June 2008

Character blogs just don't work. At the start of the year a character blog was established to launch a movie. It was a great way to generate a little buzz, especially around the blogosphere. I'm sure they even picked up a few regular readers and maybe a couple of RSS subscriptions. But it hasn't been touched since April. Movie launches have a lifetime of only a couple of months but blogs carry a long tail. You can't launch a blog and build up an audience to abruptly stop. Blogging and short term strategy just don't go together. Sure they might put out another post when the DVD is released but their small (but passionate) community will be long dead by then. Fictional television characters might have it a little eaiser. Dwight Schrute from The Office has his own blog which is immensely popular. But take a look back a few months ago and you will see a massive gap during the Writers Guild of America Strike. You need to pay a writer to maintain a character blog which can't always be done. So when do they work? When done in parody and non commercially. The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog is a great example where Daniel Lyons maintained a successful blog for several years until he was revealed in August 2007. He still posts daily under the character and it is as successful as ever. Marketers shouldn't be using fake blogs for more reasons than just transparency issues. Unless anyone can prove me wrong with an example?...

Many of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis have Facebook groups. Ones that immediately come to mind are Six Pixels of Separation, Jaffe Juice and Gen Y Marketing Podcast. But what is the point? The groups all seem dead. Julian Cole says they can be used to promote podcast episodes but I can't help but feel members of this group would already be subscribed. Similarly, these podcasts usually start or end with the same spiel in each episode. As regular listeners, surely we already know where to find you, how to contact you and have checked out the blog? This valuable content time and energy is wasted on a few potential new listeners. It seems like an incredibly outdated approach and almost mass media like. Why waste time preaching to the choir?...

There is no doubt in my mind that ABC is leading the way in new media of all the television networks. Not only have they developed excellent websites which allow the viewers to become involved on another medium but they were the first to adopt the concept of podcasting. Whilst it's far easier for them to do so given their non commercial status, this was the first step in what will soon change the way we view television in Australia. The other commercial networks are tied down a little more with advertising issues. And that is why I would like to commend Network Ten. They dipped their foot in the water by podcasting one sketch of the successful Thank God You're Here online each week last year. For the entire season it didn't leave the Top 5 Australian Podcasts in iTunes. Interestingly, these five minute segments were book marked with ten second spots. They've now plunged head first and podcasted the entire show of Good News Week, with similar rankings as Thank God You're Here. Even more interestingly without any spots at all. Either way this is a positive step forward, albeit a slow one, for new media. Now how long until Nine Network and Channel Seven get on board?...

Firstly, my apologies. I didn't mean for that to be such a provocative title but it got your attention, eh? Where do you stand on swearing in blogs? I don't mean any random swearing but when it is used to show passion or expression. Does it further add to the fact I'm a Generation Y, 18 year old blogger? Or does it steal credibility, portray me as unprofessional and ward off potential employers or more importantly readers?...