November 17, 2011
Associated Press & Twitter at the Altar? Hardly Hardly...
Just when you think the two shall meet at the altar or even three might meet at the altar, there's a glitch aka one of those social media hiccups that more established companies have a hard time handling.
In the news this week, there's more clashing between social media aka Twitter in this case and traditional media. In other words, the two still don't meet, don't understand each other and the rules are yet to be defined.
According to the Washington Post, Twitter has gone after the Associated Press for upbraiding its staffers for tweeting during Tuesday’s predawn Occupy Wall Street raid, during which AP reporters and many others were arrested. As written up in New York Magazine, the wire service sent its employees this e-mail:
In relation to AP staff being taken into custody at the Occupy Wall Street story, we’ve had a breakdown in staff sticking to policies around social media and everyone needs to get with their folks now to tell them to knock it off. We have had staff tweet — BEFORE THE MATERIAL WAS ON THE WIRE — that staff were arrested.
Crikey. Tweets came pouring out in response. The below was taken from the personal Twitter account of Mandy Jenkins, social media guru for the Huffington Post:
AP staffers scolded for tweeting ahead of the wires from #OWS. https://bit.ly/smSmj8 i.e. The AP tries its damndest to be irrelevant.
Lou Ferrara, who is the AP’s managing editor for sports, entertainment, lifestyles and interactive piped in to comment:
Reason No. 1 why AP staffers should not tweet out news that hasn’t yet been produced on an AP platform, Ferrara said, is that “we put news on our products first. That’s what our customers expect.”
Reason No. 2 is a strong imperative: “As a news organization, our first priority is the safety and well being of our people, and we shouldn’t be putting anything out till we have a clear understanding” of exactly what is going on. That’s standard AP policy for situations in which reporters are taken into custody, Ferrara emphasized, both in the United States and abroad.
Frankly, having formal "control" around this isn't so much the answer as much as it is setting guidelines and letting employees know why random tweeting without knowing the "facts" can be harmful.
I'm astounded still how often Twitter is used at times where it isn't the best platform. I use Twitter extensively and yet sometimes email or text messaging may be a better way to "find out information", clarify it and then send out a tweet...or not.
If you don't understand what's going on, and you're dying to tweet because its so easy to hit that button, perhaps use the 3 minute rule, the one that can save you a lot of hassle later on. Hmm, perhaps I could get a second opinion before I send out a random tweet. Secondly, think twice about what your tweet, which lives on the net forever could meet for your reputation and who you're tweeting about. Third, a direct message, text message or email clarifying the details and getting a better understanding before you tweet is just smart and thorough "reporting." If Twitter isn't reporting when its now breaking news, I don't know what is. Sure, it's a marketing machine, sure it's an engagement tool, sure it's a way to interact with customers and friends, but it's also a short form news reporting tool. (and a great one when you're on the ground, particularly in a crisis situation).
Clearly, I drink the Twitter coolaid and love the tool, but I do think we should encourage people to use the 3 minute rule before they tweet more often, particularly around more sensitive situations, the result of which could just "up" the quality and callibre of the tweets that get sent out.
Quotes and references on the "news" were taken from the Washington Post article who covered this story at length. For the rest of the read, click here.
November 04, 2011
Technorati's Shani Higgins on the State of the Blogosphere
Technorati CEO Shani Higgins presented the annual State-of-the-Blogosphere at BlogWorldExpo this morning. Below are some of the more interesting stats Higgins released in a shotgun array of slides after slides with stats after stats.
When Mitch Joel, who has been blogging for about as long as I have, asked "what defines a blog today? Is Huffington Post a blog? Is an economist who presents an opinion on a site that looks like a blog a blog? Says Higgins, "the independent web is what blogs are...." In other words, not necessarily controlled by a brand or a publisher.
Of bloggers today, 61% are hobbyists. Professional part-timers make up 13%, corporate bloggers make up 8% and entrepreneurs, which is a new category this year is roughly around 13%.
