Posts Tagged Social Media

Keeping Up With Social Media Trends

I had lunch with a former student today, Matt Smelser at I and O Communications.  He’s doing some really cool things at his company.  During our lunch, Matt asked me about some ways that I keep up with social media trends, so I put the following together for him, thought I’d share it here.

Pros I follow on Twitter:
@briansolis
@chrisbrogan
@kimhaynes
@jrue
@sheilaS
@agahran
@techcrunch
@scobleizer
@kevinrose
@mediatrick
@garyvee
@adrianholovaty
@digitaljournals
@omarg
@robquig

graphicdesignr.net reports on Newspapers that Twitter. Follow any of them in your interest or geographic area.

Some of the RSS feeds I follow:
NY Times Technology
Old Media New Tricks
PBS Media Shift
BoomTown
Wired (of course)
Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang
Techmeme
TechCrunch
Scobleizer
SocialMedia Today
Mashable
Connection Cafe (Convio’s Blog)

I also check in regularly with Poynter. It’s good to keep up with Pew Internet studies, too.

I know there are lots more. Any other suggestions out there?

I also have a delicous site www.delicious.com/clroyal . Any time I have an article for class, I tag it there as Daily, then I move it to a category.  It’s open, feel free to visit it to see what I’m talking about.

It is difficult to keep up with the swift pace of new media trends. It really is a commitment. But, it’s fun and can really be valuable to you in any number of ways.

Update:  I just added another couple of important links. Online Journalism Review is back in business at the Knight Digital Media Center (since mid Sept. Why didn’t I know this?, congrats Robert Niles). They are on Twitter, too (@ojr).  And, from that site, there is a great post by @eulken about Building the Data Desk . Erik Ulken’s blog is ulken.com.

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Is Social Media Killing PR?

Have been following this discussion in which different tech bloggers have been attacking the traditional practice of PR, saying it’s being replaced in many ways by social media. What do you think?

It started back in August with this post from Scobleizer stating “Build PR by building a great service and turn your users into your PR agents.” Then Michael Arrington on Tech Crunch says that PR is broken. “They’re trying to apply the same rules they used when the number of journalists covering their companies was a manageable, chummy lot. Today there’s a whole spectrum of people writing about startups in big media publications, large and small blogs, Twitter, Friendfeed and everything in between.” He was commenting on Steve Rubel’s (Edelman, a PR firm) post in which he poses the question of PR becoming obsolete. He emphasized the need to adapt. Brian Solis defends PR and says it has been in the process of reinvention for over 10 years now.

The blog PRsquared sums things up “Scoble, Rubel and Arrington basically made the point that PR firms are unnecessary if you have a great product and are willing to spend a lot of time engaging in the blogosphere.” And, Scoble himself did a bit of a wrap up on the issue.

OK, so all this was back in August. Why am I talking about it today?  BoomTown made a post about appearing on a panel entitled “Is Social Media Killing PR?“.

What’s my take? I definitely think that social media is changing PR, and those who cannot change will be dead in terms of their career.  If they view social media as a sideline of PR, a nice extra, then they are missing the boat. They need to engage the features of social media, community, transparency, etc., and let go of this antiquated notion of a tightly controlled and carefully placed message. People are going to be defensive when you tell them their industry is dying or that the ways that they have been successful in the past are no longer relevant. But, the ones who embrace innovation will be defining new standards of success.

Yes, the basics are still necessary, good relationships, excellent writing skills, creativity. But those can be exponentially enhanced by social media. Don’t ignore it.

Jeremiah Owyang, who was on the panel last night, summarizes with some proactive stances the “evolved PR agency” can take.

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Some recent social media posts

I’m prepping for a talk with PR students, and these articles came to my attention. Thought I’d share them here.

10 Ways to Make Press Releases More SEO Friendly – Mashable – http://mashable.com/2008/11/04/how-to-make-press-releases-seo-friendly/
10 of the Best Social Media Tools for PR Professionals – Mashable – http://mashable.com/2008/10/30/best-social-media-tools-for-pr-professionals-and-journalists/
The 5 Rules of Advertising on Twitter – Old Media New Tricks – http://www.oldmedianewtricks.com/?p=48
Twitter 101- http://socialmediatoday.com/SMC/55081 –  this is actually from a four-part series on Twitter by Augie Ray on Experience: The Blog.  You can find all the links on this Social Media Today post.

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Join the Social Media Party

I was impressed by this post on Social Media Today that critiqued the idea that social media is a “conversation.”  You hear that a lot, companies want to start or join the online conversation. But, Ray Augie, in this post, says it would be better to call it a party. And, it’s a party that is already going on.  So, he provides some tips based on helpful party etiquette to explain how one should behave at an online party.

