The Re-Branding of America: Swine Flu, Souter, Spiderwebs, Scratches, Game Sevens – The Week in ‘S’

Soundtrek

Quick in-and-out recap post. The only thing more prevalent this week than the Swine Flu was the letter S …

Starting with — as it was primarily due to — the Swine flu

swine

and followed up by what is actually afflicting half of the reported cases: Sinuses

sinuswine

Amplify: Digital Media Goes Dutch

TK:DC

Amplify: it’s bringing clogs back harder than Birkenstock; this could be the biggest digi-Dutch tandem since cybercafés digitized the coffee shop

amplifycover

Okay, but who are the these amplifiers you might ask …

abamp

That’s all well and good, but what if you’ve got a few questions about exactly what clogging is …whatsaclog

or, you wonder, what with all of the Facebooks, Blogspots, Twitters, and Typepads out there, why clog?

whyclog2

I say with the recession the way it is, ditch the ticket to Amsterdam and head to Amplify for the freshest clogs around.

Tip another one up to Digital Media Integration. Amplify keeps the creative content base of blogs; while adding the incredibly user-friendly clipping tool for seamless organization and clean presentation. What sets clogging apart from blogging, Tweeting, or Facebooking, per se, is Amplify’s core integrated approach; Clogs can stand alone as an introductory foray into blogging for beginners, but can better yet enhance any digital guru’s online presence by pinging Clogs to synced de.li.cio.us, Facebook, RSS feeds, and Twitter accounts. The site is still in the Beta release stage, so it’s as good a time as any to check it out. I’m just getting aquainted myself, but the intuitive layout makes for an easy transition.

Watch this space: Clip, comment, and Clog — it’s that easy. Clogging could be a great digital niche for disaffected former bloggers — the ones for whom the honeymoon with blogging is over, and “updating posts” stays somewhere between ‘fixing the cabinet’ and ‘buying life insurance’ on the “To Should Do List.”  Most noteworthy of all: it’s integrated and independent, comprehensive and concise — and, of course, digital and Dutch … digi-Dutch.

Added bonus: it’s free; so, no worries on splitting the bill

Daily News in the Digital Domain

Uncategorized

Welcome to the corner-wide web

hyperlocal

If your local newspaper shuts down, what will take the place of its coverage? Perhaps a package of information about your neighborhood, or even your block, assembled by a computer.

A number of Web start-up companies are creating so-called hyperlocal news sites that let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, often without involving traditional journalists.

“Hyperlocal” news upstarts present a clear opportunity for a print partnership in the digital sphere. It is a semi-well known fact that most news consumers trust their local news over regional and national outlets. This endeavor shifts that trust — and the trusting readership — online.

However, traditional media continues to interact with new media as a threat and foe — considering content control and regulation in order to leverage lost profits. These next-gen journalists have no qualms about venturing ahead without print.

But many hyperlocal entrepreneurs say they are counting on a proliferation of blogs and small local journalism start-ups to keep providing content.

“In many cities, the local blog scene is so rich and deep that even if a newspaper goes away, there would be still be plenty of stuff for us to publish,” said Mr. Holovaty of EveryBlock.

Watch this space: this is where the seeds of cyber-based news as a signpost medium are being planted … this will set the stage for the transition of traditional media into the digital space — or the end of corporate print-based media as we know it

Easter just got cyber-serious

Uncategorized

You want to go on an Easter Egg Hunt but you don’t want the hassle of getting up? Yeah — that’s lazy. Luckily for you though, you can have your Cadbury and eat it too …

Interactive Easter Egg Hunt via YouTube — but really, you can’t eat the treats

hint: check on the couch

Watch this space: Happy Easter!

Salt Lake City Scavenger Hunt

TK:LA

And a-gain. This time: tweet-for-tix

lilslc

So the Lil one is at it again with the Tweets.

For her U.S. Tour, Lily Allen hosts a treasure hunt at each stop the day of the show via Twitter. A few hours before showtime Lily hides tickets to her gig at various places in each city. She tweets clues about the hiding spot

scav

and waits for the lucky — or logical — follower to “show them what they’ve won!”

Another unparalleled use of the Tweet Machine, count it — it’s twitterific.

watch this space: i told you so. digital pr, i’m telling you: watch this one.

