One word; Plastics (easier to get into than PR anyway)

A couple of days ago Adam Lewis posted asking whether PR would attract more and better candidates if more PR agencies offered grad schemes. I’m of the opinion that too few agencies offer grad schemes and that does effect the quality of graduates coming in to the industry.

Jedh, however doesn’t think PR needs schemes because the industry gets all the grads it could ever want (proven by the low starting salaries) and having to jump through all the hoops makes sure only the grads who really want it get in.

Bollocks. the big financial grad schemes (PWC, Deloitte) claim to receive around 100 applications per place. Edelman’s grad scheme received 250 total; Competition for Grad places in PR is not that high. The low stfondue_graduate_wideweb__430x396arting salaries are a symptom of the industry valuing experience over new grads. Where other industries relish the chance to train a grad to work exactly as the company needs them (Law firms often recruit students between university and law school so they can provide their own training alongside their law studies) Pr agencies prefer to take on employees with a proven track record who will not need the expense of extensive training.

In order to get in to PR most Grads have to do a string of unpaid work experience placements to show they have some modicum of experience and, apparently, a commitment to the industry. In reality what this does is bar entry to many people who live outside London: I was lucky enough to get in at Wolfstar but a friend who lives in the same area couldn’t get in at one of the handful of Leeds agencies and after 6 months of trying has been forced to give up. This drives away grads who simply can’t afford to spend months doing unpaid work and sends them to industries which pays them well and doesn’t demand they bankrupt themselves before they’ve even begun.

PR needs more companies offering grad schemes in order to pull in the best and brightest and give grads a chance at fighting their way into the industry; just because you can’t spend months doing unpaid work doesn’t mean you don’t care about working in the industry.

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The internet make us smarter, so how long until they dumb it down?

I picked up a copy of Intelligent Life last night and was struck by the letter from the editor, Tim Delisle. The crux of the letter is that, no matter what we’re told, we are all getting smarter (wish I could agree) for a number of reasons, not least of all the internet. Delisle claims that because we have to actively sit up and interact with the internet and be selective in what we do as opposed to passively slumping in front of the TV it makes us more alert, more searching.

I think he might be right; the internet makes us think about what we are looking at, search for something that interests us. I said in my Room 101 post that one of the virtues of the internet is that you don’t go near the sites (except LolCats) you don’t like (Robert Putnam called something akin to this cyber-balkanisation). You can’t help but learn about a subject when you have to navigate to it to see it.

Originally though TV was on for about 4 hours a day and 3 of those were Watch With Mother (I’m just judging from my Dad’s complaints wwm1about the quality of modern television) so you’d sit down at 8 O’clock when you knew that programme you liked was on. You were selective and only saw the bits you liked, you invested a little more in those programmes. programming times got longer, TV sets more affordable more people tuned in and channel surfing became common: television became passive.

At the same time social media and what it can do is growing and advancing. The first social media (online, don’t get pedantic) was a MUD: strictly for uber-nerds who couldn’t buy Dungeons and Dragons anymore then much later there was MySpace and social media got a little bit cool. Finally Facebook made it a part of everyday life.

Earlier in the week, following Stuart Bruce asking what’s next for social media, we were talking about it in the office and I think social media on consoles is the next big thing. graphic chatrooms and world users can walk around in and interact in from the comfort of their sofa. Playstation 3 already have one. If this does take off I think the move from pc to living room entertainment will bring social media to the same level as television, passive and unselective designed to was over you as you lean back on your sofa and play virtual table football with your friend with a mindless flick of the wrist.

When people ask David Simon how he made The Wire so good he tells them he wanted to make a programme you had to sit up to watch, that is what the internet and social media does, but it could lose that very easily.

