Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for March 2008

links for 2008-03-31

Written by Tom Murphy

March 31, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Posted in General

links for 2008-03-29

Written by Tom Murphy

March 29, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Posted in General

Web 2.0: Is it time for adult supervision?

I’m sorry I missed Euroblog 2008 it looked like a great event with a great line-up. I have made a personal commitment to try and get out a bit more.

There’s no question that this new online communications stuff is important. It’s not just important for PR people it’s has pretty major societal implications.

I get that.

I do.

I believe there’s a transformation underway that will (has?) certainly impact how people find and share information, how they connect.

But hold on.

Sometimes traversing the Interweb I stumble upon commentary which really sticks in my brain and nags me.

I get the feeling that some people are really losing the run of themselves.

There’s so much excitement online, sometimes it’s easy to lose a sense of perspective, a sense of the difference between right and wrong, of the difference between the relevant and the irrelevant.

While I realize I might attract the ire of some, I think people need to get a grip and step outside the Internet bubble a little more.

Last night I was doing some browsing on the aforementioned Euroblog 2008.

I was reading some posts, comments and even watching some videos.



1 minute 40 seconds from the end this video from Euroblog, it moves to a panel session.  Now the video is edited so I apologize to Philippe Borremans in advance if I’m misrepresenting his comments, but in the video he states that (my transcript):

"I think wikis and Wikiepdia has been mentioned very often during these two days and I think we need to get off the idea of these cases where some things (that) are in Wikipedia are are not 100% correct, and what have you, I mean if you look at it… this is a global thing it’s a global encyclopedia. I don’t know how many edits and new (pieces of) information are added every second, but if you compare that to the amount of mistakes in there I think the positives much more important than the negative."

When I listened to that last night it really stuck in my head.

In fact it’s stayed with me all day today.

I’m sorry.

I fundamentally disagree with that sentiment Philippe.

I absolutely disagree.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Wikipedia is considered the second most credible source of information for young people.

How can it be acceptable that we just shrug our shoulders and say "well it’s not accurate but it’s cool and loads of people add stuff to it"?

This isn’t an anti-Wikipedia rant per se.

Wikipedia is a phenomenon, an amazing achievement.

But that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to its shortcomings because it’s a cool example of Web 2.0 collaboration.

I think people who share that view would change their opinion very quickly if they found some negative commentary on themselves or if something erroneous turned up on their client.

Let’s rememeber Wikpedia’s willingness or ability to address inaccurate information isn’t exactly stellar, this is well illustrated from this Sunday Times article:

But as the sum of what we all know and agree, the wisdom of crowds has no greater value than Trivial Pursuit. Wikipedia is full of mistakes, half truths and misunderstandings. What happens if you try to do something about it? William Connolley, a climate modeller at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and an expert on global warming, disagreed with a Wikipedia editor over a particular entry on the site. After trying to correct inaccuracies Connolley was accused of trying to remove “any point of view which does not match his own”. Eventually he was limited to making just one edit a day.


[Disclaimer: the article is based on an interview with Andrew Keen who believes that Web 2.0 is killing our culture – not something I necessarily agree with..]

If Wikipedia is being held up as an encyclopedia, then it should be expected to meet the same criteria as any other respected encyclopedia. End of story.

I had another moment listening to episode 324 of the ever excellent For Immediate Release.

Regular contributor – and someone I have a lot of time for – David Phillips was talking about (5:28) YouTube’s announcement that it was going to introduce live video streaming making it a "platform for interactive citizen television" offering "an unlimited number of TV channels on your laptop" or other device.

That is without question my idea of hell.

Who is going to sit through all the garbage?

Who is going to do the shopping, bring in the wage? What about the poor dog?

There’s a quote I am very fond of:

“The stone age was marked by man’s clever use of crude tools.  The information age to date, has been marked by man’s crude use of clever tools.”

– anonymous

The delivery of video, the accumulation of user generated content, twits, blogs etc are only the beginning. The real shift (especially for communicators) will be the next generation of tools that enable people to manage and mine this information in a meaningful way that respects the fact that they are already suffering from information overload.

