Tag Archives: social media

Must-read on our Internet Age and Politics

Touche!  Thanks for your insightful perspective Jonathan Kay!

How the Internet makes us dumb – today’ National Post column.  Here’s the pertinent  excerpt:

I’m old enough to remember the early 1990s, a time when starry-eyed futurists believed the Internet would make all of us smarter. We would learn new languages, surf newspapers from around the world, cultivate international pen pals, become more enlightened people by exposing ourselves to different opinions. Twenty years later, it turns out that all this was starry-eyed nonsense: All we want from the web is to have our own ideological biases read back to us in the most hysterical and entertaining form possible – preferably with neat little YouTube links that we can pass around to our friends.

Experts call it the “confirmation bias” – our natural psychological attraction toward data or anecdotes that serve to support our pre-existing attitudes and bigotries. It’s something that always has been part of human nature. But the combination of social media with cheap online video technology has turbocharged the confirmation bias to the point where rational political dialogue is in danger of extinction.



Dawn of a New Era of News Consumption?

The latest biennial survey on news consumption from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reveals signs of “a new phase, perhaps even a new era, in the acquisition and consumption of news.”

In its concluding commentary, the research institute observed:  

     In the last two years, people have begun to do more than replace old news platforms with new ones. Instead, the numbers suggest that people are beginning to exploit the capacity of the technology to interact with information differently.  This notion – that we are beginning to use the tools differently without necessarily abandoning the old ones – can be seen first in the amount of time people spend getting news. Compared with much of the past decade, people say they are spending more time each day acquiring or interacting with news….

     Why have we moved into this new phase — where people are not simply replacing old technologies with new but using new ones for different things or in different ways, augmenting their more traditional behavior?

     One explanation is that the content is changing. News producers are beginning to understand how they can deliver news in new ways to create new understanding, whether through the use of online graphics, customizing news to fit a consumer’s interest or location, or recognizing the public as a community that participates in the news rather than an audience that receives it. Another factor is improved connections and faster speeds that bring the technology’s potential to life. A third is that consumers themselves are changing, recognizing that each platform has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. The strength of an aggregator or search engine, which allows someone to find answers to his or her own specific questions, is very different from the agenda-setting power of a newscast or a newspaper front page (even online), in which the news is ordered and presented for you. The power of a social networking site to tell you what people you know are thinking about or reading is different than the convenience of using a smartphone on the spur of the moment to check a fact or scan a headline….

SOURCE: http://people-press.org/2010/09/12/americans-spending-more-time-following-the-news/

Current Trends in Consuming On-line and Digital News

Here are some more notable findings from the Pew Research survey.* It is not surprising that the Internet is a regular source of news for a majority of Americans and that on-line news consumption is on the rise. But where and how do people search for their news interests? Here’s a glimpse of what is happening: 

  • 57% of Americans regularly get news from at least one internet or digital source. Nearly half (46%) of the public says they get news online three or more days a week, up from 29% in 2004 and 37% just two years ago. About a third (32%) gets news online every day, which is double the percentage that reported going online for news daily four years ago.
  • The use of search engines to find news has also increased substantially. A third (33%) of the public employs search engines, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing, three or more days a week to search for news on a particular subject of interest.
  • The public turns to other online technologies for news far less often. About one-in-ten regularly get news or news headlines by email (12%), through a customizable webpage or RSS reader (10%), or read blogs about politics or current events (9%).
  • Of newer technologies, 8% regularly get news on their cell phone or smartphone, 7% regularly get news through social networking sites and 5% regularly watch or listen to news podcasts. Only 2% of the public regularly gets news through Twitter, and 1% uses their iPad or other tablet computer for news regularly.
  • Many familiar names dominate the list of websites people go to most often for news and information. More than a quarter (28%) mention Yahoo – the most frequently mentioned website – and another 15% cite Google and 14% name MSN as one of the websites they use most often. Fewer mention AOL (7%) and their internet service provider (4%) as their top online sources for news.
  • Cable television news organizations also are among the most common websites for news and information – 16% cite CNN, 8% mention FOX, and 7% name MSNBC among the websites they use most often. Far fewer cite BBC (2%), ABC (2%), NBC (2%), NPR (1%) and CBS (1%).
  • Online news consumers also turn to the websites of national newspapers; 6% name the New York Times website, but USA Today (2%), the Wall Street Journal (2%) and the Washington Post (1%) are mentioned less often.
  • Only 2% cite the Drudge Report and 1% volunteer the Huffington Post as one of the websites they go to most often for news and information. And 1% mention Facebook as one of their top sources for news.

