Archive for January, 2009
January 31st, 2009
This post has come a little later than I had planned, but needs must. On Wednesday night I attended the first P2PR event, organised by Jamie Burke and Lidia Miras Martinez at Brando Social, thanks guys – I really enjoyed meeting you and everyone who attended.
Jamie has already done an excellent round up of the event and if you haven’t joined the P2PR community on Ning I would encourage you to do so as there is some great debate with smart people involved. So what can I add? Well, what struck me at the event was the good level of debate between people that would traditionally be classed as competitors. Now of course we’re not going to share everything, a point that was highlighted by most people that I spoke to, but there was a mutual respect, willingness to share issues candidly and helpful input on potential resolutions. It was refreshing to have that input and feel part of a group of people that really are trying to better their profession and push new boundaries, especially in the current economic climate.
By the way, from my discussions, I think the general consensus on new biz was: lots of opportunity but decisions being postponed, put off, or new hurdles being put in place to jump over, which I agreed with.
So, do I have a point? What I’m trying to say is we know we have a good community, we know smart people are trying to do exciting things in communications, in social media and in PR in general. That’s not a new revelation, but we face a real test in the current financial crisis, and although we’re much better placed to deal with it than many other sectors, it’s a test none the less.
If we can still keep that openness, and will to collaborate in today’s financial environment, which so far all the evidence that I’ve seen confirms we can, we’re not only going to come through these harsh conditions, but we’re going to come through it stronger and better than before, which is a future I’m very much looking forward to.
January 30th, 2009
You know how this works by now, I list 5 of my favourite web 2.0Â tools of the week and you check them out!
1. A nice graph to start off the 5 web 2.0 tools selection with. Twitter Venn is a Venn graph that searches up to 3 terms in Twitter. The results are shown as the rate of tweets containing the search terms in the various combinations.
2. The Twitter influence calculator, the influence calculator lets Twitter users determine their personal influence, discover the most influential users in Twitter and compare themselves to others.
3. Want to know which Wiki is best, or suitable for a particular use go check out Wiki Matrix – Compare the Wikis of your choice in a comfortable side-by-side table.
4. Photo Peach helps you share your memories in a lively and vivid way by moving your photos like a video with your choice of background music, captions on each photo, fun effects, and more, the spiral effect is worth checking out.
Windows 7 Beta Screen shots on Photo Peach
5. Finally today we have Deadline, a slick little deadline line calendar tool. You input your reminder, and it will set up the reminder for you.
Once your appointments have been entered, you can quickly search through them based on words or dates you also get the option to have email updates. Reminders can also be accessed via mobile devices.
January 23rd, 2009
After another mental week of running around the country to meet my client’s needs, I’m back again with the latest installment of five on Friday posts series.
1. Checkvist is first up. Checkvist is a collaborative task list manager. Within each task you can add notes and get updates of recent changes. The best thing about Checkvist is its simplicity and ease of use, and on top of that it’s free! – I’ve started using Checkvist on a collaborative project already!
2. The next web 2.0 site is a really useful wiki called wikiHow. WikiHow is the how-to-Manual that you can edit. wikiHow currently contains 49,941 articles â€” written, edited, and maintained primarily by volunteers.
3. As always I like to include a weekly Twitter tool, and this week it goes to Tweetree.Â Tweetree offers you a Twitter stream in a tree format so that you can see the posts that people are replying to in context. A very good and simple idea.
Here is an example of Tweetree.
4. ‘Out of Five’ is a new service that posts reviews in microblog style.
This is how you do it:
- Sign up for a Twitter account,
- Relpy @oo5
- add the item you are reviewing
- then add your score
- and finally your review
@oo5 thing score review
At the moment the reviews are mainly film-related, but the key is that you have to post the review in 140 words or less.
5. Cool Flick is a Flickr search engine with a slick interface. Search for an image via a tag, then click onto your chosen image to get a closer look. When you have chosen the image you can then embed it into your blog via a piece of HTML code. – Recommended.
January 19th, 2009
One week back into 2009 (for me at least) and out come the depressingly familiarÂ predictions of ‘the end of blogging’.
