Why government shouldn't have a sense of humor

You’ve heard it before… social media is a cocktail party. You have to be interesting and interact. Lurk at a cocktail party and you will get bored. Even worse your friends will get bored of you and not invite you again. So get stuck in there.

The problem is that this is a metaphor… Being funny at a cocktail might be ok. Being amusing on social media? Not always. Not for the first time I put forward this view at a discussion between politicians and social media scholars in Borås.

Here I argued that tone of voice is important and government bodies should be wary of social media. In particular I used examples of the police in a Swedish town creating and using their own Gangnam Style parody. I tried to explain that this was problematic in relation to copyright law, use of government property and the way in which the police are to be perceived.

Not everyone agreed. They argued funny was good for government and that parodying popular memes could only create a popular buzz. We agreed to disagree. So today, not without a touch of schadenfreude, I read this on Torrentfreak:

Four mayors in Denmark now know what it’s like to become a target of an international recording label out for blood over copyright. The controversy stems from the publication of a YouTube video featuring the officials dancing to Gangnam Style. Universal Music, the company holding the copyright to the original track, have warned the mayors that unless they pay $42,000 by tomorrow, a copyright infringement battle will follow.

Supposing they “chose” to pay rather than going to court my question is who should pay? Should the Danish taxpayer be forced to pay for the mayors’ lack of judgement? Or is it a personal liability? Shouldn’t the mayors been doing something better with their time that attempting to follow the tail end of a dying meme?

So the next time someone questions my ideas about the importance that government bodies not have a sense of humor I shall ask if they can afford their own amusement.

Great News for the Nordic Commons

Not only has Jonas done the work – he even wrote this blogpost which I happily & unashamedly steal. Great Work Jonas!

This is horribly exciting: I’ve been wanting to write more about this for a while now, but we wanted to time the release together with the Nordic Culture Fund. The short story, part of which I’ve leaked before, is that the Society for Free Culture and Software has been granted €49000 in funding for a project to bring Creative Commons to artists. Over the next year, from September 2010 to June 2011 we’ll be organising a series of workshops in some Nordic countries where we will talk about Creative Commons, how to use it, when to use it, and get as many artists as possible to make that first release with a Creative Commons license.

We’ll be organising workshops in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and on the Faroe Islands. The workshops themselves will be around April-May 2011, but we’re going to start already in September this year, and during FSCONS in November, to think about how to best approach newcomers to Creative Commons, prepare materials for the workshops and practice presenting Creative Commons to newcomers.

The society is working on this together with Smári McCarthy (IS), Birita í Dali (FO), Christian Villum (DK), Mathias Klang (SE) and Gisle Hannemyr (NO). The funding comes from Nordic Culture Fund and the Nordic Culture Point, and supplements funding which we’ve received for other projects. In total, we’ll spend around €60000 over the next year on CC activities.

Danish Tourist Board Remix

Straight from BoingBoing but way to good to ignore

Carsten sez, “My friend, artist Camilla Brodersen created a wonderful, freely-redistributable rehash of an old Danish tourist poster, highlighting the new situation after the new police powers, as demonstrated in the heavy-handed clampdown on protesters at the recent climate change summit in Copenhagen. My friend Amila juxtaposed the mashup with the original poster on her English-language blog, creating a chilling and all too realistic contrast.”

Fake youtube viral from Denmark

Politiken.dk has an article revealing the truth about #Karen26 the YouTube film where a young Danish mother with a baby in her arms is trying to find the father of her child. She has forgotten his name. The youtube information includes:

Help me find the Father of Little August. If you can help please mail danishkaren26@gmail.com, see more about August here: http://karen26.mono.net/

This film was a huge success and it was only later (even if many saw it as a bluff straight off) that it came out that it was a paid advertisement from the Danish tourist board. Part of the visit Denmark campaign. Blogger adland nicely sums it up

Forget Tivoli, that teeny disappointment of a statue known as the little mermaid, the beautiful light of Skagen that inspired world renowned art, Legoland, the quaint walking street Strøget, Danish design, the ‘lawless’ Christiania with its art, music and funny cigarettes and open-minded living. These days Denmark is most known for cartoons that offend muslims, deporting muslims asylum seekers by forcing them out of churches in the middle of the night, and hippie-land Christiania is about to be torn down. Good thing they still have loose women and unprotected sex to sell the country by, right? Come to in Denmark.

What a wonderful image of Denmark. Visit Denmark and meet slutty women. I really doubt that (1) danish women would like this message, and (2) that the person who approved it was a woman.