Will this discussion get us into trouble?

Google’s HR problem

We offer our take on the James Damore memo on gender diversity and how Google handled it. Will this discussion get us into trouble? Will you unsubscribe? Will you judget us harshly?

Google expands speech recognition

News that Google extended speech recognition to an additional 30 languages and locales, serving an addition 1 billion people, underlines how rapidly Google is preparing for the era in which we will be interacting with our devices primarily by voice commands.

 

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. Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], leave a comment on the Inside PR Facebook group or the FIR Podcast Network Facebook group, We’re also on Twitter. We’re @inside_pr or connect directly with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman.

#IPRMustKnow

Our hashtag is #IPRMustKnow. If you are tweeting or posting about the podcast, please include our hashtag so that we can find your post.

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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 472: Meet you on Mastadon?

The NY Times is on Snapchat Discover. You’re probably not on Mastadon. But is that really important? Consolidation on the Internet. Facebook and augmented reality. Let’s go Inside PR. It’s just Martin and Joe this week. But we cover a lot of ground.

Facebook focuses on AR

Facebook just isn’t letting up on the pressure on Snapchat. Last year, Snapchat made waves with its glasses, pointing the way to a video future. Just as it has parroted other Snapchat features (Stories anyone?), Facebook is now pointing to an AR future and committing Facebook-scale resources to it. Competition is great, as long as the giant doesn’t crush the upstart.

Distributed publishing isn’t all publishers hoped it would be

News that the Guardian has pulled out of Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles comes on the heels of earlier reports that other publishers were not seeing the financial results they hoped to achieve from adopting the distributed publishing model being touted by Facebook, Snapchat and Google. And for those of us who publish our own content, take note. Don’t shut down your owned website quite yet.

The New York Times is looking for more on Snapchat

In April, the New York Times joined Snapchat Discover.

It’s hard to see how Snapchat Discover matches the nature of the Times content. Take an early Discover article as an example. On Sunday April 23, the Times ran a major feature on Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The version of the Times Website clocked in as just under 4,000 words.  The next morning, the Times launched its Snapchat Discover channel with the Kalanick story. And what a difference! The Snapchat version contained an animated GIF and three text panels containing under 160 words. That’s right. 4,000 words on the Times site. Less than 160 on Snapchat.

 

Consolidation on the Internet

A recent NY Times article underlined the degree to which the previously open Internet is consolidating around a handful of platforms. Consolidation of attention makes us less free, makes us less able to serendipitously encounter different views and different experiences.

Are you on Mastadon?

Probably not. But does that matter? Do platforms need to scale to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat levels to be of value? No, it’s not. It’s important that we support and play with new experiments like this. Whether Mastadon every grows, the very spirit that gives to its rise underlines the vitality of the Internet and Net Neutrality.

 

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. Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], leave a comment on the Inside PR Facebook group or the FIR Podcast Network Facebook group, We’re also on Twitter. We’re @inside_pr or connect directly with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman.

Please rate us on iTunes

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 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 423: Has Big Tech Become Too Powerful?

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We’re back after a brief end of summer hiatus and start off with this week’s #IPRMustKnow segment.

Martin: Signal, Facebook’s new app for FB and Instagram, gives journalists a set of tools to discover breaking news, curate visuals and stories and share them on various platforms.

Gini: Google and Twitter have teamed up to provide an open-source competitor to Facebook’s Instant Articles, a place for publishers to display breaking news on mobile.

Joe – How do you spell Google Reader? Apple News. Joe gives an overview of the much-touted app. He likes the visual interface but doesn’t think it’s a replacement for an RSS reader yet. And he offers a quick hack on how to get the app if you’re not in the U.S. – but you’ll have to listen to the show to get it :).

And our talk of the big three – Apple, Google and Facebook – brings us to our main topic: a New York Times op-ed by Berkeley prof Robert Reich called, Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful. Reich contends Facebook, Google and Apple have too much influence over the government and regulators and the way we discover news and content.

Listen for our discussion. And please send your thoughts. We’re interested to hear what you think.

