Archive for November, 2008

November 30th, 2008

P2P interview #2 with Alek Boyd : "a relationship based on lies, baseless presumptions, resentments and utopias normally does not last very long"

by Laurent François

Alek Boyd is a famous blogger and activist who decided to campaign for freedom of speech against Chavez. He also built up VCrisis. Alek accepted to answer some questions for Social Media [re]loaded.

# Hello Alek! Could you introduce yourself in few words and tell us what you’re doing?

Hi there, I am a Venezuelan blogger cum civil and political rights activist. Currently I am in charge of operations for the Human Rights Foundation.

# How internet and more precisely social media help you for your activities? And can you also explain what’s the purpose of VCrisis?

Internet is the true revolution. Is a leveled-playing field where citizens, or social media, can voice contrasting opinions and break myths, peddled by the establishment, on equal terms. All that is needed is a good understanding of how internet works, and how the different tools available can help reach wider audiences, without having to conform with editorial criteria that do not always reflect reality objectively. It has helped me tremendously in unmasking many lies, distortions and misinformation, spread throughout the years by the Chavez regime and his apologists worldwide.

The purpose of Vcrisis was, precisely, to expose a side of Venezuela’s reality, in English, that, at the time, was almost non existent on the web. For let us remember that the love affair between Chavez and international public opinion was in its initial stages when I started blogging in October 2002. Fortunately a relationship based on lies, baseless presumptions, resentments and utopias normally does not last very long.

# I discovered you thanks to Yoani Sanchez: do you suffer from the same difficulties to blog in your country and if so, how do you use social media to broadcast your message?

No, Venezuelans bloggers are free to say what they want, when they wanted. There are no restrictions, barring broadband problems or electric blackouts. Yoani can only dream about the freedom that we have in Venezuela. For instance, my blogging activities led, in 2006, to presidential candidate Manuel Rosales hiring me as a consultant, through Penn, Schoen and Berland. As such, I shadowed him around the country for the entire length of the campaign, a first in Venezuela and, as Daniel Duquenal says, perhaps anywhere in the world. Yoani couldn’t possibly have done that, however important a blogger she is, simply because there have not been elections where an opposition has filed candidates in Cuba since the dictator took over in 1959.

Therefore blogs are great tools for broadcasting messages, and, provided these messages resonate with people, then one can get to do extraordinary things. The prospect of bloggers, on either side of the divide, being allowed close and constant access to presidential candidates is unprecedented, but only through social media could I have achieved that. Fascinating stuff that will become reality in years to come.

# If you could achieve an utopic project thanks to the Web, what would it be?

If I could make common sense common, through free, web-based education programs and applications geared for everyone, I would die a happy man, for most of the problems in this planet of ours are solvable, just by applying commonsensical approaches.s

November 29th, 2008

The world is not flat: a music example with "unfaithful" . Rihanna vs Khadhalil Vizhundhen.

by Laurent François

We often say that the world is flat, and that we all experience a kind of global culture. It’s only partially true. Influences circulate faster, deeper, through digital channels.
But when you compare Rihanna version of Unfaithful (above) and Kadhalil Vizhunthen Vizhundhen’s one (below), you’ll probably get the feeling that if the musical notes, the cultural messages are quiet different. And not the same (or not the meme ?)

To go deeper:

November 28th, 2008

Digital in real life: retail innovation, consumers experience improved

by Laurent François

Have you ever had this discussion about the true power of the so-called “digital world” in real life?

What’s interesting is that online & offline separation is out. Now the question is: how to get in touch with the daily concerns / interests of people, who are more and more connected to a digital world.

For Trendhunter:

“Jeremy Gutsche (Nov 27, 08) – Black Friday 2008 sales are upon us, which has everyone thinking retail. Instead of exploring the Black Friday ads and Black Friday sales, this article explores the many ways that retailers are innovating to get people into their stores”

About this changing consumer Razorfish published a white paper called “Consumer Experience Report”. You can download it here.
I agree with Vinod on his hope for the “Increasing importance of user experience design and designing for the “Facebook generation””. And the fact that the conversation can now start in the street is even better 😉

More about this report:

November 27th, 2008

Typepad Journalist Bailout Program is at least a joke, at worst an indecency

by Laurent François

You’re probably going to find that I’m soooooo French, but sometimes I definitely have to express my feelings when I absolutely don’t agree with a product sold online, moreover when it’s about social media, journalism and information

Context to understand :

“Anil Dash, vice président de Six Apart la société qui propose les plateformes TypePad et Vox ainsi que l’outil Movable Type (utilisé pour gérer Le Monde du Blog) a lancé, aux USA, le TypePad Journalist Bailout Program. Un programme qui propose aux journalistes qui ont été licenciés par leur journal d’ouvrir gratuitement un blog TypePad avec un compte professionnel.”

