Delay, Deny, Deflect – Inside PR 527

Facebook’s Really Bad Behaviour

Sometimes, the stars just align perfectly. When we recorded this episode of Inside PR, we did not know that, within hours, the New York Times would publish a bombshell story delving into Facebook’s tactics to avoid full transparency and accountability for the existence and persistence of Russian troll activity and other bad acts on Facebook. In this episode, you’ll hear us discuss that the only truly satisfactory response on the part of Facebook must go beyond simple PR bromides to real actions that align with its promises. Something which the NY Times story suggests Facebook fell far short of.

Ironically, it was the NYTimes Tech Reporter, Kevin Roose, who provided the most succinct definition of what’s really going on in a Tweet following the picture that emerged of a group of boys allegedly giving the Nazi salute prior to their prom. Roose tweeted, “has anyone answered “a generation raised on platforms that reward provocation in a culture with a shrinking list of taboos” yet[?]”

And it’s not just outside observers who are rethinking the approach the social media platforms took to driving growth and user engagement. Recode reported that Twitter co-founder Ev Williams told a tech conference in Portugal, “I think showing follower counts was probably ultimately detrimental. …. It really put in your face that the game was popularity.” Williams went on to discuss the “suggested user” list that helped new Twitter users start to follow people on Twitter by suggesting well-known are widely followed people for them to follow. Reflecting on this, Williams suggested, “Those weren’t really interest-based follows, and then someone who had grown their following organically compares themselves to them. It’s inauthentic.”

And that brings us back full circle to Facebook. Even before the NY Times story dropped, legislators outside of the US were demanding that Zuckerberg provide some accountability to them for Facebook’s operations in their countries. A few weeks back, we discussed the fact that Canadian legislators were prepared to travel across the Atlantic to attend a joint session with their counterparts in the UK Parliament – if Mark Zuckerberg would agree to appear before them. Last week, legislators from Australia, Ireland and Argentina joined their counterparts from the UK and Canada to provide Zuckerberg with a five for one offer. One appearance for five countries. Yet, at the time of recording Zuckerberg and Facebook still had not agreed to appear.

And then the NY Times story dropped – and we saw in vivid detail the machinations and manipulation Facebook was taking to duck calls for full transparency everywhere. 

Delay. Deny. Deflect. Now that we understand this, could this be only the first of many bad weeks for Facebook?

Faster, Safer Internet Access from Your Phone

Do you ever connect to the Internet via a public WiFi network (think airports, hotels and Starbucks?) Have you read the terms of use you have with your Internet Service Provider (ISP)? If so, you may discover that they can share with “partners” data about your Web surfing and Internet activity from inside your home! Yes, it’s a scary world.

Cloudflare, the company that many developers rely on for Domain Name Server (DNS) and Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, is making it easier for all of us to increase the security and privacy of our connections to the Internet – whether at home or in public places. Last April, the company launched its 1.1.1.1 DNS resolver service that enables you to keep your Web activity private – even from your ISP. Now, they have introduced apps to bring the service to your mobile phone. I’ve installed the 1.1.1.1 app on my iPhone. It took less than three minutes. You too can download the app from the iOS and Android stores. It’s an easy, simple step to protect yourself online.

It’s about the links

When you pitch an article to an online news outlet, do you expect them to include a link back to the source you provided to them? Do you see this as good SEO for the news outlet? As important to your client? A recent PR article on obtaining links in articles referencing clients got us thinking.

The challenge and rewards of Nanoinfluencers

Finally, we talk about  the emergence of Nanoinfluencers. From a thousand points of light may come great influence?

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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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Delay, Deny, Deflect. Inside PR 527 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Peril of Promiscuous Following – Inside PR 526

In this week’s episode of the Inside PR podcast:

