Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Although the recent Facebook privacy issues generated quite a buzz, the growth of social media and popularity of GPS gadgets are pushing the boundaries of our privacy. I was initially very skeptical about Foursquare, but it apparently has 1.6 million members now, who voluntarily post their whereabouts. Given that so many of us now have cell phones with built-in GPS, it is difficult for marketers and advertisers to ignore these new opportunities.
Obviously, there is a fine line between leveraging location-based data and invading privacy - even though marketers insist they still need your permission to access personal information. The growing popularity of social media and smartphone applications that ask for your location does not seem to have raised much concern for the average user of social media. In fact, despite recent privacy issues, Facebook has only lost around 30,000 users
According to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, companies do not always disclose what they do with consumers' personal data once they have access to it, and the majority of location-based applications lack privacy policies. As more consumers are willing to share their personal information down to their whereabouts, it creates serious issues and questions. As consumers become transparent in today's "privacy-less" world, marketers also need to become transparent when it comes to collecting and using such information. Thankfully, the VC investment in privacy-related start-ups has increased, which makes me optimistic about confidentiality boundaries in the future. In the meantime, I am seriously considering joining Foresquare.
I am thrilled to see Gourmet in its new incarnation. At first glance at their video it looks like it will combine some social tools to make it very accessible. I am in your corner Gourmet and can't wait to see what it brings!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
TechCrunch has noted that Forbes will be soliciting articles from "1000s of unpaid contributors" in a move similar to those I mentioned above. This would make the Forbes editors "curators of talent."
While content creation has become commoditized to a large extent, there is still a place for great journalism. The media are pressured more so than ever to get news stories out as quickly as possible, 24x7. Yet, we still find reporters who are fair and honest, even when they are writing stories that we, as PR people, might rather not see. I will take a negative story as long as it is true and fair.
I believe that there is a place for mass-produced content to coexist with good reporting. Consumers more than ever are scouring the Web for information about things ranging from the news about the BP oil spill, to how to grow the perfect rose garden. We don't need the same standards for both of these articles.
However, we do need the accountability and dedication to seeking the truth that we find in serious reporting, which still accounts for a huge chunk of the information consumers find online. We need to be able to trust our news sources. I join Meg in her recent post about her willingness to pay for the NY Times content. Sign me up!
I'm not saying anything new here, but this is a great example of a compelling way to reach targeted, and engaged audiences through new approaches to advertising and marketing.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Many reporters have gone on the record as saying they won't honor an embargo. And I get it. I understand how frustrating it can be for a reporter to "lose" a story to another outlet that breaks that embargo before them. But the embargo is an incredibly important tool -- and not just for PR people to control the news cycle. Offering reporters news under embargo gives them an opportunity to properly research the story and interview the key people behind the story. It gives them time to validate the story and form their own perspective. Embargoes make journalism better. News breaks and spreads so quickly these days that often stories are published without any due diligence at all. It is a competition to see who can "publish" first instead of who does it best.
So what can we do? Most importantly I think we need to show utmost respect for the reporters who keep their word and hold to embargoes and continue to offer them news in advance. However, reporters who break embargoes should be held accountable and not be given news under embargo and forced to be a late comer the next time a major piece of news comes out from that same company. It is not so much about "punishing" that reporter, but rather showing respect for the journalists who stand by their word. And perhaps most importantly, it's about helping to preserve the embargo in order to enable thoughtful, well-conceived journalism.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Anyway, Google listened and the old white, minimalist Google homepage to which we have all grown accustom is back. But the PR lesson remains: Copying your would-be competitors makes you look nervous and desperate -- and, worst of all, foolish.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Last night I was with some friends who were bemoaning the fact the NY Times is going to start charging for content. It starts with the NY Times and then before we know it all kinds of media outlets will be asking us to pay to read their stories, they argued. My friends complained that this move is taking us back in time. This is the age of the Internet after all... information should be free!
I could not disagree more.
Personally I will pay for my NYTimes.com subscription with pleasure. I believe the move by the NYT to charge readers is critical step in the right direction for journalism. Good journalism comes at a price. Quality stories by thoughtful, experienced reporters cannot be generated for free. As someone who spends much of her day talking to the media, I see first hand how reporters are spread far too thin. They are covering so many beats, so many different subjects, it is simply not possible for the coverage they generate to include the rich research and expertise required for consistent, high quality reporting. What’s worse, we are seeing some of the best journalists out there being laid off because of the high salaries they have earned after years of dedication and success in their field. Sadly, many of those reporters are leaving journalism to pursue new fields.
The question is: Do we want the field of journalism to be dominated by reporters who are spread too thin? Do we want even our nation’s highest regarded publications written almost entirely by entry-level writers who fit the budget but will seek to move to a more lucrative field as they mature in their career?
The flow of information is the lifeblood of our society. I, for one, would like that information to be thoughtful, well researched and delivered by a journalist who is well paid for her experience and expertise. So the NYT can count on me to be their first full paid subscriber.