The ultimate evaluation tool: brain-fingerprinting

MIT Advertising Labs carries news of Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories (cringe-inducing strapline: "a new paradigm") application of their technology in the marketing world: evaluation.

We see eye-tracking software at work every day in usability labs – how long before we’re wiring up consumers to see if our campaign messages really hit home?

And before you think this is just an "and finally piece", the MIT guys say that the boffins at Brain Fingerprinting have completed a study with uber-researchers Millward Brown.

It’s had a few people chattering about the possibilities here, here and here for instance.

“We don’t own the news anymore”

Director of the BBC’s World Service and Global News division Richard Sambrook‘s speech at the We Media conference in New York last week continues to make waves across the blogosphere, with his bold announcement that "we don’t own the news any more" resonating for many people.

Like Buzzmachine I found Roy O’Connor’s reporting of Mr Sambrook’s speech  useful – find it here.

The main points that made an impression on me were:

  • Sambrook says that connected/citizen/social media "used to exist in the margins, but it is very quickly becoming central. We’re at the tipping point right now."
  • He also outlined three keys to the BBC’s emergent value proposition:
  1. Connecting audiences
  2. Verification of news
  3. Analysis, explanation and context addition

There’s also an online archive of an interview with Mr Sambrook on Radio 5’s Up All Night which makes for interesting listening here (not sure how long it will be there for – some BBC programmes are only streamed for a week after broadcast).

The interview follows on from his speech at We Media and expands on some of the themes. The following points he makes (paraphrased) are very interesting:

  • Easy to get it out of proportion:
    lest we get carried away, he cautions that some people might be over-excited about the scale and implications of social/connected media. A good point – some realism is very welcome when we all get a bit flushed by the pace and potential of the changes happening at the moment.
  • One of the problems of debate about the significance of blogs is
    that people are trying to define them as one thing, where in reality
    there "as many types of blog as there could conceivably be".
  • The relationship between mainstream and social media is not an "’either or’, it’s kind of an expansion of options" – it means news media are more open to the audience.
  • He has an internal blog at the BBC for a year now: "rather than send another newsletter" and he says it’s working well, adding: "you can’t fake it in a blog". Interesting, he’s a journalist and producer by trade, but also using a blog as internal communications tool – something I strongly recommend clients try out.

I don’t think I’m alone among those interested in developments in the media (connected and otherwise) that find the BBC’s direction at the moment inspirational.

The BBC is taking its responsibility as a leader in its industry very seriously and is being adventurous and bold in moving to meet the challenges and opportunities of new technologies and thinking about media. Whether its peer-to-peer programming or establishing a clear process for bringing citizen-generated content into traditional news, the BBC is an innovator and a pioneer still.

Because the BBC is not a commercial organisation first and foremost, it is able to accelerate change in new media. Unlike e-commerce, the social media revolution is about communication first, not commerce.

That’s not to say there’s not gold in them there Web 2.0 hills. There undoubtedly is, as recent deals in the US and Europe show. But maybe just for the moment, innovation and change is being accelerated because there is an organisation as big and powerful as the BBC to move things forward.


Tidy up! We’ve got company…

These blog things spread like wildfire, don’t they? I hadn’t put "Open" up for search engines or showed it to many people, so I wasn’t expecting too many guests just yet…


learned, and hence the helpful addition today of a strap-line and an about me
section that actually says who I am. Helpful.

Many thanks to Dave Rossiter at Harvard‘s sister analyst relations agency, Sunesis, for tipping the wink to a couple of blogerati which has led to mentions on some distinguished IT PR blogs.

Business at the speed of…

Of all the irksome phrases I remember doing the rounds during the Internet boom of the late 90s, "we’re moving at the speed of Internet" comes second only to "the revenue model will come later" in my book.

But things really are moving much quicker now, as this article (found via Idea Flow) in Technology Review, entitled, shivreringly, The Tech Boom 2.0 explains. Because of open source software and very cheap hardware it’s just easier to get going.

It features one serial tech entrepreneur Greg Kostello who, just two days into planning reckons his new firm will launch about 30 days from now, saying: "We spent millions developing systems at that are readily available today for free."

It doesn’t just apply to tech start ups. With just some basic tech savvy-ness service / knowledge-worker type businesses can also benefit from open source software, cheap PCs and low cost communications.

I also think that connected media, Web 2.0, whatever you want to call it, is fuelling entrepreneurship and business innovation just as much as cheap technology. Ideas are also more abundant, inspiration is there for any who look hard enough, and its easier to have conversations with customers and other interested players.

GoogleReader – the jury’s out. And having a whinge while it’s there.

