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Showing posts from February, 2009

Compaine on Paywalls

Over at Rebuilding Media, Ben Compaine gives a pretty compelling breakdown of the sinking ad revenues of newspapers. Doing a little back-of-the-envelope calculation, he arrives at the conclusion If newspapers have essentially been able to thrive on the revenue from advertisers alone (again, with cost of printing more or less covered by circulation revenue), why are they having so much trouble today? The answer is not one single factor, But a major contributor is that newspapers – whether print or digital—are just worth less to advertisers than they were 20 years ago.It's yet more evidence that the bubble of the traditional one-way broadcast model of media is bursting. Newspapers are having a terrible time dealing with their business model failing (which Compaine gracefully remarks on, saying editors usually thrive on this kind of economic collapse, except when it's their own).

I have been under the assumption that newspapers could save themselves if they'd just pull their h…

Quote of the Day

From Pat Buchanan:

"Republicans not only need an alternative to Obama's vision, they need an alternative to Bush's vision"

I don't want to know what Buchanan's alternative vision is, as I can't really get behind his usual closed-border, tariff-protected, populist claptrap, but his quote above is all too true.

Social Media Threatens Traditional Media. Again.

I see about three articles like this per week, where a professional journalist takes a pot-shot at an up-and-coming social media site or application, and reveals just how impotent and threatened social media makes them feel.

Don't Trust Yelp! (Or Anyone Else) With Your Online Reputation, by David Coursey at PC World, is particularly egregious, and I thought I'd dissect it a bit, for nothing else than to follow the sage advice of Robert Stacy McCain's How To Get A Million Hits on Your Blog. ("Make some enemies" is Rule #4, by the way).

First, even the title belies a fundamental lack of understanding about social media. If there's one thing that social media has shown us, it's that companies are no longer in control of their "brand". Whether you "trust" Yelp or not, your market might be using it to talk about you and your product or service. Your "trust" is neither asked for, nor required.

The article begins with the worst kind o…

Social Media for Organizations

I wanted to give some friends and colleagues a bit of a primer on "Web 2.0" technology. I don't want to talk about the tools specifically, but about a particular kind of approach.

In order to give folks a starting place, I thought I'd post a collection of recommended books, websites, and articles that can give them an overview of the world as it's becoming. But first, some context...

Media, since the time of its inception, has been about three things: Consuming, Sharing, and Producing. This may sound like an odd statement to most people. For my entire adult life, and likely yours, Sharing and Producing have been difficult. Consuming has been easy. Therefore, consuming has been the norm.

My generation, and my parents' generation, have been conditioned to be only consumers of media. Television, radio, and newspapers are each a one way conversation, with writers, producers, and advertisers addressing a silent audience that was largely isolated from each other. Whe…

Singing The Strong, Light Works of Engineers

Someone reminded me recently of this stanza from Whitman's "Passage to India":


Lo, soul! seest thou not God’s purpose from the first?
The earth to be spann’d, connected by network,
The people to become brothers and sisters,
The races, neighbors, to marry and be given in marriage,
The oceans to be cross’d, the distant brought near,
The lands to be welded together.


How appropriate to our Internet-connected age. Even though Whitman was "Singing the strong, light works of engineers" of a different time, I long for this kind of celebration of the achievements of today's technologists.

Most folks fall into two camps, those who love technology for technology's sake, assuming that "novel" is always "good", and those who see at as only a destructive, disruptive force.

Technology, of course is both and neither of these things. Just as it always has been through our history, every tool can be used as a weapon. Swords and plowshares are inter…

Many Hands Make Light Work

Wow, am I flattered.

I've been reading Robert Stacy McCain's blog for a while now, since one of my friends had been peppering me various RSM posts, which always seemed to be relevant to our recent conversations.

The post that sealed the deal, and got RSM's blog onto my RSS feed, however, was this one about Christina Hendricks, whom I'll always think of as "Mrs. Reynolds" from Firefly.

Today on his blog, after I tossed him an e-mail introducing him to AddThis, he posted this:

Thank you, Eric Reasons! thus thanking me twice over. (Once with his public offering of thanks, and a second time with the Hendricks clip).

Funny thing is, I never mentioned my infatuation with Hendricks to him. Clearly, he's simply a man of excellent taste.

In case you're unaware of who Mrs. Reynolds is, enjoy this snippet of the best TV show to ever grace the airwaves.

Mal Reynolds: "There's no bliss! I don't know this girl!"
Jayne: "Then can I know her?"

In a Fix, Indeed...

David Leonhardt's article in the New York Times Magazine this week is well worth the long read. In it, he takes a stab at defining the key areas that can produce sustained growth in our economy, and what he thinks that the government should do in order to address them. In short order, how President Obama can use this perceived time of crisis to remake the economy.

I'm glad to see writers taking the time to dig deeply into the real issues facing the economy, even if I have my misgivings about their analysis. In short, I'd love to spend an hour over drinks with Mr. Leonhardt, and argue about this article.

I'll skip the first section in which Leonhardt is pimping for Keynes. I think you all know where I stand on much of that, and moreover, it's not the main push of his article anyway. He wants to get past reviving the economy, and dig into how to reform it for the long haul.

First, Leonhardt cites the problem of why we don't address the areas we should, and I can…

Citi - A Personal Tale of Moral Hazard...

I'm fighting the good fight in my tiny little corner of the economy. A simple business transaction between me and Citi is a perfect example of the problem with abandoning free market principles in the age of bailouts. Please read on...

I got a notice about a massive rate hike in my most recent Citi Mastercard statement. My base APR was going from 9.24% to 24.99%. If you are a Citi customer, I encourage you to carefully examine your statement for such a notice. Apparently, this is across the board.

For the record, I've been a cardholder with them for 5+ years, and have never been late on a payment. I carry a modest balance from month to month, and pay just above the minimum balance. In short, I should be their perfect customer.

I can't see the business sense in sticking it to some of their best customers... the kind of customers that a credit lender should love. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for some sort of sympathetic good will out of a bank, but why drive the l…