Archive for the 'blogging' Category


goinghomeWeakly Thunk has migrated to Blogger, the platform I first experimented with.

I have become fed up with WordPress’s embedding restrictions, the loopy incoherence of the category and tags management, and sheer unfriendliness of the picture uploading process.

It’ll take a while to add a blogroll but I’ll get to it eventually.


Politics? Viral? Europe? Are you mad?

This clip from Channel Four News describes a verbal attack on Gordon Brown by a Conservative MEP as the most viewed political speech in the fastest time in internet history. Two factors make this particularly interesting.
Firstly, the role that media such as Twitter and YouTube played in spreading an event which would otherwise have gone unreported (and is still curiously underplayed or ignored by the BBC) underlines a power shift away from traditional media.
Secondly, the political machinery in the UK, and possibly across Europe, has yet to seriously grasp either the threat or the opportunity offered by this new media.
There are some lessons that we can take from this episode if we look at the political environment. It’s arguable whether the dissatisfaction that helped fuel the speech’s popularity is felt mainly by people with a certain political view, or whether that feeling is more mainstream.
If there is a perception that a need is being ignored, does that make it easier for a maverick voice to be heard?
The speech has already received over 1 million hits since it was posted on YouTube. Watch it here.

“The dark side of social media”

darkLast night, a sextet of speakers lined up to warn of the dangers lurking in the world of blogging, Facebook etc. This was a gently animated seminar held in the basement of a London pub.

Being crap at reporting back on these things (and expecting other, more conscientious bloggers to report on it) , I’m only going to recount the points that interested me.

Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads described “sock puppets” – people creating false blog IDs for the primary purpose of cyber bullying; and “astroturfing” – creating a false grass roots movement i.e. a few people pretending to be a larger group in order to push an otherwise obscure or unpopular agenda. The latter concept is a new one to me, but I’ve seen some very odd commenting behaviour on some blogs that might suggest some “sock-puppeting”.

A question from the floor about brand presence in social networks drew what I consider to be the wrong response from the panel, who were no doubt influenced by the blogging / MySpace / Google AdSense advertising models of banners, intrusive links, and brand characters with profile pages. I think it’s too easy for advertisers to think “let’s do banners and websites”, because most marketing directors aren’t going to be au fait with the culture of social networks.

Social networks should not be used as an advertising medium, but as a means of conversation. For example, find a way to get people on the networks to spread a message by word-of-mouth. My 30-seconds-because-I’m-in-a-hurry-idea (that’s certainly been thought of already) would be to emulate the model used by advertisers at music festivals by promoting free beer / food / showers etc. for people who join an advertiser-created Facebook group which will have a pay-off at Glastonbury.

Hell, there must be better ideas than that out there (I’m sure I could find some in Contagious Magazine), but brands that try the same, tired old routines in social media really will get lost in the dark.

Browsing content with a dragon

tedI wish Brand Republic (register for free) would get their bloody website fixed. You never know when the thing’s going to slam a door in your face. A shame, because some of the new content’s pretty good, especially the blogs.
Charlie Hoult’s “Brand Karate” blog posted a link to this fascinating product demo. If, like me, you read a lot of printed documents and despair of the hassle of reading them as pdfs or scans, then you’ll appreciate the swankiness of this technology (based on something called Seadragon – no, I’ve not heard of it either).
Check out the advertiser-friendly zoom.
The site, “TED – Ideas worth spreading” hosting this demo has a truly intriguing collection of videos, and I’m going to spend some Big Brother time checking these out (especially the Richard Dawkins vids – he’s my pet subject at the mo).

Blurb from TED:

“TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds… The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).”

Embarrassing personal dilemma

pushme1.jpgHaving operated a surprisingly successful blog under a clearly made-up pseudonym (where I can rant and rail and post the loosely ad-related dross that I happen to stumble across in the course of my work), I am now wondering whether I should continue commenting on other blogs using that name.
The dilemma is particularly painful where other bloggers know both weakly thunk and the other blog, and know I am one and the same person. This could lead to me developing a virtual form of schizophrenia, where I could feasibly be commenting under two different names on the same blog. In fact, I have just done that on Neil Perkin’s blog, and I must admit that having two separate comments on his current front page under two different names does make me feel a bit of an idiot.
Ow! I can’t cope!

Self-important bit

I’m Victor Houghton, a, er... something or other in one of the UK’s largest advertising agencies. My job title has a comma in it, which is embarrassing. I’m the chief finder-things-outer with a splash of trends who is lucky to work with all the major functions of the agency, even though I am most closely associated with strategic planning. Everything in this blog has most probably been stolen from other, infinitely more talented people, although the opinions are most definitely my own and not those of the agency.



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