Jonathan Salem Baskin

A Case for Social Media

Although AT&T stuffed the announcement of its intention to takeover rival T-Mobile with all of the usual claptrap about improving the service its customers got, it was clear -- like most big ticket financial deals -- that it would most likely only pay rich benefits to the senior execs at both companies and their strategic advisors through layoffs and other "economies of scale."

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Ah Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah!

The public relations industry's trade association is running a campaign to come up with a new definition for PR. I can see the problem, since social media technologies have democratized the tweaking, spinning, and obfuscating of the truth that used to be the exclusive purview of PR professionals. In an age when anyone can be an expert on anything, every opinion is as valid as the next and no fact need go unchallenged, contradicted, or ignored.

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Bright Lights Project - Thanksgiving

As we Americans sit down this evening to a meal purposefully conceived to subsume our every gastronomic need and inhibition, we should take a moment to ponder what has become an empty ceremony.

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Bright Lights Project: Ashton Kutcher

Kutcher, long a pioneer in "celebrity tweeting" and the amasser of 8 million+ Twitter followers, has announced he will no longer type his own messages but rather rely on his PR team to come up with fodder to fill his stream. Social media evangelists are bemoaning the possible end of authentic tweeting because other celebs and brands follow suit.

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Bright Lights Project: Financial Services Brands

I've written before about the reckoning coming once institutions both public and private figure out that the Internet has blown up not just their credibility but their authority to act. It hasn't happened yet, at least not in ways for which we've connected the dots, but I qualify the paralysis in Washington as a serious taste of it, along with the unencumbered activism happening in many state legislatures (which is an example of what happens when institutions no longer represent The People as much as a wacky, imaginary versions of them).

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Bright Lights Project: Better Marketing Decisions

In case you haven't noticed, there's no shortage of creative thinking in the marketing world. We're awash with bold, innovative ideas that scuttle old ways of delivering content, while often times daring the truths that have survived the tests of generations (not to mention defying the laws of accounting and physical cause-and-effect).

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I Hate Your Answering Machine

The Replacements' song is one of the simplest and raw diatribes against technologies that distance people in the name of connecting them. I had two unmusical experiences last week that made me think of it. They were opposites of one another, yet forcefully illustrated the same point.

 

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Bright Lights Project: Microsoft

Microsoft broke its latest ad campaign last Saturday before a football game: "It's a great time to be a family" pushed the company's hardware and software as technologies that bring people together and connect seamlessly.

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The Unwisdom of Crow

Rising costs on everyday necessities, no good job opportunities, and a crushing national debt. Sound familiar? They were the primary triggers for what became the French Revolution.

While the parallels to today’s political experiences (most notably the Tea Party, and now the Occupy Wall Street movement) aren’t direct, both eras of social movements  evidence the consistent unwisdom of crowds.

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Coming Together

America's collective grief over the death of Steve Jobs is entering the next phase of what has become a somewhat common experience of fantasy community that I'm calling a Diana Moment, which goes something like this:

 

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