Tag Archives: Blogging

Latest on the News International hacking scandal #liveblog 9

17:55 – Sky News is quoting sources saying that the IPCC is investigating Yates for allegedly “inappropriately” giving a job to Neil Wallis’s daughter

This adds to the growing web of links between the Met, NotW and News International.

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Bloggers are "liggers with laptops" say fashionisatas

London Fashion Week is here and fashion journalists and PRs are unhappy with an influx of bloggers who are taking the best seats at the show, contributing little and are says one journalist little more than “liggers with laptops”. Yes it is handbags at dawn.

That pretty much describes some journalists, but let’s skip that for a moment. The Times has a piece today chronicling the surge of the fashion bloggers. At last year’s London Fashion Week 22% of press accreditation went to bloggers. This year it is 33%. Hold on to your tiaras.

According to The Times “some bloggers are prepared to resort to any means — fair or foul — to gain admittance”. Sacrebleu!

One unnamed blogger turned up at a show and claimed to be from Harper’s Bazaar before being turned out and stuck back in the cheap seats. A “seasoned journalist” complained about seeing a 16-year-old girl who’d previously been on work experience on her title seated in the front row because of her connection to a blog. The poor professional journalists was seated several rows back.

Wow. I’m full of respect for that 16-year old. Making it to the front row of a major fashion show clearly takes some rocks. Good for her.

Another glossy magazine reporter told The Times: “Look, some of the bloggers are brilliant but a lot of them are liggers with laptops.”

Get over yourself. Seriously, I know a lot of journalists and they (okay we) love freebies. Who doesn’t. Books, music, film, flights, festivals, gigs and restaurants all paid by some PR who bills their client. Sometimes absolutely nothing gets written. Is that ligging?

Personally I get slightly embarrassed and do my very best to get something written (honest). I swear on a week long trip to Jordan I was the only journalists to write any copy while there. On trip to New York likewise, but I have also flown to San Francisco several times and produced next to nothing. That’s the way it goes and it doesn’t always go to press.

Someone described as an influential PR complains that “if you read some of these blogs, they are just cut-and-pasting each other; they don’t use their access to say anything original” — although no blogs are named/shamed.

Not sure I entirely believe that. Blogs are about original comment and content (but not always) and most bloggers have a take on whatever it is they write about. Their influence is growing in every field.

I wrote recently about press accreditation being given to political bloggers giving them access to Parliament and some of the fears that move excites.

Where ever there is a traditional media there are bloggers. They have gone mainstream. Their skill is not just in producing original “commtent” (yes horrible fake word) it is also in being fast. A blog can get coverage of an event up online far quicker than many traditional journalists seem able.

Their entrance into more and more parts of daily media life is bound to upset some and no more so it seems than the rarefied world of fashion.

Burberry chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey, though has a different take and one that looks to the future. He is known “to be at the forefront of technological innovations and the use of new media”. That’s one of the reasons behind Burberry getting together with Sky to produce this week’s live 3D broadcast — a first for a fashion show.

He says it is important to give bloggers the respect that they deserve. “They have a very articulate way of expressing their opinion. The difference between bloggers and traditional press is bloggers are often talking directly to a final consumer.”

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The bloggers are coming to Parliament #ge2010

The digitisation of the political process is stepping up as it emerges that Westminster is going to allow select bloggers access to the parliamentary lobby system, which has previously only been the realm of professional journalists.

It is going to mean that bloggers will get access to the off-camera government briefings given by the PM’s press spokesman. That could be really interesting and democratizing effectively expanding the lobby beyond the small group of journalists that it currently comprises.

PRWeek reports that talks
have been taking place between the Commons authorities and Financial Times political editor George Parker, who chairs the parliamentary press gallery.

He says the system is being tested on a case-by-case basis and that “because it’s a new form of journalism and the authorities are having to adapt”.

Ironically, Commons authorities are understood to be “concerned that an influx of bloggers into the lobby could further undermine the reputation of Parliament”. Okay, if you say so as bloggers are clearly the problem.

Does that sound like MPs are worried what bloggers might uncover with their lobby pass?

“What the Commons authorities are concerned about is that there should be no precedent set that would create a free-for-all. They don’t want to have the House of Commons over-run by bloggers,” Parker said.

Parker goes onto to say that initially they are only likely to give a pass to people who are operating for a respectable news organisation or website with a reasonably large. They are also keen to see it used for journalism rather than coming “commenting on stuff”.

