Monday, 30 November 2009

Paying For Newspaper Media Content

Before you read any further I would like to explain the new pay as you go policy I have introduced to this blog. Please insert quarters and dollars in the coin slot provided to read on!

I got this great idea from Johnston Press a UK newspaper owner who are acting on the ideas of Rupert Murdoch to charge for on-line content. What do you think? If you're having trouble paying by the way our 24 hour helpline are always available to help.

The latest news on this subect is interesting. Of course as we know information is power and if its scarce it always has a value. The thing is though that it all depends on value to the reader, and in the case of social media (the clue is in the title) there is the matter of media philosophy too.

Newspapers (locked into an old media paradigm) will naturally try and run new media by the old rules. Understandable really as they try a forestall a slow and grizzly death. But if 'we the people' are the orginators of content and have the technologies to share it what is the role and purpose of a newspaper anyhow?

Johnston Press also seem to have an audience issue (sic) If what they do is so compelling then it would have a large audience which in turn would generate advertising revenue. The truth is that their form of media is as unnattractive to a lot of advertisers as much as their content is unnattractive to a lot of readers.

Local communities can manage their own news and information. The days of the local paper rag are dead and gone.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Why Dogs Don't Blog

Putting the obvious stuff to one side like 'my dog doesn't own a PC', paws aren't built for keyboards, dogs don't care about world affairs, technological developments, personal development, hobbies, making money, affiliate marketing etc etc. Dogs probably don't blog because they have better ways to socially network.

I started to ponder this as I sit here trying to think of something to post (dog has just brought toy to play with), and as I trawl the news sites and technorati, it seems that there is not alot of news even though there is alot of news. (Dog has just started to whine) Clearly I'm not living in the 'now' (Thanks Cesar) hmmm what if I became The Blog Whisperer? I could offer advice to bloggers about why their blogs are mischevious and badly behaved. What if you can only blog when your are 'calm-assertive'???

Now there's a thing. Could you take your blog for a walk? We could even have electronic 'poop bags' for the crap that is sometimes posted too! (Dog has just got on her bed) Great time to really go for it with this post..............damn another inspiration block.

Come on Muse throw me a bone. Give me a treat, tickle my chin....aha...something's we go!

Now what if the guys who invented Twitter had called it Bark instead. Would it have made a difference? what would the apps have been called? Woofsuite? Growl deck?...hmmm doesn't seem to have the same feel.

Fact is though the Dogosphere would be quite a straightforward place, not many topics of concern. Food, Sleep, Smells, Treats, Walks, Other Dogs...and selling merchandise on Zazzle.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Tony Blair Did Not Lead The Blind Into Iraq War

As more evidence emerges from the Iraq Inquiry it is becoming clear that Tony Blair did not lead a blind public or a blind administration to war. There were a significant number of people who saw past the flimsy justifications and they are being vindicated as the Iraq Inquiry unfolds.

The lesson is clear. Problems and their solutions are characterised differently by the powerful and the people. The Iraq situation is also a lesson in truth, even the power of a pragmatic version of truth is overwhelmed when ultimate power resides in the hands of a few at the top.

Greenstock saw this:
"If you do something internationally that the majority of UN member states think is wrong, illegitimate or politically unjustifiable, you are taking a risk in my view"
Sir Jeremy Greenstock

A significant number of people had a hunch that Britain's reputation and the reputation of its Prime Minister would be undermined by the path of head on war with Eye Rack. It seems Blair had it right with making al qaeda being the priority and then his view was shifted to an participating in an Iraq Spectacular. The question is what made him shift his opinion?

Why did he think swinging in behind George Dubble Yu would be a good idea?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Thierry Henry Shoots Himself In The Foot With World Cup Handball

In a gold plated example of gullibility Thierry Henry has undermined his reputation and sent his brand sponsors running for the hills in case they are associated with cheating.

Sacre Bleu! Quelle tricherie. There is clearly an inverse ration between soccer skill and acumen. Nobody like a cheat and nobody likes an internationally uncovered cheat. How shallow any success in the World Cup will be for the French Soccer team now.

Va va voom the Irish are pushing for a Renault (oops I meant Replay) and the French are making sure that it isn't handed to them on a plate. In 2006, Henry was valued as the ninth most commercially marketable footballer in the world. Not any more his product endorsements look like they might stall.

As for his other sponsorships? perhaps they need to review their straplines?

Nike - Just Do What You Have To To Win

Reebok - I'm Not What I Seem

Gilette - The Worst A Man Can get

Pepsi - Dare To Call Me A Cheat

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Camilla Dallerup Celebrity Out Of There

So Camilla Dallerup is the first to bottle out of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I am a bit suprised that she didn't expect food to be in short supply after all the series has been going for Seven Years. Doesn't she watch the telly?

Mind you the psychological melting pot that is IACGMOOH works in mysterious ways. What if she sensed a confrontation to her ego, what if she sensed the potential for personal change. Avoiding these things has to be rationalised somehow.