At first sight, if we think in terms o SWOT, it’s probably not a bad idea: a mass of skilled people are now unemployed, so we should establish a program to make them keep publishing their articles, in order to promote their know-how and their talent. Why not.

But when it comes to Six Apart, here’s their business model :

“What’s the Deal?

Membership in the TypePad for Journalists program includes a few key benefits:
The best tools for the job: TypePad Pro is the same industrial-strength blogging platform that powers many of the biggest media sites in the world. TypePad offers all the latest technical features with a simple interface that lets you focus on your ideas, not technology. All backed by real humans to answer your questions.
Powerful advertising services: Six Apart Media offers an experienced and creative advertising program that already helps hundreds of publishers earn more than they would with simple text ads like Google AdWords.
Promotion and Education: We’ll promote your site on, our directory of the best of blogs, and connect you to experts from Six Apart and from across the web who can teach you how to build your audience and make your new blog a success.

Six Apart only sells…hope and means to imply that journalists will get a subsitute revenue through advertizing (but we all know the potential cashflow is very low, and that it dismantles a journalist’s credibility: a journalist is not a social function who is devoted to brands, but he’s here to develop a critical thought, to confront sources of information to write an article which is objective enough to be trustworthy). Here’s what is mentioned on Six Apart’s blog :

But what we can do is give journalists the tools to take control of their own presence online. This program will let a lot of the most eager writers and reporters learn the ropes about how to be more effective and successful on the web. That hope shows through in just some of the responses we’ve seen already:

“Thanks for coming up with such a smart solution to the journalist’s dilemma! Hope we can work something out.”
“You have no idea how many questions this answers for me that I never even quite understood how to pose.”

Very strange: it sounds like a fake promise of a fake seller in a tabloid (you know, just after the naked girl, page 3).

Priya Ganapati (journalist for Wired) sums up the incoherent elements of this journalist bailout program:

“You have to a build a blog, you have to build a following, you have to have a product out there before you even begin to think about revenue and a sales team,” Ganapati said. “And what TypePad isn’t doing is focusing on the features of the product; instead it’s talking up the ad sales of it. If you’re going to start a new blog, or you’re an existing blogger and want to get into it full time, you have to concentrate on picking the best blogging platform that is offered and build a strong readership. And then you start thinking about ad sales. But if you start thinking about ad sales first, you probably will end up making an unsuitable choice for your means.”

Thank you Thien for this news…

November 26th, 2008

Online advertizing in the social media era: be simple or be naked

by Laurent François


As mentioned yesterday, Vogue‘s staff claims that creativity has to be improved in advertizing, even for (wow damn!) banners.
As Tessa Wegert says:

“Will the reign of large formats last? Internet users are clearly overwhelmed. Studies show consumers consider site clutter, and the standard ad units that contribute to it, very annoying, even though they continue to click. If they feel bombarded by advertising now, imagine what a few more years of quarter- and half-page ads could do.

Perhaps it’s time to take a cue from the offline world and bring back the smaller, less offensive ads we left behind. Doing so both appeases our audiences and forces us to focus on substance and placement, as we should.”

Moreover because online advertizing is growing slower than what used to be expected:

So to say, you need to be simple but eyes-catching.
Maki sums up the necessary values marketers have to give to people who offer their time to a brand:

The joy of consumption lies not only in the skimming of a news story but the processing of new perspectives to enrich a personal worldview or professional need.

There’s nothing less natural for a web-user that an unwanted ad or message on his brower. So you have to be soft and think touch before producing and broadcasting your ads.

The logic we implement in social media for engaging a conversation are more and more the same path we have to build for advertizing: authenticity, ROI for the reader / consumer, transparency.

As in the very last episode of “How I met your mother”named “the naked man”, you have to figure out what you’ve done during the last 5 years and think if you haven’t done too much, whereas you would just have to be…naked.

Barney: “All these years I’ve been suiting-up when I should’ve been suiting-down.