Archive for July, 2008
July 30th, 2008
At Liberate Media we’re on a growth spurt, so this is an unashamed call for experienced PRs (freelance or permanent) to get in touch. If you’re reading this post, hopefully you already understand the digital mediaÂ sector and the importance of social media within digital communications, soÂ it’s a relatively safe bet that you areÂ the type of consultant that we want to speak to.
We also have an immediate requirement for freelance assistance, as I’m off on honeymoon shortly and would like to add a bit of extra resource to help cover my absence. Beyond that, we’re alwaysÂ interested in speaking to freelancers to see where opportunities might exist and to add newÂ ideas to our campaigns.
So, whether you areÂ freelance looking for a short term placement, or evenÂ looking for the next career move, you will find further information on the ‘Join us’ section of the site, or you can contact me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org
July 29th, 2008
As a big fan of TV’s Drangons Den I tuned in to last nights weekly episode as usual, half way through the show a guy pitched for a company called Diamond Geezer, an online retailer of Diamonds. What happened next was a first for Dragons Den. Peter Jones wanted to know all about Diamond Geezers Google rankings and key words.
View the video to see how the conversation unfolded:
Just goes to show how (SEO) keywords and page ranking are now becoming an important mix of companies online strategy’s.
July 28th, 2008
I picked up on a podcast interview and NMA profile of Habboâ€™s regional MD Europe, Phil Guest on the re-emergence of virtual worlds. It was for me a timely reminder that â€œitâ€™s all about the kidsâ€. While Iâ€™ve struggled with the adult vworlds, out there are more than 100 child-friendly worlds â€“ and Phil said there were many more on the way as leading brands piled in to create playful spaces to build connections and trust with their young customers. Maybe thatâ€™s it â€“ thereâ€™s a point to these places FUN!) and users who know how to connect, cluster and make the most of their time there. Phil had no doubts that worlds like Habbo sat on the blurring line between real and virtual that young people understood â€“ and that these worlds were a next step in the development of social networks because they were immersive, playful spaces with meaning beyond connections and self-reference. Look forward to the Feast of the Avatars, coming to a social network near you soon.
July 24th, 2008
Private or public Twitter accounts – what’s best?
There have been a few posts on this subject lately, so here’s my take!
Private – do they have something to hide? Are they from the dark side, or are they just plain shy?
A massive part of the social media mix is open conversation , transparency and the ability for people unknown to you, to comment and have opinions on what you have to say.
So why when it comes to Twitter do a small minority of users insist on vetting you before allowing you to see their Tweets. It’s like they want to check you before they except you!
TWO HUGE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT PROTECT YOUR TWEETS AND HAVE A PUBLIC ACCOUNT…
1. Everybody in the whole wide world has the opportunity to see your Tweets.
2. Public tweets are indexed by Google
Let’s face it, the whole idea of Twitter is to promote conversation and sharing, make contacts and friends in 140 characters or less. Protecting your Tweets makes it a lot harder to do this, and it is not great for social media optimisation either!
I guess the only reason you would want to protect your Tweets are:
A, You want to talk aggressively about other Twitter users.
B, Don’t want your boss to see you slagging him/her off.
C, You Tweet about your stamp collection.
D, You are talking to a mistress via Twitter.
E, You think you are far too important and senior to be followed by mere mortals
I can recommend another way of keeping Tweets confidential – Group Tweet - which allows you and your gang to send messages via Twitter that are instantly broadcasted privately to only the team members.
Maybe Twitter should just go back to the drawing board and not give users the option to have protected Tweets!
One reason FOR a private account I have come across is in a similar post, click to view here.
A comment is left that says “Twitter in a way is the space where I can say anything, it’s my “free space” to complain about brands, work, anything. That’s why I’m private on Twitter.” – she has a point!
What do you guys do – public or private – let me know your thoughts?
