How Tumblr is changing the PR industry


Well the original title from the Read Write Web is “How Tumblr is changing journalism”. But it doesn’t really matters. I think content curation activites, and related tools for that, already has, or for sure will change, the way we share stories with each other, as information junkies, as journalists. as PR communicators, as people.

A few month ago I wrote a post about “Why Marketers Should Care About Content Curation”. As a matter of fact I didn’t write it. I just curated another post by Derek Edmond from Search Engine Land with a similar headline “Why B2B Search Marketers Should Care About Content Curation”. And he wrote it from a SEO perspective:

“B2B search engine marketers realize new content creation is a critical tactic in an effective SEO strategy. But it is also realized, as illustrated in the Marketingsherpa chart below, the level of effort required to successfully develop new content may be significant, in comparison to other tactics. Therefore, with limited resources and immediate lead generation goals, it is not surprising when we find that new content generation falls behind other SEO initiatives on the priority list. Enter content curation. While not a substitute for new development, content curation can help B2B organizations provide important information to their market.”

Since Google launched the Panda I don’t know If this matters anymore? Because as you might know, Google Panda is the “filter designed by Google to spot low-quality content”, as Catch Pope from the Australien “Curated Content Agency” put it.

If you’re not sure what “low-quality content” is, maybe Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, explanation on the official Google blog, make sense? He says:

“Below are some questions that one could use to assess the “quality” of a page or an article. These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves as we write algorithms that attempt to assess site quality. Think of it as our take at encoding what we think our users want.

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?”

And as you might see, some of these bullets seems to criticize the curated content; or at least some of the curated content seems to be “low-quality content”. And Google might punish your site for that, seen from a SEO perspective? But… I still think marketers (and others) should care about content curation, because that’s a great way to share interesting stories etc with your stakeholders, the people you care about. And not to forget – it’s not just about sharing, it’s about contribution and reflections as well.

Therefore I was not surprised when Richard MacManus recently wrote the article “How Tumblr is changing journalism” for Read Write Web.

As you might know Tumblr is a super easy and smooth blogging tool, but also a sharing tool, or a content curation tool. Becuase that’s pretty much how people are using it. Tumblr themselves says the tool “lets you effortlessly share anything”.

And I don’t know if the curation trend is one of the reasons why Tumblr, with it’s 12 billion page views per month, just hit knockout on WordPress, which is not a curation tool?

So I think it was just a question of time before the journalists, who are already experts on rewrites, would start using the tool (or others) “to power” their news websites, as Richard MacManus put it.

He mention the Tumblr-powered news service, ShortFormBlog, as an example.

“The concept behind ShortFormBlog is very simple: to publish really short posts throughout the day. The site publishes over 200 posts per week, an average of about 30 per day.”

Pretty successful as far as I know.

So now we’re waiting for the trend to really take off in marketers and PR staff’s newsroom.

As a matter of fact, IBM were using Tumblr when they already in November, 2008, launched the Smarter Planet project to help people grasp IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative. The site “uses frequently updated, “microblogging” entries to illustrate how the Smarter Planet vision is unfolding across IBM and across the world.”

Mark won’t organize the entire web – the crowd will


Nielsen just released their Social Media Report Q3 2011. The social media’s popularity continues to grow rapidly from an US perspective, connecting people with just about everything they watch and buy. And the Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website! Scary? Take it easy, Mark won’t organize the entire web – the crowd will.

Vinny Lingham, Entrepreneur & Search Engine Marketer, wrote the 13th of Juni 2007 that “Facebook is the new internet”. He said:

“I am constantly astounded by what FaceBook is doing – they just get it! Yahoo should have really paid the $2bn they asked for them last year – they’re probably worth $5bn by now! If FaceBook becomes another Google – I think everyone at Yahoo will probably revolt!
I personally think that MySpace sucks – and they are a bunch of Generation W’s that just don’t understand what the web is about! FaceBook will overtake MySpace globally well within 18 months – that’s my prediction!”

He was probably not the first guy that realized that something big was going on. But he was one of them. And I remember I did laugh at his headline by then. Maybe I shouldn’t. I knew that Vinny didn’t mean exactly that. Nor did Mark Zuckerberg when I once met him during an early FOWA conference in London, even though he already had some delusions of grandeur.

But – seriously – what’s going on – really?

Nielsen just released their Social Media Report Q3 2011, which shows that “the Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet. In the U.S., social networks and blogs reach nearly 80 percent of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans’ time online. Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website.”


Since Vinny’s post, hundreds of engaged people has speculated if Facebook is the new Internet or not.

From my point of view, I still don’t think that Facebook will become the new Internet, if you may call it so, but what I do understand is that people are social, and we love services that treat us like that, with all of our social needs and wants. It is beyond any reasonable doubt that Mark Zuckerberg has succeeded in doing just that – to provide social services for social people. And it is becoming increasingly clear that other web services haven’t responded to our requests on that point.

Around that time when Vinny Lingham wrote that “Facebook is the new internet”, Jeff Jarvis wrote the historical quote from Mark, in the Guardian, when the “powerful newspaper publisher beseeched Mark Zuckerberg” in Davos “for advice on how he could build and own his community. The famously laconic Zuckerberg replied “You can’t.” Zuckerberg went on to explain that communities already exist and the question these magnates should ask instead is how they can help them to do what they want to do. Zuckerberg’s prescription was “elegant organisation”.”

