Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Maori TV from Manu and Me

I'm very happy that you got to five Maori Television.

I don't know much, or anything for that matter about Maori versions of things and all those conferences about 'indigenous' this and that. I don't know how it's funded and the charter and content ratios.

I just love Maori TV. It's cool. The presenters are cool, the graphics are cool and they play arty films and documentaries mixed in with kids cartoons and Breakers games.

In my day, Manu was on PlaySchool and TeKarere came on before the 'real' news and that was about it for Maori content.

When Maori TV launched five years ago I expected some PC drivel about how my lot had oppressed their lot and I certainly didn't expect to understand much beyond when Manu taught me to count to 10. Once the scary recession monster settles down, it will be great to see more companies advertising through such a targeted and positive medium.

Happy fifth birthday Maori Television and may you have many more.

Manu is now on display in the TePapa collections

Two programmes are being produced in house by Maori Television to screen on the official anniversary of Maori Television – Saturday March 28 2009. HARI HURITAU is a one-and-a-half hour special looking back over the past five years of Maori Television and will be followed by HARI HURITAU NGAHAU – a music entertainment show hosted by Te Hamua Nikora and Ngatapa Black.

Sensodyne Dove Dived Jellyfish Ad Worst By Far

'I dove under the waves'. Glaxo-Sensodyne, it's a shocker. It sounds stupid so then the put it on the screen like a big Powerpoint slide so you can read it back to yourself and confirm that it really does sound stupid. I don't know who wrote it, but it is quite frightening that some marketing folk sitting around a meeting table eating muffins approved it. So then it gets really good.

Experienced over-the-counter FMCG marketers know that jellyfish are in the habit of 'mouth attacks'. Therefore, anyone with sensitive teeth automatically can relate to the 'jellyfish attack as I dove under the waves' metaphor. Very relevant, and good use of your expensive 30 seconds. Perhaps they did a focus group and research proved that logical things like iced drinks and food ranked about 67th against the high-ranking 'dove under the waves jellyfish attacks'. It doesn't pay to get presumptuous.

The scenario gets more ridiculous with claims that switching toothpaste is SUCH as hassle! Oh the hassle of reaching for the blue box instead of the red one for the upwardly mobile time-poor 18-35yrs female in the ad. And after a jellyfish mouth attack too the poor thing. Please make it stop Glaxo, watching your ad is like biting down on tinfoil.

Brand Comms on Twitter: 8 things You Should Know

Handy stuff from Rik Klau over at Google:

1. Setting up a username makes monitoring Twitter much easier. This was a particularly acute problem for Blogger, since "blogger" is a pretty generic term. Setting up a persistent query for "blogger" yielded far too many hits per minute to be worthwhile... weeding through all of them to find the few that were specifically about big-B Blogger would take all day. Searching for "@blogger", by contrast, is much easier and more effective.

2. Replying as an individual is sometimes better than replying as the brand: The traffic of replies directed to @blogger varies from a couple a day to a few dozen (after launches like our Friend Connect integration), and some of those tweets are pretty specific to the individual user. Learning from Max Kalehoff's experiences at Clickable, in mid-February I started replying more as myself (@rklau) when the tweet was specific to the user. This has two advantages (at least): reducing the noise from the actual Blogger account to the more than 8,000 followers, and establishing a more personal connection between the user and myself. And I'm not alone - several other Blogger team members are engaged, and reaching out directly to users. Reactions are uniformly positive: people love knowing that individuals are involved, that we care about the product, and that we are trying to improve their Blogger experience.

3. Negative feedback and user frustration are part of the cost of admission: Not everyone is going to be thrilled with everything we do, and we needed to be comfortable with surfacing that frustration once we got active on Twitter. It's possible to turn frustrated users into fans with just a single message (see here: "Makes me sad!" "Try..." "OMG I love you!"), but the key is to engage users when appropriate, and offer guidance if you have any to give.

4. Users will help you do your job once you commit: This was true at FeedBurner when we used persistent RSS queries to surface blog posts and comments about FeedBurner so we could respond rapidly, and it's no less true today: once you open up this channel of communications, your users will help you spread the word. We won't catch every comment intended for us (not everyone knows we're on Twitter, for starters) - but the clusters of friends and followers often means that one of our followers will be following someone else who could use our help. When one person asks about unexpected behavior on Blogger, one of our followers will direct them to the right place. This is not a rare occurrence, and it creates a wonderful network effect that routinely amplifies our communications.

