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Anxieties of Influence | Some Key Brazilian Bloggers

As a wannabe beat reporter trying to get oriented in a strange land, my raison du blog is to identify influential media strategists and strategies and reverse engineer their techniques and implementations.

In some cases, the structure of hyperlinks in a galaxy of related content provides evidence of a Collaborative Networked Organization (CNO) in action, just as much of the 21st century management literature predicts.

But which cases?

In the past, I have done quite a bit of this with political campaigns, owing both to personal curiosity and to the fact that political campaigns tend to use state of the art techniques for achieving well-defined goals — get at least one more vote than the competition at all costs.

This makes such campaigns ideal for reverse engineering and hypothesis testing. O brave new world, that hath such Twitter robots in it!

I have also had some pretty good success using the technique of focused crawling to identify key players in various economic sectors, such as banking & finance, agriculture, utilities, IT, infrastructure and culture & entertainment — stuff my work is about.

Forget the free-living joyful image of Pelé and Carvanal –Brasil is the world capital of soul-crushing alphabet-soup bureaucracy. Web crawling helps generate lists of bureaucratic agents and agencies and assess their relative importance. 

Now, as I have said before, I believe Innovation Media Consulting to be among the most influential in the world in collaborative network organizational strategy.

Its trademark design philosophy [SND] is readily recognizable to the eye even among the majority of clients that ask to keep their contracts confidential. It has been instrumental in propagating this philosophy worldwide, in company with philanthropreneuerial promoters such as CIMA, the Knight Foundation and others.

Along with the World Editors Forum, I-MC appears to have spawned subsidiary consulting firms such a the Di Franco agency here in Brazil, which counts the New York TImes among its clients — as does the Huge Inc. agency, which also represents

  1. City of New York
  2. U.S. Dept. of Energy
  3. Time Warner
  4. News Corporation
  5. Thomson Reuters
  6. Moma New York
  7. NBC Universal
  8. Disney
  9. Verisign

Also linked to the agency, as a client, is the Abril publishing and multimedia group here in Brazil, one of whose senior executives is a founding partner in Innovation — a project incubated for a number of years now at the University of Navarra.

Nearly all of the major dailies — O Globo, Folha de SP, Estado de SP, A Tarde, Zero Hora  — and news portals — Terra and iG and R7 and G1 –here show signs of implementing the trademark IMC-style «portal + blog farm» interface to its content.

The traditional front page is replaced by a personality-based multichannel index directing readers to inside pages from various points of entry, included multiple social network refluxes.

Oh, and also, the taboo against advertising on the front page? Consigned to the dust heap of history as a communist plot.

Above, a hierarchical view of components in the egocentric network of the  «Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa».

They include an international philanthropic network, regional and national press freedom associations, and a broad cloud of «samizdat» and «semi-samizdat» — amateur or semiprofessional blogging, tweeting, liking, and bookmarking. Finally, components include public relations campaigns behind philanthropic «movements», such as the Cidade Sustentável project shown here.

The sustainable cities meme is an international campaign ranging over such state and national capitals as Bogota, Lima, Rosario, São Luis de Maranhão, Teresopolis, S.Paulo, and so on.

Okay, so let us look at a couple of anchor bloggers from the Folha-UOL blog farm — bloggers positioned strategically in the blog farm as a gateway to content or which seem to attract links from widely varied sources.

We will be using a «maximum flow» algorithm in Pajek — above, the shared links between I-MC and the Nieman project at Harvard — to identify «key men» — gatekeepers and brokers and so on — and assess their «link ecology».

Above, the intermediary role of the Tres Tristes Tigres digital agency, with clients including the heavyweight PRISA and Santillana publishing groups.  Brazilian newspapers in this ecosystem — O Globo, the Folha, the Estado de S. Paulo and Valor Econômico — belong to the Grupo Diários das Américas, GDA.

Prominent members of GDA, such as El Tiempo in Colombia, have clearly, to the critical eye for detail, adopted digital strategy revisions in the past several years. They have been pioneering users of new standards for automating information exchange — Newsstand and Digital Distribution.

These organizations tend to promote their shared commercial agenda through nonprofit freedom of the press initiatives such as Article 19 and any one of a hundred others. These networks of alliances of sometimes flimsy foundations generally  the Chapultepec Declaration (PDF) as though it were a papal encyclical — as does the Brazilian National Association of Newspapers et al.

  1. Novo em Folha,
  2. Toda Mídia, and
  3. Josias de Souza

are the cases of «quasi-samizdat» that intrigue me at the moment, due to their prominence as measured by their centrality as well as their institutional linking strategies.

An egocentric view of Novo em Folha suggests what a cursory reading of the blog over time suggests: the blog acts as a broker between English-language «innovation journalism» and would-be Brazilian equivalents. The Knight Foundation plays a central role.

Josias de Souza is the anchor blogger for the Folha de S. Paulo on its proprietary UOL portal … as Noblat is for O Globo and Reinaldo is for Veja, among others, more or less. The personalization of news delivery is a visible megatrend, with personality driven daily clippings and news anchors who prowl an architecturally sophisticated set and interject their own feelings into the news — «Sad, isn’t it?»

[ … more tktktktktk …]