Don’t get me wrong.

These shiny new things are very interesting, in fact they are very important.

But please let’s not lose sight of their weaknesses and failings.

We all still live (most of the time) in the real world.

Reality is a good thing, let’s not lose sight of it.

Written by Tom Murphy

March 28, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Posted in General

Measuring social media PR

I am often known to comment that no one word in the English language does a better job making a room full of PR people cough and examine their shoes, than "measurement".

Shel Israel has a fantastic report for Global Neighbourhoods TV on how SeaWorld San Antonio used social media to launch "Journey to Atlantis" their new roller coaster when the project was ready ahead of schedule.

It features none other than Kami Huyse and it’s a great example of how the creative use of social media can have a measurable impact.

Excellent and recommended viewing.

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Written by Tom Murphy

March 28, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Posted in General

links for 2008-03-28

Written by Tom Murphy

March 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Posted in General

Nearly Friday… serious time waster

If you’re of the age, this could be the end of this week’s productivity.


You have been warned…

Thanks to Karlin for the link…

Written by Tom Murphy

March 27, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Posted in General

David Pogue on PR & Web 2.0

In a post that I’m sure will soon appear across the PR blogosphere.

David Pogue has written a post on the potential for Web 2.0 to provide customers with a more human insight into companies.


When a company embraces the possibilities of Web 2.0, though, it makes contact with its public in a more casual, less sanitized way that, as a result, is accepted with much less cynicism. Web 2.0 offers a direct, more trusted line of communications than anything that came before it.


Absolutely true.  However we still need the other (read: traditional) stuff!

Hat tip to Jeremy Pepper (a first blog post via a link in Twitter)

Written by Tom Murphy

March 27, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Posted in General


This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many pages like this one or sub-pages as you like and manage all of your content inside of WordPress.

Written by Tom Murphy

March 27, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Posted in General

5 years ago this week…

Five years ago this week, discussion on the question of blogger ethics was all the rage across the Interweb, following Rebecca Blood’s widely read post on Weblog Ethics.

This was about a year after the "Blogger’s Manifesto"* was published, though to be honest I’ve always preferred this version.

Oh we were all so innocent then….

Speaking of innocent, here’s an idea I posted this week five years ago that (unsurprisingly) never caught on….


When is a weblog an inlog?

Friday, March 28th, 2003

I am writing a short opinion piece on weblogs and PR.  An ‘inlog’ is a term I am using for weblogs inside your organization.  I’ll post the article in the next while..






*Funny you can only get the manifesto on the waybackmachine – I wonder why that is, at least I left my bloopers online  🙂

Written by Tom Murphy

March 26, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Posted in General

Internet Reality Distortion..

Imagine returning to your house to find much of your belongings gone and an army of strangers rummaging through your house and packing their cars and vans with your possessions.

When you try to stop them they wave a print-out of an advert from Craigslist that says everything in your home is available free gratis.

It happened in Oregon (via TechCrunch) From the AP Report:

The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.

But Robert Salisbury had no plans to leave. The independent contractor was at Emigrant Lake when he got a call from a woman who had stopped by his house to claim his horse.

On his way home he stopped a truck loaded down with his work ladders, lawn mower and weed eater.

"I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff back," Salisbury said. "They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did."

The driver sped away after rebuking Salisbury. On his way home he spotted other cars filled with his belongings.

Once home he was greeted by close to 30 people rummaging through his barn and front porch.

The trespassers, armed with printouts of the ad, tried to brush him off. "They honestly thought that because it appeared on the Internet it was true," Salisbury said. "It boggles the mind."


It’s not the first time either, a similar episode took place in Washington state last year.

I’d agree with TechCrunch that the Internet mirrors society and there’s always good and bad.

But the interesting thing, from a communications perspective, is that people consistently take the validity of content they find on the Internet at face value.

Now that’s scary.

Written by Tom Murphy

March 26, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Posted in General