From walking billboards to cybershills?


People routinely wear t-shirts advertising everything and anything from their favorite sporting team to some brand they happen to favor. Just the other night my wife and I had to tell our 14-year-old son that he could not buy the bathing suit with a Corona beer logo.


So I’m not surprised that marketers are drooling over the prospect of using personal pages on social networking sites as advertising platforms to extend brand awareness through peer networks. (You can read about some of these efforts in the MediaPost article that prompted this musing.)


I’d simply be disappointed if people ended up being used without getting some payment and without being aware of their pivotal role and any ethical responsibility that comes from being an influencer. The payment mechanism is essential to creating a platform for the next stage of grassroots media. The ethical side of this is as simple as a clear disclosure.


Will the word of mouth marketers create these mechanisms? Why would they if people are acculturated to wearing advertising slogans on their chests — and paying for that privilege. Perhaps we should just be grateful that marketers aren’t requiring their social networking shills to pay them for the privilege of displaying their logos.


Search tool: Looking for video and images that you can use under a Creative Commons license? Try the new search bar on the home page of SpinXpress, a team of media makers who say they created the tool for their own work. Now they are sharing.


When I visited their site this morning (after being directed there by Unmediated) I noticed that SpinXpress is affilliated with Outhink, Inc., a San Francisco firm that says it provides:

“collaboration tools and training that allow creators to connect with one another and form powerful teams capable of producing professional work . . . (and) . . . generate revenue streams from their accomplishments.” (i.e., a production crew in India, an editor in California and a web designer in Texas)

Wikipedia lists other tools for finding Creative Commons content.


Attempted character assassination: I’ve blogged before about the sad story of one of my former editors, Jerry Roberts, who has been sued for trying to defend the editorial integrity of his staff against the bullying of his former publisher, Wendy McCaw, owner of the daily Santa Barbara News-Press.


For a more objective assessment of that saga read the American Journalism Review article “Santa Barabara Smackdown.”


I am not objective. I believe Jerry and despise what’s her name. The only reason to reprise the topic is that the rich witch of Santa Barbara has once again abused her newspaper to smear Jerry by linking him to images of adult and child pornography that were found on a computer that he and other staffers used.


If you need details on the porn charges and Jerry’s denial, please read a more news-like rendition of this episode in the The Santa Barbara Independent, a weekly paper that has covered this disgusting soap opera.


I don’t need the details because I know the man, and all I want to say today is that I am sending Jerry another small check to support his legal fund — and my only sadness is that I am so broke and busy that I can’t do more.


Here is a link to Jerry’s web site if you want to learn more or make a donation.