So what have I been up to?

imageGreetings.  Nearly four months since moving to the Pacific Northwest, and this blog has been very silent.  But with good reason, I’m pretty busy at work and pretty busy at home!

From a work perspective, one of my major current projects is our global student competition – the Imagine Cup.

image It’s a global student technology competition, which challenges students to use technology to solve many of the world’s toughest problems – namely the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.

This year over 300,000 students from every corner of the world registered to compete and after local and regional competitions, 400 students will be travelling to Cairo next week for the world finals which take place from July 3-7, 2009.

It’s an incredibly interesting PR program and with our opening ceremony taking place at the Citadel and the closing ceremony taking place at the Pyramids, it’s got to be one of the most stunning PR backdrops of the year :-)

We’re doing a lot of work with both traditional and social media and you can follow the competition online via:

Each year during the closing ceremony we announce the venue for the next year’s finals. To give you a flavor of what’s ahead in Cairo here’s the video from last year in Paris.

So if you’re in Cairo during the 3rd to the 7th of July give me a shout though I imagine I’ll be pretty busy…

Twitter Research: 10% of users account for 90% of Tweets…

Interesting blog post over on the Harvard Business Conversation Starter blog about the results of a piece of analysis on 300,000 Twitter users.

Of our sample (300,542 users, collected in May 2009), 80% are followed by or follow at least one user. By comparison, only 60 to 65% of other online social networks’ members had at least one friend (when these networks were at a similar level of development). This suggests that actual users (as opposed to the media at large) understand how Twitter works.

It seems men are more likely to follow other men and the 10% most prolific Twitter users account for 90% of the tweets.

Read more.

Better to keep your mouth closed…

Well I’ve been keeping rather busy lately (cars, houses, family) and my list of things to blog has been growing ever longer.  Thankfully (in some cases) others continue to be more productive in hitting the publish button.

A wise women* once told me that the great thing about opinions was that anyone could have one, and the downside of opinions was the same.

I’ve been blogging since 2002 and I would love to know how many blog posts since that time have had the words dying, dead, doomed or extinct in the headline. Quite a number I’d imagine.

The interesting thing is that no many how times these posts appear (and are proved false), they keep coming.

On my list of things to blog last week was a rebuttal to Fuat Kircaali’s mindless post on the extinction of Public Relations.

Of course these posts always focus on the press release which (un)fortunately highlights the author’s lack of domain knowledge – but doesn’t stop them offering their opinion anyway.

For the record, Public Relations is all about helping individuals and organizations to connect and communicate with their audience. The continued acceleration on online media, tools and channels, along with the (shock) continued existence of traditional media, means that PR will be around for a long time yet. Sorry about that – we do seem to be an inconvenience for a lot of people based on the number of posts forecasting our demise.

Luckily there are people who are far more productive than I in translating “oh I must write about that” to actually doing it, so I am delighted that Mr. Shel Holtz beat me to it in his post: Bold predictions or just plain hubris?:

The post is as preposterous as a lot of Kircaali’s other assertions. For example, he suggests that 70% of today’s PR agencies won’t survive the “fast approaching media avalanche” because 90% of today’s PR firms are still in business because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not allow companies to communicate material information on websites.

I’d pay real money to know where Kircaali gets his statistic. I could have sworn all those agencies were out there helping organizations build and maintain positive relationships with constituent publics. How silly of me.

Further, Kircaali says there are only three kinds of agencies. Those using Ulitzer every day as a channel for their clients’ news, those who are using Ulitzer to publish bylined articles and tapping into its syndication features (these are the agencies, of course, that will survive), and those who are “horrified by the idea that their clients may actually find out about (Ulitzer).” Those must be the doomed 70%.

Preposterous just about sums it up.

*Hello Mum