I’ve been known to, on occasion, overzealously hit “tweet” too soon. I haven’t reread my message and there will be some verb confusion, a missing link or an incorrect username. Thankfully, my 311 loyal followers don’t seem to follow me close enough to screenshot my mistakes and broadcast them to the world.
However, if you switch out @SamJHamilton for @[Insert Congressman Here], well, that becomes a different story. And when you switch out a Twitter message for CNN and Fox News’ homepage and major headline, well, that becomes a very different story.
Last week marked a landmark decision in healthcare: President Obama’s dream of an individual mandate was crushed. Oh, wait. That’s not right! No, actually, the individual mandate, and the vast majority of the Affordable Care Act, were found to be constitutional and were upheld by the Supreme Court. But, if you were watching or reading CNN or Fox News, you got a very different picture of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Both outlets incorrectly reported that the individual mandate had been struck down. In the media blitz to be the first to report the Supreme Court’s decision, both CNN and Fox News got the story completely wrong. This stereotypical “teachable moment” shows us something important: being the first to report the news of the day isn’t always the most important thing. If they had waited an extra minute, both outlets would have heard the rest of Chief Justice Robert’s opinion before calling in the wrong facts to their editors outside the courthouse.
This case of ill-reporting begs an important question: as a consumer of news, what’s more important to you, getting the fastest news or the most accurate news?
And it turns out that CNN and Fox News weren’t the only ones who were a little too quick on the draw that morning. Six politicians made Twitter-flubs as well. Notably, Dennis Ross, a Republican Congressman from Florida, tweeted to his 4,000+ followers: “Individual Mandate ruled unconstitutional. Let Freedom Ring.”
While all parties involved quickly deleted their tweets, nothing can really stay hidden when it comes to Twitter. As a public figure, there is undoubtedly someone watching and paying attention to your Twitter stream, especially for a decision as monumental as the one that happened last week.
For the public relations world, there’s a great deal to be gleaned from these reporting faux pas. Namely, make sure you have the correct information before tweeting or posting anything. Yes, being the first to get out a piece of news is undoubtedly tempting. However, it’s much more important to make sure you have the correct news now to keep egg off your face later.
In terms of the news media, do you think that our current media blitz country is diminishing the quality of journalism?
Social media has become the norm on the campaign trail, and is quickly becoming entrenched on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress and their staffers alike have taken to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and any number of other social media sites to interact with constituents, sway public opinion and counter political opponents.
Social media is even pushing traditional media aside as the venue for politicians and political parties alike to attack their opponents – often harshly. In recent months, both sides of the aisle have been engaged in an ongoing battle for women’s votes. Speaker John Boehner took this fight to Twitter, disputing Vice President Joe Biden’s recent claims of a Republican “war on women.” This month’s disappointing jobs numbers opened the window for yet more attacks by Republicans with Speaker Boehner tweeting to his 300,000 followers that “today’s #jobs report is more evidence President Obama’s policies aren’t working for families & small businesses.”
With new political battles being waged daily on social media, and political parties fighting to gain the upper hand, new opportunities are being created for citizens, companies and non-profits alike to engage legislators and their staffs through these same platforms. Because of security screening and volume, most mail and emails are not opened on Capitol Hill until well after a critical vote is taken. The immediacy of social media gives it an edge, and with so many Members and their staff taking part, this has become one of the best ways for getting your voice heard. It’s also increasingly effective because members of the media are now following Twitter discussions on Capitol Hill and watching discussions taking place.
For local citizens who need immediate assistance with an issue in their community, there has never been a better way to directly interact with their Senator and Member of Congress – and the same is also true for companies and non-profits who are looking for new ways to amplify their voice, or in the case of some small businesses, join the conversation. By interacting with elected representatives and their staffs in social media circles were they walk, companies are influencing media coverage, opinions and votes on legislation, and in some cases – election results.
In person meetings, mail and email will always play an important role in political offices. They remain an important way for constituents to get the services they need and deserve. However, those who adapt to these changing times effectively and adopt social media as a new tool will find new successes – while those who do not may pay the costly price of being left behind.
This article originally appeared in Racepoint Group’s Capital Ideas Newsletter. If you would like to receive subsequent issues, please use the following sign-up form.
Almost a year ago, we hosted our first RaceTalk tweet-sourced interview with local Twitter legend @BostonTweet. The premise was simple: we asked him a few questions, then we asked him some of yours using the hashtag #AskBostonTweet. The results were definitely interesting (and perhaps a little amusing), to say the least. Now, we’re finally bringing it back: give it up for Todd Van Hoosear (@vanhoosear)!