* SOURCE:  This information is from the biennial news consumption survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 8-28 on cell phones and landlines among 3,006 adults. To see the full survey results go to: http://people-press.org/2010/09/12/americans-spending-more-time-following-the-news/

Our News Habits

Last week the Pew Research Centre in the U.S. released current statistics on Americans’ news habits. The findings are extremely interesting for all those in media relations.

The trends tell us that more and more people are receiving their daily news in mulitple ways – both from traditional and on-line sources. People spend more time viewing news. Yet, very few get their news from Internet sources only.  

Here is what the statistics reveal:

  • Americans are spending more time with the news than over much of the past decade because there are many more ways for people to receive the news.
  • Digital platforms are playing a larger role in news consumption, and they seem to be more than making up for modest declines in the audience for traditional platforms. The average time Americans spend with the news on a given day is as high as it was in the mid-1990s, when audiences for traditional news sources were much larger.
  • Roughly a third (34%) of the public say they went online for news yesterday – on par with radio, and slightly higher than daily newspapers.
  • With cell phones, email, social networks and podcasts factored in, 44% of Americans say they got news through one or more internet or mobile digital source yesterday.
  • Americans who get news from traditional media platforms – television, radio and print – has been stable or edging downward in the last few years.  There has been no overall decline in the percentage saying they watched news on television.  Even with the continued erosion of print newspaper and radio audiences, three-quarters of Americans got news yesterday from one or more of these three traditional platforms.
  • More than a third (36%) of Americans say they got news from both digital and traditional sources yesterday, just shy of the number who relied solely on traditional sources (39%).
  • People say they spend 57 minutes on average getting the news from TV, radio or newspapers on a given day. But today, they also spend an additional 13 minutes getting news online, increasing the total time spent with the news to 70 minutes.  (This is one of the highest totals on this measure since the mid-1990s and it does not take into account time spent getting news on cell phones or other digital devices .)
  • Only 9% of Americans got news through the internet and mobile technology without also using traditional sources.

SOURCE:  This news consumption survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, on June 8-28, 2011. News links and the full survey can be found here:


Edelman on “PR in a digital world”

Richard Edelman, CEO of the giant public relations firm Edelman, was interviewed recently by Curiosity.com and asked about corporate branding in the digital age. His response is that proactive positioning is not just an option – it’s a necessity.

     “…companies have a responsibility not to be in a sense framed by your opponents. Your job is to tell your own story. And you either do that through your own channel or by reaching out to mainstream media. But to put yourself in a bunker and let others define you is just an absolute disaster strategy. And so particularly in an Internet age where everything is available, you must go out aggressively and also talk to third-party experts, but engage. Engage NGOs;  engage consumers. Be an open-faced kind of company, not closed.”

In that same interview he addressed the role of a public relations company in assisting clients in developing and positioning their brand. Mr. Edelman hit the nail on the head:

     “The problem for PR is that it’s either seen as trivial and “flackery” of the sort of show business type. Or it’s seen as, at the highest end, manipulation and the spin room. And so we have to be between. We’re neither black nor white. In fact, the best kind of PR is that which is quite clearly advocating a position. We’re paid advocates. On the other hand, we then have to commit to acknowledging how we’re doing our work, the names of the spokespeople, their academic backgrounds, that they are being paid. In addition, I think we have to commit to partnering with NGOs, others who have been traditional critics of business. So it’s really the “what we do,” the “how” and then the “where we engage.” It’s all three. That’s the new form of communication.”

The full interview can be found here:


A Summary on “The Future of News”

This week, By George Journal posted the insight of many of our leading news personalities as they considered, “What will be the future of news?”

Prompted by an excellent series of articles in the Business Insider, we explored the possibilities of what our new digital realities will mean for the news industry, reporting, and the delivery of information.

