Six years ago this month, Google moved into one of the largest buildings in New York City. Google had only been public for two years and its stock price was soaring. By 2006, speculation was running rampant about Google's ultimate goals. In addition to building the world's largest Internet search engine, Google was furiously buying up so-called "dark fiber…
This post originally appeared on PR Breakfast Club on July 12th, 2012.
I’ll admit upfront that the headline here is a bit of a , and that you are probably furious at me right now for having the gall to type such a sentence in light of the Freeh report that was released Thursday morning. We all know the horrific details of the Jerry Sandusky case, and I don’t really have the stomach to list out the rape of each child again. Besides, you’re still pissed at me for writing a headline suggesting Penn State shouldn’t be punished. Consider this for a moment.
Pennsylvania State University didn’t rape those kids, nor did it cover anything up.
Did Penn State President Graham Spanier, Senior VP of Finance and Business Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and Coach Joe Paterno (along with that monster, Sandusky himself), cover things up? Apply pressure to ensure the institution was protected? Absolutely. Joe Paterno has lost the respect of pretty much everyone in America, and his legacy isn’t tarnished. It is destroyed. These men are complicit in the destruction of the lives of each of Sandusky’s victims. They should all spend a long, long, long, time in prison.
The instant reaction I saw was fairly predictable. It ranged somewhere between burning Penn State to the ground and destroy all known records of its existence and nuking the institution and destroying all known records of its existence. That’s simply not acceptable. And I include the football program in this argument.
We’re talking about of five men that have defiled one of our country’s greatest institutions. Forget about athletics, PSU is one of the leading academic universities in America. Many people want to destroy what millions of people have helped build over the actions of FIVE people. There must be a strong response, but it MUST be targeted. Kill ‘em all is simply a response of anger. Here’s what should happen:
- Penn State will have many lawsuits filed against it, as it should. It will attempt to pay for these with revenues derived from the athletic department. It should not be allowed to do that. Pay out of the endowment or whatever other streams of revenue PSU has access.
- Anyone with a role in the Sandusky scandal should be fired immediately and turned over to authorities. Period. Again, PEOPLE did this. NOT an institution.
- 30-40% of all revenue brought in by Penn State football should be given to charities that deal with sexual abuse/assault of children for the next 15 years. Some will see my opinion as letting PSU off the hook, this helps solve that issue.
As my friend Shelly Kramer points out, it’s likely that more than 5 people covered this up. That’s a very good possibility. To that, I would say each and every one of them need to be prosecuted. The fact that there are still thousands of people at Penn State who had zero part in this cover up lead me to believe that severe sanctions should be placed on PSU, but none that can absolutely cripple it. At that point, we’re punishing Penn State to make ourselves feel better as a society rather than targeting the punishment to where it is deserved. A message must be sent to all institutions of higher learning that they are ultimately responsible to the people they serve. Not to themselves.
There are sexual assault scandals at every university in America. I guarantee it. If we target punishment to individuals, anyone complicit in covering up other scandals at universities receives a much more important message. Your institution will be punished, but you will suffer. You will have your life ripped away from you the same way you’ve ripped away the lives of others. I agree that we need to send a strong message. Just make sure it’s being sent to the right people.
This post originally appeared on Waxing Unlyrical on January 24th, 2012.
While perusing my Facebook stream the other day, I came across this article on Business Insider. Its title alone (What PR People Really Think Of Journalists) told me the article was link bait.
For a very long time, public relations has used the media to tell the story of its clients. That’s changed a bit in recent years, thanks to the Internet, but that fact still holds true.
What a segment of this industry apparently doesn’t understand is that bloggers, reporters, commentators, anyone you’d define as a journalist, don’t owe us – PR pros – a damned thing.
Journalists are tasked with defending the best interests of the public. Not getting a client’s story on the front page. It’s just that simple.
I’ve worked both sides of the fence. I’ve pitched and been pitched. I feel confident when I say there are people both professions would be better off without on either side. An article like the one linked above doesn’t put journalists in place. It makes them angry, and far less likely to actually HELP you do your job.
