Comments and observations on business, marketing and life: by Martin Donohoe

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Allez, allez, allez

Great to see how Yorkshire has adopted the Tour de France to be its very own, a real buzz has been generated and it’s a fantastic coup for Yorkshire tourism. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes over the next three days.

Social media – villain or hero?

Given recent events in the UK (that’ll be the riots) there is a whole meme developing that social media was the catalyst for the riots. Plenty of commentary has been done on this already such as this article. Yet, on the flip side social media has been positioned as community saviour with the #riotcleanup movement.

Go back to the beginning of the year and social media was a force for global democracy with the Arab Spring.


What do we make of Twitter, Facebook, BBM and the rest? Clearly, there is an opportunity to get deep into the communication of groups and the transmission of ideas, but I think the answer is simple. Fundamentally, social media is just a method of communicating. Yes, it’s possible to scale that communication quickly and yes, it facilitates rapid propagation of a message. But no, social media is not inherently good or bad, it is just a tool. To paraphrase:

Social media doesn’t spread ideas, people spread ideas (just not as quickly)




Web design and local media sites

The design, functionality and commercial success of newspapers in the online space is a subject dear to my heart! I’m particularly interested in the dynamics of local media and the sometimes painful transition that local papers are undertaking as they work to find a viable way of profitably developing their online presence.

I saw two articles today that have different takes on this subject:

Redesigning And Re-Thinking The News is a thoughtful look at the recent redesign of the NYT site and raises some valid criticisms of the newspaper industry’s approach to putting content on-line.

The Brads

Brad Colbow - why your newspaper is dying

This is Why Your Newspaper is Dying raises some valid points, but is (in my opinion) mis-titled should really be “This is how to improve newspaper web design”.

Both articles (in common with many other articles on the topic) are quick to criticise the advertising that inevitably accompanies newspaper site pages – from a design or aesthetic perspective this is valid. But, given that the successful implementation of paywalls is at best, a long time away, how else should a local media organisation be financing itself?

That isn’t to say that there aren’t different solutions that perhaps aren’t widely adopted yet or are still being developed, but right now I’d say advertising is a critical component for local media sites.



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