Today, Michael Clark and I will be presiding over the first “Blogger Bootcamp.
Stay tuned for more about this fun event.
Last night the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America conducted its monthly meeting at the Fort Smith Museum of History.
Historical interpretation professor Tom Wing talked to the professional communicators about connections – between historical interpretation and public relations, and between facilitator and audience.
Linda Kaufenberg of the City Wire staff filed this report.
By Ed Nicholson
I’m in the process of working with Michael Clark on preparing a Social Media 101 presentation to make next week. To show how social media are influencing the news cycle, I decided to closely follow the crash of USAir Flight 1549 to see how social media were engaged in reporting the story.
Since I manage Tyson’s Twitter account, I keep Twhirl up on my desktop, and in the process of posting something about a food drive we had going in NY last Thursday, I noticed this tweet pop up from Janis Krums.
http://twitpic.com/135xa – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy. 2:36 PM Jan 15th from TwitPic
He posted this photo via TwitPic as the boat was arriving to the crash scene. I’m told CNN had the photo up in a matter of minutes. When you look at the video linked below, notice how quickly boats gather around the plane. Gives you some context as to how early on the scene these guys were.
If you go to page 2 of his Twitter timeline, you can follow the series of events as he tweets them up to and following the crash.
He ended up on MSNBC that night, Good Morning America the next morning, and CNN the next day.
Here’s some Coast Guard video of the crash and moments thereafter (see the plane come in from the left–interesting how fast the whole scene moves downstream)
On a side note, also social media-related, the plane’s pilot, Captain “Sully” Sullivan has become an overnight celebrity, Someone started a Facebook group for him on Thursday night, and by Saturday morning it had 125K members. I started picking of screen shots of the page on Saturday morning, and it was quite interesting to see how quickly it grew. As of this writing, he has 393K fans and 17K wall posts.
These are but a very few examples of how people on or near the scene of this particular incident related their experiences to their established networks and beyond. Of course, one can’t deny that the fact this happened in NY enhanced the probability that citizen journalists would be on the scene, and that there would be a lot of them. Mainstream media will continue to play a critical role in ensuring the news is reported credibly and professionally.
For those of us involved in media relations, it’s a great reminder that for the foreseeable future, closely-connected networks of people with access to social media tools can and will affect the coverage of breaking news.
By Ed Nicholson
Many of the people reading this know I’ve been rather critical of PRSA National for a few years. I think they’ve missed a huge opportunity to use social media tools to connect a passionate, technologically savvy community of PR practitioners. All the while, the organization has been churning out PD seminars, webinars and the like focusing on how how social media are changing the way organizations relate to their stakeholders. Made me ask the question, “Are they listening to what they’re preaching?”
Today I came across this interview with Michael Cherenson, the ’09 PRSA Chair, recorded during the national conference in Detroit. Sounds like an intelligent, visionary guy. I was excited by the plans he laid out, but was particularly interested when he mentioned plans for a “new website,” with true interactive functionality.
Godspeed, Michael. I’ll always be loyal to PRSA. The best part of what I use in my practice every day came as a result of my membership. Lots of great things happen at the PRSA Chapter and District level. But I’m ready to regain that old feeling that the not-insignificant national dues are worth every dollar I’ve invested.
I’m about to recommend a book I haven’t read — dangerous territory, to be sure. But I think I’ll be vindicated from what second-hand info I have on it. It’s called Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins. It was touted on Sunday in Hoyt Purvis’ column in the Northwest Arkansas Times. Purvis is a UA professor of journalism who many years ago signed off on my master’s thesis, much to my relief. About Jenkins’ book, he says this:
If you want a better understanding of what’s happening in the shifting media environment, this is a good place to look. Jenkins considers the multiple media systems that coexist, with media content flowing fluidly across them. He sees convergence as an ongoing process of intersections between different media systems. Jenkins stresses the growing significance of “grassroots convergence” in which bloggers and others operate in an arena where the barriers of entry into the marketplace of ideas have been lowered. These grassroots intermediaries, says Jenkins, can function outside any corporate or government system.
If you wish for still more endorsement, see the Publishers Weekly blurb on the book’s Amazon.com page:
Henry Jenkins, founder and director of MIT’s comparative media studies program, debunks outdated ideas of the digital revolution in this remarkable book, proving that new media will not simply replace old media, but rather will learn to interact with it in a complex relationship he calls “convergence culture.” The book’s goal is to explain how convergence is currently impacting the relationship among media audiences, producers and content, a far from easy undertaking. As Jenkins says, “there will be no magical black box that puts everything in order again.” Jenkins takes pains to prove that the notion of convergence culture is not primarily a technological revolution; through a number of well-chosen examples, Jenkins shows that it is more a cultural shift, dependent on the active participation of the consumers working in a social dynamic. He references recent media franchises like Survivor, The Matrix, and American Idol to show how the new participatory culture of consumers can be utilized for popular success and increased exposure. Jenkins’ insights are gripping and his prose is surprisingly entertaining and lucid for a book that is, at its core, intellectually rigorous. Though wordy at times, Jenkins’ impressive ability to break down complex concepts into readable prose makes this study vital and engaging.
If you read it before I do (which you may — I’m three books behind already), let me know your thoughts.
Jason Falls: Is the Future of Adversting Public Relations?
Some interesting questions raised here. One thing is clear, no matter where you stand: The ground is shifting beneath us. The skills we’re learning and using as public relations practitioners–specifically, connecting in an authentic way, and creating relationships with our stakeholders–will be more essential and more valuable than ever before as the new world emerges.
“Any interpretation that does not somehow relate what is being displayed or described to something within the personality or experience of the visitor will be sterile.”
Freeman Tilden’s first principle of interpretation, as outlined in Interpreting our Heritage, is that we must meet the audience where he or she is – physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
The visitor is unlikely to respond unless what you have to tell, or to show, touches his personal experience, thoughts, hopes, way of life, social position, or whatever else. If you cannot connect his ego (I use the word in an inoffensive sense) with the chain of your revelation, he may not quit you physically, but you have lost his interest.
In your daily work as a communications professional, how can you better relate your company’s message to key audiences? Please share your thoughts or ideas.