No Illusions Podcast #41

News updates from around the globe. Includes the following stories:

Former Tasmanian MP found guilty of having sex with a 12 year old girl, but gets no jail time. 

Time Magazine Doesn’t Want To Show U.S. Citizens Pictures Of Revolution. 

U.S. Senate Are Voting On Legislation That Allows Their Military To Arrest Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime, and in Any Country. Including the U.S.A.

More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

US Military Manipulates the Social Media

U.S. Army and Psychology Largest Experiment Ever

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Know Which Fight You’re In

We just got back from the first Brisbane meetup around #nocleanfeed. It was a pretty huge turnout, I’d guess 100 people. Well done to @nicholasperkins and everyone else involved in pulling it together.

I gave a short talk, mostly trying to convey the idea that this isn’t a campaign that we will win by trying to be RIGHT. This isn’t about FACTS. This is a propaganda war about ideology, the ideology of the Christian Right, a group that Conroy, Rudd, Abbott and Fielding are all card-carrying members of. And you can’t fight a propaganda war by trying to be RIGHT. The only way to fight a propaganda war is to counter it with your own propaganda and by knowing how propaganda campaigns actually work. There’s no use taking a knife to a gun fight.

As a long-time student of people like Chomsky and Pilger, I have some understanding about how modern propaganda works. I quote tonight from 20th century French philosopher and Christian theologian (not often you’ll catch me using a Christian theologian to make a positive point) Jacques Ellul who explained that modern propaganda isn’t telling lies, it’s about telling half truths, limited truths and truths out of context. That’s what Conroy et al are master of. They don’t lie when they talk about the feed, they just limit their use of the truth.

So we need to fight a propaganda war. Fortunately, we are all very-savvy little new media / social media types, so this shouldn’t be too hard to do, as long as know what kind of fight we’re getting into.

The one idea that I didn’t have time to get across tonight was that I don’t think we can win this if we just focus on the mandatory filter. It’s too thorny an issue and too easy for Conroy to deflect criticism . I believe we need to make this a battle against the ALP. I believe we need to focus on weakening their credibility in the upcoming election by getting in their faces on a range of issue where they have either under-performed, such as the environment, indigenous welfare, immigration, etc, or where they have just flat-out turned out to be as bad or worse than Howard (the internet filter, bailing out the banks, failing to rein in corporate executive salaries, etc).

We need a campaign that attacks the ALP’s credibility and performance across the board. We need put pressure on then across multiple fronts, not just on the filter. It’s pretty clear that the mainstream media will give them an easy ride in the upcoming election. So it’ll be up to social media to put the heat on them.

Newlight: Brisbane web design

Newlight, the Brisbane web design firm I’ve been consulting to for a few months, has launched it’s new company site. I’m here as their “digital strategy” guy, which means I work on things like social media strategy and SEO strategy for Newlight’s Brisbane clients. So if you’re looking for a very reputable Brisbane web development firm, check these guys out. They’ve been around since 1999 and are very good at what they do. I’m also doing some blogging for them, mostly on social media and digital strategy stuff.

a “debate” confined between two false poles

There’s a fascinating post on Dissident Voice about the battle going on in the UK between the BBC and corporate media who are apparently threatened by the breadth of the Beeb’s online offerings.


"The Murdochs of this world are naturally unable to conceive that corporate sponsorship compromises news reporting, showering pound and dollar-shaped sticks and carrots that inevitably cause journalism to slither in corporate-friendly directions."

"In his dystopian novel, 1984, George Orwell described the art of thought control called “Newspeak”:

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

We are offered a “debate” confined between two false poles: the claim that the BBC is a threat to the “independent news” provided by commercial interests, and the claim that the BBC is a rare source of “independent, truthful” reporting. Modern journalism acts to “narrow the range of thought”, thus serving the powerful interests that control the mass media."

This idea about "a debate confined between two false poles" is something that Chomsky has been talking about for decades. In the West, we’re told that we have a ‘free press’ but, in reality, we have a press that’s owned either by wealthy individuals (Packer, Murdoch, Stokes, et al) or the Government… whose hold on power is often regulated BY those wealthy individuals and their control over the way the population thinks due to their media assets. And so what tends to happen is that our media discusses the happenings of the day in a limited fashion, always confining the debate between two false poles, making it LOOK like we have choice and healthy debate, where in reality we’re only given a small range of options to discuss.

My favourite example in Australia is to look at our election coverage. What is the range of debate and discussion given in the Australian media, during election cycles or any other time for that matter, to alternatives to our consumerist capitalist economic model? Where is the open discussion about the benefits of Socialism or Communism? It doesn’t happen. Why? Because the aforementioned wealthy owners of the media companies don’t want the people thinking about Socialism or Communism unless, of course, it’s to talk about the failures of those alternative models. The reason they don’t want us thinking about these alternatives is that if we moved towards them, they would lose their wealth, power and privilege.

This is why we need a NEW media that isn’t controlled by corporate interests.

