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June 11, 2009

[newmedia] Measuring social media’s effects

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Q: How do you define social media at Whirlpool?
Brian Synder: It has to be defined separately for each area, and we tie it back to business objectives. We track share of voice and favorability. On customer service, we do interesting text mining.
Lee Aase (Mayo Clinic): We use the free tools that are available. “The need for measurement varies inversely with the amount of money you spend on it.” We use the measurement tools to prove the value of what we’re doing.

Q: Your biggest challenge?
Marcel Lebrun (Radian6): We only measure if there’s a practical purpose. Social media are now multi-purpose. We use social media for every possible purpose. So, it’s disrupting everything in the enterprise that has to do with reaching out to customers. But those different practices have different business goals and thus different needs for measurement.

Q: Where it’s going?
Marcel: In the past six months, we’ve gone from explaining what social media is, to businesses understanding that their brand is the sum of all the conversations about it.

[Missed some. Sorry]

Q: How do you measure influencers for a brand?
Marcel: We integrate a bunch of digital breadcrumbs and social metrics. We measure things like how often a person talks about a subject, how much comments, how many unique comments, inbound links, which ones of those are also talking about that topic. Influence is very topic-centric. You sometimes want to see total reach, and sometimes you just want to find the topic geeks.

Q: How do you determine sentiment?
Brian: Synergy1 has humans reading the posts. The Tensity program automates this.
Lee: We eyeball it. And we’re looking for the really positive ones so we can spread the word and engage.
Brian: We look to engage by actually talking about product issues. E.g., an unhappy customer was tweeting about a product arriving damaged three times. We talked with him and redesigned the packaging based on his suggestions. We’ve taught some of our customer care phone folks how to engage via social media.
Marcel: The bulk of brands are at the listen stage. But Dell has a full blogger outreach team, focused on different kinds of users. The measure quantitatively and qualitatively (e.g., stories).

Marcel: The fastest way to get a new feature into a product is to tweet it. The developers get excited. They like being in touch.

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[newmedia] New media in a regulated industry (health)

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Marc Monseau (Johnson & Johnson): 50% of people change their behavior based on the medical advice they read on line. And most people are looking for info from other people like themselves. But that info isn’t always accurate. That means that the healthcare industry has an obligation to get out into the online world to present accurate info. We have lots of information, and we are companies of relationships: We have close relations with physician groups, patient groups, advocacy groups, gov’t organizations. We can tap into those resources of information and relations. E.g., we have an ADD product. The best info patients receive often come from other parents. at ADHD Moms at Facebook, there’s info, but also the possibility of linking to other patients. We set it up, but it’s unbranded.

Virginia Cox (Consumer Healthcare Products Association) gives an example: Teens getting high on cough medicine. There were 200 videos on YouTube about how to get high that way. So, we used social media to build awareness among mothers. We were completely transparent about who we are. Another example: We recruited five moms because people want to hear from other people like them. We put it on Gather and then on Facebook. We wanted to have them talking. It meant giving up control over what they’re saying.

Earl Whipple (AstraZeneca) says that while you want to provide accurate information, you don’t want to encroach on the physician-client relationship. You also have to be mindful of gov’t regulations, of course. He also notes that the search results are more often coming from bloggers than from sites of credentialed providers. The most controversial posts get pulled up first, frequently, and many people assume that those are the most reliable. Therefore, the question isn’t what’s the risk of engaging in the new social media space; the question is what’s the risk of not engaging.

Q: How are things changing? How authentic can you be?
Earl: The concept of spokespeople is now laughable. People want to hear directly from the content area expert.
Marc: You can be authentic while talking about highly regulated products by being transparent about what you can talk about and what you can’t. People understand we’re under limitations. And we can at least direct the traffic to the right place.

Q: Info across a global world?
Earl: When we put out information, we include who the information is intended for. It’s an unbounded environment.

Q: What is it that you can’t tell people because of regs?
Marc: The FDA limits what pharmas can say about approved products. If people notice a new use for a product, you have to go back to the script and say what’s on the product label. It doesn’t prevent you from engaging. But you can’t get into a detailed conversation about unapproved uses. And if you come across someone who’s had a problem with the product, you have to report that back.
Virginia: There are strict regulations around advertising. Companies have to be careful about what counts as advertising.
Earl: There are many unanswered issues. E.g., if you’re in a genuine dialog and someone brings up an unapproved use, what exactly is your responsibility?

Q: How do you monitor the Five Moms site, for example?
Virginia: We don’t have to monitor it for content. The Moms respond on their own. But we are required to monitor it for adverse reports, etc.

Q: What should all students know about social media and health if their in the communications field?

From the Five Moms Site:

Tips to monitor your kids online.

