Sunday, April 26, 2009

Revisiting the social media press release

This past week in class we discussed social media press releases and the death of the traditional press release. If you want a good example of what a social media press release entails take a quick gander at Shift Communications prototype.

To put it simply, the Social Media press release works as a place to aggregate info about your topic using various social media tools to display and present multi-media information. It functions best when you combine smartly, such as using Youtube embedded video, with a podcast link, and a del.ico.ous page with links to relevant content.

I think one the main things I'd like to revisit when looking at the concept is its readability and streamlining the concept. There is such a thing as focusing on catering to all the popular social media tools which can quite simply bog down your template. Especially if your business is taking a look at employing various SM press releases you want to consider a method for organizing, streamlining, and being able to update your information.

For example, the press release should contain a link to where all the main videos shall exist rather than bogging down the press release by linking every video. As well wherever the playlist of videos is located, they need to be named and tagged accordingly for easy viewing and finding. It is these simply types of organizational methods that need to be examined and implemented to keep the social media press release relevant and useful.

No one wants to be a pirate.

Instead of my usual post, today I present a video created by myself on the topic of the Somali Pirates. The main reason I created this video was to discuss not what the pirates are doing but rather why they are doing it. No one wants to be a pirate and the only reason Somalis have gone this route is to solve some of their problems.

While this doesn’t justify their criminal actions, it does behoove us as citizens of the world to examine why they are doing these actions and see if there is anything that can be done to resolve the issue without simply resorting to violence.

Ever since the bloody rescue of the captured American captain, Somalia is back in full frontal view of the American viewing audience, which hasn’t really happened since the Black Hawk incident back in the 90’s. Letting this problem linger since then is one of the many causes of the issues Somalia is facing.

Since the fall of the state back in the 90’s Somalia has been in constant turmoil over warlords and gunmen. This has led to a very destabilized society without any source of money, food, or growth.

Along with this issue, one of Somalia’s main sources of food, its seas have been facing major issues over the last few years. Overfishing from foreign boats who sign dubious deals with the “government” has taxed on villagers only source of food leaving many fishermen to take to arms to feed their families.

As well, one of the major concerns is the illegal dumping of toxic waste by foreign countries in the waters of Somalia. These actions threaten an already taxed and debilitated food source for the poor country.

These last two reasons have been cited by Somali Pirates as their primary concerns and justifications for their actions. They view their pirating and ransoming as a way to pay for food, medicine, supplies, and the removal and clean up of these illegal-dumping activities.

And with the spread of wealth as the money gets spent, the Somali citizenry becomes complacent with the use of illegal money to support their lives.

People shouldn’t have to resort to these activities simply to survive, and as citizens of the world in this global society we should look at solving the problems that are causing the criminal activity, not just punishing it. No one wants to be a pirate. We shouldn’t give them a reason to be.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The CNN/Ashton kutcher 1 million followers thought.

Well, twitter recently had a little event between CNN and Ashton Kutcher. For a quick read up mashable has a good report on it.

For many this "event" and milestone for twitter has for many brought Twitter into the mainstream, in general Mr. Kutcher claims it as a new changing of the guard going from old style news feed from the mainstream media to that of news from the common social media "reporters" comprised of twitters and other social media users.

However, in response to this, I think it must be remember that while the access of information has grown and sped up, I also believe that the issue of factual content, objectivity, and unbiased reporting becomes even more important. While mainstream media has changed from the objective news source to that of biased news for many who get their news from the internet, it should be more and more apparent that we require a change in the old media. An evolution for it to adjust to the new information world.

So in general, am kind of for and agaisnt the Kutcher claim. I'd rather see an evolution of the old guard to adjust to the new world. Thoughts?

On the topic of "Viral Videos"

One of the major things to come with the proliferation of Internet technology is the ability to access and upload web video.

This was the topic of conversation for our lecture this past week.

One of the most interesting things that we came upon were some of the figures about web video such as:
-total videos uploaded to youtube – 78.3 million
-average video length- 2 minutes 46 seconds
-time it would take to view all of this 412.3 years
-average age of uploader: 26.57

Of course those numbers are constantly changing, however the point I'd like to examine is what really makes a viral video viral.

At our discussion we discussed that for the most part there are 4 types of web video:

-business generated

-business generated but customized

-business initiated, user-generated

-user-initiated and user-generated

These categories tend to be the general kind of videos that we as users experience. However, my thoughts are what makes a viral video, and do any of these in particular make better viral videos?

In general, one would assume that business backed videos with seo campaigns and marketing campaigns can push any video to be a "viral" while the more user-created may have a harder time or requires a bit more luck to really reach the same level.