Given his background, if I didn’t know any better, Todd knows a thing or two about social media, so of course I’ll be asking a couple questions about that. I will also be asking him about is favorite flavor of beef jerky. I will leave the rest up to you. Between now and Tuesday, March 6, tweet questions for Todd using the hashtag #AskVan – we like to keep it simple here – and at around 8:00 p.m. that day, we’re going to ask him as many of those questions as possible in front of a live studio audience. I mean his New Media & PR class at Boston University.
Got a question for @vanhoosear? Tweet using #AskVan between now and Tuesday night!
RaceTalk was lucky enough to catch mild-mannered Tom O’Keefe (better known as the legendary @BostonTweet) in between burritos and assorted Boston goings-on and convinced him to chat with us for a spell to talk about his Twitterlebrity status, social media in Boston, and some other Tom Trivia.
Prior to our discussion, we asked the Twitter community to tweet their questions for Tom using the hashtag #AskBostonTweet. We got some great response, and have included the timestamps for each question in the video below. Enjoy!
Special thanks to Mandy Miller (@AmandaMMiller9) for her awesome, patient camera work.
1:30 Do you use other social media platforms?
2:17 How do you pitch @BostonTweet?
3:15 People can win Groupons by retweeting your tweets. If they retweet Groupon’s tweets, can they win you?
3:45 Where will @BostonTweet go from here?
5:15 Will you release a @BostonTweet-branded fragrance, a la Britney Spears and Khloe Kardashian?
5:30 What causes and nonprofits inspire @BostonTweet?
6:50 Are there @BostonTweet counterparts across the country?
7:44 How many tweets could a Boston tweet if a Boston could tweet tweets?
7:58 Aside from “I’m @Bostontweet,” what pickup line generally works best on women in Boston?
8:36 Have Twitter followers ended up crossing over to real life friends and colleagues?
9:50 After you die, will you submit your brain to the MIT Media Lab?
This is a guest post from Dan Walsh, Account Executive in Racepoint Group’s Waltham office. Follow him on Twitter @DanWalshed.
Natali Morris’s announcement yesterday that she’ll be leaving CNET at the end of April was certainly surprising. Not so much because a popular reporter was leaving an influential news site but because that news site wasn’t Engadget.
In case you haven’t noticed, over the last two months the tech media landscape has seen some turnover… to quickly recap:
March 30 – Host of CNET’s Loaded and The Early Show Tech Contributor Natali Morris leaves CNET
Perhaps even more surprising is that each of these reporters left their current gigs without a new (public) home in hand.
Personally I’d like to see them all wind up at GDGT.
For the unfamiliar, GDGT was founded by the formidable tag team of Peter Rojas and Ryan Block (of Gizmodo and Engadget fame) and is somewhere between social network and peer review platform.
It was really Natali’s departure that got me thinking about the possibility that GDGT could launch an editorial team. Currently most of the content on the news tab is linked from other sites. Imagine if they were to hire some of the recent free agents listed above. A mix of professional and crowd-sourced reviews with the sharp commentary of any of the pundits above could quickly propel GDGT into direct competition with CNET and Engadget as the premier destination for consumer tech news and reviews.
With Josh leading the direction of the editorial (without the guiding hand of AOL) and Natali taking the reigns as the producer and creator of a GDGT show, the site would develop more of a mass appeal while remaining true to its roots. In short, it would be a force to be reckoned with.
Two weeks ago RaceTalk was offered the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book “All the Devils are Here” which is co-written by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. We were immediately intrigued given both authors’ extensive history covering business and management in the media.
Bethany McLean is the former editor-at-large for Fortune magazine, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and the author of a book titled “The Smartest Guys in the Room.” Her book explores the behind the scenes drama that lead to the collapse of Enron. The book was later turned into a film. According to the Business Insider, McLean will begin a new role as a Wall Street and finance columnist for Slate in the coming weeks.
McLean’s co-author Joe Nocera (who RaceTalk interviewed after his sudden and aggressive call from Steve Jobs) is best known for his expert reporting on management and business for the New York Times. Prior to his current role, Nocera, like McLean, worked as an editor for Fortune magazine. He also wrote regular columns for GQ and Esquire and served as a contributing editor to Newsweek.
In their joint effort “All the Devils are Here” McLean and Nocera take an inside look into the United States financial crisis. The book opens with an eight page of glossary titled “Cast of Characters” to assist readers in remembering who is who. There are also two upfront page of nothing but critical acronyms! From the prologue alone the reader feels a knot in his/her stomach as the poor judgment and incredible greed comes to light.
I don’t want to give away too much for interested readers, but the tone of the book is set very early. In the first chapter we learn that a star at Merrill Lynch, John Breit, finds himself being pushed out because in his role as risk manager he was reporting findings that would slow the “growth” of the business. The reader gets the sinking feeling this is going to be one of the milder stories.