* Make sure that your children are never online without your permission.
* Be clear with your kids about your rules on Internet use at home and outside of the home.
* Place your computer in an area of the house where you can easily supervise their Internet activity.
* Ask your children about who they talk to and what activities they do online.
* Use parental filters to block access to questionable sites.
* Build an open and trusting relationship with your kids about their online use.

The last point is an unintentional punchline. [Tags: ]

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[newmedia] Global perspectives

For this session, the panelists are videoconferenced in: Michael Netzley (Singapore Mgt Univ), Marshall Manson (Edelman London), and Wolfgang Lünenbürger-Reidenbach (Edelman Social Media Europe).

As we wait for some technical glitches to get ironed out, we hear from an audience member just back from Russia who talks about the amazing speeds of Moscow’s 4G network. He points out, however, that outside of Moscow, Russia’s network is “19th century.”

MM points to the rise of Facebook and Twitter across Europe. He also notes the importance of social media in the expenses scandal in the UK. WLR points out that the rise in Facebook is in local languages. There is no pan-European public there.

MN from Singapore says that there are 2,000 languages spoken in Asia. “Localization continues to be important.” In Asia, mobile is more important than elsewhere. He also points to the Chinese control of the Net, based on the value of “social harmony.”

Q: Will we see competitors to FB and Twitter in local markets, or will they achieve global dominance?
MM: Translation is going to become much less of a problem over time.
MN: Local remain critical.
WLR: We’ll see more, not less, focus on the local. Hyper local.

Q: Singapore is trying to get young people to get married. Are they using social media in this campaign?
MN: Hong Kong is ahead of Singapore in adopting social media. But in the past 6 months, the Singapore gov’t has been jumping in. The ministries are leading the way. For the past 50 years, media have played primarily a nation-building role. Very top-down. Not independent. But these msgs don’t do well online. The gov’t is slowly learning this. They’re trying to learn how to give more trust to their citizens.

MM: We don’t have to teach the younger generation how to use social media. We do need to change how we teach them to write. The old styles are not useful in conversational media.
WLR: Students use micromessaging.

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June 10, 2009

[2b2k] Chapter 4 – inappropriately concrete?

Chapter 3 left readers with a problem without resolution. If facts don’t provide as firm a bedrock as we’d thought, then are we left to believe whatever we want? Is there no hope? [Spoiler: No, we’re not free to believe whatever we want.]

Because Chapter 3 was pretty abstract, I want to be sure to address its question in some concrete ways. So, Chapter 4 opens with a brief scene-setter that says that we all love diversity, but when there’s too much, we can’t get anything done. I’m now at the beginning of a section that will give maybe four general rules for “scoping” diversity so that a group has enough internal difference to be smarter than the smartest individual, but not so much that they can’t get past bickering. I plan on following that with a more abstract section that asks whether the Net is making us more open or closed to other people’s ideas. At the moment, I like the idea of beginning with the concrete and moving to the abstract, in large part because I think the abstract question is pretty much impossible to answer.

I can’t tell yet if the chapter structure is going to work. There is so much to say about this topic. And I have a concern that the reader is not expecting the book to take this turn. But I won’t be able to tell that until I have enough distance on the prior chapters to be able to read them with some degree of freshness.


April 24, 2009

Craigslist Killer – PR in the news

Doc blogs about the unfairness of Craigslist becoming an adjective attached to “killer.” Yes, it’s unfair. It’s what the tabloid press does. And increasingly, that just means “the press.”

That’s the sort of catchy name that sells papers. But, as Craig points out in his blog, Craigslist does not promise anonymity. In fact, it promises that it will rat out rats. Wikipedia makes the same promise. Good. Of course, this assumes the police are not persecuting innocents as part of a totalitarian state, but I’m happy Craigslist helped the police arrest the sick fuck who otherwise probably wasn’t done murdering women allegedly.

The PR job doesn’t stop with the media, of course. Craigslist’s PR company fumbled the ball here in Boston. This Businessweek story is excellent, but the Boston Globe coverage has been miserable (here, here and here). The PR agency seems intent on keeping Craig from commenting, shunting inquiries to CEO Jim Buckmaster. Nothing against Jim, but Craig’s name is on the site. Craig has earned his reputation for honesty, bluntness, and service. Craig is known, respected, and even beloved. So, master the buck, Craig. It stops with you.

PS: The Globe ought to take a look at the “Erosphere” classified ad section of the Boston Phoenix before coming down on Craigslist.

