Interesting communications web chat (November 19th)….

Bjorn Edlund, vice president of communications at Shell, was in touch (Are you impressed? Well… when I say he was in touch what I meant to say was that one of his team sent me an e-mail… well when I say one of his team sent me an e-mail what I meant was that one of his agencies sent me an e-mail… well when I say… OK let’s stop there I’ll revisit this stream of consciousness at the end of this post).

OK where was I?

Oh yes Bjorn.

Shell are hosting what looks like a very interesting web chat on November 19th 2008 on Communicating Sustainability. There are two sessions to choose from one at 6am GMT and one at 4pm GMT (11am Eastern). Note that you have to register to get into the details and I am less than impressed that they wouldn’t accept my fantastic hotmail address. :-)

The webchat will be led by Bjorn and will include a number of members of his team at Shell. You can watch a brief preview video outlining some of the issues around communicating sustainability on the site.

I think it’s a very interesting approach and is definitely worth a visit to anyone involved in communications around the whole area of the environment, sustainability etc… eh that probably means everyone in PR…



If you’re wondering what the mindless preamble at the top of this post is all about, let me try and explain.  The invitation e-mail came from “Bjorn”, but actually came from a anonymous Shell alias – which is OK -  and then at the foot of the mail just under “Bjorn” there was a signature from a guy at a company called SigWatch which from their web site: “specializes in activist/NGO tracking”, which I have to say a) threw me and b) put me off somewhat.

I do think it’s an interesting initiative and as least they got the name of the blog right in their mail merge, but why not just send the e-mail from someone at Shell without the alias and sigwatch signature? Odd. Otherwise I’m impressed with their idea.

Interesting PR-related stuff

There has been a drought of interesting things in my RSS feeds recently, the majority of content seems to tirelessly (and boringly) focus on “blah blah is dying or dead” or “blah blah is going to change the world”.

The good news is that today I came across some interesting items I thought I would share.

In a move that will cause widespread dismay among the digerati, the Economist claims blogging has gone mainstream. This would explain the spate of “blogs are dying” posts that have wobbled onto the internet recently.  Of course one could argue that this story appearing in the Economist means that blogs are nearly mainstream but not quite there yet. Hat tip to Mr. Bailey.


While the re-invention of the wheel (or the reinvention of the wheel as something not quite as useful as the wheel) is a passion for many people online, often I find that the simple suggestions are best.  For example what about David Berlind’s suggestion of including a shortened URL in your press release.  Simple, yet makes the link portable across blogs and the shortened world of Twitter. Hat tip to Alice Marshall.


Speaking of Twitter*, Andrew Smith has a nice aggregated post with loads of links to Twitter-related content, including a list of UK journos and a list of UK PRs on eh Twitter from Stephen Davies. [Aside: the UK PR list looks like a most wanted list… and I don’t mean in a good way :-)]


Neville Hobson points to a new list of the Top 150 PR oops sorry Social Marketing blogs. My rule of thumb is never trust a list you’re on, so given I’m at #89 that’s not a good sign.  The good news is I normally drop off them like a stone… so keep an eye on the list, it’ll probably get better with age.


I am a firm believer that you never stop learning.  That’s why I love Dave Fleet’s list of top twelve communications, marketing and social media podcasts.  It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree it’s great to hear different perspectives.



If you reading this in a somewhat confused manner then you are probably someone who has clicked on the Moofer link from the New York Times blog. I feel something of an link-love charlatan as the originator of the Moofer theme is this blog!


Can I ask…  is there actually anything more annoying on a blog or website than those pesky widgets that pop up a browser preview when you hover over a link.  For the love of jebus…


*Twitter: Innocent or Guilty? Interesting or Boring? Indulgent or Philanthropic? The jury is still out having lunch…

Why do I love the interweb?

You know sometimes we take the web for granted.  I often remind people about the days when the only way to get company information was to:


Ring the company’s customer services department (real people in those days) and ask them to send out a brochure – which could take a few weeks

Climb into the car, drive the local business library with a bag of coins and go photocopying

That was in the 1990s, things have moved on rapidly.

Sometimes we forget.

I don’t love the internet for the incessant hyperbole or fact-free opinions, but I do love it its ability to facilitate the sharing of people’s fantastic expertise, experience and perspectives that frankly you never or rarely would have had access to before the internet went mainstream.

A week or so ago Shel Holtz posted a thoughtful and timely piece on communicating layoffs. 

This unfortunately is something that will become an increasing feature of the communications landscape until the global economy improves.

Does it amaze you that now with the click of link you can enrich your own knowledge with the experience of another practitioner? It should.

It’s easy to gloss over the employees left behind while lamenting the loss of those who have gone. After all, they still have jobs. But the victims are gone; it’s the remaining employees you’re counting on to drive the business forward. If they’re paralyzed in the aftermath of the layoff, everything from productivity and innovation to engagement will take a hit. One concern all layoff survivors share is the expectation that they’ll shoulder the work that had been done by those have have left in addition to their existing responsibilities. Explain honestly how the slack will be taken up and what kind of sacrifices will be expected.

Oh and don’t forget the other great think about the internet is the community so come and give me some help.

Social media test: Tell me what to say…

OK so I’ve come up with a little social media test or maybe that should be request.

I am speaking at the “Don’t Panic Guide to Social Media Event” at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Friday December 5th 2008.

I’m mulling over what I should cover during the event, so I had an idea.  Why not ask you.

Simple question:


“What should Tom talk about at the event?”


imageYou can leave a comment or drop me an e-mail, humour is always appreciated.

Go on… you know you want to (and keep it clean!).