We end by answering a question Barbara Nixon posed on Facebook and Twitter: ‘What should new PR pros expect and prepare for when interviewing for an entry-level PR position?’

Gini wants to hear where people see themselves in five years and where their career path is heading.

Joe tries to have a conversation with potential hires to see if the person can exchange ideas with him, and if they fit into a culture of creativity and curiosity.

Martin suggests searching the company to find out about the principals, how they think, and what their culture is. And then search yourself to see if there are any red flags.

Any other suggestions? We’d love to hear from you.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, 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 409: Living in a world of micro-moments and video to go

Martin here and excuse me while I check my phone. I’m having a micro-moment. But more on that in a few, er-moments.

This week it’s Joe and me; Gini’s on the road. And because of our schedules recently, you’ve probably noticed May has been a quieter IPR month. But we’re all back in June.

In today’s episode, we have a couple of topics to discuss – both revolving around Google.

The first is micro-moments, or what Google describes as ‘I want to know, I want to go, I want to buy moments’. I call them the frequent times we turn to our smartphones during the day – often when we’re in the middle of something else – to find out some info, daydream, or take a mini-break from what we’re doing.

These mobile interactions are having a profound impact on the way we discover and consume information and what we do with our idle time.

Many of our micro-moments revolve around watching videos. And according to Google, people who view videos on their phones are 1.4 times as likely to watch ads as those on desktops or TVs and are more likely to talk about the ads they saw. Are the dollar signs lighting up?

The challenge for brands is to learn how to produce video that works for the small-screen. In other words, create for the medium – panorama shots may be amazing in a movie theatre, but don’t work so well on a five inch screen. Think about your audience and what they’re looking for and how you can reach them with the kind of video they want to see at the just the right point in time. Here’s a post from Joe with his thoughts on the importance of creating videos for mobile devices.

What do you think about micro-moments, how they’re affecting our purchase intent and attention spans? And when you’re in the middle of one of these moments, what kinds of video content makes you stop, watch and share?

We’d love to hear from you.

And thanks to Breyanna Tripp from Kent State and Charles Cawte for their comments.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, 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 Ashlea McGrath.

 

 

Inside PR 405: Starbucks Starcrossed

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On this week’s Inside PR, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I talk about three issues: Starbuck’s #RaceTogether initiative, the change to Google’s search algorithm to penalize Websites that are not mobile-friendly, and another move by Facebook to make itself more inviting to advertisers.

Starbucks #RaceTogether

Looking back at  Starbucks’ #RaceTogether campaign, I can’t help but feel that, while laudable in intent, RaceTogether showed a remarkable lack of self awareness on Starbucks’ account. Martin and Gini disagree. They see more positive than negative in Starbucks’ initiative and its handling of the subsequent fallout.

Gini feels that Starbucks succeeded in getting us to talk about the issue. I think that Starbucks succeeded in getting us to talk about Starbucks – and not in a positive way. I think the issue came apart because of a lack of self awareness on Starbucks’ part. I see it as an unequal power relationship. A chain that sells premium-priced coffee to a well-heeled clientele asks its fairly low paid employees to raise a highly sensitive topic across the counter. Gini pushes back. She talks about her experience of her local Starbucks. Martin sees it as a grand gesture in the finest tradition of liberalism. Gini gets the last word. We’re talking about it. Starbucks had some success and she suggests they should not be timid about this type of social initiative in the future.

Mobile-friendly by April 21 or else

But that’s not all we talk about. We also point to the pending April 21 change to Google’s algorithm penalize Websites that are not mobile-friendly. Communications execs, make sure that your sites are up to date or be ready to see them disappear from the front page of Google Search.

Facebook entices advertisers

Finally, we discuss the disappearance of comments from corporate Facebook pages. Just one more step by Facebook to make Facebook a more attractive platform for advertisers.

We’d love to hear from you.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, 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 Ashlea McGrath.

 

 

 

 

Inside PR 381: Penalties for bad reviews and questions about online privacy

Martin here.

This week, the gang’s together again…and we start by talking about a business that charges customers a penalty for negative online reviews.

Whaa?