Twitter, you’re a lifesaver! — Literally.

TK:LA

So now it saves lives too …


and that’s why Google and the Times are paranoid

Don’t discount the power of people who follow stars on Twitter.

A woman who used the micro-blogging network to announce her plans to commit suicide by tweeting actress Demi Moore was later found by authorities and taken in for evaluation after followers of the actress reported the incident to police, who said this is an unprecedented use of the network.

Watch this space: especially if you are a paramedic – and as if you’re not already.

(News)paper Chase: From downsizing to digitizing

Uncategorized

The ongoing saga of how to sell the story — resuscitate the ad revenue lifeline for print media — is more often than not becoming the story itself.

NYTMADS
While the newsprint and newsroom personnel downsize …

“In 2009 and 2010, all the two-newspaper markets will become one-newspaper markets, and you will start to see one-newspaper markets become no-newspaper markets,” said Mike Simonton, a senior director at Fitch Ratings, who analyzes the industry.

[…]

Nearly every large paper in the country prints fewer pages and fewer articles, and many have eliminated entire sections. Bureaus in foreign capitals and even Washington have closed, and papers have jettisoned film criticism, book reviews and coverage of local news outside their home markets.

[…]

The steady trickle of downsizing that sapped American papers for almost a decade has become a flood in the last few years. The Los Angeles Times still has one of the largest news staffs in the country, about 600 people, but it was twice as big in the late 1990s. The Washington Post had a newsroom of more than 900 six years ago, and has fewer than 700 now. The Gannett Company, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, eliminated more than 8,300 jobs in 2007 and 2008, or 22 percent of the total.

online expansion is a window of opportunity for companies looking to transition in the technological age – to adjust and adapt to, instead of avoid, the digital domain …

 

The death of a newspaper should result in an explosion of much smaller news sources online, producing at least as much coverage as the paper did, says Jeff Jarvis, director of interactive journalism at the City University of New York’s graduate journalism school. Those sources might be less polished, Mr. Jarvis said, but they would be competitive, ending the monopolies many newspapers have long enjoyed.

though it may not be greeted with the warmest welcome …

Many critics and competitors of newspapers — including online start-ups that have been hailed as the future of journalism — say that no one should welcome their demise.

“It would be a terrible thing for any city for the dominant paper to go under, because that’s who does the bulk of the serious reporting,” said Joel Kramer, former editor and publisher of The Star Tribune and now the editor and chief executive of MinnPost .com, an online news organization in Minneapolis.

“Places like us would spring up,” he said, “but they wouldn’t be nearly as big. We can tweak the papers and compete with them, but we can’t replace them.”

 

the transition is seen as an inevitability

A number of money-losing papers should “have the guts to shut down print and go online,” he said. “It will have to be a much smaller product, but that’s where we’re headed anyway.”

Industry executives who once scoffed at the idea of an Internet-only product now concede that they are probably headed in that direction, but the consensus is that newspapers going all digital would become drastically smaller news sources for the foreseeable future.

Again, the print media needs to break down the barriers between itself and online news media. Print needs to start from the ground up in the digital sphere, and that begins with interacting with online journalists — and yes, bloggers — to get acclimated to the new world of online news journalism.

Even Howard Zinn can attest to early Pilgrims’ alliance with Natives in the U.S. That collaboration was integral to the settlers survival — much like an alliance on behalf of the print media with the online news media community is integral to the newspaper’s survival.

Naturally, as the settlers gained manpower, capital, a manifesto, and regained enough sanity to remember why they ventured here in the first place, they went from friends to forefathers of a new nation built on the backs of Nativ– I mean morals and ideals of true Patriots. I see print doing the same; I see print’s future relying on a collaboration with bloggers, online journalists, etc., to gain the basic grasp of this new medium. More importantly, I see that as the “cut losses” in time and revenue before rebranding and rebuilding the corporate print news empire online.

Print media needs to start from the ground up. Many companies — obviously the increasingly paranoid, but rightfully so, New York Times — take the fear-of-the-unknown route and choose to valiantly play on the sinking ship. There’s nothing wrong with humbling yourself and starting from square one; for the print media, they’ve got nothing — and so nothing to lose.

