Social Media Beyond Borders

What it was:

Lecture on the international aspects of social media, organised by PRMoment.com at Ogilvy PR, Cabot Square. Date: 19 January 2011

What I learned:

Sites like SocialBakers.com can give simple stats on Facebook usage etc
We use different meanings of “friend” on different sites and in different contexts
Dunbar’s Number (approx 150) – a nominal estimate (perhaps not scientific) how of many friends you can sustain – perhaps has relevance to social networks.
Social Networks are interest-driven; social interaction must add value; narrower interests make tighter networks
Are social networks transnational? It depends who your friends are!
Facebook dominates, but different networks are popular in different countries.
PRs should seek to establish relationships with moderators/editors as you would with journalists.
The Chinese prefer to click not search.
Arguably Flickr is the most truly global social network.
China has  active “human flesh search engine” which sometimes tracks people down.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Consider the international dimension when designing social campaigns and when thinking about channel choices.

Reputation Management – options when all else fails

What it was:

Chartered Institute of Public Relations briefing, 21 October 2010

What I learned:

There are things that PRs can do when reputation is under attack
Tony Balir described the media as a “feral beast”
Some PR firms use intelligence gathering to protect clients/target critics.
The Press Complaints Commission can step in to help stop doorstepping very quickly.
PCC judges that information made available on social media profiles is fair game
Understand what libel law can do in such situations.
Stay calm! Remain emotionally detached.
Know your enemy – and consider contacting them.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Be aware of approaches that can be adopted in a reputational crisis.

Digital Participation and Engagement

What it was:

Talk on current Digital Participation and Engagement at Government Communications Network (GCN), 19 October 2010.

What I learned:

Government Departments should make their data more attractive if they want to help get their messages across.
Engage people in finding out for themselves. Show don’t tell. “Interactify” the data if possible.
Interactive data visualisations are not about ‘telling’ but about the ‘learning journey’ your visitors will follow.
Make it about them – for example “Your CO2 footprint”, “Your spending review” etc.
Capture your visitors’ data (how they moved the sliders, etc.) – it is valuable in its own right.
Agencies can be used generate bespoke visualisations.
Don’t lose the opportunity to get data out there and use it to tell your story – or someone else will mine it to tell a different story.
We can use visualisations in internal as well as external policy development.
Be clear what is success – useful end ideas / leads? Or simply the number of comments?

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Use visualisations and use data to tell the story more in future