Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

This blog has moved on…

Hi everyone,

I haven’t posted on this blog for a long time, but I’m posting topics similar to what I post here on my (once personal) blog. Check out:

http://bryanssophia.wordpress.com

for more updates. I look forward to seeing your feedback and comments there.

Stop the (Word)Press revived

After a brief haitus, I’ve decided to revive Stop the (Word)Press.

I started this blog as an assignment for my Advanced Public Relations writing class, but I believe that this blog has created a niche for itself in the realm of social media for public relations. By reading social media website blogs, finding out what other people had to say about social media and by applying my own (limited) experience as a public relations practitioner, I’ve been able to comment on different social media tools, trends, and methods of use in the world of public relations.

While this method worked for my class, I always felt as if my posts were similar to research papers containing only third party research. Through engaging in social media and talking one-on-one with prominent social media users, I’m better prepared to bring original thoughts and comments on social media.

I’m also planning on expanding the scope of Stop The (Word)Press. This site used to be devoted solely to social media, but I also want to make posts based on my (again, limited) experiences managing public relations campaigns.

Keep checking back for updates.

Digg Note # 1: Commenting

One of the best ways to gain rapport on Digg is to study Digg’s culture. A Digg user who has a grasp of the culture will be able to recognize content that is interesting to Digg users and will be able to avoid submitting content that Digg users will dislike. To find out what I’m talking about, visit Digg’s website, click on the world & Business button, and look at the top stories on the right hand side.

Because it is elections season, a lot of presidential candidate news makes it to the “Hot” section (column on the right side of the webapge). You’ll also notice that Digg users tend to like certain candidates (Barack Obama, and formerly Ron Paul) and have a certain distaste for other candidates (John McCain, namely). It almost goes without saying that a story that features John McCain in a positive light, or portrays Barack Obama negatively, will probably not become a popular story on Digg.

Another way to become familiar with the Digg culture is to read the comments on a submitted story. What’s interesting about Digg’s comment section is that users can digg comments the same way they digg stories. To get a feel for Digg culture, look at what people are saying about top ranked stories. Don’t just look at the comments with the most diggs; check out comments that are “buried” (the opposite of “dugg”). After you have a feel for how the Digg community reacts to comments, start commenting on stories (but make sure to either digg or bury the story first, otherwise you’ll lose rapport).

Keep in mind that in order to have a lot of digg users read your comment, you need to comment on a story before it reaches the Top 10 section on the front page. The best way to get people to see your comments is to comment on a story that is in the “Upcoming” section of Digg. If the story gets popular, your comment will appear higher on the page and more users will digg (or bury) it and respond. A comment I posted about a Fox News poll recently got close to 200 Diggs. I originally found the story on the Upcoming section, but it reached the #1 spot on the Top Ten stories list.

When commenting, it is important to clearly communicate your message. I dropped the ball on this one when commenting on a Ron Paul story. I had intended to say that I hoped Dr. Paul would be healthy enough to run for President in ’12, but I made a typo in the original comment that suggested that I hoped McCain would be healthy enough to run again in ’08.

Click on the image for the full size version. My username is Bry0000000.

As a result, my initial comment was dugg down, but after I clarified myself (a little better, but the modified comment was also a little ambiguous), I received some positive feedback.

Update: I changed my Del.icio.us widget on the right to display Digg article’s that I’ve bookmarked. I’ll be researching more and posting hte interesting ones as I find them.

Digg This

Digg.com is the epitome of internet democracy. Users submit news stories to the site while other users rank them by “digging” the story. Digging a story is simple; login (create an account if you don’t have one), find a story you like, and click on the “digg” button next to the story. Stories with enough “diggs” will be moved to a column on the right side of the page which features the top 10 “dugg” stories on Digg.

It’s easy to see why companies and public relations practitioners should become familiar with Digg: a story that makes the top 10 column can receive a significant increase in site visits.

While this is a huge opportunity for public relations professionals to bring attention to a client, there are some guidelines they should follow when using Digg:

  1. Do not digg your own content or a client’s content: This is a cardinal sin in the world of Digg. Self promotion is frowned upon by the Digg community and will quickly ruin your reputation on Digg. If you must submit something on Digg on behalf of your client, identify yourself as a public relations practitioner who is digging on behalf of a client.
  2. Make friends on Digg: Digg is a social networking site in that users can link to each other’s profiles and identify each other as friends. Friends are able to see stories that you submit, stories that you digg, and comments that you submit. Of course, you have to establish yourself as a creditable digg user before people will add you as their friend. Do this by digging stories that are interesting to you and making comments that other diggers find entertaining or useful. Digg has its own culture, so what diggers find interesting may be different than what most other social media users find interesting.
  3. Get RSS feeds from popular news sites that cover your beat: If you’re involved in political public relations, you’ll want to subscribe to the Huffington Post, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Fox News (if you research the culture of Digg you will see why Fox is included) in order to be the first to submit breaking news. For technology, subscribe to Lifehacker and Engadget, just to name a few. Subscribe to blogs or websites that talk about what you’re representing as a practitioner, then use your RSS feed to be the first to post breaking news.