Of bloggers geographically, 50% of bloggers still comes from the US, which apparently hasn't changed much from last year. 65% are aged between 18-44 years old and 59% are male, which is down by 5%, meaning more women are blogging than last year this time.
An oustanding stat is that on average, bloggers have 3 blogs, 50% have been blogging 4+ years, 80% have been blogging 2 or more years, 44% blog 2-3 times per week or more, with pro segments blogging daily. One third of bloggers work in the mainstream media as a writer, reporter, producer or on-air personality.
Reasons Why People Are Blogging:
- To share their expertise and experiences with others – 70%
- To become more involved with their passion areas – 58%
- To meet and connect with like-minded people – 50%
- To gain professional recognition – 42%
Success Metrics - how bloggers measure their success in order of importance:
- Personal satisfaction
- Number of unique visitors
- Number of comments
- Backlinks from other bloggers
Social Media Use:
- Google+ = 66% of probloggers (58% of all bloggers are on Google+)
- Facebook – 92% of probloggers
- Twitter is used to promote their blogs: 71% of all bloggers agree, and 90% of all probloggers agree.
- Facebook – 50% of all bloggers have a separate account for their blogs, 75% of all probloggers. Of this group, bloggers are primarily using Facebook to promote their blogs. 37% of all bloggers say they link their Twitter & Facebook accounts.
- Google+ users, 10% of all bloggers have a separate account for their blog, 27% for probloggers. Bloggers who primarily use Google+ to promote their blogs is 27% of all bloggers, 45% of probloggers. Only 13% of this group syndicate their content.
LinkedIn comes in after Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and Digg fell below Tumblr and Foursquare.
Social Media Drivers - in order of driving traffic:
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Stumble Upon, Google+, Tumbler, Flickr, Yelp, Vimeo, Plaxo, Picasa, Orkut, MySpace, Friendsster, Foursquare, and Delicious, with Digg coming in last.
The number one influence for bloggers is other bloggers. In other words, 68% of bloggers look to other bloggers which determine things more than anything else aka "the influencers influence the influencers" says Higgins.
Brand behavior is important, but just how important is the perception of the brand to a blogger? And, what is a blogger prepared to accept on their blog? Compared to last year, bloggers have increased their criteria for the kind of brand they're willing to accept on their blog. Whether bloggers are influenced by a brand or company’s behavior:
- 25% encouraged other bloggers to discourage other bloggers from using a brand.
- Bloggers still boycott products and write about the fact that they boycott products and companies.
The biggest complaint is that 60% of bloggers feel they are treated less professionally by brand representatives than traditional media, down from 64% in 2010, which isn’t significant.
- 15% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brands as very favorable.
- 34% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brands as favorable.
- 51% want to work with brands directly
- 49% want to work through an intermediary.
There are mixed reviews on brand interactions: less than 25% say brands provide value, or are knowledgeable about their blogs. In describing the communications bloggers receive from brands, bloggers felt that brands are not very knowledgeable about their blog, their content and blogging style, nor are they genuinely interested in learning about their content and what they cover. In other words, brands have to work much harder and get more personal. And, I'd add, listen.
86% of bloggers disclosed that a post was sponsored or paid.
58% disclosed they had received a product they reviewed.
The highest is product reviews, followed by sponsored posts, focus groups and spokesblogger or brand ambassador in that order. In terms of what their audience liked the best of this list, it was product reviews.
Tools that Brands Use:
Blogger outreach 12%
Majority of the above have only been using social media for only 1-2 years.
34% of them have their own blogs.
- 4% of all bloggers and 37% of full time pros say blogging is their primary income.
- 14% receive a salary for blogging with the average being around $24K, the highest report was $140K.
- Display ads represents 34%
- Affiliate ads: 31%
- Search ads: 27%
- Paid Posts: 34%
- Spokespeople: 5%
The following results came from bloggers when asked what was the fee they’ve been paid for a single instance of the following:
- Being a brand or product spokesman: $1,365
- Paid to give speeches: $1,560
- Paid to attend events: $1,018
- Paid for a broadcast media appearance: $796
- Received an item of high value to review or endorse: $409
- Print or other media contributor: $935
November 03, 2011
What is REAL Influence? Will Klout & Other Tools Define & Control You or Will You Define Them?
