Jargon Watch: Harris’ Law

Jason Calacanis has touched on the issue of overconnectivity in a recent editon of his email newsletter. It dealt  with more certainty about the adverse social effects that connectivity brings which I first heard raised by Eric Benhamou of 3Com when he spoke about a decade ago in a keynote at Networld+InterOp in Paris.

Key to the mail was a concept that Calacanis called Harris’ Law (after his friend Josh Harris):

At some point, all humanity in an online community is lost, and the goal becomes to inflict as much psychological suffering as possible on another person.

That sounds excessively harsh in most circumstances, since most social networks mirror life and society, but I wanted to end this post on a timely reminder which I have taken from Hugh MacLeod of Gaping Void fame’s twitter feed:

“People matter, Objects don’t”. That’s all you need to know about social media.

You can subscribe to Jason’s email list here.

It isn’t pink, I usually go this colour when I am embarrassed

The embarrassment in question is in relation to the lame marketing tie-in I noticed between shirt-maker Thomas Pink and the forthcoming Sony Pictures film: The Pink Panther 2.


Thomas Pink Fail


Not quite feeling the synergy here guys beyond the colour pink. In addition to a limited edition range of shirts with a tacky label, there is cufflinks and boxer shorts.


Pink Panther by Thomas Pink


I was shocked to see there was even a set of ‘Pink Panther’ socks in the window that were reminiscent of the cartoon character socks Woolworths used to stock as men’s gifts in the run up to Father’s Day and Christmas. Woolworth’s went bankrupt for a reason.


Thomas Pink Fail


The champion fail though in my book was the lack of localisation in the campaign. The window sticker on the Thomas Pink shop on Chancery Lane spelt theatres in the American-style ‘theaters’ instead of saying cinemas. Classy, especially for a brand that espouses the English style of shirt-making through its usual positioning, premium pricing and Jermyn Street address.

Jargon Watch: Justice porn

When I was a kid, there was a strangely tedious yet compelling show on in the middle of the afternoon called Crown Court, there members of a jury picked from the electorial role in the Granada television region (North West of England) heard court cases that were created (featuring actors as judges, witnesses and the accused). When I was off ill from school it would send me to sleep but my interest wouldn’t allow me to nod off totally. I instead existed in a blissfully comfortable (almost narcotic) half-awake state under a duvet.

So I can understand the appeal in a new hot category of American reality justice television called justice porn. Reality shows like Judge Judy have been found to provide reliable ratings (at least 1.5 Neilsen ratings) and are relatively cheap (under 500,000 USD per episode) to make. Justice porn veteran Judge Judy now dukes it out with over a dozen competing shows on American television.

Kudos to Thank You, Your Honor, May I Have Another? – The stubbornly seductive perils of justice porn by Greg Beato for Reason Magazine (January 2009 print edition).

As seen on…

I was looking at a ‘sleeve face’ advert on the back of thelondonpaper for Smooth FM when the artwork of The Beach Boys Greatest Hits caught my eye. There was a red stripe on the top corner labeled ‘as seen on TV’.

As seen on TV

It is amazing how hackneyed that phrase has become. Sullied by wonder kitchen gadgets and keep fit devices and tacky costume jewellery on the likes of QVC and HSN.

So what would be the equivalent now? As seen on YouTube? As seen on Facebook? As found on Google?

Instead, things are bit different. In fact, if I can’t something on Google it immediately seems suspect. As seen on Google isn’t a ringing endorsement but a minimum level of trust. At least Google as a destination is better and more trusted than minor TV channels.

Links of the day

Smarta – Think create grow – need to kick the tyres on this is Xing / LinkedIn rival. It must be web 2.0 it has a flickr-like dual-colour logo.

FT launches new mobile website – Brand Republic News – Brand Republic – interesting move, optimised for iPhone and Blackberry. From memory the FT used to share its content via AvantGo as well a number of years ago. Its amazing how long mobile has been an emerging platform

Simonsays: Locking down the future and what you can do to help – Mr Collister on the EU’s answer to the US Sonny Bono law

Candy Cakes – Coffee Cakes and Shakes – start-up party fuel, some nice creative designs though

Whisper it – A year later, AOL contemplates a Bebo sale

Facebook Is Too Crowded and Your Analytics Aren’t Up to Snuff – Advertising Age

NGO’s need to understand The Naked Corporation too

At a .Org presentation in association with the Webby’s I heard how Greenpeace’s name a whale campaign got subverted with internet users flocking to rig a vote for Mr Splashy Pants. Now PETA have been punkd with a sophisticated spoof site that tries to make fish over as ‘sea kittens’:


Kiss Me - I'm a Sea Kitten!

I love this explanation from the site:

People don’t seem to like fish. They’re slithery and slimy, and they have eyes on either side of their pointy little heads—which is weird, to say the least. Plus, the small ones nibble at your feet when you’re swimming, and the big ones—well, the big ones will bite your face off if Jaws is anything to go by.

Of course, if you look at it another way, what all this really means is that fish need to fire their PR guy—stat. Whoever was in charge of creating a positive image for fish needs to go right back to working on the Britney Spears account and leave our scaly little friends alone. You’ve done enough damage, buddy. We’ve got it from here. And we’re going to start by retiring the old name for good. When your name can also be used as a verb that means driving a hook through your head, it’s time for a serious image makeover. And who could possibly want to put a hook through a sea kitten?

Ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop promoting sea kitten hunting.

What this means is that campaigning NGOs have to be able to stand up the same kind of scrutiny as large corporates. No more fudging facts and figures to meet their campaign objectives, otherwise the boot will be on the other foot. And if they think this is bad, they should go and ask the Church of Scientology about the highly motivated individuals of Anonymous.

Milk – a biopic

Having visited San Francisco, it is really hard for me to imagine San Francisco as anything other than a bastion of liberalism. Ok, I know that San Francisco doesn’t allow same-sex marriages, but that is a statewide law, but it is hard to imagine the city without The Castro district. However up until at least the late 1970s there was a substantial bias against the LBGT communities in the city.

Milk tells the story of Harvey Milk, which is also the story of the gay community in San Francisco to be treated the same as everyone else. Penn sympathetically portrays Milk as a dreamer with a mission to secure public office. The film is a beautifully shot period piece.

Milk was eventually killed alongside San Francisco mayor George Moscone (the famous Moscone convention centre was named after the mayor) by conservative political rival Dan White.

Teens and Twitter

Anastasia Goodstein over at YPulse blogs about teens and their low adoption rate of Twitter. Its a good article and makes a lot of sense check out Why teens haven’t embraced Twitter…yet. One section of the article caught my eye:

As long as teens can update their status via MySpace and Facebook for their friends as well as IM and text, Twitter doesn’t really add to the existing technology. In a column over at AdAge.com about why Millennials haven’t completely embraced Twitter, Kelly Eidson explains, “Millennials are already married to other platforms: We use Facebook to keep in touch with our friends, and LinkedIn to store professional contacts.”

I found it quite interesting that some of the very reasons I use Twitter: to update status across different platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, IM) were posed as reasons that prevented teens from using LinkedIn. So much for the millenians being techno-wizards stereotype. Maybe someone should introduce them to ping.fm?

Links of the day

Why employers should control how staff use Facebook | OUT-LAW.COM

Edelman Trust Barometer 2009 sixtysecondview

Why Ad Rates Are Plummeting And What It Means For Publishers (NYT)

LinkedIn Clamps Down On Super-Connected Users – CIO.com – interesting article, wonder how this will affect most members reach given that super-connected users are often bridges?

Microsoft Ready to Throw Big Bucks at Yahoo Search? – why does this make more sense now than before?

Free Keyword Research Tools from Google | Mojonomic

Yahoo! Tests Images in Paid Search Spots

No Surprise: Google Is No. 1 Internet Property Worldwide – Yahoo! gets knocked off the top spot

Oprah Time: Wake Up by Jack Kerouac

Kerouac’s On The Road and the Dharma Bums well-known for the influence it had on the counterculture movement, from the beat generation to the hippies and beyond. Wake Up was never published whilst Kerouac was alive, but fits logically into his other works. His love of buddhist culture and a maturing writing style makes Wake Up the most readable of all Kerouac’s work.

Wake Up is an easy-to-read biography of Prince Siddhartha, from his royal upbringing to his travels, trials and eventual enlightenment. What comes through in every page is Kerouac’s joy and enthusiasm for his subject matter. It’s the work of a man who has found his place in the world.

Transparent business models work

media temple logo, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

I use Culver City-based internet service provider Media Temple (mt) to host my blog. They have a great responsive service that means I have down time of a quarter of an hour now and again rather than the three weeks or so that I had with Yahoo! Small Business Hosting.

Media Temple is also transparent when they have faults blogging about what’s wrong, when its wrong and what they are doing to fix it. So when things do go wrong I am confident that it will be fixed.

Which brings me around to why I am recommending them in this blog post. Their transparency inspires me to trust them with my brand.

Transparent business models work, swiftly dealt with faults can inspire brand loyalty as we recognise human qualities in others. Brands can stumble, but we respect them more if they can pick themselves up off the floor and carry on.

Louis Vuitton | Graffiti Art

Louis Vuitton | Graffiti Art, originally uploaded by oliverkray.

German graffiti artist / designer Oliver Kray has customised one of Louis Vuitton’s classic design (ok popular, if not classic). I like the way his graffiti disrupts the order of the monogram pattern with organic-shaped splashes of colour breaking through the boredom. It’s doubtful that Louis Vuitton would see it that way.

It reminded me of the old Silk Cut cigarette advertisements that used to subvert similar images of a regular surface. More information from the artist’s website.

Chinese new year doodle from Google

Chinese new year doodle from Google, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

Google’s Chinese New Year doodle for the year of the ox left me
puzzled for a few seconds before I got it, maybe because I am still a
bit spaced from sleep. Have a look and let me know what you think.

Jargon Watch: Localwashing

With the advent of globalisation we are no longer used to the seasonality of foods. If you want asparagus out of season it can be flown in from half-way around the world to the shelves of the local Tesco supermarket.

Sourcing from local suppliers is a way of reducing the carbon footprint of your shopping basket. There is an attraction for retailers targeting the socially conscious consumer to play up the local nature of a product, where these claims are optimistic or outright lies is localwashing.

Kudos to Piers Fawkes over at PSFK for this definition.