Tuesday, November 25, 2008

social media=source material for reporters

With a hat tip to fellow bloggers at PR Newser, we see another survey showing that nearly half of journalists use social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to source their stories, and a much higher majority follow blogs in their topic areas. Specifically:
Among the 160 print, broadcast, and online journalists who responded, 48% use LinkedIn, and 45% use Facebook to assist in reporting. 68% use blogs to keep up on issues or topics of interest. 86% of all use company websites, 71% use Wikipedia, and 46% use blogs to research an individual organization.
If you're lagging behind in using social media as a communications tools, I'm hoping these data help you build a case for changing that approach. Check out our new media adapters series for more ideas on how to retool your approaches using social media options.

Monday, November 24, 2008

adapting to social media? think like google

Facebook friend and client Kavan Peterson shared this psychologist's take on how to succeed in tough and uncertain times as an example of what people need to do when adapting to "new" and social media: Think like Google. Psychologist Douglas LaBier, writing in the Washington Post, describes what that looks like:
If Google were a person, it would be the model of a psychologically healthy adult. Its corporate culture and management practices depend upon cooperation, collaboration, non-defensiveness, informality, a creative mind-set, flexibility and nimbleness, all aimed at competing aggressively for clear goals within a constantly changing environment.

A psychologically healthy adult embraces the notion that all of us are parts of an interdependent whole, like organs of the same body. He or she learns to become proactive, innovative and creative, and wants to keep growing and developing within a changing environment. She values positive connection and is flexible in situations of conflict.
Beyond being useful in your work and life, those are the same qualities you'll need if you're adapting to using social media for your communications. You can read about good examples other organizations are putting forward in our new media adapter series.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a parade of new online photo sources

This week, I learned about a parade's-worth of online photo resources you'll want to tap for your website or blog. First, Google announced it has uploaded an archive of 10 million photographs from the LIFE magazine archives, either produced or owned by the magazine; some were never published.

And share this with a graphic design colleague: From Idee labs, a tool that can search 10 million of the "most interesting" photographs on Flickr...by color. Click on the color spectrum map and choose up to 10 colors--or click one more than once to increase its prominence. All the photos have a Creative Commons license, and the search tool also works with a stock photography collection.

And speaking of licenses, the New York Times also offers this handy guide to using images that are in the public domain, to help you find eligible images and understand their copyright-free use. (Photo of the John F. Kennedy inaugural parade by Al Finn for LIFE)

flip gets a thumbs-up from Pogue

New York Times reviewer David Pogue reviews the Flip Mino HD camera--billed as the world's fastest, smallest, thinnest high-definition videocamera--and gives it a big thumbs-up, particularly for its improved images and sound recording:
It grabs really great-looking video. It’s not up to the quality of hi-def tape camcorders like the Canon HDV30. But especially when the light is good, the Mino’s video is incredibly crisp and the colors are true. Best of all, the Mino HD preserves its predecessor’s uncanny low-light abilities. The resulting scene actually looks brighter in the video than it does to your naked eye.

The audio is good, too, even when you’re interviewing somebody who is 10 feet away. Clearly, there’s a lot of engineering mojo going on in this little machine’s video and microphone circuitry.
I use Flip cameras in media and speaker training, to record audience questions when I speak, and to easily incorporate video into my websites. It's ideal for social networking media, because the contained software makes it simple to upload, email or share your results online. Check out the new HD version and post your comments below.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

when young markets change marketing

Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World looks at what's sometimes called the millennials generation -- young people aged 11 to 31 -- based on a $4 million research effort. Author Don Tapscott has an eight-part series in Business Week that focuses this week on how marketing needs to adapt to meet the very different views of this emerging market, whether you're selling soap, social change or services. Among the insights that set this "net generation" apart from those of us who precede it:

  • They spend little online (most lack credit cards) but do extensive online research before they buy;

  • They're better at "filtering, fast-forwarding, and/or blocking unsolicited advertising than previous generations were" and don't like over-the-top spin;

  • Even so, they influence a majority of family purchases, from cars to groceries to apparel; and

  • They're not "passive consumers of the broadcast model" and want to participate in branding so the items are customized for them.

