Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Sunday February 01 2009

That’s what the internet means, or what it means to me anyway.

Here are two stories, apparently unrelated, but they have something in common.

The first is about our crazed Prime Minister saying that all we need is to have confidence.

The second is about how blog advertising is turning out to be a disappointment to some of its early enthusiasts, which I found via Instapundit.

The connection?  This.  Advertising is collapsing because that whole model of people sitting in arm chairs being bombed with propaganda to buy stuff is dying.  People want things, same as ever.  The difference now is that they don’t just sit in their armchairs waiting for the right advert.  They type what they want into google, and find their way (a) to what the maker of the thing in question says about it; and (b) to what the rest of the world that cares says about it.  Move over Madison Avenue.  All this was explained to me, nearly a decade ago now, by this clever woman.  Oh, there’ll still be adverts, in much the same way that there will continue to be classical CDs, maybe even more adverts (there are now more classical CDs than ever).  But they won’t count for half so much as they used to, or be nearly so significant economically.  The advertising business won’t drive business any more.

So, just as a for instance, I’ve been keeping an eye open for things about this camera (not the one that looks like a gun – the red one underneath that), and have noted with profound lack of interest that there are now full page ads for it in various magazines.  Which tells me that the manufacturers are optimistic, but nothing about whether it’s worth buying.  Far more significant is this review.  The big weakness of this camera seems to be that the digital viewfinder is very poor in low light conditions.  The only thing that might persuade me otherwise would be someone else with no axe to grind saying no it’s fine, or me actually playing with the thing in what I regard as low light conditions and finding it fine myself.  Meanwhile, no amount of propaganda saying it’s perfect and that my sex life will be transformed will change any of that.

As for the Gordon Brown story, well, I went looking for that.  I wasn’t bombarded by it, but I did see it in someone else’s newspaper on the tube some time not long ago.  So, I googled “Brown confidence”, and immediately found what I was looking for.  (I didn’t buy the newspaper.  And if I’d had to pay to read the piece, forget it.)