Crisis Communications Unrealistic Expectations? (Inside PR 522)

On this week’s podcast, Gini, Martin and Joe talk about privacy and the continuing interest of government legislators about what the social networks and search engines are doing – and not doing – to protect it. Privacy is not just about the personally identifiable data. It’s as much about the metadata that flows from it.

We also talk about how realistic it is to expect agencies and organizations to respond to individual people during a crisis. The case is Joe’s over-two-day return to the dark ages when he and 250,000 other Hydro customers lost their power following a tornado in Ottawa. Is it good enough for organizations to simply publish general information – or should they attempt to respond to individuals and communicate information that would be useful to specific groups, such as neighbourhoods.

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Inside PR 522 Unrealistic Expectations by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

See what’s happening now on Twitter, again. (Inside PR 521)

With Twitter, the old way is better

Twitter users everywhere heaved a sigh of relief last week, as Twitter gave users the option to again view tweets displayed by recency. No more need to see stale tweets that Twitter thinks you’ll be interested in. As you did in the earliest days of Twitter, you can again see the tweets displayed in reverse chronological order. Hurrah. At the same time, Martin reports that he is seeing a button on the top of his Twitter feed that highlights live videos.

Meeker moves on

Mary Meeker, who has provided data driven insights on the state and evolution of the Internet, has left Kleiner Perkins to start her own company. Meeker’s insights have been influential among communicators and marketers, pointing the way to emerging channels and opportunities that have opened new opportunities connect with consumers. Hopefully, this venture will give Meeker new energy and scope to stay on the leading edge. We all benefit from her insights.

Adjusting to Facebook’s declining share of youth attention

The trend of young people abandoning Facebook continues. What happens to communications programs and planning in light of the continuing shift of young people away from Facebook? Are you shifting your programs to allocate more resources to YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or other channels to compensate for shifts in usage of Facebook?

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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.

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See what’s happening now on Twitter, again. (Inside PR 521) by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Nike highlights the value and perils of corporate activism (Inside PR 520)

This week on Inside PR, we discuss Nike’s recent endorsement of Colin Kaepernick as an example of corporate activism and corporate social responsibility. And we also share some things we’ve created elsewhere that we hope you will find useful.

Martin Waxman has a show? No, a LinkedIn course.

Martin Waxman’s new LinkedIn Learning course has just been released. Check out Martin’s advice for using Blogging for Your Business.

SpinSucks, but you don’t

The latest episode of the SpinSucks podcast provides a good refresher on the PESO model. If you are looking for a good overview, check it out.

Let’s go Inside P2

Joe has started a series of interviews with leaders of the public engagement community from around the world. He published the first of these on the current edition of Inside P2, an interview with the President of IAP2 Canada, Bruce Gilbert.

Nike and Colin Kaepernick

Gini and Martin see Nike’s Colin Kaepernick endorsement as a laudable example of corporate activism. Joe is not so sure.

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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.

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Nike highlights the value and perils of corporate activism (Inside PR 520) by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Do you see the bias? (Inside PR 519)

We’re back after a brief summer vacation. And we have lots to talk about.

Snooze Keywords on Facebook

Facebook is working to make it easier for you to avoid those annoying spoilers about the program you’re half way through binging with a new keyword topic filter. The keyword filter has been available to some lucky users in the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Let’s hope that it becomes available to us all soon. I know I’ll be using it to hide anything to do with cats and kittens.

Rooting out bias

Facebook and Google’s role as gatekeepers of what we see is under scrutiny again. Farhad Manjou directed our attention to the built in biases that Google’s algorithms and AI can display. We’ve talked about this before. And the platforms have acknowledged that they do have problems that they are trying to fix. But when they do, their solutions are opaque to end users and citizens. Can we trust the platforms to self regulate? Can communications professionals play a more active role in calling for more transparency? Can government establish a legal or regulatory regime that will achieve a better balance between the public interest and the interest of the platforms’ shareholders?

A Lasting Reputation Hit for the New Yorker?

It seemed like a good idea at the time – invite Steve Bannon for a featured interview with David Remnick onstage at the New Yorker Festival. And then the reaction started. Other speakers pulled out. People weighed in on social media (of course!) And before you could turn around, Steve Bannon was uninvited. Some said this was the right thing to do. Others suggested that it was another example of an institution caving to the Twitter mob. So, what does the New Yorker do now? How do they avoid a permanent reputation hit?

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Inside PR 519: Do you see the bias? by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Inside PR 518: Buying YouTube Views? You’re cheating! Everybody knows you’re cheating.

