Red Cordial Catharsis

After what I would say has been an interesting week, I spent my holiday on Thursday writing the below notes. These notes were the base script for the #understil episode broadcast on Thursday night. Sadly, due to a combination of weirdness and user error, the last half was not recorded. Therefore, please review the notes.

I use Google Docs to store the script so I can share with Dekrazee1 (the show’s Meta-Backchannel producer) and potential guests.

The bolding of text assists me in reading whilst on screen, and where the key points are. Usually, I attempt to flow the words through a river of conversation.

Thanks to Stilgherrian, Cameron Reilly, Bronwen Clune, Mark Newton, Leslie Nassar and Avril Hodge for the crafting of this show. Yes, I did mis-pronounce Anarcho-syd… whatever, and some other words too. I blame my country school english.

A shout out to Jeff Sandquist, Frank Arrigo, Mike Seyfang.

And a thanks to Mark Pesce for speaking inspiration.

Sorry there were no kittehs!

Responses  to the IRC Chat

  • People commented I was “selling” or “shilling” Microsoft. Yes, and that is the point made later. There is no avoiding it for employees involved in social media due to Maslowian pyramidical juxtapositioning.
  • Apple vs Microsoft. If you read Cluetrain, it predicts the doom of companies that “don’t get it” (albeit it in the latter points, which many people don’t read) I had framed this whole show on People Oriented Social Media; and in that context, why is Apple successful vs. Microsoft. It answer is no means simple. And really a them vs. us conversation is not correct. It is about products and perceptions of Microsoft. The problem is Microsoft’s to solve; and I am a small part of this long term change.
    • The (first part) of the Episode