We learned that it really doesn't take that many people to begin the cycle of sharing and take a video viral, but in general does a marketing campaign, seo campaigns take away from the quality and notion of a viral video? Do we really worry if a viral video needs to be user-created and initiated?


Monday, April 13, 2009

Second Life: A Response

This past week, we had a presentation in class about SecondLife . For those who don't know Second Life is an online virtual world that allows users to create and experience others created content such as locations, buildings, and clothing.

In general, we discussed the many ways certain people use SecondLife. Some as a ways of communicating with others, sharing content, getting feed back from people, or as a means of experiencing new things. However, I believe that there are some limitations in terms of the program itself.

For many in our class, one of the main points of confusion was the difficulty curve in learning the program. Not only are the controls unusual, but they are not standard to many web schemes. Along with this issue is the the performance and demand that the program takes from computers. Being almost a decade old does not stop it from bringing new and powerful computers to a grinding slow halt.

In many ways, I appreciate the ideas and thoughts SecondLife tries to achieve, but I believe that there are newer technologies that achieve the same.

Metaplace: the evolved second life.

Well, in our discussions of second life, I remembered about a particular development that may be interesting to those interested about virtual worlds. It is Metaplace which functions as an evolution of the concepts and ideas that are presented in second life.

What it does is that it turns your internet browser, and a typical website, and transforms those into a virtual world. So instead of having a program to access a virtual world, anyone with the proper browser can access the virtual world simply by putting in the web address like a typical website.

Just in terms of achieving its promise I could see Metaplace recreating the Internet in terms of the way we experience it. Instead of viewing the internet as pages we would be able to experience every web address as an entirely different world and experience. Each person would be able to create their own second life for anyone to access.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Some Important Social Networks for PR professionals

This week we spoke about some important social networks that PR professionals may be interested in.

These sites would be ones that allow for professionals to connect with each other. While we know that such sites as twitter, facebook, and linkedin are useful for Pr professionals really allow for the PR community to speak with each other and share ideas.

I believe the most interesting one was Ning networks PROpenMic and Society for word of mouth (created by the writers of Citizen Marketeres). These networks exist solely for the PR communicty to interact with one another, and I believe that in general these types of social media networks can aid the rest of their audiences. Reporters can contact, communicate, and establish relationships with PR professionals.

The same can apply for Linkedin which is a place for many professionals to post their profiles and who they work for. This network allows you to examine profiles and communicate with professional individuals that normally you may not have access to.

In particular, here are some of the benefits of being on these medias.
-establish credibility

-use recommendation tool

-start networking through free access to : immediate connections, 2nd/3rd degree contacts

-join relevant interest groups

The more we are connected the better that we'll be able to express ideas and really find and connect to the expertise out there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Instead of my usual postings today I have a podcast interview performed by myself, ashley, and stephanie (fellow classmates) with Laurent Perdue, a social media professional with Peer Buzz here in Austin.

This interview covers the topics of social media, reasons for using it, and aspirations/cautions that companies should have when engaging in social media.

Interview with Lauren Perdue

(0:15) Introduction
(0:45) Lauren's introduction
(2:35) Social media as a valuable tool for companies and organizations
(4:00) Social media etiquette on a business and personal scale
(5:00) Social media and the economic status
(5:50) Businesses' social media goals and interests
(7:50) Closing

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Hoax Twitter Premium Accounts

Last week BBspot release a hoax article about a possible twitter premium account set up which had the twittersphere writhing in anticipation and talk about the possibilities of such a service.

While ultimately the article was revealed as a hoax, for alot of users premium accounts have been a long been asked for. Not to mention the need for Twitter to begin to make some form of money has long been an issue that the company has had to deal with.

However, while there are no premium accounts just yet, the question as to what this type of service would have is interesting.

Twitter has always promoted itself as a micro-blogging service so for the most part I can't see them offering more characters for premium members. However, what would make the service "better" would be some form of tracking or analytics tools that aren't inherent to the service. This is some above and beyond to the current service that adds an entire layer of information and usability for business and individuals with alot of followers.

What are your thoughts on the premium accounts?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Video Blogging at its Best.

With South by Southwest starting I'd figured I'd take a look at some of the new information coming out of it. Of the panels at SxSW, one of the interesting ones chronicled by Megan Garza at Austin Chic was a panel on Video Blogging, which uses video recording and tools such as youtube and other video hosting sites to create your own video feed on the topic of your choice.

