Aristotle on Twitter, Mom Knows Best, and Other Lessons from SXSWi 2009

March 23, 2009
Is Aristotle on Twitter

If Aristotle were on Twitter, he'd be a big retweeter.

Getting attention in a cluttered content universe was just one hot topic at South by Southwest Interactive this year, and the question, “Do you give good URL?” aimed to address the point in a delightful panel of  University of Texas at Austin academics.

Maybe my background as an American Studies graduate from UT predisposed me to this panel, but I found it was one of my favorites in the five-day new media conference of more than 6,000 attendees.

The discussion, “Is Aristotle on Twitter?” revisited the great philosopher and addressed the struggle many of us face online–deciphering style from substance. Giving good URL–that is, supplying readers with useful, relevant content via helpful links–indicates BOTH, say the academics.

Generous, appropriate Link Love not only shows your style, but reflects your judgement.  You wouldn’t knowingly pass along something you didn’t find valuable–would you?

While last year Twitter was oft discussed in the context of the horrendous Sarah Lacy/Mark Zuckerberg interview, in 2009 Twitter tips were ubiquitous, as attendees filled conference halls, laptops opened, Tweetdeck loaded.    Example: Retweeting may be the sincerest form of flattery and is strongly encouraged, say the academics.   “Retweeting creates judgement, while tweeting creates familiarity.” 

Other great takeaways:

1. Every cell phone is a media outlet.
2. Retweeting makes readers see through you; tweeting makes readers see you. Both are important.
3. Social media will provide the data helping determine the five things you SHOULD be doing rather than the 50 things you COULD be doing.
4. “Being better is its own word-of-mouth,” Kathy Sierra.
5. Distinguish the urgent from the important, as in don’t respond to “urgent” emails at the expense of those that are important.
6.  The humble “telephone is one of the best branding tools out there, despite being low-tech,” Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappo’s.
7.  The organization chart of the future will have customers at the top, CEOs at the bottom.
8.  When it comes to social media, it’s just as important to be interested as it is to be interesting.
9.  When hiring, chemistry is MORE IMPORTANT than skills.
10.  When you find yourself in the echo chamber, call your mom for a reality check on ideas. Mom frequently DOES know best.

As a mom, I concur.


Business Wire’s Monika Maeckle in Communicate Magazine

February 27, 2009

Communicate, a UK publication for corporate communications professionals, has a new article on listening to the social media world and managing your reputation.  The article includes comments from our own Monika Maeckle, VP, Media Services and Product Strategy, and the voice of Business Wire’s Twitter feed.  Lots of great info there for communicators new to social media who are looking for tips — go read!


Calling All Reporters: How do you use new media tools?

September 5, 2008
Middleberg Communications and the Society for New Communications Research have teamed up to try and answer that always vexing question: what do reporters want?

In the way of new media tools, that is.

 The First Annual Middleberg/SNCR Global Survey of Media in the Wired World is a reincarnation of the highly regarded Middleberg-Ross Survey, which PR veteran Don Middleberg previously conducted with Steven Ross, formerly with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  The survey has always been a valued resource for PR pros, chronicling journalists embrace–or not–of the Internet.

The new study will include an updated online survey as well as detailed case studies based on interviews with journalists from around the world. The research team will examine the effects of new media, social media, and citizen journalism on journalists and journalism.

Journalists and editors of all shapes and stripes are encouraged to take this survey , which should only help professional communicators reach them in the fashion they most prefer.  The survey takes 10 minutes.

Participants will receive a free copy of the executive summary of the survey results and a special discount to attend the 2008 Society for New Communications Research Symposium, which will be held on Friday, November 14, 2008 at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, Mass., where the initial findings will be shared.


Web 2.0 Acronyms Gone Wild: Some Will Stick, More Will Fade

July 14, 2008

JUST as we’re mastering an explanation of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and its importance to press releases for our clients, an email is forwarded, touting the virtues of DAO, digital asset optimization, as one of the niftiest twists in the Web 2.0 evolution.

In breathless text and two–count ‘em!–videos, DAO is championed as the key strategy for achieving “effective visibility across multiple platforms” for press release videos, graphics and otherAcronyms Gone Wild digital assets.

So does DAO make SEO seem DOA?  Just ask your BW AE for the DL on EON and SNR and find out ASAP!

If you’re getting indigestion from this overdose of alphabet soup, you’re not alone.  Even those of us who make a living trying to keep up are getting nauseous.   Seems like at least once a month, Web 2.0 pontificators invent a new acronym to hang their hats on.    Uh…didn’t we just go through this with the SMPR?

Just this week, a blog post at Video Insider introduced a grand new acronym for our collection:  the iGRP,  Internet Gross Rating Point.   Blogger Todd Sacerdoti introduces a new method of measuring online video viewership. 

