The Social Media Bubble Is Going To Burst

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(CC) N1NJ4

One of the common complaints and fears right now in Social Media is that it is essentially a giant bubble.  As with any bubble, if it gets too big or hovers too long, it is bound to burst.  This can be scary for those of us who have deeply embraced this shift, for many who have created businesses centered around it and for plenty of people who are continually writing about it.  What is concerning to some of us in the social sphere is that more and more it feels as if there are two camps.  Those who drink the kool-aid, who own a Daring Fireball t-shirt and believe in the power of a social web beside others who believe this is either all a passing trend or is simply a nonsensical waste of time.

This lack of a middle ground has its pluses and minuses.  On the upside, the devout talk about the subject with such passion and reverence that they often drag new converts into the bubble.  By connecting, sharing, championing and creating a tremendous amount of content, they help to create new advocates.   Continue reading

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Breaking Through the Sound Barrier: Leading Global Communicators Gather in NYC to Talk Shop

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As the post-recessionary environment continues to unfold, the role of communications shifts from its traditional function as a perception shaper to a content provider, story teller and driver of overall business performance. In a world of 24/7 media, hyperlinks and 12-hour news cycles, how are communications and marketing professionals reinventing their functions to break through the sound barrier and get their messages heard? How has the need to shape corporate reputation gone from a must-have in times of crisis to a day-to-day necessity that defines competitive advantage?  Continue reading

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Forbes Offers PR a Lifevest for Earned/Paid Media

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Businessman With Dollar Sign Paper Bag On His Head Walking On Subway PlatformIn the world of paid vs. earned vs. owned media, things are about to get very interesting. Coming this week, as part of a massive overhaul of its print and Web properties, Forbes will unveil what it’s calling “AdVoice”—essentially, a paid blogging platform for companies, non-profits and other organizations that will reside alongside its editorial content on Forbes.com, and presumably, within its organic search results, as detailed by AdAge this week.

While reading about this new blend of paid/earned media, I was fascinated by the potential branding and content-development opportunities, particularly the content’s prime placement within Forbes’ vaunted editorial landscape, something that has traditionally been off-limits. Also of interest is how these paid company blogs will play into Forbes’ SEO and search results, which at nearly 20 million unique monthly visitors (according to Forbes’ internal analytics), is both large and influential. Continue reading

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Do you know what people are saying about you?

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From Blaugh.com

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

How does this relate to public relations? Well, if you aren’t monitoring and measuring the World Wide Web, does that mean people aren’t talking about you?

Nope.

One of the most difficult parts of PR is that you cannot control what others say about you and your clients. If what they are saying is good, well then by all means, let them sing your praises from the rooftops! If what they are saying is bad, what can you do? And how can you do anything if you don’t even know it’s out there?

­­­­But how exactly can you measure something as vast as the Internet? Continue reading

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Would You Pay for Influencers?

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Last week I received an email from the folks at Klout informing me that Fox wanted to send me a watching kit for its new television series Lone Star.  I am sure that some of you reading this got the same email.

I’m not required to do anything for them but they mailed me a promotional package and I can talk about the show if I want to. Disclosure – I love free stuff, seriously. The popcorn tin and tailgate beer mugs were pretty sweet. Now don’t take this post as an endorsement – I watched the show and was not crazy about it.  I am also not a television critic so my level of expertise on the matter is also questionable, which is what makes me wonder why I was selected as an influencer for this campaign. I am simply using this as a question of influence. Disclosure #2, I do not see myself as an expert or authority in anything; I am just a guy who loves his job, but if you want to send me free stuff go ahead.  ;) There I said it. Continue reading

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Media Disasters Prove that PR Professionals are Needed

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Business man sitting before documents and phoningI often say that no one understands why a media relations representative is important until they are in the middle of a PR disaster. This realization is something that might be going through the mind of rap musician Wacka Flocka.

