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Hello, I'm Andy Ross. You can find me on twitter at @AJMROSS.


    Print Is Dead. Long Live the Print.

    The Media Guardian have today reported that City AM’s profits have dropped from £439,000 in 2010 to £20,365 last year, that’s 95%.

    Take a closer look at the financial freesheet’s figures and I’m struggling to explain how City AM manages to only make a £20k profit from £8.6m revenue? But what about the future of print…

    Since 1995, when the Metro was established in Sweden, over 300 free daily newspapers have been introduced in almost 60 countries, mostly in Europe. We know that the model is based on selling content to readers and access to those readers to advertisers and it is generally considered that newspapers are financially ‘healthy’ when up to 70% of their income is derived from advertising. Today’s figures show us that 90% of City AM is based on selling advertising space, and if you picked up a City AM you will see that it roughly has a 50:50 advertising to editorial ratio.

    It is interesting to note that City AM increased spend can be part accounted for the investment in digital development of the paper. Without doubt, Virgin Media’s rollout of WiFi across the London Underground network will have a substantial impact on the freemium publishing model.

    In March this year industry anaylst Douglas McCabe was quoted as saying that that the WiFi rollout would mean the publishing industry would: “… need to shift from a content supply and push model to a service model, understanding needs at different times of the day, which needs a different management mindset… ”.

    Funnily enough in the same piece Lawson Muncaster, managing director of City AM, said that “people do not choose content because of the platform it is delivered through; it is selected due to the quality of the content.”

    “Remember that in terms of mobility, there is nothing more mobile than a newspaper,” he says. So why the significant spend Lawson?

    Perhaps he’s looking towards the Metro for digital leadership.

    Back in August campaignlive.co.uk ran a feature on Matt Teeman, looking at how the Metro’s new Commercial Director is moving beyond the reliance on print advertising revenue (remember that 90%) and moving towards a brand designed to be consumed on the move at different times of day.

    Print is not dead.  Lawson is right, the portable nature of print means its still has great following and plenty to offer – IF (BIG IF!) it embraces real innovation. Print publications becoming web portals becoming social media outlets becoming twitter channels becoming virtual radio and TV stations – that’s the future Lawson – get on it.

    — 1 year ago
    #newspaper  #digital  #print  #publishing 
    The history of communications and its implications for the Internet

    I’m currently reading a paper from back in the year 2000 about the implications of comms history on the Internet. The paper was written by Andrew Odlyzko of AT&T’s Labs Research team, and I’m guessing this paper formed the basis of his "Content is Not King" paper from 2001. This paper makes a fantastic read with today’s social web in mind.

    I’m only currently a quarter of the way through the paper, the first part of which discusses the introduction of telegraph and the postal network in the mid 19th century, it’s impact on business and point-to-point communication - and how lessons can be learned and adapted to the increased usage of the Internet.

    I just want to lift a couple of lines out that have struck me so far.

    I wonder if the Zuckerburg’s and Dorsey’s of this world had read the following:

    There are persistent fears that the Internet will homogenize the world’s societies, turning them all into slight shades of the American culture. Such fears are not new, since they were also associated with the telephone, and later with radio and television.

    The Internet has stimulated a series of sociological studies, some of which claim that it decreases human contact, while others come to the opposite conclusion This is just what happened with the telephone. It is certainly true that proportions of different types of interactions have changed. It appears hard to categorize them easily, though.

    “For better or worse, I expect these changes to facilitate a continuing transformation away from interaction in solitary communities and workgroups and towards interaction in farflung, sparsely-knit and specialized social networks.” [Wellman, 2000]

    As I mentioned earlier, this paper no doubt formed the basis of his infamous 2001 paper, and for those of you who thought “content” was THE buzzword in 2012, you’re more than a decade late:

    The Internet is widely predicted to produce “digital convergence,” in which computing, communications, and broadcasting all merge into a single stream of discrete bits carried on the same ubiquitous network. The popular images of convergence are heavily tinged with the flavor of Hollywood. “Content is king” is the universal buzzword, where content is usually taken to mean professionally prepared material such as books, movies, sports events, or music.

    Although the paper does profligate the position that point-to-point communication has more worth, and is more valuable than content.

    And this, well this just made me smile, especially if you’ve ever worked with a stickler for punctuation and grammar:

    Those who lament the lack of style in current letters compared to the often essay-quality compositions of the 17th or 18th centuries need to realize the different environment we operate in. We do not have weeks to compose a letter, and speed is of the essence. This trend is exacerbated with email. Email messages are often sadly deficient in style, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Instant messaging is typically even worse. However, when it is necessary to deal with scores of email messages per day, it is natural to treat them as informal conversations. After all, are we expected to always speak in grammatically correct sentences?

    New communication technologies require new modes of acceptable usage. Today people complain about rudeness of cell phone users in restaurants or on airplanes, and wonder at the strange sights of cell phone users with headsets who seem to be talking to themselves. The phone also required development of new rules of etiquette [Fischer, 1988]. Even the wider use of mail for social communication led to “a burgeoning market for how-to-manuals to teach ordinary Americans the once-arcane custom of maintaining a correspondence with distant friends and family” [John, 1998].

    I’ll share some more insight as I continue the read of my commute, but for those interested, you can download the paper here: http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/1525/history_communications2.pdf

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #communications  #communication  #web  #digital  #history of communication 
    Be part of the Wiki debate: 3 step guide

    Since December last year, my organisation, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), has been working with the Wikipedia community in an ongoing conversation about how the PR profession might work effectively with Wikipedians and Wikipedia.

    Last week, the first action of this dialogue materialized with Wikimedia UK hosting draft guidelines (written by the CIPR’s social media panel) for the public relations profession on using Wikipedia, for comment from Wikipedians and the public relations profession. The guidelines are intended to provide clear and detailed advice on how we as PR professionals should edit pages and engage with the Wikipedia community. Since the draft guidance launched there has been considerable engagement with this process, with over 120 edits and a vibrant discussion page. It is our hope that at the end of this consultation we will be able to produce a set of guidelines for our community (a practical handbook if you will) to draw on in day-to-day practise.

    This draft document provides an opportunity for you to be part of the debate, to discuss your views, your opinions and your experiences of the Wikipedia editing process. It also provides an opportunity to show that we can work together with Wikipedians, to build mutual understanding, and produce an evolving resource that will shape the way our profession interacts with a resource of such influence.

    It is a shared concern that one potential barrier preventing our community from contributing in this consultation is that the ‘wiki’ platform isn’t inherently intuitive. In the next few months we look forward to producing an on-demand webinar to accompany the publication of the guidance, whilst on Thursday 21 June we will be hosting a Social Summer session with Paul Wilkinson, CIPR Fellow and a long-standing Wikipedian.

    In the meantime, if like me, you’ve never previously used the wiki platform, but you’re eager to have a say, in the spirit of mutual understanding, the team at Wikimedia UK have assisted me in creating the following quick three-step guide to explain how you can be part of this collaborative process.

    Step One:
    Create a user account

    It is easy to create yourself a user account and you are not required to provide any personal information:

    1.       Navigate to the Create accountpage or click Log in/create account, located at the top right side of the page

    2.       Choose your Username

    3.       Select your Password

    4.       Entering your E-mail address is optional, but is needed for password resets, should you forget your password.~

    5.       Click Create account.

    Creating an account allows you to create new articles (pages), upload images, and rename pages across the Wikipedia site. You also get access to special features such as My watchlist. A watchlist lets you follow the articles that you are editing and bookmark other interesting pages. To add an article to your watchlist, click the star icon at the top of any article.

    More importantly, since all your edits are assigned to your account username, you have an identity on Wikipedia. The CIPR recommends that PR practitioners choose a username that is transparent and identifiable to you as a corporate representative. Avoid using just a company, group or product name, or sharing a username (see username guidelines).

    The CIPR also recommends that new users add information about yourself to your User page. Maintaining your User page is a good way to build trust and provide authenticity to your edits. Your User page is accessed by clicking on your username. Click Edit to write about yourself. Then click Save page at the bottom of the screen when you are finished writing.

    Note: You can edit Wikipedia without having an account. However, without an account, your edits are assigned to your computer’s Internet protocol (IP) address; some consider this a deliberate masking of identity in order to hide the impartiality of edits. Remember a core principle of editing Wikipedia is that editing articles where it might be hard to remain impartial is considered a conflict of interest on Wikipedia.

    Step Two:
    Making edits

    Once you are signed in you are ready to edit your article.

    To make changes to an article, click Edit at the top of an article (just beneath where you have clicked to signed in).

    This will bring you to a page with a text box containing the editable text of that page.  The text editor allows you to freely input text; advanced formatting options are further described in Step Four.

    It is often more convenient to copy and paste the text first from your word processing program into the Wikipedia text editor. You are free to type suggested edits, however please make sure that you cite your sources so others can check and extend your work. The CIPR recommends that all users post a timestamp when using the edit function; this can be done by clicking on the fourth icon along in the text editor.

    If you want to simply make spelling corrections, formatting, and minor rearranging of text you can click the This is a minor edit box before clicking Save.

    After you have finished your edits, click Save page. (it can be helpful to summarise the edits you have made in the  Edit Summary). Please note that it is best practice to click the Watch this page box so you can monitor the progress and development of the page in My watchlist.

    Your edits are now visible to anyone who visits the page. If you have more information to add or need to correct a mistake, make another edit. Do not be afraid – you cannot accidentally make permanent deletions. All previous versions of an article are saved under View history and contributors can revert to an earlier version by simply clicking undo.

    Step Three:
    Contributing to a discussion

    Discussion appears at the top of each article. Discussion pages, commonly known as talk pages, are a place for you and other contributors to plan article structure, discuss and build consensus on article content, and ask for help from one another.

    You will see that the discussion on the ‘Draft best practice guidelines for PR’ is varied and at times polarized in opinion. Feel free to state your opinion of the document on the discussion page. The CIPR recommends that all users post a timestamp when using discussion pages; this can be done by clicking on the fourth icon along in the text editor. You can also Add topics for discussion by clicking Add topic to the right of the edit button.

    Step Three-and-a-half:
    Advanced editing

    Provided below is a handy cheat sheet of shortcuts that are frequently used in marking up wiki’s that will help you when you edit Wikipedia articles:

    (Source: Wikimedia UK)

    — 2 years ago
    #wikipedia  #public relations  #PR  #editing wikipedia  #wiki 
    A hairy looking billboard

    For guys who can’t grow facial hair… look away now.

    For all other beard lovers take note. South African creative marketing agency Bletchley Park along with Bronx Men’s Shoes have come up with an innovative Facebook campaign which utilizes an interactive beard growing billboard, in Cape Town.

    The bloke in the billboard ‘grows’ facial hair for each Facebook ‘like’. Also if like me, you want to watch what it is actually like to grow substantial facial hair, you can view the livestream on Bronx’s Facebook fan page.

    This runs alongside a competition for Facebook users to invite their friends to also like the page to win… a pair of shoes.

    Visit Facebook.com/BronxMensShoes to witness the beard growth.

    — 2 years ago
    #creative marketing  #advertising  #pr  #social media  #facebook 
    Women’s Super League Digital Ambassadors

    Paul Doyle in yesterday’s Guardian Sport online wrote about a group of 8 players in the Women’s Super League (the Ladies version of the FA Premier League) who will take the unprecedented step of displaying their personal twitter account name on sleeves of their shirts for the new season with the aim of raising the profile of the women’s game.

    The eight players or “digital ambassadors” are:
    : Steph Houghton @stephhoughton2
    Laura Bassett @laurabassett6
    Bristol Academy:
    Siobhan Chamberlain @Sio_Chamberlain
    Claire Rafferty @clrafferty1
    Doncaster Belles:
    Julie-Ann Russell @Juuulie_Ann
    Jill Scott @JillScott12
    Megan Harris @MegsHarris7
    Aroon Clansey @AroonClansey

    One would imagine that this decision has largely been taken due to fact that the Women’s World Cup final set a new record with 7,196 TPS (tweets per second) last year when the USA beat Japan. Back in 2010 the men’s World Cup Final marked the largest period of sustained activity for an event in Twistory, with over 2,000 TPS during the last 15 minutes of the match.

    It will be interesting to see what content the ladies put out in a concentrated effort to engage with what is said to be the third most popular team sport in England. Stay following…

    [Image via: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17608531]

    — 2 years ago
    #women's super league  #twitter  #football 
    The Life and Times of Edward Laurens Mark

    If we can all think back to university for a minute; what was the worst part of your time there? Was it this? Could it be something along these lines? No, the man who ruined it all and a name that should send a shiver down your spine is Edward Laurens Mark – the pioneer of parenthetical referencing, or the Harvard System.

    Having spent the last few days with colleagues standardising references in a soon to be published text, my disdain for Mr. Mark has reached new heights.

