The Zeitgeist Stream




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The Vancouver riots and public engagement

One of the more fascinating examples of public engagement I’ve seen in a long time has just unraveled on the streets of Vancouver, and I can’t help but watch this story unfold in fascination- both from the point of view of a concerned citizen, as well as a professional communicator.

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June 16, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

Do Canadians trust online media more than other sources?

Cross-posted from Matthew’s Long-Form Blog.

I wanted to share this study on Canadian media trends reported earlier this week in the Globe, which indicated that Canadians trust content from the mainstream media over and above sources like blogs, social media and friends.

This is an interesting contrast with Edelman’s own research, which lumps Canadian trust in media (at below 50%) with the “Distrusters”, a group that includes Italy and Russia. Search engines, meanwhile, dominate how we find news.

I’m not convinced there’s a contradiction here, because wired Canadians can use search engines as the gate into content from trusted media outlets (i.e. we recognize that search engines are good at finding, and journalists are good at journalism).

What do you think?

Key excerpts below the fold.

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May 20, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

How the Tablet Could Finally Stop the Press

I read with interest this week media speculation that Montreal-based French language newspaper La Presse was apparently planning to make the bold step of phasing out its print edition with the promise of a free tablet to those purchasing a three year subscription to their digital edition.

If the speculation proves to be true – and it should be stressed that La Presse have so far remained tight-lipped – such a strategy is an interesting one: make a significant investment in upfront hardware costs in exchange for enticing a large portion of your 200,000 readers to start reading the digital edition of La Presse. This would drive readers to your online content while potentially making a case for phasing out the print edition altogether.

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March 18, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 1 comment

How nonprofits can teach the private sector about everything

This post also appeared on Matthew’s Long-Form Blog.

In a column in Toronto Life published for the web on Monday afternoon, Jesse Brown argued that “the only way to get the best selection of television shows and movies is to steal them.” Comments attacking the author started pouring in immediately. “Well Jesse, at least you acknowledge that what you’re doing is stealing,” wrote Quentin. “Do you realize that the real victims of your civil disobedience will be creators?” asked Amy. And cabma wrote, in a more direct tone, “the logic you use to justify your actions is pathetic.”

And they just kept coming. Around 5 pm, Jesse mused on Twitter, “Not to sound paranoid…..but am I getting astro-turfed in the comments here?”

March 15, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

The Art of Marketing Recap

This post also appears on Socially Mediated Life

Last Monday, I had the pleasure of watching five amazing speakers at the top of their game at The Art of Marketing. Here are some takeaways.

Avinash Kaushik

We don’t like throwing around the G-word that often but Avinash is a true guru when it comes to web and social analytics. His blog Occam’s Razor, is a staple on many an analyst’s RSS reading list and he is an impassioned speaker that didn’t pull any punches. Fortunately, none of the companies that he pointed out needing improvements were Edelman clients.

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March 15, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

Twitter: Television’s Peanut Gallery

This post also appears on Socially Mediated Life

During this year’s Oscars, I had two screens going. The big one was showing the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. The smaller laptop screen was showing the #oscars feed.

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March 2, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

Building Societal Value into the Bottom Line: Moving from Shareholder to Stakeholder


The times, they are a changing, and in a way that would make Bob Dylan proud. Canadians are showing their  true colours about what it takes to gain their trust – and their investment dollars – in their response to the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer. When it comes to what Canadians expect from companies they put their money into, it’s no longer the status quo that many publicly-traded entities banked on in the past.

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February 18, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

Do You Trust Your “Friends?”

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”  Written before the advent of Facebook where now, the way to have not just one, but potentially hundreds of friends (the noun), is to “friend” (the verb) just about anyone.  Granted, some are more vigilant than others in how they manage their friend lists as overall, we are seeing a dilution in the meaning of the word.  People now often qualify with “Facebook friend” when talking about others, indicating a looser affiliation than that of perhaps a true “friend.”  This indicates a greater adaptation of social media into the mainstream and is reflected in this year’s Canadian Trust Barometer data where “a person like me” has switched places with “CEO” as a trusted information source signaling the return of the expert as credible information source for Canadians.

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February 17, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

Wiki Culture and the End of Practical Obscurity

This post first appeared in Socially Mediated Life

I learned a new term the other day from Zeynep Tufekci, one that lawyers use to call information that is essentially accessible but not necessarily easily available… “practical obscurity”.

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February 17, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 3 comments

Stock of the CEO on the Rise

In a time of crisis, people usually look for leadership from the very top. As an Englishman living in Canada, I only have to think back to the summer of 1997 when my homeland descended into a state of national mourning following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

While thousands wept in their homes, as well as openly at the gates of Buckingham Palace, there was a growing, media-led, public clamor for the Queen to address her people – something she steadfastly refused to do until several days after that infamous night in Paris. When she did finally speak, it was greeted in many corners as “too little too late.” Such was Her Majesty’s perceived procrastination, that it even spawned an Oscar-winning movie.

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February 16, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

Fame vs. Influence

This post first appeared on Socially Mediated Life

Over the past decade, marketers have been obsessed with influence. The pedestal on which influencers have been placed is tantamount to marketing sainthood. Thousands of hours have been spent finding and cultivating relationships with these influencers in the hopes that our products will fly off the shelves after their ringing endorsements. Under this premise, an influencer is someone who can get people to take action (and generally the preferred action is to buy the marketers’ products though it could also mean advocate for a position or vote for a certain political candidate).

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February 11, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

Just Watch Me: Substantive Debate on Twitter

Let’s go back a ways. You may remember a time when politicians made themselves available to speak with the media in, gasp, unstructured ways. I wasn’t born yet, and can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard that Pierre Trudeau once engaged in a wide-ranging and impromptu debate with a CBC reporter about that PM’s response to the FLQ crisis, while on tape. By today’s standards, the clip on Youtube is almost agonizingly long (6 minutes).

Sadly, the trend over the last couple of decades has been for politicians (and businesses as well) to make use of more and more carefully-staged theatre. But sometimes a politician with chutzpah or a member of our intrepid media throws out all the rules. Through Twitter. Last night.

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February 3, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 1 comment

What Will Be the Next Big Thing? Whatever We Make the Next Big Thing…

There are two factors at play in the king-making process of social media. Network externality and GMOOTs.

Network externality is the effect that a user of a service has on all other users of a service. A social network with only one user is pretty useless. Add another user and suddenly there is some value. Add additional users and the value of the system increases exponentially. At a certain point a system or platform becomes king, not because of its features or any technical achievement, but simply because “everyone is there.” En mass movements will occur, but only with significant change. No one is going to dump Facebook for something that is 10% better. A platform needs to be twice that of the entrenched player if it has any hopes of overcoming the pull of ‘everyone is there’.
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February 3, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 3 comments

Edelman 11on11

A look at the trends and behaviors for the year ahead by eleven of Edelman’s consumer marketing experts

Slide 14 features an article by Edelman Canada Consumer Marketing Practice Lead, Robyn Adelson, entitled “It’s a New Technology Playing Field.”
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February 2, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 0 comments

Games Without Frontiers

This is cross-posted on Socially Mediated Life

After seeing Gabe Zicherman at Meshmarketing 2010 and after watching several talks from TEDster Jesse Schell, I’m starting to drink the gameified kool-aid. I’m fully convinced that the “game” is the best metaphor for marketing. Read more »

January 27, 2011 by in Our Ideas, The Zeitgeist Stream | 2 comments