It’s time to re-think your approach to Social.

I spent a day with some of the brightest young minds in advertising last week.

The similarities

All were fabulous, capable, intelligent, hard-working ‘go-getters’. All were running some of the better social media campaigns in Australia.

Some were from boutique agencies doing really cool stuff, others had evolved to freelancers, some were in-house marketers, while others were clinging lovingly to the structural ropes at some of Australia’s biggest agencies.

All were social coordinators, social leaders, the agencies’ ‘social experts’.

Yet, throughout the course of the day, I felt myself go through all the stages of grief.

I took the next day off to get my head back into production mode and (as luck would have it) I was surrounded by social marketing and social media practitioners who also shattered my new media soul into a thousand pieces when they started telling me How2 Social through buzz phrases, which included (but painfully was not limited to) ‘personal brand’ in the same breath as ‘authenticity’ and ‘social measurement’ as Facebook metrics.

Over two separate days in two completely different environments, my grief was confounded.


In the short space of two days, it became abundantly clear that current practice is merely a hybrid of the platform ‘certified’ sales pitches. A regurgitation and adaption of the papers we were writing and the presentations we were giving back in 2012…


(and yes, I know I’m screaming, but seriously…?!)

Discussions around social media have traditionally been driven by the available technology, or social community management issues that have arisen through the event of participation.

Traditionally, advertising and media agencies have worked behind a thin veil of creative agency presenting ‘the solution’ as the requisite bridge between product/ sterile company and desired consumer.

Sadly however, a large percentage of Advertising, PR, Communications and Media Agencies are entrenched in outdated business practice when it comes to production for and distribution on social.

If these company representatives are anything to go by, even the agencies who have re-badged their Art Director to Creative Lead are missing the point somewhat entirely!

This only compounds my grief as Australian agencies should be leading the global creative charge in this space (and no don’t point me to the self-congratulatory industry statues corporations spend millions to win each year).

Creatives have the opportunity to lead, rather than dwell.

Directors have the opportunity to integrate and showcase, rather than merely direct traffic.

Oh.. and to the Preditors (the hybrid being that is both producer and editor) let’s make a concerted effort to lose the jargon.

It’s not about what you call yourself, it’s what you say and do that drives impact.

Say No, Think Know

When you find yourself on the treadmill of life, finding the time to stop and reflect is elusive at best.

More often than not, it’s only the bone-crunching tackle that ‘Life’ blindsides us with that throws us into a lumpy, tangled mess and makes us STOP before taking a good hard look at and around ourselves.

Our physiological core –  we have to exercise, stabilise, celebrate and show it off every now and then.

Our emotional core – arguably our most important and directive – requires consistency and commitment to ensure contribution.

Because only then, are we able to confidently and consistently enhance and enable those around us.


Our brains and our hearts comprise a core where all the things that complement, enhance function.

Looking after ourselves, so we complement our communities (blood and others) in our everyday disposition, actions, outputs and impacts is our role.

However, with all the tricks and traits of a modern, tech-savvy society we get distracted. Repeatedly and Unashamedly.

So when are we going to stop swivelling from distraction to distraction and instead focus on genuine and organic human evolution?

We need to feed our brain the questions and information it craves…

Hasn’t it dined out on the sexual exploits of the likes of the Trash-dashians for long enough?

When are we going to face up to the vacuous, plastic-fantastic mediated realm we’ve adopted as our ideal over time and re-focus our daily intent towards growing our contributions to ourselves and our communities?

Sadly, we’re not. Not anytime soon.

However, imagine if we did…

Imagine just for one moment if we stood up collectively and said ‘No’ (while thinking ‘Know’).

How fabulous would THAT world –  created in independent thinking and unique knowledge pods of life’s experiences – look, sound and feel…

Genuine and Innovative is my guess.








Is Email the Darth Vader of Modern Business Communications?

In a world where instant communications and engagement is rapidly becoming the norm, email is taking on all the traits of a dark lord in the making.

Electronic mail (e-mail) started out as a powerful and useful tool that brought speed and (for the most part) brevity to industrial and corporate communications. However, it is rapidly transforming into the disgruntled Jedi of communications.

Email is a dark art in workplace solutions. A habitual norm. Administratively heavy, it sucks precious time and resources from your everyday.

and yet… for all its operational inefficiencies it still seems to work for the majority.

Mobility has ensured access to the dark lord of ICT communications. Smartphones have ensured access to webmail a standard… in effect minimising the mobile digital divide, by giving cross-generational comfort on these new platforms and devices.

In this form, email is the connector. The access point for new media platforms and devices.

Convergence can only occur where comfort resides.

For the first decade of ‘social’ it has been email, but what’s next…? 

What’s able to fill the void? Is SMS or IM enough? or is non-regulation the biggest obstacle here…?

Non-regulation, poor regulation and the non-specific zones of the internet environment are our biggest foes.

Not just for business, but for governments and citizens as well.

There are no robust legal structures in place that currently nurture nor protect the individual online, let alone small business.

In over a decade there has been very little movement towards reform as monetising the internet remains the priority.

LinkedIn – the largest professional network where people have been putting their personal information for free for the last decade is now owned by a multinational corporation in Microsoft.

I find it strange that no one is questioning the personal cost of such a merger… perhaps for the majority of us, we’re not switching on to the reality of the evolution of the social networking platform that profiled, connected and enabled market transfers in human terms…. at what cost are we willing to earn a buck?

