Archive for the ‘Professions’ Category

Social media – an unhealthy medical mix?

Thursday, July 14th, 2011 by Hannah Newbould

Medics have been warned that adding patients to their social media network is a big mistake and could jeopardise their career. The British Medical Association has pointed out that doctors may face  problems if they decide to befriend their patients on Facebook and Twitter.

The main problem is the fine line between personal and professional lives becoming blurred and has the potential to threaten any student nurse or doctor’s career.

The new guidance, titled ‘Using Social Media – Practical and ethical guidance for doctors and medical students’ addresses topics such as the ethical need to keep patient confidentiality which is as  important online as it is in any other media. It expresses that it’s inappropriate to post comments relating to patients that are personal or derogatory, that doctors and medical students have an obligation to declare any conflicts of interest and defamation law can apply to any comments posted on the web in either a personal or professional capacity.

This follows a series of cases in which a number of NHS staff were suspended from work due to content posted on social media sites, including one member being suspended for being photographed on a hospital helipad.

Although many medical students and doctors use social media sites without having any problems, there is the chance that they are damaging their professionalism, but isn’t this true of any career?

There is a growing concern that posts by doctors could offend their patients and colleagues without even realising.  Something posted innocently or as a joke could come across in a totally offensive manner. Vice versa, patients could be commenting on things that haven’t been analysed in a normal consultation.



Twitter, the law and the silent fat lady.

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 by Rob Brown

It’s all over for privacy and the courts can’t legislate under the weight of social comment.  So scream the headlines in the wake of the latest failure of the injunction process.   It may not however be quite so simple.

The influence of social media on privacy and the law has been evident for some time.  I wrote about it in April shortly before the current media storm blew.   The Trafigura debacle more than 18 months ago highlighted the significant changes brought about by the dynamics of mainstream media access.

One of the central plinths of the current debate is that Twitter, amongst other social networks, is not a publisher and therefore can not be mediated.  That’s true but to to say that Twitter has zero influence on its output is also inaccurate. Look for ‘Giggs’ as a trending topic this morning and it simply wasn’t there.  Twitter presumably throttled the API output using the same technique it used to remove Justin Bieber from the trending lists when most users became bored with his omnipresence.

To say there were too many twitterers to pursue in the Giggs or any other case also ignores the fact that every tweet is time coded so it is a simple job to find the first to breach the court order.  Schillings and Carter Ruck are staffed by some pretty smart people.  The world has changed but it won’t be very long before the courts begin to adapt to the new order.  We have some way to go before the diva warms her vocal chords for the final act.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

The voice of PR in the media?

Thursday, May 19th, 2011 by Jenny Mason


The recent Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Future Leaders Forum – held in Manchester – questioned the role of the CIPR.

The remit of the Future Leaders Forum, established in 2010, is to ensure that young PR practitioners have a say in the future of the profession, with discussions at the event focused on the role the CIPR can play in both supporting the work of its members and giving the industry a voice in wider debates.

Phil Morgan, Director of Policy and Communication at the CIPR, outlined the Institute’s agenda for the year and Russ Brady, Head of Group Public Relations at The Co-Operative Group, gave an insight into the role the CIPR had played in his career development.

The past couple of years has seen a clear effort to raise the profile of the CIPR, with the publication of a number of best practice guides on key topics such as social media and the correct use of statistics. These will play an important role in making the Institute more relevant to its members, as well as improving the reputation of the PR industry.

Phil Morgan’s overview of the 2011/2012 policy agenda was well received at last week’s event, but wider questions were raised. Should the CIPR’s role in supporting its members’ professional interests be taken as a given, and should the Institute instead be asserting itself into broader debates more forcefully?

The CIPR claims to be “the advocate and voice of the public relations profession, a champion of our professional interests, a respected partner to the broader communications community and a body that works in the public interest.”

This is an ambitious statement, but with even its main trade publication seeking comment from other sources on hot topics such as the threat social media poses to the effectiveness of court injunctions, the CIPR has some way to go in living up to this claim.

For now, the likes of Max Clifford and Mark Borkowski remain the media’s first point of call for comment on key issues. Some in the industry may not be happy with this, but can the CIPR muster enough support from its members to change the situation?

Lawyer Uses Blogosphere To Start A Debate On The Prospects For Tech Start-Ups

Monday, February 16th, 2009 by Mark Hanson


A bit of indulgence from me here. One of my clients is a corporate lawyer, advising the tech community, both investors and companies looking for funding. His name is Richard Eaton and he works for Orrick.

He’s started a discussion on the Long Room, the FT’s discussion forum for City-types, re the prospects for tech companies seeking investment to start-up or continue in 2009.

The Long Room is a closed forum i.e. you have to be a member to contribute, so I thought I’d post here to offer an open forum for the new media community to view and/or comment.

RIP Good Times – VC is dead, long live VC

It seems that Sequoia’s words of warning last autumn are staring to be echoed over here:

But does it matter if some of the less successful companies go to the wall now?  We keep being told that failed companies are a badge of honour for entrepreneurs, so now is the time for many to earn their merit badges.  The technology, if it is good, and, crucially, if it is capable of making a profit, will not die, but lots of it will be recycled.  The entrepreneurs will start again. 

The fact is that there are three key elements to the success of any growth company: the technology, the management and the market – what is the point in having technology so bleeding edge cool that is incapable of making money, or is backed by management that would not have looked out of place running a bank?  But companies with good technology, that have good management that is capable of adapting to a changing world will survive: Google was born out of the crash.  Ten years later it is a mature company.  In this country, Autonomy continues to be one  of the most attractive stocks in the FTSE100, because it has the basics in spades. 

What does this mean for VC funding?  Well without doubt, the market for funding is extremely poor.  Poorer than any of us can remember.  Expect to see VCs pull in their horns, drip feed money to their best companies, merge their ok companies and cut loose the rest.  Yes there will be new funding, but on terms, and at the rates, that hark back to 2002.  In ten years time, the best run companies with the best money making technology will be bigger and stronger.  Will £1bn of government money help?  To secure people’s jobs, it might do.  To build great technology companies, I wouldn’t bet on it.

That chemical romance with the media

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 by Jon Clements


If there was one science at school that was fun, it was chemistry. Throwing potassium in water and watching it combust? Bliss!

And if you wanted, truly, to define yourself as a world-beating brainbox, the surest route was to get an A grade at A-level chemistry.

Which is why I’ve been so impressed with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s recent experiments in media relations. An early news page in Saturday’s Guardian  carried a great weekend story about the Society’s competition to find the best way of saving the looted gold in the closing scene of the iconic 1960s heist film The Italian Job. How could chemistry, surely the preserve of men sporting corduroy jackets with leather elbow pads, be this hip?

Only a couple of weeks previously, there was the Society again, launching its 2009 theme of food sustainability with servings on the street in Piccadilly, London, of Victorian workhouse staple -gruel -prepared by a French chef and dished up on the day before Dickensian musical, “Oliver”, was revived in West End theatreland. 

And, in between times, the Society’s latest report into food sustainability was bolstered by a timely reference to new President Obama’s placing of science back on the US Government’s agenda.

With some creative ideas and clever execution, what could have been as dry as reciting the Periodic Table is given life and some great media coverage to boot.

Royal Society of Chemistry, go to the top of the class, but please be careful with that bunsen burner.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''