Too many companies think they have some entitlement in these communities, if they merely show up, people will be impressed and shower them with praise. Consider the party guest that shows up late, dominates the conversation, and talks only about themselves.  Imagine being cornered by that goon. You’ll be checking your watch and talking about how you have to go home and walk your dog (whether you have one or not) in no seconds flat. This boorish behavior not ruins it for some, but it can also kill the whole party.   Augie’s best piece of advice is to participate in the conversation, which also includes LISTENING.

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More about the future of journalism

I recently came across a whole series of articles dealing with the way that journalism is or is not taking advantage of social media.  Lately, there’s been some discussion about how the PR field has embraced Web 2.0 (Kintzler) in much more substantial ways than news media companies.  Continuing in that vein, Social Media Today provides some advice for journalism. First is a definition of social media: “In essence, it’s using technology to communicate and interact in new ways and share elements like text, photos, audio and videos.”  Seems like that would be an obvious fit for newspapers. But, then the article veers into the area that is most uncomfortable . “Why rely on a journalist to portray your client in a positive light when you can immediately hand-deliver the news to the people who care to know about it? Why buy an ad, when you can recruit a strong following of friends and fans who vouch for your brand or product?”

Another Kintzler story goes further with advice: He talks about journalists as problem solvers, newspapers as community centers, and newspapers as a social news source.  I have long said that the people who need to be working in the news profession are those that understand these concepts and can manage information within this environment.  That doesn’t necessarily mean people who wrangle html and are Flash gurus.  But, it does mean people who understand both the potential and the risks of social media and user-generated content. He mentions WiredJournalists.com, which is a great social network of people that are experts/seeking to become experts in the interactive, multimedia, social media environment. I encourage all of you with an interest in the field to join.

The article mentions the NY Times as an innovator in this area.  It links to a story about how the Times is opening up its API to developers, much like that of major social networks like Facebook.   That’s how they have been able to grow so quickly.  This article quotes Aron Pilhofer, interactive editor at the times, who I had the pleasure of meeting at UT this past March.  Pilhofer said “make the NYT programmable. Everything we produce should be organized data.”  This is a new way of thinking for newspapers and other news companies, but they need to get their brains around it as soon as possible.

As I was clicking around this thread, I found a few other interesting pieces.  One is a memo sent to Tribune company employees by management. The article points to two problems:

1. We are not giving readers what they want, and
2. We are printing bigger papers than we can afford to print

Yes, these are big problems.   It recommends a customer-centric model focused on unbiased journalism, local coverage, and visual media (maps, graphs, lists, rankings, stats).

Then I found this great article ranking the top 25 newspapers on their online presence. The NY Times got the best grade , a solid A.  The worst was the Sacramento Bee with a D-, but the Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and Newark Star Ledger were not close behind with sold D’s.  I was also quite surprised to see that the Minneapolis Star Tribune got a B-, when the were once doing some very innovative media.  I have noticed recently that it is difficult to access multimedia projects on the site.

Another good article compared Google’s news coverage to Washington Post as a story develops.  The article demonstrates how newspaper sites are burying the things that readers need to see most.

And finally, I came across this article on two user-generated magazines.  If you thought magazines were immune to all this Web 2.0 stuff, think again.  Everywhere Magazine and JPG are two that are letting users write content and upload photos.  Everywhere actually puts out a call to users to help them with issues (“Help Us Make Issue 4,” with themes specified).  This is another example of the publication MANAGING, not dictating, the user-generated content.  I think the examples used about travel magazines are very relevant.  Why not let more people who have visited places write about them?

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Search and Social

Gee, I hate that Microsoft is one of my most prominent tags, but they are just in the news so much lately.  They announced yesterday a cash back plan for purchases made via their Live Search site.  Paying people is a nice idea.  I’ll take any money Microsoft has to give me, but is that really a meaningful substitute for innovative products?  Google continues to not only dominate the search space, but their share continues to grow. According to this article, Google’s share of search queries is 61.6%, Yahoo’s 20.4%, and Microsoft a piddling 9.1%.  Interesting quote from Citigroup analyst “As Google continues to take share, we continue to believe a deal between Yahoo and Microsoft would be necessary — though not sufficient — to compete effectively with Google.” Agreed.

Business Week has a special section on the Future of Social Networking. Definitely in my current interest area, as I look at the diffusion of social networks. There are several parts in this section, but the study that talks about the gender gap is fascinating.  Apparently, women dominant the social networking space, and women ages 35-50 are the fastest growing segment.  It’s the social aspect that made these “killer apps” for women.

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