Old People Use the Internet!

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Internet, Marketing | Posted on 29-07-2010


I’ve been on a bit of a Clay Shirky Binge lately, but the stuff he covers is so clever I’ve gotta share it.

The latest piece of Cognitive Surplus I’ve bookmarked during my Subway reading, this section on why we’re continually surprised by the spread of online communication – even amongst seniors:

No one wants email for itself, any more than anyone wants electricity for itself; rather, we want the things electricity enables. Similarly, we want the things email enables – news from home, pictures of the kids, discussion, argument, flirtation, gossip, and all the mess of the human condition. The surprise behind those “Old people communicating with each other online!” articles came from a focus on the technical means rather than on the social opportunities of that communication.

He goes on:

Many of the stories we tell ourselves about the tools we use are really stories about human motivation. We grossly overestimated the degree to which email would always seem futuristic and hard to use, we grossly underestimated the technical talents of older people, and we simply ignored the basic truth of technology: if a tool is useful, people will use it. (Surprise.) They will use it even if the tool is different from what existed before, provided it lets them do things they want to do. The mystery isn’t why older people started emailing each other; the mystery is how we could have convinced ourselves that email use was mainly about technological novelty rather than social continuity.

Early Candidate for Lede of the Year

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Humour | Posted on 25-07-2010


  • FLAKE, cow, loser, slut, idiot, airhead, trash, penguin, creep, moron, midget, freak, Oompa-Loompa, nobody.

From today’s NY Times Sunday Styles feature on Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizi.

Cognitive Surplus: Anything is Entertainment

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Humour, Internet | Posted on 16-07-2010


Nearly 5 million people have watched this guy REALLY enjoy a double rainbow.

And old mate’s comments at the 2 minute mark of this interview really highlight how the media landscape is changing:

  • “The whole thing is just a trip. It’s this cheap camera I bought on Ebay 6 years ago for $250. It’s easy to upload on YouTube so that’s what I use”

If this bloke can entertain 5 million people… what hope does big media have?

Fixing Your iPhone and Apple Customer Service

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, Humour, Life, Marketing | Posted on 08-07-2010


I’ve been an iPhone user for three years, and like many iPhone owners I’ve cracked my screen (twice). And also like many iPhone owners I’ve had many a horrible experience with Apple and ATT’s arrogant approach to customers.

I knew that the Apple store would charge me an arm and a leg, despite the fancy decor and Genius Bars. So I typed ‘fix iPhone’ into Yelp and found Dr Brendan near me in the East Village who would fix it for $60.

I entered his small East Village apartment to find a bunch of people lining up, two friendly blokes fixing phones and a phone ringing off the hook. To my surprise they’d been featured on CNN today and a legion of similarly disaffected Apple customers had found salvation.

The bigger story here: can a brand like Apple really get away with treating its customers so badly they’ve created a black market in customer service? Dr Brendan’s service was great, but I must admit climbing four flights of steps to a small East Village apartment had me feeling like I was doing a drug deal.

The quote to sum it all up comes from one of Dr Brendan’s other customers today, a hospital employee with a cracked screen:

“Apple’s a total asshole to me. The one time I went in there I scheduled an appointment, you have to wait, they tell you they can’t fix it…”

My advice – if you’re in NYC with a cracked screen or other issue see Dr Brendan. If you’re in the market for an iPhone: buy something else.

Fail Again. Fail Better.

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, Internet | Posted on 07-07-2010


Working alongside Mike Moran at Converseon helped teach me the importance of Do It Wrong Quickly.

So when I saw a link to this poster pop up in my Google Reader I bought it straight away, and it now has pride of place by my desk at work as a constant reminder to keep trying, keep doing, keep failing and keep on measuring.

Failure ain’t bad. Especially in an online world.

New poster for my desk at work

This is How You Announce an Acquisition

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Humour, Internet | Posted on 03-07-2010


Woot got acquired by Amazon. Why not announce the news with a rapping monkey?

Friday Video: 2nd Grade WOM

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-07-2010


Check out this video with a bunch of eight-year old kids who have been running a fundraising campaign for charity: water that has raised thousands of dollars.

Inspiring stuff. And proof that if you have a clear, simple message tied to a strong story and a cause – nearly anyone can become a stellar word-of-mouth marketer.

campaign to watch: Haverford second graders sweat for clean water. from charity: water on Vimeo.

Word of Mouth Super Genius July 20 NYC

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in charity: water, Events, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 01-07-2010


Word of Mouth Supergenius WOM for Water Project=

You should attend the Word of Mouth Super Genius conference in New York on July 20. Learn from the best in the business, get hands on knowledge from people who are ‘doing’ not just talking, and best of all: support charity: water.

Register for the conference and use the code ‘paullismyhero‘ to get $101 off the registration fee… or you can donate that $101 to the events’ mycharitywater fundraising campaign. By doing so you’ll provide clean water to 5 people in the developing world for 20 years.

I’ve attended dozens of social media and word of mouth conferences over the past few years and I rarely get truly excited for them – Word of Mouth Super Genius is a rare one that bucks that trend. The sessions all focus on short, sharp ‘how to’ information, not the standard ‘social media bingo‘ highlights: ‘customer service is marketing’, ‘social CRM’, ‘United Breaks Guitars’ etc that you’ll hear at each and every conference.

The speaking line up speaks for itself: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh keynoting, Hugh McLeod of Gaping Void fame, my friends Geno Church from Brains on Fire and Lindsay Lebresco at Converseon and big brand speakers from the likes of National Geographic, General Mills, Makers Mark and Yelp.

Plus yours truly sharing the charity: water word of mouth story – a preview of which you can listen to via this interview:

How charity: water is using social media tools to connect with their cause’s biggest believers — live with Paull Young from GasPedal on Vimeo.

So are you in? July 20 in New York City. Register here and use the discount code ‘paullismyhero’ to donate $101 to charity: water. See you there!

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