The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

How News Has Changed In One Picture …
November 29, 2011, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

… OK so the fact I tweeted about Jimmy Savile’s death just before the UK Daily Telegraph, is hardly a damning indictment on British news agencies – however less than 10 years ago, the chances of this happening were very small and not just because Twitter wasn’t around.

The speed and volume of information we now have access too is amazing and unparalleled but in my mind there are 2 major issues with all this … issues that I believe affect adland as much as anyone.


That doesn’t mean it always happens and it doesn’t mean speed is a euphemism for ‘wrong’ … however I am alarmed how many people fall in the trap of taking a random piece of information and anointing it as fact.

This isn’t Twitters fault or Google’s etc … it’s the people who use it.

On the bright side, you usually get corrected by people who have taken the time to explore things a little deeper and have been able to separate speed from fact, however sometimes something terrible happens – and that’s when someone else takes a comment as endorsement and re-presents it as undeniably accurate.

It’s like when research companies are presenting their findings and put up a quote from one of their focus group participants.

I hate that.

I appreciate why they do it, but everytime I see something like that, I keep saying to myself,

“That’s just one person’s view, what about every one else’s?”

Look a little deeper because what might be presented as fact could end up simply being – at best – one person’s interpretation or at worst – one person’s attempt at causing mischief.


We are swamped with stuff.

Stats … quotes … views … comments … data …

We have access to an almost never-ending amount of information.

Now while on one hand this is good, it’s also become a danger … because with so much volume of information, it is hard to identify which is the stuff that we should be noticing amongst all the piles of other data.

In the old days it was easier.

Sort of.

The data you had access too was smaller, but generally more specific to the issues and tasks in hand.

That meant that what you got made sense … had purpose … gave clues and direction.

But now …

It’s not that the information we have access too is bad. Or wrong.

OK, sometimes it is – however the bigger issue is that with so much access to so much data, the ability to separate the truly valuable from the mountain of everyday information is much, much harder … and with more and more companies expecting quicker and quicker results, there is a real danger that the data or insight that could change your World gets ignored – or lost – under a sea of incidental info.

The key – at least for me – is to know in your mind what you are trying to discover.

Be clear on what you want to find out and learn.

While you will still be swayed by the mountain of information that is thrown at you, asking/reminding yourself …

A/ What am I trying to find out?
B/ Is this information helping me?
C/ Is this information from a credible source?

… at least increases the odds you will stay on the path of your journey, as opposed to being seduced by stuff that takes you off course and ultimately leaves you lost and confused.

The speed of change and the ability to access information is amazing.

They are empowering and changing people and companies in ways never seen before … however it is important we don’t fall in to the trap of taking everything on face value, because if you do, you’re in danger of empowering mistakes rather than driving positive change.

So many people are questioning the future of news organisations.

These tend to be the same people who say digital is sweeping aside all the old models that lie before them.

However while digital has had a massive impact on many industries [though there is also a lot of myth, hype and legend behind some of the ‘facts’ – like Borders collapse, which had more to do with their terribly negotiated real estate lease agreements than Amazon], I think where news is concerned, there is a chance that the ‘cream’ can rise to the top … because while people are currently hungry to consume anything that is given to them, in time – with so much information available – I believe knowing who to ‘trust’ will become a commercial advantage and I just hope the good guys can hang in there long enough.

46 Comments so far
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what is it with you making all these “helpful” fucking posts of late? youre 41 for fucks sake, you dont want to help the fuckers who will be stealing your fucking job any bastard day soon. thats not planning, thats stufuckingpidity.

Comment by andy@cynic

Helpful? HELPFUL? Oh my god, call the doctor, I think I’ve just had a heart attack.

Comment by Rob

Oh, I’ve just read the comment you made below. Phew – you had me worried there.

Comment by Rob

why the fuck do you think id start complimenting you now?

Comment by andy@cynic

hang on, no fucker reads this shit except bitter, been there fucking done that, bastards. smart campbell. well, it is for you anyfuckingway.

Comment by andy@cynic

and who the fuck would want to go here youve been? thats not sloppy seconds, thats fucked up everything.

Comment by andy@cynic

all said, thats not too bad advice. much fucking better than making an agency build a car or why you should be sentimental about your best friends horse cock.

Comment by andy@cynic

But probably not as memorable.

Comment by Rob

and where the fuck is lauren?

Comment by andy@cynic

1) pregnant?
2) getting more ink?
3) playing hard to get?
4) all of the above?

Comment by Billy Whizz

lauren was smart so im guessing the clever fucker decided coming here was slowly killing her with boredom so she went to do something more fucking enlightening. like cutting her toenails.

Comment by andy@cynic

Here – being a graffiti artist apparently

Comment by John

thats all we fucking need.

Comment by andy@cynic

that borders thing is interesting. where the fuck did you read it or who told you because i know for a fucking fact you didnt look in to it.

Comment by andy@cynic

I read it in some business magazine I have started buying because I can’t get stuff here except on the iPad which I just don’t enjoy reading from. Then – in a weird twist of pointless fate – I met one of their bankruptcy lawyers and he confirmed it to me.

Comment by Rob

only you would be a fucking groupie of boring bastards.

