Narcissism And Blogging

Building your web identity does not have to mean developing a bad case of Narcissism

The Haters And You

Our western society is a dynamic and ever-changing proposition. When we set out to conquer the world we do so with the assurance and bravado of youth. Our energy seems limitless, and we commence our journey much like Ragnor Lothbrok in ‘The Vikings’, or at least this is how some people roll. 

Myself I was prone to depression and reflection as a much younger man, this is what it would be called today, but back in the late 1970’s we tended to just get on with things.

Those of us who are incapable of simply accepting the way things are presented to us, who tend to question everything as an organic feature of who we are can be awkward to deal with; I fully accept this.

There are a great many people out there who are positioning themselves as being ‘thought leaders’, they have recognized something which most of us have failed to understand: The world-wide-web is a massive publishing house.

I think we need to look at the web, and the internet as a whole in a much more appreciative light.

Do you realize what it used to take to be able to publish your work, to have a book, or essay, or even a pamphlet printed and distributed?

The old publishing business used to be a very tightly controlled, and expensive venture. To have even a “letter to the editor” published in a newspaper, or magazine was rare enough to tell others about it.

So, we have gone from being completely regulated, from needing a literal fortune to be published to being able to publish whatever we feel like to the web.

Of course, the standards slipped somewhat!

For many of us the web can seem like a public toilet wall, mostly profane garbage with an occasional glimpse of intelligent reflection, and wit, even philosophical insight!

The snobs, and the intellectually vain have certainly not held back with the world-wide-web, it is critiqued, and analysed endlessly.

But few among the many analysts, and pundits seem to appreciate the enormous egalitarian potential of the WWW, they are too busy primping themselves, or making money from the digitally naive.

Blogging, this has become a media type which is spoken about widely, but not really understood, or fully acknowledged by the more conservative ‘authorities’.

Because the internet was not really ‘supposed’ to have been released to the public domain, it caught many among the elite circles completely by surprise. I can argue with you about this, if you like, this seems to be a point which not many seem to grasp. 

The private enterprise involvement with the development of the WWW shielded us from the reach of the regulatory and fiendish bureaucrats. This aspect of the internet, its relative insulation from the regulation obsessed, and authoritarian groups has served to ‘open the gates’ of publishing.

We can see a massive attempt to reign in the growing political aspects of social media, and independent publishing. 

Everywhere these days we can see this astonishing response from the legacy power groups. We are told we are living in the ‘post truth’ world.

Post Truth, so previously we must have been living with the ‘Truth World’?

Give me a break.

The dispensers of all that is good, the self styled elite of Europe, U.S.A, the U.K, Australia & New Zealand, Canada are intent on restricting us, bringing us to heel, on plugging the ‘anarchic’ and disruptive chasm which the WWW represents to them.

We saw the overt demonstration of censorship, of de-platforming and restriction with the treatment of Alex Jones and his independent media company “Infowars”. This action from the oligarchy signaled a flurry of censorship on the Silicon Valley social media platforms, just about all of them with pundits and independent journalists, commentators and analysts being excluded on the basis of…’Hate Speech’.

This Orwellian newspeak terminology is frightening in its casual acceptance among the masses.

We have the situation in the U.K of private individuals being visited by the local police force if they so much as indicate their disagreement (on social media, the police actually keep tabs on this) with the multicultural ideal for the country.

It is not just in the U.K.

We are confronted with this campaign to diminish, restrict and ultimately to control the internet, and what we publish through it everywhere today. Consider that it was through the agency, and distribution of broadcast media that our social world was constructed, and managed after World War II.

So, we have this task, this ongoing and ever needed process of building our identity and visibility on the TripleW. 

How can we as people of good will, and intentions reconcile the aesthetic problem of becoming ‘well known’ or even famous, of promoting our ideas and world views without becoming narcissistic monsters?

The haters, trolls and just mean spirited types are also everywhere, there is always a percentage of people who resent talent, who seek to tear down others, and prevent them from succeeding, or at least make it as ugly as possible?

We must have courage!