In case you missed it, a hotel in upstate New York said it would levy a fine of $500 for bad reviews written by guests.

The company has since recanted the story claiming it was a joke that harkened back to a long-past wedding and they never removed the policy. Gini likens this to businesses that pay for positive reviews and says you can’t dictate what people say about you online good or bad. You just have to provide the best experience and customer service you can, listen and address issues. Here’s a link to the story for details.

We switch gears and discuss a study on online privacy by Craig Newmark and others that offers some insightful results. One of the main findings is that two-thirds of us either skim or don’t bother to read the terms of service. Which means we don’t know what we’re agreeing to or what rights we’re signing away.

Gini, Joe and I did a straw poll and it turns out the three of us all fall in that 66 per cent majority.

That’s not a good thing…

Joe links this to news that when Google receives a request under Europe’s right to be forgotten legislation, it has been informing webmasters about it before it takes down the links-in-question.

According to the WSJ, Google claims that alerting publishers to impending removals is the only way they can respond with their side of the story.

Joe’s concern is that we’re giving a private company the ability to make decisions about our privacy and rights based on its commercial self-interests.

I think the situation is similar to one we’ve always had with media: they have their own agendas, yet we trust them to filter stories and news.

It’s certainly a complex issue.

What do you think? About penalizing or paying for reviews? About reading terms of service, about the right to be forgotten…

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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

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 Ashlea LeCompte.

 

Inside PR 379: An Anonymous Marriage Proposal?

This week, Martin WaxmanGini Dietrich and I are  back together for the first time in several weeks to record the Inside PR podcast.

Martin talks about his experience at SxSW V2V. Martin says, it has much of the vibe of the early SXSW, with lots of opportunities to network and a program packed with strong content. One of those that left the strongest impression on him was John Maeda’s keynote “From design to DE$IGN.” Maeda talked about the central role of design and how it can be used to “make sense of chaos.” Martin was struck by his observation that a good design “is both familiar and new.” Maeda also emphasized the importance of baking in design from the outset of every project, not viewing it as an after-the-fact tack on.

And of course, Martin also delivered a presentation, “Supercharged Storytelling for Startups,” in which he talked about how anyone can use storytelling to break through the noise and clutter.

We also turn our attention to the recent move by Google+ to remove restrictions on user identities.

Finally, we extend our discussion of online identity as Martin points us to an article he read that warned us against a misplaced faith in incognito mode in our browsers to protect our privacy.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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

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 Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR 3.46: Google introduces In-depth articles

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Earlier in the month, Gini wrote a blog post about Google’s In-depth articles. She discovered them when she was doing a search for a client and, in addition to the regular results, noticed a series of three other links listed at the bottom of the page.

She dug a bit deeper and found Google launched In-depth articles in August to feature longer-form content people are talking about – usually from mainstream media outlets.  (Note: a search of ‘google in-depth articles’ did not include any in-depth articles, but did show Gini’s post.)

Recently Google has been using three elements to determine ranking:  recency and relevancy, popularity and authority. Now, in combination with these measures, content creators should consider developing longer-form pieces like ebooks or white papers.

These are more reflective pieces that should demonstrate the writer has done their research, cited credible sources and has the authority to offer a perspective on the topic that adds value.

Agencies and organizations will want to experiment with longer-form articles to determine what works and how it affects the perception and discoverability of their brand.

Joe says it’s interesting to watch where search is heading and recalls that four or five years ago you would get really interesting links when you searched a topic. Now, in top-level searches he’s seeing is the equivalent of ‘network television’ – that is, links from larger outlets rather than the independent voices that often provided a fresh point of view.

Martin wonders whether this is Google’s way to re-legitimize media outlets as publishers and point people back to them.

For our Canadian listeners, In Depth Articles don’t work in Google.ca, so you’ll need to search in Google.com. Right now, it only seems to be for top-level searches.

Are these shifts toward more mainstream results harkening back to the brochure-ware websites we used to find online? What happened to the individual voices we know are out there?  Will the average person understand how to refine their searches in order to find independent voices? What’s the impact on communicators who want to reach a wider audience?

