Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Paul Keating: Does Anyone Cast A Longer Shadow over National Public Affairs?

Does anyone cast as long a shadow over national public affairs as Paul Keating?

I think the answer is: No. Certainly no former politician, at the very least.

Nobody has greater political and commentariat star-power; nobody has the ability to make such a wide range of people stop what they're doing, look up and take notice; nobody gets the chattering classes chattering at such speeds and volume; and nobody, it appears, commands such adulation from some journalists for his colourfully descriptive turn of phrase as the former Prime Minister, Treasurer and Member for Blaxland, Paul Keating.

And this incredible resonance in the public discourse, decades after leaving the national stage, was there for all to see in the social media world yesterday.

The build-up of expectations on Twitter, prior to Keating's appearance on ABC's 730 show last night, was something to behold.

Regular correspondents tweeted breathlessly about the upcoming interview, Keathing's continued love of fashion, blithe references to clocks and Mahler, some with hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute countdowns, some even using a postscript hashtag of #squeeeee (!) to underline their excitement. It was an extraordinary cacophony of utterances from a bazaar of sycophants and acolytes; followed blow-for-blow by some equally colourful Keating-dislikers and tweeters with a keen sense of history and an unmuddled rear-vison mirror.

In fact, it pretty much cut short and part-buried another big story around at the time: Ricky Ponting's resignation as Australia's Test and one-day cricket captain.

And then there was the flurry of faithfully-transcribed tweets of the interview itself.

When the much-attended-on Devastating Keating One-Liners finally arrived - "those dead men and women hanging around your neck" the "sicko populism" "jumping on and off buses and trains as transport minister doesn't give you the authority to lead the party" "it'll be like lead weight in the saddle bag, that's all" etc etc - these were recycled all through the night and dominated today's headlines.

Usually there is something of an arm's length relationship with these sorts of figures. In terms of ex-Prime Ministers: it's all a bit still too raw for the public with Howard; Fraser has an odd public persona these days; Hawke is almost a caricature of his former self.

But not PJK.

The love affair with the Australian political class endures, even after all these years. And channels like Twitter continue to give it a monster run.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Autumn in Hobart

We've had a little bit of windy, rainy weather over the last couple of days in Hobart and it's forecsat to get uglier over the rest of the week.

I managed to snap some autumn colours at my Mum and Dad's place the other day. The fiery reds and oranges in the leaves on the lawn took my breath away.

7 Levels of social media engagement (Laurel Papworth)

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Marcus Evans Social Media conference #MESM11 in Sydney.
One of the presenters at #MESM11 was Laurel Papworth, regular tweeters would know her as #SilkCharm - Laurel has been teaching social media for the last five years and was a very engaging presenter.

One of her recent blog posts about corporate social media engagement looks at the various approaches from corporates to the use of social media in the business - all the way from ignoring it completely to deep collaborative models.

The blog post has a fascinating series of comments and analysis (more than 170 posts when I looked - lots of retweets but some great comments as well) from a broad range of people involved in this space. Talk about user-generated content!

It's a great discussion; a good place to start if you're looking for some "traditional theory" about social media from a corporate perspective, as well as a highly engaged conversation about Laurel's approach from bloggers, other commentators and practitioners.

(via @kristinalford and her retweet as well)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patrick's Day 2011: remembering Ireland

In the middle of 2008, we took the trip of our lifetimes (so far) and went to the UK, Paris; and Singapore on the way home.

After ten days in England, driving the most magnificent car I had driven to that point (a hire/drive Audi A4 turbo diesel), we flew from Teeside to Shannon, in the Republic of Ireland (Eire).

We spent the next five days driving around Ireland (in a diesel Mondeo this time, also nice). It was hard not to feel like we were in Tassie at times; there were many similarities in the surroundings.

Ireland is renowned for its rainy-ness; everywhere we went, when in conversation about our Irish leg, people would invariably say things like: "ohhh, I bet the weather wasn't that good." etc.
And it wasn't, for at least a couple of the days when we had left Dublin's fair city and were out in the country, touring the legendary beauty of those fair hills and vales.
It rained a lot on one or two of those days. It was quite fine and mild on others. Very Tasmanian, in fact.

Notwithstanding the precipitation, I managed to capture some of that beauty and, on St Patrick's Day this year, am posting a few shots bringing back some lovely memories of a wonderful countryside.

Dublin: Georgian terrace doors

Dublin: River Liffey and Ha'penny Bridge

Dublin: Molly Malone "Singin' cockles and mussels - alive, alive-oh!"

Dublin: Georgian terraces

Wrought-iron gates, rain clearing: County Enniss

Black-faced sheep everywhere: roadside, Kerry mountains

Seaside cottage: Ring of Kerry

Coastline: Ring of Kerry

Reflections in a tarn: Ring of Kerry

The view from the steps of Muckross House, Killarney National Park

Muckross House, Killarney National Park

Mossy oak tree, Killarney

Maze Gardens at Muckross House

Stone bridge over a fine fly-fishing river, County Clare (couldn't help but see the bridge at Richmond or Ross, Tasmania...)

Loch Leane - Ring of Kerry

Cows grazing by the side of the road in the Kerry mountains

The awesome natural beauty of the Cliffs of Moher

Castle ruins by the cliffs' edge at Moher

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Telegraph pole, King Street Newtown

I was over in Sydney for the Marcus Evans Social Media conference #mesm11 and had a lovely meal out in Newtown at Thai Pothong with some colleagues.
King Street is such a busy little arterial through-way, with fascinating old and new world artefacts.