I spotted this on Ragan earlier today.  You might have seen it already. I hadn’t.

It’s a great example of the changing nature of communications and how, these new tools and channels are in many cases creating new and more frequent crises for companies of every size, in every sector.

The video (below) left me speechless.  The PR question is how would you respond? Have you put in place the knowledge and expertise to engage online, address your customers’ concerns and manage an issue like this?

Are you engaging today to ensure that you already have a connection and a relationship with people, before something like this happens?

Read the Ragan article.

Oh and by the way, these “people” are idiots.

PR: I like this…

I got an e-mail from Anna Tabakh from 5WPR on behalf of Predicto.

Often PR people cross the line when they’re trying to quickly take advantage of an event – think companies who have jumped on natural disasters etc. but I like this stunt.

You’ve probably heard of Dena Christoffersen, a 13 year old who ran up a $5,000 texting bill by sending 20,000 messages in a month.

Predicto are stepping in to pay the bill with one condition:

In exchange, Predicto Mobile has requested that Dena write a 1,000 word essay on “smart texting,” offering fellow teen text enthusiasts insight into what she learned from the experience and how her habits might change moving forward.  The essay will be posted on the Predicto Mobile’s blog as a way for parents and texters to learn from the costly error. 

I don’t know much about the company or their services.  At my age I’m wary of any mobile service, but I like this.

Are you following me?

Well Twitter’s popularity continues to grow (as can be evidenced by the return of the whale).

imageI have a chequered relationship with Twitter.  I have been a cynic, a convert, a lapsed practitioner and a pragmatist. I see great utility in the service, along with great waste, great opportunities and great disappointments.

Overall though I think Twitter is a great social experiment and the number of people continuing to come onto the service is absolutely staggering. 

Furthermore the growing number of tools to help you search and track topics of interest make it even more interesting and valuable.

Of course, I’m also developing pet hates:

1) People who automate a reply when you follow them: “hey hi, thanks for following I’ll try and be interesting” or some such.  Like I need more inane messages in my life – probation

2) People who automate a reply and try and sell you their get rich quick scheme – unfollow

3) People who exclusively use Twitter as a cheap and not so cheerful promotion vehicle for their inane blog posts – unfollow

4) People with Twitter tourettesunfollow

5) People who offer you the secret of 10,000s of followers on Twitter – unfollow

(Insider advice from someone not on the inside: Folks if you want 10,000s of followers, just follow 30,000 people on Twitter, the proportion of people who will follow you back will probably be 3:1. It’s easy and just takes some time.)

I can’t imagine that Twitter, with that number of follows, is of any value whatsoever, but if you’re looking for numbers then you probably don’t care and just want to broadcast.

Twitter can be incredibly useful for keeping in touch with people, researching things, finding out what’s hot (on Twitter), connecting with people etc., etc. Just remember that like every other single part of life there are some eejits.image

What’s very interesting (to me) is that companies are doing some very interesting things on Twitter.  Given my geographic location, let me give a local example: Starbucks.

Nothing earth shattering… but they are providing a human face on the organization.  And they have over 130,000 followers!


I spotted some new Twitter-related content today (not a terribly difficult task), so I thought I’d share (all were found via Twitter, but I can’t recall from whom – so apologies).


  • Utility in the jumble of Tweets (NY Times)
  • The “Golden rules of Twitter marketing” from Ireland’s Business & Leadership:
    • Do engage in conversation. Watch what people say and, if it is relevant to your area, offer advice and get to know their needs.
    • Don’t use Twitter as a place to continually post about how great your company or product is. People will block, ignore or unfollow you.
    • Do learn the power of ‘retweeting’. Make your message short, snappy and useful. This way, if someone finds it useful they can re-send or retweet it to others in their network.
    • Don’t be formal. If your company wants a presence on Twitter make sure that it is Dave from Acme Ltd as opposed to a faceless entity. People can approach Dave on a one-to-one basis.
    • Do think before you tweet. Before you write a new message ask yourself: Am I connecting with someone? Am I adding something useful?
    • Don’t think of Twitter as a closed container. Twitter is picked up by the Google search engine so if someone googles your company or keywords associated with your brand, then your relevant tweets will appear in the search engine almost like a mini webpage.
    • Do learn how to filter the users you are following. Using a tool like TweetDeck means you can place followers in different groups to read tweets more easily. You can also search for keywords and keep an eye on your brand in this way.
    • Don’t be bland. Not everyone will like you so there is no need to try to please everyone. A strong viewpoint will help your brand positioning.


Yet another Twitter satire: Flutter. (Via Mr. Barefoot’s article on social media gimmicks).



A tutorial on using Twitter:


So there you go. 

Feel free to share your thoughts, aspirations and challenges with Twitter…


Update 1:

Update 2:

Update 3:

There are mountains around here?

Well I’m five weeks now in the sunny Pacific NorthWest (well it’s Sunny today!).

There was an interesting opinion piece on the New York Times blog about the changes taking place in Ireland now that the Celtic Tiger has found somewhere to rest her weary bones. If you’d like to know about Ireland’s economic woes, just mention it in passing to an Irish person and they’ll happily talk until you can take no more.

Someone pointed out to me recently that the general topic of Irish conversation moved from the weather, to house prices (during the boom years) and now have moved onto the “current economic climate”. Of course the turnaround has been pretty staggering moving from “full” employment to 11% unemployment in not more than a couple of years. And the Central Bank is forecasting the economy will shrink 7% this year. Still I feel that as a nation, Irish people are more comfortable dealing with angst and despair (hence conversations focused on the Irish weather).

That was an extremely long pre-amble onto the point of this post which was once again the lack of imagination shown by my parents continues to haunt me. There might a few among you who remember my travails every time I travelled through Heathow airport. [Note: my namesake his since been incarcerated and the issue has ceased].

Well apparently (and subsequent investigation has found it to be true) a “Tom Murphy” commented on the aforementioned post on the NY Times blog this morning, and I’ve had a flurry on enquiries on whether it’s me or not.


It’s not. 

I do wish my parents thought of something like Ziggy or Apple Blossom (though I’m not sure I’m an Apple Blossom type of guy – though maybe I’d grow into it… sigh).

If I do ever comment on the NYT Blog I’ll sign it: “Tom Murphy – yes it IS me”

Watch your language…

Oscar Wilde once wrote:

We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.


I have to say that my language transition to the US (in my opinion – my colleagues may feel differently!) has been free from any major problems…so far. However, today I encountered a rather amusing – though potentially dangerous – issue.choc-wellies

I was sending an e-mail with a reference to “Wellington Boots” (don’t ask) which International English speakers often refer to as “wellies”.

Unfortunately it turns out that US English AutoCorrect automatically changes that widely used noun to “willies” which of course has a very different meaning. (ahem).

Luckily the recipient saw the bright side :-) .