Mar 09 2008

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The public must never know …

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:34:14 GMT. 4 comments. Top.


Raincoaster and Ian posted this first. But it’s so close-to-the-bone funny that I just had to follow suit.

Blogging will eat itself. Maybe.

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:34:28 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Year of the Blog, blah blah, You – Person of the Year 2006 yadda yadda User-Generated Content mumble mumble Blogging and Social Media mutter mutter Web2.0 blah technoratiyoutubeflikrdiggmyspacesecondlife zzzzzzzzzzzzzz ……..

NME suggested, in the mid-1980s, that Pop would eat itself. That hype and hyperbole ultimately crowds out originality, the hype implodes, resulting in a mainstream music culture that simply recycles the best existing ideas. My friend Mitch Benn puts forward much the same hypothesis, arguing variously that modern chart music either steals its sounds from the 1980s, or simply that everything sounds like Coldplay now.

And the connection with blogging, social media, web2.0 and all the other buzzwords?

Simply that I’m wondering if, and perhaps when, the blogging bubble will burst – or if in fact it already has. Apparently there are upwards of 25 million abandoned blogs out there – depending who you believe, anything up to 200 milion. How many of them started – and ended – in 2006?

Will blogging really eat itself in 2007? Gartner certainly seem to think so. But I’m not so sure. I think perhaps Richard’s heading in the right direction by suggesting that we’re ‘out of the early adopter phase and into the early majority’.

The BBC quotes Gartner’s David Plummer, at the end of 2006, thus: ‘most people who would ever start a web log have already done so’.

In 1899 Charles H Duell, US Commissioner of Patents, stated: ‘Everything that can be invented has been invented’.

Spot the similarity?

Social media, web2.0, call it what you will, it’s maturing and evolving so fast we can barely keep up. It’s only natural for blogging, the relatively primitive concept of a chronologically-ordered collection of articles, comments and opinions, to mature and evolve too.

Everybody’s makin’ it big but me

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:34:48 GMT. 9 comments. Top.


Well I paint my face with glitter just like Bowie does
And I wear the same mascara that Mick Jagger does
And I even put some lipstick on,
But that just hurt my dad and mom
Everybody’s makin’ it big but me

There’s nothing like a Dr Hook lyric to kick off a blog post. But what am I on about?

Kate posted at the end of October about getting to the top spot on Google. Looking quickly down my Blogroll, Owen, Simon, Simon, Ian, Alex, Lydia, Chloe – not to mention pretty much all the H&K Collective Conversation bloggers – each and every one of them, when you type their name into Google, has their blog as the top search result.

Today I’m just thrilled about being at number five. It’s the highest I’ve been and, given that I’m about to take some time off for Christmas, I doubt I’ll get much higher any time soon.

I’m not bitter either. It’s not my fault I have the same name as a Broadway actor and a one-time Governor of Virginia. Number five’s good enough for me.

Not sure when I’ll be back – I’m out of the office, bar the odd fleeting visit, between now and January 4th. I suspect I’ll sneak the odd post in between now and then, though.

Happy holidays.

An early New Year’s resolution

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:35:02 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

We at H&K London had our Christmas party on Tuesday. A great bash it was, too, at the rather posh Tantra.

To get everyone in the party mood we kicked off at 5.30 in the H&K bar, with a little live music – provided by what has become known as the Barbour-Laurence duo. And you know what? We weren’t half bad.

The background to this, and the need for the New Year’s resolution, is that up until a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t touched my saxes (or my harps) for around seven years. But thanks to Andy Laurence persuading me to dust them off for Tuesday’s party, I’ve got the bug again.

The resolution, then, is to play a heck of a lot more music in 2007 than I did in 2006. Which won’t be hard …

Oh, and it would be grossly unfair of me not to link to the video of our Grads shaking their thang


Lobbyists out of a job?

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:35:17 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

The latest from Dave’s “Anything Labour can do, the Tories can do better” school of campaigning: Cutting out the middleman.

We’re all aware of Bell Pottinger’s red-faces-at-Party-Conference incident, in which their “Meet a Minister for £5k” offer didn’t work out quite as planned.