5. Use content you've already got: At Blogger, we already had Blogger Buzz, Blogger Status, Known Issues, Blogger in Draft blog, and Blogs of Note to communicate various info about Blogger. We use Twitterfeed to route the RSS feeds from each blog to our Twitter account. This ensures that anyone looking for the latest info about Blogger - whether it's a product announcement, a known issue, or a response to a user problem - can get it without having to look in multiple places. If you've got a corporate blog, recent announcements, or other content you're already producing, use Twitterfeed or Hootsuite or another tool to automatically route that content to Twitter so your followers hear from you on a regular basis. (Bonus tip: Press release-speak does not lend itself well to Twitter.)

6. Make sure multiple people are monitoring @replies for early warning signals. When Louis Gray notices that his RSS feed is broken due to what appears to be a Blogger bug (it was), you ignore such reports at your peril. Fortunately several of us saw the report, we were able to isolate the cause (one engineer in his hotel room in Austin, followed by one of our engineers in Krakow picking up where the other left off) and had a push ready within a day. Not only was Louis happy, it made our ensuing encounter on the plane home much more pleasant. :)

7. Ask questions. If you wait for everyone to ask you questions, you'll be reactive and you'll set the expectation that people will only hear from you when they complain. It's increasingly clear to us that a lot of Blogger users don't know that there are lots of options for customizing their templates available on the web, so last week we asked followers for their favorite recommendations. I'm summarizing those recommendations and will put a post on Blogger Buzz later today. (Which, of course, will get posted to Twitter as well.) Important note: if you ask questions, be prepared to act on the replies you get. Readers whose replies go into an apparent black hole will not be happy.

8. Be consistent. This is very much an extension of our "voice" online, and as such we've tried to ensure that when we do post, it sounds like us. 140 characters (the limit on Twitter messages) can be very restrictive, so ensuring that consistency is not always easy. This is particularly tricky if you're posting from multiple sources (corp blog, known issues, etc.) - so make sure some thought goes into how those posts are communicated, not just what is communicated.

As experiments go, this has been quite successful. We're reinforcing to users that we are listening and that we care about their experiences with the product (good and bad). It's no silver bullet - building and maintaining the product still require a tremendous investment of time and energy - but as part of a larger commitment to making a great product and keeping our users happy, it's absolutely a worthwhile investment. -hit record you may fall to sleep

I started reading the press stuff but then I started to lose the will to live. So then I had a coffee and braced myself to scan the document for dates. When is it coming? Don't know. Wake me up when you find out.

Shoe SPAM from has been getting some serious media, and rightfully so..what a great concept..shoe SPAM!

Kim Kardashian is the founder and chief fashion stylist of, an online shoe society that gives its customers their own set of stylists.

"Bob Shapiro and I started this company about a year ago, and we just launched it," Kim tells Anya. "Think about a shoe club of the month, You get a pair of shoes every month and it is amazing, and it's completely affordable -- $39 a month."

At US$39 a pair you do have to wonder if they are tacko-rama so they have glam looking 'personal stylists' to talk you into it...genius!

To become a member, shoppers take a survey to determine their look. Then, Kim and her fashion experts give customers a choice of five shoes per month to choose from.

I'm guessing the next bit is they SPAM you with shoes that you can't be bothered boxing up and sending back so you biff them in the back of your wardrobe. Very clever.

When Stars Twitter, a Ghost May Be Lurking

Published: March 26, 2009 NY Times

The rapper 50 Cent is among the legion of stars who have recently embraced Twitter to reach fans who crave near-continuous access to their lives and thoughts. On March 1, he shared this insight with the more than 200,000 people who follow him: “My ambition leads me through a tunnel that never ends.”

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Eric Gay/Associated Press

Shaquille O’Neal


Those were 50 Cent’s words, but it was not exactly him tweeting. Rather, it was Chris Romero, known as Broadway, the director of the rapper’s Web empire, who typed in those words after reading them in an interview.

“He doesn’t actually use Twitter,” Mr. Romero said of 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson III, “but the energy of it is all him.”

In its short history, Twitter — a microblogging tool that uses 140 characters in bursts of text — has become an important marketing tool for celebrities, politicians and businesses, promising a level of intimacy never before approached online, as well as giving the public the ability to speak directly to people and institutions once comfortably on a pedestal.

