Tuesday, 6 May 2008


My PR & technology professors will evaluate this blog, so I won’t be able to publish new posts for a while. Meantime check out some of the latest Social Media news from Google News.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Facebook campaigner who broke the bank

Stephen Davies writes on his blog that "Facebook is proving to be a successful platform for anyone (stress: anyone) to take action against perceived wrong doings of big business, provided that the cause is worthy of a fight and the ‘crowd’ is big enough."

The Internet, and particularly Social Media networking sites, have brought more power to the unhappy consumer. Fast communication and networking has made it ever so easy to organise protests, boycotts, and share dissatisfying experiences and/or home-produced-media bashing a company, product or brand. As a PR professional representing especially larger organisations it is now an absolute must to monitor activity on the internet at large, and Social Media networking sites in particular. I’m not sure if these developments make organisations more prone to engage in two-way communication with online publics, or more anxious about getting involved. What do you think?

Johnny Chatterton organized a protest group via Facebook and managed HSBC to change their policy regarding graduate overdrafts. In this 3:30 minute interview he speaks of how he organised the group and what aspects of Facebook he thinks made the campaign successful:

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Social Media Release: template version 1,5

In my post The Social Media Release: a new tool in the toolbox I presented how the SMR has developed from Todd Defren’s 2006 SMPR template version 1, into Marketwire’s Social Media 2.0 template 2008. Now Todd Defren on his blog has published The Social Media News Release template version 1,5.

I think the main improvements are a stronger connection between the SM(N)R and the organisation’s online newsroom. Also for it to truly be a social media I believe a possibility for comments (initiating a two-way dialogue) must be present, which is the case in version 1,5 of the template.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the IABC working group, which is looking to set a standard for the SMR, will react to Defren’s new version.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Microblogging - a usefull PR tool?

Of all the Internet communication technologies (ICTs) Twitter is the one which seem to be in fashion at the moment. Deirdre Breakenridge, President and Director of Communications at PFS Marketwyse, says in her blog regarding Twitter that “I find myself lost in the abundance of information from the people I follow. I learn a tremendous amount about technology and what are the hottest topics, tools, and news of the day.”

I have to admit that I’m not equally enthusiastic, I haven’t really been able to see its usefulness as an effective PR tool yet. However, as more and more interesting people are getting in to it, like UK Prime minister
Gordon Brown, maybe I’m missing out on something. Perhaps if it keeps growing in popularity PR practitioners have to follow key e-fluentials on Twitter as a pre-emptive tool to know what is going on. Do you think it could be used successfully as a public relations tool?

If you’re not completely sure what Twitter actually is, check this video out:

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Wikipedia and political tactics

Wikis are a great idea and has potential for PR professionals in the planning process of campaigns, especially if team members are working at separate locations. Wikipedia is of course the ‘granddaddy’ of Wikis and a great resource for information, especially when it comes to new technologies.

As my classmate Irene pointed out in her blog post Wikis as battlegrounds: Who wins?, it has its limitations however. In academia Wikipedia is usually said to be a great place to start, but a really lousy place to finish. Since it is user generated content it is not always very accurate, often because the specific writer is limited in his or her knowledge of the specific area. However, sometimes its deliberate inaccurate information put there for strategic reasons, something the candidates in the US primary election has had to experience. Check out this video from CNN:

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Blogging Big Business, but at what price?

Lucrative blogging
As I previously have written on this blog it becomes obvious when reading PR-blogs that many of the posts aim to push for clients or business that they, the bloggers, themselves are a part of. But just blogging in itself can be good business, having many readers and becoming an e-fluential can be lucrative. Some bloggers make money through advertisement, some are paid per post, while others cash-in based on how many readers they attract.

According to a recent article in the New York Times some bloggers trying to make a career out of blogging may just end up with $1000 a month, while others who blog on bigger sites can earn between $30,000 to $70,000 a year. However, there are a few who end up with six figure earnings, and some who even manage to build ‘mini-empires’ which generate several hundred thousand dollars a month.

Health risks
For those few there seem to be a heavy prize to pay though: “Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.”

That people with highly stressful jobs may succumb due to heart problems caused by their lifestyle is not something new, but I haven’t seen it being mentioned in connection with bloggers and the new internet-era information cycle before. The article goes on to say that “Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.”

At the current moment I’m producing about one post a week on this blog, maybe that’s a good plan…

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Are New Communications Models Changing Old Power Structures?

In his book Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond, Axel Burns argue that the old mass-mediated model is replaced under the ‘new network paradigm’. It used to be the case that consumers, due to lack of access to a media of their own, could not respond to what they saw or heard on the traditional media in other ways than to consume (or chose not to consume).

“Under the new network paradigm, by contrast, producers and users of media content are both simply nodes in a neutral network and communicate with one another on an equal level.” (p. 14)

There is no doubt that communication (and distribution) models have changed. Some form of power shift to the consumers’ advantage has taken place, with the communication opportunities that the internet brings. However, I think there is a danger in believing that communication is done ‘on an equal level’ just because communication channels are available. It suggest that a ‘two-way symmetrical’ model of communication is possible, which I find fallacious. Despite the enabling of two-way communication, and the producers and users of media content both being nodes in a network, that communication is not neutral when it comes to power. Size, money and other forms of resources are still major factors when it comes to strength, offline as well as online. I believe the same hegemonic power structures, although online networking to some extent can challenge them, are still there.

An important question in relation to this may be if we as public relations professionals are just preserving these power structures, now with the help of new tools, online as well?