We’d love to hear your ideas on where you think search is heading.

And as we mentioned, here’s the link to the new subscription-based ‘Netflix for books’ app, Oyster.

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Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.45: Good PR firms evolve

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On this week’s episode of Inside PR, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and Joseph Thornley chat about the recent changes in Google’s handling of news releases and the impact that has on PR agencies.

Gini argues that these changes will motivate good PR agencies to become even better. It forces us to go back to basics, to focus on relationships, not on search ranking hacks. Martin suggests that we need to reconsider the concept of “owned media relationships,” that we must look at them as shared relationships with our clients. Joe believes that media relationships always are “functional.” They exist only as long as we can be of value to the journalists at the other end. And we must constantly be focused on what the person at the other end of the line cares about and having something interesting to say about this.

For the past several years, PR pros have been led to play the SEO game to match Google’s rules and guidelines. We succeeded at doing this in the past and we’ll succeed in adopting to the new algorithms. Change isn’t bad for any industry. Change is just bad for those who refuse to learn and change themselves. As Martin says, It’s always time for the PR industry to come up with a better way of doing things.

We also talk about the recent SXSW V2V conference in Las Vegas. Martin attended this inaugural edition of a new conference by the folks who organize Austin’s SXSW conference. And he found it to be a return to the smaller, more intimate gathering of a community drawn together by common interests. Great energy. Much more intimate. Much more like SXSW in its early years. Worth attending this year. Worth considering attending next year.

We close out this week’s episode with a comment from Mark Buell relating to our earlier discussion about protecting your identity online. Mark recommends that you should “regularly check which third party applications have access to your Twitter account. If the service doesn’t require ongoing access (like Hootsuite, Klout, etc.) revoke its access. Third party access is a weak link in your social media security chain.”  Thanks go to Mark for a practical useful tip.

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Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.30: If you are not paying for the product, you are the product

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If I live in a luxurious cage, am I any less a prisoner than if I live in a concrete cell?

In this week’s episode of Inside Pr, we talk about the biggest trend social media trend of all: mainstreamification.

As the traditional business models for traditional media wither away, as social media start-ups become mainstream with mass audiences and seek to generate revenue that justifies their sky-high valuations, we have decisively left behind the early social media ecosystem of independent voices and the culture of generosity that nourished it. We’ve left behind the free and self-sufficient connections of self-publishing and replaced them with the dependence on proprietary social networks.

Martin calls this the “mainstreamification” of social media. In five years, he argues, we’ve seen the triumph of the “get if fast, get it first, then get it right” mentality in online news outlets. Both he and Joe point to the large number of voices previously found on independently published blogs who have moved their content onto platforms like Huffington Post or Forbes.com in pursuit of the much larger audiences that those platforms have attracted. They have left behind their independent mindset for a mass media mindset.

We shouldn’t be surprised that these networks put their own business interests ahead of users’ interests. It’s not just one move. It’s a range of moves. It’s Google turning its back on its core Google Reader users and dropping support for RSS feeds. It’s Amazon, the king of the walled garden publishers, taking over GoodReads which, until now had been a champion of the device and platform agnostic publishing. It’s Facebook publishing a start page for Android to entice users of the most open mobile OS into its walled garden.

Social media was born out of our desire to have a voice and to connect with people who shared our interests. It provided us all with a low cost/no cost way to be heard. And as such, it celebrated the niche. It didn’t matter how narrow the audience was. The economics of the platforms and the passion of the users supported interests of all shapes, sizes and natures. No one was unimportant. Everyone was important if they had something to say.

What are the downsides of the mainstreaming of social media? The decline of the niche. The decline of innovation in platforms that serve niche content producers. The era in which voices with something to say mattered – even if they didn’t have a mass audience.

We should not sleep walk into this era of mainstream dominance. Gini points out that the strategies of the dominant platforms give us reason to remember the smaller, independent providers of tools for self-publishing and content discovery and curation. If we are open to examining these options, we may in fact find that they are better.

So, in this era of “mainstreamification,” let’s celebrate the independent voices.

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Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.