So, when her agent called was Camilla Dallerup gullible in accepting the offer to star in the show?

No doubt the real reason will come out in her celebrity block busting autobiography at some point. I can't wait...yawn....

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Meaning of Words

How much time do you put into making sure you are clear about what you mean? How much time and emotional energy do you think is wasted because the meaning of the words you use are given a different interpretation by the reader or listener?

Lanaguage is a great asset. It is the means by which ideas get from my head into yours. You'd think that when people speak the language that would be a trouble free thing. We know different. Words are used to deceive as well as inform and clarify and they are able to decieve because of the way in which can hold different meanings.

I think that being gullible is related to taking words at face value, or assuming what they mean without seeking further clarification, or evidence. The situation is made worse because often we are too polite to probe for what the other person really means. When people are defensive and un-helpful about making things clear for you then this is really fishy and sure sign that something isn't right.

In education and higher education in particular students are often confronted with the ambiguous meaning of words. One of the biggest weaknesses (how would this have read if I'd said failings?) in student writing is that often they do not explore the definitions and and alternative meanings of the key terms they are discussing. This is down to the social habit we all have of assuming that words have fixed meaning and that your take on what a word means is the same as mine.

The people who try and make sense of the words we use (Grammarians and Semanticists) show us that a word is not static and absolute it is dynamic in its application and its meaning. Popular examples of this are the words 'bad' and 'gay' as this old Ovaltine advert shows.


The downside of checking the meaning of everyword of course is that it takes time too. We all hate being called Pedantic. The thing is that it's really not the word Pedant that we dislike but its meaning! As this definition explains, "A Pedant is a person who is overly concerned with formalism and precision, or who makes a show of his learning"

One group of people who are deeply concerned with the meaning of words are people of study and practice neuro linguistic programming The chances are that you have heard of it if you read blogs like Gullibility. For those of you who are less familiar, it is an approach to communication and sense making used by therapists created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. As well as being inspired by the work of counsellors and therapists they used ideas from Noam Chomsky the father of Grammar and Gregory Bateson the anthropologist. Their main book is:

This stuff has real world implications for organisations and business too. Think of a university. Now, do we call the people who come to learn at the university 'students' or 'customers'? Depending of the choice of label this affects the way we think about and act towards those people. The same in commercial life, do we serve audiences, segements, customers, buyers, consumers, users, clients,partners, co-creators of value, targets,suckers, punters? What is the prevailing word in your business and what does it really mean!

In our personal lives the same concern for word meaning applies. Being alert to what people mean is a crucial way in which you can stop people taking advantage of you.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Rupert Murdoch Sincerely Believes We Need His News

Powerful Media Tycoon Rupert Murdoch is always keen to get people to pay for the content his organisations create. At a basic level this is only fair and natural.

It is clear that he is operating from a particular mind-set that might, just might be slightly out of touch with a changing world. This mind-set is one that belongs to the 20th century. It is an exploitatitive and extractive mind set that flourishes in the world of transaction and not the world of relationships.

Don't get me wrong. Origination and creation are prized possessions that the originators have every right to benefit from to the fullest extent. But there is something troubling about Mr Murdoch's attitude and intention in regard to his ambtion to stop search engines such as Google citing headlines created by his organisations in search lists.

Can I put my finger what I feel the issue is here? I think it has something to do with the several interconnected things. Firstly the Murdoch Empire must benefit in some way from doing searches to their content mustn't they? Secondly the headlines (whilst orginated in the Murdoch-verse) are merely 'cues' not full content and are no different to newspapers being displayed in shops and on forecourts. Are we going to be charged for 'looking' at his newspapers as we walk past the shelves in shops next or pulling up on a garage forecourt? Thirdly in his bid to control content is he under-estimating the relational and knowledge dimensions of nature of social media? Google and other search engines are primary methods by which people get information about the world. Do we really need, are we really so dependent on Rupert Murdoch for what we know about the world. We have choices too. I don't rely on his organisations to tell me about the world. I'm even thinking that wall to wall 24/7 news coverage is bad for the general psyche of the nation anyhow.

If I have to pay him to find out what he would like to say then I'm not really interested. Imagine...if I was powerful enough and technically sophisticated enough to block him and his staff from reading this post unless they paid $20,000. Now of course he would say that it all about perceived value and that his news headlines are worth more than my blog post. He might have a point, and yet my readers might think otherwise.

If enough people vote with their clicks then Mr Murdoch might just find that he pushed media readers a little too far. What do you reckon?

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fort Hood Shootings A Microcosm Of Global Complexity

The murderous acts of Major Nidal Malik Hasan at Ford Hood Texas say something about the globally connected and complicated world we live in.
Clearly he was unable to reach a balance between his cultural and religious orgiins and the duty he was obliged to perform as a member of the US military.

