Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

It’s good to talk

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Gemma Ellis

HELLO?! The days of inadvertently overhearing your neighbours’ shouty mobile chatter – famously epitomised by Trigger Happy TV’s Dom Joly and his giant novelty telephone – may soon be over if new research from Ofcom is anything to go by.

Evaluating the habits of UK consumers over the past year, the report reveals that more and more people are now using text as their primary form of communication; in 2011, 58% communicated daily via text messages, compared with 47% who made calls.

The revolution is being led by the young, with 96% of 16 to 24-year-olds using some form of text-based application on a daily basis, be that texting or social networking sites.

The fact that communication is changing is hard to dispute. The wide availability and uptake of smart phones will have played a huge role in this. Consumers now have the world at their fingertips and messaging is quick, easy and convenient.

Text can cross continents and time zones without difficulty and even language barriers to a certain extent, with a quick click on Google Translate and similar service providers telling you almost all you need to know.

But I do hope that as we move away from verbal communication the art of conversation isn’t completely lost. Whether you’re thrashing things out or catching up on mindless gossip, sometimes there’s nothing better than the spoken word.

 

Online Viewers Switch on to Public Speaking

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 by Tom Maddocks


A guest post by Tom Maddocks of Media Training Associates

In the era of the TV news ‘soundbite’, the idea of a long political speech appeared to most of us be very old-fashioned, something that would never catch the interest of people with today’s near-zero attention span.  Many would continue to make this argument, pointing to modest audiences even for the leaders’ speeches at the October party conferences.  Yet elsewhere, public speaking appears to be gaining a renaissance, with more and more presentations now being streamed across the web – the popular TED talks being just one example – these have gained over 1.5 million followers on Facebook.  Others (including all the Presidential candidates in the 2008 US election) have used Ustream.tv to stream themselves live over the internet.  In the UK the RSA has made innovative use of the visual opportunities in its RSA Animate series – see http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/videos/

Could more organisations in the public, private and third sectors be making use of these opportunities to find an audience?  To succeed, you don’t need high technology – some of this stuff is recorded with very basic equipment – but if you are representing your organisation, you do need to be able to sound interesting, and look professional.  Increasingly when we run media training courses we find an element of coaching for appearing on videos or webinars is essential, even for people who think they’ll ‘never be on TV’.  So good old-fashioned presentation skills are as important as ever.  Convey energy, convey passion, convey enthusiasm, and ensure you have relevant and engaging content.  Get to the point – whatever your platform it’s usually best to take a leaf from TED’s book and keep presentations, videos etc to 20 minutes maximum –  a lot less for some topics.  Don’t let yourself appear nervous by letting your eyes wander around – if talking direct to camera, keep them to camera.  Finally, remember to smile and convey warmth, so you can really make a connection with your audience.

 

Techcrunch Time for Media Future

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 by Rob Brown

We’ve often talked about the demise of dead wood and ink (and sometime of its resilience) on this blog.  What then of the fortunes of the natural successor to newspapers; online media?

TechCrunch along with Mashable has been at the forefront of this evolution. Focusing on technology news it has carved a powerful niche since it was founded by Michael Arrington in 2005.  It is one of the top 200 websites in the world and has over 4.5 million subscribers.   However the future of this new media Leviathan has been thrown into some confusion today with a post on the site entitled “TechCrunch As We Know It May Be Over”.  The post is written by MG Siegler a respected Techcrunch staffer since 2008 (Official title: Kick Ass Pool Party Coordinator).

The central theme is whether Techcrunch will stay the same if, as seems increasingly likely, the newish owners AOL, dispense with the services of founder Michael Arrington.   His tenure at least in part centres around a complex debate about transparency and editorial control.  Allegations in the New York Times suggest that Techcrunch lacks transparency when reporting on ventures in which its owners or leadership have a financial interest.  Defenders including Siegler say that the loose editorial control ensures that Techrunch can not have an editorial policy in favour or against any organisation and this unrestricted environment is what also makes the site able to break so many stories.

The debate here is not just about ethics, its about the sustainability of loosely controlled new media models.  Stay tuned.

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).

Google Voice & Image Search Rolls Out

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 by Rob Brown

If you use Google on your smart phone you’ll probably already be familiar with voice activated search technology. This morning I came across a tiny microphone symbol in my Google search bar and gave it a go.  It appears that Google is quietly rolling out Voice Search for desktop.

You’ll need a microphone on your PC (natch) and for now you at least will need to use the Chrome browser (quelle suprise).  Search by Image is also available across browser platforms and allows you to upload a picture which it will match against the billions of images Google indexes.  Click the camera icon in the Google Images search bar.

So just how good is Google voice search?  This morning when I gave it a try I said (clearly and loudly imho) “Staniforth Public Relations”.  Instead I got results for “Michael Buble license”.

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).

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).

Record radio ratings – still a relevant medium

Thursday, May 12th, 2011 by Mark Perry

 

As Queen’s song Radio Ga Ga said in 1984 “You had your time, you had the power you’ve yet to have your finest hour”, and it seems as if that might be true.

The publication of the latest Rajars  show that some stations are growing strongly with record audiences. This growth is not confined to any one genre with big gains in speech  at Talksport and Radio 4 as well as music including, Radio 3 and Classic FM.

Digital only stations are also doing well with records being set by BBC 6 Music and Radio 7, now rebranded as Radio 4 Extra, and  1 Xtra. Smooth seems to have gained from becoming a national station with some ‘headline signings’.

So while the choice of media continues to grow it seems that radio still maintains a special place and maybe video hasn’t killed the radio star after all.

 

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Google Analytics Data Goes Missing

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 by Rob Brown

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Web analysts pouring over on-line data from the US mid-term elections will be amongst the many people across the globe scratching their heads when they open their Google Analytics accounts.  Sites have been registering no visits at all for November 2nd.   A quick look at the hits for this site yesterday evening showed over 200 unique visitors but this morning Google Analytics, which tracks and reports on website visitor numbers for hundreds of thousands of organisations, showed zero.  Not even the people posting comments had visited the site according to the data.

Whilst this will be a major headache it looks likely that the issue lies with the web reporting rather than the data collection.  The fact that data was appearing yesterday and is now missing supports that theory and a look at the Google Analytics status dashboard shows that there have been already been two issues this week with web reporting.  The report on Monday’s bug says “Starting Oct 25th, a 24hr delay with processing in sampled reports was identified in some accounts. No data has been lost and a fix is in progress.”  It therefore looks likely that the data will be restored.  Today’s information appears to be displaying normally.

So far however there has been no word from Google on the latest issue and political analysts and businesses around the world will be in a state of some turmoil until Google’s Web Analytics software restores the data.

Update 12.15pm UTC

Google Analytics has resolved the issue.  The status dashboard now says “The problem with Web Report should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support.

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).

Kurrently searches Facebook conversations

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 by Patrick Chester

kurrently-logo.png

Brands can now monitor public Facebook conversations through new search engine Kurrently. Kurrently is a search engine exclusively for Facebook and Twitter, and it works in real-time. For Twitter it’s not so special, but for Facebook, it allows brands to monitor exactly what’s being talked about in user profiles.  

This is revolutionary, as in the world of social media monitoring, Facebook has always been a “walled garden”, or a closed online network, for monitoring brand reputation. Twitter, blogs and forums are easy to access, and brand conversations can be recorded and packaged to clients (media monitoring services already do exactly that). Facebook is much more difficult to monitor however, as the social network covets its user data as much as its users covet their privacy. Kurrently will allow businesses to find out exactly how their brands are being talked about on Facebook. It will be a real boon for marketers, but perhaps to the detriment of online individual privacy. 

For everyone who is not in marketing or PR, it’s a good way to check out scandals ignored by the main press but which often catch fire on social networks (try searching for a well-known footballer, it’s hilarious).

About Patrick Chester

Patrick is an account executive at Staniforth. He also runs a book review site at www.Jungla.co.uk.

Manchester App School opens doors

Thursday, February 25th, 2010 by Jon Clements

As a recent convert to the iPhone and the wonderful world of the “app” (Planet Rock, anyone?), it’s good to know that the future of app development is being bolstered by a Manchester-based course for young people known as The App School.

Creative consultants, The White Room, are running the free course – backed by the city council, Cornerhouse (Manchester’s centre for visual arts and cinema) and Manchester Metropolitan University – for 18-24 year olds interested in designing new iPhone applications.

And with the mobile app market forecast to reach $6.8bn this year, there’s a potential money making machine for the creative person with the right ideas.

But techno-phobes need not be discouraged. This is about people with potentially commercial ideas and not necessarily those who dismantle computer hard drives for fun.

According to Phil Birchenall, project director at the White Room: “What we need is plenty of enthusiasm and ideas, that’s all.”

I eagerly await the “help your kid with his maths homework app”, and soon.

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 ''

A Virtual Revolution….Virtually

Friday, February 19th, 2010 by Rob Brown

For the last three weeks the BBC Two series ‘The Virtual Revolution‘ (7.15pm Saturday) has been a highlight of the week.  It charts the very real impact that the Internet has had on our lives and forecasts how it might develop as access spreads around the globe.   The list of interviewees is stellar; Tim Berners-Lee, Arianna Huffington, Clay Shirky, Jimmy Wales, Steve Wozniak, Biz Stone and Evan Williams are just a small selection.  All of this hosted by the brilliant Dr Aleks Krotoski.  It takes on the big questions around politics, privacy, society and relationships bringing genuine insight into the changes driven by the web.

The web isn’t a channel like TV, radio or print it is so much more than that but it is critical that those involved in communications remember the residual power of conventional channels.  This series can be viewed on line but most are still watching on TV and tuning in on Saturdays at the point in time determined by the scheduler.  Mainstream media is still driving online traffic.   There is a very neat illustration of this if you take a look at Dr Aleks K’s twitter following.  She was already a respected authority on-line; Guardian journalist, blogger, presenter of the excellent Guardian Tech Weekly podcast, however her twitter following  went through the vitual roof when this series went live on the 30th January. 

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TV along with many of the strands of conventional media is a channel of the future as well as the past and digital channels sit comfortably alongside.  It is the final episode of the series tomorrow and you really dont want to miss it.  Make an appointment to view and get a smartphone or laptop in hand for those live watercooler conversations. 

Hashtag #bbcrevolution. We’ll be virtually in the same room.

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).