July 23rd, 2008
You might say, “who cares?”, but for me this is a refreshing new angle on the ‘who owns online PR?’ discussion that has been going on within the social media industry for a while. Of course I’m going to like suggestions that PRs might be in line to own SEO, but setting my vested interests aside, this line of thought helps explain why it is crucial that journalists and PRs understand the long-term trends that are happening in natural search.
Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker made his own rather crude observations on the subject on Monday, in his overly optimised article, “Online POKER marketing could spell the NAKED end of VIAGRA journalism as we LOHAN know it.” He doesn’t say anything new – online headlines have always been important for driving traffic and natural links, and the only difference is that journalists are waking up to the impact optimised copy can have on their authority and popularity rankings – but the article drives home the SEO control that journalists have at their fingertips, should they choose to use it intelligently.
Similarly, Leon Bailey Green has today contributed a post to the E-Consultancy blog entitled: “Is the role of the SEO dead and should PRs own natural search?“, where he argues “off-site optimisation, link building or link baiting, should actually be in the domain of PR professionals”. He concludes “so if a web developer can build a search engine friendly website, a content writer knows how to write search engine friendly copy and an online PR guru can get blogs/websites/forums to link to that content, where does that leave an SEO?”
Regardless of who might own SEO in the future, or whether anyone will, it’s becoming more and more important for PRs and journalists to have a basic understanding of how relevancy, authority and quality of content will increasingly be the metrics used by search engines to rank sites. In addition, social networks are in some cases beginning to displace search, by creating trusted networks of relevant recommendations – which will make the role that PR plays even more important.
The tactics of PR and journalism don’t necessarily need to change, but individuals working in these sectors will have to be very good at what they do.
Natural search can appear very scientific, and I personally am on a mission to understand the techniques as well as I can…but ultimately, PR as an industry needs to focus on the quality of its output. There’s no place for fakers!
July 18th, 2008
ThoseÂ of you reading thisÂ in the UK will know that knives are hot news in theÂ British media at the moment, due to a spate of stabbings mainly focused in the London area. It’s an unfortunate and horrible youth culture issue which has reached the highest level of Government and is covered daily by all the major news outlets.
So, on reading that Nike has had to withdraw its shoe range oddly titled ‘Air Stab’ i was a little surprised to say the least. Not that the range had been withdrawn, but that it existed in the first place. Surely no brand could be that callous or stupid to actually try and benefit from this horrible situation? Well no, of course not, but the headlines mayÂ have already done the damage.
On further investigation, according to the BBC’s article,Â it turns out thatÂ the shoe was first launched in 1988 as a STABility running shoe, which led to the name: Air Stab. The range was then relaunched two years ago, and Nike made the decision to remove the range from its London storeÂ in the light of recent issues. Some might argue they should have removed it earlier, but it’s not quite the story that one might first assume.
However, and unfortunately for Nike, the story doesn’t end there. Nike also has a shoe range called Pocketknife, and the discussion around whether this should be removed as well is gaining pace, check Brand Republic’s forum as an example.
From my perspective i certainly don’t think the name of a sports shoe will affect crime, but it could be argued that the names are ill-advised. I expect Nike’s UK PR team have been busy over the last few days.
Chris Littmann’s post on the Sporting Blog tells the other side of the story.
July 17th, 2008
I was watching a rerun of the Mighty Boosh a couple of nights back and one bit clicked in a new way. Itâ€™s the moment when the Crack Fox plays Vince some Foxy Porn â€“ â€œfor the fuzzy tingle timesâ€ – instead of his life story.
Iâ€™d been back on Google Lively Beta that day for another underwhelming virtual experience and had trawled through the list of user rooms, a lot of them offering Foxy Porn (er â€“ or similar). The Boosh gag was laced with that uncomfortable truth of the ubiquity and motive power of sex in all media.
Since then Google has respondedÂ to the harrumphing about porn rooms on Lively but I wonder how many brands will risk visibility in virtual spaces where an accidental click can associate them with, letâ€™s say, humping foxes.
