Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for October 2008

Social networks for PR and media, online video, future of news, blog product reviews and web 2.0.. what’s that all about?

Rex Riepe was in touch about the launch of a new social network for PR people and journalists called IvyLee. From the site:

IvyLees seeks to revolutionize the way PR professionals and journalists interact. The site provides a tool-based social network at no cost, an exciting alternative to traditional media tools. Members can distribute and receive news from any industry at their own convenience by sending news releases, pitching story ideas, building media lists, creating association pages, and inviting other users to continue expanding their personal network. University of Central Florida alumni Rex Riepe and Greg Allard established the site in 2008.

It’ll be interesting to see if the poor downtrodden journalists wish to network with their PR colleagues 🙂

Douglas Simon of D S Simon Productions Inc was in also touch about a survey they’ve published on “Web Influencers”. You can view a video from Douglas on the survey here (registration required).

Is this the future of news? It’s an interesting post from Mr. Rubel.  It’s certainly interesting and I’m sure is something that the avid online media consumer will like, but the question is: Does this stuff all require too much work by the casual user/consumer? I don’t know, but I’d like to know.

Speaking of the future, is this the product review model of the future? FuelMyBlog is a a little confusing, it’s a kind of social media network for bloggers that also offers the opportunity for registered bloggers to review products. [Via Eoin Kennedy.]

Finally, a very interesting post about Web 2.0 written by Dennis Howlett posted on Chris Brogan’s blog via Peter Himler – if you can follow that. It’s a balanced piece calling for people to start demonstrating real, tangible and most importantly understandable benefits.

I believe the biggest barrier though has come in the use of terms and language that simply don’t resonate with business. In my social psychologist trained mind, the term ’social media,’ a cornerstone of web 2.0, is one of the most egregious abuses of a term I’ve seen since the early days of ERP. After three years of listening to definitions of the term I can guarantee that 99% of the press releases I see are exactly the same as those I would have received 5, 10 or even 20 years ago. They’re still dopey, riddled with double speak and wrung dry of useful content. So where’s the value in all this socmed stuff? Show me how customer service has radically improved as a result of applying web 2.0/social media services? Where are those most forward of technology adopters – banks – in all this? What about the main consulting groups that drive adoption inside big business? Heck, I’ve got them calling me up – so you know it’s got to be bad.

Written by Tom Murphy

October 22, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Posted in General

Anxiety, why you should sleep on it and how bad news travels…

I was in a great all-day meeting today…. it’s not often that I’d put those words in that order. But it was a great meeting (are you allowed by positive about anything anymore?).  During the day I heard a fantastic definition of anxiety, which I thought was apt given the current economic gloom:

 

“Anxiety is excitement, but without the breathing.”

 

Speaking of anxiety…

Todd Defren has a post from earlier in the week, that if I was being very kind, I’d excuse as being a knee jerk response to a bad business event.  In what I’d describe as a “race to the bottom” he’s rushed a post entitled: “Cut the PR agency, are you sure about that?”.

Sometimes it’s better to sleep on those posts.

Frank Shaw has an interesting response to Noam Cohen’s piece in the New York Times – on how misinformation travels quickly around the Interweb – with some good common sense guidance.

 

Well at least it’s the weekend 🙂

Written by Tom Murphy

October 17, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Posted in General

Late: Three inspirational communicators

Back in August, Simon Wakeman tagged me for a meme on my top three inspirational communicators. Due to the vagaries of the new WordPress dashboard (which is sadly appalling at tracking incoming links) I missed it.

So, months late, I’m cheating and here are my thr-our.

Randy Pausch – The late Randy Pausch‘s last lecture was one of the most inspiring pieces of video that I have ever watched.  His delivery, his passion, and his sheer bravery, not to mention an amazing message that applies to everyone, combined to create an inspirational, motivational and thought provoking hour that could and should change your perspective on the daily grind of living. For that alone he makes the list.

Michael Parkinson – While it might strike some as odd to choose a television interviewer as an inspirational communicator, I disagree.  Over a forty year period, Michael Parkinson provided an incredible insight into the personalities of “celebrities” (good and bad) with a manner and approach that made every interview fascinating viewing whether you were interested in the subject or not.  That is an incredible skill and the sign of a great communicator.