NYTBDBD
Watch this space: especially you advertisers, it’s for sale — still

Call me Casper the Friendly Ghost-Tweeter

TK:LA

I could say it better myself — but not just yet

What’s the solution? These people all need professional help. But since they’re unlikely to spend the time they need on the psychiatrist’s couch, they’ll doubtless end up hiring assistants adept in social media. Ghostwritten Twitters are the hot new Hollywood must-have.

Every tweet will be media-coached. Every blog will be relentlessly edited — and then have typos inserted for authenticity. (Is that why someone pretending to be Rachael Ray consistently misspelled the cooking-show personality’s name on a Yahoo blog?) The kids who are pretending to be celebrities on Twitter today will no doubt get paid to do it in the future.

Watch this space: never underestimate the substance beneath the stylish smoke and mirrors, there’s jobs to be saved – and plenty more to be made – in this digital age …

Distriction: Springing back from cy-bernating slumber

TK:DC

This weekend welcomed the Cherry Blossom Festival, DC’s cultural introduction to Spring — and the perfect way to wake from a late winter hibernation from the digital domain.


A brief greeting after my semi-extended stint away from the blogosphere. I took some time to rest and refuel my creative reserves — similar to a bear’s hibernation for the digital age, more tech and less time.


So, I’m back now: like Bipartisanship a la Britney

black

babies …


Bush (W.)a la Barack


the sound of dot-com bubbles bursting …


and dot-com bubbles broadening …

Scientology a la Palin‘s people …


bracketology


and those beautiful cherry blossoms.


A week (end) in review — in case you missed it

The Quarter: Title Mag

TK:LA

The kid’s alright … Title Magazine Editor-in-Chief Catherine Bui stopped by the Motel to let us in on her latest work:


The Quarter is a fourth of a dollar and the Fourth Estate went from promoting public opinion to profiting the private sector – but a quarter is still a fourth and it’s always a pleasant surprise to see the vanity press resurfacing. Now, the point, over at MdM a visitor sent a link to their magazine – and I had to pass it along. So, here is an introduction to Title Magazine

At it’s core, Title Magazine is an independent culture magazine on the upstart. For it’s first issue, I was blown away at the clean design, and diversity of artwork and editorials. If only I had this kind of get-up-and-go as a teenager – or a young adult at that.

Catherine Bui has her finger on the pulse. For a junior in high school this is an excellent example of how to present oneself as an asset to the cultural online media community. Title is a portfolio of visual and editorial pieces. Moreover, it displays a strong grasp of the digital sphere to produce an original online magazine of this caliber. Beyond the personal positioning though, Title is just a great publication for the culture and arts crowds.


I anticipate great things from Catherine & Co. A personal favorite within the inaugural issue was this foray into “Underexposed Photographer,” Nick Asokan‘s work.


In my day, we had school newspapers; obviously, times have changed. It’s great to see pockets of passion within the next generation of journalists and future media figures.


Title Magazine is an example of positive perpetuation: Bui’s initiative is the kind that makes you, too, want to “Follow your dream.”


Watch this space

Tweeting Made Easy: We Follow

TK:LA

Per T.I.’s suggestion: “They don’t know which way to go/I’ll make it easy follow me.” Twitter launched a site rendering “I have a Twitter, but I don’t know what to do with it now that I’m there,” a thing of the past. We follow is a “user powered Twitter directory,” — a Twitter search engine, of sorts, using hashtags as keywords to find and follow fellow Tweeters of a feather.

To add yourself to the directory enable/follow @hashtags, then tweet @wefollow three 1 word tags that describe you/your twitter page (i.e. @wefollow #blogger #music #dc) … it’s just that easy!


Obviously the big tags at the mo are (in very particular order) celebrity, music, tech, news — and yes this is an apt reflection on priorities within the Twitter community.

After a winded round-the-world “Twitter is no threat to G” lecture series, Google is resting its voice and opting to Tweet instead of talk for the time being … If you can’t beat em, define yourself in three tags or less and enter the directory like everyone else …


Speaking of Twitter — which is becoming the modern day equivalent of “How’s the weather?” — I’ll make it easy … for you to follow me.