Our By George Journal commentary: The Future of News

The Business Insider’s special report on the future of news:  The Future of News is Going to be Awesome

News personalities’ opinions from the pages of The Business Insider:

Insights into the Future of News

Insights into the Future of News (2)

Insights into the Future of News (3)

Insights into the Future of News (4)

Also, two weeks ago, Canadians also witnessed the passing of a torch on the country’s most-watched nightly newscast. By George Journal paid tribute to this event – saying goodbye to Lloyd Robertson:

Having to say “Goodbye” to our trusted Lloyd Robertson

…and hello to Lisa LaFlamme:

Lisa LaFlamme – beginning the new era of CTV News 

In closing this review of the future of news, we quote Arianna Huffington, President & Editor-In-Chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group, who says, “The future of news is about connection and engagement…” Today, there is growing involvement of the public in the development of news stories. According to the many newsmen who shared their insight, we can expect this involvement to increase in the years to come. The Internet is the “game-changer.” It has allowed news to become a participatory sport – that will come with new playbooks and responsibilities – and, undoubtedly, with growing pains. By George Journal will continue to explore and report on this fascinating transformation of “news.”

Our personal communications have changed

Because of the choices of available media, personal, one-on-one conversations are becoming increasing hard to have. There’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a host of other media channels to “stay connected” and to converse.  On Facebook, you either voice your thoughts to “friends” (and otherwise) or you comment so the unseen group can see. With Twitter and other tools, your voice can broadcast around the world – and at the same time you can hear the reflections of everybody at your desktop. Skype offers you head and shoulders and a distracting set of lips that are seconds behind the audio.  

What is increasingly missing in all of our daily exchanges is the personal intimacy of a face-to-face conversation. So, when you want to get personal and talk directly to a single person, what is most effective – appropriate – satisfying means for both of you to converse? A Twitter direct message? A Facebook private message? A BBM? A Skype call? An e-mail? A telephone call?

Frank Bruni confronted this dilemma and in a rather humourous NY Times op-ed entitled “Sorry, Wrong In-Box”:

     Communication can become a multistep, multiplatform process. My friend J. and I like to talk on the phone, but only after she has sent me a gmail to propose a gchat, during which we determine if a call is actually warranted and whether I should use her home, mobile, main office or satellite office number. By the time voice meets voice, we’re spent. There’s a lot of heavy breathing; none of it the fun kind.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/opinion/sorry-wrong-in-box.html?_r=1

So, do we Tweet, FB post, BBM?? In a recent G&M post by Dakshana Bascamurty, we find our preferred choices of communications are fast changing. Picking up the phone and calling someone is no longer something we want to do – and receiving a phone call from anyone has become for many a bothersome interruption in their day.    

J.D. Power and Associates’ wireless use and habits study found wireless customers are using their phones less for talk time and more for texting – a consistent trend over the last number of years. The average customer sent and received an average of 500 text messages a month (this is averaged out with all users – among teens and young adults, the average is much higher).  [ Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/do-you-tweet-text-bbm-or—gasp—call/article2150035/ ]

Facebook and texting – and then there’s Twitter! As By George Journal posted yesterday, Americans and Canadians are enraptured in Twitter-mania.  There’s 100 million users and 55% log on every day via mobile. On average, there are 1 billion tweets sent daily (an 82% surge in Tweets since January 2011).

For the many who would still rather converse via phone calls, emails, letters and live, face-to-face conversation, social media has become disarming. Where’s the true conversation in all the background typing noise to be heard from the exchanges on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Where’s the personal connection in one’s conversations?

The short (inadequately brief) answer to this query is that our personal communications have changed – and will continue to do so. Today, there are many who exchange personal matters directly with other individuals on a daily basis and have no thought regarding the medium; there are many who no longer expect an intimacy in many of their daily conversations;  and there are those who use social media to chat and banter and surf – and then connect on a personal level when they turn off the computer to interact with their family and neighbourhood.

So, what’s appropriate, effective for personal connections and intimate conversations depends on how comfortable you are with the various social media channels and our on-line, global voicebox.

Latest stats re Twitter

Here are some impressive Twitter-stats revealed today by the company’s CEO Dick Costolo.

  • 100 million users are active on Twitter
  • Over half, 55% log on every day via mobile
  • On average, 1 billion tweets are sent each day. This represents an 82% surge in Tweets since January 2011.
  • Twitter.com sees 400 million unique visitors each month
  • 40% of active users do not Tweet or have not Tweeted in the last month.
  • 82% of US Congress and 85% of US Senators are on Twitter.
  • 87% of the 2010 Billboard Top 100 are also on Twitter.
  • 100% of the top 50 Nielsen-rated TV shows Tweet.
  • Every team in the NFL is on Twitter with over half of players hosting accounts as well.
  • 75% of NBA players have Twitter accounts.

