The Content Creators will Rule the World

By Social Media, Uncategorized

Not long ago I read Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart a weird but worthwhile futuristic book that made me laugh and grimace all at once.

In it, the content creators are “so Media” which is a compliment as they are the most popular, successful people in the culture of the future. What are they doing to become so sought after? Streaming content constantly; the trashier, the more outrageous, the better. The rest of the population is so addicted to absorbing information that it’s practically all they do, constantly staring at their “äppäräts” — the next-generation smartphone in Shteyngart’s world. (If there was a prize for BEST USE OF AN UMLAUT IN LITERATURE this would be it.)

Is this where we’re headed?

In a way, I think yes.

As a society we’re constantly increasing the amount of time, the methods and the places we’re absorbing content. Take a look at this information from Nielsen:



We’re spending MILLIONS of hours a month absorbing content from blogs and social networks. We know, statistically, that a website with a blog gets 55% more traffic. There is an exponentially, rapidly increasing value in having employees who create content on behalf of your company.

Are your employees ready for this? Have you built this responsibility into employees’ responsibilities, schedules and performance ratings?

If there’s not a plan for developing this content within your company, are you able to outsource it? How?

Ethics and PR: When your client’s values are not your own

By Uncategorized

The question of ethics and PR was raised on Twitter, in response to this article about Alex Bogusky leaving the advertising business. My friend John asked:


It is a tough call. It almost always means walking away from money. Sometimes it means quitting or being fired from a job.

Unfortunately, when you work in public relations, these issues do arise; it comes with the territory, particularly if you are in the business of reputation management and practice crisis communication and issues management, as we do at my employer, Standing Partnership. However, there is a difference between representing the client with a bad reputation, rising to the challenge of ferreting out and sharing the stories of the good they do or how, when things go horribly awry, what they’re doing to make it right.

I have faced the mismatched values situation more than once. I have left jobs (not immediately, but can point to events that occurred that marked the day I started to look for a new job). I have also recommended clients be fired or made the decision to let a client go based on a lack of values alignment. These issues can present themselves in a variety of ways.

  • Lack of openness. I worked with a client once that would NOT own up to activities we knew were happening. There were lies of omission and then, when directly questioned, flat out lies. That was a situation where I had to recommend that we fire the client and the firm agreed (and were glad we did once certain facts came to light).
  • Lack of financial respect. This is one ethical area that people don’t always discuss but I have a real issue with clients who don’t respect us or our work enough to pay on time. Chronic delayed payers disrespect our team by making it difficult for us to manage our finances. Also, on the corporate side, I was the contact for a number of vendors who weren’t getting paid on time, or at all. It was not just awkward, it was awful, and led to my lack of respect for the way the business was being run.
  • Breaking the law. In the early days of e-mail marketing, blasting an e-mail list with content was pretty commonplace. When the CAN-SPAM act was passed, marketers were very careful about opt-in regulations. Unfortunately, I had a boss who just didn’t respect that law and when I objected to blasting a borrowed list, was told to “just do it.” It took awhile to find something new, but I started looking right away.
  • Family comes first. I wrote about a situation I had that caused me for a few moments to skew my own value system, racing to work when I should have been caring for a sick child. When it was evident that my company’s values when it came to my role as a parent were out of whack, I knew it was time to move on to another work environment. (P.S. I was interviewed by Parents magazine on this topic for an article that will appear in the September issue.)
  • Moral, religious or personal objection. Sometimes, what a client does to earn revenue just rubs you the wrong way. Sometimes it’s against your personal moral code or (rarely, I suspect) your religion. I’m lucky that I work for a firm where if we have a client I’d rather not represent (I’m not a huge gambling fan, so it’s possible if we had casino work that I would opt out, for example) then that is A-OK with the firm. In fact, they’d rather have the client’s team be comprised of members who can really get behind what it is they’re selling. This may not be true at every firm; and if most of the firm’s work becomes work you object to, it’s time to move on.

Have your ethics and values been called into action on the job? How have you handled it?

Top Five Reasons to Get Help with Social Media

By Social Media, Uncategorized
Photo Credit: Todd Wickersty

Photo Credit: Todd Wickersty

Are you or your organization floundering about, trying to get a handle on your online presence? Here are five reasons why you need help:

  1. You have a Twitter account and a Facebook page for your business, but you aren’t really doing anything with it or worse, don’t know what you’re doing with them. In fact, you are only there because your sister-in-law’s cousin (or the equivalent) said you should be.
  2. You don’t have any idea what the social media rules of engagement are, much less how to find or follow them.  Don’t let a social media faux pas ruin your organization’s reputation.
  3. You recognize the need to be active in social media, but you haven’t allocated the time, prioritized the effort or authorized your team to dive in.
  4. You believe in getting a return on your investment.
  5. You really want to serve your customers better.

For more on social media ROI, Erik Qualman’s excellent video (read the book!), Socialnomics:

We’re Not Really Friends: Six Ways to Balance the Personal and Professional on the Social Web

By Social Media, Uncategorized

I hate to tell you this, but we’re not really friends.

OK, we might be friends, some of us. And I would hope that those of you who are actual friends know who you are.  But simply because we’re connected on a social network, or because you follow me on Twitter does not mean that you are allowed into all that I consider private in my life.

This has been a challenge for bloggers from day one, and while there’s a lot of content that I share as a person with a big online footprint, there’s a lot of stuff you don’t get to know. For everyone, there must be some content considered personal and therefore private. Define for yourself where that line is and draw it in permanent Sharpie.

My friend Waldo (and yes, we’re actual real life friends) manages his network like this: his Twitter feed is protected and plays host to a conversation he has with a select group of people (mostly programmers); his Facebook friends are actual friends — don’t try to friend him if you aren’t actually friends — you will be disappointed. As Waldo said recently, “I’m not a collectible.” (Although personally I think I’d like to have a Waldo bobblehead in my collection, but that’s a different matter altogether.)

The point is this: the decision to separate your personal and professional lives is a PERSONAL one but you must make it.

Here’s how I manage the professional vs. the private in my online profile:

  1. I don’t accept LinkedIn connections to people I have not met and have no reference or context to place them in my social network.
  2. I only follow people who have interesting content to share on Twitter. I unfollow if your content bothers me in some way, or if you have too little to say. I use a tool called UnTweeps to efficiently cull through the dead weight in my Twitter account from time to time.
  3. I don’t post anything I don’t want you to know. That seems simple enough, but if it’s none of your business, I have no business posting it online.
  4. I do post personal content in my professional space occasionally. I am me, across all platforms, so the people with whom I do business know that I like to bake pie; likewise my friends know what it is I do for a living.
  5. In Facebook, I am a creator and user of lists — if we don’t really know one another well, if we’re acquaintances or we used to know one another long ago, you’re in a list that has limited access to my content. I have a very short list of people (I’ve named it “homies” for the way that sounds when I am speaking to a crowd on this topic) of super close friends and family. I will use this list to communicate the insider information about our family and life. Generally though, that information will be delivered in person or on the phone.
  6. If you get stalker-ish and take advantage of an assumed relationship, if you make demands or get snarky and we’ve never even met or had a live conversation, you may be blocked from my content. Life is too short and bullies were cut out of my life as long ago as third grade. Move along and find someone to connect to that is interested in maintaining a relationship with you.

What about you? Are there unique ways you have found to keep the two halves of your life separate?