Online Room 101

Jed tagged me in a meme and dammit I intend to follow through, so here we go:

 

101room

 

I had a little problem with this one because the nature of the internet is such that if you don’t like something you just don’t go to it. However, i managed to scrape a few together and without further ado the websites I’d like Paul Merton to send to the room are:

Number One

LolCats.com (i refuse to link to these despicable and depraved sites)

Lolcats some how finds comedy in pictures of cats with poorly spelt captions. Its the online equivalent of Jackass: comedy for people who don’t really understand actual comedy. I wouldn’t mind if the pictures would just stay on the lolcats site but some how they spread, they are pandemic. They arrive in my emails, have appeared in posts on my RSS and even infected actually comedy websites (i’m looking at you, cracked.com)

 

Number Two

MySpace.com

I know Jed called this one but he was right, I never bought in to MySpace. My first friend on it was a pole dancer who added me (i was 14 for god sake, even I knew that was messed up) and once I’d found all of my friends that was it we never did anything with it, we just cruised other people’s profiles. The ‘blogs’ are filled with those crappy questionnaires people always sent to your hotmail account before MySpace came along and the music that plays every time you move on to a new profile is often horrific, always too loud. My sister is on it now and she loves it; lots of scene kids quoting Poe stories they haven’t read and filling their profiles with My Chemical Romance songs because it makes them look ‘deep’.  I suspect if i’d been young enough for Bebo this rant would have been about that. As it is shut down Myspace and het yourself a Facebook account

Number Three
MSN Messenger

Not a website and I’m sorry about that but MSN deserves to be sent down. I liked it when i was 14 because there was no better option: My friends had MSN so i was stuck with it, but there was also a whole bunch of people I knew but really didn’t like on there. These people would add me and it didn’t matter whether I accepted or not; sooner or later I’d be thrown in to a group chat with them. Now it’s even worse, my friends have refused to move on to Skype so i still get stuck with MSN and all the weirdoes who never moved on and still talk to me about that time i swore at the teacher. A few weeks ago my friend put her ‘personal message’ as ‘I can’t wait for march 13th 2009’, someone we went to school with messaged her asking what she “thought about April 2009 being the end of the Armageddon.” Such things shouldn’t happen on a private messenger service and MSN belongs in room 101.

 

Reckon I’ll tag Natalie Smith and Becca Caddy, enjoy

Some Cool Stuff

Just kicking about the internet and wanted to point y’all in the direction of some cool stuff.

The upcoming Watchmen film which I’ve waxed lyrical about before is putting on a heavy digital campaign. A few YouTube Channels connected to the film have appeared including one for Veidt industries (a company owned by one of the characters) and a few Virals from the Watchmen world have appeared. My favourites are the ‘Keene Report’ propaganda video made by rag newspaper ‘The New Frontiersman’ and a brilliantly authentic newspaper report about the godlike Dr Manhattan, Read the comments on ‘The Keene Report’; there are quite a few heroes posting. I love the way they’ve kept the theme going in the discussion and kept the videos completely free of branding. The only things identifying it as Watchmen are the characters and the taglines being thrown around; “Who watches the watchmen”, “Better blue than red”.

The Keene Act & You

NBS Nightly News with Ted Philips, March 11th 1970

Next order of business:
 Whoever is running 30 Rock’s PR has reacted brilliantly to the Christian Bale incident with a Tracy Jordan rant sparked by a camera man filming him whilst he was acting. TMZ has the exclusive recording. If you haven’t seen 30 Rock you probably won’t get it.

Will do Jeds meme eventually, honest. Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

My friend Esther

Technorati Tags: ,,,

at the beginning of the week I started getting Skype messages from a nice Ghanaian girl named Esther. At first I thought Esther a run of the mill spammer/ scam artist but Esther was persistent so I eventually responded. Turns out Esther grandma has malaria and Esther needed 100 Euros to buy the medicine. I was so impressed by her tenacity that I thought I’d give her some good PR and reprint the charming girl’s conversation with me right here:

 

 

ghana_map (day 1)