There's been so much buzz -- on and offline -- about Klout's decision to unveil a new formula which supposedly recalculates scores more accurately, the result of which brought most people's "popularity" scores down a few notches, including my own.
While I think what the guys over at Klout are trying to do is admirable and truth be told, we need really smart analytics and measurement tools to break through the noise, what we have today simply isn't accurate enough or "whole" enough to give us the real truth on who's influential and more importantly, in what circles and why.
Wouldn't it be more interesting to know who had a Klout score of 80 in food and wine, 80 in social media, 80 in fashion, 80 in politics and so on?
Wouldn't it also be more interesting if tools like this took into consideration a person's offline influence as well as other things they may have done, such as a bestselling book or created a program that made an African village sustain itself?
Part of the issue is that we're early and all of the vendors trying to innovate in this area are trying to figure it out. I spent time talking to Klout's CEO and founder Joe Fernandez in Dublin recently at a web conference and I think he's a great guy who's trying to do the right thing.
I jokingly complained that I've seen 21 year olds who are new to social media, new to Twitter and new to business whose Klout scores have been higher than mine on some days. There are many things they take into account when dishing out a Klout score, including the level of engagement. Crikey, if you're my niece's age and have thousands of Facebook friends who have a ton of time on their hands and can chat away all day with their friends, regardless of how big the circle is, then no doubt, that online "activity" gets engagement brownie points which goes into the Klout analysis.
While engagement could be high in this 'circle', it is its own ecosystem and the real question is: will this voice influence a certain number of people to buy a certain product or take a certain that builds brand awareness?
I have 3 Facebook pages attached to my name, all of which are mine, but I don't get credit in the Kloutsphere for any of them because they can only give you points for one Facebook account - your personal one. When I asked Joe about this, he had a logical explanation. There are far too many people managing a celebrity or brand's Facebook fan page and they shouldn't get credit for that level of influence when the page is about someone else. Fair enough. But what about those whose Facebook pages are legitimately connected to themselves? Small business owners would also fall into that category.
Yet, despite the fact that the numbers aren't accurate or "whole," tons of vendors and brands are jumping into the lions den and testing things out. Frankly, there's nothing wrong with that. With every evolution and revolution, you need to learn by trial and error just like we did with email after fax, blogging after websites and Twitter after AOL IM.
One of my issues is how much credence we (as an industry) give these early tools and how much of a time waste they are for so many I know including me at times before I kick myself back into perspective, nevermind the cultural impact which has quite honestly turned into a popularity contest. I feel as if everyone is competing to be Ken or Barbie and we're back to high school behavior in a way that's not healthy.
Scores are one way for brand marketers and PR folks to create a list of targeted bloggers and tweeters they can go after, aka a list of the most influential voices who must hear about their product or service. I get it as I've been on the pitching line - both in front of it and in recent years, on the receiving end with We Blog the World.
As Geoff points out, the most influential people in any given sector aren’t necessarily on social media. They hire other people to serve as community managers. As one example, Klout only gives President Barack Obama an Influence Score of 48.
While we do need analytics and tools for measuring, they need to take offline influence into consideration as well as more complex elements and texture that can extracted from people's social graphs.
It's time to bring in the socialogists and anthropologists. One of the best talks I've heard in awhile on a Web-something stage was in October at Web 2.0 Summit by Intel's Genevieve Bell, an Australian born anthropologist and researcher. She is the director of Intel Corporation's Interaction and Experience Research and her talk was begging the question: what if we built data for humans rather than devices?
Looking at data from an anthropoligical and "human" perspective (bring on more women please), means that we can take the science out of the analytics just long enough to get the pieces that make up the multiple facets of what makes someone who they are into the "measurement" pool.
Christopher Poole (aka @moot69 on Twitter) also raised the point at the same conference that who we are online may not necessarily be who we are offline. In other words, my social graph online may be very different from who I am in my personal life or frankly want to be...the games we have to play with social media to be part of the conversation -- authentic voice or not -- in order to keep up with metrics and measurement are currently robotic and linear at best.