Will iGRP catch on?   How about DAO?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, confusion reigns as we sift through the jargon.

Staking out a new acronym doesn’t automatically imbue its letters with meaning.  Well, maybe if you’re Steven Colbert.   Colbert, star of the Colbert Report, shown most weeknights on Comedy Central, champions truthiness, the modern notion that just because you say or believe something, that makes it true.

The rest of us have to let our acronyms play out.    Sometimes they stick and assume real meaning.   More often, they fade into the rear view mirror.

Business Wire has been doing digital asset optimization since 1998 when we introduced our Smart News Release (we even earned an acronym:  SNR).   To see how we optimize digital assets, check out our news with multimedia.  And for a free education in text optimization, watch our archived webcasts on how to be an SEO hero.


The Knot Makes Case for Hybrid Media At Business Wire Event

June 26, 2008

More than 150 professional communicators gathered at the 3 West Club in Manhattan earlier this week for Business Wire’s panel discussion, “A Social Media Conversation: How PR, IR & Marketing Professionals Can Engage and Participate in the Social Web.”

Peter Himler, President of Publicity Club of New York and founder of Flatiron Communications moderated the panel which included Melissa Bauer, Senior PR Manager of The Knot, Ryan Block, Editor-in-Chief, Engadget, Josh Cohen, Senior Business Product Manager for Google News, Peter Hershberg, Managing Partner, Reprise Media, Rob Key, CEO & Founder, Converseon, and Jim Nail, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, TNS/Cymfony.  PRNewswer did a nice recap and you can also listen to the webcast.

The Knot\'s Interactive Press Releases Deliver Hits and Views

The Knot’s case study in utilizing many of the new tools and strategies discussed seemed to strike a chord with attendees. Bauer’s slidedeck demonstrated in detail how the company uses ALL types of media–from Facebook, video-on-demand and interactive press releases to traditional media pitches and hard copy national and local magazines.

Let’s hear it for hybrid media.


From IROs to Engineers: Grappling with the Groundswell

June 17, 2008

The Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh BernoffLast week I spoke at two panels in California. The topic: new media. At the National Investor Relations Institute Conference in San Diego, my friend Rob Williams at Dell assembled a robust panel on blogging for investor relations officers (IROs).   At the Design Automation Conference two days later in Anaheim, Scott Sandler of Springsoft organized a session for engineers on navigating new media. A 90-minute train ride separated these two disparate audiences, but what struck me besides the glorious California coastline was how both groups are grappling with the Groundswell.

The Groundswell, written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research, is the best book to date written on social media. Rich in case studies, data, and readable prose, the authors decipher the social web’s tools, technologies and tactics in terms that nongeeks can understand. Read this book!

Its most relevant thesis for professional communicators is that people are looking TO EACH OTHER for news and information, rather than to traditional institutions like corporations. While this is no surprise, what distinguishes Li and Bernoff’s work from others is how it convincingly presents Web 2.0 as an opportunity, not a threat.

Is it alot of extra work to understand the Groundswell? You bet. One of the best quotes of the DAC panel was a frustrated marketing exec who groused: “Great, so we’re all publishers…now we have to do that, too!” This marketer longed for the days when a print ad in an engineering trade publication accomplished the task of getting a software firm’s message out.

Is the Groundswell scary?  As Li and Bernoff point out, “It isn’t comfortable at first.”   For IROs and others trained to control the flow of their company’s information to Wall Street and elsewhere, giving up control to gain influence is counter cultural.  And yet the IROs who attended our panel were open to the change.

Many would argue control has always been a delusion–all the more reason to invest in understanding.


Business Wire’s Free Webinars Offer How-To Tips for Press Releases

May 22, 2008

Seems folks just can’t get enough of Business Wire’s monthly webinars. As the social media vanguard embraces Twitter and pushes blogging into the mainstream, I remind myself and new media colleagues that a multitude of the clueless STILL seek basic understanding of the “new rules” for press releases.

Our clients and other issuers of press releases are busy people, with intense competition for their time and attention. Press releases are a small-but-important part of their universe. It’s no wonder, then, that a large percentage of corporate communicators need remedial help in understanding the new tools, technologies and best practices for today’s press release.Be an SEO Hero at one of Business Wire\'s June webinars

As always, we’re here to help. We don’t pretend to be objective since press releases are the very core of our business. We do, however, promise enlightenment and free learning during our weekly webinar sessions, which cover everything from how to optimize your press release for search to a step-by-step lesson on how-to Digg your press releases–and if you even should.

This FREE education is easy-to-access and awaiting your registration. Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, June 4: Your text needs a partner: Using Multimedia to Drive Press Release Results

Tuesday, June 10: Be an SEO Hero–Optimize Your Press Release for Search

Wednesday, June 18: EON: Enhanced Online News

Friday, June 27, Lost in MySpace?

We hope you’ll join us.


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