If you’re interested in the decisions and the key players that influenced the eventual topple of the U.S. economy, “All the Devils are Here” is a must read. Written by two of the most knowledgeable business reporters, this is an expertly detailed and analytical account of our nation’s financial demise. You can listen to McLean read an excerpt from the book on this Vanity Fair podcast.
If you find reading a 350 plus page book intimidating, you can experience a visual account of the financial crisis via the documentary “Inside Job” which is currently playing in theaters.
Thank you to Bethany McLean, Joe Nocera and their team for sharing their latest project with us here at RaceTalk. We’re frightened but enlightened.
Back in April I wrote about Jeff Pulver’s 140 Character Conference that was taking place in New York City. I praised the conference and its attendees for providing advice on social media best practices live from the event. The live tweeting was so impressive I felt like I was there in the auditorium.
Yesterday, I actually was in the auditorium as Pulver brought his traveling conference to Boston for the first time. The conference began at 9:00 am and went until 6:00 pm with over 61 speakers on the roster. Each group that took the stage had 10 minutes to share how Twitter and/or the real-time web have impacted their goals professionally and personally. Below, a few highlights from the day:
Jeff Pulver, @jeffpulver – Check out Pulver’s opening remarks to kick off the day:
John Daley, @Boston_Police – Daley, deputy superintendent for the Boston Police, shared that the department is using Twitter to broadcast vital, public safety information to the city of Boston and their broader Twitter followers. The police see Twitter as an effective way to disseminate critical information in real-time. Daley also noted that citizens have begun reporting crimes to the police via Twitter. They tweet updates and photos, typically of crimes they consider “too small” to dial 911. Who knew!
C.C. Chapman, @cc_chapman – C.C. is on a mission. A mission to give dads who blog as much power and recognition as the infamous “mommy bloggers.” During what was by far the most animated speech of the day, C.C. shared his personal quest to force consumer brands to recognize fathers as a key sales demographic. Marketers, pay attention. The dads have wallets too.
Patrick Larkin, @bhsprincipal – Larkin is the principal of Burlington High School where he is trying to bring the school into the digital revolution. In addition to teaching a Web 2.0 class to his students, Larkin is working to educate families on the importance of digital education for students. During his panel, Larkin said, “We need to teach our children to use social media. Without that, the diploma doesn’t mean much.”
Amanda Palmer, @amandapalmer – Palmer, best known as part of the musical group the Dresden Dolls, shared with the audience that, “I was able to ditch my management and my record label to launch an album all via the internet.” She went on to say how her Twitter followers have been incredibly supportive and a resource she didn’t realize would be so critical. She said, “Life is becoming easier, faster and cheaper as we harness the power of social media.” Rock on, Amanda!
Georgy Cohen, @radiofreegeorgy – Cohen is the managing editor of web communications for Tufts University and has one of the best understandings of the power of social media that I have encountered. Not only does she see the value in active social media platforms for the university, but she is consistently engaging with students, staff and alumni to build meaningful relationships. Cohen hit the nail on the head when she said, “We have to be in the ‘now’ because our brands already are, whether we are or not.” I was also impressed by Cohen’s decision to harness the strength of content creation and launch a Tufts website called Jumble (their mascot is the Jumbo) to aggregate all of the best content created by students, staff and alumni. For colleges and university seeking social media best practices, look no further than Tufts.
Chris Brogan, @chrisbrogan – Brogan, a high profile social media player, author and the president of New Marketing Labs, spoke to the group about Twitter and other web applications simply serving as a platform for larger goals. In one of the best quotes of the day he quipped, “No one ever asked Hemmingway what kind of pencil he wrote with. Don’t ask me what blog platform I use! That’s not the point.” View Brogan’s entire talk here:
For more information on the speakers at the Boston 140 Characters Conference, check out my live updates @MollyGaller on Twitter or the #140conf hashtag.
At the close of the event, Pulver said, “This conference is not a tech event, it’s a life event.” Thank you, Jeff Pulver, for a superb day that reminds us all that the next big thing could be just a tweet away.
Last night Racepoint Group hosted an event about social media and its return on investment (ROI). As social media continues to become a larger focal point in public relations and marketing campaigns, it’s critical to understand how to articulate it’s value to clients.
Last night’s event centered around a panel discussion with three social media experts: Larry Weber, Chairman of Racepoint Group, Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics and Mike Volpe, VP of Inbound Marketing for HubSpot.
