Friday, September 28, 2007

Citizen bloggers shut down in Myanmar

Here's a disturbing CNN story on the Burmese military junta silencing citizen bloggers & journalists by cutting of the Internet connections in the country. The fact that they saw it necessary to shut them down shows what a powerful force citizen blogging can be. Some exiled bloggers have vowed to continue reporting on the brutalities of the military junta.

Update: I just read a post on the Textdepot which mentions a new grassroots Facebook group that was launched earlier this week to support the protesting monks and currently counts over 100,000 members. The group is coordinating protests in cities all across the world and urging people to wear red on Friday in support of the protests. Need I say more about the power of social media?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ikea launches major social media project

Looks like Ikea has decided to go web 2.0 with the America at Home initiative they announced today. The project is dubbed a "collaborative photo event" and invites Internet users to upload pictures that capture the "emotions of home". Judging from their FAQ, the America at Home project is designed to support a major new branding campaign entitled, "Home is the Most Important Place in the World." Both HP (Snapfish) and Google are providing technical support for this project.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Monitoring Conversations on Facebook

As we start talking about new influencers, consumer evangelists, citizen marketers and empowered Internet users, questions of whether or not organizations should actively monitor, and participate in online conversations, will begin to emerge. Today we will look at conversations on facebook and what they mean to PR professionals. We'll look at an on-campus example first before we'll examine Wal-mart's latest facebook endeavor.

Campus examples:
Facebook Groups that are opposed to the new parking garage on campus:
Boycott the parking garage group - 304 members
Students against parking garage fees - 339 members

Business examples:
Wal-Mart's facebook group
Target's facebook group

Below are some thoughts on Wal-Mart's Facebook strategy collected from around the blogosphere:
WalMart’s Facebook Strategy Sinking: Analysis and Reccomendations - Jeremiah Owyang
Facebook Sponsored Group Analysis: Target vs Wal-Mart - Jeremiah Owyang
Can Wal-Mart's Facebook Campaign Survive Transparency?
- Robert Gorell
Sorry, Wal-Mart. The kids would rather talk labor politics than home d├ęcor - Burt Helm
Walmart on facebook. beginning of the end?
- Darryl Ohrt
Ad Week report comparing Wal-Mart's effort to Target's

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Netscape announces social news website

The Netscape blog today announced that Netscape will soon launch Propeller, a social news website.

You might want to check it out once it goes online.

Some ideas for deciding what to blog about

Since you are required to start blogging on a regular basis starting this week, I thought I'd add a few tips on how to identify potential topics. Remember that the idea of these posts is to get you to engage the course material critically and to have you keep your eyes open for interesting material to blog about. You will need to become an active learner and start being on the lookout for material to incorporate into the class instead of relying on me, as the instructor, to tell you what is important. Your blog posts should demonstrate your ability to locate examples of PR applications of social media on your own.

1. Start reading the PR blogs (Micropersuasion, PR 2.0, PR Squared, etc.). I have added a number of them to our course blog. This is where you'll find a lot of info pertaining to our class.

2. Read technology blogs. There are tons of them out there!

3. Watch/read the news. The presidential candidates, for instance, have been using different forms of social media for a while now, and you could find out about their latest uses by keeping up with the news coverage of their campaigns.

4. Start using some of the social bookmarking services we talked about in class. Find someone who tags social media sites and subscribe to that person's bookmarks via RSS. That way you'll come across sites/stories you may never have looked up on your own.

5. Just keep your eyes open while you are online - and have fun!

Social bookmarking & tag cloud sites we talked about today

Here's a list of the sites we talked about today, in case you didn't write them down:

- Furl
- Stumble Upon
- Many Eyes
- Newzingo

Monday, September 10, 2007

Geocaching as a PR tool

We briefly discussed geocaching last class. This site talks about how the boy scouts use it for PR purposes among other things.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Wikiscanner - an Anti-Astroturfing Tool?

When we talked about wikis last class, I mentioned the wikiscanner, developed by CalTech graduate student Virgil Griffith. Wired ran a story on it last month which is worth reading.

The wikiscanner was designed to shed light on anonymous Wikipedia edits by identifying the source of those edits. It does so by checking the IP address of the editor against a database of IP addresses in order to locate the organization that owns that particular set of IP addresses.

Now what does that have to do with PR, or this class? Remember astroturfing from your intro to PR class? The open nature of Wikipedia carries with it the disadvantage that it can easily be used by organizations, governments, and individuals to push their own agenda and engage in astroturfing.

With no easy way to check the sources of the thousands of Wikipedia entries and edits, "wikiastroturfing", unfortunately, has become an all too inviting option for businesses and individuals with shady ethics.

The wikiscanner's ability to out such incidents of astroturfing makes it a powerful new tool in the fight against unethical PR and business practices.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Why PR students need to become involved with social media

In this brief interview, Paul Young, director of the Forward podcast, discusses the growing importance of social media in the PR field and specifically addresses the need for PR students to learn about new social media technologies.

Listen to the podcast: