Posts Tagged ‘Web 2.0’

Can PR behave itself on social media?

Friday, January 9th, 2009 by Jon Clements

 

Just like anyone with customers, PR people have been guilty of atrocious customer service.

Leaving aside for a moment the client which actually pays the bill, the other main customer is the journalist.  Yet despite countless courses, internal mentoring from old hands and being shouted at down the phone by an irate correspondent on deadline, some PR consultants still get it wildly wrong with the media. And one of the greatest offences remains the unfocused, pointless and often desperate phone call to ask the journalist, pleading: “Did you get the press release I sent?”

So, as communications skills need to shift to meet the mores of Web 2.0, are PR people (not “PRs”, please – that’s just not good Inglish, rite?) behaving themselves?

The Independent’s Cyberclinic writer, Rhodri Marsden, seems to think not. In this week’s column – which suggests the populace give Twitter a go before believing, as the Daily Mail does, that it’s “boring” – he warns the reader to “Ignore the companies and PR agencies hell-bent on turning it into an advertising platform”.

PR Blogger Stephen Davies has spotted PR people using Twitter to pester journalists with the loathed “Did you receive my…” question and canvassed views via, well, Twitter. What might surprise Rhodri Marsden is the almost “born again” response from the PR community, treating such practices with abject revulsion and suggesting the need for offenders to undergo a Twitter etiquette course. Maybe more PR practitioners than imagined have undone their evil ways and those persisting with naughty behaviour are being treated as a pariah minority?

But more surprising is the journalists’ response to Davies’ question. A fearsome critic of poor PR tactics, The Guardian’s Charles Arthur, comes out almost cuddly, saying: “I’m all for it” (on the proviso it’s in lieu of a phone call. The penalty for getting that wrong is inconceivable). And then @RobinBrown78 kicks back with “Relaxed about it – as long as it’s relevant.”

So, (some) journalists are virtually embracing Twitter free love, while PR people are mounting a Web 2.0 version of the Spanish Inquisition on their own. Clearly, the world has gone mad, but never – despite what the Daily Mail says – boring. 

*Update – the Daily Mail comes under attack from “Twitter vigilantes”. Oh Lord!

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 ''

Strictly Done Dancing …or is he?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 by Rob Brown

So John Sergeant has quit the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing after a barrage of complaints from the show’s judges.  It’s not something that I would usually find too troublesome as I’m not an avid viewer but the BBC has got it badly wrong here.  Strictly Come Dancing isn’t a genuine competition (it’s not even a genuine name – but the bastard offspring of ‘Come Dancing’ and the film ‘Strictly Ballroom’).

Shows like this rely on votes.  The voting, and therefore paying public have said quite clearly that they want to watch Sergeant strut his stuff.  This is Saturday night entertainment not an exercise in ballroom excellence.  Hounding John off the programme isn’t what the audience wants and they will say so loud and clear – cue national campaign of outrage through the media and on the web.   This kind of approach is also so outdated.  In a web 2.0 world where the audience can talk back it is no longer acceptable to treat their wishes with contempt. 

Judge Arlene Phillips said: “I’m always sad if a contestant leaves of choice, because you are always expecting to let the public vote them in or out – but John is his own person and he has his own reasons for doing this.”  Oh, come on Arlene.

Unless of course this is all just a brilliant publicity stunt in the classic showbiz mould.  Sergeant leaves, public outcry ensues and Sergeant waltzes back on to the show to dance his way to victory.  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).

US President 2.0

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 by Rob Brown

 

The United States presidential election has been the first major democratic process anywhere in the world where the use of social media has played a significant part in communications.

Of the eighteen candidates running in the primaries for the two main parties, nine had blogs, including both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.   Involvement in social networks was significant from the earliest days. Republican Mitt Romney was the first prospective candidate to launch a Facebook profile,  Democrat John Edwards set up a campaign headquarters in the cyber world of Second Life.  This resulted in a bizarre web 2.0 event when it was vandalised by the avatars of his political opponents.  Clinton used her web site to launch her campaign.

It was Barack Obama though who was the prime mover from the outset.  He engaged with most of the high profile social networking sites including MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  On the day that Barack Obama announced he was forming a presidential exploratory committee in January 2007, student government co-ordinator Farouk Olu Aregbe created a group on Facebook called “One Million Strong for Barack”.  The social web was critical to the Obama campaign in another fundamental way.  It played an important part in the funding of his bid for office.  In a campaign video directed at his supporters he said “Instead of forcing us to rely on millions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs, you’ve fuelled this campaign with donations of $5, $10, $20, whatever you can afford, and because you did, we’ve built a grassroots movement of over 1.5 million Americans.”  Obama’s success raising money via these small donations was achieved in a way never before possible as part of a U.S. presidential election campaign.

The 1960 election of John F Kennedy was thought to be point at which television became central to the democratic process.  2008 may well be the year that sees the critical intervention of the social web

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).

Facebook for dummies?

Saturday, November 1st, 2008 by Jon Clements

What with hurling virtual food or sheep at your digital friends or being “bitten” by zombies, Facebook- not so long ago – seemed quite innocuous.

