Archive for January, 2008
January 31st, 2008
The older generation is moving in on the hi-tech, online world and the under-30′s are not impressed, writes Martha Irvin from the Courier Mail.
The crux of her post reads that oldies are getting in on the social neworking scene, and the kids don’t like it.
This story rings true of a cousin of mine: a 20-year-old who likes fasion, music, designer clothes and her privacy. You know the type! Her only problem is she accepted her 40 something mum as a friend on Facebook! Her private life isn’t private no more!
The fact of the matter is that online social technology is getting easier to use and fast become accesible to people of all ages. What we are currently seeing is a generation split, but what’s interesting is the potential of social networks to re-build broken parent/child relationships.
Is Facebook becoming an earpiece for parent-child communications, instead of the dinner table? Are children more likely to listen to their parents in a trendy social network environment?
Maybe listening to you parents in a online environment is less confrontational and easier to digest. Let’s hope it brings families closer together… it might end up like the good old days when you sat around the wireless as a family waiting for latest radio play to be aired (before my time of course!).
January 30th, 2008
Or should i say puddle…
Sam Michel, Chinwag’s Founder and MD, kicked off the evening by sharing the results of the Chinwag skills survey, with some rather alarming stats such as ‘97% of digital media organisations find it difficult or impossible to attract digital people’…Ouch, and i’m afraid the outlook didn’t get much brighter.
There were many good points raised on the evening both from the panel and the floor as to why this is occuring, so i’ve summarised my top three below:
- The digital industry cannibalises itself, especially in our recruitment. We don’t look to other industries to recruit and we don’t think of transferable skills. This means an ever shrinking pool of talent is being sucked dry by an ever increasing roster of potential employers. Simple demand and supply.
- There is a lack of training and education for those wanting to get into the industry. Academic media courses are, in the main, run by those without specialist digital knowledge, so the graduates that are coming out simply aren’t up to the job. And even if the courses are up to scratch the industry changes so fast that within the three years taken to complete a course, the teachings are out of date.
- There is no body, force or will to face these issues head-on and promote the industry to other sectors, or – God forbid, make it seem an interesting and worthwhile place to aspire to be. Last night there were calls for a digital media recruitment body, calls for the IAB to step in and calls for help from just about everyone – even the recruitment agencies.
Add this to the issues of no time to recruit and according to Matt Alder, head of digital at Barkers, only 10% of digital jobs actually being advertised, and you can soon see why we’re in this mess.
For me, the problem is routed in the issue that the digital media industry doesn’t look, recruit or even engage outside of the industry, which is shocking – yet obvious when you think about it. We are insular beyond belief; other industries promote themselves and flutter their eye lashes at potential employees without a second thought, so why should we expect our industry to continue growing without some investment in people.
Why shouldn’t we look at transferable skills? Some already do and at Liberate we’ve already looked outside of the industry to recruit, and the results have been both eye-opening and rewarding. Having a new perspective on the industry is very powerful.
The time for procrastination and blame has passed. In times of crisis only action will turn the problem around, and we’re going to have to make some serious changes to open ourselves up to the type of candidates we want. In Liberate’s cases that’s – senior and experienced digital communicators, just in case you were wondering!
We’ve already got a plan in place and you’ll be seeing the fruits of our labour both on our site and reported via our blog. We are going to be embracing digital marketing to assist our recruitment targets and doing what we do best, which is communicating and driving results.
Watch this space.
January 29th, 2008
At Liberate Media we feel strongly that social media should be free and accessible to all. A big part of social media is being able to access information/stories/videos photos etc, take that content, and place it and share it where ever you want whenever you want.
Which is why Liberate media wants to give something back and show that there are a couple of PR companies digging trenches and filling the sandbags! We are going to share our research work into social media and web 2.0 over the last 12 months with you.
There has been a lot of talk recently about how PR folk just don’t get social media, don’t know what it is, don’t know how to harness it and don’t know how to measure the results. This is true to some extent, but for us a new form of communication is always at the forefront of our thinking. So to help our fellow PR professionals and anyone else who is interested in social media and web 2.0, please take a minute to check out our archive of posts. You might even learn something!
