Archive for the ‘Insight of the Week’ Category

Once A Day: Going Offline to Stay Sharp

Thursday, October 1st, 2009


Above is the original notepad that inspired IBM’s storied ThinkPad laptop computer line (via Merlin Mann).  Being digital professionals and our worlds moving a mile a minute online – what are some things, as PR professionals and trusted communication counselors, that we can do to help focus ourselves?

Switching from e-mail and phone call and conference room to really helping keep the big picture in mind not just for your team but your clients as well can be helped by simple, daily exercises that will take less time than you think and – hopefully – reward you down the line.

  • Talk to every person on your team – what is everyone working on?  Maybe it impacts some of your projects?  Or sharing what you’re doing can help someone think about their work differently or offer different perspective on your own.  This isn’t a formal meeting, this doesn’t have to be face-to-face but it’s important to look up from the grindstone and check-in with your team.
  • Double-check a budget or goals/objectives for a program, campaign, etc. – what comes next?  Is what you’re working on the right thing that needs to be done?  Often, when projects are launched into, everyone focuses on the immediate next steps without managing the finish line – doing this will not just help deliver a great product to your client but help you think strategically about the program, campaign or project you’re working on.
  • Take 5 minutes to think – as easy as this sounds, you’d be surprised about how few of us do it during the course of a day.  Focus on a new skill or a topic you want to know about, or try to connect ideas between clients and trends.  The small savoring of mental focus might just give you your next big idea!

Want more?  Check out The 99 Percent.  A think tank from the awesome folks at Behance (which inspired this post), it’s a great site that focuses on what happens after your team walks out of that brainstorm – when it’s time to put ideas into action and all the things to take you from point A to B.

Jeff Jarvis chats with Business Week about social media

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Jeff Jarvis recently did a great interview with Business Week’s Senior Editor Diane Brady on what executives need to know about social media. Take a look:

For more from Jeff, visit his website, BuzzMachine, or follow him on Twitter.

Ashton’s Victory Over CNN Demonstrates the Power of Social Media

Friday, April 17th, 2009


ashton-kutcher-gets-1-million-twitter-followersLarry King must have thought the whole thing was a joke.  In his YouTube response to Ashton Kutcher’s 1,000,000 follower challenge “Do you think you can take on an entire network? Do you know how big we are? Do you what CNN is?”

Larry, your question has been answered. CNN is traditional (or old) media.  Ashton is new media, and new media won.

CNN did not begin this battle empty-handed or alone. CNN had on-air reporters like Anderson Cooper and Erica Hill asking for followers. The CNN ticker gave updates of the race and broadcasted their Twitter handle to the masses. CNN even reached into its pocketbooks and purchased @cnnbrk to help its race.  Ashton on the other hand, only had, YouTube, and his followers yet he still won.

Why? Ashton won because he had a group of savvy, die-hard fans willing to promote his videos and his goals.  He won because he had the blogosphere buzzing about the gauntlet he had thrown down at CNN  He won because he took a silly event like gaining extra followers and made it into something worth caring about. And he won because he understood social media and in the end knew that it was about his fans 

This was a simple silly competition that CNN should have easily won. They had a trusted, 24-hour network to supply coverage, one of the most familiar faces in news, and multiple places to reach their huge audience. But because they didn’t own their brand on Twitter (@cnnbrk), because they didn’t interact with their brand evangelists, and because they didn’t understand the way the game is played, they lost.

Ashton versus CNN was a silly little game but the implications are much larger. Social media has flexed its muscle and shown that it’s here to stay, even against traditional media.  This loss shows that brands, even megabrands like CNN, cannot treat social media lightly any longer. They have to start listening to their consumers online and interacting in a new way.  Otherwise a newer, more agile brand will come in and present a challenge they cannot afford to lose.

Find more thoughts here:

More info here: 

PR 2.0 

The Huffington Post

Insight of the Week: Social Networking vs Email

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Last week, Nielsen Online released an authoritative look at the state of affairs of digital communication in a number of important countries worldwide.  This report was picked up by many influential blogs such as Mashable and RotorBlog.  DialogueMedia also chimed in on Open the Dialogue to bring a more nuanced understanding of the issues involved.

The report’s findings include:

  • Social networking grew twice as fast as email.
  • Social networking has greater reach than email.
  • Total time spent on Facebook grew by 566% over the previous year versus only 18% for “all internet” and 63% for member communities.
  • Social media’s highest growth came from the over 35 years old demographics.

Differences Between Email And Social Networks

The report clearly shows that the tools that are available to us for communication are constantly changing.  Arnold Zafra speculated that social networks would replace email on a RotorBlogpost titled “Is the Death of Email Upon Us?” while DialogueMedia’s post titled “Do Social Networks and Email Serve the Same Purpose?” argues that email and social networks serve distinct purposes.  The crux of the argument is that when used correctly, emails offer confidentiality, familiarity and a sense of importance to the reader in relation to other forms of digital communication.  Social networks are more public and therefore more impersonal.  Emails messages have to meet the needs of both the sender and the recipient; otherwise if it is useless to the reader it falls under the category of “spam”.  In social networks, the writer’s needs are met all the time, with some readers needs being met while other reader’s information needs are not.

What does this mean for PR and Marketing?

The report and reactions are especially important for PR and marketers as a taste of things to come.  As more and more newspapers close their doors or go all-digital, and reporters rely more and more on social networking services such as Twitter for pitches and scoops, the growing importance of social media as a tool for communications cannot be over emphasized.  At the same time, email is not dead; it will continue to have relevance. Social networking is not going to replace email, but rather social networking is an important complement to email.   

As PR professionals, adapting to this new environment will be our most important challenge. We need to use email as a tool who are keenly interested in what you have to say and use social networking as a way to “strengthen loose ties.”   Connections are our business and  both tools are already neccesary assets that should not be overlooked.


Co-written by: Nazim Uddin and Alex Payne