Author Archive

Actually political parties will need the onliners more and more

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

After Fianna Fáil’s total screwup last week over Joe Rospar which had them state this

He was also keen to stress that the party took the iniative in inviting bloggers to a talk by Obama’s New Media guy, when they could have just confined it to pol corrs.

you’d think they’d learn. To me and others that line is read as “we didn’t have to invite you”. With their symbiotic relationship with the media, Fianna Fáil and all the other equally useless and backwards political parties might have survived on this alone when it came to communications but it’s not going to be so in the future. Bloggers and Twitterers reacted in seconds to the Rospars event, something which as it built, Fianna Fáil couldn’t slow or direct or what they’d prefer: control.

Photo owned by Duy© (cc)

And their beloved political corrs are getting their news from Suzy Byrne at the Ard Fhéis. In the age of a slow news cycle you could afford not to be open. In an age of only a few people being able to access the eyes and ears of thousands, you could afford not to be open. You could manage the news. The media could manage the news. In the world where everyone has a net connection and is sharing information with each other, you’re going to be open or you’re going to be dead. It’s going to be very interesting in the next few years for even the best truth jugglers to keep the act up. Deception is an expensive and fatiguing business and leaves trails. Watch as people will falter and crash. Publicly.

A good thing done by Fianna Fáil this weekend was inviting people who blog to the Ard Fheis, a bad thing was dumping them in the press area and thinking that was it. Media organisations brief their newbies about Ard Fheis’s yet Fianna Fáil missed a huge chance to develop a relationship with these bloggers if they had down them about and told them how things work in FFland. It’s a different world if you’re not a hack who puts Jackie-Healy Rae before Jesus or someone paid to smile politely as a councillor acts like a dick.

Sunlight is the great cleanser yeah? If Fianna Fáil really opened up and gave access to the public and worked with them they’d not have much leeway to pull as many stunts and crimes as they’ve done. They built an environment that allowed wholesale crookery and thievery and while most of the Irish public didn’t care as they too took advtantage, the teacher is still partially to blame for the unruly class. Other parties need to fully open up too.

Graffiti wall
Photo owned by Damian Kettlewell for Vancouver-False Creek (cc)

Fantastic coverage by Mark Coughlan, Gavin Sheridan, Eoin Bannon and Suzy Byrne.

Another thing not to do is run an event about blogging and snub bloggers who are there. These politicians will have to work and converse with the bloggers who could have met them on their turf.

Without being too harsh, if political parties don’t end their love affair with their beloved traditional media and cop on to where people are going and forming opinions online then some new political entity will swoop in and take over. At best political parties, even the “open minded” ones are Hilary Clinton in mindset and at worst John McCain. There is a huge space right now for someone with enough initial cash to get a lead and then build up enough of a war chest to obliterate the traditionalists. That sounds like someone I’ve heard of.

People seem to think that it was a Democratic Party win in America when it wasn’t, Obama stayed the hell away from the headless main party and Washington itself. Instead Obama and his army of supporters are populated with a lot less hacks. People used to not playing politics. It must surely scare the hell out of the parties here (if they look out at the real world) that within months they and their supporters could be obsolete and with so many pissed off Irish people, 2009 and 2010 is when it has the greatest chance of happening.

Based on the lessons learned from the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, here are some tips for the other parties:

  • Invite bloggers. Don’t care if they hate you or not.
  • Brief them and be open with them. They’re nervous too.
  • Have them meet and greet the decision makers and influencers in your party.
  • Don’t lecture them, converse with them. Take their instant feedback on board. Ask for it.
  • If the traditional media get pissy cos bloggers are getting access to your people, remind them that these bloggers aren’t salaried to be there.
  • Don’t start a bloody blog or Twitter account or Facebook Page just for the local elections. All these are about building longterm relationships, not shortterm ones.

Nice guide from Suzy on suggested Dos and Don’ts.

Brian Cowen sends me an email

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Got two emails tonight, one from Brian Cowen:

Dearest Gracious Friend,
I am Brian Cowenagai, son of proud King Bertierobber, do not be surprised I am writing to you. I am the holder of greatest wealth from my proud King which he minded for friend builders of giant palaces. My proud King was removed by rebel forces and now I hold money but the rebel forces know me and my 34 proud chins so I will need your helping. In return for a banker bonus of 200Million euroses, you will mind 7Billions of money that is currently in a giant trunk of friend minding it….

Brian Cowen watching for those on stage left
Image stolen from the FF website. Where the name of the image was: brian_cowen_ard_fheis_hero.jpg

And then I got this 419 scam email:

Dear friend,

I’ve just come off stage at Fianna Fáil’s Ard Fheis, where I’ve outlined the difficult measures we’re having to take to help return the country to growth. I was frank about the scale of the problems we face, but I’m optimistic about the ability of the Irish people to meet these challenges through the hard work and ingenuity we’ve always shown. We’re a resilient and creative nation and we’ll meet our challenges together.

You’ve heard from me, now I want to hear from you.