Tweet Threads made easier

This week on Inside PR 518, we talk about the upgrade to the Twitter app that makes creating Tweet Threads as easy as clicking on a plus sign at the bottom of your tweet composition window. Twitter threads are a great way to tell more complex stories over time. And they have the extra value of pulling all the tweets in the thread to the top of your followers’ timelines whenever you add a tweet to the thread. This is a great way to stay in front of your audience without repeating tweets.

Sidewalk Labs paves a bumpy path

Sidewalk Labs, a Google/Alphabet company, has big plans to redevelop an industrial section of Toronto’s waterfront into a demo of the smart city of the future. Sounds like a great idea! But Sidewalk Labs’ path to make Toronto a showcase has raised controversy around the stewardship of the data about people that willl be collected. And skepticism has only been accentuated by suggestions that Waterfront Toronto, the agency that is responsible for the lands Sidewalk Labs wants to develop, has been so eager to make the deal that they have become too cozy with Sidewalk Labs too early in the negotiation process. A communications challenge at any time. But an especially big challenge post-Cambridge Analytica.

Ethics! Ethics! Ethics!

The New York Times profile of the fake Youtube views business is the latest example of the social platforms rewarding bad actions. This is just plain wrong. But for PR folks, salt was rubbed in the wound by the suggestion in the article that most of the views are purchased by PR and marketing agencies. It’s hard to imagine who those agencies would be. Do you work at a PR firm or know someone who works at a PR firm that buys YouTube views? If you do, we’d love to hear from you and maybe even get you to come on the show to talk with us about this practice.

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Inside PR 518: Buying YouTube Views? You’re cheating! Everybody knows you’re cheating. by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Inside PR 517: There’s no such thing as “trolling for good”

We have lots to talk about this week on Inside PR 517.

First, a couple #IPRMustKnows, things worth noting and acting upon:

  • WordPress is one more step closer to the full rollout of Project Gutenberg. This week, WordPress pushed out a maintenance update that included a prompt to all users to turn on the Gutenberg update. Gini did this for SpinSucks – and she raves about how great the new experience is. This may be the final release before WordPress 5.0 is pushed out to all users. And with WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg 5.0 will be turned on by default for all users. So, if you publish on WordPress and you haven’t turned on Gutenberg yet, now is your time to try it out.
  • Feedly is, in Joe’s opinion, the best newsreader available for people who want to curate their online information sources via RSS feeds. When Google closed down Google Reader, a substantial part of the Reader community migrated their reading lists to Feedly. That was a time of rocket ship growth for Feedly, which enabled users to access, read and curate their news sources on every device – desktop, tablet and mobile phone. Now the good folks at Feedly have initiated a major rewrite of the Feedly iOS app – and they have invited their community of users to test the app as it is being developed and provide their feedback. The Feedly team have set up a dedicated Slack Workspace for the beta phase, to announce the new features introduced or refined with each week’s release and asking for feedback on these features. And to enable participants in the beta to see that their input is being incorporated in the development team’s work, they’ve gone a step further, setting up a Trello workspace and posting links to it so that the participant community can see the state of work. The Beta program is just about to hit its midpoint. But new users still are joining. So, if you use Feedly and want to make it better, you too can still sign up to participate in the beta. Kudos to Feedly for building their app the right way, co-creating with their community will yield a much better product that meets both mainstream and specialized needs.

We know that many listeners to this podcast speak about their area of practice to conferences and at professional development events. If you do this even once a year, you’ll be interested in a post that Gini Dietrich wrote on the SpinSucks blog, Six ways to generate leads from a speaking engagement. Martin and I both thought it offered practical advice that we would put to work – and we asked Gini to discuss it with us.

Finally, on this episode, we talk about the Sarah Jeong controversy that erupted this week. If you aren’t familiar with this, we’ve posted links to key articles that will provide the backgroud. Here’s a quick recap. Last week, the New York Times announced that Sarah Jeong would be leaving the Verge to join the NY Times as lead writer on technology. And then a Twitter storm erupted as attention was drawn to tweets authored by Jeong that were derogatory of white people. The Times quickly reaffirmed its decision, pointing to the context in which Jeong wrote those tweets and indicating that they would not be acceptable in future now that she has joined the Times. Coming in the wake of the James Gunn and Les Moonves controversies, could we indeed be seeing the a restoration of the balance between nuance and absolutism? As Martin asks, could we be back to a time in which we can admit to a mistake, own it, show contrition, and move on? We can only hope so.

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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There’s no such thing as “trolling for good” – Inside PR 517 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Learning, Reconciliation and Forgiveness?