SOURCE:   http://briansolis.posterous.com/100-million-active-on-twitter-other-stats

The use of Twitter to brand and position

In a well-received report * from global software developer Exact Target, we know that active Twitter users are 3 times more likely to “amplify the influence” of a brand than Facebook users would. Twitter users are bloggers, community members and active online participants in Internet culture. Those that are active on a daily basis are collaborators and contributors:

  • 72% publish blog posts at least once a month
  • 70% comment on others’ blog posts
  • 61% write at least one product review a month
  • 61% comment on news sites
  • 56% write articles for third-party sites
  • 53% post videos online
  • 50% make contributions to wiki sites
  • 48% share deals found through coupon forums

Twitter’s power to influence extends beyond the actual SM site. For one, discussions that begin on Twitter are more likely to appear elsewhere on the web than they are from any other network. That makes Twitter Followers some of the most influential online users. According to Exact Target, active Twitter users count themselves as those who actually want to influence others. 73% of Twitter users have said that it is their goal on the platform to accumulate larger audiences, and are incredibly selective about who they choose to follow. Secondly, consider that your “Followers” are not  the only ones listening to your brand on Twitter. Search engines – like Google and Bing are also indexing your individual tweets. 

But the sheer power behind Twitter lies in its concise messaging. Cheri Macale, Co-Editor for The Next Web, says, “Twitter is that it forces us to shrink down all of the nonsense we want to say about ourselves and present it in a single shot. It’s like a resume — you want to cut out the “fluff” and only offer the most relevant information to your target audience. In this way, consumers understand that they are only getting the most important and critical information from brands or those they choose to follow on the platform.”

To read Macale’s full article (ed. – excellent commentary!), go here:


Here are three resourceful links re Twitter and its effectiveness: 

 * The Twitter survey report can be found here:


Our eyeballs tell the story behind the advance of SM

Canadians love their social media! 60% of all Canadians — over 17 million Canucks — are online according to a recent Ipso survey.*  50% of online Canadians visited a SM site at least once a week. 35% of online Canadians visited a SM site everyday (this number was only 19% a year ago). 35% say that the time spent on SM sites has increased. And SM in Canada is expanding its reach among the entire population. 86% of the 18-34 year old demographic range is active on SM sites. Almost 2/3 of 35-54 year olds and over 40% of those over the age of 55 in Canada are now actively using SM.

Yes, Canucks are wired! With regard to social media sites, here are some amazing numbers on the three largest SM sites:  Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. 

Facebook #’s

Facebook has more than 750 active users worldwide. The US has 154 million users; followed by Indonesia (40 M), India (34 M), Turkey (30 M) and the UK (30 M).

  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day.

Canada has a total of over 16.6 million users (that’s 49% of the country’s population).

  • There are 9+ million active Canadian users a day.
  • Canadians spend an average of over 400 minutes on Facebook per month.
  • 50% of Canadian users are between ages of 18 – 34 and 30% are between ages of 35 – 54.
  • Canadians are one of the friendliest countries on the planet – with the highest average number of friends of 190 (the world’s average is 130 friends).

To put this market penetration in Canada into perspective, Facebook has a daily audience greater than 2 Super Bowls and 6 times that of Hockey Night in Canada.

LinkedIn #’s

There are 101 million LinkedIn users worldwide.

  • 47% of LinkedIn users are in North America.
  • 72% of users are between 25 – 55.
  • Users tend to be more senior (56% are “individual contributors”, 16% are management level, and 28% are director/VP level or above).
  • The majority (66%) are decision makers or have influence in the purchase decisions at their companies (and decision makers also tend to be more active on LinkedIn).

For Canadian businesses, this is the place to be… there are more than 3.7 million users in Canada.  The top nations on LinkedIn are U.S. (44.2 million), India, UK and then Canada – ranked 4th.

Twitter #’s

March 2011 marked the fifth anniversary of this social media tool. The numbers of users active on Twitter are staggering by any measure…

  • 106 million Twitter accounts and there are 180 unique visitors to Twitter each day. 
  • Users send a billion Tweets per week. There are (on average) 140 million Tweets sent per day.
  • Over 60% of users are in US – followed by UK, Canada, Australia, and Brazil
  • Most users in specific cities:  NY, LA, Toronto, San Fran and Boston (2009)
  • There is an average of 460,000 new accounts per day created.
  • 182% increase in number of mobile users over the past year.