  1. [at 8:40pm] Red Cordial Catharsis
    1. This show is going to more personal than the last show. This is all about me. And Social Media
      1. which launches me like a North Korean ICBM/Satellite into the same stratosphere of @stilgherrian and @cameronreilly
    2. The question for Social Media: is this about my employer? when on social media, how much of your employer’s kool aid are you shilling?
    3. Red Cordial & Lemonade.
      1. History.
      2. Link to red cordial and “hyperactivity” more by association rather than specific cause/effect
      3. Red Cordial hyperconnectivity
    4. Catharsis; from the greek to cleanse/purify/clarify
    5. tonights show is “Red Cordial Catharsis”
    6. This tweet, 7th April: NickHodge: @gedulous when I was at Apple, we had to drink Kool Aid. At Microsoft, we drink Red Cordial. They have different effects.
      1. ‘drinking the kool aide’ comes from the 1978 Jonestown massacre in Guyana where 918 people died drinking cyanide; valium; phenergan mixed in with flavor aid. Jim Jones, cult leader; Jonestown benevolent communist community. Apostolic Socialism (@cameronreilly?). Blindly following an authority to the bitter end.
      2. This is *not* a positive brand connection for a Microsoft employee to make, even based on personal experience.
      3. incorrectly found and quoted; this and many other tweets, blog comments, flickr images, vodcasts and podcasts cross the line. What line?
    7. “To a Social Media Practioner”
        1. That post may have been wrong. It is time to speak up
        2. what prompted this post?
        3. what did I mean: the professionalisation/businessification/amwayification of social media in marketing and PR
        4. I didnt and dont want to become one of the Social Media formulaic shysters
        5. I use it to connect to people. Friends, associates, family, work
    8. (quote from social media bible #1: Cluetrain Manifesto. Markets are Conversations)
      1. The first of the 95 Theses: People
        1. Defining conversational mechanism, immediacy (vod, pod & twitter)
        2. Blogging: publishing; vod+pod casting
        3. All have feedback mechanisms, different latencies
    9. I am very much a personal brand-ist social media type
      1. People Oriented Social Media
      2. Not a technologist, nor a #fister, nor viral sock puppet
      3. people, first and foremost. see, feel and touch people. Responding human face.
      4. I am a cluetrainer, with a healthy level of pragmatism
      5. Companies are centuries-old legal constructs; to change this we must change deeps parts of our existing system: beyond the scope of tonight’s show. Pragmatism
      6. first registered in Nov 2000, on the net since late 1996
        1. Personal Branding is the first and only parachute for worker-droids. Was once called your “name” or “reputation”
      7. not @mpesce MSM (TV/radio) hog, spoke to 10,000’s people per year
    10. Clarify my position statement: Microsoft is a surprisingly great employer
      1. Many years ago, I never envisaged working for Microsoft.
      2. I made a considered choice to work for Microsoft. I can see how I am a small cog of a big change.
      3. Perspective: being paid 50% of what I once earned as a sales-pointy-haired-manager-droid. I sold my soul more to be a sales droid than at Microsoft.
      4. interview loop: Frank Arrigo and Jeff Sanquist (2005 Channel 9, Robert Scoble’s boss, dealt with the fallout) “sold me on the new msft
      5. Really, really like to thank Mike Seyfang @fang really put me on the Cluetrain road
        1. Homework: Apple. Cluetrain or not? Are their products their only voice? My contention is that they fail this test: yet are highly successful.
        2. vs. Microsoft, “high cluetrain IQ mark” since 2004, high share-of-voice; the market contention not as successful. WTF?
      6. Built audience of >750K touches per year.
      7. Did some pretty non-MSFT random things (eg: interview danah boyd)
      8. Twitter: now at nearly 2500 followers.
      9. Comparing to other organisations, surprising free/liberal
    11. Compliance with the Blog Smart Policy (and other companies have similar)
      1. #1 – Be Smart
    12. For those of us in Person-orient Social Media Front, where is that line between an individual and their company? Does there need to be the question. Is there any answer?
      1. “out of hours in personal time” you would expect your employer not to sit on my shoulder when I vote, act on my personal morals, how I live my left, the choices I make, where I live, products I buy, food I eat.
      2. Works is where I choose work. They choose to employ me for my skills and experience. This is the basis of the employment contract: my time, their money; and their rules on their time.
      3. Not everything MSFT does, nor has done do I necessarily understand nor agree with.
        1. Zune. sw/service good (in US) ; but as a strategy WTF?
        2. Xbox when losing money. WTF?
        3. Why did we functionally stabilize
        4. I contend that no employee would 100% agree with everything. It is impossible
        5. I like google search, email and reader. I like my Mac.
        6. Transparency and honest expectation expects me to call it as it is.
      4. However, this is merely my perspective. I don’t know and see all. No one can. Not even a CEO.
      5. In the hiring process, you get “culturally” assessed and screened by HR and hiring manager
        1. Usually, will this person fit into team
        2. A public face, is also “can this person represent my organisation?”
        3. Aim is to obtain an employee who fits into the org.
      6. My contract says “9:00am to 5:30pm” … and compliance with the codes of conduct, confidentiality, ethics, business conduct — and laws of AU and US.
        1. and contract says “other duties as assigned”
        2. pure 9-5 in social media doesn’t work
        3. even less so than plausibly deniable proverbial weekend bbq
        4. having two personas: work name and personal name: doesn’t work. It smells of fakery
      7. “Public face” of MSFT in the social community means anything I say, is there forever and can be quoted. maliciously
        1. Paid for: media interviews, demos, presentations, dealing with customers
      8. Benefit of “working for yourself”
      10. Self-managed individual labour
      11. But, you are many times working for a larger entity. Their money, their rules.
    13. For me, today was a formal leave day. I submitted the appropriate electronic forms, memo + coversheet; had it signed off and everything is kosher.
      1. how would you know that?
      2. Am I now speaking on behalf of my employer or myself?
      3. why would you need to know that?
      4. did that stop me doing work, anyway? (ASP.NET MVC assistance twitter, 22 work emails)
        1. says more about me than anything 🙂
        2. i like to help people and I care about how people’s use msft’s products
        3. to a greater extent, I really worry about what people think of me
    14. As Social media “face” are you “on” 100%
      1. Before, this were CEOs and execs with long PR training and a cadre of PR people
      2. Through MSM, carefully crafted. Risk/reward for this representation.
      3. Company SM types minor Internet Celebs
      4. The Social media paparazzi is here: Valleywag, and others
      5. Quotes like above will come back to haunt you, like naked pictures on Facebook
      6. Even things afterhours that are legal.
      7. swearing? professing your dislike of football? does this cross the line? do people have impressions of Microsoft? do they build up?
    15. Let’s revisit point 94 of the 95 theses:
      1. To traditional corporations, networked conversations may appear confused, may sound confusing.
      2. My contention is that “to the social community, in a ‘the market is a conversation’, the conversations from a corporate may appear and sound confusing
        1. comes from 100% on, expectation of transparency, having a human voice and being real.
      3. A corporation is not, nor ever, of one mind
        1. In the Borg’d-hive mind, there are many, conflicting voices.
      4. The risk is that now the voices are amplified and radiated by @mpesce’s Hyperconnectivity