Let’s hope someday in the not too distant future we all start thinking about and directly addressing the cost of how we ‘settle’ the wild west of the internet.

What are we really willing to relinquish in order to earn a buck?

If so, what is the true cost to the individual, team or organisation… society?

Sadly, it’s a question very few are willing to articulate, let alone address with a view to answering


Because in order to do so, we’d have to acknowledge and address not only email as the Dark Lord of the internet, but the deeper, now embedded commercial practices of digital decadence and the new norm of dumbing down and relaxing acceptable standards of entertainment, operations and performance.

Let’s stop being happy with average and strive for great and the impossible again.



‘Tis the Season for Christmas Ads

In the US Super Bowl advertising can make and break careers.

In the UK, the advertising heavyweights concentrate their efforts (and a large percentage of spend) on Christmas.

This year Marks & Spencer (or M&S as it is more commonly referred) released their contribution to the corporate advertising ‘Christmas cheer’… and it’s an absolute winner.

Not only is it beautifully shot, its originality is decidedly refreshing… and VERY clever.

Don’t take my word for it though, judge for yourselves… and enjoy:



This week we were all Trumped.

What I keep hearing is: I can’t (believe it), I didn’t think (he’d win) and How do I (explain this to my daughter?)

A new president of the United States of America is elected and the default response starts with ‘I’…?

Think about that for a moment. It might just explain what really happened at #election2016

What we learn from language

The Constitution for the United States of America starts with a preamble (how fitting):

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In the modern day context, the campaign is the pre-preamble. It starts with ‘I’ the citizen of the United States and ‘you’ the electorate.

Only when there is a President-elect can both sides talk about what the founding fathers were referring to: The unification of these united states and use the pronoun ‘We’.


Perhaps the outcome of #Election2016 is a wake up call to the realities of what western democracy in US terms really looks like.

240 years showing progress and stagnation in equal parts – depending on which side of the political spectrum you swing.

In a traditional system, be it democracy or dictatorship there are roles, responsibilities and procedures to governance.

Trump’s ascendence to ‘Leader of the Free World’ is merely a reflection of the current US system, people and procedures.

The US System

Over 70 million American’s FAILED to participate. That’s nearly 3 x the population of Australia, were disengaged from the process – one assumes for personal reasons.

Of those that did vote, exit polls indicate some lied and therefore skewed election ‘forecasting’. The effect? Trump’s ascendence appearing nothing short of catastrophic to those who form their opinions through the rumination of the popular press.

I confess my feminist and academic sensibilities were HIGHLY offended initially by the result.

I witnessed the diatribe of intelligent, articulate men and women in my personal newsfeed.

I couldn’t for the life of me work out how a man who hadn’t worked a day in public service ever, could beat out someone who has done more in public service both personally and professionally than anyone, ever.

48 hours later however, I’ve realised a few things:

When you introduce the ‘I’ pronoun into politics, you discount the importance of the public in preference of the personal. Subsequently missing the point entirely.


Politics is a mongrel sport and Trump played hard – not smart (although that is yet to be seen).

Republican Nominee for President , Mr Donald Trump has finished his grassroots ‘club’ game and now having been picked by the selectors is preparing himself for the international competition.

His locker room antics reflective of his place and campaign objectives at the time.

President-elect Trump, however, is a more measured, presence already.

The thing that is scary, yet brilliant is that no-one knows what a Trump Presidency is going to look like, let alone act.

It’s his unpredictability that is so unnerving – for EVERYONE… and therein lies its brilliance.

Systemic change takes time and eight years just wasn’t long enough for Obama to achieve this…although predictably he tried.

The Anomaly of Society and Change

Real societal change has only been achieved in the West through innovation.

That being said, even digital disruption is going to be a long road to haul.

The Roadshow Design

US Presidential Campaigns are a roadshow of personality designed to mobilise an apathetic public, to engage and legitimise political process.

The system design is based on tactics of persuasion and rhetoric, a solid foundation prone to perversion of message, intent and free will.

Distance does not provide immunity. In Australia, the leadership ‘Spills’ of the past five years were our version of the cult of the political personality.

The roadshow of Man Vs Woman, Entrepreneur Vs Public Servant for President of the United States was in the end, polarising.

So it is little surprise, the result has also proven to be.

What needs to be remembered is not what the result was, but how the Presidency evolves.

After all, there was a reason the Founding Fathers put in the checks and balances they did.

They knew no matter which side won, the President elect was always going to be human.

… and with that comes high emotion.





Snap gains sight, as it farewells chat

Snapchat launches Spectacles – its video and audio recording wearable for funsters

and parents…

While the yet to be discussed personal security implications of Spectacles is yet to be  acknowledged, let alone realised by the majority, they hint towards a very near future of integrated wearables.

Much in the same vein as mobile phones effortlessly transformed into smartphones and an extension of mankind, are Spectacles the next step in new media?


In other SnapChat news, SnapChat is no longer and Snap Inc. it is.

‘When we were just getting started it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product! Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product – but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand’ said Snapchat founder (and Miranda Kerr’s finance), Evan Spiegel.

‘Changing our name also has another benefit: when you search for our products it will be easier to find relevant product information rather than boring company information or financial analysis. You can search Snapchat or Spectacles for the fun stuff and leave Snap Inc. for the Wall Street crowd 🙂

Given the recent intro of Spectacles, it seems not only a timely re-brand, but a prelude to a product range of integrated wearables.

Snap Inc.’s approach, also highlights the importance of search in locating company products, no matter what the size, shape or form of your company.