There will always be egotistical people, conceit and vanity are hard coded into human beings, we are social creatures and we seek to be heard and seen; even the most introverted among us enjoy connection and communion with like-minded souls.

We have the situation of the ‘Boutique’, today there are more and more groups forming, communities who share a range of aspirations, or objectives, ideological, philosophical, artistic, literary, musical, intellectual, political, crafts, cooking, engineering, extraterrestrial, creative. The list could probably go on for a long time.

Just as there were an amazing variety of authors, writers and community builders in the ‘analog’ days, this expresses itself organically with WWW community building.

Blogging is an incredibly limited expression, we really do need a different word to describe the extended digital publishing activities on the web!

Personally I can see that blogging, and web community building go together.

People who have the resources and talent to extend their reach, and publish to the web successfully represent an enormous range of subjects. We need to fully appreciate the opportunities we have today of publishing, the toilet wall has been extended, it is now a flourishing publishing house with many, many departments.

Take courage, steel yourself if you have a vision, believe in the value you offer, seek to connect and communicate, it is the most human characteristic of them all.

Are You A Non-Believer?

This little excerpt from the very famous series “Mad Men” reveals something that is still very much a part of today’s business world, needing to convince people that connecting with the ‘target market’ is extremely effective!

The era of Madison Avenue advertising approaches is definitely over, but the psychology and creative ideas which were derived from being thoughtful about specific aspects of culture are still very relevant.

The central character of Don Draper was often in the position of explaining the mechanics of his company’s approach to promoting products. This is a familiar position to all people who understand the power and effectiveness of today’s digital media, but find themselves having to spell out the benefits to potential customers.

What we are seeing today is a big transition away from the single-direction advert, Don Draper would be lost in the world of the WWW, Ad-blockers and ‘Content Marketing’.

We are seeing lots of different approaches being presented these days, ‘Direct Mail’ is making a come back because so many grass roots business people are having major problems understanding digital culture, and how to promote themselves using WWW methods.

Direct mail is a gimmick, it might be effective for single products, for a short while; one thing is certain, building a credible presence with digital media is a huge benefit.

One of the really big errors many people make is to transfer their broadcast media approaches and paste them on social media, and using their brand website like an electronic bill-board.

There are a lot of agencies out there who claim to be digital savvy, they wax lyrical quoting all kinds of metrics and ROI on their social media campaigns, their website based strategies. Many of these agencies were scoffing at Digital only a few short years ago.

Vanity metrics, such as numbers of likes, and followers are not of interest to the genuine digital publisher.

Specific campaigns and custom tailored content projects are where the true value lies. Building a conversation is of course useful, but executing on bespoke audience creation is the dynamic side of social media promotions.

Setting up very specific landing pages, populated by agile content choices enables us to tailor a promotional project, taking advantage of email automation, and response ‘AI’ also allows us to be highly flexible.

Flexibility and the capacity to adjust to highly individual requirements gives us a marketing firepower that was just not possible with unidirectional broadcast media.

The choices we can make with our long term branding efforts, combined with the sheer agility and potential to respond to our analysis of the various segments of our target audiences gives us an overall fire power that Don Draper would have been gob smacked with.

The variables in all of this, however, are dependent on our own clarity of vision, our own skills and creative scope; this is where the novice falls short in the digital equation, this is where the generic wiseguys are inadequate to the task.

The agency all too often offers you the cookie cutter solution, the ‘me too’ thinking; avoid the generic, avoid the quasi-science and the tech speak smart ass.

We need to appreciate the details, the ability to gain focus on the fractal details as the perspective gets closer, this is what I am interested with, and what excites me about the potential of digital media for building powerful communication and highly specific, tailored connections to quality and boutique audiences.

Madison Avenue influenced us all, the Don Draper geniuses gave us an appreciation for the creative, the specific, with digital we can take this very much further and we can deliver it without the media middle men charging us their millions, the internet is the middleman media; but you need people like me to make it all work properly, and dream up the mechanics.

I am a maverick player, I admit it, I am very impatient with the cookie cutter agencies, the commercial approaches to the web in general; I don’t think I am alone with this sentiment, by any means!

