Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Update to yesterday's Facebook/Media Relations Post

Check out an interesting follow-up to the post on Facebook and media relations that I linked to yesterday.

Here's the the follow-up.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Facebook and Media Relations

Whoa, two posts in one day! Crazy.

I just saw a great post on Strategic Public Relations on using Facebook in your media relations efforts. I echo the following from the post:

Don't sign in and start pitching. You can't anyway. But as you learn Facebook, you'll learn more about your editorial contacts (and their work) than the basic information provided by media databases.

Check out what the author has to say. It's quite interesting. Here's a video from the post.

Your own social network?

The interesting thing about the rise of social media is the ever-changing nature of this beast. I'm constantly amazed at all the new channels that are popping up in social media. Granted, not all social media will become the next YouTube or MySpace, but organizations truly wanting to get into social media need to be aware of all that's out there and objectively evaluate whether the various forms of social media will enhance the organization's PR efforts.

The newest thing to come in social media now is creating your own social networks. One of my supervisors here at GM, recently pointed me to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal about a site created by Netscape founder, Marc Andreessen. The site, Ning, allows users to actually create their own social networks around a variety of topics. It's an easy-to-use site, with numerous cool features that allow anyone to create a social network surrounding their personal interest. In less than 15 minutes I created my own social network for young PR professionals (similar to this blog) at http://youngprprofessionals.ning.com/.

Your own social network, what's next for social media?

From the WSJ article:

It's unclear whether [Andreesen's] third effort, social-networking site Ning, will succeed. But while entering an established business is a new approach for Mr. Andreessen, there's a chance he'll once again radically change the game.

Think about it this way. Hardly anyone heard of the World Wide Web when Mr. Andreessen developed his browser. And many wondered what he was doing when he co-founded Opsware's predecessor, Loudcloud, in 1999. Automating tasks for servers in data centers seemed a tech backwater. But again, he was ahead of his time. Advances in server technologies have created a lot of work for Opsware, which explains H-P's interest.

...social networking may be particularly prone to revolutions. After all, the first commonly used service was probably sixdegrees.com, started in 1996. Friendster, which led the fray after its 2002 launch, was rapidly eclipsed. Mr. Andreessen's record suggests it would be foolhardy to dismiss his view that the next big social networking trend will be decentralization. If he's right, it would mean hot sites such as MySpace and Facebook may suffer the same fate as their now-forgotten forebears.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Move Over MySpace, Here Comes Facebook!

There's been a great deal of discussion at work lately concerning the viability of MySpace now. I have long said that MySpace is losing (or has already lost) credibility among the younger crowd. We like Facebook. MySpace has unfortunately been infiltrated with spam and other unsavory marketing practices.

While it's inevitable that social networks will be used as another channel to communicate, they should not be used as channels to sell stuff. What I've learned is that you cannot market to social media users. I truly believe (and perhaps I'm biased) that, aside from banner advertising, the only corporate work going on in social networks should be communications/public relations work. Anything else just doesn't work and only serves to alienate those you most want to reach.

Ok, those are my personal feelings, but to help back up what I'm saying, take a look at a recent study that highlights the immense growth of Facebook in terms of membership numbers. According to the study (conducted by comScore), Facebook experienced a growth rate of 89 percent from May 2006 to May 2007!

I have long maintained that my age group (18-30) really doesn't use MySpace as much as Facebook, if at all. I remember walking into my college computer labs and seeing numerous people on Facebook, but MySpace was MUCH less prevalent. MySpace has simply become too commercial. Hopefully Facebook won't allow itself to fall into the same trap.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Due to a combination of GM's annual summer shutdown period, being sick and a severe case of writer's block, the blog has been relegated to that infamous back burner. Without further ado, here's the latest post.

I recently finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's (author of , The Tipping Point) book, Blink. This was quite an interesting read with a number of important points for all PR practitioners.
According to http://www.gladwell.com/, Blink is "a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye." Gladwell seeks to examine what happens in the first two seconds we encounter someone or something.
In my college PR classes at BYU, we were constantly reminded of the importance of doing extensive research before embarking on any kind of PR campaign. We were counseled to not simply go with our gut instincts, but to really weigh all the facts before moving forward. Blink refutes this notion.
To illustrate, let me relate one of the stories in the book. In the early 1980s the Coca-Cola Company began to see its market share slipping away as Pepsi started gaining ground. To further boost its sales, Pepsi began the Pepsi Challenge: a taste test in which cola drinkers were asked to pick their favorite cola after sampling two unmarked cups of Coke and Pepsi. Much to the dismay of Coca-Cola, the majority of people taking the challenge preferred Pepsi over Coke. A number of research projects led Coke researchers to conclude that Coca-Cola's taste was much harsher than the smooth taste of Pepsi. Long story short: Coca-Cola replaced its classic formula with the now infamous New Coke. The rest is history (sorry for the cliche').
Despite all the research that said Coca-Cola needed to revamp its taste (New Coke repeatedly beat Pepsi in numerous taste tests), consumers still wanted the old Coke. To this day, Pepsi still beats out Coke in taste tests, yet Coke remains the dominant soft drink throughout the world.
Sometimes research can lead us in the wrong direction. Am I saying that we should never do research and always "go with our gut"? Of course not. Research is beneficial, but despite what die-hard researchers may say, I have to believe that we sometimes "just know" whether or not something will work. We may not be able to explain the why, but that feeling is there all the same. Blink helps us recognize the importance of rapid cognition.
I highly recommend this book to all PR practitioners.