Bandwidth » Public Relations http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth Insights from H&K Canada's social media strategy team Fri, 07 Jan 2011 21:05:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Info-Images + One Cartoon 2010 http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/12/29/info-images-one-cartoon-2010/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/12/29/info-images-one-cartoon-2010/#comments Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:27:31 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:9859144 The images and infographics below struck a cord with me for a variety of reasons throughout the year. And be patient with the scrolling. There are six images in all . .  . and the best one is the last.

Where dweeb, nerd and geek meet. (I sure hope I fit the geek category and not the others.)

The death this year (one hopes) of the self-described social media guru. (And not a moment too soon.)

Facebook rules

Paul Butler, an engineering intern at Facebook, made this image from a sample of 10 million Facebook friendship pairs. The map was created organically from the pairs, and the lines represent human relationships.

Okay, maybe mobile browsers rule (Although personally I find my mobile brower frustrating to use, slow and with insufficient screen clarity. But I guess that’s just me.)

Facebook Places versus Foursquare (Some research on what people think about whether Facebook Places will overtake Foursquare, and some who don’t care. And apologies to the creator of this graph and academics who have to identify sources in their papers — I can’t find the source for this anymore. If someone would like to point me to the owner, I would be more than happy to give approprate attribution.)

The social demographics of Facebook and Twitter. (Too bad the creators couldn’t measure login by the hour: I wonder what the stats would look like then.)

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Twitter Helping Politicians Use Itself http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/11/07/twitter-helping-politicians-use-itself/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/11/07/twitter-helping-politicians-use-itself/#comments Sun, 07 Nov 2010 15:50:16 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:9399299

According to ClickZ (via KStreet Café) Twitter has hired Adam Sharp to provide advice to DC politicians and bureaucrats on how to use the micro-blogging platform for the pubic good. Why?

“A Twitter spokesperson told ClickZ in June: ‘We are seeing strong growth of government, policy, and political usage of Twitter, and we want to help officials get the most out of our service to better communicate with constituents.’ “

(Given Facebook’s capacity and usage as a hub for political campaigns, maybe it should be thinking of doing something similar, if it hasn’t already.)

Not a bad idea at all . . . social web platforms providing strategies to specific target user groups for getting the most out of them. It should make government relations consultants a bit nervous that platforms are  stepping into their advisory role.

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A Random Social Web Walk . . . With Voting http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/10/07/a-random-social-web-walk-with-voting/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/10/07/a-random-social-web-walk-with-voting/#comments Thu, 07 Oct 2010 17:52:35 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:9086283 Some random social web information and ideas:

From Mashable, a tongue-firmly-in-cheek campaign from the marketing firm Proximity will see the person who checks in most frequently on Foursquare at the City of Chicago Mayoral HQ become the new ‘mayor’ of the city. The current front runner is Rob Mowry who looks strangely like Rob Ford a real candidate for mayor in Toronto. Just showing up, rather than making change, seems to work for mayors in Toronto so why not a Foursquare mayor?

My Vote . . .

The title of this article by Robyn Urback in Canada’s National Post newspaper says it all: ” Facebook’s ‘I like it’ campaign pointlessly sexualizing tragedy”. The idea is that for breast cancer awareness month, women are supposed to say where they like to leave their purse. (I know: I don’t understand the connection either.) The result is such comments as ‘I like it on the floor’. Get it? Unfortunately, the article doesn’t tell you who thought up this offensive campaign.

My Vote . . .

According to a study sponsored by StephensGouldPincus in the US, “the total percentage of work devoted by communications consulting firms to social media as opposed to traditional media is 30% overall. Next year, the percentage will increase to an average of 42%, with firms over $3 million in revenue increasing to 46%.”

My Vote . . .

In post about a Gallup poll which shows that distrust in the media continues to edge up, Valeria Maltoni says something that people like me who blog about current affairs should remember:

Especially if you are creating content, you should do your homework, look to diverse sources. A greater share of voice comes with greater accountability.

My Vote . . .

It’s a good day. I liked three out of the four things I read.

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Howard Rheingold’s Social Media Literacies http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/09/25/howard-rheingolds-social-media-literacies/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/09/25/howard-rheingolds-social-media-literacies/#comments Sat, 25 Sep 2010 17:54:08 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:8983194

Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs among other writings on technology and culture, spoke (inspirationally) last Thursday at Toronto’s Ryerson University about the use of social media in education. That’s him below . . .