The accessibility to lethal fire power for people who have torn loyalties and commitments is self evident. But what if anything can be done to prevent it unless we degenerate into the tribalism from which such behaviour is spawned in the first place.

I imagine a flash solution will have passed through many people's minds. That solution will have been along the lines of some form of 'ethnic-psychological cleansing' that thinks that the solution to this problem is to only recruit people from particular backgrounds.

If the real war for in Iraq and Afghanistan is over a 'world view' then proceeding down this path means that the Taleban mindset has won. They have a tribal dogmatic mind-set and they want us to come down to their level to fight.

Whatever the shock and individual grief these sorts of acts create. We need to live together peacefully in a multi-cultural and vibrant world where difference is respected and dissimilarity is celebrated.

Becoming an homogenised conformative unimaginative and simplistic human being is an evolutionary cul-de sac.

Because "His death is not imminent," as Lt Gen Cone has said. He will be justly and tried and sentenced for this heinous crime as an individual who has broken the law not as somemone who represents a culture, a religion, or an ideology.

For more read this post The Psychology of Hasan: The Ft. Hood Shooter written by John M Grohol PsyD November 9, 2009

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Consumer Vision of University and Student Commitments

There is an interesting assumption behind the so called Vision For Universities which seems to imply that students should be worshipped as 'customers' because they pay fees.

I completely agree that the experience of university should be a good one and that the thinking power in universities should be tapped to solve real world problems (as well as develop cultured reasoning and understanding of our world). Like any conceptual statement there are real world implications for charactersing students as 'consumers'. This implies that there is knowledge on a shelf which students simply access and 'swallow'. Anybody coversant with the way in which adults learn knows that this is a gross and misleading simplification. Higher Education isn't the mere consumption of knowledge it is a transformative experience. It requires the student (clue in the name btw) to enagage in effortful thinking about definitional issues, conceptual issues, categorical issues, and issues relating to what consitutes 'reality' and how things are known. Education and learning is not a product in the transactional sense.

There is an issue of commitment though. Sure universities and their staff can commit to providing a good student experience, they can commit to articulating the value proposition and the 'deliverables' but this omits consideration of a crucial element the system...the student themselves.

The 'value' and outcomes of a university experience are co-created. The student attitude and behaviour is directly correlated to what they are likely to get from the experience as much as the 'contact' time, tutor capability and facilities. What part do students play in the creation of their university experience?

What responsibilities fall to the student? If they turn up hungover at 2.00pm in the afternoon after getting to bed at 5.00am is there an entitlement to penalise them for adversely affecting a lecture or seminar experience for other students and the tutor?

Can tutors penalise students who don't engage and participate and make seminars more like seances? And don't give me the 'its all down to the tutor' argument that is simply unfair and untrue.

In the commercial world if attendees to a meeting were disengaged, sulky, hungover uncommitted then the person in charge of the meeting would have the right to remove them and even possibly sack them.

Just how 'real' does Mr Mandelson want a University to feel for the student? If he wants universities to get real then I don't see why universities don't get real with students. Instead of molly coddling them with 'formative feedback' and respecting their individuality, perhaps the weaker students should be told exactly how it is?

How would this go down? 'I don't think you are intellectually capable of doing the work? You are idle get your arse into gear, I don't like your attitude, sort yourself out or get out of my seminar, if you don't bother to contribute don't bother coming, if you persist in texting and checking facebook whilst I'm lecturing get out of the room, if you haven't bothered doing private study and reading the articles for the seminar I'm not letting you join in the seminar etc etc.

Commitments work both ways. If Mr Mandelson wants to 'up the ante' I'm all for it. I'm confident that tutors can deliver excellent experiences and courses. I'm not so sure students are up to the same commitment.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Professor David Nutt Confuses Facts and Judgements

There might of course be a hidden agenda larger than the issue of making statement based on scientfic facts in the case of the removal Professor David Nutt.

As a natural scientist and an academic it will have been important to him to air information in a spirit of free speech in the hope that his learned reputation as an objective researcher entitled him to a point of view that would be believed.

This might be regarded as politically naive or very astute. A scientist will operate on the assumption that there is a difference between facts and beliefs. It is clear that Professor Nutt believes that the facts should be allowed to speak for themselves and that social factors do not apply. In making a case for 'the facts' he is emphasising his belief that Politicans approach truth in a pragmatic rather than objective way.

The fact is politics is about social judgement. It is about pragmatic truth not objective truth. The scientific facts about the impact of drugs are different from the socially believed impacts. Further more the scientific 'facts' about social impacts depend on assumptions about the 'metrics' that are deemed valid. If the £Sd of medical and policing impacts are the only measure then perhaps he has a point, if other less objective factors are considered then perhaps he doesn't. How do you measure the social consequences and impacts of leniency in this case? How do you know the very long term effects in individual cases? What are the philosophical assumptions of his position?

So what was Professor Nutt's real agenda?