That sounds a little prescriptive and old school. Blogs mix news and comment like bartenders mix gin and tonic. Sometimes there is very little between them.

Whatever else it shows it is a further sign of the role that social media is going to play in the 2010 General Election.

Elsewhere today more news of what the Labour Party is up to with its social media strategy.

Campaign reports today that it is to use online real-time feedback directly from the public via Twitter to inform its nationwide campaign.

This follows Labour’s #Changewesee campaign that has been spread successfully via social media. The Change We See has used Twitter, Facebook and Flickr to highlight the real changes the Government has made to people’s lives such as building schools and hospitals.

But as Labour continues to develop its social media campaigning it really needs to pay attention to the report just out that highlights how it is lagging when it comes to effectively using email and integrating social media into that.

Return Path found that it simply wasn’t doing this.
And that is a big opportunity. Email is a great space to tell your story, share links and get people digitally involved with what you are doing.

Oh yeah and money. People will give you money if you ask for it in your emails. They might not come out and campaign on the doorstep, but handing over £5 is not such a reach.

It has been widely reported that the “donate now” button proved incredibly effective for Barrack Obama’s digital campaign team in the 2008 presidential elections. The Obama team is estimated to have raised around $500m online with two-thirds of that coming via email as people hit the donate button.

Most of those donations were small (in the region of $6), but that soon builds up.

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Twitter users are getting younger

Twitter is slowly changing. Or that is to say it is broadening as almost 30% of its audience is now made up of people under the age of 24.

In particular the 18-24 year old group has grown almost 8% in the last year while the 17and under group is up more than 6%.

Clearly the growing use of mobile and smartphones is driving this. It is a natural progression. As while figures last year showed 79.8% of 18-24-year-olds use instant messaging the number blogging is rapidly declinning. Short form blogging and status updates (more akin to IM) is where the growth is.

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Gawker makes first acquisition/fires editor

Gawker boss Nick Denton has made his first acquisition and bought New York City blog CityFile. At the same time he has axed his editor-in-chief who in true Gawker style got to blog departure.

CityFile, which chronicles the movers and shakers in New York’s media, finance, and politics circles, is to be folded into Gawker.com and will become the New York and media industry channel on the site joining the likes of Defamer and Valleywag.

The acquisition was announced on Gawker in the shape of two memos that were published as part of a post by editor Gabriel Snyder who Denton revealed is being replaced by Remy Stern who founded CityFile.

“Okay, this is weird. But here are two internal memos. One affecting me, the other by me. Nick has just announced that Gawker’s acquiring CityFile. As part of that deal, I’m losing my job. Now that they are out there, may as well put them here,” Snyder posted.

Stern is a former writer on several Gawker sites and worked as an editor at the now defunct Radar magazine, which ran on an off over a period of years in New York between 2003 and 2008, before going on to set up CityFile.

Snyder’s memo (Subject: Farewell): “For reasons which I’m not too clear on, but I’m sure Nick Denton will explain momentarily, I am being replaced as editor-in-chief of Gawker.

“Honesty is Gawker’s only virtue, so it seems inappropriate to engage in the usual corporate euphemisms of ‘wanting to explore new opportunities’ or ‘take a larger role in the company’ or  ‘spend more time with my family’ (though eighteen-hour days and seven-day work weeks do take their toll on personal relationships), so I’ll put this as plainly as we’d report any other masthead ouster: I am being canned.”

Synder was offered another “temporary position” by Denton as “an assistant managing editor of Gawker Media” but he said he turned that down”. Well you would, wouldn’t you? He did 18 months and he said so himself later in his memo, in a Ferris Bueller-esque nod, that “Gawker Media careers shows that they tend to burn bright and fast”.

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Southwest Airlines in "epic" social media fail with Kevin Smith

If you had been stressing out about how to create your very own social media PR disaster sweat it no more. Southwest Airlines has some helpful tips after it threw ‘Clerks’ and ‘Dogma’ director Kevin Smith off of one of its planes at the weekend for “being too fat”.

That’s your first tip right there: choose a high profile media personality with a cult following on the web, the blogosphere on and on Twitter. Kevin Smith, aka Silent Bob from his six New Jersey based movies (‘Chasing Amy’ is still my favourite), will do nicely.

Smith was flying from Oakland (he’d been to Macworld Expo) to Burbank when he was kicked off of the plane for failing the airline’s armrest test (you have to be able to put both arms down…).

The airline apologised via Twitter (Our apology to @ThatKevinSmith…) and on a blog post but by then it was far too late. It had as the post below states been contacted by a great many people and had been forced to go public.