* To view the Ipso survey results, go here:


Automating your Twitter feed

So you have a blog, a Facebook account, a Flickr account and, of course, a Twitter account. The problem now is every instance you update one of your on-line outlets you need to spend the time to spread the word on your remaining outlets. This is time consuming to say the least and involves lots of needless copying, pasting and reformatting.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate this?

Well, you can with Twitterfeed. Twitterfeed will take an RSS feed and tweet any updates made to the feed. Chances are most of your web outlets will have RSS feeds. For example, you can take your blog’s RSS feed and enter it into Twitterfeed. Now every time you post something new to your blog it will get tweeted automatically.

As with everything in life, too much of something is never a good thing. The temptation to feed your Twitter feed with a raft of RSS feeds is tempting. Just remember, nothing beats interaction on Twitter.

Let’s see how it’s done…

Questioning the societal impact of the Internet

Here is a must read – a very thoughtful article by Mark Wegierski (posted August 8th on ESR): The Internet: Boon or bane to serious discourse?


The Questions:

Will the Internet offer the possibilities of enhancing serious social, political, cultural, and truly philosophical debate?

Or, will the Internet simply deepen the extension of American and Canadian consumerism and political-correctness, and the (mostly American) mindless, ersatz patriotism?

Two observations made by this Canadian researcher are:

  • One of the general effects of the Internet is the tendency to accentuate a “hyper-fragmentation” of social, cultural, and political interests, which means that broadly-based public and political debate becomes ever more difficult.
  • In the case of a very large number of people, the Internet is used simply for access to various entertainment and pop-culture imageries and “news,” existing in various subgenres like “porn”, celebrity-cults, rock- and rap-music, and sports, movie, and television show fandom.

Read the full article here:


Great Quotes about Social Media

  • Social media is the ultimate canary in the coal mine. – Jay Baer
  • Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology. – Brain Solis Principal of FutureWorks
  • The difference between PR and social media is that PR is about positioning, and social media is about becoming, being and improving. – Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents
  • “Build it, and they will come” only works in the movies.  Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.” – Seth Godin
  • Social media is just a buzzword until you come up with a plan. – Unknown
  • Social Media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. No one actually knows how. When finally done, there is surprise it’s not better. – Unknown
  • I realize everyone is telling you social media is a unicorn, but maybe it’s just a horse? – Jay Baer
  • As a general principle, the more users share about themselves, the more others in the community will learn about them and identify with them. – Matt Rhodes, quoted in Social Media Today
  • Social Networking that matters is helping people archive their goals. Doing it reliably and repeatability so that over time people have an interest in helping you achieve your goals. – Seth Godin
  • Think like a publisher, not a marketer. – David Meerman Scott
  • Quit counting fans, followers and blog subscribers like bottle caps. Think, instead, about what you’re hoping to achieve with and through the community that actually cares about what you’re doing. – Amber Naslund, quoted in Social Media Today
  • Social networks aren’t about Web sites. They’re about experiences. – Mike DiLorenzo, NHL social media marketing director
  • In the end, the winner is content. Good content, sharable content, and consumer-driven content will allow us all to have a broader spectrum of information and, for the marketer, an easier way to connect with their base. – Aaron Kahlow, chairman and founder of the Online Marketing Summit
  • If content is king, then conversion is queen. – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka
  • Ask yourself this question CONSTANTLY: where can I add the most value to what matters most to me and the people who care about me? – Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents
  • Attention spans will only decrease as technology breeds laziness and the expectation of rapid solution delivery. – James Gurd, e-commerce consultant
  • Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it. – Erin Bury, Sprouter community manager
  • Twitter is a great place to tell the world what you’re thinking before you’ve had a chance to think about it. – Chris Pirillo
  • Twitter is like a tragically hip New York night club. It is a cool, easy way for companies to engage customers in social media. But the experience can be loud and crowded. – Bob Warfield, CEO of Helpstream
  • LinkedIn is for people you know. Facebook is for people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know. – Unknown