  1. [at 9:04] The People Oriented Social Media Contract
    1. Juxtaposition: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
      1. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Dunning-Kruger Effect (dumb people think they are smart) Godwin’s Law of Usenet, Dunbar Number
      2. Simple Model to understand people’s physical and emotional/mental needs
      3. The lower levels influence the higher levels.
    2. Everyone who earns money is tainted by the source of the moolah.
      1. money feeds our families, gives us shelter
      2. as I have found, it doesnt define who we are.
    3. The system is fundamentally disconnected
      1. The Social Community expects real people, real voices, transparency, human voice, calling it as it is
      2. Orgs want people to be engaged in SM (sometimes as it is cheaper, sometimes as it is hip, sometimes as it is sold to them, not necessarily because of cluetrain)
        1. following guidelines similar to msft’s
      3. All conversations from an employee will be tainted by Maslow
        1. you cannot always say what you really think (unless you have balls as big as @leslie_nassar)
      4. Companies have codes of conduct
        1. To aid employees
        2. To protect themselves
        3. compliance with the various laws, protect other employees
      5. Individuals are not permitted to be people, and are therefore breaking the cluetrain community agreement
        1. koolaid effect
        2. 100% on
        3. employee needs to retain some form of employment, personal brand
        4. ‘the organisation’ fighting the non-conformists
    4. Result: we have an unresolved conflict. We are not of common mind. There is no contract.
      1. The Cluetrain is largely correct. Maybe more and more right as time goes on. who knows? It is a journey
    5. Employees in Social Communities: My argument now is that there is no line. It has gone. If it did exist, it is disappearing as fast as MSM
      1. There is an underlying web of connection between the voices of an organisation
      2. The organisation you work for shouldn’t but does own you. Social Communities do not see a difference, either. I am not saying this is right – its sad reality.
      3. In the cacophony of voices, there will be a theme of commonality (Maslow), not singular chior. Social Audiences will need to find the signal in the noise. No one voice is the signal. Don’t hold me out as your evidence that msft doesnt get this, likes that, says that google reader is the shiz. That is my opinion.
      4. True Social Conversations involve you, the listener, to clarify. Check. Disbelieve. Research. Use the hyperconnectivity gifted by Ceiling Cat.
    6. Two case examples:
      1. @Leslie_Nassar experience in a microsoft context? (ignore mini-microsoft 🙂 )
        1. Biggest balls, courageous. He will be OK. He’s a grown up.
        2. If I became a “FakeSteveBallmer” or “FakeSteveJobs” or “FakeBillGates”, and dis’d competitors, fellow employees and management?
        3. whilst I might become a social media hero and front-page news, and may partly soften perception people have of microsoft: it actually doesnt comply with msft’s formal policy and codes of conduct
          1. Expect to be counselled and probably shafted for didling expenses later on.
        4. a strange confluence: social media crowd LOL (me included) — but implications are dire. We are dealing with bigger issues
      2. @NewtonMark (Mark Newton, Network Engineer, Internode)
        1. on Insight on SBS, clearly stated “not the statements of employer”
        2. but how much will the real Senator Conroy separate mark from internode. does it matter?
        3. Comes from cluetrain from @simonhackett
        4. Kudos to Internode
    7. I have no magical closing statement or argument.
    8. For me, the situation is clear. I am 100% on. My voice is added to the greek chorus. I will continue to be myself, my voice, my opinion.
      1. I am paid by MSFT to talk about its technology. Please be aware that I sit on the sharp Maslowian Triangle. I will do my contracted job
      2. One day I will step over the corporate line, or an unforeseen situation will appear that may result in a major FAIL.
        1. And When Red Cordial of hyperconnectivity has overtaken the hyperactivity, I will fall on not on my sword, but my keyboard.

To a Social Media Practitioner

Today was the last day I will appear as a "social media expert" on behalf of Microsoft. The internet and social media is mainstream, and it’s time to move on. And do my real day job: evangelising Microsoft’s developer tools.


Over the weekend, Channel 10’s Rove attempted to fist twitter, bringing in at least 1000 new Australian twitter users. A plethora of ABC celebreties are following Mark Pesce‘s lead and are joining twitter. There are 5 million Australians on Facebook. Politicians have realised the shift of power towards, and reach of the internet. There is no going back.

Over the last 2 years, and more-so with the departure of Frank Arrigo from Australia, invitations to speak at ‘social media’ conferences landed on me. Internal Microsoft teams came asking about social media asked for my advice.