I’m asking each of you to submit a question for me, which I’ll answer as many as I can via video right here on the new Fianna Fáil website. Submit your questions at:

To better serve you, and to help lead us out of this recession, I want to hear what you thought of my speech, the questions you might have about some of the important measures I’ve announced and your ideas about how Fianna Fáil can set Ireland back on the road to growth and renewed prosperity…

Seriously? Dear Friend? What an asinine email. How about including the “important measures I’ve announced” in the damned email besides telling people to go to the website? Of the 1000s of emails sent, the dropoff rate is going to be savage. Email marketing 101.

Via the Pin:

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Silence is Golden

Fluffy Links – Friday 27th February 2009

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Eolai is auctioning one of his fantastic paintings he displayed at the Blog Awards. I really wish I could buy every single onf of them. He’s a gifted artists and he is generous enough to auction this for charity. Bid here.

More like it. Dublin City Council are interacting with the public online for their development plan. They’ve directly asked people on for feedback. This is how you do it.

The recession and your credit card. Some tips.

Journo Mark Tighe is now a-blogging.

New Irish blog – A Harmless Fraud.

More details on the next eircom Innovation Fund.

And speaking of eircom. A new website to protest them blocking the Pirate Bay has popped up. eircom here is at most an agent and it’s disappointing they are. The focus I think should be on the fact a comapny feels pressured enough to do this and if they feel it, others will. So tackle IRMA instead.

As has a way of routing around this.

Another campaign site is caleld BlackoutIreland and I was asked to write a guest post. Filtering our sites and jailing our websites without trial means eircom and others are contributing to a Digital Guantanamo.

Bye bye The Chancer. And they left before getting sued to death. Ahead of the lawyers so!

Ronan from Tenaka drfiting now has a blog. Guess the name!

Placebo and Frank Black – Where is my mind? (Live)

The new Barry’s Tea ad:

HP-Upline is shutting down, move your HP backups to Putplace, get discount

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Via the Putplace blog:

We are putting together a discount plan for HP-Upline users. In the meantime you can user the invitation code “joe” to get started with a free plan for three months.

Sign up.

Joe is looking for a link

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

To a blog post from Rick O’Shea.

Almost almost

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Still not back to normal. Right after the Blog Awards I’ve had to travel for work to far flung places like Dublin, Galway and Cork. Should be back to normal sometime Thursday.

Meanwhile grab an amazing chance to hear one of Obama’s Online strategists talk in Dublin today.

Words by Harvey Milk

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

via Una

From a speech by Harvey Milk:

The world has changed since he made that speech but it seems not by a huge amount. There are still kids in this country that try and do kill themselves all for something that should be unimportant to the individual and the culture they live in. Invisible people have invisible rights was a tagline on my blog when I started and it’s been the tagline now for years and years. Milk’s speech doesn’t just cover gay people, it applies to the fantastic diversity we have in the world and in this country yet Dermot Ahern and his goons would rather some groups who point out inequalities would rather disappear. Niall Crowley was shafted, many of the organisations fighting (and it is a fight) for equality were ripped to shreds by Ahern and Fianna Fáil, while the Green Party stood silent. The piecemeal offering of Civil Registration with “I can’t believe it’s Equality” rights while so many other rights are taken away is either sinister or delusional.

As peoples’ anger with a tougher life in 2009 gets channeled into racist and homophobic attacks and just general violence for looking at someone “the wrong way”, there needs to be more representation, not less, not none. Still, in a way it is a lesson for many of these organisations that they cannot depend on a Government to help fund their work or those wanting representation to depend on groups bankrolled by Chuck Feeney to represent the needs of a community by hosting award ceremonies.

The business case for freedom of speech

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

As the Business Post and Metro newspaper mention, eircom are now going to block websites, starting with The Pirate Bay. Case by case basis from here on in. Once IRMA go to Court asking for a site to be blocked, eircom will not challenge it.

So first they’ll start with the Pirate Bay. Then comes Mininova, IsoHunt, then comes YouTube (they have dodgy stuff, right?), how long before we have because someone quoted a newspaper article or a section of a book? And don’t think they’ll stop there too, any site that links to The Pirate Bay and the others on the hate list will probably be added to the list too. Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?

This is bad on many accounts. 99% of people are being punished for what a tiny percentage of people are doing. Sometimes this can be justified. Handgun bans etc. I don’t think a website is a loaded weapon though.

Pirate Finger Puppet (from Logan)
Photo owned by _cck_ (cc)

I’m sure the business case for eircom was they didn’t want any more costly High Court actions with McDowell biting at their legs on the command of the music industry but this is going to open up a can of worms with IRMA demanding more and more attacks on how people surf the net, this is what it is in my view an attack on our freedom to read, our freedom to write, our freedom to move around the web. All so a very rich but rapidly becoming poor group of luddites can feel better for seeing the future and trying to fight it.

And of course the costs of communications with IRMA and of the filtering is going to be passed on to the consumer. The cost of blocking a single site will be almost nothing I suppose but as more sites get added and as the arms race between the pirates and the ISPs escalates, then it’ll become complicated and complicated costs more. So again the majority get to pay for the inability of the music industry to work with the modern world and the pirates who want to bring all digital content to the masses without any technological or monetary restrictions.

I really don’t like the idea that I can’t be trusted to surf the Internet unsupervised. I hope the other ISPs fight this.

Normal service etc.

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The Blog Awards, being tomorrow means I have no free time at all to witter away here posting videos and links to shiny things.


Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – White Corolla