Monthly Archives: December 2008

Our visit to Vail

Yesterday we took a road trip to Vail. It’s just two hours away. I found a great sledding area in Vail courtesy of a website which lets you locate good sledding runs (free) in your neighbourhood. We entered the address in the GPS, and off we went!

The day cost us nothing apart from the car’s petrol and wonderful pizza we ate for dinner. We’ve discovered the following:

a. I need snow pants. Now. Because when I have a frozen wet bum I get grumpy.

b. Charlie is a daredevil on the flexi-sled. He’s worked out that he needs to keep his whole body off the ground and entirely on the sled for the best run and for speed. He flies and cares little about danger… or direction.

c. Harry seems to be a natural snowboarder. He doesn’t even own a skateboard, but managed to stay upright for a long way on his new snowboard. His balance is amazing and he just loves it.

d. Vail is spectacular. We are definitely going back, and will probably make it at least an overnight trip. The whole place is like a gingerbread storybook land. You can see a little in my video!

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Hiking with Harry

Harry loves to hike through the Rocky Mountains. There are more trails around here than you can poke a … hiking staff at. (Sorry.)

Harry’s decided to do a series of Hiking with Harry videos, which will show everyone a little bit of what new things he’s experiencing in hiking in a completely different environment. This is his first one, where he is seeing his first ever frozen lake. The quality of the video and editing limits this talented young man because it’s done by his mum! But I’ll get better, I promise! 🙂

A visit to the A pool

Following my previous post about unhappily swimming in the B Pool, I’m pleased to have been able to scramble my way through to a bit of a splash in the A pool. You know, that place where the cool kids are?  

My final paper for Media Ethics,  Twittering a Funeral: Social media’s challenge to professional journalism received a final A grade. I think my professor was just as relieved and pleased about it as I am. december-2008-001

I’ll be working on the paper further to prepare it for possible conference/journal submission, under the intuitive guidance of Professor Mike McDevitt. Without his assistance in structuring my paper all the stuff in my head would still be struggling for a voice.

Anyway, I’ll happily send it along to anyone who’d like the long, academic version. Just email me or DM me on Twitter. But for those of you with lives not academically focused, here are the key points:

Statement of Purpose
This paper examines the impact on the professionalism of journalism as it integrates the social networking tool Twitter in traditional news reporting. The paper considers the use of Twitter by the Rocky Mountain News in which a child’s funeral was “live blogged,” as well as the ensuing outcry and response from the editor, John Temple. It identifies the particular characteristics of Twitter as a communication tool, and proposes an ethical model which supports the use of Twitter in professional journalism.

The paper then outlines the case study of the Rocky Mountain News’ reporting of a child’s funeral using Twitter, and identifies why this use was not only unethical but a case of unprofessional journalism. This is journalism which doesn’t address the recommendations of the Hutchins Commission, and puts the autonomy of American journalists, as well as their credibility, in the firing line. There is a desperate need for reporters to be trained in the functionality of Twitter and fully understand it as well as the community (not audience) which supports it.

I recommend a model which outlines three ways Twitter should not be used, as well as three ways in which it supports professional journalism.
NO:

1. When the use of Twitter (either through implementing the tool or the result) is perceived as a possible invasion of privacy. 

2. When another journalistic tool would better serve the reporting need or the ability of the journalist.

3. When a journalist or media entity is unfamiliar with social media in its complete form, not just as a broadcast medium.

YES:

1. As a resource for newsgathering purposes, in preparing information for stories, getting leads, etc.

2. As a public journalism tool – where the journalist can attend an event and act as the mediator between the community and the event. Eg: a red carpet event, where the community can ask the journalist questions and she can filter them and respond accordingly (of course, this takes a different sort of journalistic training.)

3. For Amber Alerts (abducted children), especially when the child is suspected to have been abducted overseas; and for issues of imminent need or notice such as natural disasters, etc. The input would come from reliable sources, and media would then be able to aid in important efforts to communicate with the respectability of their professional branding adding weight to the message going out through the Twitter stream. 

I hope the A pool welcomes me back a few more times. It’s really nice.

How much is the Aussie brand worth?

This is just one instance of an American company trying to cash in on the good name Australia and its people have within the US. And it sucks.

As an Australian, I’m really disgusted by Procter & Gamble’s obvious attempt to mislead consumers by producing and promoting a range of haircare products as Australian.

What do you call an Aussie brand that's not Australian?

What do you call an Aussie brand that's not Australian?

The brand is ‘Aussie’ – and you know what? It’s not. You can see the associated website here (of course, it’s using simply www.aussie.com).

You should know the following:

a. This brand does not exist in Australia.

b. This brand has no money going to Australia.

c. This brand, featuring the kangaroo on its logo, and the hyperbole saying it’s part of “the latest wave from down under” actually has NOTHING to do with Australia.

d. This is NOT an Australian product.

This is intentionally misleading by Procter & Gamble. The ad, which you can see on their website, uses an Australian woman’s voice-over to reinforce the message they have something to do with Australia.

It’s a total rip-off of the Australian image and brand.

Now, whether or not the product is any good is not my concern. I believe it is obviously unethical to present a product or brand as being something it’s not. In this case, the Australian brand and people are being used to sell a product which has nothing to do with them.

So I approached Procter & Gamble with my concerns. Here’s the (cut and pasted) email response:

Thank you for contacting Aussie. Aussie® was founded in 1979 by Tom Redmond who had over twenty years experience in the professional salon industry. Tom visited Australia and was inspired to develop Australian 3 Minute Miracle, an intensive conditioner that produced real results in only three minutes. 3 Minute Miracle is now a top selling conditioner with more than 45 million bottles sold. This was followed by Sprunch Spray, Instant Freeze Hair Spray, and a complete line of hair care and styling products.

While Aussie products are not made in Australia, many of the beneficial ingredients come from Australia.

We hope we’ve been helpful. If we can assist you in the future, please let us know.

The Consumer Relations Team

013958415A/EGS

Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.

If you have additional comments about this issue, please click here:

http://www.econsumeraffairs.com/cla/contactusfollowup.htm?F1=013958415A

 

This is a company that really needs to learn a few lessons in social media and customer service. Not only is the response comprised mainly of PR crap that NOBODY would have wanted to read, and that wasn’t relevant, it was deliberately vague and even said “mail to this address cannot be answered.”  P&G is such a big company, it doesn’t want to actually converse with anyone. Pfft. Oh, they’re into Social Media – they have a Facebook Fan Page for Aussie. You can access it here. I’m going to leave a little message for them on it… I invite you to do the same. 🙂

But back to their response…I was obviously particularly interested in the claim that “many of the beneficial ingredients come from Australia.” I looked on the bottles of Aussie products in the supermarket. Nothing is listed as being from Australia. The product is completely made and produced in the USA, according to the bottles.

So I sent them another email, asking them what ingredients come from Australia and that I wanted to get it right because I was going to be blogging about this. Two weeks later, I’m still waiting for a response.

Now, I’m not expecting my American friends to be too upset over this. After all, it’s not your brand that’s being used to sell something. But I wonder how a company can get away with this shameless lying  unethical behaviour?

I’m contacting the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about P&G’s sham and will let you know what eventuates.