Steve & Steve – Small cheat here.

Steve Jobs – There’s no question that in his favourite environment with the black slides, the dark room and the Apple faithful, Steve Jobs is an outstanding and often inspirational communicator who matches well rehearsed timing with great delivery and a sense of theatre. He doesn’t make the list on his own, because sometimes for me it’s a little too controlled. So….

Steve Ballmer – On the other hand, Steve Ballmer doesn’t necessarily evoke the essence of cool, but he brings energy and passion to the stage. Passion is one of those intangible assets that I believe you can’t replicate but from a communications perspective, particularly to an audience, it’s gold dust. Of course Steve’s persona will be forever tied to “that developer video”, but he’s equally compelling talking to smaller groups and for his passion and his energy in communications he makes the list.

Ying and yang perhaps?

I’ll tag Stuart Bruce, Shel Holtz and Kevin Dugan.

Written by Tom Murphy

October 9, 2008 at 7:34 am

Posted in General

PR blog posts crash and Is my work here complete?…

I’m delighted to report that wading through my RSS reader this evening was a lot less stressful than usual. 

It appears that the combination of the US presidential election and the continuing global economic uncertainty have combined to reduce the volume of PR blog posts this week…

Or… maybe neither events have anything to do with it. Who knows? In fact who cares? Probably no one.

While the post volume is down overall, I have noticed that the self-promotion quota of the PR blogosphere is climbing steadily.

Now we all know that self praise is no praise. I’ll say no more on the subject. (I’m great by the way..)

Time to archive the blog?

Now gentle reader, after over six and a half years blogging inane drivel for my “micro-audience” – to use “marketing 2.0” segmentation terminology- I think my work on the blogosphere may be complete.

I have an incredible amount of respect for Steve Rubel.  He has done a fantastic job evangelizing how new media can, is and will impact Public Relations.  His hard work and dedication has had a real tangible effect on PR people’s knowledge of “Web 2.0.”.

But, Steve’s weakness – and I’m sure he would acknowledge it himself – is that sometimes he gets a little too close to the hyperbole machine. It’s not criminal but I sometimes think it dilutes the value of his message.

Well, Steve is interviewed on imediaconnection.com and I don’t know how to say this… but… I agree with his views in the article.

He’s preaching:

  • Evolution of PR and marketing not revolution
  • He’s talking about starting with understanding your audience
  • He’s even stated the press release isn’t dead (yet).

"I see press releases having an important role in a few areas," he says. "First of all, they communicate a message very quickly to the press, which is something that a blog or a feed really can’t do. And they reach a large number of people, particularly investors. Also, they can have a high impact on search engines, and I think that’s important to look at."

Ladies and gentlemen my work here is done.

I’m not sure there’s much point in continuing, it’ll all be an anticlimax from here 🙂

You will be relieved to know that there is one tiny little thing that I do feel compelled to comment on though.

What exactly does a “Director of Insights” do for a living?

Written by Tom Murphy

October 8, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Posted in General

PR blog posts crash and Is my work here complete?…

I’m delighted to report that wading through my RSS reader this evening was a lot less stressful than usual. 

It appears that the combination of the US presidential election and the continuing global economic uncertainty have combined to reduce the volume of PR blog posts this week…

Or… maybe neither events have anything to do with it. Who knows? In fact who cares? Probably no one.

While the post volume is down overall, I have noticed that the self-promotion quota of the PR blogosphere is climbing steadily.

Now we all know that self praise is no praise. I’ll say no more on the subject. (I’m great by the way..)

Time to archive the blog?

Now gentle reader, after over six and a half years blogging inane drivel for my “micro-audience” – to use “marketing 2.0” segmentation terminology- I think my work on the blogosphere may be complete.

I have an incredible amount of respect for Steve Rubel.  He has done a fantastic job evangelizing how new media can, is and will impact Public Relations.  His hard work and dedication has had a real tangible effect on PR people’s knowledge of “Web 2.0.”.