“Many of you reached out to us via Twitter last night and today regarding a situation a Customer Twittered about that occurred on a Southwest flight.  It is not our customary method of Customer Relations to be so public in how we work through these situations, but with so many people involved in the occurrence, you also should be involved in the solution. First and foremost, to Mr. Smith; we would like to echo our Tweets and again offer our heartfelt apologies to you.   We are sincerely sorry for your travel experience on Southwest Airlines.”

There are 354 articles coming up on Google News and Smith has been tweeting away heavily to his 1.65 million following.

“Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool, but fair warning folks: If you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest Air,” he wrote on Twitter.

Southwest Airlines in a moment combing bad judgement and bad luck has had its reputation among air passengers generally (and of a particular size more specifically) well and truly trashed.

Smith is taking it to his podcast and talking about it on the Daily Show and his further tweets say it all:

“Sometimes it baffles me how little people think things through. ‘Free publicity!’ = 200 new articles declaring I’m fat. Yay, me. Epic win.”

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Social media talent vacuum in PR and marketing

Recruitment firm Major Players says that there’s a major shortfall of PR and marketing candidates with a general understanding of social media, as well as those with the expertise to fill specific social media roles.

It says while the market has shifted and social networking has emerged over the last two years applicants across the sector are not showing an appreciation of new trends and in particular much understanding of how social media has changed the way marketers communicate with consumers.

The firm says that CVs it is seeing for a variety of jobs across different levels, lack even a cursory mention of social media buzzwords, such as blogging or Twitter.

Out of a sample of 4500 CVs received in the last two years it says just 6% reference “Social Media”, 9% mention Twitter, and a meagre 2% talk about blogging, while 13% include Facebook (though in some this was merely highlighted in the ‘interests’ section).

This all seems really basic. I mean I remember writing pre-social media CVs (OMG they were bad) and I’m sure they all included (its been a while since I updated my CV) things like “PC skills and fluent with Microsoft Word”.

Get me with my WP skills on my CV. Of course, if I were to rattle out a CV now I would be putting how I was conversant with Twitter, Facebook and blogging in that PC and WP section (along with “reading and film” as one of my favourite hobbies).

Major players says the talent shortfall not only relates to social media but SEO as well. Only 4.7% of resumes include the term SEO. That is more understandable, but again if you understand any of this stuff and can string a sensible sentence together with any of those buzz words in then it should be on your CV in some form.

Read more on Social media talent vacuum in PR and marketing…

Guido Fawkes gets knickers in a twist over airbrush spoof

Following the Labour Party’s decision to adopt the grassroots originated spoof mocking David Cameron’s airbrushed (because he’s worth it) poster Guido Fawkes has got all worked up and has labelled the move as stealing.

Tory blogger Guido Fawkes in rushing to label Labour’s move, which is a first, as such seemingly ignores several quite obvious points:

A) It’s a viral campaign and doh that’s the point. It is why Clifford Singer who created it made the template freely available (take a look at the new spoofs that have been added to Mydavidcameron.com) so that others could spoof away – and that they have.

B) This is General Election 2.0 (10) and that’s what this campaign is going to be all about. It’s innovation and change and breaking away from the staid norm.

Guido Fawkes says Labour’s campaign team is devoid of original ideas. I’d say it was quite the opposite.

The Labour Party and its digital team has clearly been paying attention to what it going on in the real world where brands have been doing this kind of thing for a good while.

Adopting ideas from you community is not “stealing” or “devoid” of political ideas it is smart and shows that the party is in touch with, responding to, and engaging with its supporters.

Moreover, not sure why but Guido Fawkes takes time out to have a pop at Clifford Singer and calls him an “eccentric figure with a history of quixotic attacks from the left”.

Maybe he is (I don’t know), but I’m not sure what that has to do with his original point about lack of originality and stealing? Which are you hacked off with? Quixotic attacks or the “stealing”?

Amusing he goes on to offer some advice to Sue Macmillan (no relation), who heads up Labour’s digital team, and says that campaigns that only run on little visited websites don’t really work (referring to the official Labour Party site) although did he consider that blogging on it on Guido Fawkes kind of reverses that?

Let’s face it his blog is well read and respected by a large swathe of people. So really I’m sure there will be a note of thanks on the way for keeping the story going and spreading the word about airbrush Dave Cameron.

Oh and while I’m here former Brand Republic journo Jennifer Whitehead has been out and about in Hackney and just look what the good people of that borough are doing to Dave’s posters. You get the impression that someone out there doesn’t like him.

