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Indie 2.0: Inspiring a Generation of Artist August 2, 2011

Posted by billyburnettgbc in blogs, conversational PR, Facebook, Journalism, kindle, new media, print media.
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As you may recall, in a previous post I talked about how filmmaker Kevin Smith announced he planned to market his next movie, Red State, using just social media and entirely without studio support. He has since not only made back the cost of the movie, something several recent summer blockbusters have failed to do, but also launched an internet radio station, filmed a pilot for a new TV talk show and started work on his final film, Hit Somebody.

The story of Kevin Smith is enthralling, but what’s more exciting is that it is far from unique. As far back as 2004, the British director Franny Armstrong made the eco-documentary The Age of Stupid, pioneering “crowd-funding”, a method whereby the financing (£450,000) was raised by selling shares to individuals and organisations, who all received a pro-rata share of the profits.

Now with the decline of the printed book and the rise of the eBook, supported by recent announcements by both Borders and Penguin books publisher Pearson, many authors are self-publishing and promoting their latest page turners.

For example, Toronto writer Blake Northcott decided to launch a Kindle version of Vs. Reality, a “comic book-inspired urban fantasy novel” on Amazon.com. During the nine months she spent writing the comic and movie blog, she amassed a 16,000 strong Twitter following, more than 1,700 personal Facebook friends and 4,500 page views providing real-time feedback on her work. To put that into perspective it’s more than Image Comics, the world’s largest independent comic book artist publisher.

Even those authors that still have the financial and marketing support of their publishers are realising the opportunity around social media in promoting their work.

John Green’s latest book, The Fault in our Stars, recently landed the number-one spots on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. This isn’t particularly strange – expect the book won’t be published until 2012. Using a variety of social media tools, including Twitter, Tumblr, community forums and YouTube, he has created a community around his work and unprecedented pre-orders have followed.

This presents a conundrum for any artist. Consider the extra blood, sweat and tears that self-distribution requires; engaging with followers via social media instead of getting that final chapter done, which is surely self-defeating, but also becoming an intrinsic part of the marketing mix which was traditionally handled by the publisher.

Thanks to social media however, artists across the globe are writing their own rules about branding and fan engagement.


Rainy Barcelona, but good spirits in MWC itself February 22, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, blogs, Broadband, Google, information technology, internet, ISP, IT, Microsoft, mobile, pr, social networks, Uncategorized, Windows 7, YouTube.
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So I’ve survived my 7th Mobile World Congress (my first rainy one, oh where was the lovely Barcelona sunshine when I needed it?) and it’s great to hear from many of the exhibitors that they had a much better Congress than last year and many talked of an emergence from the recession.

However, whilst there is some nostalgia over the heady days of the late 80s early 90s when glitz, glamour and entertainment on big ships and yachts were the order of the day, it’s good to know that those days will never come back (And by the way, how refreshing to see only a few stands resorting to scantily clad young girls for overweight middle aged business men old enough to be their fathers to drool over!)  Poor girls.

What’s perhaps good about coming out of a boom and almost bust time is that everyone is humbler, less arrogant, more keen to be ‘open’ and work together than before.  Ultimately, this has to be good for the customer.  More than any other show perhaps, there were more partnerships announced, more talk of openness and the ability to work together.

Two of the biggest pieces of news were around Microsoft and Google.  Undoubtedly there was a lot of buzz around Steve Ballmer’s press conference on Windows 7 to be released in time for the Christmas period.  His appearance emphasises the importance in this market.  Google unveiling its new mantra ‘Mobile First’ also captured the imagination of The Daily who gave it front page news.  Companies such as Google are fundamentally changing the mobile business and the established operators and equipment vendors need to understand how to work and more importantly compete with these new players.

Many at the show talked about the fact that with the explosion of mobile broadband, cloud computing and smart-phones, the technology is now fast becoming a reality for consumers to engage with brands, multimedia, social networking sites and applications.  Users can now check Facebook, watch YouTube, surf the web, download slide presentations and apps wherever they are, just by pressing a couple of buttons on their handset key pad or touchscreen.  

It’s undoubtedly an exciting time in which we live and reminds me of the PC explosion of the early 80s and the internet boom of the early 90s.


140 Words on Twitter Becoming the Word of the Year 2009 December 2, 2009

Posted by kewroad in blogs, internet, social networks, Twitter.
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  • The sound of a succession of chirps as uttered by birds
  • A free social networking and micro-blogging service

Not so long ago there was only one meaning for the word Twitter, but this year the brand name of a micro-blogging powerhouse has been crowned most popular word of 2009, joining previous winners change, hybrid, sustainable and refugee.