Comment by andy@cynic

or was she a she? hot? in a tight business suit? did she wear black rimmed glasses and have blonde hair? did it all unravel and tumble down her back when she took her specs off?

fuck me, this is campbell im talking about, of course it wasnt, it was a bloke in a grey fucking suit with grey fucking skin.

Comment by andy@cynic

Great advice Rob and that borders factoid is very interesting.

Comment by Pete

i fucking said it first so back the fuck up.

Comment by andy@cynic

If you’ve seen Page One, the documentary on the NYTimes, you’ll know the time to “hang on” is very short indeed.

Comment by Pete

Stupid question, it’s a documentary, of course you’ve seen it.

Comment by Pete

fucking saved yourself at the last fucking second.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes. It was a momentary lapse of everything.

Comment by Pete

Both points work for finding quality net porn too.

Just saying.

Comment by Billy Whizz

dont you mean quality animal net porn?

Comment by andy@cynic

Guessing Billy thought that went without saying.

Comment by DH

Pedantic point of information. You didn’t tweet about Jimmy Saville’s demise before the Daily Telegraph.

You, in fact, tweeted about it just before one Charles Frith (a resident of Bangkok I believe) re-tweeted the Telegraph’s earlier tweet.

The brand truth (fact) that this is evidence of both your subsequent points is sheer luck.

Comment by John

yeah , but i have it on good fucking authority some 7 year old kid tweeted it before anyone. it said

“pedo jim has died. come rescue me”.

so fuck you all.

and well fucking done to groper for finding a use for this blog. amazing.

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t know who Jim is or what he fixed but that doesn’t stop me loving this comment.

Comment by Billy Whizz

of course, i fucking wrote it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Excellent pedanticness Mr Dodds. You’re back and I’m strangely happy about that.

Comment by Rob

I’m pretty sure that Charles Frith is tweeting from the future, or possibly some sort of alternate dimension. It’s hard to say, but it doesn’t seem to be world we generally live in. (All said with the greatest respect for Charles.)

BTW Rob, I’m enjoying the recent bunch of articles which basically seem to be driving towards: Brands – they’re not that fucking complex so stop trying to make your life harder by pretending that they are.

Comment by Felix

I think Rob is being very irresponsible. How can agencies and consultancies make money if clients find out how simple it is to develop a strong brand?

Comment by DH

Well done dooddsy my little baby girl wouldn’t go to sleep then i read out that piece of mind numbing pedantry and she was out like a light

Comment by Northern

Glad to be of service – hopefully this will alleviate your sleep deprivation and allow you better to appreciate my brilliance .

Comment by John

Do you think I could make an iPhone app so you can just press a button and hear me read my rubbish out rather than have to go through the pain of pulling this blog up on a computer?

I’ll give you 7% of the company for helping identify the opportunity.

Comment by Rob

why the fuck would you give him 7%. ive put up with your shit for much longer. you fucking bastard campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

could not agree more with point number 2! too much info / choice becomes bad for problem solving (analysis paralysis). i wrote a blog post on a similar theme called “the Maguyver theory of Creativity” here:

Comment by Tristan

Hi Tristan, good to have you pop over, I’m sure it was a mistake, but I’m glad you came. Will check out your post – but just today I heard of a client that almost made a decision based on information that was ultimately misguiding them rather than giving them clarity … which would have resulted in the poor agency never succeeding in their goal, even though it could be argued it would not of been their fault.

But would the client accept that? Probably not …

It’s an issue and it’s only going to get worse.

Comment by Rob

haha yeah, I was actually searching for midget porn and stumbled across your blog (you should fix your SEO).

Nah I am a regular reader, first time commenter.

A big missing piece is often the THINKING component (or common sense), and I guess any info could ultimately be misleading depending on who is interpreting it. I recently read an article in an Australian newspaper warning that getting a Ned Kelly (Australian folk hero) tattoo will increase your chances of dying young, when really it just meant that people who already had Ned Kelly tattoos were more likely to be criminals gangsters with dangerous lifestyles. Tattoos don’t kill people, people kill people haha.

But my ultimate philosophy, is that we are forced to be more innovative in our problem solving when limited in our resources. Whether it be only having the basic info, versus piles of info and being forced to draw out a REAL insight rather than a list of stats, or being trapped in a basement and being forced to create a bomb out of some sticks, rocks, rags, some pipe and a boiler (hence the ‘Macgyver’ theory of creativity).

Comment by Tristan

Good one.
Ive not read all the comments so maybe someone has mentioned this but, in agreement, data on it’s own is not useful, nor is information (it’s often wrong, for a start) but when both of those are interpreted and distilled into knowledge and ergo wisdom (insight, if you prefer) that there is your value. wisdom always wins.

Comment by eaon

I though you had more taste than to comment on here Eaon, but then you also have recommended me to speak at a conference so it shows how fucked up you must really be. Unless this is all a ruse for me to fall flat on my face again? Ooooooh, you cunning bastard.

Comment by Rob

As Rob is the speed demon of news, I’m wondering why he didn’t blog or tweet about Ann Hathaway’s engagement when it was announced 24 hours ago?

According to my wife it’s big news so please explain yourself.

Comment by DH

Don’t blame April, we all know you live on

Comment by Pete

4 goals to nothing

Comment by northern

[…] flaws in it, of which one is that we now have so much quality data available to us, it has become harder to distinguish between what can give us answers and what will throw us off the […]

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