Watch this space: Old man Google’s Tweets are speaking louder than his words — for Twitter to be such a non-threat, We Follow got the leader to G Follow pretty quickly

"Anti-Journalism" 101

TK:LA

Journalists need the work, educators need the break, and students need the media literacy training.

AJ101

Educators have been teaching students how to read and write what is printed for centuries. Now, in a time of unparalleled transition, ex-journalists are re-entering the classroom to teach students how to read what is in between the print — and in between the blurred lines of news/entertainment. News literacy is increasingly important in social and personal development – with more time being spent in front of a television or computer screen over textbooks. Where “the media” is replacing teachers, textbooks, and tutors; former media professionals are becoming teachers and tutors, explaining how to decipher through the tech-books of mainstream news/entertainment.

Some say we are drowning in information and starving for knowledge — I concur. However, initiatives like this one at Stony Brook set blueprints for a new media that aims to inform — not inundate.

Watch this space: more to come …

iDaft.com: MCPD 1000 – Music Production 2.0 (Sampling Methods)

Soundtrek

Kanye University is hoping to rise through the U.S. News & World Report “Liberal Arts” college rankings by introducing an entree of innovative courses over the next few semesters. The first of which — Music Production 2.0 (Sampling Methods) — takes a hands-on approach to teaching its students the art of sampling, in a way only Kan the Louis Vuitton Don could.


Using iDaft, professors literally put the power of production right in the palms of their pupils.

Students mix, mash, chop, screw, smother, scatter, and cover vocal stems from Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. The end result could be something completely — kind of — original or just a tweak of Kanye’s stab at the electro-classic.

Word around the rumor mill is that the scholar assembling the best product gets contracted for an official remix on Ye’s next album: Twelfth of Nevuary. But wait there’s more! — Because the rumor mill never stops churning — some would-slash-have say-slash-said next semester’s course will be more streamlined, some might say … Aerodynamic?

The good news is you don’t have to be enrolled in KU to take advantage of the learning tools. You too can be a Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger uberproducer — which is the rough equivalent to “half-as-good-as-Kanye-thinks-he-is” or “twice-as-good-as-people-give-him-credit-for.”

Kanye University is accepting applications for the Fall 2009 semester on a rolling deadline. So take your time, prep your portfolio, and drive slow.

Watch This Space: ThruYOU

Soundtrek

Just when you thought it was safe to come out again … Kutiman killed the lights


ThruYOU is a brilliant site that takes mixtapes to the tube. YouTube + DatPiff + Grit+ Girl Talk + je ne sais quoi + Kutiman = ThruYOU.

What you are about to see is a mix of unrelated YouTube videos/clips edited together to create ThruYou. In other words — what you see is what you hear.

For instance …

Watch This Space …

The Re-Branding of America: Even the paperboy retires at some point …

TK:LA

Beyond the sarcasm, cynicism, and spin, past the pseudo-pretentious theory on the endless possibilities of the digital age — every new beginning is some beginning’s end.

Over the last few weeks, the newspaper industry has entered a new period of decline. The parent of the papers in Philadelphia declared bankruptcy as did the Journal Register chain. The Rocky Mountain News closed and the Seattle Post Intelligencer, owned by Hearst, will almost certainly close or only publish online. Hearst has said it will also close The San Francisco Chronicle if it cannot make massive cuts at the paper. The most recent rumor is that the company will fire half of the editorial staff. That action still may not be enough to make the property profitable.

The Re-Branding of America: Mr. Twitter goes a-courtin’

TK:DC

“@twittybird ugh so bored. in the #jury assembly. taking 4. e. ver. free lunch can’t complain. keep u postd soon. pics: http://tinyurl …”

yes. twitter in the courtroom.


@TruTV. Sentencing in 140 Characters or less. Verdict via TwitterBerry … it could happen

The British Sublet: Stem Cell Bans and Bands Selling Stems

Soundtrek, TK:DC

Again with the British-American tandem … Spring theme-du-jour: stems. While an American politician lifts the federal funding ban on stem cell research — to build a legion of South Park-esque Supermen no doubt — a British pop powerhouse builds a legion of super-producers. Thanks to stems you can be a superhero and a super producer … all in one!

On our coast this weekend, Barack Obama planned a much needed lift on the stem-cell research federal funding ban — per Peter Griffin’s inquiry of “Why aren’t we funding this?!” no doubt.