Relationships are what really matter and building them take time. I've been working on (yes, while I LOVE it, it's work and takes time), building relationships for over twenty years and yet, my Klout score is lower than someone who's barely been in business or is even old enough to have a relationship with someone longer than a few years of their adult life.
Geoff also refers to this in his post: "without a relationship, it would be extremely hard to get that high scoring influencer to invest energy into your effort. Instead you would have to focus on the magic middle and build your own influence from the ground up."
Gavin Heaten refers to Granovetter’s “strength of weak ties”. While the original post is now a few years old, his point is still relevant. "Social influence and its impact on action is determined by a large number of “weak ties”. So those blogs which are built around an identity which is well-known to its audience (strong ties) is less likely to carry social influence."
Yet, buzz agents, PR people, marketers and large brands are deciding who's influential or beyond that, who can move their brand or sell products inside that brand....all based on these scores.
I went to the Travel Blog Exchange (known among those in the biz as TBEX) in Vancouver for the first time this past year and it was loaded with travel vendors, resorts, hotel chains, restaurants, retailers and more vying for travel blogger's time and ultimately "ink."
While I spend a few hours a day nuturing a travel and culture blog, I also run a business. Many of these bloggers are doing this full time so are spending a lot of time gathering content from the world's most popular destinations and there is an inherent value in that. Yet, many of these 21-25 year old bloggers are enjoying free trips around the world on some brand's dime based on Klout scores and other things like it.
Fair enough, trust me, I wish blogging were around when I backpacked through SE Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe when I was 22. But I think some other form of value will be necessary in the future as online publishing is being rewritten.
I often wonder if I were blogging and tweeting at 22, whether I would have spent less time chatting with a villager next to a fire on some remote mountain had I been loaded down with technology? When I went on those adventures, I wore nothing but a mid-sized rucksack on my back and an old Fujica AX3. My main consideration was making sure my film didn't get roasted in the Southeast Asian sun or when I went through security lines at airports.
Today when I travel, Foursquare and Twitter (via Hootsuite) are close companions. I often tweet in real time as I'm walking down an escalator and see something interesting and at times, can get so wrapped up in following streams, that sometimes I forget to have a conversation with the guy from Chicago or Tokyo standing next to me.
It's far too easy to get caught up in check-ins, status updates and Klout scores and there's no one who can disagree, that its addictive. It's precisely what makes gamification a godsend to marketers today. And yet with all these distractions, what are we losing and are we forgetting what "real influence" and "real relationships" are in the process?
Refer to my Google+ blog post which talks about data overload and over consumption.
Two decades ago, I would have had a Klout score of zero in the travelsphere and yet by the age of 25, I had been to more places than many travel writers at magazines and newspapers I met along the way.
I didn't spend any time building relationships with influential 'travel sources,' but with the locals I met en route and here is where I captured magical stories, most of which were written down in an old fashioned diary every night by a fire or from a rickety bed.
I would argue that in a world where the lines between marketers and content creators and publishers are muddy, that large brands should ask for more than a little link love, or a certain number of tweets. How about strategic feedback based on years of valuable insights, experience and perhaps connections to people where both sides benefit in a mutually positive way? Airlines take note. It's not rocket science, it's called listening to your customers, and not just those with high Klout scores. Pay attention to what customers are saying -- on and offline -- and implement changes so they're singing your praises alongside your marketing department.
Another example of a missed opportunity for "influencer collaboration". This past summer, I was flown out to a conference with about six other bloggers and while I was given hashtag and Twitter data as well as the program in advance, I had no knowledge of who was attending the conference so I could connect with people who shared similar interests and passions in advance.
Imagine the power of my writing a story about the work of a few of the attendees as well as their speakers? Ammunition for selling tickets the following year, especially if a new initiative formed as a result.
At events where everyone is interesting and has a story to share, the magic of what can be discovered doesn't always happen on the stage. 90% of my best stories are gathered off the stage and compelling input is often found from those who are not asked to speak or haven't written a book.