Gini Dietrich is back with us this week. And that’s a good thing as we dig into the reactions to James Gunn’s firing and the allegations against Les Moonves. Do the responses of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast and the CBS Films’ President Terry Press signal a turning point in the conversation? Are we ready for learning, reconciliation and forgiveness?

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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.
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Inside PR 516: Learning, Reconciliation and Forgiveness by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Good judgment or an abandonment of principles?

Are some things just too sensitive to talk about? This week on Inside PR 515 we consider examples of tough issues and crisis points. Is it wise to keep your powder dry and hold off communicating? To avoid feeding the beast? Or should a communicator always look for a way to communicate the core principles and truths that he or she believes in.

  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association issued an open letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory asking that he hold off a municipal council vote on installing “ShotSpotter” microphone technology across the city. Less than a day later, Toronto was struck with a horrific mass shooting that left a 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman dead and thirteen others injured. What would you do now if you were the CCLA? Respect the grief of the bereaved and victims as well as the trauma being experienced by the community as a whole and back away from your position? Or would you persist in advancing your position?
  • Burberry was caught out by environmentalists engaging in a long-established practice of luxury goods manufacturers, destroying unsold stock to keep it off the market and avoid dilution of their brand. That may have worked twenty years ago. But not in the era of social media when any person perusing a company’s annual report can spot something like this and deliver the news directly to an audience that will be critical of it. So, what’s a company like Burberry to do? Change its approach to be more in keeping in the times? Or keep its head down in the belief that this too will blow over? Watch with us in real time.
  • Finally, we raise an example that we plan to discuss next week when Gini returns to the show – the James Gunn firing and the rehabilitation of Leonard Lopate. Every action leads to a consequence. What do we do now?

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Inside PR 515: Good judgment or an abandonment of principle? by Joseph Thornley, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Behind the Scenes at LinkedIn Learning

Online learning courses have become the main channel for many of us to pick up new skills and refresh our understanding of the latest developments and best practices in our current field of work.

Have you wondered where the ideas for them comes from, how the instructors are chosen, how the courses are produced or how the sessions are targeted at you? Well, this week, Martin Waxman is in California recording his next course for LinkedIn. And we took the opportunity to invite Martin’s producer, Hilary White, to give us insight into these and many more questions we have about online courses.

Bonus: Do you think you might like to offer an online course with a major platform like Lynda.com or LinkedIn Learning? Listen to the end for info on how you can put yourself forward for consideration as a LinkedIn Learning instructor.

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Behind the Scenes at Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning by Joseph Thornley, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

It’s about disclosure, stupid!

On this week’s episode of the Inside PR podcast: The biggest change to WordPress in ten years; the Guardian decides good enough video really is good enough; and a teachable moment in marketing ethics. It’s about disclosure, stupid!

WordPress 5 with Gutenberg

WordPress users have something big to look forward to – the release of WordPress 5. WordPress published an update forecasting that WordPress 5 will be released as early as August. Why is WordPress 5 such a big deal? Because it will incorporate the new Gutenberg editing system.

Gutenberg will be the first significant change in WordPress’ core editing dashboard in ten years. And when it is introduced, WordPress users will have, for the first time, a true WYSIWYG interface that will enable them to create, format and arrange their content as they create it, seeing the results as they make the changes. As long time WordPress users, this is something that we have been looking forward to. August can’t come soon enough.

Sometime good enough video is good enough

We know that video is the most engaging of social objects. But we also know that it takes a lot of work to produce highly polished “professional-looking” videos. Digiday reports that The Guardian has adjusted their approach to video on Instagram. They concluded that the uptake of their videos does not justify the high cost of production of highly polished videos. On the other hand, they also noticed that less polished videos were being viewed as often as higher quality, higher cost of production videos. So, from now on, the Guardian is producing less polished videos such as 12 to 15 screen “explainers.”

We think there is a lesson here for all of us – sometimes it makes sense to aim for “good enough” to achieve your objectives. If you can achieve your objective at lower cost, doesn’t it just make sense to do this?

If you fail to disclose, this could be you

A few weeks ago we talked about the less-than-transparent disclosure made by matte story distributors and publishers. This week, Buzzfeed threw daylight on another lapse in disclosure. They highlighted the behaviour of one marketing company that routinely places bylined articles in online news outlets such as Forbes and Entrepreneur without disclosing that references to their clients within the articles are in fact references to clients of the marketing firm.

Nobody is served well by this practice. Not the client. Not the publisher. And not the marketing firm. Just one more reminder to us all that trust is built over time, but can be lost with a single action. Let’s remember, when in doubt, disclose.

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

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Inside PR 513 It’s about disclosure, stupid! by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.