Hellooooooo…..is there anybody out there?

23 02 2013

A few years ago I lectured in public relations / communications. I was seeking some guest speakers from communications in various industries and decided, as an exercise, to make contact wit them via their websites.

Each of the organisations I made contact with was a fairly well known one in the local market, and included not-for-profits, educational, scientific and government organisations, each of whom had a specific communications section and a need to promote themselves.

Their websites we pretty good. They outlined who they were, their mission, what they did, and provided a range of resources and information that was well targeted to their stakeholders and audiences.

I emailed them using their general contact information on the website. And the response rate was around 10%.

So to recap – they were legitimate organisations, they had a need to communicate, they had communication staff and I was offering them an opportunity to come and speak to a group of students who might be potential users / customers / donors or volunteers.

Sometimes communications is about the basics. There is no point in a fancy campaign, social media, mega-dollars for a clever campaign if you don’t ANSWER YOUR EMAILS!

It’s a SPAM world

9 12 2011

photo credit: Dave Parker

I am sure I spend way too much time on social media sites, but I do find social media as a phenomenon fascinating. And the ways that organisations use and abuse them, doubly fascinating. As a true tool of the people, social media sites are often difficult to understand and navigate for an organisation more used to controlling its content and how it is viewed and used. But common sense should prevail. Let the sermon / rant begin now!

On of my more recent annoyances is competitions that require you to send on to your friends in order to get an entry. Often these are through Facebook, but sometimes via email as well. Do my friends and acquaintances want me to be filling their inboxes and walls with advertising purporting to be personalised by me? I think not.

Often this is enough for me to exit the site and not enter the competition. If it was just asking to post to my wall, that would be fine, but not asking for the names of friends to send their message to. In many ways this is the latter-day version of Multi-Level Marketing or the party plan, where you turn all your friends into potential sales.

One recent exception to this annoyance was the David Jones version where the message you sent was a personalised Christmas card with the photo of your friend inserted into the photo. Note to retailers – an inexpensive giveaway such as this is much more effective than a straight sales message. The link is here.

My other pet SPAM hate is (again on Facebook), companies that send out messages saying “if you *Like* our page” or if you are the 1000th person to *Like* our page”…. Now surely they realise that the list of people they are sending this to are, in fact, people who have already *Liked* the page. So by definition, you are sending me a message that is not for me (unless you want me to *unlike* and *like* again? That hardly seems to meet the needs of the marketer).

Think people, think. Before you send a message, think about who you are sending it to. What do you want them to do? What is in it for them? Why should they do what you want?

If you are going to do marketing, please make it clever and relevant, not parasitic and annoying.

Sermon rant ends.


18 09 2011

licensed under creative commons from gothopotam

I have written a bit about my concern about the impact that screens are having on society in general, and children’s brains in particular. And how the all-pervasive training of young brains through screen culture – TV, computers, DS, PSP, Playstation, Wii, X-box, etc – will impact not only the furture of those children through their ability to absorb education, display patience and delay gratification, and their tolerance for novelty and excitement versus their tolerance for boredom and perseverance, but also change the society we live in.

And these concerns, where possible, have been backed up by science.

However, now for a confession.

I suspect I am a screen addict myself.

Now I didn’t grow up with screens to any great extent. I can still remember our first colour TV in Australia – 1976 for the Olympics. I remember getting a Commodore 64, and I remember our school getting a couple of computers which, if you were lucky and in the top maths class, you got to “program” to display a flag made from asterix (I confess I cannot work out the plural of asterix….). I remember in Year 4, being taken to visit a computer at the nearby science and technology park – it took up and entire warehouse full of stacks with tapes whirring on the front, and probably had less capacity than my iphone does.

So my childhood was not saturated with screens. In fact my parents strictly rationed television time to 1/2 an hour a night (but enough on that – I am saving that story for the psychiatrist’s couch).

I do remember working before email. I worked in a pay section briefly and we programmed the computer (which was off-site somewhere) by filling in A4 sheets of paper with Xs in squares. Letters got written in longhand and sent to the typing pool to be typed out. They came back and if there were errors, they had to type the whole thing again. At that rate you were lucky to act on more than a couple of decisions a day. Think of the pace of emails today where I am making 80+ decisions on an average day (albeit some of them trivial).

So my confession is – as the purveyor of the No-Screen Sunday, I am myself a screen addict. Not the DS, Wii or Playstation for me – but I do find TV in the evenings very relaxing and am annoyed if there is nothing on that I want to watch. My computer is usually on if I am home – and my ipad travels with me for those opportune moments to update the blog, check my personal emails etc. Not in work hours of course, but on the weekend and in the evening….. And I am an e-scrabble fiend. Oh yes, and I do love LinkedIn.

So somehow I need to make the effort to set the example for my children about how life off-line is so much more satisfying.

Perhaps after I have finished studying I might have time to do that. There’s always some excuse.

If you like this posting you might also like The effect of Marshmallows on the DS Generation, and Sponge-Bob, Sponge-brain.

Copy and Paste

2 09 2011

I have a new pet hate.

In the days of internet, before social media (remember that?), my pet hate was those emails that said at the bottom “send this on the 10 friends and your wish will come true. Send it to 20 friends and it will come true tomorrow.” or some similar variation on the theme.

Emotional manipulation, preying on people’s superstitions and paranoia.

Often the emails they were attached to were full of cutesy pictures of baby animals or cartoons of old ladies, or lists and lists of platitudes and cliches. Yuck.

Just occasionally, there would be a decent one with good information, great pictures or funny stories. If I sent it on though, I would always remove the emotional blackmail at the bottom of the email. Not for me to propogate that rubbish.

So here we are in the twenty-teens. Social media is the rage. And how has this parasitic emotional blackmail propogated itself in this new paradise? With the cut and paste message.

If you love your daughter / son / mother / father / partner / brother / sister / friend with x disease, etc blah blah blah, then copy and paste this in your status.

Sometimes they add the kicker – “Real friends will do this, most people won’t. Let’s see if I am right about whether you do”.

If you were my real friend you wouldn’t send this stuff to me, even via Facebook!

However, I have to confess – I succumbed. I finally did the copy and paste.

So what was the one that finally got me?

Dear friends, Please copy & paste this to your status if you are constantly being asked to copy & paste something to your status by friends who copy & paste things to their status. Many people won’t copy & paste this but my true friends will copy & paste it because you know this was copied & pasted from a dear friend in need of more crap to copy & paste.


If you liked this post you might also like What’s your Personal Social Media Policy?
If you would like to get updates and postings delivered direct to your inbox, please click on the “sign me up” button on the top right of the page.