    Edward’s first foray referencing came in his role as Hersey professor of anatomy and director of Harvard’s zoological laboratory. In 1881 Mark published a landmark paper on the common garden slug, then on page 194 of that work appears a parenthetic author-year citation accompanied by an explanatory footnote. Indeed, a former student of Mark, Theodore Roosevelt, was one of the first students to write his thesis using this style. Mark’s basic system, which only became known as the Harvard System in the mid 20th century, remains intact and is still in use by many students, journals and academics to this day. [Source: http://www.uefap.com/writing/referenc/harvard.pdf].

    All in all, my contempt for Edward is similar to schoolchildren who bemoan the work of William Shakespeare. Similar to taking Benilyn cough syrup for a cold. Hard to swallow, but when it’s all said and done – it’s good for you.

    Referencing has moved on a little since the days of Edward Laurens Mark, so here’s a little social media referencing 101:


    • Krums, J. (2009) There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy. Twitter [online] Posted 15 January. Available from: http://Twitter.com/jkrums/status/1121915133 [Accessed on: 08 March 2012]

      Tip: if real name is unknown, reference the username.

    Facebook status

    • Obama, B. (2009) Humbled. http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/
      Facebook [online] Posted 9 October. Available from:
      [Accessed on: 08 March 2012]

      Tip: if using a brand/fan page, reference the brand/fan page name.


    • McDonald, M. (2012) (2012) Mountainous, Nature pinboard. Pinterest [online] Posted 03 March. Available from: http://pinterest.com/pin/
      106679084893337155/ [Accessed: 08 March 2012].
    — 2 years ago with 1 note
    #harvard referencing  #edward laurens mark  #social media referencing  #social media  #digital 
    "Miss… can we watch #Kony2012?"

    Seconds after I got home last night; “Have you seen Kony 2012 trending on twitter? All the kids are talking about Rihanna, Beyonce, and even Stephen Fry tweeting about it…” My first thought, I’ve been left behind by 13 year olds, then the obligatory, “I’ve had a busy day, and no I haven’t.” “Well can you see if it’s suitable to show my form tomorrow morning?” So I dutifully investigated.

    Invisible Children have created a viral video outlining the actions of Joseph Kony. Using the hashtags #Kony2012, #StopKony, and the phrase “Make Kony Famous”, Invisible Children’s cause was trending worldwide in hours. By targeting the key gatekeepers to the masses – celebrities or culturemakers – Invisible Children have gained more support in 24 hours than in their past 9 years of activity.

    A look on Social Mention, reveals a strength ratio of 99% (mentions in last 24 hours divided by total possible mentions) for both #StopKony and #Kony2012, and a sentiment of 3:1 in favour. The video alone has well over 15million views less than 96 hours after release. What marks this out from the usual ‘viral video de jour’ is that this video isn’t a Hollywood Megamercial or a dancing M&M, it’s about warlords, genocide and human rights.

    But, who are Invisible Children? There are indeed legitimate concerns about their strategy and finances. Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they haven’t had their finances externally audited. They’re a group in favour of direct military intervention via the less than reputable national Ugandan Army. Plus it seems the majority of their income goes towards creating campaigns such as this (actually the 11th in a long production line). Musa Okwonga offers an insightful background to the rights and wrongs of supporting this campaign in The Indy.

    And debate polarises online from;

    Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign has revolutionized global involvement: By merely Tweeting or sharing a link, one can help save a region in need “- overstating influence if I’ve ever seen it.

    Invisible Children’s actions are tied heavily into the promotion of a false consciousness type of activism that glosses over the complex history of the region…” – overstating is becoming popular.

    However it is undeniable that as a viral video, it’s objective [Tick] and sentiment [Tick]. However, as an ongoing social media campaign will it create that longed for ‘stickiness’? As a mobilisation tool - how many will actually participate in the April 20th event? For that we must wait and see.

    My conclusion? Show it to them, it’s a beneficial way to educate them about social media campaigning and viral marketing, whilst also providing an understanding to both sides of the morality debate and - they’ve probably watched it already too. I wrote down a few simple points about public relations including a watered down version of the CIPR definition, I also asked to put the question to them “do you know what PR is?” Apparently she’s setting some homework about social media campaigning too. I’ll let you know the results.

    If you haven’t checked out the video, have a look when you’ve got a spare half hour;

    — 2 years ago
    #kony2012  #viral marketing  #social media  #digital media  #pr  #public relations 
    #Photocollage of #StPetersburg - 8

    #Photocollage of #StPetersburg - 8

    — 2 years ago