Announcing my partnership with

I’m very excited today to release the news that I’ve partnered up with to co-produce the "Brisbane Confidential" series that I’ve been talking about for the last year. Brisbane has a surprising number of cool, funky places and I want to show them to you. Each week the series will showcase some of the funkiest cafes, bars, restaurants, boutique stores and events in Brisbane. New episodes will be available each Thursday on, and through iTunes.

Partnering up with is exciting because they are THE site to tell you about what’s happening around Brisbane. They have huge reach in Brisbane, about 500,000 people visit their site each month. When I made a decision to move up here early last year, the first site I ended up on to learn more about Brisbane was and I remember thinking at the time "I wish they had some podcasts".

Well, now they do. 🙂

Happy Twitter Anniversary To Me

Tomorrow is my 2nd Twitter anniversary so it’s the perfect opportunity to take stock of what it means to me.

At the time of writing this, I’ve done 19,563 public posts (not counting DMs)  which works our to about 27 per day over two years. As I’m usually online about 18 hours a day, that works out to an average of only 1.4 posts per online hour.

I often have people who aren’t yet using Twitter ask "how do you find the time?" Although I guess I’m possibly a fairly heavy user of Twitter compared to most, I only post on average once every 45 minutes. Each post takes… what… ten seconds? Hardly a big time waster. Let’s say I spent another couple of minutes every hour scanning replies, DMs and general tweets in my feed. I guess if I was generous, I might say I spend 6 minutes an hour reading and responding – that’s 1.8 hours a day (6 minutes x 18 waking hours) or 10% of my day. And it does sound like a lot. Until I factor in the following:

1. I work from home. No daily commute to listen to the radio and catch up on the morning news / gossip. Let’s say most people spend an hour a day commuting, either in their car or on public transport. That’s an hour they spend (out of 18 hours in the waking day) probably reading or listening to some kind of media. On those rare occasions during the week when I am in the car, heading to meetings etc, I’m normally listening to podcasts.

2. I don’t watch TV news. The only TV I watch at all is pre-recorded stuff on my laptop (at the moment – Mad Men, The Daily Show, Kings and DVDs). Most people spend 30 – 60 minutes a day watching some kind of news / current affairs (including those god-awful morning shows). I get my news from Twitter and from scanning the  blogs. Oh and from podcasts when I go for my run, of course.

3. I’ve been living alone for the last year, my girlfriend living half a world away, and so I’ve had no social life and tweet mostly (I suspect) in the evenings to provide some relief from work. Wow… that sounded a lot more pathetic than it feels. 🙂  I guess it’s true – people on Twitter are losers who have no social life.

So, I figure most people spend a couple of hours a day watching, listening or reading the news. I might (and it’s a stretch) spend the same amount of time on Twitter. If I counted the amount of time I spend on Twitter and reading blogs, I’d say it’s about the same. So, for me, Twitter and blogs have replaced mainstream media.

As I said, I’m probably a fairly heavy user of Twitter, which is justified somewhat by the line of work I am in (social media). Having a good handle on how Twitter works is my business.

Let me tell you some of the things I dislike about Twitter at the moment:

  • MLM chumps.
  • Affiliate pimps.
  • People who auto-send DMs pimping stuff when you follow them.
  • Follow Fridays.
  • The way people are jumping on the Iran bandwagon without much evidence of critical thinking. Cmon people – think.

For the record, I immediately un-follow people who commit the first three crimes.

Okay, now the things I like about Twitter:

  • Intelligent debate – it’s hard to find, but it’s out there. Too many people seem to think you can’t have an intelligent discussion 140 characters at a time, but that’s just wrong. It just requires discipline and clarity.
  • Support – Twitter is better than any tech support service I’ve ever used. But I’m not just talking about tech support. Mention that you’ve got any sort of problem, and you’ll usually have a stream of people – most of whom you’ve never met in real life and probably never will – offering to help out. These people counter-balance the brain dead MLM and affiliate folks and stop me from giving up all hope for the human race. 
  • The sense that this is the dawn of…. something. Something big. Something important. Something profound.

Twitter kind of reminds me of the skin jobs on BSG when they are on their base ship, dipping their hands into the pink water that somehow plugs them into the control feed of the ship. It’s also a bit like being Superman with his super hearing, just letting the entire planet’s voices wash over you.

I often find myself wondering about what a mind-blowing platform Twitter (and the interwebs in general) could be in an historical sense for the human race – just imagine jumping in the TARDIS and scooting back 100 years to 1909, then trying to explain the concept of Twitter to folks. What potential! The whole world (well… the connected world) talking to each other! The kids in New York shouting out real time support to the kids (or are they embedded CIA operatives pretending to be kids?) in Tehran! I wonder what the folks in 1909 would want to do with it. Or imagine going back another 30 years to 1879 and explaining it to Karl Marx. I wonder if he’d think it was the perfect medium to discuss MLM, Jon & Kate (and I honestly have NO frakking idea who they are), and whether or not Megan is as hot as Angelina.

Here’s my question for you all – are we smart enough for Twitter? Or will we waste it?