Archive | October, 2010

Iron Man Grabbing a bite to eat!

12 Oct



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Originally uploaded by kaimac.

Check out this amazing Steampunk Ironman costume from New York Comic Con. I think it’s the guy that won the best Marvel costume, and it’s not hard to see why. Amazing job.

Like this candid moment… even Ironman needs to grab a bite to eat every now and then 🙂

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My Saturday NY Comic Con Pictures!

10 Oct

A few of my favorite pics from Saturday at NY Comic Con. If you like ’em, the rest are here. If you want to use a pic, please get in touch first 🙂

Headed to the conference from Penn Station and I run into these guys. Love the whiplash on the woman in blue!

This pretty much sums up the day yesterday. Insanely, ridiculously busy.

Double Mario 🙂

One of my favorite pictures from the day. Love how it looks like a setup. Managed to catch his eye at the right time, and he pulled his subtle pose. Awesome.

I really like how this guy is gazing up, with all the madness going on around him. Could be a panel from a comic book.

If this picture doesn’t make you smile, you have a heart of stone. Mini Batman and Master Chief? Come on now!

Seeing cosplayers (folks who’ve dressed up) out of context is pretty common, but there’s something particularly interesting to me about Nick Fury waiting patiently in line for a bite to eat 🙂

I got lucky with this pic: somebody walked in front of me at just the right time, and it ended up looking like an action shot. Truth is, Kickass was just stood there 🙂

Not uncommon to see people texting, but for some reason I really like that Thor is so focused on his phone 🙂

This guy dragged a life size Robin around all day, and cheerfully agreed to beat the bejaysus out of him for me when I asked for a pic. Check the woman in the top left hand corner!

Nice to see Star Trek still getting the love 🙂

I’m gonna head back today for a couple of hours and snap a few more pics. I might even buy a comic or two!

Marie Claire’s Response Sucked. Here’s Why.

5 Oct

It’s now been almost 48 hours since I first saw the Hunger Diaries piece that trashed Kath, Tina, Meghann, Caitlin and Heather , and in that time there has been near total silence from Hearst (publishers of Marie Claire) and Katie Drummond, the author of the piece.

Hearst published a really weak statement that thanked everybody for the comments, both positive and negative (I think I saw four positive over the two days, vs hundreds and hundreds of negative ones), and Katie’s tweeted a couple of snarky tweets. That’s it.  I guess they feel that there’s nothing to be gained from them saying any more than that or engaging with their detractors, who have clearly already made up their minds.

I believe they’re wrong about that.  Here’s why:

1. Damage to Marie Claire’s Reputation
There have been an astronomical number of posts created on this topic over the last couple of days: a HUGE amount of content has been created, the vast majority of which has attacked Marie Claire. Their standards are being called into question, but they’re silent. It makes them look like they’re scared to get into a conversation because they know they’ve done something wrong. Surely if they hadn’t they’d want to defend themselves, wouldn’t they?

2. Damage to Katie’s Reputation
One of the key charges leveled against Katie is that she deceived the bloggers when interviewing them. Ask yourself one question: will a source ever trust her again? The first thing I would do if I got a call from her would be to google her name. Doing so pulls up a bunch of posts accusing her of lying to sources about the story she’s working on.  Would you want to work with somebody that has been accused of that? Whether the accusations are true or not they’re out there for everyone to see. There are always two sides to every story, but her silence doesn’t do her any favors.

3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
This is related to #1 and #2, but important enough to call out on its own. There are thousands and thousands of tweets, blog posts and comments out there, almost all in support of the bloggers. Again, with almost nothing substantial from Hearst or Katie out there, it doesn’t look too good.  Organic search results (that is to say the ones you can’t buy from google, that appear naturally in the larger section of your results page) are dominated by posts attacking the magazine and author. One or two you could put down to a crank, but dozens and dozens…

4. Plain Old Ethics
This one’s a bit dull, but perfectly valid. If you’ve been accused of something, particularly something like this, why wouldn’t you want to defend yourself? If you’re in the right, back your position up. If you’ve made a mistake, ‘fess up to it. But just doing nothing…. I don’t get it. Well, I do (legal and/or simply don’t care), but I don’t agree with it. It’s just not the right thing to do, period.

