Inside PR 443: What’s really going on with Facebook Trending Topics?

Early data on the performance of Facebook Instant articles. Periscope makes videos permanent. Donald Trump does something that crosses the ethical line for PR pros. And we look at the deeper issues underpinning the discussion about Facebook’s Trending Topics.

Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley tackle these topics and more in this week’s Inside PR podcast.

This week’s #InsidePRMustKnows:

  • Publishers are reporting mixed results with Facebook Instant Articles, according to Digiday. They are driving traffic, but it is less engaged. Nevertheless, revenue is flowing to publishers. So, Instant Articles as a publishing platform isn’t going away anytime soon.
  • Periscope is about to make videos permanent with save settings in its app. This is big news. Facebook Live Videos gained a huge advantage over Periscope by making it easy for people to save their videos. By making it easy for users to save their videos beyond the current 24 hour expiry date, Periscope will even up the playing field.
  • And in our “too bizarre not to be true item,” Gini offers her thoughts on Donald Trump posing as a PR rep in a call to media. “It’s not OK!”

Algorithms are not neutral

In our main discussion, we turn our attention to lack of transparency in how Facebook’s Trending Topics are selected. This is a far reaching and important issue. It’s about Facebook’s emergence as a media outlet. It’s about dominance of one player. It’s about the level of transparency necessary so that we can assess bias. And it’s about the additional obligation to transparency and scrutiny that Facebook should now be subject to.

During our discussion, we cite several sources that you should read in order to have the facts to make up your own mind about what is at stake:

We’d love to know what you think.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 442: Our tenth anniversary takes tips from Disney Creative

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We’re  belatedly celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Inside PR podcast. Terry Fallis and David Jones posted the first episode of Inside PR on April 3, 2006. Back then the tag line was “Inside PR: Going deep on the state and future of public relations.” After recording 200 episodes, Terry and David decided that they’d said all that they wanted to say. But they didn’t retire the podcast. Instead they passed it along to Martin Waxman, who had been co-hosting with Terry and David. Martin, in turn, brought Gini Dietrich and Joseph Thornley in as new co-hosts. And thanks to Terry and David’s benevolence, the Inside PR podcast now has been running continuously for over ten years. That’s a record of longevity that we’re proud of. And we’re not thinking of stopping anytime soon.

Also this week, we give a shout out to original co-host Terry Fallis, who has just been shortlisted for the Leacock Medal for his novel, Poles Apart. Terry has won the Leacock award twice before, for his first novel, The Best Laid Plans, and for his fourth novel, No Relation.  The award winner will be announced on June 11. So check your Twitter feed on the evening of June 11 and send Terry your best wishes.

This week’s #IPRMustKnows:

Also this week, we talk about the Counselors Academy Conference that Martin attended in Puerto Rico. Martin’s big takeaway from the conference was the continuing trend for PR agencies to integrate design, video, paid media and other disciplines as the traditional silos of creative, advertising, PR and content converge.

While at the Counselors Academy Conference, Martin interviewed one of the keynote speakers, Duncan Wardle, Vice President of Creative Inc., Disney Parks and Resorts’ creative think tank. He offers some great advice for priming creativity in our own organizations.

We’d love to know what you think.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 441: Marching to Facebook’s tune

This week, Gini DietrichMartin Waxman, and Joseph Thornley chat about more changes to Facebook and their impact on our news consumption and publishers. Oh, and we couldn’t let Boaty McBoatface go by without comment.

Martin tells us that Facebook is testing sections in its newsfeed – sports, entertainment, lifestyle, politics, etc. A good idea that will make Facebook a better browser experience for news.

Gini wants us to be sure to note that Buzzfeed has demonstrated that Facebook Live Video can aggregate broadcast-size audiences. Over ten million people watched Buzzfeed staff wrap elastic bands around a watermelon until it exploded. At one time during the forty minute broadcast 800,000 viewers were watching concurrently. Could there be any clearer indicator that if Facebook will build a video platform, we will come?

And dredging up for Joe memories of happy hours spent playing with toy boats in the bathtub, Boaty McBoatface showed that the public may have a better sense of humour than people in authority. If you ask a casual question, be ready for a whimsical answer.

Finally, Martin points out the recent article on Wired, Facebook has seized the media, and that’s bad news for everyone but Facebook. News is important to Facebook. But it’s not what Facebook cares about. Instead, the platform is focusing on packaging content as an experience that will draw us and keep us. The content doesn’t matter to Facebook as much as the packaging and whether it holds attention.

We’d love to know what you think.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 440: Wall to Wall Facebook

This week, Gini DietrichMartin Waxman, and Joseph Thornley chat about all things Facebook.