None of these are a formal, measured part of my job. Sure, using the technology and being a social media practitioner will still important: but being a Social media expert is not.

So, with a little regret, from today I hand over the reigns of social media expertise and public representation to others at Microsoft.

Publicis Mojo accidental Spammer for Metamucil

Update, 3:20pm

Just off the phone to the Publicis. There are two issues here: one is the broken configuration of as the reply-to email address. A misconfiguration error.

Thanks to Publicis for reaching out and being honest; and starting to resolve the issue.

From earlier today:

  1. Potential source of the “follow”: I mention metamucil on twitter. No occurrences of this word on my blog until this particular posting. and others such have found the same issue with unsolicited email from the same sender, with similar contents.
  2. Up until this point, I have been a happy and regular user of said fibre supplement brand below. Note that this brand is owned by Proctor and Gamble. I am not going to link out to said product.
  3. The person that received this email is mentioned 5 times on my web site, and there is at least one link from my site to theirs (note: I have “xx”’d the name out below)
  4. The owner and publisher of this web site, Nick Hodge, in no way, explicitly nor implicitly gave permission for any brand: including Microsoft, to use to my blog as “trusted reference sell” nor source of email addresses. Reading Microsoft’s policy on Online Privacy, I am pretty sure that doing this style of “email harvest and reference social marketing” is highly wrong, and contravention of this policy is a serious offence.
  5. “Unsolicited email” is spam. Plain and simple.
  6. The content on my site is (cc) Attribution-Non-commerical Share-Australia 2.1, as per the link at the bottom of each page. I consider this spamming is a breach of my Terms and Conditions.
  7. Subsequently, I am very unhappy with Publicis Mojo. You do not get social media, you are a spammer. Of the worst kind.
  8. I am recommending the receiver of this email report both Proctor and Gamble, and Publicis Mojo as a Spammer as per the Spam Act (2003) and amendments
  9. It seems that the domain name “” might exist, however further research by an white-hat security expert:
    • *.ad is a top-level domain owned by Andorra, the country
    • would be a logical place for ‘publicismojo an advertising agency’ to register; or may be used for internal sites
    • if you send email to ‘’ the bounce back is from the same IP address as in the below spam example:
    • is Publicis Mojo in Australia (as per apnic)
    • robtex has some interesting details on this domain range
From: Blog Seeding <>
Date: 2008/12/9
Subject: For xx

Hi xx,

Sorry for the unsolicited email.

I was reading your blog and noticed you're particularly influential in the blogosphere.  
I even saw your blog reposted on

I'm working on behalf of Metamucil on their new Fibresure product and 
I was wondering if you would be receptive to us sending you a xmas gift pack? 
No obligations, of course! 🙂

Look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Publicis Mojo

Loosely Coupled Communities Across Space and Time

 Godley Head, Christchurch

From Glenn Derene, wiring at Popular Mechanics in “How Social Networking Could Kill Web Search as We Know It

… with the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Second Life, LinkedIn and even Google’s own Orkut, the next generation of Web users may find what they want by using their social network rather than a search algorithm. After all, the people in your online social network should know you better than a mathematical equation, right?

I find this article resonates. The concept that a mathematical formula can replace the collective knowledge of trusted friends always seems weird, and the absolute innocent dorkiness that “algorithms solve all problems” as naive.

Being able to ask your twitter-hive mind friends a question, say about WordPress themes (see: and receive an intelligent set of answers is way more powerful than blind search engine bingo.

The power of the internet comes from its ability to very cheaply connect like minded people into loosely coupled communities unbounded by space and time.

Selling your Identity Stunts your Intelligence

As mentioned by Duncan Riley in “Rocketboom Founder Puts His Twitter Account On Sale“, Andrew Varon Baron is “selling his twitter account” as a stunt.

As at posting, the bidding is at US$510.00

I am not sure how this ID is valued, and it seems strange that it has value when decoupled from the person selling the name.

Unless you are another Andrew Varon Baron, or are a competitor to RocketBoom – and in either case Andrew should really just twitter-squatter on his identity.

One never knows where twitter IDs are going to be useful in the future.

Interesting, if unintelligent, stunt.

(edits thanks to @bck)

Bypass the Bureaucracy, Subvert the Hierarchy Comrades!

According to the ABC, semi-autonomous Federal Government agencies must clear their media releases with the Department of Prime Minister before releasing.

