Hanging out in Melbourneo with other word nerds

Attending the 3rd Australian Aid Communicators Conference in Melbourne was a delight. When I say ‘other word nerds’ that roughly means a room full of inspiring, passionate, informed and switched-on aid and development communicators from across this sunburnt land in a slightly wet but beautiful town.*

Over our fair trade coffees and delicious multicultural vegetarian snacks we bemoaned the public’s apathy and sluggish response to Pakistan, found out who was working where these days and shared common tales of staff shortages.  There was also some good news for the sector, the old campaign strategies still ring true: be honest, stay on message and be persistent.  The (not so) ‘new’ media tools are pretty much all free and user-friendly. Have a play and see what you can do, there are no rules. Creating a social media campaign is like any other campaign. You need clear strategy and framework, something along the lines of –

People – Assess your audience social activities
Objectives – Decide on what you want to accomplish
Strategy – How will you satisfy your objectives
Tactics/Technology – Decide which social technologies to use (note how technology is last)

It’s not the first time that the Social Media POST Framework and I have shared the same space, I too have stood in front of a room of eager communicators with the trusty POST on my PowerPoint slide (I didn’t use the rather sexy prezi.com, that’s quite the discovery). 

And we have our work cut out for us. The development sector doesn’t have the best public image. From cries of “you spend too much on advertising,” “it never reaches the people,” “what about our own problems in Australia,” “our money will end up in Taliban hands,” the list goes on … it is up to us to do a better job at explaining how aid works. And aid does work.

Want more development rants comin at ya? Follow the UNDPI Global Health Conference on twitter #AchieveMDGs – @sarfos is doing some darn fine tweetin’ from the Conference.

*If I could make babies with a city, it would be Melbourne.

Oestrogen poison that is saturating, permeating and festering in Australian media

Damn it

I can’t stand you …

While you were on Q and A last night I was giving you the Julie Bishop treatment with my eyes blazing. Oh yes, tremble in fear Janet Albrechtsen.

On one hand you point the finger of blame of our hung parliament at the bland, poll-based election campaigns we saw unfold. But it was you Janet *insert stern finger point* who said Gillard is “showcasing a bare home and an empty kitchen as badges of honour and commitment to her career” and not knowing about how to meet “the needs of a husband or partner.” How the f*k would you know Janet? Did you ask Tim if he was getting any lately? Are you under the redhead’s bed dictaphone in hand? Of course she’s not screaming ‘oh God’, she’s an atheist, and heaven forbid she might be too busy running the damn country.

I don’t care how flattering her jacket line is, how much fruit is in her kitchen or her womb for that matter. I want policies, I want choice – and I want the media to be actual journalists again.

I have a dream – but that dream is hung.

Breaking the silence

It has been a long time coming, mainly because I think blogs purely written from a place of anger are totally inane. For the past month or so, or whenever the GG allowed the PM to have an election with the blood and tears of Kevin still staining the carpet, I have been one angry and dismayed little sausage.

Tony Abbott is actually in with a chance tomorrow, small, but still a chance. WTF? He is the moron version of Howard. Now most of you know I found many of the Howard era’s policies terrible, but at least I could say with authority John Howard is a very clever (and cunning) politician. If Abbott gets in we will suffer the same fate as enlighten American souls who go travelling and have some myopic individual blame them for George Bush, McDonalds and Iraq.  You voted him in therefore you must be as stupid as your leader.

This is a major concern as I will be living abroad if Abbott is elected, I will become an ethical refugee.

And I’m not the only person I’ve heard say this. Perhaps Abbott will end up welcoming the boats because there is no one left in the country except for rednecks and far right Christian conservatives. What a vision for the country.

I hope Australia remembers the Real Abbott tomorrow