One of his themes is the need for educational institutions, instructional designers and teachers to recognize the new ‘literacies’ required of graduates, and the implications of them on how and what is taught.

The ‘literacies’ in Rheingold’s lexicon are attention, participation, collaboration and critical consumption, all of which make sense given the ubiquity of information, ease of search and value of networks in invention and ideation. Critical consumption – or crap detection – is especially important in a culture in which even barely educated Hollywood celebrities and 16-year-old pop singers have political and social opinions they think worthy of tweeting. And I would also add visual mindfulness to the list given the increasingly dominant place of images in online narratives.

I did wonder, though, about how much Rheingold values what he called ‘alphabetic’ literacy and the role it plays in his collaborative model of learning. As the final assignment in his course at Stanford, Rheingold asks his students, reluctantly I sense, to create (not ‘write’) an essay drawing together the words or concepts defined throughout the course. But the chronicle seems secondary to the process of connecting and interacting to develop the understanding, which now that I think of it is true . . . to a point.

My experience teaching at two urban Canadian universities and as a communications consultant in a large firm, makes me sensitive to any devaluation of the act of writing and what it requires in logical structuring and presentation of ideas. I see a lot of sloppy writing, from essays to news releases. And by sloppy I don’t mean the creative manipulation of language to make a point or give birth to a feeling, which can be artful.

Writing in Wired a few months ago, Clive Thomson reported that:

In interviews, they (students) defined good prose as something that had an effect on the world. For them, writing is about persuading and organizing and debating, even if it’s over something as quotidian as what movie to go see.
Nothing wrong with that. But persuading, organizing and debating, especially persuading and debating, without the rigor of expression is ineffective and usually boring. Not that I think Rheingold undervalues rhetoric. He is too much the master of language and reasoned argument himself. But I do think he and others should be careful not to turn a blind eye to how untutored many people are these days, and the fault is only ours when we don’t ask for high standards in expression even if people are attentive, participatory, and collaborative and exhibit effective bullshit detection.
Critic and scholar Jacques Barzun justifies why in the preface to his 1986 book A Word or Two Before You Go:

The fact is that great ideas and deep feelings cannot be fully known or enjoyed, rightly valued or reported, unless they are closely scanned in the only way open to us – matching the experience with the right words.

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ICCO Says Social Web Consulting Growing http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/19/icco-says-social-web-consulting-growing/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/19/icco-says-social-web-consulting-growing/#comments Wed, 19 May 2010 21:14:17 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:7729200  

Nothing in the ICCO's World Report 2010 is surprising including that "As interest in the exploitation of digital channels grows, public relations consultancies are increasingly positioning themselves as experts in the field, especially when it comes to managing an organisation's reputation online." (The ICCO is the umbrella organization for communications agency trade associations in 28 countries)

But here's a tip: If you are thinking of expanding your agency business internationally, forget Sweden where most consultants find that "companies perfer to mee their digital needs entirely in-house or via specialist sub-contractors". Instead head for Norway where "communication via new technologies is the domain of external providers, and 100% of consultancies offer these services". Demand and supply are growing.

The opportunities are in Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, India, and Turkey where communications consultancies are apparently slower to add social web expertise to their range of services.

Since we have so many social web experts in North America, maybe some should think of setting up shop in these under-served countries.

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Nothing in the ICCO’s World Report 2010 is surprising including that “As interest in the exploitation of digital channels grows, public relations consultancies are increasingly positioning themselves as experts in the field, especially when it comes to managing an organisation’s reputation online.” (The ICCO is the umbrella organization for communications agency trade associations in 28 countries)

But here’s a tip: If you are thinking of expanding your agency business internationally, forget Sweden where most consultants find that “companies perfer to mee their digital needs entirely in-house or via specialist sub-contractors”. Instead head for Norway where “communication via new technologies is the domain of external providers, and 100% of consultancies offer these services”. Demand and supply are growing.

The opportunities are in Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, India, and Turkey where communications consultancies are apparently slower to add social web expertise to their range of services.

Since we have so many social web experts in North America, maybe some should think of setting up shop in these under-served countries.

