Dylan and the power of social media

To promote his Dylan Greatest Songs album that’s coming out in October, Bob Dylan has created a Facebook application that lets you enter 10 lines of words or phrases. A video of Bob Dylan holding sheets of paper will read out your message. The last few sheets are a promotion for his album, but who cares? It’s a cool app. Create as many as you’d like and send them to friends...
There’s a website for the promotion of the album too, which also lets you create the video mashup and send it out to friends. The Facebook app works best though, because it’s the closest you’ll get to being able to embed the clip anywhere online.

That's the plug for Bob - God Bless Him. But in terms of viral marketing and the best use of social media this is one of the best I have seen. Bob fans will get it straight away but as one of the most iconic music videos to offer this up to the blogosphere is sheer genuis... we might even see if we can co-opt this for a prostate health campaign we are considering at GREEN. See the app below


Alisher Usmanov: A big, fat bully

Alisher Usmanov is a big, fat bloke with an interest in Arsenal Football Club. I’ve never met him – but I’ve just seen his picture on SimonSays. And I think “big, fat bloke” is an accurate description – and is also an honestly held opinion so there are no worries about any claims for libel.
He’s also an Uzbekh oligarch – a person whose political influence effectively rests on his wealth. I would have liked to read more about him on the blogs of Craig Murray – the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan - and political blogger, Tim Ireland, who wrote about their experience and views of Mr Usmanov.
Unfortunately, both their blogs have been closed down following threats from our fat friends’ lawyers. SimonSays points to Ellee Seymour who notes that:

"lawyers letters followed which led to the webhost pulling the plug… Newspapers are not shut down if they face libel allegations, (not in the UK anyway) there is a legal process that is followed. Surely that process applies to bloggers too. If the offending comments were not libellous - and only a court can decide this - then Mr Usmanov’s actions could be deemed illegal. He would have to pay damages. There are all sorts of legal ramifications involved with this story."

Yes, indeed.
Murray is the author of Murder in Samarkand - A British Ambassador's Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror – an account of the post-USSR Uzbekistan - relaying the problems of living in a brutal dictatorship but also because it shows to what depths the Blair sunk in its attempts to spin the truth and cover up torture (including boiling people alive).
Schillings, the lawyers acting on behalf of Usmanov, was allegedly successful in getting Murray's host to alter some of his posts to present Usmanov in a different light before taking down the site completely.
They also appear to have sent threatening emails to owners of Arsenal Football Club fan sites (Usmanov is an Arsenal shareholder), threatening libel action if any of Murray's statements appear on their sites.
The Google cache of Murray's blog makes for some interesting reading.
I think the answer to this censorship – as pointed out by Simon – is to get as many bloggers writing about the episode. This is my contribution to the big, fat bloke’s story.


Looking for a teacher who seduced her pupils - WTF?

Further to my earlier post, here's another selection of lazy journalist requests – most of them from women’s publications. I make no comment but would like to hear what you think about them. All the quotes are genuine – but I have left off the names of magazine and newspaper titles.

Woman’s Glossy
I'm looking to speak to a teacher who seduced one of her pupils. She must be willing to be named and photographed, as well as telling her story.

Woman’s Glossy
Ever said 'no' to sex?: The boys at [magazine] want to debunk stereo-types that men are all sex monsters, and tell the ladies a thing or two. So we're looking for some MEN to come forward and tell us if they've ever said 'no' to sex, for an upcoming feature. The more unusual the reason the better. We're looking for male candidates to be interviewed, and maybe have their photograph featured for the light-hearted article.

Women’s Weekly
I'm organising a press trip to New York for two people and looking for help with:
Two flights to New York
Places to visit
Places to eat and drink
Shopping Guides
We're looking to travel in October (dates are flexible) and hoping to stay three or four nights to incoperate (sic) a weekend (again flexible)
We're hoping to use this in our Christmas Special so it will get a lot of coverage

National Newspaper
£350 payment - I'm searching for a lady ideally in her 20s or at the very oldest early 30s who's planning to be sterilised in the near future because she's so certain she doesn't ever want to have children. I'd want her to keep a diary of the process for a feature in a national newspaper. I'd want to know all about how she made the decision, how she told friends and family, how she found a clinic, + the operation itself and her recovery afterwards. I'd also need her to be photographed. £350 upon publication of the piece and I'm happy to offer her sight of the copy too.

Woman Freelance
Do you - or any of your clients - have an amazing true life story?
Do you want to see it on the pages of a magazine - and get paid?
Newspapers like [pick anyone at random]and magazines such as [too many to shake a stick at] and other women's magazines feature true life stories on a range of subjects including:

  • Health troubles
  • Betrayals
  • Love stories
  • Acts of kindness
  • Tragic events
  • Love triangles
  • Overcoming diseases
  • Failed operations
The list is endless really - if you feel your story is newsworthy and of interest to readers then I want to hear from you.