And, did those speakers who authored books know the bloggers and journalists who were attending? They should have known in advance so they could have taken the opportunity to send us a copy of their book to read before their presentation. Insights would have been much deeper and after-the-talk conversations much more powerful.
Sure, we all could have done our own homework and sure, if we were interested in a particular speaker over another, we could have proactively ordered their book on our own. That's not my point. In a world of over data and over pitching, we need aggregators and curators, and human ones are often the most powerful ones.
Proactively faciliating those connections in a way that is more powerful and intimate increases the likelihood of more stories, especially ones may include more depth and texture.
I think that marketing and PR people have to not only become content creators on multiple channels but also strategic faciliators, aggregators and curators as well. I also think that asking bloggers, tweeters and other online influencers for input into their processes, products, services and ways of communicating will be critical to making this new ecosystem purr.
Events like TBEX for the travel industry, BlogWorldExpo for bloggers and social media addicts, TED for those who thrive on ideas and innovation, DAVOS for those who are participating in the global economy in some way, the national auto show for those who live and breathe cars and thousands of others were created for a reason. Sure, someone thought of an event that would draw people together including sponsors and they could profit from the outcome.
But the real draw for those who attend, even those who fork out the money to host, is the networking and the value of that "in-person" networking over the years. It was one of the reasons people were so upset when COMDEX died, the largest computer show of its kind in the U.S., an event that drew together anyone and everyone who mattered in the industry once a year in the ugly sprawling city of sin Las Vegas.
There, we built a community, and old timers still talk about memories they shared -- in the flesh, not online -- where stories, drinks, food, dancing, ideas, demos and deals were all shared. TED is a great example of a community which has been created both on and offline, and now extended through TEDx events throughout the world.
Relationships are built by investing time in people. In Dublin recently, a group of us were brought to the Irish President's residence and a day earlier, we all listened to the Trinity Orchestra at a college older than the U.S. - there's nothing in an online world, social influence or not, that can take away from those shared memories and moments, some of which may have showed a precious vulnerable side to someone you dare not share online for online is not where that "exchange" belongs.
A deeper dive into what really makes up influence, which includes trust, will improve the current ecosystem we now embrace. It may also change the cast of characters we currently hold in high esteem when honesty, real openness and "human influence" replaces old schoolXYZ networks that keeps things in status quo, maintaining the same dozen voices we hear from again and again, particularly in the online publishing world.
Here, Geoff is spot on when he says "when we focus on influence rankings — tools that quantify a media form’s participants like it was run by journalists — we walk away from the basic truth about these particular types of media. They are relational. They are SOCIAL media.
So, by focusing on lists and not dialoguing and adding value through relevant content and investment, a practitioner is not present. Their effort is bound to have fundamental weaknesses. Building relationships in real life at events, meetings, and through social media are the ways to cultivate better influence.
And oh man, I love his ending: "what is the real reason to quantify big social media influencers? If relationships are your desired outcome, why waste time?"
We've paid so much attention to data for data sake and the last century has paid an unfair advantage to scientific knowledge and stats, that we need to rewrite the rules of what holds value in and out of the boardroom. Francis Cholle in his book The Intuitive Compass takes 223 pages to tell you why our intuition (the quadrant which is defined by relationships and creativity) is critical to succeeding in the next century. (book review coming on We Blog the World before the end of the year in the Books category).
A fundamental question to think about is this: will Klout & other measurement tools like it define and control you or will you define and control them? If we are to innovate, shouldn't we step up and tell the data what really matters? In a Genevieve Bell world, we'd start with humanity and relationships and build up and out from there.
Photo credits in order of appearance: Garagehangover, Obama shot unknown, John Ryan & Associates, a Facebook stream, Selfleadership.com.
