A Few Social Media Hot Buttons

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of attending the monthly luncheon hosted by my friends and colleagues from the PRSA Chicago Chapter.  Those loyal followers of The PRDude know I’m a proud, full-fledged member of the chapter, and I even do my best to promote the Accreditation in Public Relations when I can.

Today, the packed audience gained some great insight into the always-changing subject of social media.  Three guys from public relations agencies with household names in the industry presented some great thoughts.  My apologies: I did not get the names of the speakers.

Without further rhetoric, here’s what I scribbled down.

  • Clients are becoming smarter in the social media world and demanding better metrics to measure results.  The challenge remains “how to connect the dots” or results from various platforms.  Makes sense to me, and let me add that measurement of defined objectives should be a factor in every public relations program.
  • B2B clients are accepting the value of social media and recognize the need to reach a small, targeted audience.  And, social media is projected to rise 60 percent in the B2B arena this year.  Since my “real job” (I don’t make any money off this, you know) requires I communicate with people in the commercial real estate world, this is good news.
  • The death of the “one-way” web site is a reality; communicators who are on the ball transition static sites into “blogging platforms.”   Yea!  As a blogger and manager of my organization’s web site, this is the best news to cross my desk — er, monitor — in a long time.  The speaker who made this proclamation went on to say, “Web site should no longer be full of happy corporate talk.  Have your peers  become your ‘brand evangelist.'”  Don’t agree entirely with this statement, and I think evangelists belong in church or on a street corner.
  • Facebook is the most important platform, even for B2B audiences, because that’s where the big dollars are being spent.  As long as money continues to make the world go round, I’ll have to agree.  But I have read that Facebook has reached a saturation point of subscribers here in the U.S., so it’s focusing on other parts of the world.  I do know people outside the U.S. have computers and friends.
  • The geographic platforms — Foursquare, etc. — are still struggling for a foothold in the online world.  Full disclosure: I registered for Foursquare and only checked in around two times.  Both were to the Small Bar, my local watering hole. I know some businesses offer discounts to those who check into their sites.  That won’t work at the Small Bar yet.  Besides, Parker usually slips me a free pint once in a while anyway.

The panel offered more insight about sites that will rise to uncharted heights — Empire Avenue and Get Glue were two that I jotted down.  But I’m not so sure I need to know about these sites just yet.

One observation: I’ve read that good old-fashioned email will someday go the way of the manual typewriter.  If that’s true, then why do all these cool new sites require you to register with your email address?


A Few Thoughts on the Weinergate Scandal

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Even by the often tawdry state of what often goes on behind the scenes in our nation’s capitol, this was a weird state of affairs.  A young, brash Congressman holds a news conference to announce that he lied over charges he earlier disputed regarding using the Internet to send suggestive personal photos and messages to women he did not know.

By now, you’ve read (I pray people still read newspapers) and viewed footage of yesterday’s news conference featuring Representative Anthony Weiner (D-New York).

The pundits continue to weigh in on Mr. Weiner’s fate — can he salvage his political career? will he be forced to resign? how will this impact the Democratic party, especially President Obama’s re-election chances in 2012? — so I’ll go down a different avenue.  Here’s what the PRDude thinks about the Weinergate Scandal.

  1. Bad “PR” for the Democrats.  Of course this development does not bode well for Mr. Weiner’s party. But from a textbook perspective, public relations — as least as how I define and practice it — did not figure into the equation.  “Public relations” could not have stopped Mr. Weiner from sending out those naughty tweets.
  2. From the “Who Are These People and Don’t They Have Jobs/Better Things to do Department.”  Just did a search on Facebook for “Anthony Weiner.”  Came up with around 80 sites, which range from sites that want the Congressman to resign to those that want him to run for President. And, of course, there are those that play games with his last name.  I’m afraid to check Twitter.
  3. Next in Line for a Reality Show. A Texas single mom, Meagan Broussard, is the woman at the forefront of the scandal.  She told ABC News that the Congressman initiated an exchange of sexually-charged messages, complete with color images, way back in April of this year.  Of course, she played along with the cyber sex game.   Reportedly, Ms. Broussard was studying to be a nurse. I predict she’ll be hosting a show on MTV with Snooki Polizzi sometime soon.   (Bet you didn’t know Snooki has her own web site! Rest assured: There’s lots of cleavage.)
  4. In Case You Forgot: There’s a War Going On.  This kind of story — full of sex, politics, sex, intrigue, sex and back-room dealings — makes for great headlines (these are found in newspapers and magazines, along with online content).  But  come on.  Some naughty personal dealings by a guy elected by the people of New York should not dominate the news when men and women are being killed in the war in Afghanistan — a war that more than likely will have no decisive end and is costing us billions.  Literally, $2 billion every week, according to the Huffington Post.

Finally, I predict Weinergate will fade away by week’s end, if not sooner.  This guy was a Congressman, albeit a feisty one, not the President.  By next week, we’ll be dicing up news that relates to Sarah Palin’s rewriting of history, or who got knocked off “Dancing with the Stars.”

Ah, what a great country we live in.