Meantime, has anyone else tried out Lively and has positive, smiley results? I love the virtual experience when it pings but Iâ€™ve rarely found it on the community worlds so far. Iâ€™m too old for Habbo and WeeWorld (even with its own new-ish virtual world). They keep growing and BarbieWorld now has 10 million registered users, so maybe itâ€™s the more controlled, youth spaces that will win the brandsâ€™ respect and trust.
July 16th, 2008
I began experimenting with Twitter at the start of the year, and in that short space of time have observed a dramatic change in usage patterns of the micro-blogging tool.
From a communications perspective, this can be broken down into different stages of adoption, which I feel offers valuable lessons in how user behaviour is evolving as a whole across social networks. Only today, within my own network of followers/followees, I felt we might be on the cusp ofÂ a new adopter stage, and so I thought it might be a useful exercise to analyse this in my own words, to see what lessons can be learnt.
- Discovery – at the start of the year (and admittedly the year beforehand), Twitter was very much in early adopter stage. The tech-savvy were the first to try it and decide whether or not it was a useful communications tool. This stage was characterised by a sense of ‘elite’ ownership i.e. those using it felt inspired by the fact that they were living at the cutting-edge of social media.
- Experimentation – Twitter asks the question : ‘What are you doing?’. Following early-adopter phase, users experiment with how they can respond to this question in an interesting way, increasingly pushing the boundaries of usage. Functionality moves from basic status updates to more engaging conversation.
- Self-promotion – as Twitter networks grow, users realise the profile-raising potential of the communications tool. Until very recently, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people using Twitter for PR/self-promotion purposes. A growing trend has been to use the tool as a platform for seeding blog posts, product launches etc.
- Collaboration -we’ve been heading towards this for the past month or so, but today I saw Twitter come alive as a truly collaborative tool. Social media encourages openness and honesty, and within networks Twitter can be a great place to ask advice and receive timely, expert feedback. It’s a great virtual tool for the sharing of ideas, and bouncing around of creativity.
- Criticising – it’s bound to happen. Just as Twitter reaches its usage peak, people will start to want more than the tool is technically capable of delivering. Users will start asking “what’s next?”.
Which leaves us with ‘Migration’. I think Twitter has a bit more life left in it yet though!
July 15th, 2008
As a big fan of the Nintendo Wii I just happened to spot an interesting headlineÂ on one of my RSS feeds:
OnceÂ I had clicked through, i was greeted by the following message: “This post will sit on the front page, inactive, until the show begins. As long as I can get a wireless signal, I will be providing updates to this post. If I cannot get a signal, Deux Michaels will handle this section. I will update you on the situation as the event nears its start.”
Two things, first:
I’m all for live blogging, instant comments and reaction to breaking news. Doing this puts your blog on the map and in pole position, it draws the crowd in and turns your site into a goto site for all the latest news.
Good on GoNintendo for trying a different approach to blogging and covering an all important media briefing, it’s certainly an approach I would recommend to our Liberate Media clients.
July 10th, 2008
Over the next few moths you are going to see massive amounts of online coverage of the Olympics, most of it associated with huge brands.
One brand quickly off the blocks is Lenovo, who has a blog site called Voices of the Olympic games. As the name suggests the blog content is made up with athletes’ commentary of what they are currently up to. They also have another pretty impressive site called Lenove Olympic podium powered by Google which offers a whole host of video footage, Google maps and other multimedia content. It’s kind of like a start page for the Olympics where you can drag and drop each section to have the page set up to how you want it.
Lenovo has also got on the Twitter gravy train and is promising updates throughout the Olympics – to follow them click here – they have currently not updated!
Hot on Lenovo’s heel is of course Coca-Cola who has produced a social media press release in English and Chinese. View the smpr here. The smpr introduces Coca-Cola’s integrated Olympic campaign. Some of the interesting stuff Coca-Cola is doing around the Olympics mentioned in the smpr are:
To participate you need a good understanding of Chinese!
Just a taste of some of the big brands getting involved in the Olympics social media push.Â Watch this space for brands wanting to be associated with the wholesome feel good factor of the Olympics.