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Twitter gets personal with business as it tests first commercial features

Twitter is to start rolling out some of the business features it hinted at in October beginning with something called it is calling “contributors”. It is a feature that Twitter says will allow users to “engage in more authentic conversations” with businesses.

The “contributors” feature is a pretty powerful little change, but it is going to be a really welcome one and could have major ramifications to how business uses Twitter.

Simply put it will allow businesses and other organisations (thinking of political parties with elections looming) that have multiple people using the same account to add their own user name to a tweet. It’s about making it more personal.

Pretty simple, but if you’re contacting an airline or a big retailer it is nice to know you spoke to Gerry or Susan rather than some impersonal voice answering back from some large amorphous Twitter entity.

Next time you contact them it would be nice/useful/faster to contact the same person again. That’s how relationships form and they are key to how businesses can succeed in social media.

It’s what Twitter is all about on the non-corporate level: personal one to one communication.

Writing on the Twitter blog Anamitra Banerji from the product team says: “The feature we are beta testing is called ‘Contributors’ – it enables users to engage in more authentic conversations with businesses by allowing those organizations to manage multiple contributors to their account.

“The feature appends the contributor’s username to the tweet byline, making the business to consumer communication more personal; e.g. if @Twitter invites @Biz to tweet on its behalf, then a tweet from @Twitter would include @Biz in the byline so that users know more about the real people behind organizations.”

It could also be a big help to businesses that have had employees starting numerous different accounts. It could streamline the whole process and allow a business to cut down on the number of accounts it has and better manager them. Clearly, different things will for different businesses.

The feature is going into limited beta test so I guess we will see certain of Twitter’s large business customers start to use it any day now. It also says that the functionality will be fully supported by the API and will enhance the many Twitter business apps, “such as CoTweet and HootSuite”.

The post says several other features are in development; some of which it says will be visible to regular users and some of them will not. These must be the analytics tools that Biz Stone talked about in October.

“You’ll be able to pay for an additional layer of access to learn more about your Twitter account to get some freed back to get some analytics to help you become a better twitter,” Stone said.

@anamitra said Twitter would be looking for basic feedback from business users and ecosystem partners.

“The beta will be released to a limited subset of folks for some time so that we can get an idea of how the features work from a system perspective. After we kick the tires a bit, we’ll do a full launch to all business users and ecosystem partners.”

It is going to be interesting to see if some of these features it is testing will later be paid for or if it plans to give some away to business users and allow them to upgrade to premium accounts that provide tools to improve how they use the service. Another question springs to mind also: how do you define what/who is a business user? I guess paying for these services would sort that issue out pretty quickly whether you are a business or simply an organisation that has multiuser Twitter accounts.

Read more on Twitter gets personal with business as it tests first commercial features…

Huffington Post launches paid Tweets and comments

This could work well if done right. The Huffington Post is to offer advertisers the ability to post paid tweets and comments.

The aggregator, which made a splash with Facebook when it launched its social news service with Facebook Connect, could be onto something by allowing advertisers to join the conversation with sponsored tweets and comments.

Let’s face it investing in a targeted campaign like this could deliver more results than a banner ad. It is also very “social” and is already similar to what some brands are doing on Twitter when they respond to tweets on the basis of keyword searches.

This takes the process a step further, but it will come down to execution and relevancy. And getting it wrong will result in the kind of social media blowback that advertisers like Habitat and Skittles have witnessed first hand.

Ad Age quotes Greg Coleman, Huffington Post’s president and chief revenue officer as saying that marketers will receive guidance on the best ways to join the conversation. He says advertisers need to add value. If they do that and it is not done to death this could be not unhelpful.

If there is a thread going on the World Cup or tweets on the latest from South Africa a brand putting out stats or bits of news that are interesting and relevant is unlikely to attract the ire of users. Likewise in a review of a book or an interview with a writer it would not feel out of place to see a publisher’s comments appear.

“You cannot use the social engagement for the purposes of really hawking your products,” Coleman told Ad Age. “The advertiser is really put in a position where they need to add value to the conversation that’s taking place.”

It could raise questions about editorial independence, however; about how editorial might have to work closer with advertisers.

Coleman doesn’t put a price to any of these news ideas, but he says it should more than double revenue by next year and “expand it more than six times during the next three years”.

This all comes as the Huffington Post continues to expand adding books, sport and local versions of the site in Denver, Chicago and New York.

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