Stated Mark Paterson on ABC AM this morning, the secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research:

"The essence of the message was that the Government wanted to ensure a degree of consistency in message on key messages and therefore wanted to clear key messages through the Prime Minister’s office."

Shades of Yes, Minister in the above. What a giggle.

Just blog it, agencies. Bypass the Bureaucracy, Subvert the Hierarchy Comrades!

The Immersive Conversation

Thinking ahead of the game.

Scoble is leaving PodTech. Doing something else from mid-January 2008.

In his post he talked about live streaming/twittering and the conversation that results from immediate connectivity to an audience.

From Scoble’s post:

Another thing that opened my eyes? The Google Open Social press conference where I had the only video, thanks to and my cell phone (they had asked for me to leave my professional camera in the car — funny that’s a story I’ve heard several times, including on the panel discussion yesterday where Jeff Pulver showed off video he shot on a small pocket camera of the recent Led Zepplin concert. He told the audience that Led Zepplin wants to buy his photos and videos because they were better than the professional ones).

Blogs, Video-Blogs, Podcasts emulate the old media. Push out. Wait for comments (aka letters to the editor). The immediacy is missing. There is too much latency between thought to feedback

Immersive Conversations.

Live-streaming/Live-twittering/Live-full immersion-SecondLife/Live un-meetings of the ilk as discussed on EEL recently is the next step. The technology is here permitting low-cost, high-bandwidth immediate two-way sessions.

In conversations with Cameron Reilly, this is exactly where his mind has been for some months.

The move is on.

Twitter Paranoia

My New Avatar

OK, aliens are invading my twitter feed

Or, after reaching 5000 tweets ranging in topics from Eurovision’07 to Neil Finn Revival Meetings, my postings are swallowed by the great twitter engine. Does Ms Gale have a restraining order out on me? More likely Paul Foster’s mobile phone cost centre owner in the UK.

Maybe it’s the lolcat speak that confuses some, forcing them to reach out to the Urban Dictionary for translation.

Is it the weird 3rd circle of hell that is Ruby on Rail’s ActiveRecord outer and inner joins with time’d out queries so as to unburden the backend? Or are telcos putting limits on the twitter +44 mobile SMS gateway in Australia?

Who knows. It’s the Bermuda Triangle of Twitter. Conspiracy Theories abound.

(Thanks to @cait for the inspiration on this post)

Social Networking: People, not Messages


What is the Web 2.0 World Saying about you, now?

I strongly recommend any Marketing/PR person just starting out to download and install Particls: You can use Particls to watch the internet for you. Enter the phrases and words that are your products and brands, and watch the conversation that ensues.

It is wise to start your online journey by engaging the existing conversations and existing communities, rather than attempting to start your own lonely blog and talk to noone.


Social Networking use by Marketing/PR

Social network using MySpace/Facebook/MSN Live/Linkedin/Bebo etc etc etc is a perfect mechanism for creating a community; and more importantly: staying connected.

Note that people are largely engaged in these communities for personal social reasons, not to have a product shoved down their throat. The rule of authentic voice applies.


SecondLife use by Marketing/PR:

Know who and where of your audience. Despite heavy hype in the traditional media, the number of people logged in to SecondLife always seems low. (25000 to 40000)

There is something enticing about a completely immersive 3D world, where in a dream-like state you can fly anywhere and build anything. It demos well, and the allure of “instant millions” attracted a certain “type” of initial user.

The web was like this in 1994/5. Not much out there, much hype and a limited few had the hardware and ‘bandwidth’ to participate. I would highly recommend doing deep research prior to significant investment.

Fully immersive worlds such as World-of-Warcraft (note: you probably cannot market here) are very successful; and the future of end-user generated immersive worlds is large.


Twitter use by Marketing/PR:

@Froosh expressed it best: Twitter is micro-blogging: thoughts in 140 characters. It is also more instant. What is happening now.  An organisation’s existing blog strategy should also cover Twitter.

Running 2 bots ( and and an event alias ( my assessment is that Twitterers are looking for real people, not chat bots at the other end of the line. Twitterspam such as “go visit this link” and the like causes mass unsubscribes. “Our product x is now shipping” the same.

What the Twitter-verse is looking for is the instant human reaction and feeling from events that precedes the formal cycle.

So, just Twittering to get a “message through” or hype a product/event does not work. What is needed is an authentic, honest voice of a real person. It is part of your Word-of-mouth, viral strategy.


In a Write/ReWrite/Read Web, People matter. Not Messages