05/02/09 09:05:00] Esther: how are you
[05/02/09 10:23:19] Paul Crouch: i’m fne thanks, how are you
[05/02/09 15:33:09] Esther: pls am not well now
[05/02/09 15:33:33] Paul Crouch: why not?
[05/02/09 15:34:57] Esther: ;(pls my grandmum is sick in hospital and the docter need money before they look her
[05/02/09 15:35:11] Paul Crouch: oh yeah whats wrong with her
[05/02/09 15:35:34] Esther: pls is malira
[05/02/09 15:35:51] Esther: pls the need 150euros
[05/02/09 15:36:17] Paul Crouch: are you asking me for the money
[05/02/09 15:36:48] Esther: pls yes that is why am here looking for help
[05/02/09 15:37:12] Paul Crouch: what do i get for my 150 euros
[05/02/09 15:37:52] Esther: pls to pay it
[05/02/09 15:38:12] Esther: pls God will bless you
[05/02/09 15:38:58] Paul Crouch: just wondering, why do you need euros if you live in Ghana
[05/02/09 15:40:40] Esther: when u transfer the euros i will get it here sin Ghana cedis
[05/02/09 15:41:27] Paul Crouch: what is the unit of currency in Ghana
[05/02/09 15:43:21] Esther: 50euros is 78 Ghana cedis
[05/02/09 15:44:42] Paul Crouch: i don’t know you
[05/02/09 15:45:02] Esther: plsi know
[05/02/09 15:45:51] Esther: pls can i give you the datails you will use it to send the pls.pls my grandmum  will die pls
[05/02/09 15:47:07] Paul Crouch: i’m curious how come you have an internet connection to use skype with but not the money for the malaria vaccine
[05/02/09 15:48:24] Esther: pls am not lie you pls s;(v;( my grandmumlife me 
[05/02/09 15:49:33] Paul Crouch: how come you have an internet connection to use skype with but not the money for the malaria vaccine
[05/02/09 15:50:06] Esther: pls if you cant help  me pls tell me
[05/02/09 15:51:20] Paul Crouch: you should get a picture, i’d probably be more likely to give you money then
[05/02/09 15:51:44] Esther: ok
[05/02/09 15:51:58] Esther: pls send the money frist
[05/02/09 15:52:22] Esther: esther.yeboah23@yahoo.com
[05/02/09 15:52:53] Esther: is my mail send the imfromation there so i will get it fast
[05/02/09 15:53:05] Esther: pls my timeis up now
[05/02/09 15:53:09] Esther: byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
[05/02/09 15:53:12] Paul Crouch: you can’t send money to an email address
[05/02/09 15:54:26] Esther: pls everdaypeoples die
[05/02/09 15:54:49] Paul Crouch: thats true so why should i specifically help you
[05/02/09 15:55:06] Paul Crouch: you should read Novick’s writings on economy
[05/02/09 15:57:12] Esther: yes
[05/02/09 15:58:45] Paul Crouch: thats not an answer
[05/02/09 16:03:09] Paul Crouch: did you go away?

 

(day2)

