Telstra closes blog, loses friends

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Australia’s biggest telco closed down their corporate blog nowwearetalking without warning yesterday — and deleted all the content. While I can understand they want to put the often-controversial forum behind them, I think the move was a mistake.

I’ve already written about this for Crikey, Telstra consigns nowwearetalking to the memory hole. It seems odd to kill NWAT just as it was changing for the better – even more so given there’s no replacement. There’s comments from Stephen Collins and Fake Stephen Conroy, as well as Telstra’s official spokesperson Craig Middleton. It’s free to read. Off you go.

But I’d also like to publish the full interviews I did for that story. So here they are.

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Conversations are not markets, people!

Ten years ago The Cluetrain Manifesto claimed, in the first of its 95 Theses, that “markets are conversations”. Unfortunately, this has led marketers to continue to believe that the reverse is also true — that all conversations are markets.

Or, more precisely, marketers believe that all places where humans gather to converse are places where they can and should take their marketing message.

Some marketers, anyway.

The marketers I want to slap.

This isn’t helped by some later theses of The Cluetrain Manifesto. Unless you read these next two very carefully…

38. Human communities are based on discourse — on human speech about human concerns.

39. The community of discourse is the market.

… you could end up believing that all human discourse is nothing but a market! That in turn leads to the “marketing everywhere” idea.

This. Belief. Is. Wrong.

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Yes, yes, here’s episode 49

Screenshot of Stilgherrian Live episode 40

It happened again! It’s been days and days before I got around to telling you that Stilgherrian Live episode 49 is online for your viewing pleasure.

So sue me.

The clear winner of “Cnut of the Week” was the government of China for continuing to deny the extent of the massacre at Tianamen Square twenty years ago (54%). The audience of The Chaser’s War on Everything came in 2nd place (25%) for complaining about the now-deleted comedy sketch about the Make a Realistic Wish Foundation — beating The Chaser themselves, who came in 4th place (8%) for making the sketch in the first place.

Heritage media came in 3rd place for their continued panic over Swine Flu.

Congratulations to Nick Hortovanyi , who won a t-shirt from our friends at King Cnut Ethical Clothing — and a big raspberry to Stephen Collins and mal who would’ve won if they were watching the program when their names were drawn from the Cocktail Shaker of Integrity.

I plan to have a regular edition of Stilgherrian Live tomorrow night at 9.30pm Sydney time, but we’ll see how we go. I’ve just received some important news about Project TOTO.

(Si Si) Je Suis Un Blog Star!

It’s a lame excuse to link to Bill Wyman’s old song, but I am actually very happy to have been translated into French and quoted in Le Monde.

In his column Transnets, Francis Pisani‘s article Blogalaxie/4: “futur des médias” et “rumeurs” quotes my rant about journalism from last week.

Ils ont parlé de la “tension artificielle” blogueurs-journalistes qui, selon Stephen Collins occupe trop de place (voir ce qu’en ont écrit Narvic et Éliane Fiolet sur Transnets).

J’ai bien aimé cette phrase du blogueur australien Stilgherrian: “Ce qui est fatiguant dans cette fausse dichotomie c’est qu’elle compare les idéaux les plus élevés du journalisme et le degré le plus bas du blogging personnel.”

Et ce petit avis aux journalistes traditionnels: “La forme de votre métier et la forme de vos articles était déterminée par la technologie pour les distribuer.” Aujourd’hui “nous avons tous des claviers, nous avons tous des téléphones mobiles avec des caméras ou nous les aurons bientôt. Nous avons tous des outils de publication et de distribution” comme WordPress ou YouTube entre autres.

I sound much more intelligent in French… and I do like the word “blogalaxie” rather than “blogosphere”. Still, I reckon “blogueur” and “blogueuse” sound more like something you’d pump out of an asthmatic duck.

Web 2.0? “Hey, wait for us!”

Photograph of Bell Aviation Rocket Pack, 1964

Statistics on how businesses use the Internet demonstrate how the Web 2.0 digerati are rocketing so far ahead of reality into their self-obsessed digital fantasy-land that they might as well be on Mars.

ABS figures show that fewer than a third of Australian businesses have a “web presence”.

This week the redoubtable Laurel Papworth complained about that:

Well, that sucks… Not much hope for Web 2.0 if 70% of us can’t get our heads around Web 1.0, is there?

Stephen Collins, who I’ve read for a while and chatted with recently, agrees.

I am disappointed. It indicates just how far behind the 8-ball most business in Australia is…

Laurel associates this lack of penetration with the widespread lack of understanding of the power of the Web, and specifically Web 2.0 technologies, amongst Australian business. I’d have to say I agree.

Really? Disappointed? I see steady growth in those “web presence” figures. I’ll show you in a moment. First, though, I need to tell you why I reckon you’re wrong.

“Disappointment” shows a misunderstanding of what constitutes “business”, even in the 21st Century. And there’s still a lot of work to help businesses lay the digital foundations before we start building so many crystal castles.

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