Saturday, 28 April 2007


It was only yesterday, that thanks to John's presentation I was familiarised with Second Life. And I have to admit that I was speechless watching Derek (our professor) flying in a virtual place, in a white skirt (that he couldn't get rid of), jeans and a purple T-shirt (using An's account though:-)).

It is incredible to what degree technology has developed, and what people can do in their “second life”. I will not enlarge upon this issue though, but I only want to point out its role in Public Relations.

So, from a PR perspective Second Life seems to be an ideal "place" for the customers to interact with the brands. Virtual places remove the constraints of space and time and connect people who share common interests and ideas.

PR professionals could definitely take advantage of the opportunities that Second Life offers and enforce the relationships with their customers. Second life facilitates a new level of interaction and now the companies can receive immediate feedback about their products and services and so market them in a more efficient way.

Text 100 was the first PR firm that entered Second Life and as Andrew McGregor, Regional Director, explains in this video, everything is about brand building. Second life can build brand loyalty. It can spread the word about your brand. If you don’t do it, the competitor will do it first.

As analysts recently identified, by the end of 2011, the 80% of Internet users will have a “second life”, either in Second Life, or in other virtual worlds. That means that a great number of current and potential customers will be hanging about in virtual places. And PR professionals will have the opportunity to address, interact and gain a deeper understanding of them. It comes with no surprise then that more and more PR firms acquire their own virtual places. The PR battle will be soon transferred in the virtual world (if not already)…

Friday, 27 April 2007

Web 2.0 is Us/ing us...

Today I came across this video which has gotten spread around the www and is one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen recently. "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us" is a video created by Michael Wesch, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University and it is an interesting journey from written text to Web 2.0. A video definition of Web 2.0. “The web is no longer just linking information. “Web 2.0 is linking people”. It's worth seeing it...

Thursday, 26 April 2007

RSS for novices

Today it was An's turn in the class, to talk about one of the latest advents that have changed the way we communicate and the way we are getting informed nowadays. An and Derek tried hard to make it simple to us, what RSS is and how it works. But I think that this video is just perfect for novices like me, who find it difficult to understand the aggregators, Atom and all these complicated terms that RSS includes!!!Sorry An:-):-)

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

PR darlings...

PR darlings is a new social networking service, "where business meets pleasure". PR darlings,as it describes itself, is about "being able to socialise for the PR industry, meet PR people, get industry news, find jobs, share photos and blogs". This is not another "place" to find and address new clients, nor to promote a company's vision and aims. It's a network that can help you socialise with people who share the same interests. What you have to do is to sign up and then you "can find yourself some nice people to have a drink with on Friday"!!What do you think???:-)

Monday, 23 April 2007

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter....Twitterment

As Twitter has whipped up my curiosity, I've been searching and searching in the web, to find what could be interesting or even exciting with it.

Apart from the fact that even politicians are now engaged with it (Alan Johnson, John Edwards), the fact that yes, it could be used in case of a crisis as a communication channel, the fact that it brought first the French election news yesterday, the fact that it was the first "medium" that "reported" the earthquake in Mexico City, what roused my interest is...Twitterment.

Twitterment is Twitter's search engine, developed at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, and gives you the chance to find out how much, for example, your country is "twittered". You also can compare it with other terms. Twitterment shows you how many references there have been in Twitter posts, and what percentage of all the posts these constitute, as well as the fluctuation of the number of references, according to the hour or the day.

Twitterment also provides in the front page a cloud of buzzy terms and a cloud o fading terms. This tool could be useful to PR practitioners, as they could compare their client's buzz, with their rivals'. It is similar to Google Trends, but Twitterment seems to be more reliable as the results will be the same, no matter which term is first.

These are the results of the comparison of PR with Marketing:

It's interesting, isn't it???

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Twitter, transparency and damaged reputations

I was reading Ann’s post the other day about Twitter, and I found myself in the same position, wondering why all this fuss about it. The last two months, due to the module of PR and technology, part of which is this blog, I’ve come to grips with several of the new media that tend to change totally the way people communicate nowadays. Twitter gets its own “buzz” lately, and therefore has a prominent position in blogs’ posts.

Steven Rubel, Edelman's Senior Vice President, has proved to be a great fan of Twitter, as several posts of his blog are dedicated to it, while on the same time he is “twittering” on a regular basis. But he could never, probably, predict, and maybe nobody, what would follow this post on Twitter, last Friday.

Rudel in this 15-word post, said to millions of people, to whom this post is now available, that PC Magazine, a magazine of high circulation, and of great importance for many of Edelman’s clients (among which are Microsoft, Palm, Adobe etc.), is of no interest to him; useless; for the “trash”. He obviously couldn’t imagine what reactions this post would create.

Not surprisingly, Jim Louderback, Editor in Chief of PC Magazine, in a guest editorial on Strumpette, replied to Rudel, in a very critical tone. He expressed his concerns about the relationships of the Magazine with Edelman. He was wondering if Rubel’s opinion, which he shared with millions of people, reflects the views of his company as well. Louderback even expressed his doubts, if PC Magazine should carry on co-operating with Edelman, or simply boycott it and its clients.