November 3, 2011 in America The Free, Europe, Magic Sauce Media, On Blogging, On Branding, On Geo-Location, On Innovation, On Journalism, On People & Life, On Social CRM, On Technology, On the Future, PR & Marketing, Reflections, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 10, 2011
Fostering Media Connections for Foster Children Globally
The Foster care system globally is getting a helping hand from Ryan Blankshire who talks about her project here with colleague Eytan Altman. Ryan's goal is to give the Foster Care system and issues, much more coverage than they currently have.
June 23, 2011
The Today Show's Ann Curry: Make Social Media WORK for GOOD: #140Conf
Last week in New York, I watched NBC's Ann Curry address the 140Conf audience about the impact of social media in her own life and why she thinks it's important and not just for journalism.
Incorporating a Twitter comment, Ann's handle and her own insights in the below Webdoc, you can get a clearer, richer idea of her story....and her personality.
Disclosure: I provide some consulting to Webdoc.
NY Times Jennifer Preston Chats With NPR's Andy Carvin About Reporting LifeLast week at the 140Conf in New York, New York Times' Jennifer Preston interviewed NPR's Andy Carvin about his reporting life using social media, video, audio and more and what his aggressive and "fast coverage" means to journalism as we know it and politics as know it. Their conversation below.
April 18, 2011
Enter Huffington TV: #Curation AIN'T Going Anywhere Anytime Soon!
AOL's now editorial master Arianna Huffington today launched Huffington TV, which they're touting as a new web-based "channel for channels" that she promises will "revolutionize the way we watch our favorite programs by aggregating the best TV has to offer."
But it isn't going to just be an aggregated model; it will be smartly 'curated' as well. There's that word again. Curation AIN'T going anywhere anytime soon folks. In the so called conversation age, we’re drowning in data. We know it. We talk about it. Yet, we continue to make content even if its only 140 characters. Finding what matters is becoming harder and a combination of search and machine curation alone isn’t doing the trick.
I'm passion enough about this topic BECAUSE I'm swimming in a sea of data that I worked with Pearltrees last year, which is focused on a different kind of curation, one with a creatively interesting twist. I'm also a fan of Steve Rosenbaum's new book: Curation Nation which I just finished reading, a great read on why it will be the thing that matters in the next several years.
And, Arianna has been quick to point out that the success of Huffington Post was a combination of smart aggregation and curation. She hired behind the scenes curators to make sure the end product was a winning formula for her readers.
Huffington TV is a smart move frankly. Curation is key and if she gets the video formula down like she did her blog, people will flock to watch. The idea is that they'll curate offerings of the major broadcast and cable networks to present the "most compelling content on TV in an easily digestible form."
April 16, 2011
AdTech San Francisco Keynotes, Takeaways & Notes to Self: #adtech
John Bax says their focus is on "local" and that local ads obviously do the best locally since there's more of an understanding of what their brand is about when you have regional sales guys. "Intimacy works," he says.
Mobile is also an important strategy for them according to Bax. He gives a few examples including a local merchant in Virginia who has a B&B. Within 15 days, they sold all the rooms the vendors wanted to book in advance, focusing on a different strategy for how they promoted weeknights versus weekends.
He also noted that people signed up for things they weren't necessarily searching for. For example, those who signed up for a sky diving promo they did were not proactively looking to go sky diving. Their strategy works if you look at their stats and results - they apparently also sold 2 million movie tickets with Fandango.
Manny Anekal from Zynga came at his presentation primarily from the angle of giving back, i.e., "here's what Zynga is doing to give back to the world." In addition to listing all the things they are doing for social good, he ended with a leave behind for brands wanting to do a campaign with them: "We can get you up and running quickly. We were able to get a major brand up and running within six weeks," he says. He also shared stats and insights into their Frito campaign, which grew their fan base to over a million.
He started with the Pepsico pitch of products and services under their umbrella, reminding people that they operate in more countries than the UN. Then he proceeded to go primal on us and show a slide of dinosaurs and early man's progression.
"Why we are all dinosaurs?" he shouts out to the audience. His key takeaway was about adapatability in a world that is changing so fast with exponential technologies hitting us year after year making it harder to keep up.
"Adaptability is key to survival and success moving forward," he notes. “If you cease to adapt, then you cease to survive.”