The archive is set out by topic, and in each topic there are relevant posts for that heading. It will make more sense when you actually look at it. New headings are added all the time and a round-up of new links added will feature in a blog post every Friday (make sure you subscribe to our blog to you don’t want to miss it).
The code for the map is below – please feel free copy and paste this and embed this into your blog.
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/html/map_content.html?graphId=226″ height=”500px” width=”95%” ></iframe>
If you have any more ideas on how to improve the resource, research archive or think any headers are missing, or would like us to add any relevant posts, please get in touch.
January 28th, 2008
At Liberate Media we have been closely watching the progress of the social media press release (SMPR), but after an initial debut by Shift Communications, progress has been slow with only few notable exceptions.
As part of our ongoing social media research and development, we recently came across a site called Asterpix, which we felt offered lots of potential for PR. Asterpix has a wealth of sharing options, such as the ability to embed your interactive video directly into your website or blog, use the ‘share’ button on the player or website, and functionality to copy and paste the video URL link into an email or instant message. This makes it a perfect social media platform.
The premise of the site is to make videos interactive, so the user clicks highlighted links embedded at relevant points in the film, which open in a new window (additional information). This we felt was the next stage for the SMPR.
We decided to test the concept of a Social Media Video Release (SMVR) on our new company website, which launched last week. Each of the company directors filmed a video biography, and sourced additional online links referencing the credentials they talk about. These resources included visual cues for Flickr and LinkedIn, as well as downloadable photos that we hosted, and a PDF script for accessibility and fact checking purposes.
Their profile videos were filmed with a basic handheld video camera, and edited using open-source software. This was to show that the process is accessible to any one with a little imagination.
Our trials were so successful that we pitched the idea to our client iCrossing (formerly Spannerworks in the UK) for their re-brand announcement. They very much liked the idea but wanted a more polished finish, and more in-depth additional information. The resulting video is here.
We are monitoring the results of the iCrossing SMVR very closely, which we will feedback through our blog, so look out for a case study to follow. We are also asking journalists for feedback. Please take a look at the videos and let us know your thoughts. All feedback is welcome to take this inventive idea to the next step.
January 25th, 2008
This week, the Liberate Media website relaunched in WordPress.
The old website was little more than a year old, and had received very good feedback…but over the past six months in particular we had realised the need for a website platform that could grow dynamically with us, and respond better to the socially networked environment that we’re operating within.
The decision to use WordPress was an easy one. Not only is it a very cost-effective way of building a new site, but if offers some great functionality including:
- The ability to easily add and update pages
- The control to administrate the site ourselves
- Easy integration of third party plug-ins and software
- Tools to password protect areas of the site
- Better search engine visibility
- Freedom to import embedable content on the fly such as videos, podcasts, games etc
WordPress is a social media platform, and in today’s digital age, it’s crucial that we’re transparent about our presence online and the conversations we’re engaging in. The ability to do this leaves an important digital footprint for the company.
Please take a look at the new site in your own time, and let us know what you think. We hope you feel it offers a breath of fresh air within the PR industry in particular. If you’re interested in finding out more about WordPress, please get in touch.
January 16th, 2008
I’ve recently picked up on widget-fatigue within the industry, and a sense that they are no longer worth shouting about.
Jemima Kiss at the Guardian recently posted a Tweet about yet another widget: “A press release about the launch of Facebook app. Bless them. That will be the 11,000th, then…”
But to put widgets in perspective, they are still having a phenomenal influence on internet traffic.
Photobucket replaced Flickr as the largest photo sharing site in the UK last February, and it has managed to hold onto that no.1 position largely due to 55% of its traffic coming from widgets and applications on MySpace and Bebo. By comparison, Flickr only gets 2.4% of its traffic from social networking sites. (Data from Hitwise).
Interestingly, Photobucket saw a significant jump in widget adoption when they stopped calling them widgets and started calling them slideshows. This is old news and has been widely reported already, but worth reiterating I felt.
So maybe the problem rests with the name…but ultimately, widgets are still proving to be hugely successful traffic drivers.
January 9th, 2008
If Hillary Clinton is to be believed it was her water works on Monday that secured her win in New Hampshire, as reported by the Guardian.