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Digital for the Defense http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/07/digital-for-the-defense/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/07/digital-for-the-defense/#comments Fri, 07 May 2010 20:55:05 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:7597684

The plaintiff's bar, according to Richard Levick, "has asserted digital dominance over the defense. In countless class action engagements, plaintiffs’ attorneys have outpaced the companies they target in search engine marketing and optimization (SEM and SEO), in the blogosphere, and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube."

The same can be said for companies under attack by activist groups and angry citizens. Activist organizations are much better at using the social web in attack mode, although they nearly always have far fewer resources at their disposal than their targets. The examples are legion, from Nestle to Toyota to critics of the development of Canada's oil sands.

It isn't so odd really. To use the social web to greatest effect, you need quick decision-making, nimble approval of content, faith that public opinion matters, and willingness to let others speak for you . . . in other words, actions counter to the command-and-control and circle-the-wagons mindset that overtakes the C-suite in a crisis. Unless it is proved that public opinion will influence the purchase behaviour of a company's customers, piss off regulators or make investors unhappy, there is a propensity for managers to equate defense with inaction.

But that isn't the best strategy. As Mao Zedong said "the only real defense is active defense.", which is a good description of what companies should think of doing online, and a more felicitous strategy for the social web than the common adage that 'the best defense is a good offense.'

Companies don't need to be combative or belligerent as might a plaintiff's counsel in the U.S. But they should offer -- and be willing to discuss -- a point of view using social web tools for three reasons:

  1. A transparent, fact-based story shared with appropriate humility (if a mistake has been made) and discussed will get traction with non-aligned, non-dogmatic (yes, there are some) social web participants. The critics on the social web may shout the loudest, but the conversationalists and collectors can have political impact (Note . . .  Forrester Research social technographic categories)
  2. The ubiquitous use of search -- on any platform (Google, Twitter, YouTube etc.) -- means that the company's angle on an issue or problem at least stands a chance of getting exposed to  non-obdurate or non-ideologically driven citizens.
  3. Digital memory is timeless and the next time something happens to the company that digital retrospection may not just be of a mess but also of an accurate explanation.
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The plaintiff’s bar, according to Richard Levick, “has asserted digital dominance over the defense. In countless class action engagements, plaintiffs’ attorneys have outpaced the companies they target in search engine marketing and optimization (SEM and SEO), in the blogosphere, and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.”

The same can be said for companies under attack by activist groups and angry citizens. Activist organizations are much better at using the social web in attack mode, although they nearly always have far fewer resources at their disposal than their targets. The examples are legion, from Nestle to Toyota to critics of the development of Canada’s oil sands.

It isn’t so odd really. To use the social web to greatest effect, you need quick decision-making, nimble approval of content, faith that public opinion matters, and willingness to let others speak for you . . . in other words, actions counter to the command-and-control and circle-the-wagons mindset that overtakes the C-suite in a crisis. Unless it is proved that public opinion will influence the purchase behaviour of a company’s customers, piss off regulators or make investors unhappy, there is a propensity for managers to equate defense with inaction.

But that isn’t the best strategy. As Mao Zedong said “the only real defense is active defense., which is a good description of what companies should think of doing online, and a more felicitous strategy for the social web than the common adage that ‘the best defense is a good offense.’

Companies don’t need to be combative or belligerent as might a plaintiff’s counsel in the U.S. But they should offer — and be willing to discuss — a point of view using social web tools for three reasons:

  1. A transparent, fact-based story shared with appropriate humility (if a mistake has been made) and discussed will get traction with non-aligned, non-dogmatic (yes, there are some) social web participants. The critics on the social web may shout the loudest, but the conversationalists and collectors can have political impact (Note . . .  Forrester Research social technographic categories)
  2. The ubiquitous use of search — on any platform (Google, Twitter, YouTube etc.) — means that the company’s angle on an issue or problem at least stands a chance of getting exposed to  non-obdurate or non-ideologically driven citizens.
  3. Digital memory is timeless and the next time something happens to the company that digital retrospection may not just be of a mess but also of an accurate explanation.
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Activist Boot Camps for Everyone http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/04/28/activist-boot-camps-for-everyone/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/04/28/activist-boot-camps-for-everyone/#comments Wed, 28 Apr 2010 11:15:00 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:7468473 Take a look at this description of an activists' training summit being organized in seven U.S. cities this spring and summer:

The following training courses were designed for the grassroots and focus on key areas of effective activism.