Did you know that newspaper jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate? When there are, let’s say, four reporters in a newsroom to cover a population of 150,000, expecting journalists to drop everything they are doing and cover your story is slightly unreasonable.
For as long as journalism and public relations have existed, there’s been rivalry between them. Journalists generally feel like they hold the moral high ground; PR’s generally feel like they hold the keys to the stories that reporters cover. Animosity and a deep distrust of the other group has taken root because of this.
The truth is that this is a symbiotic relationship and neither can survive without the other. How do you work to bridge the gap between the two sides?
That’s what we should be focusing on.
It was early in the 3rd quarter and the hero of this tale, yours truly, had just been called for a foul, and was protesting under his breath (because I didn’t want a technical. Though I’m not sure those are even legal to give in 8thGrade boys’ “B” team basketball. I digress).
I had just been MAULED by an opposing player; MAULED, I TELL YOU, and had retaliated by slapping at the ball that had been stolen from me. See what happened there? No? Let me explain.
I saw something that I believed to be wrong; my arm nearly being ripped off (perhaps I’m being dramatic…). When I tried to do something about it, I’m the one who got in trouble. In other words, it wasn’t the instigator that got caught, it was the retaliatory action.
A couple of days ago, The Daily Beast broke a story about Facebook spreading a smear campaign against Google. According to the article, Mark Zuckerberg and his team hired Burson-Marsteller, a well-known public relations firm, to plant negative stories accusing Google of being careless with Gmail users privacy.
Here’s what The Daily Beast had to say about this, as they call it, “skirmish”:
“At issue in this latest skirmish is a Google tool called Social Circle, which lets people with Gmail accounts see information not only about their friends but also about the friends of their friends, which Google calls ‘secondary connections.’ Burson, in its pitch to journalists, claimed Social Circle was ‘designed to scrape private data and build deeply personal dossiers on millions of users—in a direct and flagrant violation of [Google's] agreement with the FTC.’
“Also from Burson: ‘The American people must be made aware of the now immediate intrusions into their deeply personal lives Google is cataloging and broadcasting every minute of every day—without their permission.’ “
Engadget sums up Facebook’s intentions very well, saying its two motives are genuine concern for the privacy of users, and that some of the data collected came from Facebook.
GOTCHA! THERE’S THE ARM-MAULING!!!
Facebook is upset that Google might be getting info from some of its users, so what does it do? Strike back, of course. The bottom line in all of this is that Google comes out looking great here. It doesn’t matter what privacy concerns Facebook has with Social Circle because any credibility it had about privacy (and I’m not sure it actually has any credibility in that area) is out the window because it decided to sling mud.
By no means does that mean a respected PR firm is off the hook. Burson should have counseled Facebook against this rash decision (and after all this came to light, said as much) instead of airing its concerns with the Facebook name behind it.
If Burson and Facebook would have simply been upfront with their reasons behind wanting to publish the stories, and the stories been informational as opposed to hit pieces, we’d be questioning Google’s motives with Social Circle. But that’s not what we’re doing.
If you’re reading this, you don’t need me to tell you Burson and Facebook made an incredibly boneheaded move here, doing some (at least in the short term) damage to both their reputations; though I think Burson is the one who really has egg on its face. A PR firm is supposed to dispense advice and promote tactics to spread a positive message about its clients, or useful information to better the community in some way.
Burson failed on both accounts here, and if I was their client I’d have questions for them about their ethics and what they truly believe in.
This post originally appeared on Waxing Unlyrical on May 4th, 2011.
I wrote a post about the potential of Twitter to buy TweetDeckjust two weeks ago. (To be fair, that first posted on my employer’s blog.)
So what happens now?
I don’t buy the doom and gloom declaring the end of TweetDeck.
If Twitter bought TweetDeck just to shut it down, then Twitter won’t be around this fall.
While Twitter is valued in the ballpark of $4 billion, much of its cash flow is in the form of investors.
If I’m an investor, and I see Twitter essentially take a pile of money and light it on fire, I tell Jack Dorsey thanks for the memories and take my money elsewhere.
