Friday, 30 March 2007


This post differs from all the others. It has nothing to do with PR, nor technology. But I feel the need to express my revulsion, about the bloody riots in the streets of Athens, earlier this night, between the fans of Panathinaikos and Olympiakos, the 2 most popular sports clubs in Greece. The clashes, that took place before a women’s' volleyball (!!!!!) game between the two clubs, ended up with several stabbed fans in the hospital, while a 25-year-old guy, was killed.

This is one more act of violence between the fans of the two clubs, which is the continuation of the vendetta that exists between them for many decades. One more act of violence for Greek sports. But this time, there is a dead person. And maybe it' s time for the heads of this country, to take seriously this problem, and act proactively, rather than reactively, because, at least for today, their reaction is too late.

It seems an oxymoron that in the birthplace of the Olympic Games and of the spirit of noble emulation the sports divide the people and creates hate. To be continued? Let’s hope not…

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Social Media and PR practitioners

Social media seem to have taken the world by storm. They experience an impressive growth, and you can never be sure about the extent you know about them, as everyday something new appears and grows in popularity very fast. There is a great debate about the use of Social Media in Public Relations, as to whether they can really add something new to the profession, or it is just a trend that will eventually fade away.

The results of Euroblog2007, a study that was conducted among PR practitioners from all over Europe dealing with the extent to which social media have been incorporated into the daily PR practices, reveal that there is a great turn towards them, comparing to the 2006 results.

More specifically, PR practitioners find the new media innovative, and the majority of them are of the opinion
in a few years time they will be as integrated in the communication process as the web sites are in our days. Additionally, the evidence shows a great increase in the involvement of the practitioners with blogs, either running one, or commenting on others, on a regular basis.

The greatest advantages that the practitioners believe that weblogs offer are, the scanning of the environment, the fast reaction time to issues and the opportunity for direct feedback. There is also some interesting evidence about the reasons that limit a company's adoption of the new techniques offered by new media.

The most important reason seems to be the lack of skilled personnel, highlighting once again the need for PR practitioners to keep updated about the new advances of technology, as well as the need for the companies to devote time and resources to train their employees.

The fact that the most important challenge for Public Relations and communications management for the coming years are perceived to be new channels that technology provides, illustrates the emphasis that practitioners lay on them.

There seems to be no doubt that we live in the era of social media, and the practitioners, having realised the need to meet the requirements of that new era, involve themselves with the new advents of technology. The challenge that this era brings to them and to the companies, is how these channels will be incorporated as smoothly as possible to current practices, so as to be as efficient as possible.

Monday, 19 March 2007

New GoogleTrend!!

As I was "googling" today, I discovered a new trend of Google, that I weren't aware of, and which I find interesting. Google Trends gives you the chance to compare, for example 2 brands, companies, politicians, football clubs etc, to find out which one has been more searched in Google by the public. Google also displays ten cities, where the most searches come from. I found that really interesting, as it can be also used by PR practitioners, to find out how much "demand" there is for their client, comparing, also, to other competitors. Due to the fact that this technology is new, and in an early stage of development, the results sometimes may be not that representative, as it seems that the comparison heavily relies on which term is first. However, as this technology will be further improved, Google seems to promise a new tool for media measurement!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

The harsh reality of the World Wide Web

I have recently read two posts, that made me speculating about the traces we leave behind, every time we post something to a blog, every time we comment on something or every time we share, for example, our pictures, with someone else online.

And if the good news is that by being "alive" for ever in the world of wide web, maybe our vanity is satisfied, (at least mine:-)), there are other, more important things that should be taken into consideration, when it comes to Public Relations.

As it is mentioned in online-pr , when a PR company has to support someone, that was busted for something in the past, how is the PR practitioner supposed to handle with that? Since the online databases, provide details and information for even a petty offence, and are available to everyone, in every corner of the planet, it is doubtful if a PR practitioner will be able to protect their client, and keep their past secret. So, how do Public Relations face the new reality? How will the practitioners support clients, whose past is not that innocent?

Another aspect of the harsh digital reality, is the traces that the PR companies leave behind, and that these traces can prove to be bad PR for themselves. As prblogger also points out, what PR consultancies do in our days, will be available many years later, so the extent to which they pay attention to their actions, will determine their future reputation. Since search engines and online databases, will for many years be the bugbears of notoriety, the actions of today should rely on honesty and openness.

To conclude, it seems that there is no degital forgiveness. Every single action is recorded, and it will not be easily deleted. And this is a new challenge for PR practitioners, in their attempt to build the image both theirs and their clients'.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Young children are the new target of mobile marketing

Having done a presentation, last week, for the mobiles and the ways they are used by the brands, in order to reach their publics, I know that companies can go too far in order to achieve their goals. But targeting young children sounds at least exasperating.

A ten-year-old girl from Australia, signed-up for a ringtone service, which was advertised in a website very popular among children. Once the girl signed-up, she started receiving advertising text messages, which, in retrospect, proved to charge her, $5 each.

When the parents of the girl realised what was going on, tried to contact Deda, the Italian company that provided this service, and which promotes itself through Internet. When they called the company, they reached, with surprise, a recorded message that was saying that the potential customers should be at least 6 years old!!! Even though the mobile company compensated the girl, and said that the recorded message of their "partner" was just a mistake, and therefore has changed, the girl's mother called again, to reach exactly the same message...