Although showing her human vulnerability will have undoubtedly won her more votes, was this really the key to her success?
On reading the account of Clinton’s victory it really brought home how much these old school tactics are still central to success in politics, and personally I find it a bit sickening and boring.
As a Brit watching from a far it’s easy to be critical, and I know our own politicians are just as guilty, and our voters just as naive, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to be treated like adults and cut through the games to get to the heart of the matter?
As a digital communicator I would love to turn to the web for a bit of honest two-way political communication, and politicians are embracing the web as a key route to specific voting groups.
As Jeff Jarvis pointed out yesterday, Barack Obama has used the web strategically to reach the younger voter and get them interested again, which reflects how successful the web can be as a political machine. It also suggests that winning votes is more about hitting the right audiences with the right message, something that we should be familiar with, and something the web can do very well – at least for certain types of voters.
And there-in lies the problem. Could the web be a driver for more open and honest communications in politics? Yes. Is the web an increasingly important medium for political communications?Definitely. Will that reduce these ‘built for TV’ and cringeworthy displays? Probably not. At least not yet.
At the moment, the weapon of mass election is the TV, where a well crafted speech or public display of emotion can be much more powerful than a specialised campaign dealing with real issues.
Let’s hope the web becomes a more central political vehicle for the next US election, as I fear the next UK election will be too soon.
January 8th, 2008
Reading on the Telegraph website this morning about Gordon Brown’s hiring of PR guru Stephen Carter to become his new “principal” adviser, along with a viewpoint entitled “Are spin doctors taking over the world?“, has got me thinking about the role of spin in social media.
To put in context, The Telegraph comment piece makes the point:
“When did PR become so important? Are spin doctors taking over the world? If so, does it matter?
“Is there any hope of curtailing the influence of spin in todayï¿½s media-savvy society?”
I would argue to begin with that spin in journalism was certainly curtailed in 2007 with the rapid uptake of social media, and news reporting by the masses. Just yesterday I was reading an apology on the BBC editor’s blog for censoring an interview with the late Benazir Bhutto. As Simon Collister points out in his post on the subject, “social knowledge allows a record of the multifarious voices in any situation (news story) to be heard and mapped out, ultimately providing us with a slightly messy if not better and more accurate version of reality”.
The same is becoming true for traditional PR as we know it. Politics is one subject in particular that is becoming harder and harder to ‘control’, with so many opinions and arguments being voiced across social media networks. The influence that spin doctors can have on political matters is rapidly being diminished, and in my mind will very soon be a thing of the past. There is no pulling the wool over the public’s eyes, when social media offers so much opportunity for the truth to come to light.
So why has Gordon Brown appointed a PR to manage his affairs? The answer in my mind is simple. Despite the changes in media as we know it, the ability to engage with audiences effectively, and understand what grabs attention, is still the realm of PR professionals. There has been a push within the digital industry to make this appear scientific, but at the end of the day, you can’t place an algorithm on the way people communicate. Understanding this is a fine art within itself, and Stephen Carter through his experience at Ofcom and later Brunswick PR is in a great position to assist Gordon Brown in the digital age.
So although social media might take the ‘spin’ out of PR, it can’t undermine the continuing importance of PR.
January 4th, 2008
It was only a few months ago that the number of ‘friends’ you had on Facebook determined how cool and popular you were…but has this social phenomenon already been dethroned?
A Tweet Scan today reveals emerging irritation with Facebook’s heavy handed approach to rule-breaking users. There seems to have been a flurry of disgruntled users either deleting their accounts, or actively trying to get banned. Click here to see the chain of conversation on the subject.
Earlier today reports surfaced that respected blogger Rober Scoble had been kicked-off Facebook, for running an automated script. According to his blog post, all traces of him have since been removed from the social networking site.
Funnily enough, this seems to have sparked a mini-craze.
One Tweet reads: “Funny… people want Scoble’s script so that they can be deleted from Facebook. Classic.”
It just goes to show how fluid social media audiences are!
January 3rd, 2008
At Liberate Media, our New Year’s resolution (well one of them!) was to sign-up to Twitter.
If you’d like to follow us, you can find us under the names: wendymcauliffe and Liberatelloyd. We will be sure to follow you in return!