It may be big, but Facebook is like a shark. It just keeps moving. Recently, Facebook opened itself to sponsored content. We talk about recent changes at Facebook, including sponsored content. We talk about the need for adequate disclosure of sponsored content to enable people to recognize it as such.

We also discuss Facebook Messenger’s second email inbox. It seemed to have sent a lot of people into a tizzy. Joe, on the other hand, is quite happy to have Facebook Messenger filter out as many messages as possible.

Facebook uses its huge data store to fine tune its news and advertising algorithms. But kudos to the company for this innovation: Facebook introduced auto captioning to make itself more accessible to people with site impairment. Good on Facebook!

And we couldn’t talk about Facebook without talking about Facebook Live Videos. They are available to all of us and we’ve been using it. Video for the rest of us. Video that persists (unlike Periscope which expires.) Video that we can schedule with an event. Or, as we have done, video available only to members of a group (join the Inside PR Facebook group to see the video Joe made of his end of the recording of this podcast.)

We’d love to know what you think. 

  • Is Facebook going to become the one social network to rule them all?
  • Junk filters? Nuisance or must-have.
  • Have you used Facebook Live Videos yet? How was your experience? Do you have tips for others who are just beginning to use them?

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 439: Comscore gives us a lot to think about

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This week, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman, and Joseph Thornley explore some of the great data and insights in Comscore’s report on the Cross-platform Future.

If you’ve missed the biggest change of the past couple years, it may be because you’re still interacting with the Web and social media on a desktop or notebook device. And if you are, you’re in the minority. Yep, that’s right folks. In December 2013, 53% of the time spent on digital media platforms was on mobile, 47% on desktop. Flash forward two years later to December 2015 and 65%, two thirds, of the time we spend on digital media platforms is now time that we spend on our mobile devices. Desktops have been reduced to one third of the time.

Comscore’s data also provides some interesting insight into the use of social media and the differences between people under 35 (think Snapchat) and those over 35 (think Facebook.) But regardless of which cohort you are looking at, Mark Zuckerberg can feel good, as Facebook and Instagram rank among the top three most-used social apps across all ages.

The other side of the move to mobile is the ongoing rise of video. And this data was collected before Facebook launched Live Video.

If you’re running a communications business, the Comscore report is a must-read. In fact, you may find that it provides you with the markers around which you’ll be building your business plan for the next year.

We’d love to know what you think. 

  • What data in the Comscore data really stood out for you?
  • What insights from the Comscore data will you act upon?
  • Where does PR fit into a mobile world?

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 438: The media world is spiky, not flat

Martin here. And we’re all back.

We start this week with three #IPRMustKnows:

Gini talks about Facebook’s new mobile app, Moments, that searches your camera roll, groups photos together and asks if you want to send them privately to the people in the shots. You can also create Moments for events, vacations, etc. (Of course, it’s not yet available in Canada 🙁 .)

Joe discusses Facebook’s Media Central studio in NYC that coaches celebrities on how to use the platform and live video. He says good enough video isn’t good enough anymore and we should take video streaming seriously, not just wing it. Soon FB will up the ante when they let people broadcast high-quality live video that can be integrated into their own studio control room.

I mention PRSA Counselors Academy. This year, I’m chair of the organization and our annual conference for independent PR agency owners and leaders is May 1 to 3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There’s a fantastic program on the business of agency PR including a keynote on creativity from Disney’s Duncan Wardle. Here’s a link for more information or to register.

Our main topic this episode centres on the concentration of digital media and is based on The Game of Concentration by Joshua Benton, a story we read in the Niemen Lab Blog. The author makes the case that journalism used to be spread across North America because you needed a local newsroom to cover local news. With digital, you’d think that would create an even more distributed news world, but the high profile new media companies seem to be clustering in major markets like New York, Washington, LA or Silicon Valley, or Toronto, if you’re in Canada. Which means the media world is getting spikier and not flat. And that’s a challenge to both journalists and PR pros.

We’d love to know what you think. 

  • What does the future hold for local media and PR practitioners?
  • Will people’s interest in the immediate world around them spark a resurgence of local stories and news?

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 437: Twitter turns ten plus tips for error-free writing

Twitter turns ten. Four tips for good writing. And a legal decision that brings nothing good to anyone.

This week, on Inside PR 437, Gini Dietrich and Joseph Thornley fly without Martin Waxman. But we’ll all be back again next week. So, please come back.

This week’s first #IPRMustKnow: Twitter turns ten. It changed communications for Gini and Joe – and it’s still as relevant for us as it’s ever been. There’s been a lot of talk about Twitter being in trouble. And while it may not be meeting the venture capitalists’ expectations, it meets our expectations for a useful tool that we use every day. But as we look back, we know that Twitter was a learned tool. Just take a look at the very different first Tweets that Martin, Gini and Joe published.