Well, according to the Mail (don’t forget your large pinch of salt), the Tories have once again decided they can do the job better – and in this case cut out the middleman and add a zero onto the fee, too.

Which paints a pretty bleak future for the likes of Bell Pott, if / when the Tories win an election.

… as read by NASA

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:35:33 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Thanks to StatCounter, I can see that someone from NASA in Hunstville, Alabama, read my blog yesterday. I have to say I’m rather chuffed.

I got quite excited when writing yesterday’s Be Prepared post. I’d stumbled upon a significant (and relevant) piece of history – in this case William Safire’s In Event of Moon Disaster memo – that I hadn’t heard of before, and just had to write about it. So, whoever you were, whether at Space Camp, the Marshall Space Flight Center, or wherever else, thanks for dropping by – I appreciate it.

Oh, and whoever it was, they were running Firefox 2.0 and Max OS X. Respect.

Be Prepared

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:36:01 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

It’s difficult to pick a favourite Tom Lehrer song, but Be Prepared is definitely in my top five. It’s not just a handy maxim for Boy Scouts, either – it’s a fundamental principle which all those who call themselves communicators must espouse. Particularly in the often tricky and fast-moving arena of crisis comms, preparedness is everything.

Voice of America reports today that Hill & Knowlton’s own Norman Y Mineta is to be honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this month. Many congratulations, Norm. Other recipients announced today include the legendary B B King, and – yes I am getting to the point here – NYT columnist and Nixon-era speechwriter, William Safire.

In July of 1969, Safire produced what is still arguably one of the best case-studies of crisis preparedness, in the form of a memo to Bob Halderman entitled In Event of Moon Disaster. TSG reproduces the complete memo in all its grainy, typrewritten detail – it really is well worth reading.

The point to all this is that you can’t wait for a crisis to happen and then act in mitigation. If a worst-case scenario unfolds, the effective crisis practitioner will already have to hand the necessary statements, Q&As, flowcharts, call-out lists and protocols to deal with it. But if crisis strikes and those in leadership positions, whether corporate or political, are unprepared, situations can spiral out of control alarmingly quickly.

Speeches along the lines of that contained in Safire’s Moon Disaaster memo, dealing with the dreaded but very real possibility of human tragedy, are among the most difficult of drafting exercises. But they are also perhaps the most necessary. I’m sure Lehrer would, in his own way, agree.

Our take on the Queen’s Speech

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:36:22 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Public Affairs News this week includes H&K’s collective insights into the legislative agenda set out in final Queen’s Speech. Having spent many, many hours collating, editing and finessing the content, I think I’m entitled to say that it’s rather good.

But if you want our analysis, you’ll have to read it yourself.

Download your copy here.

Tonight’s the night …

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:36:46 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

… for the TWL Christmas Party.

Dom and I are going to go – anyone else?

Sort it out, Steve!

Last modified on 2008-02-25 19:37:04 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Today I’m cross with Apple. Perhaps yesterday’s evangelising was tempting fate a little – my has just died, after a mere eighteen months.

No more blissful, wirelessly-streaming music, no more instant wireless networks wherever I roam. Now I just have an expensive shiny white plastic paperweight.

My crossness is compounded by the realisation that this is by no means an isolated incident. Macbidouille and Hardmac have collated upwards of 800 near-identical cases of dead base stations. Other bloggers are just as cross as me.

The failure point appears to be a power board which combines both cheap components and poor design, which perhaps goes some way to explain why the dead units are all from 220 / 240v markets.

More worrying is the apparent locking on Apple’s own webiste of support / discussion threads relating to this problem. Baaaaaaaaaaad PR, Steve. Bad PR. And not very sporting. Even reviews on Apple’s own online store, and on Amazon, mention the problem, but the official line appears to be that once your twelve month guarantee is up, that’s it.

Well I’m not sure it is. British law contains phrases such as fit for purpose and merchantable quality. I think I’ll take a trip down to the Apple Store on Regent Street and have a chat with them. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll be writing to Apple. I might even sue – thanks to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk I can do it quickly and easily online. Watch this space.

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