[Linux-aus] Media Officer Now

Brent Wallis (IS) brent at wallis.id.au
Fri Feb 6 18:16:02 UTC 2004


Andrew Cowie <andrew at operationaldynamics.com> wrote ..
> On Wed, 2004-02-04 at 23:30, Rasjid Wilcox wrote:
> > I can't see any way that media release discussion can really happen 'in
> > public' and still be effective, at least not if one is operarting in
> the 
> > corporate arena.  If the 'competition' knows what you are planning ahead
> of 
> > time, it can (and will) be used against you.
> I have to agree with that view point.

"Traditional" media liason requires absolute, no holds barred CONSISTENCY in presentation of the viewpoint being put forward. There is no leeway on that, and I am sure most would be able to quote examples of where the required consistency has failed. The strong "singular" line, when broken is a wonderful thing for the media because it gives them an opportunity to explore opposing tensions in the public arena while the respondent is trying to create a unified response.
> For all that we are an open community in the good works that we
> {develop, suppor, use}, when competing in the real world we need to have
> impact, and as has been mentioned here there is nothing worse than
> diluting that impact but having your competitive strategy on something
> as timely and sensitive as media activities out in the open.

Can no one see that this is the "paradox" being "agressively explored" by SCO et al right now? 

Something MUST be done lest the tide of opinion starts to sway. Let's make no mistake here either, this issue (FOSS as a viable and strong ICT tool)is one of perception NOT fact.

A simple example was that ACA tripe piece I blurted about last Monday night. When asked how to fix the problem on the program, the obvious answers WE would give are:
- Use Linux
- Throw away Outlook
- Hell a MAC would be a cool move as well.
(and am sure there are 50 more..

On that particular ACA segment answer was:
- Buy more AV software
- Keep Windows up to date

...what a crock! It's the equivalent of telling every one to pay for a steel roll cage on their new family car because the model they bought rolls easily. 

Absolute nonsense, but whwn it comes to talking about Computing and viruses in general, people are accepting all this as fact. 

It's a subtle thing the art of PR. Singular events don;t often mean anything, but collectively, you would probably be surprised at how much strength these little "errors" in information add up.....and if you doubt that, just re-read the essays on language at the back of "1984".......and re-read them a couple of times to make sure the concepts of how "language can be modelled to create opinion and belief structures" sinks in.

Perception IS 9/10ths of the truth for most of the humans on planet earth....and if you doubt that, just consider Iraq. Does anyone really think that facts had anything to do with the latest invasion? As the latest media debates can show, the "perception" was all they were interested in, and it was enough to get billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of people to go at each other with big guns. A couple of PR companies have made a lot of money over it. They are still trying to bend the perception now. Just have a close listen the "hair splitting language" coming from the US and UK governments.

I agree with Andrew's statements. Most of the community are technicians, not media darlings. Focus on "non-core" activities ([1]say Linus suddenly spending 4 years on the lecture circuit instead of the kernel...) would probably do a hell of a lot on the marketing side, but the obvious vacuum where it really matters could take all of that gain away.

> Whom ever (or whatever group) gets the task of media relations, and
> notwithstanding that they will need to be accountable to us the
> community, I wouldn't seek to hobble them by preventing them from
> planning and executing in private.
> Pia's sentiment about what can actually be claimed is also very
> important. With a community such as ours, one that is as vocal and
> passionate as it is, we simply cannot stand up and say "The Linux / Free
> Software / Open Source / whatever Community thinks X". It would be
> presumption on our part, and wrong. As we build a mechanism to gain
> feedback on specific issues from our membership, then we will be able to
> present with honesty the views that the considerable collective
> intelligence of our community can bring to bear. I feel that's the only
> way we can be fair to the people who we would be speaking for.

IMHO this is the crux of the matter. Andrew mentions the threat of "inconsistency" in the ranks, and I don;t think that will EVER be truly addressed using traditional means. If it was, then one of the strengths in FOSS would be lost, namely a structure that encourages plurality in thinking and action.

I would love to see a media officer in place...but I would have to say that the poor person that got the job would probably end up in the looney bin in a short time ...trying to find that consistency.

The problem is how to keep a diversity in the ranks without forsaking a consistent external presence.

The answer is......???????


1. I make no comment on LT's ability to do this BTW, it's just an easy example OK? :-)

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