Andrew Hennigan is a Lecturer, Speaker Coach and Writer. He is interested in speaking, writing, social media, networking, influencing, reputation, intercultural, innovation and other topics. He is also a freelance journalist, writer for hire and author of the book Payforward Networking. Copyright Andrew Hennigan 2007-2017.
Five Reasons Why Turning Off The Internet is a Bad Idea: Practical Advice for Busy Dictators
According to news reports Syrian President Bashar al Assad has apparently unplugged
his country from The Internet. If you are a desperate despot I can see why you might be tempted to reach for
that OFF switch when you get a few dislikes on Facebook. But as a communication
consultant I don't recommend this for five reasons.
1. MORE NEGATIVE PRESS. Turning off The Internet gets you some seriously bad
press. I don't recall anyone ever writing a neutral-to-positive piece about
this. You are probably getting some negative coverage anyway for other unpleasant things, but you don't mess with The Internet and get away with it.
2. DRIVES ANGER TO THE STREETS. Turning off The Internet can have the entirely unintended effect of encouraging more direct action. People are still angry and maybe they were venting their anger online, posting negative content on social media. Without this outlet they have little choice but to turn off the computer, hit the streets and throw hard, heavy stuff at wherever you live.
3. CUTS YOU OUT OF THE LOOP. While The Internet is up
you at least get to see what people are saying, who said it and who liked it. Turn the regular web off and people resort to other channels that you can neither monitor nor control. Now you don't even know how much angry they are or what they are going to do next.
4. THE BACKLASH CAN HURT. Doing anything bad to The Internet winds up geeks who know how to hurt you. Remember
all the embarrassing emails you sent to mistresses? Now they will be on the web
for everyone to see. Have an official website? It will get hit like Mastercard
and Visa. And remember how web-savvy jokers linked searches for the phrase "miserable failure" to the biography of George W Bush? Do you really want to be the first google
result for "asshole"?
5.DRIVES COMMUNICATION UNDERGROUND. Most of all, once you show people that a communication network is not dependable you just give a lot of people the idea that they need a more robust, government-proof communication network. Maybe local community
organizers will get satellite links. Maybe their neighbors install a peer-to-peer network that needs no state infrastructure. Or perhaps people can fall back on pen-and-paper solutions.
You might get a short-term relief from negative coverage by turning off The Internet, but long term it isn't going to do much good. People will just find other ways to get the word out and meantime you get yourself an even worse reputation as an Enemy of The Internet. People of The Internet do not forgive, they do not forget and they have a way of getting their own back.
One of the easiest ways to improve your public speaking is to become better at using pauses. Initially people are afraid to leave pauses, especially at the beginning of their speaking career when they are still nervous. Other people tend to speak without breaks because they are trying to recite a memorized text -- never a great idea. See How to Memorize a Speech Effectively for the correct way to do this.
But a speech without pauses is much more tiring to listen to and people can miss key phrases as their brain struggles to parse a continuous stream of sounds without a break. It is the audible equivalent of trying to read Sir Thomas Malory's La Morte D'Arthur in the original, unpunctuated edition or a sentenceallruntogetherintoonebiglumplikethis.
Adding pauses helps people to understand what you are saying, it helps to attract attention and it helps to emphasize the key points. You can use pauses in several ways:
The Pause at the Beginning. One of the most common mistakes I see…
Airbnb has been wildly successful in creating a multi-billion dollar business out of short term room rentals. The company has long been opposed by various lobbies. Traditional hospitality companies fear that it might encroach on their business and demand a more level playing field where everyone abides by the same rules (Internet Marketplaces, Is it Time to Level the Playing Field). Local authorities see the company as costing them tax revenue and flouting regulations. Other bodies are concerned about the impact on the housing market.
Around the world local authorities are creating new rules for this kind of home rental. Home rental contracts are also being rewritten to limit or ban outright short term subrentals. Airbnb responds to these moves with traditional lobbying efforts, but what is much more interesting is how the company is preparing to mobilize the massive army of airbnb hosts to advocate for the business, too.
What airbnb has done is to create a network of "Homeshar…