While I missed Guy Kawasaki's keynote, I did not miss his book signing of new book: Enchantment, which was proof that he nailed it on stage. The line was so long for both purchases and signing that they ran out of books.
ESPN's VP Carol Cruz introduced this year's Achievement Awards right before Arianna's keynote. This year's award went to Mars' Carol Walker, who shared the award with Kathy Reardon in a 'classy moment.'
My tweets during the presentation below including AdTech's Brad Berens' share of where advertising numbers have gone up this year. Kudos to Brad and his dynamic team for pulling off yet another incredible AdTech this year.
- Carol Walker in touching classy moment shares #achievement award with Kathy Reardon on #adtech stage this AM:https://ow.ly/i/ajSA9:22 AM Apr 13th via HootSuite
- ESPN's VP Carol Cruz gives Carol Walker industry #achievementaward at #adtech -- https://ow.ly/i/ajRS9:15 AM Apr 13th via HootSuite
- Brad Berens on the #adtech stage sharing advertising numbers & stats all going up inc attendance: https://ow.ly/i/ajRf
I covered Arianna's keynote in depth here including a two part video. Below she powerfully nailed her talk, which primarily focused on humanity, sleep deprivation, hyper local and hyper connected and balance.
April 16, 2011 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Blogging, On Branding, On Journalism, On Mobile & Wireless, On Technology, PR & Marketing, San Francisco, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 15, 2011
Arianna Huffington Talks Humanity, Importance of Sleep & Hyper Local: #adtech
Arianna Huffington took the center stage and keynotes this year's AdTech San Francisco this week and as always, nailed it again, despite a couple of questions about the controversy around the ongoing discussion of unpaid versus paid bloggers prior to and following the sale to AOL. (and in general as a standard for the industry).
Yet, with fearlessness, poise, humor and confidence, she moved from old media to new media and referenced Craig Newmark, Guy Kawasaki and Biz Stone as well as cited quotes from her mother and Shakespeare all within a ten minute window.
Her focus and leave behinds primarily revolved around humanity, the need to return to hyper local engagement (and Enchantment per Guy's new book) as well as connecting with community. (she gives examples including their focus on Patch, the new hyper local sites -- a friend of mine runs Santa Cruz).
Arianna also talked about the importance of sleep and how sleep deprivation doesn't serve anyone or anything....."we can't be enchanting or engaging if we're sleep deprived," she says.
She says of new media, "we suffer from OCD - obsessive coverage of topics," and related to humanity, she quotes Biz Stone who said of Twitter, "it is not not a triumpth of technology but a triumph of humanity." Her full talk below in a two part series. Also up on YouTube.
March 09, 2011
Defining Public Relations: From Your Heart or From Your Head?
A week ago, I was asked for my definition of public relations by Heidi Cohen who was working on a blog post about what it is, as is how people define it. Here's her blog post in its entirety here which includes 31 definitions including her own.
What's interesting is how I 'felt' when I got the email....meaning I had a physical reaction to being asked for a definition as if there couldn't be a definition to something that was all about human emotions, connections and relationships. Somehow it was like being asked to define love as ridiculous as that sounds. I thought about the last time I had to write or give a definition of public relations and it was when I was in college in London many (many) moons ago.
She writes: "traditionally, public relations referred to the art of getting mentions of a person, company or other organization placed in the media, namely print, radio and television."
Here's an observation I had in reading that statement: where I studied public relations in the UK, it was primarily not about the media, but about a number of very broad constituencies and the media was just one of them. This could be because the UK was a tad more old school about the way they viewed public relations. It could also be that one of my mentors was a professor who was a master at in-person relationships where coffee, tea, scotch, wine, a meal, golf or croquet were part of nearly every conversation. Lobbying was often part of the process too depending on what the end-goal was, but the media was always just one integral part of the strategy, not everything.
When I moved back to the states, the media was a much larger part of the 'game,' although given that I worked at one of the top crisis communications firms at the time (Cone), we managed everything from roundtables, speaker series, thought leadership boards, crisis communications plans, events and guerilla marketing. And, media, of course, was a part of each plan.