Where to begin. It seems like every year (often more frequently) the same story is rolled out, blogging has had its day, there are x million blogs in the world but only x amount are updated, you’ll never make money out of blogging, you know the score. Well, I’m here again to say that the point is well and truly being missed.
This was a theme that ran through part of the an article in the current issue of NMA titled: Natural selection, which begins with the line: ‘Despite the fact there are some 130m blogs worldwide, some industry experts believe blogging is on its way out.’ First of all, IÂ don’t have an issue with the piece as such, it’s well written, researched and explained, but in parts it is the most recentÂ example of bloggingÂ being misinterpretedÂ to some extent.
Forgetting the article, and in my humble opinion, blogging is not aÂ technology that will build your empire, it was never meant to be, it’s not a communications strategy either. Blogging is part of the wider world of social media, it’s a tool that can be used to communicate with an audience, hopefully openly and as part of a two way conversation, but it’s not, as some of my colleagues in the PR industry would say, ‘a holistic solution’ – eugh, I feel dirty. Neither is it to be dismissed, as many PRs have in the past.
My point is; those who say that blogging is on its way out are missing the point. Blogging being here to stay or disappearing isn’t really the issue. BloggingÂ is just a flavour of a much wider social communications medium. A partÂ of people getting together to discuss their opinions by way of conversation.Â They maybeÂ corporates, consumers or one man and his dog, the conversation is the interesting part not the mechanism through which it is delivered.
Yes, blogging has been misused in the corporate world, misunderstood by the publishing world and feared by the communications world, but for the most part we’re coming out of those dark ages, and as Greg Brooks states in the NMA piece, blogging isn’t dead its evolving – hear, hear.
January 16th, 2009
BETT â€“ everyoneâ€™s favourite education technology show â€“ rolls to a close at London Olympia this weekend.
Still recognised as the biggest and most influential event of its kind, BETT delivers a combination of jaw-dropping developments, together with rock solid applications and kit that deliver genuine advances to education practitioners.
Highlights for me (watching from a busy distance this year) include the use of Second Life to show off a Middlesbrough School that is still being built. The idea is to let parents, pupils and staff to â€œtest driveâ€ the school and flag problems in good time. Construction work on Acklam Grange School has only just got underway, but developers at Middlesbrough City Learning Centre have created an exact representation of what it will look like in Second Life.
The idea is for teachers, pupils, and governors to see exactly what the new school will look like, familiarising themselves with the layout and spotting any potential problems before the building goes up.
Thereâ€™s a good video on the virtual school on You Tube.
The Phoneme Machine uses human lips to pronounce the sounds (phonemes) in hundreds of frequently used English words and in the Cued Speech option, which can be turned on and off, the shapes, positions and movements of the hands are displayed alongside the moving human lips, with the cueing for each of the 500 basewords of English demonstrated in a video box. Utterly brilliant! It was launched at BETT by Malcolm Bruce MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness.
So, there we areâ€¦ right in the midst of a Winter of Dismal Downturn, uplifting evidence that at least part of the future is in safe hands.
January 16th, 2009
Back once again with another five web 2.0 tools on Friday.
1.This first tool is good for doing a bit of snooping. It’s called snitch.name and it finds peoples’ profiles on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr plus many more.
2.Video alerts is up next. What I like about Video-Alerts is that everything is automated – you get an email notification when new videos are uploaded to YouTube from your specified keywords.
3.The simplicity of Pingvine is beautiful. Pingvine is a free service that takes an Atom or RSS feed from your blog, lifestream or favorite website and posts it to Twitter.
- 1. Select your service
- 2. Bang in your username and password
- 3. Paste in your feed URL
- 4. Select frequency and submit!
4. If you use RSS feeds a lot then this next web 2.0 site is for you. Basically xFruits will allow you to do anything you want with RSS feeds. Go check it out as it’s definitely worth a bookmark.
January 15th, 2009
Prior to Christmas I attended the second TechCrunch Talk – a discussion session for 150 start-ups, investors, and key players on the theme of: “CrunchTime:Â Opportunities and threats in the slowdown”.
PR came in for a bit of a battering during the panel discussion entitled “Will the startup service providers (lawyers, PRs, hosters) thrive or suffer? Will their startup clients appreciate their services…or not?”, with the general concensus among start-ups seeming to be ‘Do It Yourselves’!