The panel talks about being successful in video blogging and in particular I believe the points discussed in the panel can be applied to the use of video blogging for business as well.

Uniqueness, originality, transparency, and overall being true to the character of the company and the representative of that company are cited as means of succeeding in this form of social media. As well, it is interesting to note how many of the uses of podcasting can be applied to video blogging. Video blogging allows you to communicate to your audience numerous forms of communication and is really only limited by the time, money, and effort spent on the project.

As the panel tells us, look towards creating a unique experience for your consumer.

Tools of Tracking and Why You Want to Track.

This past week we discussed the various ways that one can track and monitor information either about specific topics or your own blogs. One of the main tools discussed in our lectures was that of yahoo pipes. Yahoo pipes aggregates information from the web and can be arranged to present it in a fashion easily readable by any user. One of the main forms of tracking that we examined was through the use of search engine RSS feeds in order to keep an up to date record of events on social media sites such as twitter and blogger.

One of the things that I believe we should further examine is why one should want to track all this information? In order for social media to be a valuable tool for the PR community we have to have some method of calculating a return on investment for your client. Simply put, tools like Yahoo pipes help to analyze and create metrics to see how effective your social media campaign can be. Without being able to present this information in a clear and concise fashion, the actual presence of a client's social media campaign becomes hard to judge.

While tracking tools offer great flexibility in finding out the opinion of the populous at large from various locales, being able to measure the impact of your campaign also strikes me as an important use of this technology, one that can greater bridge a gap between client and their pr representatives.

I believe the continued development of metric/tracking tools will allow for the greater introduction of social media campaigns to new clients. What better way to show them the effect social media can have than by showing a business man what he understands the most; numbers, evidence, and ROI.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On The Topic of Tracking/Metrics!

While I was searching the cloud for various pieces of information on tracking, I came upon this interesting article at The Social Organization blog. The article presents some of the more common metrics that can be used to track social media campaigns and ROI.

While some of these are pretty common and will be used by many there were a few that stood out as unique and may deserve a bit more attention.

One such metric was that of "Ratios: Member to contributor; Posts to comments; Completed profiles to posts" which focuses on the actual interactions that a person does within blogs, profile sites, and other similar services. If you are using a campaign that works to have people connect and contribute this particular metric should be one of the higher priorities.

The individual metric sections also looks at examining how users are interacting with one another over a specific period of day.

Any thoughts on other interesting metrics or things worth tracking?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Power of the Podcast

One the topic of the week was that of Podcasts and their use for PR practices. Podcasts are essentially audio (and/or video) shows that are produced and made available through the Internet for users.

The main topic that I wished to discuss in relation to podcasts is the various ways one case use podcasts for PR practices. In our lecture, some of the few uses presented to use included using podcasts as a form of communicating new information such as;

-company news
-product launches
-financial results
-with internal publics

However, I believe any company can really tailor podcasts to really fit their consumer. For example, Wizards of the Coast, the main publishing company behind the Dungeon and Dragons series in conjunction with webcomic gurus Penny Arcade produced a podcast of their game in order to introduce their consumers to the new version of the game. This gave their consumers a chance to experience the content and, from a pr stand point, communicate a new and specific message.

Before venturing into podcasting companies and organization should look at what unique information or venture they can provide for their consumers that can enhance their experience such as Wizards/Penny Arcade.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Participating with the consumer on user review sites

On the topic of blogging relations and dealing with the social media scene, Pr-Squared presented an interesting post on how companies can participate in user review sites.

One of the interesting features is how many of these tips can relate and be used for blogger relations. Being transparent, non-defensive, and listening to the consumer are largely the main lessons to learn from these experiences of which can grant companies a new insight into the way people respond to their products.

Being honest, open, and communicative is certainly a fresh perspective on the forms of communication we experience.

Corporate Blogging: the new arm of PR?

This week, one of the main topics of discussion was the notion of corporate blogging. Corporate blogging is exactly as it sounds, blogs managed and run by organizations. Of the many organizations out there some great examples of corporate blogs include blogs such as the WholeFoods Blog, the Coca Cola Blog and Google's blog.

Our discussion touched upon how these blogs can be used to create a new form of communication between the business and the consumer. Mainly by opening a line of communication rather than just simply using the blog to announce new products.

One such example is the way that wal-mart handles its corporate blog, whose posts by and large focus on presenting new products and pitches instead of content that introduces a new angle on information that helps both the company and their consumers understand one another.

In essence, when entering the blogging world there should be a greater concern that the content provided to readers is original, creative, and overall interesting to your readers.
This week we had a discussion on twitter. Twitter as most people know is a micro-blogging service that allows people to communicate through 140 character updates usually focusing on what people are doing at the time.