  • Do you want to understand the Paid/Earned/Shared/Owned approach to PR and marketing? Martin tells people that Gini’s SpinSucks site is a top site for info on PESO.
  • Is Facebook really bigger than every government in the world? Does this mean that Facebook is above the oversight of the political leadership of nation states? Well, you might think so, as politicians in Canada and the UK band together to request that Mark Zuckerberg attends a joint hearing. Canadian politicians will fly across the ocean to question Zuckerberg, who will not fly four hours to speak to them directly in Ottawa.
  • Still, some political bodies are determined to move forward to protect our privacy rights. The Canadian Privacy Commissioner announces new disclosure requirements for privacy breaches. Only in Canada, you say? Pity.
  • Twitter’s Q3 financial results showed that, while monthly active users may have decreased, daily active users continue to increase. And that’s a good thing. Suggesting that Twitter is succeeding in reestablishing itself as a place that users like you and me will want to treat as one of our principal social networks on a daily basis, not just on an occasional basis.
  • Finally, Kara Swisher gives us much to think about in her rumination on Silicon Valley’s links to and dependence on investments from organizations and individuals who would never be considered to be friends of liberal democracy and free speech. And Ezra Klein‘s discussion with Jay Rosen of the media’s turn to entertainment logic from news logic underscores the media’s weakness in helping us to come to grips with the true underlying issues.

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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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The Peril of Promiscuous Following – Inside PR 526 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

When a client stops returning your calls (Inside PR 524)

On this week’s Inside PR podcast, we look at several developments and topics of interest to PR practitioners and agency leaders:

  • Google+ has gone away. We reflect on its demise and what it did and didn’t mean for us in its prime and at the end.
  • The retro-lovers among us may have noticed the return of the Palm brand name. It may go to show that there’s always a demand for people who turn left when the rest of us turn right.
  • There’s a new podcast for PR agency leaders, aptly named the Agency Leadership Podcast. And Gini Dietrich is co-hosting it with former Custom Scoop CEO Chip Griffin. Each week, Gini and Chip will provide insight into the challenges, skills and moves necessary to run an agency in the gig economy. This is Gini’s third podcast. She will continue to co-host Inside PR with Martin and Joe and she will also offer advice for practitioners on Spin Sucks. The era of Gini Dietrich podcasting truly has arrived. 
  • Is your boss an Algorithm? Algorithms are everywhere. They determine the content we see. They rate our performance at work. And their influence over us is expanding and growing. Is this something we should simply accept or should we become proactive in examining and shaping how and when they can be applied?
  • What do you do when clients refuse to call back? Last week, an agency owner raised the question in the Spin Sucks Community on Slack of how to handle a non-responsive client. We’ve all seen clients who get busy, who disappear for a while, or who are chronically late with feedback. And we have a good discussion of how we have dealt with that in the past.

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Please rate us on Apple Podcasts

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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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When a client stops returning your calls (Inside PR 524) by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

You’re in trouble if your password is “Password” – Inside PR 523

On this week’s Inside PR podcast, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley discuss several topics:

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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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You’re in trouble is your password is “Password” – Inside PR 523 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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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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 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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It’s your turn.

We’d love to know what you think about the topics we discussed as well as your suggestions for questions you’d like answered or topics for future shows.

Please rate us on Apple Podcasts

We hope you like the podcast as much as we like making it for you. If you do, we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on Apple Podcasts.

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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It’s your turn.

We’d love to know what you think about the topics we discussed as well as your suggestions for questions you’d like answered or topics for future shows.

Please rate us on Apple Podcasts

We hope you like the podcast as much as we like making it for you. If you do, we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on Apple Podcasts.

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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It’s your turn.

We’d love to know what you think about the topics we discussed as well as your suggestions for questions you’d like answered or topics for future shows.

Please rate us on Apple Podcasts

We hope you like the podcast as much as we like making it for you. If you do, we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on Apple Podcasts.

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 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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We’re trying to be wherever you want us to be. So, you can subscribe to Inside PR on the most popular podcast apps.

It’s your turn.

We’d love to know what you think about the topics we discussed as well as your suggestions for questions you’d like answered or topics for future shows.

Please rate us on Apple Podcasts

We hope you like the podcast as much as we like making it for you. If you do, we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on Apple Podcasts.

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.

Creative Commons Licence
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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We’re trying to be wherever you want us to be. So, you can subscribe to Inside PR on the most popular podcast apps.

It’s your turn.

We’d love to know what you think about the topics we discussed as well as your suggestions for questions you’d like answered or topics for future shows.

Please rate us on Apple Podcasts

We hope you like the podcast as much as we like making it for you. If you do, we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on Apple Podcasts.

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.

Creative Commons Licence
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.