But someone has to do all that writing, even if each entry is barely a sentence long. In many cases, celebrities and their handlers have turned to outside writers — ghost Twitterers, if you will — who keep fans updated on the latest twists and turns, often in the star’s own voice.

Because Twitter is seen as an intimate link between celebrities and their fans, many performers are not willing to divulge the help they use to put their thoughts into cyberspace.

Britney Spears recently advertised for someone to help, among other things, create content for Twitter and Facebook. Kanye West recently told New York magazine that he has hired two people to update his blog. “It’s just like how a designer would work,” he said.

It is not only celebrities who are forced to look to a team to produce real-time commentary on daily activities; politicians like Ron Paul have assigned staff members to create Twitter posts and Facebook personas. Candidate Barack Obama, as well as President Obama, has a social-networking team to keep his Twitter feed tweeting.

The famous, of course, have turned to ghostwriters for autobiographies and other acts of self-aggrandizement. But the idea of having someone else write continual updates of one’s daily life seems slightly absurd.

The basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, for example, is a prolific Twitterer on his account — The Real Shaq — where he shares personal news, jokes and occasional trash talking about opponents with nearly 430,000 followers.

“If I am going to speak, it will come from me,” he said, adding that the technology allows him to bypass the media to speak directly to the fans.

As for the temptation to rely on a team to supply his words, he said: “It’s 140 characters. It’s so few characters. If you need a ghostwriter for that, I feel sorry for you.”

Athletes seem to be purists. Lance Armstrong, only hours after breaking his right collar bone, tweeted about it, using his left hand. Charlie Villanueva, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks, tweeted at halftime from the locker room on March 15 about how “I gotta step up.” (His coach, Scott Skiles, was not pleased with his diversion, but the Bucks did win.)

But for candidates like Mr. Paul, Twitter is an organizing tool rather than a glimpse behind the curtain. During the presidential campaign, said Jesse Benton, Mr. Paul’s campaign manager, “we assigned a staffer to each social network site. Each was used to generate the same message as a way to amplify the message and drive people back to our site.”

He said that in rare cases, however, supporters would read more meaning in the online relationship than was intended. “On a bunch of social-networking sites, we would get some sincere written notes that would say ‘thank you for letting me be your friend,’ ” he recalled.

Many online commentators are appalled at the practice of enlisting ghost Twitterers, but Joseph Nejman, a former consultant to Ms. Spears who helped conceive her Web strategy, said there was a more than a whiff of hypocrisy among critics.

“It’s O.K. to tweet for a brand,” he said, remarking how common it is for companies to have Twitter accounts, “but not O.K. for a celebrity. But the truth is, they are a brand. What they are to the public is not always what they are behind the curtain. If the manager knows that better than the star, then they should do it.”

In the last couple of months, the Britney Spears Twitter stream has become a model of transparency. Where the feed once seemed that it was all written personally by Ms. Spears — even the blatantly promotional items about a new album — lately it can read like a group blog, with some posts signed “Britney,” some signed by “Adam Leber, manager” and others by “Lauren.” That would be Lauren Kozak, social-media director of (Ms. Spears’s management team declined to be interviewed for this article.)

An unabashed user of ghost Twitterers is Guy Kawasaki, chief executive of, an aggregation site. Mr. Kawasaki, with more than 80,000 followers, is full of praise for the two employees who enliven his Twitter feed, often posting updates while he is on stage addressing a conference.

“Basically, for 99.9 percent of people on Twitter, it is about updating friends and colleagues about how the cat rolled over,” he said. “For a tenth of a percent it is a marketing tool.”

Annie Colbert, a 26-year-old freelance writer from Chicago who is one of Mr. Kawasaki’s ghost Twitterers, said she judged her performance based on how often her postings for Mr. Kawasaki are “retweeted,” that is, resent by other users of Twitter.

Recently, she said, she had a coup when the actor Ashton Kutcher repeated her post about a YouTube video showing someone getting high from a “natural hallucinogen.”

“Facebook is like ‘Cheers,’ where everyone knows your name,” she said. “Twitter is the hipster bar, where you booze and schmooze people.”

She said she had been considering trying to get other ghost Twitter clients. “I don’t think I could ghost Twitter for 100 people,” she said. “More like 10 clients. I think I would have to get to know them.”