Rubel’s response was immediate. With a post in his blog, he tries to settle the matter. He states that even though he doesn’t read the hard copy of the magazine, he subscribes to its RSS feeds, and he often links to its online articles. Moreover, he points out that his consumption habits have nothing to do with his employer, and his views (and therefore his blog’s and twitter’s posts) do not reflect neither Edelman’s views nor its clients’. He also adds that he acknowledges the value of PC Magazine as a medium to reach important audiences.

A simple, small and fast message and a great misunderstanding, (as it is implied by Rubel’s response) evolved. The fact that Twitter gives everyone the chance to post something very fast, in limited words, and share it with everyone, helped it to gain grounds, but on the other hand that word restriction, can prove to be dangerous, as many things can be implied, but only few are written.

Transparency, which is a “buzz” word for the new, social media, and something that everyone seems to be seeking, can be harmful. As everyone has a say, and everything that is said will be “alive” for ever in the www, reputations are in danger. In one less-than-160-character note, Edelman has let one employee (unintentionally) weaken its core structure. If Rudel, a master PR person, got in trouble, PR firms and PR practitioners individually, have to take into serious account the dangers that new media include.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Social Networks for Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech. is in the hearts and thoughts of everyone today. How can such tragedy take place in a university campus? I don't know...I'm speechless...

However, Facebook proved to be a valuable tool, helping students of Virginia Tech, to post their whereabouts and their condition after the massacre, yesterday morning.

"I'm ok at VT" is a group that was set up on Facebook, which is used by the students to communicate with each other, inform about their condition and ask about whereabouts of other students. It also includes a list of those killed, and details about the condition of those injured.

Several groups have been set up since yesterday, among which are "Christians Praying for Virginia Tech", "Canada Support Virginia Tech" etc., proving that social networks have replaced the conventional methods of communication, and especially after such an event, when all the cell networks were stressed.

What remains is to wish that it will never again be necessary for social media to be used for such reasons.

Check out:;_ylt=AlBwadCIzFOTNKCPNiGsl_JFr7sF


Driven by Nicola's presentation few weeks ago about wikis, I realised to what extent contribution has evolved through the new media.

A Wiki can be described as a website that allows visitors to add, remove, edit and change its content. The fact that wikis favour the involvement and the contribution of everyone helped them to gain grounds the recent years.

As Nicola points out in her post, it's obvious that Wikis have a lot to offer to PR people, as they have the potential to facilitate their activities in many ways, by using their RSS applications, blog applications, archiving posts and reports, etc.

And now, there is more good news about wikis!! WetPaint, a popular "Wiki-farm" recently announced that they will soon provide person-to-person and private messaging between their users. This means that the users, will from now on be able to send single, or multi-person, private messages, to connect and collaborate with others about their common interests. Interesting?

And there is more news from the "wiki-world": PBwiki, the biggest consumer wiki-farm, currently in operation, has announced a partnership with YackPack, to provide a new widget, called WalkieTalkie, which can be installed on your PBwiki in less than two minutes. Then, everyone who visits your PBwiki will be able to talk to everyone else visiting the page, by simply click-and-hold the YackPack button. This is undoubtedly an innovation that adds credits to wikis, as now the power of voice is added to the contribution. It’s easy, free and fun!! This video explains everything!

As technology evolves, there is no doubt that new methods of communications will evolve. Social media are here to stay and nobody can predict what will emerge tomorrow!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Civility or censorship?

The Easter break in combination with other obligations for the course, didn't allow to me to be active the last weeks, but I'm back again to the blogosphere, where a great debate is held lately, and John's post gives a clear idea about it.

Tim O'Reilly, a publisher who is credited with coining the term "Web 2.0" and Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, have begun working to create a set of principles to shape the online discussion. Driven by the death threats against Kathy Sierra, O'Reilly argues that a code of conduct for bloggers seems absolutely necessary in order for everyone "to celebrate the blogosphere". Two badges were also created, to be displayed by the sites that want to link to the code.

The "Draft Bloggers' Code of Conduct" that was posted to O'Reilly's Company's blog, has received more than 300 comments, with contradictory viewpoints, a fact that poses the question how anyone could persuade even a fraction of the millions of bloggers to embrace one set of standards.

Other bloggers, in their own blogs have condemned the code of conduct, arguing that such guidelines have nothing to do with civility and that they are mole like an act of censorship. Indeed, the reason that blogs and all the other new media have become that popular so fast is because they are open to everyone. It is this openness that the idea of a code of conduct clamps down on.

Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, commented: "I don't see it as practical in any way and it misses the point in both what is important and what is going to work. It is like a circle of trust and the trick is to being in the circle more valuable to bloggers than being outside of it".

I strongly agree that the offensive and bullying speech should by no means be applauded, but on the other hand, as Shel Holtz says, "some people are jerks, and will be jerks online". It's true that the mask of anonymity favours such attitudes but human values cannot be contained within rules. Civility is a trait, and as a trait cannot be enforced.