Grassroots Organizing:

  • Creative Leadership
  • Micro-targeting Precincts
  • Building Effective Coalitions
  • Media Training

Online Activism:

  • Online Image Management
  • Blogs and Wikis
  • Patriots 2.0
  • Creative Messaging

I know what you're thinking: It's just another left-wing fringe group preparing for the G20 Summit in June in Toronto or a protest over some environmental sin or other committed by a multinational corporation somewhere in the world.

Not this time. The social web activist boot camps are part of a series of 'Post-Party Summits' organized by a group announcing "the beginning of the new American Revolution, one in which we organize for liberty and take back our communities from the political class." That's right . . . The Tea Party, or one of its sister organizations on the right, is looking to train its supporters in social web influence strategies.

Ironically, it may be that the Obama presidential campaign's successful use of the social web has given the "enemy" new ideas for grassroots organizing.  

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Take a look at this description of an activists’ training summit being organized in seven U.S. cities this spring and summer:

The following training courses were designed for the grassroots and focus on key areas of effective activism.

Grassroots Organizing:

  • Creative Leadership
  • Micro-targeting Precincts
  • Building Effective Coalitions
  • Media Training

Online Activism:

  • Online Image Management
  • Blogs and Wikis
  • Patriots 2.0
  • Creative Messaging

I know what you’re thinking: It’s just another left-wing fringe group preparing for the G20 Summit in June in Toronto or a protest over some environmental sin or other committed by a multinational corporation somewhere in the world.

Not this time. The social web activist boot camps are part of a series of ‘Post-Party Summits’ organized by a group announcing “the beginning of the new American Revolution, one in which we organize for liberty and take back our communities from the political class.” That’s right . . . The Tea Party, or one of its sister organizations on the right, is looking to train its supporters in social web influence strategies.

Ironically, it may be that the Obama presidential campaign’s successful use of the social web has given the “enemy” new ideas for grassroots organizing.  

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Agency Frustration http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/04/08/agency-frustration/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/04/08/agency-frustration/#comments Thu, 08 Apr 2010 13:03:50 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:7266236 Let's be honest, most consultants have felt it at one time or another . . . the frustration of having your counsel questioned in a way that evidences a lack of respect for your experience and expertise.

It seldom happens with lawyers, accountants, physicians and probably management consultants with McKinsey and Company; but often with communications consultants, web designers, advertising copywriters and creative directors.

So, thanks to Dave Fleet for pointing to a little lighthearted push back (especially the penultimate sentence) at Agency Smackdown.

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Let’s be honest, most consultants have felt it at one time or another . . . the frustration of having your counsel questioned in a way that evidences a lack of respect for your experience and expertise.

It seldom happens with lawyers, accountants, physicians and probably management consultants with McKinsey and Company; but often with communications consultants, web designers, advertising copywriters and creative directors.

So, thanks to Dave Fleet for pointing to a little lighthearted push back (especially the penultimate sentence) at Agency Smackdown.

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Be Careful How you Judge http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/03/19/be-careful-how-you-judge/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/03/19/be-careful-how-you-judge/#comments Fri, 19 Mar 2010 19:56:28 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:7070353 Thanks to a former colleague - Sharon Fernandes - for directing me to this YouTube video. Warning, though, you need to watch it all the way to the end to understand exactly what is going on. It's less than three minutes long.

While the video is about book publishing, there are important lessons in it for anyone in an organization responsible for its interaction with customers, the public or communities . . . be careful how you judge what they value.

 

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Thanks to a former colleague – Sharon Fernandes – for directing me to this YouTube video. Warning, though, you need to watch it all the way to the end to understand exactly what is going on. It’s less than three minutes long.

While the video is about book publishing, there are important lessons in it for anyone in an organization responsible for its interaction with customers, the public or communities . . . be careful how you judge what they value.

 

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Facebook and Twitter on a Tear http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/02/11/facebook-and-twitter-on-a-tear/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/02/11/facebook-and-twitter-on-a-tear/#comments Thu, 11 Feb 2010 14:07:38 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:6649206 Reading studies about trends in digital marketing is not how I prefer to spend leisure time. But they can be a nice counter balance to the time spent trying to convince organizations that social media are not going away (unlike mainstream media).

