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Make / Let

I’m beginning to see a theme emerging in the various discussions taking place about the future – specifically, the changing nature of the interaction between individuals and organisations, be they commercial or social. Two TED talks I have watched in the last week both articulate the same thought, and bring the theme into sharp relief. Both are very worth your time. Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud A brilliant, funny, inspiring mashup of history, science and pedagogy. “It’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen” Amanda Palmer: The art of asking I backed her Kickstarter, and although I remain agnostic in some respects, her contribution to the conversation is invaluable. Plus, crucially, her album kicks ass. “I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is how do we make people pay for music. What if we started asking, how do we let people pay for...

Independent online marketing & ‘Underwater Sunshine’

A few years ago, Counting Crows kind of stunned everyone by walking away from Geffen and announcing they were an independent band. Whether this was prompted by a perceived underperformance of the superb ‘Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings’ or a wider dissatisfaction with the music business is unclear. But band leader Adam Duritz’s impassioned talk on interconnectedness, marketing and audience interaction at a recent technology event confirmed that he really, really gets the brave new world of digital independent music. I was intrigued to see what they’d do with their next album, a set of covers called ‘Underwater Sunshine‘ due for release on 10 April. What new and exciting things were the band going to do to take advantage of their newly indy freedom and push their first indy release? Stop Press: I’ve heard it, this is a great record by a great band and I want it to succeed more than I can say. That said, I’m about to criticise their online strategy, and writing a blog criticising my favourite band, even though my critique comes from love and passionate regard, leads me to worry that I might be being a dick, I certainly hope not, but here goes… if by any chance you’re reading this Adam, this is me trying to help, not tear you down in any way shape or form. Things started well, when they ran a competition to crowdsource the cover art. This generated buzz and, perhaps surprisingly, a really good cover. Today it seems they’re rolling out the next stage of their campaign, with the whole album being streamed in its entirety on...

Digital Communications: What is your homepage for?

In my day job I manage social media accounts and homepages for large organisations. I tend not to blog about that much, but I’ve recently been trying to quantify my approach, to nail down exactly what it is I bring to an organisation. What follows over the next few blogs is, in effect, my personal statement of intent – this is the philosophy I will champion if your organisation hires me to look at your online communications. There are two predominant approaches to the homepage of a big organisation that isn’t primarily a business – by this I mean perhaps a Government Department, an NGO or a Charity, Foundation or pressure group. The first is to treat the page as, in effect, the front page of a brochure. The primary focus will be on unchanging static links to content describing what the organisation is and does. These pages will favour large, splash graphics and simple mission statement sentences, with changing content pushed further down page, relegated to second tier importance. The second is to make the front page a dynamic shop window for a regularly updated collection of compelling content which allows the work of the organisation, and the voices of the people who work for and with it, to speak for itself. It should be a collection of stories about your organisation, it’s work and its people, which will communicate who you are and what you do far more compellingly than a few paragraphs of bland corporate permatext. I’m not saying you should do away with the ‘About us’ and ‘Who we are and what we do’ pages, that would be madness, if only...