Gini was true to her form, using Twitter to try another tool:

And Martin was loquacious. Why waste a good communications opportunity?

Finally, Joe was dry and matter of fact in his first tweet.

For our second #IPRMustKnow, we point to an article by Sylvia Stead, the Globe and Mail’s Public Editor, warning against the four most common sources of mistakes by journalists. As Gini and Joe see it, these aren’t just the source of errors for journalists, but also for any research-based writer. Stead suggests,

“…it’s worth keeping these things in mind: 1. Stay focused. 2. Don’t hurry. 3. Never assume you know. 4. Check one last time – especially names, numbers and factual statements.”

Finally, Gini and Joe talk about the Jian Ghomeshi trial and verdict in Canada. Not an easy issue. One on which we all have views. And not something that Gini or Joe would go near.

We’d love to know what you think. 

  • Is Twitter still a mainstay for you? Will it continue to be in the future?
  • What tips do you offer new writers to help them produce strong, accurate business writing.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 436: A crowded video space and agency fraud

Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley are back together again for another Inside PR – the first in which all three of us are together in over a month.

IPR MustKnows

In this episode’s #IPRMust Know segment, we talk about Meerkat’s pivot, Facebook Reactions and Snapchat’s big video view numbers.

Meerkat is moving away from live streaming and attempting to pivot to become some type of video social network. Not surprising, given the tight integration of Periscope and Twitter and the introduction of Facebook live videos. It would be tough to see how Meerkat could stand out with the two main realtime social networks offering their own live streaming platforms.

Facebook Reactions have been with us for several weeks now. Chris Penn’s early look at the impact of Facebook Reactions suggested that “haven’t statistically changed engagement yet. If you publish unengaging content, Reactions won’t help you. If you already have a highly-engaged audience, you will likely continue to do so – Reactions don’t appear to make it better or worse.”  We offer our own early reactions to Reactions.

If you didn’t have enough video in your life, take a look at Snapchat. Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel says that Snapchat users are watching more than 8 billion videos per day. There’s clearly an audience for video. So, if you produce video as part of your initiatives, it’s worth checking out what works well on Snapchat.

Fake accounts. Could this happen to you?

We close out this episode with a discussion of the communications agency executive who faked over $250 million in contracts go gain advancement at this advertising agency. Sad but true.

And a big thanks to Suzy Chisholm. Suzy, who heard Joe state a few episodes back that he preferred single purpose apps over those that take a “Swiss Army Knife” approach. Suzy, who lives in Switzerland, sent us three Swiss Army Knives, branded with the Philips logo (where Suzy works) and a very nice note. Thank you Suzy. You brought smiles to our faces and reminded us that there are times when you want to reach for that one thing that does it all. 🙂

We’d love to know what you think.

  • Are you live streaming video for business? Are you using Periscope? Facebook Live Video? Meerkat or something else?
  • Are you training your team to use video or do you call in video specialists to produce video?
  • Are you seeing any impact from Facebook Reactions?
  • Is Snapchat for you?
  • Fake accounts. Could this happen to you? How do you make sure that you get paid for the work you do?
  • How many Swiss Army Knives do you own?

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 435: Advertising Equivalencies. Pshaw!

FIR_itunes cover_Inside_PRThis week, Gini Dietrich and Martin Waxman fly without Joseph Thornley – who has gone missing. (Drat that day job.)

Martin leads off with a discussion of Jack Dorsey‘s attempt to shift perceptions in the ongoing conversation about the future of Twitter.  Gini talks about the importance of managing crises by participating in conversations  where they are already taking place. As Gini points out, many people resist change to the applications they know and are accustomed to using. That resistance will only be overcome with clear explanations and allowing people time to consider and try the new and changed features. Here’s a post from Verge discussing what it will look like.

Speaking of shifting perceptions, Martin and Gini have a great discussion about ads featuring celebrities. And then they use this as a launching point to talk about advertising equivalencies (AVEs) and the importance of the PR industry to measure meaningful outcomes.

We’d love to know what you think. 

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 434: Counselors Academy and Specialization vs. Generalization in PR

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Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley take a look at PRSA’s Counselors Academy this week. The Counselors Academy conference is coming up May 1-3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. All three of us have participated in the past. It is a unique opportunity for PR agency leaders to learn about the “business of the business.” It’s a networking place to find others who share the same business challenges that you do as a communications business leader. In fact, Martin, Gini and Joe first met at the Counsellors Academy annual conference in Phoenix. It’s not too late to register for this year’s conference. If you do attend, make sure to say hello to Martin! 🙂

For our second topic, Gini asks the question, “Is specialization in PR a thing of the past or the way of the future?” Martin and Joe weigh in with their views and how they have harnessed generalist and specialist knowledge in their careers.

We’d love to know what you think. 

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.