Google’s new RSS reader has launched to a reserved initial reaction, reports Jack Schofield on the Guardian blog. Have a look at the Inside Google blog’s conversation here.

I’ve run it for the last day or so in parallel with Bloglines and I have to say it’s not as good as I wanted it to be. And I wanted it to be pretty amazing.

Frist impression was good – it looks slick and I liked the quick scrolling through items, and I was able to import my BlogLines blogroll (list of blogs I subscribe to) without any problems.

But I got confused trying to add in new feeds, which was irritating. I may have missed something, but it adds to my sense that the thing is beautiful to look at but not as intuitive to use as it should be. I’ll be sticking with BlogLines for the moment.

Still it’s a Beta (trial) programme, so they may improve these things.

Personalised search


Rollyo is a new search engine in beta (testing) phase at the moment.

The idea is that you can search just the sites you want to search for things on.

You can also look at what other people’s personalised search engines look like.

I’ve created a search engine "roll" called Anontonio – take a look at it HERE

included a selection of websites and blogs that I either vlaue or am
just enjoying a lot at the moment – so its kind of general reference
crossed with a connected media vibe (apologies these aren’t posted as

  • (subscription only)

52% of bloggers have had contact with PR

Steve Rubel carries the story that Edelman’s survey found that 48% of bloggers have yet to encounter PR professionals. He expects that to change. And soon, the poor things.

If you want to take a look at the findings of the Edelman survey, they are at:

I was surprised that 52% had been contacted, to be honest. Does that make me naive or behind the times? Or British.

We’re not quite as engaged with connected media here yet, some
say.  A friend who went to a blog conference the other week in
Cambridge said that was down to the fact that we’re just a little more
reserved here and less comfortable with the kind of up front, public
honesty that blogs demand. Rings true. But maybe we’re just taking our

I can’t agree with Mr Rubel more though when he says that PR people
need to spend less time thinking about monitoring and analysis tools
(if they are even doing that) and just get int here and start reading
blogs, using the new media, joining in the conversations.

I’ve started blogging on a small scale to do just that. Try it out now
I have been reading the things for a good while. I’ve also started a
"closed circuit" blog with a client which is working very well for both
of us as a place to swap ideas and play with the medium without being
self-conscious. I’ll tell you more about that another time.

Ogilvy shares its rolls

While we’re on the subject of PR and blogs – I love what Ogilvy are doing: publishing the blogs they are reading by category – e.g. Health, Marketing, Politics etc.

I’ve always been a bit sceptical about PRs who treat their media or
industry knowledge as if it is their most valuable piece of "IP", to
revealed only when necessary to clients and colleagues.

I hope that this move by Ogilvy is a sign of things to come – of open
conversation between communications professionals. As media changes at
breakneck speed – so it seems to me – the PR people who survive and
thrive may be the ones who are the most open, the most able to embrace
the spirit of connected media.

Getting carried away, Mayfield? Maybe. I just mean that if the future
changes to our trade are as big as some say, we should stick together.


  • Posted on: Thu, Oct 6 2005 7:15 PM

“People are talking about you whether you are listening or not.”

By Antony Mayfield

Another story from Buzzmachine (via Blogads) is that an Audi ad campaign on blogs cost 0.5% of the budget but generated 29% of the traffic to the website.

Find the original report on MediaPost.

One telling quote in the article from Brian Clark

CEO of GMD Studios the agency which ran the campaign from Audi was:

"People are talking about you whether you’re listening or not."

This point is one which businesses need to take on board with all of
their communications and indeed their approach to communicating with
their customers, partners, suppliers et al.

My current prescription (I may change my mind later)  for the
timid corporation or public body upon whom it is dawning that they need
to deal with social media:

  1. Start listening to the conversations
    out there (or get yourself a professional who can filter the noise and
    explain what’s going on).

  2. Have an honest conversation in the
    organisation about what the opportunities and threats are and in what
    spirit you should respond.

  3. Decide how you will hear and respond to stories quickly and with integrity to deal with misunderstandings and genuine problems.


  4. Start playing with the medium – start up internal blogs, wikis and podcasts. Encourage as many people as possible to have a go.
  5. Decide how you are going to deal with the medium across all of
    your communications – marketing, PR, sales, support and customer


  • Posted on: Sun, Oct 2 2005 6:21 AM

Wiki Text Books

[This  – and the next few posts today – were originally posted on my Bloglines blog which I will be closing down…]

Saw this company on Buzzmachine: Wiki Books which is publishing open-source textbooks.

Fascinating idea. Makes perfect sense, but it is the sort of thing I can
imagine all sorts of sub-committees and quangos getting very sniffy
about. Imagine not controlling text books!


  • Posted on: Sun, Oct 2 2005 5:52 AM