On the other side of the pond, lil’ Miss Lily Rose lifted the Oz/ProTools curtain and tucked an 80-track surprise in each hard copy and iTunes version of her album “It’s Not Me It’s You.” Anyone who uploads their legal copy of the album gets each track stem from the release.

I finally mustered up the civility to get my hands on a hard copy of INMIY – solely because of the stems – and it was worth every penny. Now, I’m finding it hard to break away from remixing Everyone’s At It, revamping the drums on Chinese, or seeing how Back to the Start would sound if I dropped the vocoder. But the fun doesn’t end with vanity listening sessions amongst you and your closest pal, remixers are encouraged to upload their exclusives for peer and label review … so get on the 1s & 2s, start scratching away, and you’ll be a Hollywood Kid in no time!

Stems are this girl’s new best friend.

Oh, and it’s not a British Invasion this time … it’s more of a sublet until things get back to normal

Watch this space

Too early for questions? "Let me Google that for you"

TK:LA

No pretense needed here, it’s self-explanatory — but if not, feel free to let me Google that for you … Okay, some sarcastic pretense

How did this come about and why? you ask. I can’t say I kno– oh, figures, them. No wonder everyone’s all paranoid about Twitter, they’re like what the intranet library database was to the Dewey Decmial System.

I bet Google nightmares in 140 characters or less… Watch this space, Google and traditional media loyalists (not the Tweeting sellouts) might get “Godfather” on Twitter — then who’s calling Burson

Watch this space

I’ll gladly print you Tuesday for a lead today

TK:LA

A daily dose of People Helping People — though I’m pretty sure the Circus sneak peek was enough good karma to last me through the week. Three times a day I get HARO queries, where Peter Shankman looks to link journalists with sources. As an intern I haven’t technically answered any of the queries but … I’m working on it. After all, “everyone’s an expert at something” — but no one’s an expert at everything, so everyone needs expertise. Now if only we could somehow connect said experts and those in need… enter Peter Shankman.

Each day, you’ll receive up to three emails, each with anywhere from 15-30 queries per email. They’ll all be labeled with [shankman.com] in the subject line, for easy filtering. If you see a query you can answer, go for it! HelpAReporterOut.com really is that simple.

I built this list because a lot of my friends are reporters, and they call me all the time for sources. Rather than go through my contact lists each time, I figured I could push the requests out to people who actually have something to say.

So a few things about this list: First off, yes, it’s free.

There’s more, but usually “First off, yes, it’s free,” is the selling point …

The Re-Branding of America: Twitter’s Got Me Tweakin’!

Vinyl Mind Flow

March 3, 2009

Oh New York Times … Twitter is the new gateway drug (Sorry Marijuana, your shot at love has ended). The ‘War on Drugs’ is so 20th century. Everything went cyber with the new millennium –– now it’s the “War on Social Medi-cin-a” (but you can call it the ‘If print parallels digital media to narcotics while we’re still ‘legitimate’ will you start buying newspapers again?’ War)


It’s not Twitter that’s the problem, nor is it Facebook, or MySpace –– well, I’ll let Chris Hansen field that –– and the problem isn’t Twitterers, or celebrities –– per se. The problem is that the Fourth Estate is back in the hands of the ‘everyman.’

PR Sidenote: I do love, though, how the Times focused the ‘drug problem’ solely on TV anchors –– because it’s not the Twittering Times readers that are addicted –––– it’s only those Tweeting pompous celebrities and pretty people, always about ‘me, me, me’ that need to be muted. It’s not like David Gregory or Demi Moore can be narcissistic without Twitter –– what? It’s not like they’re on tv for a living or anything. Common people have the luxury of millions of non-digital avenues to get their word out, like “Letters to the Editor,” that celebrities/journalists just don’t enjoy. Twitter is yet another way the liberal elite is holding the little guy down … (Lesson: Never fault the constituency, even when you are faulting the constituency.)

The media has more mileage on its laurels than Forrest Gump had on his tennis shoes –– and the biggest threat to the role of traditional media as the apex of ‘legitimate communication’ is the uninhibited digital domain playing soapbox for ‘common nobodies.’