But, Steve’s weakness – and I’m sure he would acknowledge it himself – is that sometimes he gets a little too close to the hyperbole machine. It’s not criminal but I sometimes think it dilutes the value of his message.

Well, Steve is interviewed on imediaconnection.com and I don’t know how to say this… but… I agree with his views in the article.

He’s preaching:

  • Evolution of PR and marketing not revolution
  • He’s talking about starting with understanding your audience
  • He’s even stated the press release isn’t dead (yet).

"I see press releases having an important role in a few areas," he says. "First of all, they communicate a message very quickly to the press, which is something that a blog or a feed really can’t do. And they reach a large number of people, particularly investors. Also, they can have a high impact on search engines, and I think that’s important to look at."

Ladies and gentlemen my work here is done.

I’m not sure there’s much point in continuing, it’ll all be an anticlimax from here 🙂

You will be relieved to know that there is one tiny little thing that I do feel compelled to comment on though.

What exactly does a “Director of Insights” do for a living?

Written by Tom Murphy

October 8, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Posted in General

Treat technology as you would a friend…

I have to admit I enjoy it when the online discussion moves from the ethereal norm to something that reflects reality.

The issue of information overload and the use of technology, is something that impacts everyone today.

When we talk about “social media” and how “Web 2.0” will change PR, one of the key issues is how these things are impacting your audience (if at all).  People have limited time, and real lives. We can talk about the online revolution but if people don’t have the time or the energy then it’s a mute discussion.

I think it is very interesting – not to mention incredibly important – to understand how people are dealing with the volume and variety of information they’re dealing with every day.  (That’s why back in August I shared how I use Microsoft OneNote to manage my day – and would love to hear from others on how they are managing theirs… 🙂 )

Back at the beginning of September, Jeremy Pepper called on people to think long and hard about how they are using technology and to think about how more traditional tools may be even more productive for certain tasks. In fact, he called for people to discard “technology” and use the phone! You can see from the number of comments on the post that this is a subject that is exercising a lot of peoples’ imaginations.

While technology has its place in public relations, we have been over-relying on the tools for so long that the basics of public relations – the relationships and the connectivity with face-to-face meetings and the ability to do good phone – have been lost. It’s the few that can do it, and do it well.

Shel Holtz has responded to Jeremy’s post with a call for balance. In essence, use the right tool for the right job.  Sometimes the phone may be more effective, sometimes e-mail is best. Your job, and your challenge, is to choose the right tool for the right job.

But if each tool is used based on its strengths, then it becomes a matter of thoughtful integration of all the tools, not an artificial abandonment of a tool that has become a vital part of a PR practitioner’s communication mix.

I’m a passionate believer in balance. 

Having an insight into your audience – big or small – and therefore an understanding into what’s the most effective way of reaching and communicating with them  – is your challenge.

Written by Tom Murphy

October 3, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Posted in General

Creative uses of Social Media

Creativity is often the elixir for our online activities.  How often are you on the quest to make something “viral”?

Well of course it’s not just PR practitioners and marketers who seek online creativity.

Criminals are often very successful in the creative use of social media – and I’m not talking about phishers or spammers here.

How about this story about a robber in Monroe, Washington who used Craigslist to recruit loads of people to unwittingly act as decoys as he robbed a security truck…

But apparently, the robber had planned ahead. In case anyone was hot on his trail, he had at least a dozen unsuspecting decoys waiting nearby, which he recruited on Craigslist.

An armored car sits outside a Bank of America branch in Monroe, Wash. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008. Police say a man tried to rob the car, then jumped into a creek that led to the Skykomish River.

"I came across the ad that was for a prevailing wage job for $28.50 an hour," said Mike, who saw a Craigslist ad last week looking for workers for a road maintenance project in Monroe.

He said he inquired and was e-mailed back with instructions to meet near the Bank of America in Monroe at 11 a.m. Tuesday. He also was told to wear certain work clothing.

"Yellow vest, safety goggles, a respirator mask… and, if possible, a blue shirt," he said.

Some online marketing agency should snap him up….

Via Boing Boing

Written by Tom Murphy

October 2, 2008 at 11:10 am

Posted in General