Tag Archives: The Guardian

#oneaday 15: Toilet etiquette – everyone loves targets

Whether it was a slow news day or just  pre-Christmas japery,  I must admit I did find the story about SEGA’s Toilet Game very amusing. You know, the one exclusively aimed at and for men and one which could revolutionise men’s public toilet time forever. I for one would really appreciate this sort of ‘added value service’  which sounds like great fun. It would be far fun  than the bloke hanging around the toilet hand basins trying to ‘give’ you an array of cheap aftershave, toilet water in fact, in return for a ‘tip’.  These men are nothing but a complete and utter nuisance and a fragrant (sic) infringement of our privacy. That aside I wonder if SEGA’s game will be seen in years to come as one of the key turning points when our beloved ‘computer and video games’ industry became the ‘interactive entertainment’ industry? Is this SEGA’s attempt to trump the Nintendo Wii?

Continuing the theme of men, toilets and their behaviour, we have a phantom ‘dart board misser’ in our office at work, someone who really cannot get to the point and meanders hither and thither. If you visit the ‘Gents’ post prandial at our office, you are likely to find a number of ‘hits’ that have fallen outside the target area so to speak. Collectively we think we know who it is, but we can’t be absolutely sure and it is not the sort of subject you really want to raise in the office, is it?

However, according to the fantastic people at PopBitch there are a number of different approaches to the etiquette of the lavatory, stepping into the pooh on the way. The Guardian maintain typically PC approach, very much keeping everything to the left with a gentle, socially mobile approach to the tricky subject of people making a proper mess in the loos. Mind you the Guardian management decided to dump the poitical correctness and aim the memo to their male staff only, I guess evidence must have pointed this way:-

 “In the event that you are, ahem, inconvenienced when visiting the toilets, please use the brush handily situated at the side of the toilet to clean the bowl after yourself.”

 Meantime, over at TV production company Endemol, they are a little more ‘free market’ and ‘to the point’:-

 “Stop pissing all over the lavatory like a fucking animal. What is wrong with your penis? Is it a corkscrew? Does it flick around like a hosepipe?”

Whichever style floats your boat, or indeed anything else for that matter, it is pleasing to know that we men are all in this together and whilst most of us try to keep to the straight and narrow some clearly prefer to go off piste more times than not. Does this prove that the centre is preferable to the extreme left or right? Who knows, but I wonder if any of those who create the mess will ever take the time to clear it up….

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#oneaday 7: Who’s the Twit?

Skimming through The Guardian (a UK newspaper for those non UK residents reading this)  online tonight, I couldn’t fail to notice that there seems to be a growing amount of heat both official and otherwise for celebrities who are being paid to push products, ie sponsored Tweets (see Twitter endorsements face OFT clampdown http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jan/09/oft-clampdown-covert-twitter-endorsements) .

 There are a few issues here, connected of course, but as usual associated with freedom and choice.

Firstly, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has a point, sort of. They maintain that PR company Handpicked Media who run a commercial blogging network,  must state when promotional comments have been paid for. I get that, again sort of. But surely this approach does not credit the readers or followers any intelligence? I may only speak for myself, but one of the many really amazing things about the internet is that it kind of works things out, wisdom of the crowds or otherwise. Over in old fashioned TV ad land, or even older fashioned print ad ville, do we really need to know that the celebrities, famous people, recognised people, personal brand pushers or whatever we call them, are paid for endorsing and pushing products? Of course they are, it is a given.  Surely the same is true now that  the Ad and PR people have taken their place within Twitter and Facebook and for that matter Amazon? I mean hearing a celeb Tweeting endlessly about a product, in a series of 140 character tomes, is both transparent and ultimately boring, unless it is genuine. The power is with all of us, not some of them, and by them I mean  I mean the marketeers and their mules.

Secondly, the OFT are only following what their American cousins at the US Federal Trade Commission (USFTC)  insist on. The USFTC want transparency in this area and  insist on such Tweets carrying ‘ad’ or ‘spon’. I have no idea how this is or will be policed, I am sure it will be a mix of a tech solution and some ordinary people doing some ad hoc, sorry intelligence led,  snooping. Anyway, who cares as long as it does not effect out freedoms and ability to chose. Censorship should always be questioned, especially on the internet.

According to The Guardian article, “Celebrities can be great influencers, whether they’re on TV or tweeting,” Arnie Gullov-Singh, chief executive officer of Ad.ly, which pairs celebrities and companies, told Business Week in a recent interview. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who has more than 5.6 million followers, can collect up to $10,000 for tweeting, Gullov-Singh added. “Her price keeps going up. The most effective ones can get six figures a year, and in some cases six figures a quarter.”

Launched in 2009, Ad.ly uses more than 5,000 celebrities and experts to promote products such as Coke, Toyota and Microsoft in the US. It now plans to launch the service in Britain.“A year ago, celebrities were wary about their reputation, about selling out, but when they saw how easy it was to earn up to $5,000 a tweet, they flocked on board,” said Gullov-Singh.

Thus finally, it should not really be a  surprise to read Mr Gullov-Singh’s comment about some celebrities, after all fear and greed are all part of the human condition and let’s face it how many of us would refuse to take a fee to endorse something? Even if we were taking the moral high ground and wanted to preserve a reputation (darling) and push a product or service  that we may even use, love and could not bear to be without? Tough call, moral dilemma ahead! Therefore we should all be free to make our own decisions. If we are lucky enough to be offered money for Tweets, then we should weigh up the deal and decide for ourselves. If we value our judgement and reputation, we should tell the truth, however hard that can be sometimes, especially when filthy lucre is around. Equally, if we want to follow what celebrities tell us, that should also be our choice and one that should not leave us as individuals open to mockery. Ultimately crap products or services will get found out and the internet will spread that news quicker than a paid for Tweet or Facebook post.

The internet gave us many things, but for me, it gave freedom of choice.

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