[09:27:49] Esther: pls is not pls my time sign up
[09:28:28] Paul Crouch: that doesn’t make sense
[09:29:41] Esther: ok.pls did you send what is told you
[09:46:09] Paul Crouch: did I send you money to your email address?
[09:47:06] Esther: pls yes
[09:48:03] Esther: pls if you give the datails online
[09:49:00] Paul Crouch: if i give you my bank details?
[09:49:38] Esther: ok
[09:49:54] Esther: pls the mtc number
[09:51:12] Paul Crouch: why you are very knowledgeable on international money transfer, are you sure your Grandma hasn’t had Malaria before
[09:52:38] Esther: if is;(;(ot serious i will not come here to beg for money
[09:53:44] Paul Crouch: whats Ghana like, I image its better than the Congo but worse the South Africa
[09:54:56] Esther: i dont have anyone to help me i lost my parent in car accident and now it has l;(;(y only us pls help me to save my grandmum from death  
[09:57:09] Esther: pls add me am semding you a picture
[09:57:26] Paul Crouch: so your saying Ghana has lots of cars? i don’t really use traffic levels as an indicator of how good a country is
[09:57:34] Esther: Let me see when you are online
[09:57:52] *** Missed call from Esther. ***
[09:58:10] Paul Crouch: don’t have a microphone
[09:58:17] *** Call ended ***
[09:58:25] Esther: ok.pls add me
[09:58:39] Paul Crouch: how come you have a microphone
[09:58:49] Esther: pls i dont
[09:58:50] Paul Crouch: you should sell your microphone and buy some medicine
[09:59:05] Paul Crouch: then how could you ring me
[09:59:09] Esther: pls i dont have
[09:59:23] Esther: pls in the computer pls
[10:00:04] Paul Crouch: that doesn’t make sense
[10:00:55] Esther: ok
[10:01:22] Esther: pls send the imfromation in my mail address pls
[10:03:09] Paul Crouch: its probably best we wait till I get paid
[10:03:29] Paul Crouch: also are you vat registered
[10:03:48] Esther: pls my time is up.pls i want to go the hospital yo see my grandmum pls am going
[10:04:07] Paul Crouch: say hi from me
[10:04:25] Esther: ok hse will hear it
[10:04:27] Paul Crouch: who’s computer are you using
[10:04:32] Esther: byeeeeeeeee
[10:04:37] Esther: pls am in cafe
[10:06:00] Paul Crouch: pls you should stop spending money in cafes and buy your grandma some grape
[10:06:04] Paul Crouch: grapes*
[10:06:05] Esther: pls am waitting you
[10:06:27] Esther: ok.that is why am here
[10:06:36] Esther: pls send the money noe
[10:06:39] Esther: now
[10:06:40] Esther: now
[10:07:01] Paul Crouch: geez don’t get huffy
[10:07:37] Paul Crouch: I feel like your pay/hours ratio would be better if you got a job

 

I hope you enjoyed Esther’s obvious wit and charm as much as I did and if you’d like to donate just send all your bank details (including MTC number) to esther.yeboah23@yahoo.com; Do some good in the world.

Accuracy Vs Accessibility: The Wikipedia Story

I don’t know what it is about the Independent but they Love them a good Wikipedia story and I just love to have my two cents. Today the Indy have a big spread on how Wikipedia is crumbling.

On Obama’s inauguration day senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd had to leave a celebration dinner early. Kennedy left in an ambulance apparently having suffered a stroke, the live updating of stories on Wikipedia which often make it the fastest source for news resulted in premature reports of both senator’s deaths (both are still alive and kicking).

For Jimmy Wales, Mr Wikipedia, that was the last straw and it was time for measures to insure accuracy over accessibility. Basically from now on any editing of a famous person’s entry must be approved by someone higher up in the Wikipedia hierarchy, and they are considering extending it to all entries. Samurai_Pizza_Cats

This type of thing already happens on German Wikipedia and there are delays in updating entries of up to 6 weeks. On top of that it simply isn’t what Wikipedia does. One of the  key ingredients of the site’s success is that I can look up that cartoon no one remembers from when i was a kid and skip over to get a précis of Hobbes’ Leviathan. If I need to wait for someone on the Wikipedia staff to verify and approve an entry on Samurai Pizza cats it will never appear because it simply isn’t worth the time of the people who have to approve it in comparison to resurrecting Ted Kennedy. meanwhile my contract philosophy lecturer is cruising the entry on Thomas Hobbes and notices an error. How does a volunteer housewife in Arizona (because that’s what Wikipedia staff largely are) know whether he is right or wrong.

In order to moderate something the size of Wikipedia you would need an army of academics and even then they’d never be able to approve Samurai Pizza cats. Moderation isn’t needed; corrupt entries get fixed with an average of 3 minutes, physics students i went to Uni with never found a problem with the formulae it contained and it grows quicker than any moderated source possibly could. It’s better to suffer 3 minutes of inaccuracy on 100,000 articles in 100 million than massively restrict the available knowledge base.

I just noticed I’ve been memed by Jed so I’ll get on that soon.