A comScore Inc. recap of digital marketing in 2009 in the U.S. released yesterday tells us, among other revealing findings (Would you have guessed that the largest growth rate in e-commerce in 2009 was in the purchase of books and magazines?), that people in the U.S. continue to flood to Facebook and Twitter, and to a lesser extent MySpace.

According to the study:

"Facebook grew substantially across nearly every performance metric in 2009. Unique visitors, page views, and total time spent all increased by a factor of two or more. Frequency metrics such as average minutes per usage day (up 6 percent) and average usage days per visitors (up 37 percent) also saw gains. As more people use Facebook more frequently, the site has grown to account for three times as much total time spent online as it did last year."

Others with an analytic predisposition can deep dive into the charts and graphs in comScore's study. Suffice to to say from my perspective this even more important than the huge numbers tossed around which compare Facebook's 350 million or so users to the populations of various countries.

The numbers are telling us that people are coming to Facebook more often, spending more time there, and exploring the Facebook landscape more broadly.

As for Twitter, someone commented on a recent Tweet of mine which asked whether I should try to be funnier in my posts that I shouldn't because it is a "business medium."  The comment may have been justified a year ago given the demographic composition of users, but the change in the age of Twitter users (which now total 20 million in the U.S.) may bring that assumption in question:

"The initial success of Twitter was largely driven by users in the 25-54 year old age segment, which made up 65 percent of all visitors to the site in December 2008, with 18-24 year olds accounting for just 9 percent of visitors . . . Despite Twitter's initially older skew, as it gained widespread popularity with the help of celebrity Tweeters and mainstream media coverage, younger users flooded to the site in large numbers, with those under the age 18 (up 6.2 percentage points) and 18-24 year olds (up 7.9 percentage points) representing the fastest growing demographic segments."

There may be troubling questions about the options for monetizing these platforms so they can be sustained and about the ability best ways to harness online networks for marketing purposes, but there is clearly every reason to keep at it. These platforms are in increasing part of how the world plays out its relationships, idea and information excahgne, civic engagement and, yes, product and service research.

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Reading studies about trends in digital marketing is not how I prefer to spend leisure time. But they can be a nice counter balance to the time spent trying to convince organizations that social media are not going away (unlike mainstream media).

A comScore Inc. recap of digital marketing in 2009 in the U.S. released yesterday tells us, among other revealing findings (Would you have guessed that the largest growth rate in e-commerce in 2009 was in the purchase of books and magazines?), that people in the U.S. continue to flood to Facebook and Twitter, and to a lesser extent MySpace.

According to the study:

“Facebook grew substantially across nearly every performance metric in 2009. Unique visitors, page views, and total time spent all increased by a factor of two or more. Frequency metrics such as average minutes per usage day (up 6 percent) and average usage days per visitors (up 37 percent) also saw gains. As more people use Facebook more frequently, the site has grown to account for three times as much total time spent online as it did last year.”

Others with an analytic predisposition can deep dive into the charts and graphs in comScore’s study. Suffice to to say from my perspective this even more important than the huge numbers tossed around which compare Facebook’s 350 million or so users to the populations of various countries.

The numbers are telling us that people are coming to Facebook more often, spending more time there, and exploring the Facebook landscape more broadly.

As for Twitter, someone commented on a recent Tweet of mine which asked whether I should try to be funnier in my posts that I shouldn’t because it is a “business medium.”  The comment may have been justified a year ago given the demographic composition of users, but the change in the age of Twitter users (which now total 20 million in the U.S.) may bring that assumption in question:

“The initial success of Twitter was largely driven by users in the 25-54 year old age segment, which made up 65 percent of all visitors to the site in December 2008, with 18-24 year olds accounting for just 9 percent of visitors . . . Despite Twitter’s initially older skew, as it gained widespread popularity with the help of celebrity Tweeters and mainstream media coverage, younger users flooded to the site in large numbers, with those under the age 18 (up 6.2 percentage points) and 18-24 year olds (up 7.9 percentage points) representing the fastest growing demographic segments.”

There may be troubling questions about the options for monetizing these platforms so they can be sustained and about the ability best ways to harness online networks for marketing purposes, but there is clearly every reason to keep at it. These platforms are in increasing part of how the world plays out its relationships, idea and information excahgne, civic engagement and, yes, product and service research.

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