5. Community Backlash
A few people will cancel their subscriptions, sure, but it’s just a few bucks, microscopic in the grand scheme of thigns.  Longer term what they’ve done by failing to engage is caused an entire community (a BIG community, too), to not trust them. Right now that’s not a huge deal to them, but it could come back and bite them in future.

6. Avoiding being a Case Study
Cynical, but true.  In future this incident will be cited as an example of old media just not getting it. Failing to engage, not putting their hands up and admitting to having done anything wrong or even understanding why people were upset… is a mistake, and will be cited as an example of old media being a dinosaur.

So, what do you think about how they’ve handled the situation? Were they right to essentially shut up shop and ignore what was (and still is) going on, or do you agree with me that it’s a pretty major misstep on their part?

Look, Marie Claire is Writing About Bloggers. Exciting, no?

4 Oct

Not so much actually, no. Sorry.

This month’s issue of Marie Claire has an article by Katie Drummond called The Hunger Diaries, about how health bloggers could be ‘putting their readers at risk’.  Ms. Drummond interviewed six of the more popular bloggers and met some of them in person at a blogger event they put on earlier this year, The Healthy Living Summit.

According to one of the bloggers, the piece Drummond contacted her about was going to look into “blog-world culture, particularly how a woman can take a personal blog and turn it into a profitable venture”. Sounds pretty interesting, no? Unfortunately the piece that ended up in the magazine very different indeed. In it she indirectly implies that the six girls could have eating disorders, and she quite directly implies that they could be causing others to have them.

Interesting to note at this point that this issue of Marie Claire features an emaciated Katie Holmes on the cover (EDIT @ 11.37pm: looks like the Holmes edition was last month’s. I was going by what Marie Claire had on their Facebook page, silly me! EDIT#2: it’s actually Victoria Beckham. Oh dear. Oh dear.).  When we’re at it, here’s a couple of other highlights from their web site:

That last one is my personal favorite: you upload a picture of yourself, and it modifies the picture to show you what you’d look like if you lost a few pounds. Or shock horror, if you put a few on. It’s pretty awesome, and I’m sure it’s a very important tool to help women lose weight safely. Right ladies?

So anyhow, Drummond interviews the girls, goes to their event, then writes this pretty savage piece taking a bunch of stuff out of context, fully going to town on them. If you weren’t familiar with their blogs the article would leave you thinking that the bloggers were irresponsible at best.

I personally have no idea whether any of the six have or have ever had an eating disorder.  What I do know is that for an article that was supposedly so rigorously researched (multiple email conversations, some phone conversations and in-person meetings at the summit), there are worryingly few direct quotes from any of the six bloggers in the piece. A total of two, in fact. Instead we get Drummond’s interpretation of selected blog posts and quotes from experts. She could have written that piece without ever talking to any of the six, and there was certainly no need to trash them the way she did.

Unsurprisingly, the story has triggered something of a firestorm. Marie Claire’s Facebook wall has had a constant stream of angry voices on it throughout the day (average of a couple of posts a minute), and Twitter has been no different. The vast majority of the what’s being said has been negative: the community has near unanimously come to the bloggers’ defense.

Bizarrely, both Hearst (the company that publishes Marie Claire) and Drummond have been almost entirely silent. the @MarieClaire handle tweeted what some might consider to be an antagonistic comment this morning, and Drummond has retweeted a single message of support.  Nothing else. Really very bizarre, and something I’m going to address in a separate post.

Drummond herself has said that she used to have an eating disorder, so this is obviously a subject that’s very close to her heart (I do hope she’s made a full recovery). Given the sensitive nature of this story, however, I’m somewhat surprised that she wrote about it without disclosing such an important piece of information. I would imagine it would be pretty hard to be impartial when one has such a personal connection to a subject matter, no?

The saddest part of the whole thing is that Drummond has a perfectly valid point:  there are important issues here that deserve to be discussed (I personally would start with magazines like Marie Clare actually, but that’s another post), but doing it like this is just shitty, period.

Have you read the article? Do you agree with Drummond that bloggers like these are putting women in danger, or is this a simple case of old media attacking new?

EDIT: 11.43pm – two quick disclosures I should have mentioned. 1) Last year I worked with and met Kath,Tina & Meghann at at Blogger event. I don’t know them and we’re not friends. My POV on the issue would be no different if we’d never met. 2) I emailed two people at Hearst to offer my counsel (for free) earlier today. I felt they owe the women and community a response. Still do.