So here is my advice for start-ups on how to approach PR in a downturn, and how to get the most out of your PR partner…
- Be realistic about what you can do yourself – as Andrew Scott, CEO of Rummble.com pointed out, wearing a branded T-shirt costs little, is something that you can do yourself, and will get you recognised. It’s a great starting point, but branded clothing is not for everyone and will ultimately have limited audience reach. Be honest about the tactical things that you might be able to pick up yourself in order to cut costs, but leave the strategy development and campaign management to the experts. Far better you focus your time and energies on what you’re good at – ultimately being an entrepreneur!
- Select an agency that will help you engage with your social media audiences, as well as traditional media - if you’re an online start-up you’ll understand that the consumer now holds the upper hand, and consumers in numbers now carry a lot of online influence. It’s crucial that your PR partner is able to deliver for you an integrated communications and engagement strategy that will ensure multiple touchpoints for your brand.
- Make sure you’re not going to be a small fish in a big pond – select a PR partner who will give you the love and care that you need, regardless of how much you are paying. Although your investment will roughly equal the amount of team resource you will receive, make sure you’re not going to get lost among far bigger brand clients.
- Build a relationship with your PR supplier – it goes without saying that PR is a people industry. If you make proper time for your PR partner and allow them to get to know you, you will reap the rewards. It’s a simple equation – the more you put into PR, the more you will get out of it. If you’ve gelled and built a good relationship, you’re likely to get more consultancy for free, and goodwill when you need to delay your payment etc!
- Make use of your PR’s network of contact and clients – PRs like myself have formerly worked as journalists and have a big book of contacts. Similarly, we have useful client contacts and connections into our client’s clients, and so on. Don’t be afraid to talk to us about our other clients to see if we can make useful introductions.
- Offer to pay upfront – if you’re after a discount, be honest about what you can afford, and offer to pay three months in advance. This will remove any nervousness in your supplier about your ability to pay, and they’ll be inclined to match your goodwill gesture with extra value for money.
- Ask for weekly activity updates, and propose regular meetings – there should be no need to manage a good PR partner, but in a downturn you want your money to work harder for you. Weekly updates will ensure that you’re both on-top of your actions, and additionally provide the PR with all the collateral and information that they need from you so that they’re not held back.
- Measure results – in a downturn, results become more important than ever. Ask your PR to benchmark your position at the start of the campaign, and repeat this reguarly in order to track the success of your PR investment.
January 9th, 2009
Here we go with the first Five on Friday of 2009 – five fabulous Web 2.0 tools and sites of the week.
1. Chart Maker – Create line, bar, pie, venn diagram and scatter charts very easily. Simply pick your chart enter your data, name your chart, pick the dimensions and hit GET CHART – you will be given a URL and on that page is your completed graph.
2. Next up is a Twitter apps database called Twitdom. Twitdom currently has 142+ applications in its database that you can add to if you are a developer. Categories include
3.Spy is a social media conversation search tool. Track and listen to conversations you are interested in. It is powered by:
Twitter via Twitter Search
FriendFeed via FriendFeed
Flickr via Flickr
Blog Comments via BackType
Yahoo News via Yahoo! Search BOSSâ„¢
Blogs (RSS) via FriendFeed
Google Reader via FriendFeed
4. This is now – Kind of a strange one this and quite difficult to explain but basically it’s one massive visual dashboard with loads of statistics that are happening right now. Go check it out as it’s quite amazing!
5. Dwarf url a nice little url shortening service that gives you click statistics.
“To begin, just enter your big ole’ ugly URL and our little workers will shrink it down to a managable size!
It’s absolutely free to use, and your newly created link will never expire.
You can even enter in a password and see the statistics (how many clicks and where from) for your dwarfURL.”
January 8th, 2009
Hi all, back again with my first post of the new year.
I thought I would share with you some links to social media case studies that I have been reading over the Christmas and New Year period. This is my pick of the best and is certainly worth a look.
- â€œThree Killer Social Media Case Studies from SMC San Franciscoâ€ – Starbucks, Hooman TV and Dwell on Design event.
- OpenSkies Social Media Case Study
Additionally, here is one of our new case studies for a more traditional PR campaign:
Subject: Developing the iCrossing brand in the UK