Follow Friday Five #2

27 02 2009

In the continuing spirit of the social web’s Follow Friday this is the second in a series of suggestions of five blogs to follow…on a Friday.

The choices here are all inspired by PR, insights into the social web or both (and a little sprinkling of politics).  

Blogs in general range from those that contemplate navel fluff to those that really inspire and deliver some of the latest thinking.  I have tried to focus on the latter.

 If you have a spare five minutes today why not have a look at them.

1 Chris Brogan is President of New Marketing Labs, a new media marketing agency.  His blog has a huge audience and provides real food for thought.

2. Econsultancy blog  This is pretty cerebral stuff. It’s a community where digital marketing and e-commerce professionals compare notes so as you would expect the content is highbrow.

3. Norton’s Notes I first met Chris about a year ago when I gave a talk for the CIPR at Leeds Metropolitan University on Digital PR.  Chris asked some searching questions then blogged about it. It is what convinced me that as a PR person I really should blog.

4. Order Order Guido Fawkes’ (mainly right wing) political outpourings but well sourced and a good read for all that. Guido frequently gets stories before the mainstream media and his blog is read widely in Westminster.

5. Byrne Baby Byrne  Colin Byrne is CEO of Weber Shandwick, and one of the leading figures in UK and international PR.  He is one of the godfathers of PR blogging and we should all be interested in what he has to say.

SlySpace, Fakebook and Twimposters

26 02 2009

The term cybersquatting was coined when websites first became publicy available.  People would buy domain names using company or brand names or the names of celebrities and then try to flog them back at inflated prices.  A similar thing is now happening in social networks but potentially the outcomes are far more damaging.

Individuals are signing up on facebook, twitter and across the web to the identities of celebrities, and sometimes brands too.  It costs them nothing and they are not selling the online persona back to their ‘rightful’ owners they are using them to impersonate.   For many the intentions have been harmless but not for all.  The fake Facebook account for Kate Winslett in which she apparently called her screen rival and fellow Oscar nominee Angelie  Jolie , a “fat-lipped crazy cow” amused Kate apparently but that might not always be the case.  A blog called Valebrity has taken on the task of validating celebrities on line and Jonathan Ross has appointed himself as twitter ‘star’ czar.

The act of impersonating others on twitter is also being used for political ends.  John Ransford the Chief Executive of the Local Government Association has a ‘Twimposter’ who has been actively defaming him for weeks and the leading light of the Labour new media movement Derek Draper has pointed people in the direction of a fake David Cameron.

Companies and brands should be cautious too, with the growth of the social web and the velocity at which content spreads, charlatans of  the social web may be ot there doing real harm to their business.

Blogroll, Shmogroll. Update

25 02 2009

Not a big sample I know but of the 53 views so far for the post, six clicked through to PR Squared that’s a rate of 11% more than a little bit higher than the 0.06% click through rate from the blogroll …almost 200x higher.

Blogroll, Shmogroll.

24 02 2009

toilet-rollNot long after I discovered the concept of blogging I became aware of the convention known as the ‘blogroll’; the list of blogs, usually placed in the sidebar, that reads as a list of other recommended blogs (you’ll find one to your right and down a bit).

As the web is built on the concept of links, I took it as read that this was a key defining element of what made a blog.  Moreover to be listed on a blogroll was to be included in that blog’s roll of honour.  Not really so.  Very few visitors ever click on the links in a blogroll.  The blogroll here lists just four blogs.  Two are WordPress links which were automatically generated when I set up the blog and it seemed a bit churlish to delete them.  One is for PRMediaBlog where I also post and the fourth is a link to Todd Defren’s PR Squared blog, which I included beacuse I believe that Todd is ‘the’ trailblazer for PR 2.0 or digital PR.  Of the four as the only link with no vested interest, it could be considered to be the ‘control’ in terms of click through.  The results are not spectacular.  The first 5000 visits to this blog generated just three visits to PR Squared or a 0.06% click through rate.

Blogrolls just don’t generated much traffic.  I predict that Todd’s blog will get more visits from this single post than from three months on the blog roll…but that’s up to you not me.

The Third Wave of Digital Influence

23 02 2009

A fierce debate is playing out as to what skills are best suited to the conditions created by a digital world to which everybody has access.   The era of single message mass marketing is coming to an end. In a presentation to 250 marketing and advertising executives in New York in late 2007,  Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “for the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation and they’re going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do.”

I believe that we have now entered a third phase since the inception of digital marketing.  The first phase was a technical one, the second was built around design and creativity and this third phase is characterised by the democratisation of content.   In the nineties when businesses first launched commercial web sites you hade to be a programmer or coder to build a website.  The industry was wholly reliant on technicians.  Specialist agencies sprang up and clients were in their thrall and people had to place their trust entirely in the hands of digital specialists.  Over time coding became more commoditised and new programmes allowed the less technical to do more and more.  The creative and design community started to be able to exert more of an influence.  The look and feel as well as the functionality of a website becomes more important.  In this second phase designers and creatives gained pre-eminence in the field of digital marketing. 

The third wave of digital communications is characterised by user generated content and templated designs that can be adapted and customised  (like the Wordpress template for this blog)  and are now widely available. More importantly much of what we see on screen is originated in a space beyond the control of clients or agencies.  Content comes from lots of different places the skills that are important to the marketing function are not hard technical skills, nor are they predominantly aesthetic but they are the softer management skills of diplomacy and influence. In short these are the skills that PR people have always used in their interactions with traditional media.

Oscars Leak Rumour

21 02 2009

Rumours are circulating the internet that the winners list for the 81st Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been leaked.  The evidence is a letter supposedly from President of the Academy, Sid Gannis.  This blog has no intention of publishing the list but if you are determined to have a look, the letter ‘real or fake’ can be found here.

All the evidence suggests that the list is a fake. Only two partners of the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers are supposed know the results before the envelopes are opened onstage and so the president should not have this information, let alone have committed it to paper.  What it demonstrates is that with the surge in peer to peer media and the explosion of user generated content has become very difficult to keep a secret.  I hope the letter is a forgery because if it isn’t it is a spoiler in every sense. 

The way the web is now we want instant answers.  The Academy’s PR machine has shown itself to be as reactively poor as it is pro-actively brilliant.  I am sure that they would claim they should not dignify such leaks with a reponse but in an increasingly transparent world that lack of any official word on the Academy website can only fuel the rumours.

Follow Friday Five #1

20 02 2009


19mmtransparent5diceIt has become a fad on twitter to suggest people to follow on a Friday. Twitter users suggest names and then make the suggestions searchable using the hashtag #followfriday. 

In the same spirit this blog will suggest five blogs to follow…on a Friday.


 1. Wadds Tech Blog    The personal blog of Stephen Waddington, head honcho at Rainier PR.  This week with an interesting take on a twitter spam pub game.

2. A PR Guy’s Musings  Stuart Bruce is a trailblazer in online PR. Always good to see what he has to say. This week he wades into the PR/SEO debate.

3. Ian Dale’s Diary  The one stop shop for gossip, humour and commentary on British politics. This MP’s blog has a phenomenal following.

4. PR Media Blog  Full honest and upfront disclosure, this is the ‘powered by Staniforth’ blog, Staniforth being the PR agency I work for.  Lots of my colleagues writing lots of good stuff.

5. NHS Choices – Behind the Headlines A great piece this week debunking the Facebook gives you cancer story in the Daily Mail.

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