How times have changed.

The episode of the Aussie guy who goofed off work, tried to claim it as holiday but was rumbled by the HR department because of his Facebook status on the day in question (and I quote: “Kyle Doyle is not going to work. Fuck it I’m still trashed. SICKIE WOO!”), was, frankly, hilarious and probably caused a mass deletion of Facebook statuses worldwide, just in case.

But a harder edge to foul ups on Facebook was revealed last night as 13 Virgin Atlantic cabin crew now find themselves out of work after posting less than complimentary comments about Virgin passengers (“chavs”, apparently) and planes (“full of cockroaches”, allegedly).

People are paying the price for confusing conversations on Facebook with those they probably have in the relative privacy of the pub with a few mates or over the dinner table with their other half. Look folks, if you post it online, it’s thoroughly and absolutely find-able, whether you like it or not.

The Facebook thing also presents an internal communications challenge to companies, as the Virgin case smacks of stable doors and bolted horses. And sacking the offenders then turns it into an even bigger story.

Having HR policies is one thing, but staff are unlikely to be checking the company handbook while sounding off or making mischief about their working environment. After all, Facebook is personal publishing, giving immediate and unedited voice to millions who’ve been anonymous up to now.

Getting employees to understand the impact their ill-judged comments can have on the company is a communications job. But it’s one that is two-way and needs to be tackled before staff are using Web 2.0 to harm their employers and, in turn, themselves.

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 ''

Did the Social Web ‘do’ for Ross & Brand?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 by Rob Brown

For me there are two fascinating questions about the Brand and Ross debacle.  Why did they put out the show with the item in when it wasn’t live and why did the furore gather so much momentum in such a short time over a week after the broadcast?

Why was it broadcast?  Any fool could have guessed there would be an issue and there were some very experienced heads in the approval chain.  I believe that the reason for broadcasting may lie in the fact that by recording the messages on an answer machine the comments were already potentially in the public domain.   With the social web anyone can publish and Ross and Brand realised that.  By not broadcasting they would have acknowledged fault and the recording could still reach the public via the web.  The evidence might be there is in their comments in the a part of the programme that was edited out of the final broadcast: 

Ross: “let’s both put on striped t-shirts and break into his house, merely to delete the answerphone message – let’s see what happens. What could go wrong?” 

Brand:  “Nothing, literally, nothing could go wrong as we smash our way into Andrew Sachs’s house”

Ross: “break in like cat burglars tonight when he’s in bed”

Brand: “yes while he sleeps”

They must have felt that they had escaped censure when a week went by with no outcry but the press got hold of the story when Andrew Sachs complained.  It might have ended there but for the intervention of the social web once more.  The recording appeared on YouTube and there have been a million hits – somewhat more than the average listenership for Brand’s show.  As the hits on YouTube went up so did the complaints.  A week after the show went out there were just 69 complaints to the BBC at the last count there were more than 30,000.  A coincidence?  I doubt it.

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).

Web 2.0 Buzzwords #1 – Stalkr

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 by Rob Brown

Stalkr – (pronounced stalker) a person that you don’t know who tries to Facebook you or become your friend on MySpace or indeed on any social network.   The term also apples to someone you may know a bit who decides to relentlessly pursue a more active online discourse than you would like.  Would also apply to someone you are not following who frequently talks @ you on Twitter.  Essentially a  stalker in the 2.0 style of Flickr, Tumblr etc.   

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).

When social networking means business

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 by Jon Clements

 

According to analysts, Gartner, social networking sites are not doing it for business. Well, who am I to contradict that global behemoth but – you know what – here goes…

Strategic communications consultant, Merryn Myatt, signed up for Linkedin about a year ago and promptly forgot about it. Latterly, she started to build up her professional network using the site and then needed some input for a project, so posted a question on Linkedin. Not only was the response enormous, but the profile of the people responding very impressive.

So what, you might say? Apart from Merryn getting a host of great material for her work (i.e., content – what web 2.0 should be good for) it shows that business people are online wanting to interact, share knowledge, learn and build contacts. Isn’t that the start of a beautiful (business) relationship?

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 ''

IF WEB 2.0 SCARES YOU, TRY “WORD OF MOUTH”

Monday, June 30th, 2008 by Jon Clements

ChangeWave research used a survey earlier this year to show that companies were “hot on using Web 2.0”. But as their graph above suggests, there are more than 60% who won’t touch it with a barge pole. Maybe the avalanche of jargon and new, thrusting brands associated with social media is partly to blame. But what if we called it what it is – word of mouth? Ok, the channels for that word have changed, but the principal remains the same. Steve Rubel, as usual, puts his finger on what matters in social media and reminds us that people tend to listen to and take the lead from people they know and trust. What a concept! If I’m quick, I might just patent that.

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 ''

UNCOMMON CLAY

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 by Jon Clements

 

For those still navigating their way around the evolution of Web 2.0 and what it means for social and business interaction, you couldn’t hope for a more lucid analysis than that of Clay Shirky who has just written Here Comes Everybody about what the changes in the online world mean for, well, the clue’s in the title.

Listen to him here.

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 ''