2009 is the first year that a technology brand rather than a political issue has topped the chart.

Other developments in 2009 have included Darlington becoming the first UK town to have an official ‘Twitterer-in-Residence’ who will be paid £140 annually to inform people about news and events in town via Twitter (@TheDarloBoard). There is also a man who has hooked his house up to Twitter to let him know when he has forgotten to turn his lights off (@andy_house).

Twitter hits PR agencies – guess what it’s called: twitpitch November 25, 2009

Posted by kewroad in 2009 predictions, blogs, conversational PR, internet, Journalism, pr, Twitter.
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Twitter makes the world go round and probably provides more opportunities than people can think of right now. Not only journalists, bloggers and analysts find a new communication channel in the 140 characters space that Twitter offers. Companies start to talk to their clients, partners, best friends and potential new clients about new products, the market or other hot issues. PR agencies like us try to introduce the advantages of  Twitter to our clients and we try hard even in “far-behind-Germany”.

Now as part of the PR community we can make Twitter a new business channel for us as well. We start twittering in our community and talk about PR news, discuss issues and get quick feedback from other agencies of our thematic focus. And this network could lead to new contacts for our business. Watch us twitpitching!


GBC Germany

Who will pay? November 18, 2009

Posted by kewroad in 2009 predictions, blogs, conversational PR, Facebook, Google, information technology, Journalism, new media, Online Reputation, Uncategorized.
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Murdoch has created a lot of storm recently talking about how consumers will have to pay for content.  In this Sunday’s Observer, there was yet more discussion about how even in the good old days of printed newspapers, customers never paid the full price anyway – so why does Murdoch think they will now! And then later in the week, the editor of the Times shed more light on how he expects readers to pay for the digital edition of the Times.  Good luck to them. Now, the founder of Digg, is suggesting that news aggregation sites have a contribution to make.  So it’s definitely all still up in the air, in terms of how it’s all going to work financially.

In the meantime, it’s goodnight to another printed publication, 25 year old Media Week but welcome to it’s new online presence..let’s hope they can make it pay.

So in this revolutionary world we currently live, the winners will be the ones able and prepared to change their business model and make it work financially.

Sue Grant

Blogs are Old Hat, Young Chap? March 31, 2008

Posted by kewroad in blogs, sherlock holmes, spiritualism.
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Reading the biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and among the many interesting insights (e.g. there was no big clamour for him to bring Sherlock Holmes from the dead and he kept writing Sherlock Holmes stories well into the 1920s) was how much Conan Doyle was a bit of a blogger in the (of course) pre-blogging, pre-Internet, pre-computer, pretty much pre-electricity etc. age.

What made me think of a parallel or two was the huge amount of work and energy that he put into contributing articles, firing off letters commenting on other people’s articles (and then firing back counter-replies and counter-counter replies) and joining and being an active member of countless clubs and a spinning kaleidoscope of special interest groups. This was in addition to writing hundreds of short stories, novels and poetry. The late nineties and Edwardian period saw tremendous activity in the publishing industry with new magazines being launched and heavy pamphleting about a plethora of issues. Much of this was self-publishing akin to today’s social media movement – albeit done by the upper middle classes and in print.

Faced with all these opportunities to see his words in print Conan Doyle simply could not stop himself. The blizzard of activity is overwhelming and even more impressive because all he had was a pen and paper and later a wonky second hand typewriter rather than a laptop and an Internet connection.

I suspect his attitude to information technology would have been warped by his well-known obsession with spiritualism – the belief in the afterlife, which Conan Doyle and others saw as a basis for a new all-unifying super-religion. Spiritualists regarded key technologies like electricity, radio and photography as revealing the spirit world – e.g. unexplained (actually often faked) ghostly auras on photographs or radio waves being the same method the dead communicated to the living. The movement got a huge boost by the First World War because so many people died so young so suddenly and many times with no information about what happened or even if they were dead. Their bereaved friends and families were desperate for closure and the idea of making contact with the dead held huge appeal.

The Internet as a means of universal connectivity certainly would have excited Conan Doyle’s mind and – as we all know – is very much a tool for all sorts of wild n wacky obsessions of the kind that appealed to him.

So Conan Doyle, a blogger? Elementarily not because he went over to the Other Side in 1930. But potentially he could have been the world’ s greatest blogger. And given his beliefs is desperately trying to get through to get a broadband account and pump out his reports from Afterlife.com