What largely interested me about our discussion was the large number of possibilities that the service offers to people. From status updates to blogs, press releases, live blogging, the simple service allows for a large potential of actions and really creates an interesting new channel for communication.

As the service develops, it'll be interesting to see how people develop the tool and how it is used by people.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

tagging info: tagging people: tagging ideas - tag search engines

In class this part week, one of the main topics of in class was the advent of del.ico.ous and its many uses as a information system/search engine. What really intrigues me in regards to this technology and form of categorizing is the form of control that exists within the system. Instead of having information classified for us by experts, information is now tagged, categorized, and stored by the regular user.

Of course one of the many questions is how can we rely on users to basically police information on their own? Interestingly enough, is the simple aspect of tagging in multitudes that correct these types of mistakes as we have a ton of people telling our search engine technology how to tag or correct certain entriers.

Hopefully, as our information technology continues to develop the original goal of the internet continues to come into fruition as we see the power of information gathering increase. One interesting notion that I’d like to see more develop is this evolution of the original internet purpose. Not only are we connecting information now, but with tags we are connecting information to people and people to information. Such as in del.ico.ous one can investigate who tagged what article, or how many people bringing the whole connectivity level to a new level.

This is definitely a development that we’ll see progress more in the future.

Failing at Twitter

Twitter, the micro blogging service, is known for it’s ease of use and ability to transmit news, status updates, and pretty much anything that you can fit into its 150 character space. This little tool can be quite a powerful arsenal in the communication field however, instead of denoting some of its best usages I’ll present two case studies in how it can be misused and hinder your cause.

Both of these cases largely tie into controlling your message and making sure what you say doesn’t backfire on you potentially.

The first of these cases involve Rep. Peter Hoekstra , R-Mich. To sum it up, in his recent undisclosed trip to Iraq, the congressman twittered on the exact location and bearings of his caravan. While this may not sound like something that could get you in trouble. In the troubled areas of Iraq having someone read exactly where your caravan is going and where it is heading is one of the most dangerous situations that the congressman was involving himself in. Breach of secure information is obviously something you’ll want to to keep tabs on. While this case has largely more dangerous consequences the same principle can be applied to PR. You want to make sure that in your use of micro-blogging and other social media that you are sure that the message you are giving out is correct, and that all your members are in accordance as to what should be privy to the public and what shouldn’t. While this may be a simple moral tech lesson it is an important one.

The second of these cases involves Jeff Frederick Republican Chairman of Virginia . To sum it up, a hasty posting on twitter hindered the Virginian republican party from achieving it’s goal of majority by letting the cat out of the bag to early. “insert twitt example” Because of the mistake and the leak of info the Virginian republicans lost their chance at achieving their goal. Twitter moral lesson of this case study is to be sure that when you release information that it is guaranteed, correct, sourced, and not to early or late. Proper timing is always important in providing the correct information to the public in terms of PR.

So take these stories to heart and Twitt smartly everyone.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cluetrain Manisfesto and Evidence of Evolution

In interacting with the Internet of today, one can't help but see how easy and evolved the technology has become and is becoming. As a child of the 90's I got a chance to grow and experience the internet as it began and have had the privilege of witnessing the evolution of its communication model.

This model is discussed largely in the Cluetrain Manisfesto which we discussed in our class. The new model focuses on the need for an interaction between businesses and its consumers of which if not attained will lead to the harsh consequences for businesses.

One of the more interesting points in view now is seeing which companies have embraced this tactic/model and how they have made it succeed for them in terms of the evolving internet. The Dell brainstorm blog, Apple's Iphone pricing incident, the various marketing initiatives from various companies that have involved the use of their consumers which may be too many to note.

However, by and large as more social media technologies, pr practices, and the connection between the consumer and the corporation increases the more the model will evolve and create a new communication method for the business world.

Tapping into Creavity Through Social Media

One of the main assets of social media is its ability to connect multitudes of people, from various backgrounds, with various skillsets, and all with the potential for creativity.

GeniusRocket is one such social media site that provides a community and location for artists and businesses to come together for mutual benefit. Businesses put up commissions and requests for various creative work, and artists can submit for these gigs. What really makes this community stand out from all the others is the ability for artists to form communities and organizations to work cooperatively on projects together.

What this means for the artist/business relationship is that now any business can tap into the vast resource of creativity that exists on the internet, and artists can work closely with people on projects of their choosing. This site has works to change the typical relationship and practices seen in the world of creative business in a new and existing way.