UK media research finds online media is a boon for PR :-)

Now I’m the first person to point out that the great thing about most research is that anyone can bend the findings to support their own opinions. 

So indulge me here.

Some of my biggest issues with the prevalent Web 2.0/Smeedia thinking are:

  • The belief that the demise of traditional media is a good thing for society – and that the media’s demise is a “fact” (it’s not)
  • The acceptance of content that’s “good enough” rather than researched, reviewed and objective
  • The online, self-styled, Web 2.0 experts, who have never practiced Public Relations in their life, but feel they are qualified to provide in-depth analysis on the impact of new online media and tools on our profession. (I’ll post more on that particular topic at a later date.)

The idea that sites like Wikipedia are a great thing – regardless of how accurate the content is – because loads of people collaborate, is flawed. I don’t like it as a citizen, as a parent, as a consumer, or as a PR practitioner. We must fight for standards ladies and gentlemen.

A report from UK media research firm Metrica [Flash alert], which included 3,000,000 articles from 700 UK media organisations over the past decade has some interesting findings.

It found that online coverage was far more likely to deliver “high message delivery” and a company spokesperson than traditional media:

Haste and paste: High message delivery and spokespeople mentions suggest the emergence of a copy and paste publishing trend in online media. Online featured the strongest message delivery of any media type with half of coverage delivering key messages, and an average of three message deliveries per article.There is also some indication of a similar trend amongst regional titles.

Now obviously as a PR guy that’s what the client is looking for. But as a citizen you want to ensure there is a strong media providing consumers with a balanced news agenda – after all if you’re getting fluffy coverage, so is your competitor.

  • According to the research for 2007, not surprisingly, the UK daily and Sunday newspapers are the least favourable outlets, while regional TV, print and radio are the most favourable.
  • The most favoured sectors are charities, trade bodies, media and leisure, and entertainment.
  • The least favoured sectors are finance, government & public sector, retail, fashion, health & beauty and transport.

I accept that no research is perfect, but it presents an interesting view and perhaps presents a case why the survival of traditional media (whether in print or online) is important to society and business.

Read more at the Metrica blog.



Stuart Bruce has pointed to a site I’d never seen before, the Churner Prize :-)

Smeedia shorts…


  • Todd Defren has an interesting post on how they managed bloggers at their client’s event, the RSA Conference.


Social media or smeedia as I call it…

There’s loads of content being published on the Interweb around all this social media stuff.  Here’s a selection of some posts I’ve read or ferreted away for future review….

In the real world… Misukanis & Odden’s Media Relations blog has 11 tips for pitching reporters – for the younger readers: reporters are also sometimes called “journalists”, some have blogs, but remember, some don’t. Oh and they still exist in the real world!


Darren Barefoot points to an interesting talk by Clay Shirky.


I see the good folks at Don’t Panic have an event on Social Media coming up in London on May 23rd.


Interesting post by Heather Yaxley regarding an interview with Markus Pirchner entitled: “The Semantic Web – not of Public Relations’ business”. [I haven’t had a chance to read the interview but I will in the next day or so – hey this is a blog not a newspaper :-) ]


Brian Solis on “Distributed conversations and fragmented attention”


I like Kevin Dugan’s cartoon on Web 2.0 and mainstream media.


Lauren Vargas calls time on the most recent “blogodrama”:

Enough already?! Do you not realize I am trying to teach students and corporations about social media and all they see at first glance is children taking petty shots at each other?

Too right, there are far too many “pioneers”, “experts” and drama queens pitching their typing as “best in class” or visionary.


Eric writes in a similar vein on another “incident”.


And finally, Scott Goodson has published a whitepaper on “social media”.


Press Release Tips

Now before anyone goes and chokes on their panini – just a quick reality check – press releases still matter.

Yes there are many poor press releases, but they still present information in a standard, recognizable format and while there are clearly benefits to using the social media release, in reality the press release is still the #1 tool for news dissemination.

Sally Whittle provide five reasons why she deletes your press releases…

Lately, it seems like I’ve been added to a number of new PR agency press release distribution lists – I’d guess the average  number of emails I receive per day has doubled in the last six weeks or so. And sadly, the increase is down to press releases rather than offers of lovely press trips or fat commissions.

Looking at press releases, I can’t help but think that something has to change. We may not be ready for the new-fangled social media release just yet, but the press release as it is today? Really sucks. So I looked at the releases in my deleted folder and worked out why they had been so swiftly jettisoned.

Read on


Bonus link:

Andrew Bruce Smith also shares some opinions on the matter.


Something to make you smile…

Just as a quick escape from all the hyperbole, here’s a nice story that made me smile…

A Michigan woman and her family were vacationing in a small New England town where Paul Newman and his family often visited. One Sunday morning, the woman got up early to take a long walk. After a brisk five-mile hike, she decided to treat herself to a double-dip chocolate ice cream cone. She hopped in the car, drove to the centre of the village, and went straight to the combination bakery/ice cream parlor.

Read on

Survey reveals how teenagers are communicating…

I find it quite disturbing that the further away you move from your teenage years, the more you become like your parents, even though you were always adamant you’d remain hip and cool when you got older….

Anyway, enough of my personal struggles, on to more interesting, though related, matters…

Habbo, the virtual world for teenagers, has released a global study on the communications preferences for 11-18 year olds.

They surveyed over 58,000 teenagers around the world and the findings are very interesting…

  • 76% use instant messaging (#1) to stay in touch with friends online.
  • 72% hold e-mail accounts, though it’s used for more formal communication with parents and employers (or old farts like you and me).
  • 40% do not view social networks as an important part of their communications mix.

The major growth area since the last survey two years ago is mobile.

  • 71% listen to music on their mobile phone (up from 38%)
  • 70% use their phones to take photos and video (up from 11%)
  • 64% play games on their mobile (up from 14%)
  • 25% use their mobiles for web access, e-mail and instant messaging
  • Nokia is the number one mobile brand – but Sony Ericsson and Samsung are catching up.

It seems to me – and maybe I’m wrong – but there’s a lot of blog post inches dedicated to the brave new world of Web 2.0, but very little discussion on how the growth in more powerful mobile devices will impact how people of all ages find and share information. It’s a big area and a big part of the changes we’re seeing.

It probably deserves more respect – and look on the bright side there’s loads of opportunity for blog hype….



Why Gen Y Feels Overwhelmed – Business Week [via Amanda Mooney on Twitter]

Habbo’s second Global Youth Survey reveals the digital profiles of teens online – Press Release

Habbo’s Second Global Youth Survey reveals shake up in teens’ favourite mobile brands – Emmi Kuusikko, Director, User and Market Insight

Are you a Moofer? – Murphy’s Law

My idea of hell…

Forget the safety issues – of which there are many – is there any worse idea than the idea of allowing mobile phone calls on planes?

I can think of nothing worse than sitting for 1, 6 or 9 hours listening to people barking into their mobiles, hearing text messages arriving and worse.

Can you imagine the first couple of years after this “technology” is introduced?

One hundred calls on every single flight for three years which go as follows:


“Hey, it’s me?”

“You’ll never guess where I’m calling from…”

“… the plane!”

“No I am, seriously…”


Ladies and gentlemen, the future sanity of mankind is at risk