Quotes re Social Media and Business

  • What’s required is a kind of social media sherpa, who can find you the audience you seek, who can reach to them on the platforms where they are already congregating, and who can help promote in tasteful ways that fit the sensitivities of the networks where your audiences are found. – Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents
  • Monitor, engage, and be transparent; these have always been the keys to success in the digital space. – Dallas Lawrence, Levick Strategic Communications
  • Every company is its own TV station, magazine, and newspaper. – Jay Baer, social-media strategist
  • Don’t worry; skills are cheap, passion is priceless. If you’re passionate about your content and you know it and do it better than anyone else, even with few formal business skills you have the potential to create a million-dollar business. – Gary Vee, author of Crush It
  • This isn’t a direct marketing tool, this is human communication. – Rob Key
  • You can’t buy attention anymore. Having a huge budget doesn’t mean anything in social media…The old paradigm was pay to play. Now you get back what you authentically put in. You’ve got to be willing to play to play. – Alex Bogusky, co-chairman CP&B
  • Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and is more an extension of good business ethics. – Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics
  • A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is. – Scott Cook
  • You can be professional while also ‘keeping it real’ with your customers. By interacting with customers in a less formal way, you’ll build a strong human connection that helps build brand loyalty. – David Hauser, co-founder of Grasshopper
  • A marketing person should always ask one key question when beginning to develop a social media strategy: how much chaos can this organization handle? – Gary Stein, vice president of strategy for Ammo Marketing
  • Marketing in a social media world means you are trying to have your message spread while competing with a billion other channels for attention. At any given time, you don’t know where your potential customers are or what they might see. – Jeremy Epstein, founder and chief marketing navigator at Never Stop Marketing
  • Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell. – Seth Godin
  • It’s hard to get lice out of your head, and there’s no easy cure for shaking off campaign-based thinking, either. – David Berkowitz, senior director of emerging media at 360i
  • If your reputation sucks, none of it matters. People with lousy products, crummy business practices, and shady backgrounds get found out. And word spreads with frightening speed. – Sonia Simone
  • If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends. – Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon.com

Current Social Media Trends in Canada

CNW and Leger Marketing report “public relations practitioners continue to find value in using social media, as consumer use of social networking tools grows.”

Here are key points taken from their recently conducted Social Media Reality Check 2.0.  The study explores professional communicators’ use of social media compared with consumer opinions about social media influence on their purchasing behavior.  A comparitive analysis of their year-over-year study reveals insight into how social media use has grown; campaign objectives and measurement, as well as gaps and overlaps in PR practitioner perception and the consumer reported reality.

Rising social media budgets

  • The number of organizations that have a budget devoted to social media have doubled in two years (from 15% to 30%)
  • 32% of professionals surveyed this year say they have a dedicated social media team in place

 Objectives remain informal

  • Visibility (73%) and awareness (70%) are the top objectives for social media campaigns today
  • Awareness (66%) and generating dialogue (59%) were the top objectives for social media campaigns in 2009
  • 26% of those conducting social media campaigns have formal, measurable objectives in place

 Twitter use continues to grow

  • Twitter usage has jumped to 76% from 39% of communications professionals in the last two years
  • Their audience, however, is only using Twitter 32% of the time – up from 8% in 2009

 The influence of social media on consumers

  • 37% of consumers say that they have purchased a product they heard about on social media first
  • Half of respondents state that online reviews influence their purchasing behavior
  • Consumers agree that social media influences smaller purchasing decisions such as which books to read and music to buy

Social Media Reality Check 2.0 was presented yesterday by CNW and Leger Marketing at the Canadian Public Relations Society Annual Conference. For details on the survey:


An attempt at defining “social media”

Want the definition of “social media”? Google it an find that Wikipedia defines it :

“are media for social interaction using highly accessible and scalable pubishing techniques. Social media uses web-based technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogues.”

But we came across a few tongue-in-cheek definitions of social media from Jackson Wightman:

  • The group of web based things that saved the PR profession from going the way of dinosaurs
  • The group of web based things that brought loads of losers out of their moms’ basements and turned them into internet superstars
  • A much hyped marketing channel whose overall performance is still dubious, due to the difficulty in measuring its impact on the bottom line with any degree of rigor
  • The ‘next’ version of email marketing (remember how hyped that was)
  • The collection of web based things that killed society’s attention span
  • A misunderstood group of tools that are driving Fortune 500 executives crazy
  • A marketing channel where “awesome” is the most used word
  • Scary shit, because you have to keep feeding the beast

 [ SOURCE:  http://www.jacksonwightman.com/2010/10/9-awesome-definitions-of-social-media/ ]

Social media is misunderstood more than it is appreciated. One certainty – it’s both a blank sheet for your creativity and a black hole for your spare moments. It’s all and nothing. The value on derives from it is found in what is shared with your “friends” – and the world. It’s what you give – of not only your time, but also of yourself.