WebStruct is not about ‘Marketing’ in the usual sense, it is about re-defining communication and crafting very specific modalities of language to suit highly specific contexts. I am more interested with what we as creative, intelligent people can achieve with the vast power on-tap with the World Wide Web.

I can see that we are amidst a genuine struggle between libertarian, and conservative groups and the authoritarian groups in our society who recognize they are being challenged. We can present very agile responses to their deep pockets, and ownership of the legacy media empires; we have something they failed to account for, and still underestimate. We have the World Wide Web.

If Don Draper represented the creative maverick, able to escape his humble beginnings by the sheer craft of his insights, and beat the elite at their own game, the Web offers today’s Don Draper an even greater range of fire power. 

The ‘Interesting Times’ we live in today are set to become ever more ‘interesting’ as time advances, people such as myself, and legions of other unique individuals are understanding the opportunity of the Web more clearly, this clarity contains the means to overcome the tyrannies of the previous order, watch this space.

 

The Curse Of The Generic

Telstra, and other corporate sources are they really a good source of information?

What does Telstra Know About Social Media?

The digital world has shaken up the mainstream areas of our society. I think this is very obvious, terms such as ‘Disruption’ and ‘Alternative’ have become almost cliche in today’s business world.

I was looking around recently and I noticed that companies such as good old Telstra seem to have taken up the role of digital media educators in recent times. I think any education is good education, but I also think that many people make the mistake of thinking that because a business is involved with ‘IT’ or selling office merchandise, they also know about social media, and using digital media. Sorry guys, I think you should stay in your own lane.

The last thing we need in Australia are more generic sources of web education, we have fallen behind the game enough without these vanilla podcasts, and corporate cookie-cutter online courses advising business owners they should post ‘interesting content’.

There is very much a struggle going down, the old authority of corporate entities has been displaced, the established order which had its time in the sun during the broadcast era is pretty well over.

What concerns me is that people who are trying to build businesses, and especially those people for whom ‘digital’ is a new territory are receiving information and advice which too often leads to failure; generic approaches to social media are ineffective.

I have no argument with basic skills training, being able to navigate and use the dashboard tools on Facebook, Instagram, how to create a Twitter account, how to upload a video to YouTube e.t.c But these numpties are providing entire courses and assuming an authority they simply can’t justify.

There is just no substitute for knowing your market, and understanding the people who seek what you provide, and this should inform you as to how to best connect with your audience.

Social media has become so familiar to us all, that we can tend to trivialize it and misunderstand the true scale of it. We are dealing with a media type that involves billions of people, this is humanity within reach. If you can refine your communication skills and learn how to execute your story on social media, you can gain a significant level of traction.

There are numerous types of people using Facebook, from the politically interested, social activists, to ecologists, musicians, writers, teachers, physicists, sports people, just about all aspects of modern society is represented. In very blunt terms these generic courses do not do you any favors.

This generic body of social media education pushes a 20th Century approach, where the newsfeed is seen as an electronic bill-board. These are the posts and campaigns that waste your budget. Unless you can make a relevant, high quality connection with your audience, you are by-passed.

You might think I am being unfair here, you might even think I am behaving like a ‘Troll’ because I dare to criticize these successful businesses. I am involved with digital media, and I seek to help others understand and use the various media types to their own ends.

It makes my job much harder to debrief people who have formed bad attitudes and the wrong approaches, and we have masses of disgruntled business owners claiming that ‘Facebook is useless’ because they can’t sell their widgets on it.

The curse of the generic is with using social media like an electronic bill-board, turning good people into glorified spammers.

Because the social media sites are ‘Free’ and we get such a broad range of participation there is a belief that ‘anything goes’ among the business community. Communication requires skill, and marketing should never be undervalued.

The figure of 66% is commonly used to describe the success rate of small business over a 2 year period. Over 5 years it is worse.

One of the largest causes of business/project failure is ‘Marketing’, either the wrong type or a complete absence.

One of the biggest causes of marketing failure is the misunderstanding of digital media among people.

