Tag Archives: media

Rob on what 2010 will bring for social media

I missed passing this along when it first came out, because I didn’t know those nice CBC people had put it on YouTube. It’s their segment on what to expect in 2010 for social media, based on an interview they did with me in their stunning new Vancouver studios.

The key point for me is that I’m finding people are becoming more deliberate and discerning about where they direct their attention, whether it’s in who they friend, what they watch or which applications they install on Facebook. (That doesn’t mean I’ll always agree with the choices they make: witness the rise of FarmVille. [shudder])

And in the background, yes, you’ll see VanTrash on my screen.

Enjoy… and see what you think of how my predictions are turning out one month in.

Raise your hand if you think the media was soft on Bush

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s explosive memoir lambastes the press for rolling over for the Bush administration’s sales job on the Iraq war. But Seth Leibsohn, a right-wing blogger at the National Review’s web site, was apparently on another planet at the time. He writes, “Raise your hand if you have any evidence that the press was too soft on the administration.”

So just for fun, in my little way, I’m helping the rest of us take him up on that challenge with a Facebook group: Raise Your Hand if You Think the Media Was Too Soft on Bush.

If you remember the soft-ball questions, the attacks on the patriotism or character on anyone who questioned the drive toward war, the overwhelming presence of pro-war voices in the media…

…then raise your hand. Take a picture. And then upload it here!

Barack Obama’s speech on race

Back in the 1993 federal election, then-Prime Minister Kim Campbell was quoted as saying that elections are no time to discuss serious issues. (If memory serves, her comment was actually much more nuanced, but was dumbed down to that pithy, sensational and damaging phrase – which kinda proved her point.)

Last week, Barack Obama challenged that idea – with a scope and, yes, audacity that was nothing short of breathtaking – in a speech that seemed entirely out of place in a North American election. Chances are you’ve heard or read excerpts, but as a speechwriter, I can’t urge you strongly enough to read and watch the whole thing.

This was not a speech made for sound bites, although it has one or two choice ones. (“I can no more disown him than…”) Instead of rejecting nuance, this speech embraces it – as any honest, positive contribution to the conversation about a complex and highly charged topic must.

There is a passage of particular interest to communicators, where he delivers a challenge that may prove even more difficult to meet than that of America’s racial divide: a call for a civil, mature discussion of the issue.

We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

And he continues, suggesting that the dialogue can be about issues that actually make a difference to people – and that this is what Americans really want.

Heady stuff. Heady enough that I wondered if commentators in the media – who are usually quick to condemn the politics of sound bites and cheap attacks, while consigning any politician who fails to deliver them to thorough obscurity – would rise to it.

The early metrics aren’t promising. Those fine folks at TechPresident used online service TagCrowd to create tag clouds of Obama’s speech and of the “editorial responses of the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal“.

Here’s Obama:

And here are America’s flagship newspapers:

Micah Sifry concludes the TechPresident post this way:

At a first glance, it seems as if our editorial guides can’t help but view the speech as a political ploy, first and foremost. Considering how rarely politicians choose to grapple in depth with hard and divisive issues like race, it’s hard to see how that is the best frame through which to view it. But that is the frame our media system uses to evaluate political speeches, no?

Personally, I think Obama’s speech is a great test of the following question: Are we still living in the age of sound-bite politics, where the sharp attack line, even taken out of context, can become the “truth” of an event or a person thanks to the amplifying and distorting effects of broadcast media? Or are we entering the age of sound-blast politics, where a 37-minute speech can actually be watched, read, and digested by millions of people (a million views already on YouTube!) using the abundant spaces of the internet–and the themes and meanings they encounter and absorb will be not about the “politics” of a speech, but its actual content?

In other words, are we entering an age when politicians can be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character?

Maybe, and I really want to think so – but that age is going to take a while to arrive. I don’t expect a single speech, no matter how great, to change decades of ingrained behaviour. It will take a determination by politicians to consistently respond with courage, substance and integrity to challenges such as the one Obama faced with Rev. Wright’s comments – and a willingness by leaders in the media to stop complaining about politicians who lack substance on Monday and punishing those who don’t on Tuesday.

But when the week starts with Fox News asking if Bill Richardson is playing the race card by growing a beard, the situation doesn’t look all that hopeful.

The Tyee is hiring a marketing coordinator

Heads up, any of you marketers who are sick of selling cigarettes to toddlers (or just feeling a little unmotivated about the social impact of your work) and looking for something a little more aligned with your values. How about a job with one of Canada’s independent media powerhouses?

The Tyee is hiring:

Position title: Marketing Coordinator, Full time
Salary: Competitive; based on experience
Application deadline: Monday July 16th, 2007
Start date: Late July – early August 2007 (flexible)

The Tyee (www.thetyee.ca) is expanding its team, and looking for a creative and energetic marketing coordinator. Are you the next member of BC’s best independent online news source?

Personality Traits and Interests:

You are a highly motivated person who excels at creative and strategic solutions to marketing challenges.

You have a keen interest in new web technologies, web publishing, and in particular, independent online media.

You are an excellent communicator and writer who is not afraid of regular deadlines.

You are tapped into the Web 2.0 universe: social networks, social bookmarking, aggregation, SEO etc. are an integral part of your marketing vocabulary.

You have a strong interest in community outreach and your networks are broad and diverse, including academic, multicultural, non-profit, activist, socially responsible business, labour circles and more.

You have strong event management and volunteer coordination skills.

You are skilled at working with designers to complete projects, both online and in print.

You are familiar with Photoshop and other design and layout programs, and have an ability to deal with both print and online design projects. You can write basic HTML, and have very strong knowledge of online marketing techniques and strategies.

You are able to manage your time well, can prioritize tasks, and always respond promptly to emails and phone calls.

Required responsibilities:

  • Work with the Business Director and other staff to:
  • Grow the Tyee readership through viral marketing campaigns, online contests, syndication relationships, other reader-focused online initiatives
  • Serve and understand the needs of Tyee readers through surveys, forums and other outreach
  • Coordinate and manage ‘offline’ events and handle sponsorship relations
  • Strengthen strategic relationships with community leaders and groups
  • Manage eNewsletter distribution
  • Implement new web features
  • Explore other marketing and advertising options

Qualifications, skills and abilities:


  • 2+ years of marketing experience
  • College or university degree
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Keen eye for detail, self-directed, analytical. Takes initiative, curious, able to solve problems on one’s own, and knows how and when to ask for help
  • Basic HTML, Photoshop and layout programs
  • Ability and desire to learn new programs, concepts and strategies
  • Knowledge of diverse communities in BC and Canada (including geographic and multicultural) considered an asset

Application information

The Tyee hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity and diversity. We encourage all qualified persons to apply, with the only restriction being that applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Applicants must also be willing to work mostly in the Tyee’s Vancouver office, so only applicants living in the Greater Vancouver area will be considered.

Please send resume, including at least two professional references, and a brief cover letter to Michelle Hoar at mhoar@thetyee.ca with subject line “Marketing Coordinator posting.”

Application deadline is Monday July 16th, 2007.

Interviews will take place between Wednesday July 18th and Friday 20th, and the position will start as early as possible. Only applicants considered for interview will be contacted.

Catch me on CFAX 1070 on Saturday at 8 p.m.

I’ll be on Sean Holman’s Public Eye with the brilliant Kate Trgovac, discussing Petro-Canada’s YouTube gambit. We’re on at 8 p.m., right after the news. 1070 on your AM dial in sunny Victoria, or listen live online.