So are the kids the next target of mobile marketing? When a brand chooses the vehicles through which to promote itself, it has in mind that with the certain means, a certain public will be reached. Having an advertisement in a website popular among children it's obvious that the target is them. But how ethical is that?

Till now, we were surprised or/and irritated by the methods used to reach us through such a personal device, as the cell-phone is. But trying to reach and deceive young children is at least unethical. The recorded message illustrates to what extent the competition and the desire to gain grounds against the rivals have reached. If we can't protect ourselves against that mobile "hurricane", how possible is to protect kids? What remains to see is if the companies will realise their social responsibility towards consumers, and avoid or even punish such tactics.

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Sunday, 11 March 2007

In the interests of Communications...

Mobile phones are broadly used the recent years by a wide range of companies in order to reach their publics. It is a vehicle that offers interactivity, it is cost-effective, accessible 24/7 and nowadays due to the advance of the technology provides great opportunities to have an appeal to its users.

As the phone companies have realised the need of the brands to be promoted through that vehicle, and the desire of the people to interact more using their mobile phones, they have already started providing TV services, to the cell phones' owners. This is not news.

The news is that in USA, cable operators feeling the need to remain competitive, have just started providing cell phone services. Bundling three services in one package, High-speed Internet, digital TV and telephone, is the response of four cable companies in the implacable battle for the consumer's communication business. Such packages are convenient, as all the communication costs are paid on one bill and the consumers enjoy more privileges.

What both cable operators and phone companies have now in hand, is to offer remote DVR programming, in other words, the possibility for the consumers to record TV shows on home TVs using their cell-phones.

It is obvious that both sides are determined to gain the consumers' preference, and they come up with new developments to beat each other. The question is: do the consumers really need, or want such services and features ? Or the rivals just want to impress in their attempt to have an appeal to them, without taking into account their real needs? Let's see what the future holds for the world of communications....

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Saturday, 10 March 2007

You can't kill a fly with a laptop....

As a student who aspires to become a Public Relations' practitioner, but in the same time as a new resident in the blogosphere, I've started wondering how that job will look like some years later.

The blogosphere counts more that 60 million blogs, new technologies conquer all and everything seems to be "online". In the previous semester of the course I' am having this year(MSc in Public Relations), I was taught how to write Press Releases and feature articles. But now I'm having a module about PR and Technology, I started wondering how will the companies do Media Relations from now on. Will I ever need to write a Press Release? Will I ever choose to write a press release?

Living in the era of technology, it is widely believed that computers and World Wide web will be soon the only means by which business world, governments and organisations will communicate their messages. They provide immediacy, ease and interactivity. A vast number of people, all over the world, can be reached with various ways, within seconds, which some years ago seemed impossible.

So, will the advance of the technology mark the extinction of the traditional methods used by the professionals of the field? It seems to me that, although technology is part of our life and our daily routine, the already established and proven methods will not be wholly replaced. My point of view is that companies are still experimenting and trying to find the best way to approach the new technologies. The opportunities that they offer are obviously great, in terms of connecting companies to the customers and establishing relations with them, but that doesn't mean that practitioners will reject the existing strategies.

I believe that, as in the World Wide Web there is space for everyone, in Public Relations' field there is space for many methods to be used. The coexistence of technology, with the wide range of opportunities that offers, with the old, well-tried methods, seems to me that is the most possible scenario for the years that follow.

I feel that, just like kids are excited every time they are given a new toy, but after a while they return to their old, plain train, practitioners, after experimenting for a while with the new technologies, they will soon go back to the old vehicles they used to reach their publics. Blogs will not replace press releases as computers will not replace magazines and newspapers. And not only because (as I read recently somewhere) "You can't kill a fly with a laptop"....

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Court ordered company to pay damages for a spam e-mail!

Gordon Dick, a Web Marketing specialist from Edinburgh, sued Transcom Internet Services Ltd, for having sent him a spam message, one year ago. Initially, Dick sent an e-mail to the company asking them to erase any personal data that were holding of him, or he would take legal action. Few days later, Transcom replied that the message had been sent to 41,000(!!!) recipients, (who later proved to be 72,000!!!) and they had received only 2 complaints and that the e-mail addresses were legally collected(from an Internet forum, but without Dick's-and probably no body's consent). They also challenged him to take legal action. After a year of many hearings in the Court and many delays, and having been proved that Dick's email address was illegally collected, the court rejected Transcom argument that the e-mail didn't hurt Dick financially and so the damages were unwarranted and ordered the company, last week, to pay $1,445 in damages and $1,190 in court costs. Dick said, that people nowadays do not know how to recognise spam messages and they take no action in order to protect themselves and supported his actions by asking "If someone was throwing stones through your window, would you just ignore it?". This is a radical decree nowadays that email has become such a common means for companies to communicate with a vast number of people in order to promote their products and services. Now companies should be really careful not to break Data Protection Act when choosing that tool to reach their publics, as it is estimated that if all the recipients of the certain massage had taken legal action, Transcom would have to pay million of pounds. It remains to see if that decree will have any impact, though it seems doubtful that there will be any significant decrease in the number of spams sent everyday, which for 2006 were estimated to be 62 billion!!!!

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