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November 18, 2008

PR pitch subject lines I didn’t get past

Meet the Rockstar of SEO

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August 8, 2008

FlyClear flies clean

I got this from, a quick-pass, iris-scan lane system at some airports. I don’t recall ever applying for membership. For one thing, there’s no FlyClear lane at my local airport. So, this big hunka hunka of steamin’ disclosure is disquieting:

Dear David Weinberger,

We take the protection of your privacy extremely seriously at Clear. That’s why we announced on Tuesday that a laptop from our office at the San Francisco Airport containing a small part of some applicants’ pre-enrollment information (but not Social Security numbers or credit card information) recently went missing. None of your information was in any way implicated. However, we were prepared to send those applicants and members who were affected the appropriate notice on Tuesday detailing that situation.

Before we could send out that notice, the laptop was recovered. And, we have determined from a preliminary investigation that no one logged into the computer from the time it went missing in the office until the time it was found. Therefore, no unauthorized person has obtained any personal information.

Again, none of your personal information was on the computer in any form, but we nonetheless wanted to give you details of the incident that could have affected others applying for Clear memberships because the incident involves Clear’s privacy and security practices and policies.

We are sorry that this theft of a computer containing a limited amount of applicant information occurred, and we apologize for the concern that the publicity surrounding our public announcement might have caused. But in an abundance of caution, both we and the Transportation Security Administration treated this unaccounted-for laptop as a serious potential breach. We have learned from this incident, and we have suspended enrollment processes temporarily until all pre-enrollment information is encrypted for further protection. The personal information on the enrollment system was protected by two separate passwords, but Clear is in the process of completing a software fix – and other security enhancements – to encrypt the data, which is what we should have done all along, just the way we encrypt all of the other data submitted by applicants. Clear now expects that the fix will be in place within days. Meantime, all airport Clear lane operations continue as normal.

As you may know, our Privacy Policy states that we will notify you of any compromise of your personal information regardless of whether any state statute requires it. This letter is a good example of our policy: no law requires that we notify you of this incident because our investigation of the recovered laptop revealed no breach and because in any event none of your own information was affected. But we think it’s good practice to err on the side of good communication with all Clear members, especially when, in this case, we did make a mistake by not making sure that limited portion of information was encrypted.

Please call us toll-free with any questions at (866) 848-2415. Again, we apologize for the confusion.

Steven Brill
Clear CEO

P.S. A reminder: One of Clears unique privacy features is that all members and applicants are given an identity theft protection warranty which provides that, in the unlikely event you become a victim of identity theft as a result of any unauthorized dissemination of your private information by – or theft from – Clear or its subcontractors, we will reimburse you for any otherwise unreimbursable monetary costs directly resulting from the identity theft. In addition, Clear will, at its own expense, offer you assistance in restoring the integrity of your financial or other accounts. So had there been any actual compromise of your personal information, you would have been additionally protected.

If this is intended to counteract the bad publicity the breech has engendered, well, Google News only has one hit reporting the breech in the first place. If it’s not – if FlyClear’s policy is to broadcast every near miss – then, well, I guess it’s admirable for its candor.

It’s also pretty scary example of putting all your irises in one basket. [Tags: ]


August 4, 2008

Peter Shankman, a marketing/PR practioner/speaker, has set up a service called that intends to bring together journalists and sources. It’s free and very informal — you sign up for emails, you respond to requests for help — which is an appropriate way to start. But it’s so ripe an opportunity for abuse by people pushing their clients’ points of view, or just pushing their clients’ brands, that it’ll be interesting to see whether journalists avail themselves of it. Because it’s a mailing list that arrives up to three times a day, my guess is that it’ll mainly be PR folks and lobbyists who attend to it closely enough, and that will (?) drive down its utility for journalists. But, I’m rarely right, so we’ll see…

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[Later that day: See Peter S’s comment about how he handles abusers. Sounds pretty effective to me :)


May 28, 2008

Blog baksheesh

The message I received from M80im, a PR social media company, ends by saying:

M80 encourages full transparency. We welcome you to let your readers know that M80 and Fox contacted you to offer information regarding The Onion Movie.

Excellent. I appreciate M80 making that clear and explicit.

The problem is, M80 and Fox didn’t offer just information. Yes, the message says that because I’ve written about The Onion, the agency wants to let me know what there’s an Onion movie coming out. I can have some artwork, etc. to post on my blog. But, then it continues:

Please email me back if you are interested in working with us in promoting The Onion Movie by posting information regarding the release date of the DVD. I can send you a copy of the DVD on the release date as appreciation for your post.

I recognize that the lines are smudgy. As my disclosure statement says, I sometimes get free copies of books — sometimes unbidden, and sometimes publishers offer to send them to me if I want — and sometimes I do blog about them. And I frequently get into conferences for free as some type of media person. But, the Onion offer feels too much to me like a straightforward pay-for-posting deal.

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