There are many different tips and strategies to becoming a power user on Digg. One of my goals is to become a power user on Digg in order to make myself more marketable as a social media professional. I’ll keep this blog updated with my successes and failures in the world of Digg throughout the summer. To find out more about becoming a better digg user, check out my Del.icio.us page. I’ll keep updating it as I find new content.

Update: I forgot to post a link to my Digg profile. Add me if you’re on Digg!

What I’ve learned

I’ll be honest: I never thought that I would be able to learn anything new about social media just by maintaining a blog. Having read the previous 12 posts, however, I discovered that before I started this little project, there was a lot I did not know.

I never knew that there were advantages and disadvantages to using Facebook pages over Facebook groups until my blog forced me to think critically about the issue. I would have never thought about the problem that news feed sites such as Digg and Reddit presented in terms of broken conversations, and I would have never guessed that services such as Yacktrack existed to fix this problem. I would have never included blogs such as ReadWriteWeb or ProBlogger in my RSS feeds.

Most importantly, I would have never thought about the impact that social media has and will continue to have on Internet users, and I certainly would have never thought about how social media and the Internet relates to my future career.

In light of this, I believe that I will continue to blog about social media in hopes of learning more about how the Internet relates to us as public relations practitioners and Internet users in general.

Credibility

Sometimes, a good idea gets ignored because people do not believe the idea is good. Often times ideas that receive attention, however, are ideas that come from creditable sources but are not great ideas (just turn on the television and look at the plethora of un-inspiring commercials from big businesses).

People sometimes assume that an idea can only be credible if it comes from a well established source or if it receives the endorsement of a well established source. However, there are a few ways to maintain an idea’s credibility without coming from a source already endowed with credibility.

  1. Use convincing details. Specific details that are easy to remember will help your idea gain credibility. Find a way to make those specific details concrete.
  2. Make your details tangible. 5,000 nuclear warheads is an abstract concept to most that will not stick. 5,000 BBs dropping on the ground all at once will, even if your audience doesn’t remember 5,000 specifically.
  3. Think of Frank Sinatra’s famous lyric: “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.” Pick the most difficult situation that your idea will encounter and show that your idea can succeed there.
  4. Allow your audience to test your idea. Give them a way to sample your idea at no risk to them.

‘Above the Influence’ commercials, which are designed to keep teenagers and young adults off drugs, have almost no credibility. Target audience members either don’t recall the ads whenever they air, or they don’t pay attention to them.

But consider this: An ad shot by a person using a hand held camera who attends a party where drugs are being consumed. The attendee walks into a back room where two or three teenagers are preparing to inject themselves with methamphetamine. The camera records one of the teenagers injecting himself… only for the teenager to overdose. It’s a way to present a convincing, tangable example that would make a seasoned drug-dealer shutter. The idea is controversial, and would involve investigation as to how to create the ad in an ethical manner, but it would undoubtedly convince most teenagers to stay away from drugs… or at least meth.

Google Blog Review

The following post is a blog review for the Fortune 500 business blogging Wiki. I will be reviewing the Official Google blog. The blog will be judged in eight areas. Each area will be ranked on a scale of 1-10 in order of how well the blog is written.

The mission of the Google blog: “Insights to Googlers about our products, technology, and the Google culture.”

Ease of Finding: 6. Despite being the most popular search engine (and Web site?) on the Internet, Google’s Official blog is surprisingly more difficult to find than it needs to be. There is no link on the front page, and there isn’t any reference to an “Official Google Blog” in Google’s upper tool bar. However, It comes up as the first Google search entry when you type in “Google blog” and loads automatically if you type it into your web browser.

Frequency: 8. Google does a pretty good job of posting frequently. They generally post once every day and occasionally post two or three entries in a day. However there are times when Google doesn’t post an entry for two or three days.

Engaging Writing: 8. The Official Google blog has a few different authors, but most of their posts are clean, fairly concise, and error free. However, the content on the blog isn’t always compelling.

Focused: 6. The posts typically fall under the rubric of “products, technology, and the Google culture,” but the mission statement of the blog is too broad in itself. One post might be centered around Google’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, but the next post might be a how-to guide. Google’s blog could benefit greatly from being a little more focused.

Relevant: 8. The posts stick pretty close to the subject’s header, and all the links tend to be relevant.

Honest: 5. Google does provide a note at the bottom of a post whenever they change something on their site, but it’s hard to give Google too many points in this area when they don’t allow users to comment on (and therefore respond to) their posts.

Social Interaction design (interactive): 1. Even though Google close to the center of the Web 2.0 revolution, it has completely disregarded one of the main tenants of social media. Google’s Official blog does not allow readers to comment on blog entries. Audience interaction is key in maintaining a blog; otherwise, the blog is nothing more than an electronic journal.

Responsiveness: 1. If you don’t allow users to leave comments, how can you expect to address your reader’s concerns about a particular issue?

Overall: Google earns 43 points out of 80. The blog could benefit from being more focused and easier to find, but not being interactive takes away from what blogs are about. A lack of consumer input defeats most of the purpose that a corporate blog is supposed to have (issues of transparency and customer trust come to mind).

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About Bryan Saxton:

I am a Journalism Student at the University of Oregon and the Public Relation's Officer for the International Student Association.
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