To catch up with Tapscott, check out Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, the first book to delineate the habits, likes and dislikes of this important, emerging audience. Whether you expect them to join your membership organization, enroll at your university or buy products from your business, this is essential reading--particularly if you're considering adapting your traditional communications with new and social media options. (Thanks @guykawasaki for pointing us to this on Twitter)

new web watchdogs change local coverage

If you're in New Haven, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis or Chicago, a new breed of watchdog is driving local news: Web-based investigative teams with low-budget operations and high-profile visibility. A look at the phenomenon in today's New York Times notes that many are staffed by either young or veteran journalists, and they drive news so effectively that local press are forced to follow their leads in many cases. But unlike traditional news media, they operate on lower staffing and budgets, often supporting their efforts with donations and nonprofit incorporation rather than advertising. It's a hybrid that takes cues from public broadcasting as well as blogging--some "newsrooms" happen in coffee shops--but one that communications directors and media relations mavens need to keep in mind as the media landscape keeps shifting. How will you credential this new breed of watchdog?

Monday, November 17, 2008

new: smallest HD camcorder

I'm a big fan of the tiny Flip video cameras (you can see all my related posts here) and wanted to pass on the latest version: The Flip Mino HD camcorder is billed as the "world's smallest" HD camcorder and costs $229. Most video cameras today are sold as components of mobile phones, and it's significant that Flip's made its cameras just as convenient and lightweight. Check it out...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

and the flip video camera goes to...

Yesterday, don't get caught sponsored the annual Washington Women in Public Relations PR Woman of the Year Award luncheon, with the honor going this year to Marilyn Deane Mendell of Win Spin CIC. I'm a former winner of the award, so I got to relax and enjoy watching the activity around our raffle donation of a Flip video camera --the small but powerful camera that's taken over 13 percent of the videocam market, and includes a USB port plug and all the software you need to edit, email and upload videos to the web. Colleague Susan Matthews Apgood, co-founder and CEO of News Generation, had the lucky ticket. Congratulations to Marilyn and to Susan, and to the benficiaries of our raffle, WWPR's pro bono client, Doorways for Women and Families. Want your own Flip video camera? You'll find the best price right now on Amazon--just use the box below or click on the links in this post to find it.

should companies blog bad news? yes

Yesterday's New York Times looked at the growing trend of companies blogging instead of releasing--or publicly ignoring--bad news like employee layoffs, offering some cautionary tales of firms that did nothing and let other bloggers have the first say. While it focuses on Silicon Valley and Internet startups, the article notes:
Every industry has Web sites that cover its companies and eagerly publish rumors, from the Starbucks Gossip blog to DealBreaker for the financial industry and BlueOvalNews.com for Ford Motor. Web sites like Glassdoor.com and JobSchmob.com also encourage workers to vent about their bosses.

“Today, whatever you say inside of a company will end up on a blog,” said Rusty Rueff, a former human resources executive at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo. “So you have a choice as a company — you can either be proactive and take the offensive and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on,’ or you can let someone else write the story for you.”
Another advantage? "A blog post also comes across as more heartfelt than a press release with canned quotations." It's just another example of how you need to change your media relations strategy in a web 2.0 world--the subject of our forthcoming special report. Email us at info[at]dontgetcaught.biz for more information or help on adapting your strategy.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

more tools for online video searches

In just the month of July this year, viewers in the U.S. looked at 11 billion online video clips, with five billion of those views on YouTube. But what if you're searching for videos online? Most searches rely on metadata--tags or keywords added by the poster--to find videos for you. This week, the Wall Street Journal looked at video search sites that go beyond tags and keywords, using new ways to more thoroughly identify the videos users want to see.

The new search features are important because searchers don't look too far--a big issue if you're looking for lots of views when you post a video. The article notes:
Viewers are fickle, says Frank Sinton, Mefeedia's chief executive. "Only one percent of people go to page two" of the search results when looking for video, he says, so it's important to have the relevant results on that first page.
Here are some of the sites the article notes, and how they're searching differently:

  • VideoSurf searches the actual content, rather than the tags;
  • CastTV searches publishers' video posts--like CBS or Comedy Channel--and presents an index of links for easy searching;
  • Blinkx looks for videos posted virally on wikis or social networking sites and "has 350 media partnerships and indexed 26 million hours of online video," plus specific TV show searches. Similarly, Mefeedia also looks for viewer-rated video, and "has indexed 15 million videos from 15,000 sources."
  • OvGuide (short for Online Video Guide) uses its reviewers to index "high-quality" online videos; and
  • YouTube and parent Google are trying out speech-recognition technology so you can search the actual words said in a video.
Communicators can use these sites in at least two ways: To better search the Web for video relevant to their organizations or subject themes when managing reputation, and for broader searchability for videos they post. Check out the new sites and give us your feedback!