck and their job description to objectively inform the public of facts. This kind of rules apply to them. Bloggers are opinion-makers and they are only held to being truthful to what they know and what they believe to be the case. Opinions need to be of "facts", but they can be biased. You need to check the facts you comment on but not apply the same rigor to your editorial because it is YOUR TAKE on the facts.
That aside, both bloggers and journalists are held by obligations of morality, decency and common sense. Both, as you all know, sometimes don't bother with these, as witnessed by some bloggers' silly, misogynistic articles about PR ladies and by almost all articles in CanCan :-)
- it is ridiculous to state that journalists are not better than bloggers because they are a profession and bloggers are not. There is no evidence that writing for print as opposed to online makes you a better writer, nor a more just one, nor a more objective one.
One excellent point that Calin Fusu made involved "the financial dimenssion" but about that later, I need to go use that bike I just bought.


My Facebook

looks like this. Thanks to Nexus

Photo search for all things Internet

I did a little experiment last night, searching for images associated by the www with the www. The methodology was simple, I turned to google images and typed various terms like web 2.0, Internet, www, digital. It seems that the word which has most enflamed people's imagination is web 2.o. When searched, it gives up some really cool results like these.
By contrast, searching for the word Internet simply is not that satisfying with results like these ranking high. Same goes for online where the first images is of a girl in front of a computer...

LATER EDIT: also found this, Tag Galaxy, and tried Flickr search with web 2.0


Interesting takes work

Stop-motion is neat. But it takes time and it's hard to explain to clients that to get great results, the deadline needs to be pushed and they cannot make silly changes when all is shot. interestingly, this is all about deadlines. more interestingly it has a "making of" [not making OFF!!!}


Different is inspirational

I love off-brief ideas and hand-made things. And I love link-hopping as opposed to the evil, bad, dry rss. So thanks to this type of browsing I came across Atlas Obscura, self proclaimed a compendium of the world's wonders, curiosities and esoterica. Atlas Obscura is a place where you want to go if you have seen Greece and Rome and want to try something different. Among the things they recommend is this project, entitled Les Machines de l'Ille, of which I have a tiny clip.

Read more of the Machines here and browse the Atlas here.


Interesting design concept in Romania

Just because people from outside Romania read this blog, I want to write about The Ark which is where Headvertising and Co do business these days. The Ark is a cool building concept which revolves around the idea of creative nest. The building is an old customs house, built by famed architect Saligny, which was redone to be both the HQ for some of the country's top creative agencies but also an exhibition space on the lower floor.

See some pics and read some more here; got reminded of this reading about the Rietveld Design Academy here

Just in case you don's know the guy: this one is by him

Wine + design

via Ronnestam
from Vintae

Graphic bankruptcies

via boing boing from GOOD


2010 literacy

A while back I was quoting an article about the literacy of the future, when coding will be essential for survival.

With our clients I have understood just how important it is to have them engage with Internet on a regular basis. This means that everyone involved with online should have tried, at least once, to go through the following easy actions:
- create an account on youtube
- upload a video on youtube
- resize a photograph and a video
- unsubscribe from a newsletter
- write a blog post
- change the font of one's blog title
- post a comment
- clear cache
- buy a URL, host it and activate it
These I believe would improve everyone's understanding of a few concepts like:
- the look and feel and intricacy of code and the length of time it takes to create and alter it
- the shortcomings and barriers to online sharing
- the legal aspects of online
- the concept of hosting, servers and the process of URL management
and most importantly, the responsibility and common sense it takes to create something and place it online for the whole world to see and for Google to index.

Key question about online

10 questions which, if I knew the answer to, would make me rich

1. What is the mathematical solution for a viral?
2. How will youtube make money?
3. Why do people click on banners?
4. What is the attraction of Twitter?
5. How do you give out free content and still survive?
6. How can you convince people that to pay for something is better?
7. Why is Susan Boyle such a hit?
8. How can one mix sex with advertising without getting caught?
9. What is the benchmark for a succesful online campaign?
10. What do people actually do online?


i turned 30 and got an office full of confetti, a miffy bath set, 29 roses and a marvel comics book and spent the evening with 12 wonderful people. i thought 30 would be the dumps but i feel happy about my friends, our stories and the laughter we have together.
30 rocks


Disecting virals

If you work in advertising you have heard it by now: we want a viral. No, don't bother to explain to anyone that you cannot MAKE a viral, but you can try to make a really really fun video and then try to make it GO VIRAL.
I have been thinking about virals a lot lately, and an having a hard time deciding how to measure their effect or when to really recommend them. So this is what I was thinking:
Why do clients ask for a viral?
- they are a low cost production
- they do not entail media costs - you do not pay to have them broadcast
- they do not have to follow the pre-set media plan or business plan
- sometimes they are better off not following the brand book
- they are immensely popular, generate huge WOM
What are the immediate benefits of virals?
- awareness?
- likeability?
- sales?
(all of these should be the aftereffect of WOM - you evaluate WOM by its overall influence on awareness, leads and actual volume)
Possibly all these three are benefits, but here comes the catch: we have no actual data for any of them. There is no definitive case of a viral altering brand indexes, or sales (remember the famed Gorilla and the no so famous after-viral results, when Galaxy, Cadbury's prime competitor actually took over the category). That is because, as pointed out above, virals are off media plan, off business plan, off brand book - they are "rogue communicators".
Now, let us evaluate the possible benefits of a viral
- awareness, WOM - this is useful for a brand under 30% awareness. For brands with over 90% awareness the boring old regular media plan will suffice. I am having a hard time imagining brand support by only virals in a country with 35% Internet penetration. I am having a hard time imagining that in a country with 100& Internet penetration.
- likeability - surely, but not within your target group for all the reasons above. Being off brand and online :-) virals tend to appeal to the "web surfers", people who spend a lot of time online, who are susceptible to having a large mailing list etc. This disqualifies a bunch of mainstream brands whose main volumes come from people ...well, not like that
- sales - I am having a hard time finding a connection here but I am open to suggestions.

So, I guess, when recommending a viral or being asked to do a viral, ask your client "what is it that you are trying to achieve?"