 

I blame the generic educators for a lot of this failure. People tend to trust big names, and if a well-known brand is offering social media training, and their podcasts are promoting these generic approaches, then a percentage of people will be misinformed.

Of course, I am speaking to people who are not familiar with the online world, the kind of people who are likely to consume this corporate version of social media and online marketing.

My hope is that people will be open minded enough to avoid the trap of the generic training, to seek a more practical and authentic approach to their needs

There is really nothing like genuinely knowing who your people are, having an authentic grasp. I think the big problem with many business people is that they have ceased to truly learn, they rely on data which supports their existing world view, they don’t listen to any other perspective. This results in a very skewed understanding of what social media actually is.

The problem in Australia is that we have a major gap between the digitally literate, and the ‘ordinary person’ this gap represents a very serious threat to the economy as a whole, because the whole world is online, business is being done on it, if you follow these generic corporate directions, it is your business, literally.

 

The Failure Of Junk Mail

How much do you spend on junk mail each month?

What Really Reaches People?

I went out to my letterbox recently, I happen to live in a complex of apartments, and I removed a wad of commercial advertising, I then walked over to the re-cycling bin and lifted the lid and there were a huge collection of the same commercial ‘junk’ mail outs.

Now, some of these mail items were glossy, and looked as if they would have costed a fair price to produce. Imagine, each day in your city/town a huge quantity of commercial mail is delivered, some of it by the postie these days!

I guess the bean counters in the various companies must be across how much this tidal mass of junk mail is costing their organizations; it must add up over a fiscal year?

This got me thinking, does anyone actually think this stuff through? The marketing budgets for significant businesses must be feeling this load, what percentage of junk mail actually results in a sale, how effective are direct mail campaigns these days?

There’s a chap on LinkedIn who reckons snail mail, direct mail, junk mail is still pretty effective; mind you he runs a direct mail training course, so he would say that? Obviously there is a belief that junk mail still works to some extent, but a lot of people still spend 10’s of thousands on T.V advertising, so how right are these people?

I use an Ad-Blocker on my PC, it does not cost me anything, and it provides me with an almost advertising free browsing experience. I like this, and it seems millions of other people prefer this too, but junk mail T.V advertising, Radio ads, are they really as effective as they used to be prior to the digital age?

If the numbers are to be trusted, I think there is a major shift in the advertising world. Television advertising is nowhere near as effective these days. The commercial free-to-air channels are just not being watched as much. Netflix, YouTube, and other video streaming products has changed viewing behavior across Australia.

Many of us still listen to the radio, but the audiences are shrinking, Podcasts and streamed music are replacing the old radio networks and their advertising revenue is drying up.

Local newspapers still get consumed, I like to have a look ours every once in a while, but I don’t look up the classifieds on these very much either.

Occasionally I might pickup the good old Yellow Pages, but I can tell you that isn’t very often! 

So, I think it makes very good sense to review how you go about promoting yourself, and your bizniz, where do a lot of people direct their attention these days? Social media, Podcasts, Websites are a very good bet.

Additionally, of course, doing what is called ‘Content Marketing’ makes very good sense. Running a Blog on your own company website still has benefits, as long as you produce content which people are going to want to view.

Videos, humor, are also excellent. It seems these days more and more you need to become your own Media Company. The attention of people is moving away from the broadcast media – T.V, Radio, Printed – and digital media has become today’s ‘Mass Media’.

Of course, it makes superb sense to have a mix of promotional efforts, you can’t rely on just one source. Flyers, and radio ads can be fantastic for some types of people. But we have to be practical, and realistic, my mother always said that and it is annoyingly true. I think focusing our main effort on digital media has to make sense.

What do you think, do you reckon all that junk mail is paying its way for the majority of the business which invests in it, or are they flushing their money down the toilet?

Digital & Social Media Marketing What Is Involved?