After Larry Weber’s opening remarks, Qualman shared how he first dipped his toe into the digital space by sending a company-wide email instead of the standard hard copy memo. View his story here:
Volpe was up next and shared with the group the origins of his marketing career and the way tracking and reporting on ROI is evolving. Watch him provide tips here:
The evening was full of tremendous ideas and recommendations. The five big takeaways from the panel were:
1) Social media is not about technology. It’s about human interaction. It’s about sharing information and making connections. People who are intimidated by the technology aspect of engaging in social media should not view the applications as a hurdle. It’s simply the current mechanism to maintain relationships and reach out to new people.
2) When it comes to tracking social media, its important to focus not only on the quantitative (number of followers, number of re-postings) but also the qualitative. We need to take into account engagement and tone. Qualman said, “If social media is so trackable, we should just have robots running things. The human element is necessary here.”
3) Everyone and anyone can be a content creator, a publisher, a media property. As we shift away from traditional print and broadcast media, both we and our clients have the opportunity to get innovative and create and distribute our own content. Additionally, content creation should not be isolated to the PR and marketing staff. Volpe shared that, “50% of HubSpot employees have written posts for the HubSpot blog.”
4) Although much of PR and marketing is based in the written word, we need to start thinking more visually. We need to tell stories through pictures and videos. We need to make our content more authentic and dynamic.
5) On a personal level, Volpe stated, “The new resume is what comes up in Google when I type in your name.” As digital and social media continue to play an increasingly vital role in our PR and marketing efforts, we too have a digital and social persona, and that is now what employers are most interested in.
Thank you to Erik Qualman and Mike Volpe for joining us at Racepoint Group last night and providing such pragmatic, realistic, useful and inspiring guidance on the social media ROI frontier. Be sure to follow @equalman and @mvolpe on Twitter for real time updates on their social media adventures. You can also view all the live commentary during the event with the #smroi hashtag here.
Shankman started HARO as a Facebook group in 2007 and the following grew so large he took the concept to the web in March 2008 at www.helpareporter.com.
HARO has been acquired by Vocus, Inc. one of HARO’s largest and most loyal advertisers. According the video below of Shankman and Vocus representative, Bill Wagner, nothing about the service will change. HARO will still be free. Shankman will still write up front notes about where is in the world and what he’s up to.
The only thing that will change is that HARO will now grow in new ways, with these additional resources. One example, Vocus plans to expand HARO to other countries.
HARO is a perfect case study of an entrepreneurial idea come to life. Shankman saw a need and created a service. The service grew in popularity and reach and became a direct competitor to long time paid service ProfNet (read RaceTalk’s post about how they could have merged, but didn’t). Now, HARO has been acquired (a major win for Shankman) providing the service with fresh momentum.
Shankman is also employing a critical PR necessity: transparency. As soon as the acquisition was final, Shankman took to the blog not only providing a written update, but a video message. HARO supporters heard the news directly from him, as it happened. This is key in building customer loyalty and trust, which is the cornerstone of a strong brand.
As long time subscribers to HARO, we look forward to being a part of what’s next for this growing service.
Of all the companies looking for a fearless leader to head their social media operations, I have to say this company is an unlikely choice. Not only do they dominate their primary industry, but they’ve branched out into several new frontiers on what seems like a weekly basis. Who is this hyper successful innovator?
None other than web giant Google. No, you didn’t misread that. Google, the number one search engine (sorry Bing, no matter how many products placements you do on Gossip Girl or the Rachel Zoe Project we still can’t be swayed), the creator of the increasingly popular Gmail, the blogging site Blogger and the photo sharing site Picasa is seeking to ramp up their social media presence in two major ways with the help of a new hire.
First, Google wants to build a social media offering uniquely their own. The launch of Google Buzz was met with extreme consumer discontent, and Google doesn’t want to continue playing second fiddle to Facebook and Twitter in the social media space.
Secondly, Google wants to improve the way it incorporates social media into its existing services. Seth Waintraub of Fortune’s BrainstormTech blog wrote, “Google has tried to play ball. They penned a deal with Twitter to embed a feed of related Tweets in its search results, among other moves.” While Google has this one collaboration with Twitter underway, there are a multitude of other options for strengthening their social media capabilities even within their existing services.
Sounds like a serious undertaking for Google’s newest employee. In her piece for GigaOm, Liz Gannes shares the job description being used by Google’s recruiter to find this diamond in the rough:
“This is a new and very strategic position, as Google knows it is late on this front and is appropriately humble about it. In Google’s view, conceptually, there are two ways to tackle social, each impacting who may be successful in this senior post: 1) building an innovative offering specifically in this area; or 2) developing the capability and integrating social into Google’s existing portfolio.”
While Google is on the hunt for this head of social media, there is also the possibility that Google could acquire an influential company in the social space and have that former CEO or president morph into this new set of responsibilities.
What do you think? Can Google find the right candidate to steer them towards social media domination?