Cancelling Copyright or Capping Creativity

8 11 2007

Finding a balance.

An ongoing argument/ discussion with an American lawyer friend about copyright and the current cultural trend of transforming existing copyrighted works. YouTube is filled with video mashups of music and video that has been transformed from it’s original creative intent. Much of this is intended to pay homage to the original creation, some transformations put unusual twists on the work.

Here is a presentation on the topic at TED. And then again there is this organization which promotes such creative freedom.

Smarter people than I will figure this out but everyday I ponder how this might work out. I want it to. I want the freedom to be able to mashup my own take on something using the cultural tools of my day. Still, I don’t want to send artists to the welfare lines because they can’t earn enough money publishing their music in to pay rent.


Finding Inspiration & Fighting Stagnation

7 11 2007

It’s all well and good to be a creative sort but every now and again inspiration is difficult to find & we get caught up in old unproductive habits. One of the wonderful things about Web 2.0 is that you can find others living the same thing as you… and together find ways to inspire and advance your art, hobby and well… have fun.

Strictly speaking, a message board or forum is not a Web 2.0 site but there is certainly plenty of social networking going on. In fact, the forums show only a small portion of what’s actually happening on a given site. Personal messaging and profile pages are the source of many a new social connection.

When it comes to photography my preferred inspiration site is The mix of professionals and complete newbies on that site and the atmosphere whereby each and everyone is treated with respect is at the heart of this site’s success. The weekly assignment section receives, on average, 20+ submissions each week. It’s a treat to see someone post there for the first time – I have yet to take the plunge – the constructive criticism and support are well… inspiring.

Is your PR firm lazy?

31 10 2007

PR is not the biggest part of my business but I certainly have had occasion to pitch for my clients. I believe in PR and developing contacts with media and getting the message out there. It’s actually fun to make a connection with someone who is honestly interested in a product or service that you’re pitching. I’ve enjoyed some inspiring conversations. Yesterday, in a post on his blog, Chris Anderson – Wired Editor-in-chief and author of The Long Tail – published a list of emails collected from his INBOX from people he says were basically spaming him with lazy PR work.

“Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching.”

I see a couple of names in there that will not be very happy to find they’ve been bumped out as spam. But really, if the PR firm doesn’t have enough fire to get the message out to the right journalists… via a creative and well-designed presentation, is there any real hope of the message getting to the end-user in a manner to inspire them?

A good PR firm or communications department should know who is following a given sector and have a list of journalists and trend-setters to contact. If this sort of list doesn’t exist, it really isn’t that difficult to build one. This shows how lazy automated systems make us and how doing the same thing day-in-day-out can breed contempt for our work.

Part of my professional background being in journalism, I have a healthy respect for the work journalists do but I also know that the more of their work that I do for them, the more likely they are to run with my story. I’m just about to start on a project – a CD-ROM for journalists covering the jewelery fashion industry. Each year our focus is on providing a tool that makes the journalist’s job easier. I guess it’s working. It’s the fifth year for this project.

“I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.”Whoopi Goldberg

Cool tool of the trade

30 10 2007

I’ve used many presentation tools (software) over the last 15 years, but I have to say that I really like the ease-of-use and transportability of Jing Project from Techsmith Corporation. In just a few minutes you can have a simple presentation together – voice over included – and it’s available anywhere on the Web if you wish.

For now the project is running as a free service and Techsmith is asking for feedback from users. While not opensource, the project is collecting plenty of comments from users with the intention of further defining the product. Eventually, we’ll have to pay to use Jing but the price will certainly be worth it.

I find it very useful for projects where the team is spread out in multiple locations. I can flip through my ideas on screen and record my comments as I click through the windows. Really, I can set up a meeting in minutes. My colleagues can see what I’m talking about and I haven’t had to type a word.

I’ll post a couple of examples here soon.

Fear of the Internet

29 10 2007

I tend to live in two different worlds; with folks that are adopters of all things net – like myself, and friends who actually FEAR the intrusion of the Internet on their lives.

I try to hide my surprise when a friend tells me she hasn’t signed up with Facebook because it will leave crazies to her door, and then there’s my housekeeper who doesn’t know anything about computers complains how companies & government departments tell her to get the information from their website.

While my friend is right to be concerned with putting personal information on the internet, does the potential for harm really mean she should avoid it all together? To me that’s the same as saying you shouldn’t drive a car because there are accidents. Surely someone can learn the pitfalls of placing personal information on the web and learn that there are some basic safe practices that will prevent much of the unwanted things from happening.

While, I understand that older citizens are not necessarily drawn to the digital world and certainly not everyone can afford or has access to computers – where is that happy medium?

Stream of consciousness

15 10 2007

While I have a real life, I spend a lot of my time on the Internet. It’s where I work and the tools of my trade. I’m an Internet Branding professional. I spend my work hours offering solutions and opinions to companies – small and large – on how to best leverage and present their brand via the plethora of interactive technologies. I love my work.

That said, it only seems fair that I should test out my experiences and show folks the path that I take each day… or almost everyday. If I had a straight path through everything, if everything was easy I don’t think I’d offer services as solid as I believe I do. Experience in building and utilizing platforms for others is one thing, being able to do it for yourself… well, that’s a whole other ball game.

I love the Internet, examining how it impacts our personal, professional and collective lives.

I hope you’ll get some useful hints & tips from me as I pass through this exercise. Sure, you’ll have to endure some of my real personality. Yes, I have other sites and blogs. They are all aimed at garnering the widest spectrum of information for myself, as well as my clients.

“…Life is good but never fair…” – lou reed