Digital Media In Australia

Digital media culture plays out a bit differently in Oz

Australia is often depicted in a highly stylized way among Northern hemisphere countries, it seems they can’t help themselves with cliches, and “Crocodile Dundee” references, along with the poisonous wildlife, and larger than life personalities. Every country has its typical images, Britain has its cups of tea, the Queen, and fish ‘n chips, Germany has its big steins of foaming beer, lederhosen, pork knuckles, and overly diligent engineers, America has loud tourists, sky scrapers and the ubiquitous accent …and so on. Sure, we all cop it, it is just human nature to typify other countries. However, because Australia is just so far away from anywhere, it generally takes a bit longer for trends and developments to fully manifest, which occur in the large populations of other western countries. 

This is certainly the case with digital culture, despite the connected and instant quality of online media, it has taken Australia that bit longer to adopt, and fully recognize that the internet has changed the communications paradigm.

We can clearly see that ‘old media’ and their underwriters have been struggling of late. Facebook has copped a lot of angst, and criticism, YouTube is being pressured to censor, and restrict a lot of independent content creators who challenge the reach and influence of mainstream media.

There is obviously an ‘Information War’ taking place, with alternative content producers, such as ‘RT’, Alex Jones, and dozens of media commentators, pundits, and organizations feeling the sting of repression and censorship. It seems many of the Silicon Valley tech giants have decided to cooperate with the investor groups, and established power groups to try and mitigate the spread of digital media, and its much greater reach among significant parts of the consumer public.

The internet of course is not just Silicon Valley, we have the freedom to build, and create platforms quite independent to the more well-known players of the online world. However the ability to market, and distribute completely independent media is often limited and restricted by funding, and the very nature of digital behavior; people’s habits can be difficult to break and of course much of the internet is powerfully locked down by Google and its search technology which has become the default reference source for online users.

We are in danger of the internet becoming yet another branch of the mainstream world, tamed, and stripped of its unique properties and open source culture, let alone the freedom of speech, and discussion of ideas which gave digital communities their edge, and ability to foster social change in the first 20 years of the internet’s public existence.

The vast potential of the internet to provide a medium of open exchange, which we could clearly see back in the early 2000’s, represented too much of a threat for many among the covert circles of old media, and the political class. 2016 seems to have been a ‘step too far’ for much of these people, with the rise of ‘Populism’ among the western countries.

Power, and influence is the name of the game, and communication is the means for power and influence to be executed. We are witnessing a profound revolution in communication with the internet, so it just makes sense that the once powerful and influential would seek to replicate their previous position once they understood that the game had changed.

It was through Broadcast technology, and media that the old power elites had their heyday, it is taking them much longer to try and grab the ‘Tiger’ of the internet by the tail, it is not so easy! 

What is making it hard for them is the communication model of digital technology, it provides a Two-Way dynamic. When we were all passive consumers, captured by the hypnosis of our radios, and then our television screens we were much easier to contain.

Now people also have the capacity to create content, and publish it to a large audience, additionally we have the means to respond to published content, we can critique, and discuss it, we can applaud, or revile it in real time. It is this two-way communication which allows us to discuss, and exchange views, to debate and influence others.

The entire nature of advertising has been challenged, and disrupted. Business that seeks to influence their market to choose them must now approach it in an entirely different way. Placing banners, and overtly ‘in-your-face’ messages simply doesn’t get through anymore. Media, and marketing has had to adapt, or perish.

Australians have traditionally been anti-authority. The so-called ‘Larrikin’ nature of our national character has produced mavericks and individuals who have refused to comply with fashions and trends, simply because they might have been popular with the wealthy and self-styled ‘elite’ among society.

I think we are seeing some of this spirit among our digital populations, we don’t just follow the trends like so many of our northern cousins tend to follow, merely because they are considered ‘Viral’.

Digital marketing in Australia has a unique quality. If you can demonstrate that what you offer is ‘Dinkum’, and you are not deliberately ripping people off, or taking them for fools, you stand a good chance of being successful in Australia!

I might be at risk here of appearing ‘naive’, but I have studied how Australia has responded to the digital age, and I have had the opportunity of working overseas, so I am able to compare, and contrast. Aussies don’t like sharks, either in the ocean, or especially the ones who walk the land!

The confidence tricksters, and scammers are less likely to find victims among Australians, although the ‘digital divide’ has many casualties in every country. Digital marketing, and building an online presence in Australia requires a brave, and honest approach, we have much less patience for B.S and giving oneself airs and graces than northern populations.

As someone who works to help, and support people in Australia, I think it is refreshing how Aussies possess a natural instinct for quality, and honesty, it makes a refreshing change from the digital content from the U.K/U.S.A and other western countries, I am looking forward to seeing a lot more Australian online content, and helping Aussies to make the most of their digital resources.


Digital Media The State Of Play

Digital Media And You

Digital Culture Has Advanced

Way back in the misty past of the internet, at the beginning of the 21st Century, owning a website was a difficult, expensive proposition. It was not unusual for business customers to invest over $30,000 on a full, managed clunky old website. Google search was in its heyday, and there was a general scramble for position.

As we have learned, a year in internet time is a long time indeed! Looking at the state-of-play here in 2019 we can discern that the digital world has now become the default home for well over 4 billion people, that is a conservative number. In the western hemispheres, online culture is now the “mass media” of choice.

It therefore makes critical, good sense to look at just how well your own presence stacks up, how well your business, or professional visibility is developing. All too often the ‘Digital Divide’ works to thwart many people, and their business and livelihood can suffer.

We often hear about this term, digital divide, and perhaps we think it refers to other people, to those people who are ‘technophobes’ and do not know how to turn on a device; the digital divide is actually far more insidious and widespread.

As someone who has worked extensively with all kinds of people in connection with information technology, and the web I have witnessed the digital divide first hand. This has nothing to do with ‘coding’ or esoteric technical matters, it is more about grasping how your general literacy can be transferred onto the digital environment, and what digital technology truly represents.

The internet is bursting at the seams with attempts to capture our attention, all types of banners, flashing lights, clever graphics and of course ‘copy’ which transcend the boundaries of hyperbole.

There is a colossal struggle taking place, between the powerful groups who gained their position during the ‘Broadcast era’, businesses which became enormous and powerful as a result of their clever use of marketing and advertising. However, the changes which have been fermenting over the past 25 years have worked to completely change the media, and marketing game forever.

We hear about how much society has changed all over the place. But very often the nature of these changes are not discussed, we certainly hear a lot about the ‘evil’ of social media, and how the internet is working to erode the golden values of previous generations. How true is this?

You must make your own mind up about the internet, and social media, but I also know that unless you choose to participate with the digital world, your business ventures will be severely restricted.

Attention is the currency of marketing, where people focus their attention is where we must meet them. Even strictly ‘local’ ventures, with one location as their market, need to be visible, and to make people aware of what you can offer them.

Everywhere we can see that self-proclaimed ‘experts’ and extroverted people are offering seemingly foolproof services where you can gain the attention of people who might be interested in what you sell; caveat emptor, or ‘let the buyer beware’ should always guide your choices. Confidence tricksters, and very clever digital ‘wiseguys’ prey upon the ‘Digital Divide’ each day.

If you are reading this, and you are wondering just what my ‘game’ is, I can tell you that I am an IT and web professional who is offering genuine services, but you don’t know who I am, and you do not have any assurances that I can actually help you, this is the leap of faith we all have to make.

You could look me up on good old Google, Mike Gorman from Australia, well there are quite a few of us! We could talk, and discuss your specific case, your objectives, how you want to be presented, what problems you have encountered, what results you have gained in the past, how you would like to change these. I prefer to talk with people, but these days people are reluctant to talk, to engage; I prefer to talk and discover exactly how my services and skill set can help you.

I know it is a bit ‘old fashioned’, but this is how I operate, I am a unique blend of the old and the very new.

I especially like to help people who are that little bit older, who are very good at what they do, but maybe they find the online and digital world something of an enigma, not quite within their purview?

By all means determine if I am a good match with your ambitions, with your world view. If you are reading this it means I have optimized, and built this site with a degree of technical skill, which is as good an advertisement as any ‘banner ad’. Advertising, and promotions have undergone a major change, but we can talk about this in way more detail when I speak with you directly, we can talk about many things, much like the ‘Walrus & the Carpenter’.