That’s why TweetDeck isn’t going anywhere and won’t undergo any major overhauls.
TweetDeck is going to change somewhat, there’s no doubt about that.
Much like Twitter’s native mobile apps, you’ll begin seeing advertising in all forms of TweetDeck; or you’ll be able to purchase an ad-free version of it.
I do think the latter there is highly unlikely, though.
Given the reputation TweetDeck has of being the favorite service of high level influencers, the value of selling ads to be put in front of those folks is far more lucrative than a $5 or $10 one-time fee for the app …
… not to mention in front of the millions of people already using TweetDeck.
Twitter has absolutely nailed the culture of its service, however. I think we can all agree the actual UI of Twitter sucks.
The people at TweetDeck have created the best all-round service for posting to Twitter. So, what Twitter should do is wave good-bye to its own native apps (save for its website of course), re-brand TweetDeck as Twitter and push it to all of its users.
TechCrunch called this “a defensive move for Twitter,” and TC is absolutely right. Twitter could not afford to have TweetDeck be acquired by UberMedia.
That may not have been a deathblow for Twitter, but it would not have been the cause of an office party at karaoke night either.
This ensures Twitter controls its most valuable users, and can now monetize them. I don’t see Twitter wanting to drastically mess with TweetDeck.
I’m expecting ads on TweetDeck by sometime this summer, and that’s A-OK with me as long as they aren’t intrusive. And they won’t be, because the ads on Twitter’s own apps right now aren’t intrusive (even if the UI leaves something to be desired).
There is one thing I’m hoping they do add: analytics. I’d even pay a certain fee for access to those numbers, much like HootSuite users do.
What do you think? What will Twitter do with TweetDeck?
This post originally appeared on Waxing Unlyrical on April 25th, 2011.
Rumors ran rampant
around the Twitterverse last week with the news that Twitter is in talks with TweetDeck to purchase the ridiculously popular third-party service for the low, low price of just $50 million.
(Note to self: invent something people love and then buy an island).
Considering UberMedia was rumored to be in the mix to buy TweetDeck for $30 million just a few weeks ago, that’s very interesting news.
My first reaction to this news was joy. Pure and overwhelming joy.
Well, I’m not really a fan of UberMedia. I like their apps, but I’m not a huge fan of the company in general.
That said, the opinion that this may not be the best of situations brewing for my all-time favorite Twitter app was quickly formed. Writing for PC Mag, Lance Ulanoff was less than happy about this:
“Twitter’s grown tired of all the third-party tools built on its API back; not because there’s anything inherently wrong with these tools, but because Twitter’s long-term strategy requires as many eyeballs as possible on its own home-grown Twitter services and tools.
“If the majority of Twitter users view their tweets through third-party tools that simply make calls to Twitter’s API’s, they’ll never see Twitter partner ads, promos, or Quickbars.
“Twitter loses control not only of the conversation, but the ability to monetize millions and millions of eyeballs and social activity.”
Obviously, that’s a HUGE reason that Twitter would want to kill TweetDeck, and other services like it.
I think there’s a better solution though, and I’m not nearly as pessimistic as Ulanoff is.
I can’t see Twitter killing off one of its most popular interaction tools, especially when a big percentage of those “power users” on Twitter prefer using TweetDeck to interact.
However, the assumption that people aren’t viewing Twitter through official Twitter apps (or the homepage) is a bit faulty, I think.
According to this article, 58% of tweets come from official Twitter apps; be that mobile or the homepage.
Many find that number stunningly low. I actually think it’s rather high.
Unofficial third-party apps are the most popular way to use Twitter for the majority of people in my network.
Rarely do I see the “from web” tag in many tweets in my feed.
So, if you’re Twitter, why on earth would you piss off a large, not to mention vocal, section of your users?
The answer? You wouldn’t.
Instead, why wouldn’t you just incorporate what you see working in revenue production methods in your apps with TweetDeck, and leave the service as is?
You bring another chunk of tweets under your umbrella, ensuring they stay out of UberMedia’s hands, and you are able to monetize those users.
Shutting TweetDeck down, after you’ve spent $50 million on it just doesn’t make any kind of good business sense. TweetDeck is just too popular among those who champion Twitter on a daily basis to shut it down.
The other thing to keep in mind is that it is in Twitter’s best interests to work with third-party developers as opposed to buy them out and then shut their services down.
It’s a bully tactic and it’s incredibly dumb.
Why release your API if you’re just going to buy out those services created using it and then shut them down?
What do you think? Will Twitter shut TweetDeck down if it buys it? What would you do if TweetDeck did get shut down?
[With minor differences, this post was originally published on KimberMedia.]
That may be a BIT overdramatic. Still. If you didn’t know, I write a lot on the series of information tubes. I write on a regular basis over at PR Breakfast Club and on a semi-regular basis at Waxing Unlyrical. Due to those commitments and several client blogs I write each week, I’ve decided to turn this into a one-stop-shop for all things MLC. You may occasionally get a fresh post here, but that will likely be rare. The bottom line is that I don’t have enough time to come up with original content for three separate blogs PLUS client blogs. Thanks for understanding.
I like to gamble. The occasional game of poker for cash aside though, I rarely gamble cash. Writing a post for someone if my team loses to them feels like I’ve TRULY lost a bet. Thus the basis of a bet between myself and Julia Prior a few weeks ago when Iowa hosted Dayton in the first round of the NIT. Iowa pulled the game out, and much happiness was had by me. I neglected to post Julia’s fulfillment of the bet, which you can find below:
Two teams with two brand new coaches met in the first round of the NIT March 13th. One showed an amazing turnaround from the previous season, making their first post season appearance in five years, the other slipping into their old patterns that has landed them in the NIT for the past three years.
Jason has made some very valid and accurate criticisms here. I’m sure there were many people whose feelings were hurt because of the change in Klout’s algorithms. I didn’t really care that mine went down, and while I will admit to liking the fact that I had a score of 60+ before the change, my ego or professional self-worth has never, and will never, be attached to Klout or any other kind of online social ranking method.
Know why I quit Klout? I wrote about this when I did it, but allow me to reiterate. I have no problem with Klout, as long as people have agreed to have their online presence measured by Klout. The fact that the company was creating profiles for people who hadn’t signed up for the service worried me. Again, I’ve LONG said that your online privacy is your responsibility, not any company to whose services you subscribe, but the catch there is you’ve agreed to their terms of service.
As for my deletion of my Klout account making it more difficult for those using Klout correctly; tough cookies. Tell Joe Fernandez to stop making profiles of people who haven’t agreed to allow Klout to track them and get back to me. When Klout tells me someone like Shonali Burke is influential about the Kardashians, I find it more than a little difficult to take seriously.
There are real reasons for deletion of a Klout account. Will I sign up for Klout again in the future? Probably. I think it’s absolutely a step in the right direction, and they’re blazing a trail in social media measurement. Until I feel like Klout takes itself seriously, (e.g. no longer creating accounts for people who didn’t create them; taking transparent steps toward an end in gaming the system, etc.) I won’t be back.
I’ve been thinking about weakness lately. It’s something I struggle to pinpoint within myself. That’s not to say I’m not weak. I’m not sure I could even lift 100 pounds right over my head. The hardest question for me to answer in any situation is, “What’s your greatest weakness?” It’s really a contradictory question, isn’t it? What’s your strongest weakness? It’s been such a tough question for me before that I completely blew a job interview on that question once. I basically said I didn’t know. I had no answer. And I’ve come to realize something about myself since then.
My greatest weakness, is also my greatest strength. It’s my ego. I have a monster ego, believe it or not. It is something I have to fight every day to keep in check (there’s a reason I use so much self-deprecating humor). It enables me to believe in myself and to work to achieve the success I so greatly desire. It can also put me in positions that have me out on very thin ice. You see, I do believe we have to think we have the power to do anything we want. However, we also have to understand that we won’t be great at everything we try. We have to understand our limitations; that’s what truly enables us to succeed. What is your greatest weakness?