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Web Monitor

16:02 UK time, Monday, 17 August 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Web Monitor celebrates a diamond anniversary today. At 60 editions, WM is feeling precious, sought after and like it's been under a lot of earth for many many years. Help us get to 65 by sharing your favourite links via the comment box.

Steve Keifer• The old tenuous links to Michael Jackson have reared their head in the blogosphere again. Web Monitor noted before the blog Local Jacko which documented strained local angles newspapers spun on the news of Michael Jackson's death. This time the world of corporate press shots has uncovered business to business press also getting in on the Jackson action. The Sexy Executives blog, for reasons unfathomable to Web Monitor, collects press shots of executives of large corporations. The idea behind the blog is to "Meet the silver-foxes and their lovely lady friends who rule our corporate world."
One such exec profiled in the blog is the vice president of Industry and Product Marketing for GXS Steve Keifer who starred in Sexy Executives in July. Keifer's managed to link Michael Jackson with business to business e-commerce, with the headline "Can Your Supply Chain Do the Moonwalk?" and finished off by writing on the subject to the tune of Thriller:

"The following is a lyrical description of the VMI process I composed to the tune of Thriller:
It's close to midnight and all the stores are getting pretty dark
Under the moonlight, you get the POS file transfer ready to start
You try to stream, but the file's so large it starts to choke your router
Screen starts to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes
File's paralyzed
'Cause this the thriller, thriller night
And no one's going to save you from potential out-of-stocks.
I know it was Bad, but entertaining hopefully..."

Web Monitor is tracking the money free debate. This is the idea that costs will one day be so low and people will be so unwilling to pay that instead we'll trade in another currency, such as time. One way costs are considered to reduce is through people offering themselves for free labour. The Guardian highlighted the exploitation involved in unpaid internships. Now, Charlie Hoehn's ebook Recession Proof Graduate argues that for a graduate to get through the recession they should be offering their services for free and working remotely. The main advantage for the employer to allow a graduate to do free work for them from home rather than coming to their office every day as an intern is that is takes away virtually all the risk to the employer. And for the free employee working remotely means they can work with anyone in the world, provided they have some means of communication.

However, Seth Godin argues that employers aren't making as much use of free workers as you'd expect:

"Free work isn't easy to get. Big companies, for example, have bureaucrats that don't often know what to do with a great offer like this. And some people (I'll put myself in this category) are too hands-on to take advantage of it. But you'd be amazed at how many fast-moving companies or influential individuals are all too happy to share credit if it helps the work get done."

Interestingly, in reality it looks like we may be veering away from a free future as Rupert Murdoch has announced his companies including the Times will be charging to look at their articles online. Simon Jenkins in the Guardian says this is not before time:

"The bogus idea that 'news is free information' has captivated a generation of media managers. It is like saying fruit is free food or wind is free energy. As James Harkin, the author of Cyburbia, wrote in the Guardian last week, newspapers were 'seduced by the evangelical gee-whizzery of the electro-hippies'. Editorial machismo was boosted by multimillion 'unique hits'. The truth was that online newspapers were free-sheets for slow learners."

• The world of print may have another problem, and it's not the web. Jeremy Hsu in the Live Science blog explains new research which claims to prove that people are more likely to remember what they see on a film than what they read. This causes a problem as they are more likely to remember Hollywood fiction than textbook fact. Andrew Butler, a psychology researcher at Washington University told Live Science:

"What we found is that there's something really special about watching a film that lets people retain information from that film, even when they had read a contradictory account in the textbook."

The research also shows the power film can have over us.Hsu wrote about this in Live Science last year in his article on how neuroscientists have been working out what film sequences keep us engaged:
"The NYU researchers envision directors using such techniques to tweak and edit their movies during production. Is the musical score failing to arouse from viewer's brains in the climactic scene? Change it. People aren't connecting so strongly to the main character? Maybe it's time to rethink the character's lines."

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