Mr. Flocka has recently become an Internet cause célèbre because of his less than inspiring interview on a BET show. During the show, Flocka stumbled and mumbled through his way through an interview and then dropped this gem. When asked about the November elections, he said, “Voting cool, voting good, … but I don’t know nothing about that s***!” (His words, not mine.)

There are so many things wrong with this media disaster. First of all, didn’t anybody prepare this guy for his interview, and didn’t anyone ask the interviewers what kind of questions they were going to focus on? And why would the interviewers ask a rapper, who can barely string together an intelligent sentence, what he thinks about the upcoming Mid-Terms? That’s like asking a vegan for directions to a good steak house. Continue reading

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Are We Doing it to Ourselves?

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Portrait of a Well Dressed Woman Posing with a Lamp on Her HeadOur business (or as I usually call it, “the biz”) is now, and may always have been, at a cusp. Our job functions are spreading farther and wider (and depth frequently becoming thinner and thinner, like so much marshmallow fluff on a fluffernutter) that what we’re actually here to do, what we’ve been trained to do and gotten experience in, suffers greatly in quality and uniqueness.

Is it any wonder our families, and even clients sometimes, have no real idea of what we do when our education and training contradict our duties? That we’re here trying to provide strategic guidance on communications and image issues yet simultaneously diminishing the value of our own masthead through our actions?

Based on the war stories I hear (yes, for some reason your employees complain to me), tweets I see, and cv line items from prior jobs it seems increasingly we’re taking on the role of customer service agent (or at least appearing to), clerical support staff for clients (in non-media contexts), and the “occasional” other job that has nothing to do with our core skills of communications. Continue reading

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Ethical vs. Unethical: A Lot Rides on Only 2 Letters

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Neon toys signMere weeks after the PR world was shocked with news of unethical product review practices of client-developed iPhone apps by Reverb Communications, the profession is again faced with revelations of supposedly unethical practices, this time stemming from the undisclosed use of paid spokespeople by the toy industry as supposedly third-part, objective experts on local TV newscasts throughout the country, as Los Angeles Times media columnist Jim Rainey chronicled last week.

This glaring example of ethical misgivings from the toy industry brings clear an ugly truth in the new world of public relations: what is often best for the client is increasingly winning out over what is most ethical and best for consumers.

And that’s bad news for anyone serious about seeing the profession evolve and thrive. Continue reading

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Chris Brogan vs. Social Media Explorer

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Chair with nametagDon’t worry, Jason Falls and Chris aren’t flaming one another on Twitter or anything…  The Social Media equilibrium is still intact.  However, Chris’ recent post on the merits of Social Media Explorer did get me thinking.  What is better when you are thinking of starting a business:  your name or your brand?

It Should Always Be Your Name!

If I am going to put my time, my effort and my ideas into building a brand, it should be around my name.  While I might be selling around a topic or a niche, at the end of the day I am selling myself, so why not put my best foot forward?  Ensure that people not only know what they are buying, but who they are buying from.  Leading with your identity has the potential to build trust and earn you a reputation; it can get you to the point where customers are literally asking for you by name. Continue reading

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Get Coverage Where Your Customers Are

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Rolodex Filled with Business CardsAs communications professionals, we all have our “holy grail” of coverage. Maybe it’s the Wall St. Journal or the New York Times. It could be Vanity Fair or Pop Sugar. Maybe it’s Spin or Maxim. But does the pursuit of a clip to put in a frame come at the expense of pursuing solid coverage in smaller trade or audience-specific outlets?

The importance of trade press and niche outlets is hard to argue against. For every TechCrunch, there  is a Commercial Construction & Renovation Magazine. Keeping this in mind, I was intrigued when I saw a tweet from somebody that I respect that he was compiling a media list for an upcoming announcement.

So, I called up Allen Stern, who is the founder of Cloud Contacts, which scans, transcribes and connects your business cards on social networks, email services and CRM systems about how he approaches PR. What makes Allen’s perspective valuable is he is also the founder and editor of Center Networks, a news blog that focuses on start ups and Web apps.

Continue reading

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