A private conversation about social media

Cone of silence from Get Smart
Cone of silence from 'Get Smart'

We have been up to our eyeballs with social media at the c word office; tweet this, upload pic here, accept friend request, retweet there. Our fingertips are suffering from exhaustion. 😛

Last week we hit the road with leading privacy and social media expert Mozelle Thompson in Australia for the International Association of Privacy Professionals conference. As we ferried him from interview to meeting to interview, we got the chance to chat about social media.

Along the way we asked for his top four social media issues and although he laughed at our penchant for even numbers, he was happy to oblige.

According to Mozelle the top four issues for social media are:

  1. how advertising will work?
  2. the lack of discussion around the limits of transparency
  3. legal responsibility for user-generated content, and
  4. the desire to ‘switch off’.

To start with Mozelle said: “People are looking at behavioural advertising … but I don’t think people understand what that means”.

“If you ask them: ‘Do you want ads targeted to you based on your profile?’ they might say ‘no’. But then you say: ‘Is the problem that you don’t want ads … because if you want it for free you’re going to have to have ads and if you’re going to get ads then would you want ads targeted to you?’ they would say ‘yes’.”

Mozelle believes (and we concur) the dialogue hasn’t progressed enough in the public eye. Let’s not keep this conversation private.

We wondered how this applies to online newspapers without established social networks and Mozelle believes we’ll see more partnerships with websites who want to target ads to you based on your demographic – so it will seem more seamless.

“The question is are you willing to give permission for targeted ads as opposed to general ads?”

On the issue of transparency, Mozelle said while we want governments to let us know about what they’re doing and what our neighbours are doing, it gives the public a lot of information about you.

He said: “It’s a global issue but especially in western societies where we’ve made this big push towards government transparency but haven’t defined what that means yet”.

The third issue Mozelle brought up was around who is ultimately legally responsible for user generated content.

“There’s this continuing war, just because it’s on YouTube, is YouTube responsible for someone putting on content that you find offensive or objectionable? You don’t hold newspapers responsible if somebody puts a crappy ad in.”

The fourth issue which made us hide our Blackberries and iPhones was that at some point, not right away, there may be a reaction to this real time availability of information.

“You may have a backlash from some people who decide they don’t want to be reachable. Are we going to start creating digital technologies that allow you to disconnect?”

And in between all of that we’ve kicked off a social media campaign for Run for a Safe Climate. We started with a training session for the runners and volunteers involved with Run for a Safe Climate – the question now is “how will they tweet while running?”

Have a great week,

the c word

Fluoro invasion sequence commenced… 5,4,3,2,1

aliensLast night a new design bible was launched in Melbourne. And what a party it was! Font geeks and design freaks came out in full force to support the new generation of Fluoro.

Fluoro is a biannual design magazine that explores Melbourne’s world of design and creativity, and challenges the boundaries of print while maintaining an environmentally sustainable approach. To sum it up… it’s just so hot! Best you get onto it.

We straightened our hair and slapped on some smokey eye make up (well not all of us, obviously) to air kiss with the best of them. The large crowd in attendance were clients, friends, sponsors, artists, DJs, photographers and supporters of design and the arts. The sea of cool Melbourne black was filled with new and old friends and colleagues, with Creative Director Miguel Valenzuela donning his DJ cap to pump out some beats for the cool crowd.

A launch party is nothing without a great crowd. You can have the best champers, yummiest canapés or coolest venue but none of that matters if you don’t have the right mix of people. the c word worked closely with the Fluoro team to ensure that the right crowd was invited and willing to party. We scoured galleries, boutiques and laneways in search of people with a passion for design, fonts and paper.

Fluoro Editor Nancy Bugeja enjoying her champers
Fluoro Editor Nancy Bugeja enjoying her champers
Skye giving her date @ScottKilmartin the cold shoulder :P
Skye giving her date @ScottKilmartin the cold shoulder 😛

Fluoro’s editor Nancy Bugeja was thrilled with the night’s turn out especially all the positive feedback she and her team received, having poured countless hours of creativity and passion into the publication.

