Posts Tagged ‘ social media ’

Smile, You’re on Candid Camera

We’ve heard this bromide many times before, but this latest episode reinforces — nay, proves — it. You cannot hide from the “media” anymore…the social media, that is.

Helen Thomas has a 100-year career (or so) as a White House correspondent, and it all goes poof in an INSTANT, thanks to a homemade video shot by a citizen journalist. If you care to watch the offensive, repugnant remarks, be my guest (If you choose to ignore it, good for you.):

She retires a day or so later.

We’ve seen it with Domino’s, United Airlines, etc., etc., etc. We all have cameras now. We all have mics. We all have publishing platforms.There is no hiding; we all are potentially exposed.

Those who tried to hide in the shadows after being publicly exposed, or those who claimed they were the victims of misquoting, or deniers of wrong-doing altogether…none is immune any longer. If someone as, er…”esteemed” as Ms. Thomas can lose a decades-long career literally overnight, what does this mean for the rest of us? And our companies?

Editor’s comment: In her case, good riddance. As someone who is just one degree of separation from personal run-ins with this bigot, I personally thank the emergence of social media and its attendant technology for exposing this hack for who she is. Couldn’t have come soon enough, and couldn’t have happened to a worthier louse.


Jim Joyce Goes Viral

The Anatomy of a Feeding Frenzy

If you were anywhere near a sports fan, native Detroiter, highlight reel or Sportscenter broadcast, you now likely know that Detroit Tiger Armando Galarraga was robbed of an extremely rare perfect game (never before executed by a Detroit Tigers pitcher) by a blown call on the 27th out. (Watch for yourself here.)

But even if you have no interest in the game or its outcome at all, you’ll likely be aware of this ignominious event as a case study in social media. As the near perfect game played out in the final inning, I, for one, was compelled to go directly to Facebook (and Twitter) to share in the glory with my online friends, who I knew would be participating in this history online as well. While I couldn’t be at a sports bar to watch this unfold with my closest friends, the social Web was the next best thing.

Until the final “out.” After shaking the feeling of having been hit in the gut, and following a period of alternate stunned silence and expletive hurling, I returned to the social networks to participate in the cat calling. What unfolded almost immediately was an online and communal feeding frenzy. Unlike anything that was possible before the emergence of social media, Jim Joyce (the umpire who admittedly blew the call) became the chum in an online feeding frenzy that broke quick and broke hard.

Within minutes of the game’s conclusion, there were more than 10 Facebook pages devoted to his ouster (and worse).

Minute by minute, the FIRE JIM JOYCE page added fans (or “Likers, I guess it is now) by the hundreds (already more than 4,400).

Jim Joyce, the Tigers and Galarraga (the spurned pitcher) became trending topics on Twitter.

ESPN led every sportscast off with the story, and put the video story front and center on its homepage.

Scores of YouTube users uploaded video of the disputed call.

There is even a already.

This is not the way Jim Joyce wanted to become famous…nor Galarraga. But to Joyce’s credit, he has been contrite, gracious, embarrassed and owning of his mistake.

The whole mess is a shame, for everyone involved. Even the base runner seemed shattered that he beat the play at first. Now Major League Baseball has a public controversy on its hands—one it certainly didn’t invite and one with no perfect options. Joyce is a public pariah. Galarraga, for all his graciousness, was robbed of a place in history. Detroit sports fans take another kick while they’re down.

From a purely social media perspective, however, it’s fascinating to watch wildfire spread.

As for the call itself, I’ll let you make it:

Facebook Lists

Are you tired of seeing someone you barely know, but who is a Facebook friend (colleague, co-worker or associate), trying to convince you that either Sarah Palin or Barack Obama is the devil through clever Facebook posts?

Do you tire of seeing distant acquaintances post photos of their puppies or babies ad nauseum?

Are you sick of seeing that person, whom you were obligated to connect with on Facebook, trying to sell you something, brag about their company, or talk shop in an industry that is of no interest to you?

Then introduce these folks to the concept of Lists.

I know I’m late to this party, but experience tells me I’m not the last one to it.

For those who don’t know, Facebook allows you to put all of your FB friends in lists. You might have one for friends, another for family, another for co-workers, yet another for obligatory-friend-requests-that-I-accepted-but-now-regret.

What this allows you to do is pick and choose (wisely) who gets to see your status updates, posts, photos, and so on. That way, you’re not tempting fate by posting weekend exploits for the eyes of your co-workers or clients, nor are you boring your drinking buds with posts about work and high finance.

To do this, follow these simple instructions:

1.) Categorize your friends.

From your Home page, click on Friends. In the main content area, you will find the option to Create a List. Be a dear, and click it.

From there, you will be able to add a new list, give it a name (such as “Friend-Friends” or “Work Nerds”), and check off the people you want to assign to that list. Make sure you have darn-near everyone in one category or another. This will come in handy soon…

2.) Send your posts judiciously.

As you’re preparing a post that you think not EVERYONE in your Facebook network should be privy to, notice the little lock icon in the lower-right-hand corner. Be a dear, and click the arrow next to it.

When you click the arrow, a menu will pop up, allowing you to either pick which individuals or groups of people (Lists that you created in step 1) you WANT to share the post with, OR the individual or lists you DO NOT WANT to share the post with.

3.) Check Privacy Settings.

You can even make certain privilege groups (like I did above, with Friends and Acquaintances) your default setting, whereas now it is likely that your default is “Everyone” gets to see everything. To change this and other settings that allow certain people to see certain things, look under Account in the top-right corner of any Facebook page and click on Privacy Settings.

4.) Check you work.

This only works if you set up your lists correctly. Before you start employing this practice, make sure you didn’t put your boss in your “Friends Who Come to My Keggers” list, and make sure your 10-year-old niece isn’t on your “Dirty Joke Lovers” list.

Now, please. Embrace this concept. You will annoy far fewer people who care very little about your political tirades; you will be in far less danger of putting your professional reputation at risk; and you will be doing your part to clean up the clutter in your “true” friends News Feeds.

I Just Discovered the Internets!

grumpy+old+manThis may seem profoundly mundane, but I think the Internet just might change everything.

No, it’s not 1993. And, no, I’m not 74 years old. But even recent developments have me rethinking just how far the Internet revolution will take us.

It’s not necessarily overly astute to observe that the Internet has become the great leveler, sanding off the playing field so that nearly everyone has equal access to information. On the flip side, the low cost barriers and ubiquity of free Web tools have allowed virtually anyone with the time and interest to become publishers of some kind.

You see this already with respect to news dissemination. As newspapers shrink and fold, blogs and alternative media grow and proliferate. There is very little cost prohibition when it comes to disseminating news and information as there was in years past. I don’t need a printing press, distribution network or employees to deliver information. So pretty much anyone can be a distributor of “news.”

Content communities, such as YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare, allow us all to publish video, photos and visual information. Social networks allow us to connect with others and spread information far more quickly and effectively than old-school word-of-mouth. Everyone has a Web site. Everyone is online. And everyone has either an opinion, an agenda, a passion, a cause or all of the above, just waiting to be broadcast.

So where does it all end? Or, where are we heading?

I envision a day in the not-too-distant future in which all third-party distribution channels are largely removed, and messages and products are delivered directly to the end-user. It’s not all that difficult to imagine; but it’s confounding to me why it’s not happening sooner.

Why do artists need music labels anymore? Will they ten years from now?

Why do authors need publishers anymore? Will they ten years from now?

Why do journalists need newspapers anymore? Will they ten years from now?

Take music, for example. It’s already happening, but pretty soon the physical medium will be a distant memory. CDs will have little relevance, as direct download will have taken their place completely. In such a reality, mass production costs are zero. Distribution can be as easy as publishing to iTunes, a convenience vanity labels such as CDBaby already afford independent artists. There are no printing costs; there are no duplication costs. No delivery. No stocking fees. No retailer fees. All that’s left is promotion and air play. As it stands today, indie artists can in no way compete with the labels in terms of promotion muscle. And the labels and radio stations are in bed together, it seems. But take an artist like Wilco — self-produced, self-published, self-promoted. They aren’t Britney Spears, and they don’t want to be, but they can get their music to their fans at a handsome profit, without the need for third-party muckety-mucks getting their hands in the cookie jar. Is this the wave of the future, only on a much broader scale? Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails are already there.

Next up: books. Vanity presses used to be quaint and all, but they generally didn’t translate into broad-scale success. It was near impossible to get anyone to review them, and you couldn’t get mass distribution for your work. Along comes Kindle. Self-publishing has found new life, as distribution barriers have been removed. If you can get Amazon to pick up your title on Kindle, all that’s left is, once again, promotion. And media reviewers no longer treat self-publishers as pariahs, so if you can create a big enough stir for your work, they just might have to take notice.

It’s exciting to see if this thing knows any bounds. Even movies like The Blair Witch Project and the more recent Paranormal Activity show how successful the independent artist can be with very little overhead costs and and very clever self-promotion.

What makes this so exciting for me, as a failed musician of the 1990s, is the potential this has to deliver broader access to better art, unfiltered and un-watered-down by the know-it-all suits at publishing outfits…not to mention the direct connection between artist and fan that seems more natural in a self-published, self-marketing environment. I wish I was a budding artist today, and had all of this technology and social ubiquity at my disposal. Maybe then I wouldn’t be one of those aforementioned suits.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really starting to believe in these here Internets!

Does PR Die with Media?

I got to thinking about where my profession would be if the newspaper industry went extinct, leading me to pen this post at our company blog:

There has been a lot of talk in our industry about the “death” of the print medium, and what that means to the role of the public relations professional. There are two trends converging, meeting at a point some place in the future, and we can all see what that intersection means for news and media consumption.

One trend is the slow march of print media toward extinction. If it is not inevitable, it is certainly formidable—newspapers and magazines are either shutting down or migrating to the Web everyday. The other trend is the emergence of online tools—social media, as we know it today. These tools allow individuals and brands to connect with one another in the most organic of ways. When these two trends collide, it begs the question: Where does all of this leave the public relations industry?

From where I’m sitting, the answer is “in the catbird seat.”

As others have rightly pointed out, this new communications paradigm makes PR counsel more critical than ever. Er, “relating publicly,” as it were, will always be an artform. There will be a right way, and a wrong way. There will be strategic approaches, and reactionary knee jerks. There will be disciplined campaigns, and shotgun blasts. There will be pitfalls and pratfalls to be avoided…and trained communications counselors will be there to point them out.

Read on to see, in my view, the six unalienable rights of the PR practitioner: strategy, content, managing the message, structure, the rules of engagement, and measurement.

My Day Job

When I’m not talking sports, music, politics or idiocy, I talk marketing and public relations. Keeps the lights on and the dogs fed.

Most recently I spoke before a group sponsored by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, a group called Maverick Marketing Mondays, on the topic of social media.

Video and audio quality be damned, here are snippets of that presentation—a Social Media 101 for beginners who expressed the sentiment that “Help! These Marketing Trends Are Making Me Feel Old!” …as the conference was billed.

Self-Promotion Alert

Are today’s new marketing tactics making you feel old? You don’t have to show I.D., but you might want to join us in this conversation:

Marketing Maverick Mondays:
“Help! The Marketing Trends Make Me Feel Old”
May 11, noon to 1:15 p.m. (lunch included)
Detroit Zoo, Ford Education Center (Drippy Wet Studio)
8450 W. Ten Mile Rd.
Royal Oak, MI 48067

$20 Chamber members Business Builder level and above
$30 Basic level members
$40 Nonmembers

Register Now

Featured maverick marketers: Driven Solutions and Identity Public Relations

  • Driven Solutions Principals: Kevin Woods, Sam Chiodo, Brian Cusac, John Cymbal
  • Tom Nixon, partner, Indentity Marketing & Public Relations

Driven Solutions and Identity Public Relations are two local advertising and public relations firms that began as small startups and have grown into two of the region’s most creative companies. Learn about the latest trends in marketing, advertising and PR from a panel of experts who will talk about how small businesses capitalize on them for little or no cost.