Greater Interactivity with Your Social Media

So you’ve unwrapped a new blog, got yourself on Twitter and are increasing your comments and activities on Facebook. Still, there doesn’t seem to be an interest in what you’re doing and what you’re saying. How do you get attention for your ideas? How do you get your readers involved in your dialogues?

Here are a few tips to get greater audience engagement with your social media.

  • Use conversational language
  • Ask open questions or ask people for help.
  • Leave your posts slightly undone so that you invite your readers to add to the posting
  • Link to other people, other sources of information in your posts (to encourage cross referencing between those sources)
  • Reply to every comment (and send a welcome e-mail to those commenting for the first time)
  • Visit the blogs of those who comment on your posts and reply by commenting on their posts

And the #1 tip for getting people to engage with you, your issue and opinion is to share something of yourself in your post. Readers want to know what motivates you to sound off. The more comfortable they are in recognizing the motive(s) for your post(s) the more comfortable they will be in contributing to your dialogue.

Social media is a two-way conversation… you need to share and to give in order to receive.

On becoming Google-stupid, a digital dummy

As we become more computer dependent, there is an emerging argument that we are fast becoming intellectual mutants. Does increased screen time equate directly to a devolving humanity?

A few nights ago, our family saw an interesting and frightening CBC documentary entitled “Are We Digital Dummies?” This is worth every minute of your time!


As we cope with our wired world, we’re at the point that we must begin probing whether we can think for ourselves and socially interact? Are we all fast becoming “Google-stupid”?

Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote: “What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And for those who believe that information is power, Albert Einstein warned: “Information is not knowledge.”

The documentary and these learned reflections took me back to a previously written article that was first published in the By George Treasury.  In this excerpt, we make a few suggestions for dealing with our modern day info-glut.

It is the amount of data that a person is expected to absorb that is scary. Consider that a daily edition of the N.Y. Times contains as much information as the average 17th century person would have come across in an entire lifetime. At our workplace, the average corporate worker receives 191 messages – 51 phone calls, 39 e-mails, 16 internal memos, and 20 items of outside mail. 

The amount, and pace are becoming unbelievable. We offer some hints on how you might avoid receiving so much… and give yourself some healthy ‘headspace.’  

  • Find a place of your own and sit and close your eyes for five – fifteen minutes, in the morning, noon and night.
  • Don’t take work or work related materials to bed with you.
  • Don’t take reading materials – or your blackberry or iPad – to the washroom (this could be your five – fifteen minute mental break).
  • At home, turn the TV – and all screens – off at least two hours at night.
  • Travel to work with the radio/i-pod off at least half your travel time.
  • At work, schedule time when you will concentrate on a single screen and not answer phones or e-mails. 

So, do you need to find a road to recovery? Step one to a better life-computer balance is recognizing the threats of your daily routines. Begin by watching “Are We Digital Dummies?” Step two would be to unplug for one evening and think this through for yourself.

My Right Hand – a social media service

After a few months collaborating with our network, our public relations company CG&A COMMUNICATIONS is unwrapping My Right Hand.  We are offering a virtual assistant service that will support and enhance clients’ social media activities. The core strategy and content development services include: 

  • Content and Copywriting Services – articles and blog posts, media releases, web content; proofreading and editing; identify value-added links, videos, photos, surveys, etc.
  • Internet Design and Development Services – create new site(s) architecture or improve existing one; develop websites, blogs, microsites, brochureware sites
  • Online Management Services – create and manage your social media accounts via blogs, Facebook and Twitter; stakeholder relations including moderating comments and developing content so that you are an active participant
  • Monitoring and Analysis – monitor your communications and produce “Interaction Reports”; suggestions to meet the stated communications objectives; develop your content marketing strategy

To read more information on My Right Hand, today’s press release is here:


Or find out more from the CG&A COMMUNICATIONS website: