Vaccinations, diarrhoea and social media

Flowchart diagram for treating diarrhoea

Yesterday I was given a, erm, flowchart for diarrhoea, if you’ll excuse the phrase. I’d never realised that diarrhoea needed an instruction manual.

I was also given my vaccinations, as foreshadowed. And it’s all on video, to be published later.

Speaking of video, my diary entry is rather subdued today. Yes, vaccinations do make one feel crap. But I manage to talk about diarrhoea, and about how the online conversation about this project is already taking on a life of it own.

I’ll get that video online as soon as Viddler stops spitting the dummy.

ActionAid face an interesting challenge in taking on this project.

Their message is no longer being delivered through what the estimable Bronwyn Clune calls control media or what I usually call industrial-age media. They’re now participants in a social media conversation. Everyone in that conversation is a free agent, capable of saying what they wish — including myself.

ActionAid will have to overcome the fear of losing control.

Of course, as I explained in The Importance of Authenticity, they’ve never had control over what other people might say. It’s just that now all those ephemeral conversations are visible to everyone on the Internet. It’ll be interesting to see how a traditionally-structured organisation like ActionAid handles this new environment.

Project TOTO: the #secretmission has begun!

[Update 28 May 2008: This post began as an announcement of my Project TOTO trip to Tanzania. But a comment by Archie Law triggered a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion about whether topless garden gnome Gnaomi is a harmless presence in my videos or degrading to women. I responded on 27 May in Look, about that damn topless gnome… Do feel free to continue the conversation.]

Photograph of giraffe and Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania, by Fanny Schertzer

If you’ve been following my Twitter stream or read a certain recent blog post, you’ll know that a SEKRIT mission was being plotted. Tonight I can reveal… Project TOTO.

Late this afternoon I received my first briefing note, and it’s reproduced in full over the jump. However in summary, it appears that I’m going to Tanzania on behalf of ActionAid Australia (from 1 June, that’s the new name of Austcare) to report on what I see, and to establish a blog outpost in the local community.

Amongst other things, I’ll be posting daily video diaries. Here’s the first.

(If the video doesn’t work, try directly at Viddler.)

As you see, I’m only just starting to get my head around this. I’ve never been to Africa, and certainly not to the kinds of places that ActionAid operates. That’s challenging enough — except that I also have to set up a training program for people I’ve never met from a culture I’ve never encountered.

And deliver “media product” from locations where… well, where Internet bandwidth might not be as plentiful as I’m used to.

My head is exploding.

Continue reading “Project TOTO: the #secretmission has begun!”

Episode 47 is online, marketers and twitterers

Screenshot from Stilgherrian Live episode 47

Episode 47 of Stilgherrian Live, the Cheap Edition, is now online for your viewing pleasure.

Actually it has been since shortly after the program finished on Thursday night, and you could have just gone to the channel page to watch it. I’ll sort out a better notification system when I get back from Africa.

Except you don’t know I’m going to Africa, because it’s SEKRIT.

There was another strong field this week for “Cnut of the Week”, too.

I thought Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would score more votes for the federal budget, but no. After winning last week, he only came in 4th (20%). ABC TV came in 3rd (24%) for choosing not broadcast the controversial mock anti-discrimination advertisement on The Gruen Transfer.

Photograph of a tapeworm, and a social media network diagram, as Cnuts of the Week

We had a draw for first place: Scott Swabey’s nomination of “all marketing peeps for their continued insistence on trying to find a way to control/monetise the social media movement” and Wolf’s nomination of “everyone on Twitter that [sic] kept reposting the #fixreplies even after twitter did… you all look like a bunch of whining idiots now” (28%).

Visually, “everyone on twitter” was represented by a social network diagram and, in our usual tasteful way, “all marketing peeps” by a tapeworm.

I particularly like the tapeworm, don’t you?

Meanwhile, congratulations to Wolf, who won a t-shirt from our friends at King Cnut Ethical Clothing — and a big raspberry to Gedulous who would’ve won if he were watching the program when his name was drawn from the Cocktail Shaker of Integrity but he wasn’t so we had a redraw and Wolf won instead so there nyer.

The Stilgherrian Live Eurovision Special is tonight from 7.15pm Sydney time, with special guests Nick Hodge, Snarky Platypus and probably Mark Pesce.

The regular old Stilgherrian Live will return at 9.30pm next Thursday night.