Australian Traditional Media: Just STOP it.

Steven Lewis of Zest Digital masquerading as a Lollipop Lady? NO! Telling Aussie media to “Just stop it already”. My heart is breaking… 😛 I, like most bloggers, have a love/hate relationship with the Australian traditional media. We LOVE them: listen to everything they say, hang on every word, pore over every article looking for…

Steven Lewis of Zest Digital masquerading as a Lollipop Lady? NO! Telling Aussie media to “Just stop it already”.

My heart is breaking… 😛 I, like most bloggers, have a love/hate relationship with the Australian traditional media.

We LOVE them: listen to everything they say, hang on every word, pore over every article looking for meaning and direction and real communication. We tell them time and again how to communicate back to us, how to market to us and we are overjoyed if they pay us any attention at all (particularly if they quote the blogger on TV or in newspapers).


They HATE us. With a passion. Every article about blogs, wikis, Facebook, MySpace and social networks is one about stalkers, paedophiles, time-wasters at work, mis-information, and- God help us – poor grammar/spellingz? Am I missing any other reasons to hate collaborative content? And it’s working – either Web 2.0 technology is belittled as in “ha ha you blog? That’s so funny” or we get Orwellian tones of doom “go on Facebook and you will lose your job, be stalked and be addicted, all by lunch time”.

The problem with such a one-sided relationship is that there is no incentive to play nicely. We know each other’s psychological buttons and we push ’em, hard. I’ve noticed that someone will say “hey! did you read that article on *insert social network* by *insert name of spiteful journalist of some loser newspaper*” and I will just roll my eyes and say “nah, now what have they said?” Problem: When media treat us like porn-swilling, child-molesting, time-wasting attention whores, that is us they are talking to AND about: their potential audience, readership, subscribers. Note to self: don’t insult my readers (or not too often – just enough for linkbaiting/talkback)

Here’s Steven Lewis’ piece

Facebook set to destroy Australian economy by tomorrow

The Sydney Morning Herald has this week’s first ridiculous story about social media in Australia, brilliantly bringing into play my favourite media ploy: the nonsense statistic. Hearty congrats to Andrew West, Industrial Relations Reporter, for crafting this piece in today’s paper with a straight face.

The next time you see an employee hunched intently over the computer, don’t imagine he or she is slaving over the office accounts or a report for the next shareholders meeting.

Employees are more likely to be whiling away the hours on the social networking site Facebook, a report says.

Yes, cast your eyes around the office today. See all those people at their computers? It’s “more likely” they’re checking Facebook than working.

The actual Sydney Morning Herald article. Vote for Steven’s piece on Bloggerati Australia.
SurfControl – in the business of making money out of fear – have a page here. I couldn’t find a SurfControl blog. Heh.

Do you know of any articles by traditional media that are positive. I don’t mean the odd bit of freelance work by one of us, but a real genuine mainstream honest-to-goodness positive piece? About mining the ‘collateral’ (relationships) of your business social network? About connecting terminally ill, remote area workers, disabled people to social networks? About children learning to type so they can participate better?

I liken us as Brand Teenagers. What does this mean? Well, until now, we have been children, accepting whatever comes off the evening News, during the ad breaks or on the front page of the paper. There there, good children, take your daily diet of News and then run off and play.

Now we are smart-mouthing back. I ‘m betting most of the user generated election videos that come out of Australia will be prank-ish. Like those really funny Red Symons ones on YouTube. Kevin Rudd at a strip club springs to mind. We take an issue, a brand, a company and say (like all teenagers do) “what does this mean to me? In my revolutionary state? how can I upset the status quo?”. So no, I don’t entirely blame traditional media for hating us.

But this is what I do want you to do. The next time someone asks you why Australians don’t blog that much, hardly ever wiki, and why isn’t there Web 2.0 investment in Australia, tell them all your normal answers but tag on “… and because traditional media has a active campaign of disinformation to ridicule and raise fear on social networking tools”. It’s time we really started fighting back -we just ain’t gonna take it any more!

*Wow, like, totally cosmic consciousness, dude. Cat just SMS’d me while I’m writing this blog piece – Kerri-Anne Kennerly is talking to Ian Wallace, Psychologist about ‘internet safety online’ *rolls eyes* he just said that Facebook is revealing information you don’t want revealed! Which is amusing considering how many discussions we’ve had about Facebook locking down content and access…

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  1. If the newspapers and TV think social networks are evil, then don’t you want to find out for yourself? Does the rebel in you think, they must be having fun ? All the grown-ups tell me it’s bad, so it must be good.

  2. Thank you for making me the poster boy for this campaign 🙂

    I’m on-board. I’m giving a talk to a PR agency on Wednesday about why they should be getting their clients into social media and I will happily tag on a section about the MSM campaign against it.

  3. @Cat, that’s true with real teens. YouTube is banned in Victorian schools, thereby ensuring hours of unsupervised gratuitous thrills after school. And kids can’t be skilled up in managing YouTube because you can’t be seen to be “promoting” it.

    But for adults: We see the rise of social networks like IYoMe or whatever its called to encourage scaredycat adults who are worried that the minute they step into cyberspace their PCs will be hacked. Funny though, about 4 hours later, a good percentage of them are up and running, galloping into Facebook, Second Life and blogging like mad men/women. I see the changes in my “How to…” courses all the time.

    @Steven, we should make a t-shirt. You holding the Stop Sign and some pithy saying. What d’ya reckon? 🙂

  4. If they had any sense, they wouldn’t do it to begin with.

    I say let them kill their backward industry faster if they want to, it’s dying anyway, due to lack of evolution.

    Ask the closest person under 20 when they last purchased some old media.

    You made your bed MSM, now lie in it.

  5. Laurel (and everyone else by association), count me in as a card-carrying member of the “Australian Media Needs A Clue On Social Computing” club. And me as a trained journo!

    I commented on the story at the News Ltd. site this morning and was one of the few dissenters. I’ve also posted my own reaction to the story at my blog.

  6. Sometime last week I gave up worrying about it/them and craving their approval, one day they will wake up and it’ll be too late….for them.

  7. It is clear that much of the MSM consider blogs and social networks to be their main competitors. Far from joining in the conversation, the aim seems to be to close down all debate … and to use every opportunity to push fear and alarm. Sound familiar?

  8. SBS World News Australia just ran the “Facebook is destroying productivity” story. I emailed a complaint:


    I don’t believe it!

    Just now… you ran that “news from PR” story from Sophos, with their outrageous and unsubstantiated figure for how much productivity is lost through people using social networking sites (SNS). And then your main counterpoint was a few clueless youths.

    Sophos is in the business of selling Internet filtering software, so talking up a “moral panic” about SNS is really just giving them free marketing. Especially with their logo on their spokesandroid’s shirt.

    Sure, you did have a guy talking about how he uses SNS to stay in touch with friends. But you didn’t talk to anyone who uses SNS in a business context, nor anyone with a more forward-looking view of how these technologies can enhance business.

    Might I suggest reading some of Laurel Papworth’s material?

    [links to your previous posts on this]

    Why is it that whenever “the intertubes” are mentioned, all critical thinking goes out the window? That’s OK for Channel 10, perhaps, but not SBS. Sophos got a free run with their scary version of the world. Not impressed.


    I’ll let you know if/when they reply.

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