The Meter Maids at Tech.Ed Australia this year had some media attention. Well, of course:
ScantilyCladWomen + TechConference + Microsoft + NewsArticle = PageViews + AdRevenue
Funnily enough, I was oblivious to it for the most part, since at the Welcome party on Tuesday 24th, I had other things on my mind - the AuTechHeads party, which was notable for its lack of organised Meter Maid appearances. In fact, although I heard a bit about it, I really only paid attention somewhere around late Thursday. It took me a while to come down from our party, I had other things to do, and frankly, it just wasn't what I was there for. But by end of Thursday I had a picture of what had happened.
So what did happen? Denials and apologies aside, we know that Microsoft had made some form of arrangement to have the Meter Maids at the event. Now, if I know Australian tech-based organisations like I think I do, this is the most likely truth:
Someone (ie. 1 or 2 persons) had knowledge of what they would be wearing.
They didn't tell everyone else.
Everyone else's first inkling was when they turned up
It was far too late to do anything - there would be a contractual obligation plus 3000+ geeks about to descend on the party
And finally, the decision was "Ahh, what's the worst that could happen"
Pure supposition, but I'd bet it's something along those lines. It happens, regularly enough - and not just in tech organisations. Hell, I can bring to mind some news organisations who've done their own "tittilating" stunts in the past ... in fact, virtually all of them. And yeah, some of them have backfired.
I'm not trying to make apologies on behalf of Microsoft. They're big enough to cope with the "controversy" themselves. I do feel for some of the great people who work at MS Australia, some of who have probably been diverted from their planned work to deal with it (even if it wasn't of their own devising). I also think of my good friend @themolk, whose photo from the night has been used in many media publications with or without credit, and who had no intention to have it land in the tabloids!
So in context, on Friday at some point, the Meter Maids turned up out the front. By then I was aware of the media beatup that was going on, and it happened that I was headed to the shops. The television station behind the stunt tried to interview me - which I had to turn down through concerns about my own employer, which is certainly not Microsoft :-) - but otherwise I just took a quick snap and went on my way to the shops. I tweeted it, primarily as a heads up to the Microsoft people who I assumed would like to know.
On the way back, I took a better shot and tweeted that too. And those who know me or follow me on Twitter would know that I wouldn't leave it without some joke - obligatory joke made, and I was done with it.
So today I now see my photo popup as a link in an article - associated with my name and Twitter handle / bio - in a NetworkWorld.com article. Somewhat out of context given the timeline, but these are the things that make for the all important PageViews + AdRevenue.
Choosing to be somewhat public because of my association with AuTechHeads, and also having reached a point where I'm proud to own my own thoughts and opinions without anonymity, I kind of expect this from time to time. I don't mind, really. It does irritate me to see it out of context, but that's life in the media. I'm glad I gave that up some time ago.
The lesson to be learnt from this is to always be conscious of the consequences. Especially in this age of instant gratification and social media. If you're not expecting a stunt to backfire, you might want to rethink it. The worst thing anyone ever does is to discount the likelihood of a worst case scenario!
Browse more posts:
Enjoyed this post?
Help us spread the word by sharing with friends and colleagues!