“It’s AMAZING to celebrate Fluoro with all these people who are passionate about Melbourne, art and design as much as we are. It’s turned out so well and everyone seems to be loving the textures, colours, and the look of Fluoro,” Nancy Bugeja said.

The design packed issue includes an interview with Melbourne DJ and Kiss FM regular DJ Cherokee, a look into the mind of a rising star of the Melbourne fashion scene Nadia Pearse, 60 seconds with Rock Wiz host Julia Zemiro, and a visitor’s experience of Federation Square’s Volume exhibition.

Fluoro6_ 5Fluoro6_ 3

Fluoro6_ 6Fluoro6_ 9

Fluoro taps into Melbourne’s creative energy and provides design lovers with pages to play and get inspired. The larger format, cotton binding and three different types of paper stock: Nordset, Novatech and Look! prove print is still innovative, surprising and in demand. The crowd last night certain agreed. Read more

Glee Marketing Class 101

There’s no denying the c word is a fan of Fox’s hit new show Glee. Like millions of other fans, we got caught up in the online hysteria generated by this new show and have been anxiously waiting for each new episode. You have to be seriously impressed with the marketing onslaught by the people behind Glee.

We discovered the show online…not sure where as it was a while ago but probably popped up in our Google Reader. The show developed a cult following even before going to air through its use of MySpace, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The first episode was the number one downloaded television show on iTunes with Fox offering the show for free.

We regularly check the YouTube for snippets of performances and behind-the-scenes footage and chats with Glee cast. From a social media perspective they’ve gone all out.

Not only that, across all platforms that have targeted the campaigns. They’ve developed links with American Idol and Australian Idol to piggyback off their audiences. Both Channel Ten and Fox have been inundated with Glee ads during Idol and other high rating television shows with a strong 16-35 audience base (my favourite is the Gleek one… yes I’m a Gleek too).

Old and new marketing angles have been utilised. Social media… check. Promotions… check. Advertising… check. Publicity… check. The cast are even doing shopping mall visits… How old school? We are half tempted to head down to Highpoint Shopping Centre this Saturday to meet the cast. Wonder if Kurt will be there?? *squuueeeeaaaals*

No stone has been left unturned. With 24,000+ Twitter followers, 250,000+ Facebook fans, let’s hope this buzz translates to TV ratings. In Australia, the pilot attracted 1.2million viewers following the insanely popular Masterchef. However, last night the director’s cut of the pilot kicked off the season’s regular airing, but only rated 871,000. Let’s see how it goes next week when episode two airs?

We’ve got our finger crossed this show does well. Snarky high school shows with spirit fingers, late 80s/early 90s music are just what the doctor ordered in the c word office.

Anyway, off to do a phoner (that’s an interview with a major network), probably on my iPhone.

Have a fab weekend.

the c word

Remembering our ABCs thanks to the ‘King of Pop’

After a super crazy week with no time to post, Friday ended on such a sad note with the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.

Iconic Farrah
Iconic Farrah

They will definitely be missed by family, friends and fans around the world. Neither will ever be forgotten. Jackson for his music and Farrah for her film and television work.

Twitter has been a flutter with posts about Michael Jackson’s death. Not since the US inauguration have we seen so many updates on a topic. Literally thousands in the blink of an eye. The media circus following his death can only be described as ‘nutz!!!’  Even Triple M football got in on the act with Michael Jackson tunes playing during the coverage. How strange!!

Our fave Michael
Our fave Michael

Sad to hear channel 9 couldn’t pull together a decent tribute … we didn’t get to see it but from TV Tonight’s post … A a-p-p-a-l-l-i-n-g … we don’t think we need to see it. Come on guys!

Tributes to Farrah and Michael have been flooding the media and internet for the last few days. Our favourite tribute has got to be the Dancing Inmates from the Philippines. Here is one to the Charlie’s Angels starlet.

Here is a clip of Michael with the Jackson 5 singing ABC.

RIP Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.

Oh the commotion… Ramsay V’s Grimshaw


We’re going to be fence sitters again this week and not comment about the Gordon Ramsey vs Tracey Grimshaw battle. We will however draw parallels with another moment in Australian history, when Frank Sinatra called our female journalist ‘hookers’.


Now if you don’t know the story about Ole Blue Eyes, here it is:

In 1974, Frank Sinatra toured Australia and caused a sensational uproar when he called female journalists ‘hookers’. Sinatra’s “bums and hookers” insult came after “no one met his plane, he was driven into town in the wrong car, and at Festival Hall the singer had to push his way through the media throng to bash on the stage door before he was allowed inside“.


The Unions reacted quickly and demanded an apology. Sinatra’s silence was greeted by transport workers, waiters and journalists striking in retaliation.


So let’s compare the playing fields, shall we??


In the red corner, we have the big, bad ‘Celebrity’ oooohhhhhh



In the blue corner… The great & mighty ‘Media’ aahhhhhhhh


What’s interesting is how the media have bandied together once again. Some may argue it’s tall-poppy-syndrome. After all, Australians do ♥ that! Or simply, righting a wrong. Poor Trace! (he really did say some horribly inappropriate things) So what happened next all those years ago?

“The Australian Journalists’ Association (AJAA – the journalists’ union) called on other unions to see to it that Sinatra’s remaining concerts were cancelled and that he could not leave the country. Further, the hotel unions were asked not to give the Sinatra party food or drink, or to handle their bags. The second Melbourne concert was cancelled at once. Sinatra’s entourage had to carry their own bags as they left Melbourne for Sydney. The president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), at the time, Bob Hawke, was quickly involved. He was reported to have told Sinatra, “You may not be able to leave Australia unless you walk on water. If you don’t apologise, your stay in this country could be indefinite.” Sinatra was told his plane would not get a drop of fuel until he apologised.” Now we doubt that our beloved former PM Hawke would have said anything that cocky… but if we had to choose one PM who could do it, it would be him, wouldn’t it?


Australia had a highly unionised work force so when the call to arms came…*chants* “the workers united, shall never be the defeated”… not even by Ole Blue Eyes.”


Then Hawke flew up to Sydney for a meeting with Sinatra where they worked out a compromise statement – I think it was the only time that Sinatra backed down in his life. He said he didn’t quite mean to call Australian women journalists hookers, that there was a bit of a misunderstanding.

How things have changed? Back in 1974, our former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, then head of the ACTU had to come to the defence of the honour of the country’s female journalists. How ironic that the hero of the story had a wild reputation himself… (hehehe we all ♥ PM Bob Hawke).

Three decades later and Grimshaw didn’t need no man to fight her battle. She successfully managed to take down a male ‘whinging Pom’ on her own? Not only that, she also pitted Channel 9’s A Current Affair against Channel 9’s Hell’s Kitchen… and won (Channel 9 V Channel 9 … fishy or not?). Either way, as a ‘journalist’ (being ACA we’re a little hard pressed to use that word seriously) it’s also an interesting observation that Ms Grimshaw became the headline story for her own program. Post Modernists are having a field day with this (yes BB, we’re referring to you).

I’m sure some overseas readers may be giggling at the goings-on of the Australian media. Well… so are we. Should we be grateful that it’s a slow news week? It has been quite funny to see this story pop up on my Perez Hilton feed and international media outlets. I wonder if they’ll make an awful movie about it 🙂

Enjoy the weekend folks.

the c word


Let’s remember Ole Blue Eyes fondly now…

Sorry seems to be the hardest word…


The controversy surrounding The Chaser this week has been the focus of much discussion on the radio airwaves, TV screens, online and even at the c word.

We watched as the twitterverse discussed the merits and demerits of the skit in question and also watched the various apologies and responses. Although we’ve seen the skit, we don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said already (fence sitter hehehe).

However it leads us to think about another c word: crisis. And how best to handle yourself and your brand in a crisis. We think The Chaser’s response is a perfect example of what NOT to do in a crisis particularly when apologising. If we comb through their apology (and quite frankly it takes a little combing to get there) we are first presented with a justification. Have a look for yourself… btw this apology was issued shortly before noon by the show’s producer Julian Morrow and Director of ABC TV Kim Dalton:

“The Chaser’s War on Everything is a satirical program aimed at provoking debate and providing social commentary on topical issues, current affairs and public life in general. The sketch in last night’s show called ‘Making A Realistic Wish Foundation” was a satirical sketch and black comedy.

“The ABC and The Chaser did not intend to hurt those who have been affected by the terminal illness of a child. We acknowledge the distress this segment has caused and we apologise to anyone we have upset. As a result, ABC TV will edit the segment out of tonight’s repeat screening on ABC2 and online.”


In order for an apology to be truly apologetic and not simply a token gesture it really must start with “we are sorry” or words to that affect. If you look closely at the Chaser’s apology they start off by talking about their show and building a case for the merits of what they have done and then only in the second paragraph do they launch into an apology. ABC and the Chaser took the “I’m sorry but…” approach which never really sounds like a sincere apology, does it?

Another problem was they they took far too long to issue this statement. With breakfast radio & morning radio in a frenzy, the team & ABC seemed to ignore attempts for interviews and responses. What they should have done, is issue an apology first thing in the morning to be pro-active, be part of the debate and and to prevent the snowball from escalating. Silence only fuels speculation and further frenzy.

Any public relations student or practitioner can tell you about the 2 polar examples used to demonstrate crisis management. See Wikipedia summaries below:

Tylennol: Example of successful crisis management

In the fall of 1982, a murderer added 65 milligrams of cyanide to some Tylenol capsules on store shelves, killing seven people, including three in one family. Johnson & Johnson recalled and destroyed 31 million capsules at a cost of $100 million. The affable CEO, James Burke, appeared in television ads and at news conferences informing consumers of the company’s actions. Tamper-resistant packaging was rapidly introduced, and Tylenol sales swiftly bounced back to near pre-crisis levels. Johnson & Johnson was again struck by a similar crisis in 1986 when a New York woman died on Feb. 8 after taking cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules. Johnson & Johnson was ready. Responding swiftly and smoothly to the new crisis, it immediately and indefinitely canceled all television commercials for Tylenol, established a toll-free telephone hot-line to answer consumer questions and offered refunds or exchanges to customers who had purchased Tylenol capsules. At week’s end, when another bottle of tainted Tylenol was discovered in a store, it took only a matter of minutes for the manufacturer to issue a nationwide warning that people should not use the medication in its capsule form.

Exxon: Example of not-so-good crisis management

On March 24, 1989, a tanker belonging to the Exxon Corporation ran aground in the Prince William Sound in Alaska. The Exxon Valdez spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters off Valdez, killing thousands of fish, fowl, and sea otters. Hundreds of miles of coastline were polluted and salmon spawning runs disrupted; numerous fishermen, especially Native Americans, lost their livelihoods. Exxon, by contrast, did not react quickly in terms of dealing with the media and the public; the CEO, Lawrence Rawl, did not become an active part of the public relations effort and actually shunned public involvement; the company had neither a communication plan nor a communication team in place to handle the event—in fact, the company did not appoint a public relations manager to its management team until 1993, 4 years after the incident; Exxon established its media center in Valdez, a location too small and too remote to handle the onslaught of media attention; and the company acted defensively in its response to its publics, even laying blame, at times, on other groups such as the Coast Guard. These responses also happened within days of the incident

Please note we’re not suggesting that the Exxon oil spill is by any means in the same league as the Chaser incident, but it merely demonstrates a lack of strategy being in place for dealing with issues that arise.

So what can you do to better handle bad publicity and crisis?

Be prepared

Respond quickly

Break a bad story first so you can maintain some control over it

Keep media & key stakeholders informed

If you’re in the wrong, own up to it & apologise

Make amends & explain how you are planning to improve

Speak with one voice, make sure other employees are not sending mixed messages

After the story settles, try to follow up after a period of time, with a positive PR story

Just briefly before we speed off to enjoy the long weekend here in Melbourne … another C word in the news has been China and its dealing with the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Twenty years on it still saddens me to no end. Our thoughts are with Tiananmen mothers who struggle to have their children’s death recognised & also those still living in exile or in prison for the efforts to topple corruption. Its a sad day indeed when many Chinese don’t even know about this terrible moment in their country’s history.

I won’t leave you on a somber note though. Instead a lesson on how to say your sorry… take it away Elton.

Happy long weekend,
the c word

Updated 10.30pm 05/06/09

Apparently “sorry” isn’t so hard to say when your TV show gets pulled off the air for 2 weeks. The Chaser were quick to respond this time around with another apology

Don’t you ♥ me anymore, Australian TV?

Television left out on the prairie
Forgotten television by autowitch

It’s been an interesting week for youth in the media. We’ve had 2 very different cases that have prompted heated discussion for very different reasons.

First, the chk-chk-bang chick whose name we shall not mention – her catch phrase is surely her most endearing characteristic. If the rumours are anything to go by Channel 9 head honcho’s obviously saw more in her after her ACA interview – they’ve supposedly offered her a job. What bad deed did we do to deserve you Australian television?

Yet again our more interesting and intelligent public figures don’t get a look in… Kate Langbroek’s had some interesting comments about the role of intelligent women on Australian TV. There seems to be very little tolerance for it. If Chk-chk-bang gets a job, I’ll rest my case.

On the other hand Chk-chk-bang did raise some serious issues about the state of journalism.

With speed of delivery becoming a more important part of reporting, there is bound to be some loss of journalistic integrity. In some situations journalists are relying on tools such as wikipedia & twitter as their one & only source. This lack of fact checking from reliable sources isn’t good news as one social experiment showed.

A final year sociology student Shane Fitzgerald placed a fabricated quote on Wikipedia when the French composer Maurice Jarre passed away. The quote appeared in obituaries and articles in British, Indian and Australian newspapers. The hoax remained uncovered for weeks until Fitzgerald emailed the newspapers to advise of the hoax. Many newspapers retracted the quote however it remained in tact on many other websites and newspapers.

Citizen journalism is more ubiquitous than ever with tools such as the Internet, mobile phones, digital cameras and blogs giving everyone a voice. As a result, we have witnessed the Mumbai bombings unfold via Twitter, heard first hand accounts of a plane landing on the Hudson River almost immediately and even watched amateur footage of the recent Victorian bush fires.

Reporting carries a degree of responsibility and as citizen journalists we need to produce factual content that can be verified by other sources. Obviously we would hope that honesty and courtesy are present in eye witness accounts – but as we’ve discovered this week this isn’t always the case.

While many of us had a laugh is it right that a liar may walk away with a career. And would we be so welcoming if she did this at the stabbing of good Samaritan Luke Mitchell? Should we tolerate it? Should the police tolerate this? Obviously the police wasted time tracking down Chk-chk-bang to discovered she fabricated the entire affair. I guess we shall watch with bated breath as the story continues to unfold – or not.

I’m sure someone who takes the responsibility of journalism very highly is the new editor of The Monthly. We learnt this week that The Monthly will be edited by 23 year old super genius Ben Naparstek. He doesn’t like being called a ‘wonder-kid’ or ‘boy genius’. And a quick fact check of his age reveals yes he certainly is an adult. But that doesn’t make the news any less jaw-dropping! I look forward to seeing the direction of The Monthly particularly the role of the editorial board. The most recent editor, Sally Warhaft resigned after continual disputes with the editorial board. The final straw being about who should write the introduction for last month’s cover. This is definitely a ‘watch this space’ topic.

So the under-25s certainly hit the news this week. I wonder who we’ll be talking about next week.

Until then have a great weekend!

the c word