Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Greenpeace remixes Dove's Onslaught video to raise awareness of deforestation

Just in time for Earth Day, check out this new social media campaign from Greenpeace directed at Dove:

According to Greenpeace, Unilever, the makers of Dove, "are buying palm oil from suppliers who destroy Indonesia's rainforests". This video is supposed to raise awareness of this practice.

Update (05/15): Unilever has conceded to Greenpeace's demands to only buy the key ingredient in its Dove soaps from suppliers who can demonstrate they haven't cut down forests.

Greenpeace Multimedia Producer, Daniel Bird, who made the video, gave a presentation on what makes a video viral and posted his notes on the Greenpeace blog. You can read them here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Virtual Guest Lecture: Valerie Jennings, CEO and president of Jennings PR & Advertising

I am happy to announce that Valerie Jennings, CEO and president of Jennings Public Relations & Advertising, Inc. (JPRA) will be joining us over iChat on Tuesday for our last guest lecture of the semester. Valerie founded JPRA, formerly known as Pure Eloquence, Inc., in 2003 after locating to Overland Park, Kan. from Minneapolis, Minn. Valerie started out providing public relations services to political candidates, but now the firm predominately represents companies and individuals in the private, government and non-profit sectors.

JPRA is a public relations and social media relations firm, specializing in local, national and international publicity campaigns for elite corporate, sports and entertainment clients. The agency has been very active in the social media arena and has taken a major interest in the art of storytelling and the science of generating quantitative results for their clients through the use of Web 2.0 technology, traditional public relations and dynamic Web site design.

To find out more about the agency's latest endeavors, check out the JPRA blog and news section

NY Times Multimedia Report Dissects the Pentagon Propaganda Machine

The New York Times today published a really interesting story on how the Pentagon orchestrated an elaborate propaganda campaign aimed at dismissing calls for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation in 2006. RollingStone called it a story destined for a Pulitzer. I like this story for a number of reasons: 
  • First, it's a good example of why so many people think poorly of public relations. When the media talks about ethically questionable Pentagon propaganda and refers to it as a "PR" campaign, that certainly doesn't help paint a favorable picture of the profession. Of course, the fact that the government is involved in this type of unethical behavior doesn't help either.
  • Second, it's a great piece of investigative as well as interactive journalism and does a wonderful job illustrating the promises of online reporting. The NY Times article is accompanied by a multi-media feature which examines primary source documents related to the story and gives the reader a chance to examine those documents more closely. In other words, the reader gets to review the documents the journalist used to put together the story. Think about how different from traditional forms of journalism this is, where all the reader gets to see is the edited end-product. Think about how this is empowering readers to formulate more informed opinions about news stories. Case in point: After reading this story, I downloaded a 30 page transcript of a meeting between Rumsfeld and his military advisors, a 6 page analysis of the media coverage received by the propaganda campaign, and a series of memos - much more info than the media could convey in an 11 minute interactive video or a traditional feature story.
Although this Pentagon-sponsored propaganda campaign seems to have primarily relied on traditional media to gets its message across, the Pentagon has long noted the power of the Internet and social media technologies as a dissemination tool for its propaganda efforts. As Rumsfeld noted in the meeting with his military advisors: 

"This is the first war that's ever been run in the 21st Century in a time of 24 hour news and bloggers and internets and e-mails and digital cameras and Sony cams and God knows all this stuff, and wire transfers, all the electronic things that are going on, and it's a different world. We're not very skillful at it in terms of the media part of the new realities that we're living with. Every time we try to do something someone says it's illegal or immoral, there's nothing the press would rather write about then the press, we all know that. They fall in love with it. So every time someone tries to do some information operations for some public diplomacy or something, they say oh my goodness, it's multiple audiences and if you're talking to them, they're hearing you here as well and therefore that's propagandizing or something or it's not fair or it's not right. We don't have the right rules or the right understandings yet for this century."

It sounds like his frustration is referring to Pentagon infop initiatives such as the Magharebia.com project - a Pentagon-sponsored Internet news website aimed at the Maghreb region of North Africa, which was investigated for breaking a U.S. law that prohibits the government from exposing its citizens to propaganda. The problem was that although the site was aimed at the Maghreb region, it was a public website open to U.S. readers - readers who could therefore be exposed to government propaganda.

Another indication of the Pentagon's interest in new media technologies can be found in a report published in 2006 by the the Strategic Studies Department of the Joint Special Operations University. The report, entitled "Blogs and Military Information Strategy" suggests the military should clandestinely recruit or hire prominent bloggers (click here to download the report).

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Template for Social Media Releases

Since we just covered social media releases a few class periods ago and "attended" a webinar on The Evolving Social Media Release, I thought you might be interested to hear that SHIFT Communications just released an updated version of the SMR template we discussed. You can read about the template's new features on the PR Squared blog.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Social Network Site Usage Stats from the U.K.

I just came across some interesting government statistics on the use of social networking sites in Britain (via the Textdepot). The report was released by the British Office of Communications and "seeks to understand how people are using social networking sites as well as their attitudes to this form of communication". I encourage you to take a look at the report.

Speaking of social networking sites, Facebook just announced a new chat feature that allows users to communicate in real time.

Social Media Resume Assignment

The semester is quickly coming to an end, which means that it is time to start working on your last project - the social media resume! The point of the social media resume is to demonstrate your social media skills to prospective employers in a creative manner. It is also designed to tie together all the different technologies we have explored in this class (such as blogs, podcasts, webvideo & social bookmarks).

For this assignment you will create a social media resume which will “announce” your qualifications, goals, job expectations and anything else you deem necessary. Since the social media resume will be published on your blog (and therefore available online), please don’t include any personal information such as phone number, address, DOB, GPA, etc. If you want to list your email, spell out the @, so spam engines won't be able to pick it up (i.e. userid at stedwards dot edu).

Your social media resume should include the podcast and video you created as part of your class assignments. The finished resume should be published to your blog. Please proofread your resume carefully. There's nothing worse than a resume full of typos.

Required elements:
1. Contact info - again, don’t give out personal info here. Listing your blog, or other online ID will be enough
2. A brief introductory paragraph
3. Your qualifications, desired position (the typical resume items)
4. Multimedia files
  • Photo (optional): Please note that you are not required to add one. Only add it if you are comfortable having your picture on the Internet
  • Podcast: Embed or link to the podcast you created earlier this semester (and any additional ones if applicable). If you will be linking to it, add a podcasting icon to your link.
  • Video: Embed or link to the webvideo you created earlier this year (and any additional ones if applicable). If you will be linking to it, add a video icon to your link.
  • Graphics (optional): Consider this an online portfolio. If you have created a print ad for an advertising class for instance, add it to show off your skills.
5. Links (optional) – if you have authored other pages on the web, or have other web presences (LinkedIn, Facebook), link to them here.
6. RSS, social bookmarking, & Technorati buttons – add these buttons on the bottom of your resume.

Helpful Resources:
You can create your social media resume in a number of ways:
  1. Create it as a regular blog post and edit/format it within your blog editor
  2. Use PRXBuilder to format and publish it to your blog
  3. Use VisualCV, a free online resume creation tool, and link to it from your blog
  4. Create your resume using GooglePages. It will create a page on "http://yoursitename.googlepages.com", which you can link to from your blog
Grading Criteria:
  • Contains all the required elements listed above
  • Is well written and free of grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • Is well formated
  • Contains relevant/substantive information