It wasn't until I moved into the world of technology (much more niche back then than it is today), that our teams were primarily focused on media relations and not a whole lot else. This isn't to say that we didn't have a strategy in place, but the focus was much more tactical than it had been in the UK and at Cone. The same applied later on in my life when I did a stint in South Africa where it was 80% strategic and 20% tactical for obvious reasons. (South Africa in the early nineties: you can only imagine)
So, early on, I was 'conditioned' to think about a large number of audiences outside traditional media and perhaps that's why when I was 'forced' into an all media relations role, it became easier to execute. It wasn't long before it became increasingly crowded and the PR industry started losing credibility because so many junior folks were thrown on the phones before they really understood the product or service they were pitching, or more importantly, 'cared about it.'
When I hired agencies, the first thing I would do, was throw the team into the product. If I didn't sense they could live and breathe what they were repping, I asked for another exec to replace them. Seriously, why work on something if you don't love it and really believe in it?
When you're coming from a place of passion, it really isn't pitching at all is it? It becomes 'having a conversation' about something you care about and in the process, you get to magically build a relationship with that person. Imagine that? Isn't that exactly what social media (et hem, I mean public relations) is? Engaging with people?
I sent poor Heidi a rather long definition so she obviously had to edit it down, but here's my original submission. BTW, its long because I had such a hard time 'definining it.'
"Public Relations in its true sense is about human connections and the art of mastering human connections at a deep level. In the early days of the PR "playbook", it was about relationships with not just the press but communities in various forms - the difference was that these audiences were not online. While some argue that the value of public relations has diminished in the world of social media where everyone can be an author and content creator, I would argue that someone who not only knows how to master human connections and relationships, but thrives on it, is more vital than ever. True mastery of anything comes from a passion to serve in some way shape or form. The publicists who will matter in the 'new' world of exploding content will be the ones who thrive on communicating via countless channels not because they have to, but because more than anything else in life, they love engaging with people. From this place, authenticity is guaranteed to come through which can only help the products and services within their social sphere shine.
When public relations thrives, its because those who are 'gifted' with this skill are at the helm. When played from a place of passion and purpose, public relations in the new world will not only take social media, branding and marketing to the next level, but will elevate the people and products that are changing the world." - Renee Blodgett, Magic Sauce Media
As for the other 30, they're all pretty interesting and because each of us were asked for a definition because that was the exercise (I had to admit, it was cool exercise btw), nearly every submission reads like a definition. There was of course this very amusing one below that reminds me of Mad Man and how in many ways, a lot really hasn't changed; its just that the packaging and perception has.
"Advertising: I walk into a bar and tell the first hot girl I see how amazing I am in bed. The hot girl doesn’t go home with me. PR: I walk into a bar and a friend of the hot girl sees me and tells her friend how great I am in bed. The hot girl goes home with me. Peter Shankman"
It also reminded me of my days at Saatchi & Saatchi in London during a year that will inevitably tell my age, so I'll leave that part out. :-)
Definitions aside, how about this one which came to my head only a few seconds ago as I thought about a close to this post:
"Public Relations is the art of truly connecting with people. When the public relations master truly connects, they are sharing a 'gift.' Being a master of public relations means that you love people and building relationships so much that every exchange is seamless, authentic, honest, gracious and empathetic. And, over the course of a thousand seamless conversations, the journey becomes a joyous one of learning and deeper understanding, not just of the people you're pitching to and for, but the products and services in your web. Then, my friends, the public relations 'artist' is nothing other than a storyteller who conveys a series of beautiful and compelling stories over a lifetime, ones that inevitably have a tremendous impact on people and help change the world." - Renee Blodgett, Magic Sauce Media
Ah yes, the story. I prefer my new definition, one that came to me within seconds. I prefer it because it came from the heart and when asked for a definition, it came from the head. Living through the heart is the only way to live our lives regardless of industry.
This is how I think about my life anyway and I've been doing this for uhhh, 20 years.
Photo Credit: contentfactory.