The Times tweets. The Times tweets more than birds do. I get device updates sending NYT headlines to my cell phone … every. ten. minutes. Just now. Just now I get a text “nytimes: Bits: U.N. Says U.S. Internet and Telecoms Lags” So the Times isn’t opposed to Twitter and social media, the Times is opposed to having to share the Marketplace again –– with you; the same you who didn’t get their op-ed published in the New York Times can now Tweet the link to their Open Salon page and have the same –– if not greater –– effect.

Watch this space. Ten years from now we’ll have a VH1 RocDoc tracing the history of America through the impact of modern media –– no, not The Drug Years –– rather The Mediated Millennium .

Hyping Hypem

TK:DC

Brilliant Music Blog Aggregate.

“The Hype Machine follows music blog discussions. Every day, thousands of people write about the music they love — and it all ends up here.”

Hypem is one of the cleanest, most user-friendly music sites on the internet. It is an aggregate/search engine for mp3s. Only tracks that have been posted by one of the site’s menu of music blogs — ranging from major pages like Brooklyn Vegan, Stereogum, and Pretty Much Amazing, to the litany of smaller niche-blogs (i.e. Motel de Moka) — are posted. Hypem is a mix of search engine, social network, music player, with a dash of ‘Sound of the Underground.’

Users can create accounts and track their ‘Favorites’ — blogs, songs, other users, etc. The site has a built-in music player that sits across the base of the screen and is user-generated running playlist. So you have the luxury of actually hearing a song before you fully commit to downloading it. The search results include the song, artist, date, summary of, and link to the original blog post.

Other user-friendly features/filters: the “all blogs/top 25 music blogs” search filter. It’s great to have options, but sometimes you just want to know what the kids are listening to, and what bubblegum they’re chewing; the ‘most blogged artists’ sidebar on the home page; the ‘most plays’/’most favorites’ tab which tracks the most popular hypem tracks, but drops songs over 3 days old to maintain freshness; built in ‘world live web radio’ feature: enough said.

It’s fun, fresh, and free — which is even more fiscally responsible than cheap.

Watch this space.

The Re-Branding of Pop Music: The Lily Prototype

TK:DC

Chris Abraham’s sage advice on PR in the digital age prompted one key question: What is the prototype/blueprint for Digital PR? Essentially, who is doing it right and how are they getting it done? As a Public Comm/Sociology student and a twenty-something “Millennial” I would say Lily Allen, hands down. As the Wordsworth of the MySpace Generation, Lily is the very voice of the tomorrow’s Power 150 — today!


Lily Allen is a digital phenomenon. She propelled herself into a full-fledged entertainment career simply by utilizing the low risk/high reward method of uploading rough demo tracks on MySpace. After millions of listens, Allen was signed to Parlophone Records and so began the modern pop tale. Her original investment was digital, but the eventual outcome was very real. After selling 2.5 million copies of her album, getting a Grammy nomination, starting a clothing line, having David Cameron hand deliver her first album to President Obama, and hosting her own BBC3 talk show, among other endeavors, Allen returns to the music scene with a sophomore album, It’s Not Me, It’s You.

This career that began in the depths of cyberspace, that has seen such successes both on and offline serves as an ideal case study for the future of digital branding and audience analysis/targeting. Lily in and of herself is a blueprint for digital strategy.

Lily is a demographic. She is a self-proclaimed non-careerist. Lily treats music as a hobby, she spends more time and effort on connecting with her fanbase than she does in the studio – more time in ‘the sphere’ than ‘on stage.’ That is digital PR. Allen created a career around communication and connection: music is the front, it is a mask funding the machine. Lily Allen is the new face of an entity in a digital realm. She is fully integrated. As an individual Allen has moved from following technology trends to setting them. From MySpace she created a digital empire. Her genius lies in her steady constant progress. When MySpace lost stake in the mainstream, Lily moved to Twitter – where she now has well over 45,000 followers after two weeks. The hype is simple: she tweets regularly and responds to her fans. Her new album set the record for single-week digital sales – probably due to the fact she had free YouTube “Official Listening Posts” for each track. In the midst of a failing ‘traditional’ music industry, Lily is moving forward on the ‘progressive’ front. She worked with Amazon.com to sell her album for $3.99 during the opening week. Hard albums don’t sell anymore. She cut her losses and focused on the digital domain, which is how she set the digital sales record, in her first week no less.