Glossy Magazine
I'm searching for a woman in her twenties who is either currently a sex addict or is a reformed sex addict. I'd require a phone interview and for her to be photographed.
I am also searching for a woman who was a convicted cocaine dealer and is now repentant (sic). Please get in touch urgently if you can help with either.

Glossy Magazine
I'm on the lookout for truly astonishing stories about women aged between 18-50. Do you know a woman that has shed more than 15 stones in weight(yes, the mags are looking for HUGE weightlosses!? Or what about a woman who has survived an illness so rare it doesnt have a name? Or does a woman want to get revenge on a love rat husband?
As an agency, anything goes so please do send me all your ideas and suggestions (but please no stories about women setting up businesses unless there is a truly amazing twist!)

Fry on phones - bizarre

Bizarre – hundreds, nay thousands, of bloggers are writing about the fact that Stephen Fry, the UK’s talented writer and actors, has started a blog.
The picture is undoubtedly him. But it remains to be seen whether Mr Fry is the actual author – if it is him, he has emerged as an Uber-Geek with an impressive knowledge of mobile technology as his first post is about his love affair with all thing Apple and the iPhone in particular – all 6,450 words of it.
The style too is very much reminiscent of Mr Fry’s writing style too:

I accept that price is an issue here; if budget is a consideration then you’ll have to forgive me, I’m writing from the privileged position of being able to indulge my taste for these objects. But who can deny that design really matters? Or that good design need not be more expensive? We spend our lives inside the virtual environment of digital platforms - why should a faceless, graceless, styleless nerd or a greedy hog of a corporate twat deny us simplicity, beauty, grace, fun, sexiness, delight, imagination and creative energy in our digital lives? And why should Apple be the only company that sees that? Why don’t the other bastards GET IT??

I expect the truth will emerge in due course once the deadwood media discover the blog. If it is Mr Fry – it was an excellent piece. And is that a Renaissance artist displayed on the iPhone in his hand?


The Boss: Radio Nowhere

I totally love this. And am just waiting for the UK tour. I am also working out the chord sequence on my gi'tar - E, C, G, D?. Am I sad or what?


Mash and men in Fezs

Rumours of Yahoo!'s social media pretensions were vindicated today when they announced the launch of Mash.
The service includes features common to Facebook, MySpace, and My Yahoo. According to TechCrunch you can load a set of modules onto your profile page and move them around drag-and-drop style. The modules include Flickr RSS, Ego Boost, Common Friends, MyMoshLog2, Blog Module (RSS 2.0), Asteroids, Astrology, PimpMyPet, Hover, Kaleidescope, Guestbook, and My Stuff.
Users are encouraged to edit each other’s pages. Each time you visit a profile page, you see new modules that others have loaded for you. TechCrunch says: "This capability certainly adds to the 'mashing' aspect of the social network. It is also appears as though Yahoo intends for users to mash their information together from across the company’s various properties, perhaps making Mash the main hub for Yahoo users."
I wonder if it is all a bit too late given the success of Facebook but given all those Yahoo! user accounts out there I suspect not - I await the email inviting me to join.
Meanwhile, things get more bizarre at Facebook as my son has just set up a new group there called: Top Hats and Fezs: Man's Greatest Invention - that explains the picture anyway.


GREEN in the awards... again

Over at GREEN we are in very good mood - as you can see from the team picture.
We have been short listed for no less than nine Pride Awards – these are the public relations industry’s versions of the Oscars.
We submitted work we have carried out for a wide range of clients including The Wensleydale Creamery, The Samaritans, Beat Blue Monday, Wakefield Council, Urbans Mines and the Cultural Partnership.
What has been particularly interesting for us is that, for the first time, we have entered some campaigns which had a major social media dimension – particularly on Beat Blue Monday and Wenselydaleblog.
Anyway, we will know if we have won at a big dinner in November.


Well done Colin on award

Congratulations to Colin Glass on being named as Business Adviser of the Year in the Institute of Directors Business Awards in Yorkshire this week.
As well as being a top bloke, Marathon runner and being the best networker in the north of England Colin is also chairman of Fuelmyblog and GREEN Communications.
Colin is also a senior partner with Winburn Glass Norfolk Chartered Accountants which he founded in 1975. Since then he has helped many companies develop and grow, raised funds and floated several of them on the London Stock Exchange.
Well done Colin!!

Win One Red Paper Clip

I would like to win this book. Fuelmyblog is currently running a competition to win One Red Paper Clip - to enter just visit here!