Archive | January, 2009

Plane Crash-lands Into Hudson – Twitter First, Again

15 Jan

This afternoon a plane crashed into the Hudson.  In itself a pretty extraordinary event.  What was especially extraordinary to me was that the story broke on Twitter.  No grey area, no arguments:  the first reports of this event were on Twitter. I was at home when it happened, with CNN on in the background.  Folks tweeted about it a good 10 minutes before it appeared on CNN, and a good 20 minutes before it appeared on online news channels.  Somebody posted a picture of the plane in the water mere minutes after the crash: http://ad.vu/2hrc

Absolutely extraordinary.

I did a quick straw poll (admittedly on Twitter, so somewhat skewed), that said that 40% of folks who heard about the crash heard about it on Twitter.  Think about that for a second, that’s absolutely nuts.  Before radio, before tv, before any other news source:  Twitter broke the news.  You and I, and others on Twitter…. beat the major, international news orgs to the news.

I think we’ll see more and more of this moving forward.  Normal folks like you and I breaking the news, citizen journalists.  Interesting to watch, and interesting to see how the news networks react to it.

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Be Seeing You Number 6: Patrick McGoohan, RIP

14 Jan

The man behind my favorite ever TV show, The Prisoner, passed away earlier today in LA.  He was 80. If you’ve not seen it, check it out before AMC comes out with the (cynic mode on) undoubedly rubbish remake.  Netflix has the original:  you can’t beat perfection, though Sir Ian McKellan’s involvement in the new version gives me a little hope.

If you’re not familiar, it’s a 17 episode story of a former secret service operative imprisoned on a mysterious island after quitting his job as a spy.  The opening credits (below) show a heated exchange between he and his superior, ending with him angrily turning in his resignation.  He is then swiftly abducted (but by who?) and when he wakes up he’s on a mysterious, holiday camp island called “The Village”.

Known only as Number 6, the show chronicles his efforts to uncover why he’s there, who’s keeping him there, and in one of the show’s refrains who Number 1 is…. “who is Number 1… you are Number 6… I am not a number, I am a free man….”  More quotes here.

The Village is actually the Welsh town of Portmeirion.  If you’re a fan of the show it’s well worth a visit, looks almost exactly as it does in the show.  There’s even a giant chess board, though the giant rover bubbles are sadly absent (fans of the show will understand!).

Now almost 42 years old, the special effects look somewhat dated (tho not as dated as you’d expect), but the strength of the story, and McGoohan’s powerful presence in particular, mean it stands the test of time.  It’s one of the best and most influential shows that has ever been made, and McGoohan was the brains behind it, wrote and directed episodes and was its star.  He famously turned down the roles of both James Bond (thinking the character was a dullard who mistreated women, opening the door for Sean Connery) and The Saint. I’m very sad he’s gone.

Be seeing you.

SEM Conquesting – Big Deal or Not?

14 Jan

There was some talk yesterday on Twitter about conquesting.  One of @BryanPerson‘s competitors is buying his company’s keywords (trademarked company name) on Google.

http://twitter.com/BryanPerson/status/1116881898

Lots of folks chimed in, including @CommunispaceCEO whose company (Communispace, obv) faced similar issues in the past:

http://pr.typepad.com/pr_communications/2008/03/mzinga-google-a.html

Consensus was that it was a little shady at best (using trademarks is against Google’s rules), but is it really such a big deal?  If your potential customer knows enough about you to search for your name, they’re going to realize they’re in the wrong place after clicking on ‘site a’ and being taken to ‘site b’. If they don’t, you have bigger problems than somebody using your name in a google ad.  If they search for a competitor name and their ad has your company’s name in the copy…. well now they know who you are 🙂

If it’s not ok to use competitor company names in paid search ads, does that mean it’s also not ok to talk about them on blogs.  How about Twitter?  Is it ok to compare product offerings on your site?  Can Pepsi mention Coke on TV? Really feels like a non-issue to me.

Misleading people or telling lies is a completely different matter, of course.

Just Updated my Wii Software

12 Jan

Hadn’t got the Wii online in about six months or so.  Just set it up again, and before downloading the latest system software update it popped up a warning that went something like this (paraphrasing):

“If you have an unauthorized system modification this update may cause your Wii to stop working” 

Brilliant.  I ❤ Nintendo so much.  I am a tragic, tragic fanboy.

But seriously – that’s very cool, no?