While Lily may be a blueprint, she is also a demographic. Furthermore, she represents most individuals within the young digital demographic. So it is important to scope outwards and look at two examples of how to best relate with the increasingly influential Lily and Co.

Rolling Stone knows Lily, “Lily Allen is not just a pop star. She’s a genre.” Allen is young, urban, unaffected, hip, socially-engaged, tech-savvy, and pseudo-political. Lily Allen is the Obama ilk of young culture. With RS’ introduction to her album review they no longer reviewed Allen’s album, they reviewed her – and her demographic. They go on to sneer at she who “decides that she is a ‘social critic,’ a job she lacks the insight and the maturity to pull off,” and conclude that Allen is best when she ‘drops the state-of-the-nation pretensions.’ But, why? Obviously, they aimed to cement themselves as the apex of a dying medium — print publication — which is becoming increasingly outdated. RS 1.) voluntarily identifies a modern iconography –- of a key demographic no less –- before 2.) taking the McCain stance on inexperience and immaturity. The target readers of this review are socially and politically engaged, and likely within the same age range as Lily. When RS introduces Lily as ‘not just a pop star, but a genre,’ everything on from that point reflects ‘the genre.’ RS didn’t downplay a pop star’s social voice, they downplayed her demographic’s social significance. No wonder RS’ pages are shrinking — almost as fast as their young readership. While Rolling Stone gathered moss dwelling on Allen’s shortcomings, MTV made moves. Where Rolling Stone saw flaws, MTV saw a future.

MTV wrote on Allen as the most interesting pop star ever created. They call Allen’s new album “the most human pop album ever created.” Here MTV sees Allen as the closest link between celebrity and follower. MTV praises Allen for not being a pop star. This is brilliant because it is MTV saying “You like Lily Allen because she is like you. We like Lily Allen because she is like you. We like you.” MTV illustrates Allen as any other human being. She blogs about her problems. She deals in the gray area – all the time. Allen is insecure, but cocky. She is vulnerable, but unaffected. She just wants to settle down, but hates clingers. She’s political, but slags politicians. Everything is subjective. She is this generation, very, “I’m around enough to get around. I care enough to be cynical but not apathetic. It’s my life, take it or leave it — please?” Like she said in “Everyone’s At It,” “I get involved but I’m not advocating. You’ve got an opinion, yeah, you’re well up for slating.” MTV builds a pop star like the readers, and wins across the board: Lily gets fans. MTV viewers get someone ‘just like them’ in the public sphere. MTV gets cool points and a ride on Lily’s digital coattails.

Lily Allen is like a new
Edie Sedgwick. She’s got undeniable hype, but it’s hard for many to look past the style to the zeitgeist’s core substance. However, just like Edie, Lily holds more than a generation’s attention — she embodies their essence. There are world citizens like Bono and Barack. There are young role models like the Simmons daughters. There are celebutantes like Olivia Palermo and Kim Kardashian. There are the pop figures the masses want to be like, and then there are the pop figures who the masses actually are — and when the latter comes to fruition it makes targeting and messaging that much easier and effective. Edie to most is nothing more than a cautionary tale of modern celebrity, assumed hedonism, style over substance, and pop over purpose; however, this is the same girl who launched the legging revolution –– and a nation no less –– just by being the extraordinary ordinary one. The most innovative trends aren’t always earth-shatteringly complex — they are often just earth-shatteringly accessible and common. Lily is the new extraordinary ordinary one, and the savvy PR professional will note her trivialities — because those are the future trends; where Bob the businessman saw “leggings?” Betsey Johnson saw “leggings!”

Lily Allen is the prototype for digital PR because she is not a musician utilizing the online industry; she is the prototype because she is a member of the digital demographic who happens to make music people like, but more so because she is a person people like. Lily embodies the fundamental feat of the digital sphere – one that Rolling Stone assumed a flaw – to be human, to authentically reflect – and connect with – the audience you want to target. The more things change the more they stay the same. Even in the digital age, people like communicating with people, not products, or personas.

Lily Allen. Watch this space. She’s the ‘Girl on Fire’ — wire.

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