So as long as no one else will organize the web to help people “to do what they want to do” on the Internet, maybe Facebook will continue to take lead on that. The question is how far they could go?

From my point of view – not so far. Facebook is and probably will be one of the most important network for socializing, and – yes – we might book our flight tickets there as well. But… The most likely scenario is that the whole world wide web will be “Facebookalized”. Facebook will work in symbiosis with the rest of the web and vice versa. Thousands of small web applications will permeate Facebook. And thousands of Facebook applications will permeate the entire web. “Like buttons”, “Sign up with Facebook”-features, are just a few examples. I think the web – the Internet – will be socialized, and we have to thank Mark for inspired lectured the rest of us to execute on that.

Mark won’t organize the whole web for us; the crowd will. But Mark is one of them. A true thought leader. Thank God (Mark) for that 🙂

And – no – this is video doesn’t show the entire life of Alex Droner, but it might show a tiny part of it.

Social Web continue to grow – the companies follows – without beeing social?


Check out the new stats and infographic from Search Enginge Journal. The web is getting more and more social. Rapidly. No wonder… after all we’re human beings who are pretty much social, right? Numbers of users and contributors are just booming. And companies are following.

But what’s their socializing status? Really? God knows.

71% of the companies (which?) are using Facebook, 59% are using Twitter, and 39% are using blogs in their “marketing”.

My experience though is that many of the companies are still using social media as another channel for their content. Take a look at their Facebook pages for an example. Some of the companies are just pushing their stories out, without listen, and then they’re counting the numbers of “likes” without answer the questions: Am I really committed to my audience? Am I engaged? Who is really engaged? If the likers never comment the companies updates or never contribute with anything to the wall. And vice versa… what’s left of the social part?

Let me refer to what Kevin Roberts, CEO World wide, Saatchi & Saatchi, says in his book “Lovemarks“:

“Forget the information Economy. Human attention has become our principal currency. Job number one for any marketer these days is competing for attention. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. But once you’ve captured that attention, you’ve got to show you deserve it.

The process really only has two steps – so why does everyone find it so hard? I think I’ts all because we obsess over the attention part and forget about why we need that attention in the first place…. We need the relationships.

Emotional connections with consumers have to be att the foundation of all our cool marketing moves and innovative tactics.So it’s time to stop racing after every new fad and focus on making consistent, emotional connections with customer and stakeholders. If you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.

The great journey from products to trademarks and from trademarks to brands is over. Trademarks are tablestakes. Brand are tablestakes. Both are useful in the quest for differentation and vital to survival, BUT they’re not winning game-breakers.

Today the stakes have reached a new high. The social fabric is spread more thinly than ever. People are looking for new, emotional connections. They’re looking for what they can love.”

Facebook vs Twitter as journalistic tool?


Since I wrote the posting below partly about the brand new Facebook page “Journalists on facebook” and finished that part with the sentence: “I’m pretty sure that many journalist now will take the oppertunity to use this possiblity, to get more out of their daily work.” There’s been a lot of buzz regarding Facebook vs Twitter as a journalistic tool.

Justin Osofsky, Director of Media Partnerships at Facebook, says that the page has been created: “to serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories. And that “the Page will provide journalists with best practices for integrating the latest Facebook products with their work and connecting with the Facebook audience of more than 500 million people.

I believe he’s spot on, but… I do respect the critics. Among other I got an e-mail from Daniel at Newsy.com who recommended me to see the video about the topic Facebook vs Twitter as a journalist tool.

The news anchor Jim Flink at Newsy, says:
“So, could Facebook challenge Twitter in the battle for reporters’ hearts? One blogger says – probably not:
“Twitter allows you to order the account you follow into lists so you can have all the information about one subject on the same feed while Facebook imposes on you the feed of every journalists you will follow, no matter the subject they are working on or they are specialized in.”

Gigom’s Mathew Ingram suggests the company might have to alter its image a bit to make this work.
“…many users still likely think of Facebook as a place to socialize rather than be informed — a place to play games … not necessarily a place where journalists are active. Those things may not be mutually exclusive, but it’s going to take some work to make them feel like they belong together.”

I do agree. But my point of view is that both services has some left to prove to be kick ass tools for journalists, and their audience in particular.

I would say that the biggest headache right now for both this services, within this matter, is that most people has only one newsstream (or wall) for all their interests, topics, networks, etc (discussion in groups excluded). And most of the people is as a matter of fact interested in several topics and member of many communities. Do you really want the latest news from the revolution in Egypt on the same wall as where my cousins birthday party shows up? I don’t. And these lists feature is too… time-consuming. The same applies for Twitter. Ranking system, like Facebook Edgerank, might make the updates more relevant, but doesn’t solve this problem.

Personally, I love my Google RSS Reader with an extensive but careful selection of sources (social networks included)  in combination with Flipboard.

B t w – what happened to the service “LinkedIn for Journalists”? What I can see is pretty much no more… Or it ended up as a tiny group.  And LinkedIn Today…? Well – we won’t start our days with that kind of news aggregator, do we?

To be continued.

First radio reporter using iPhone as primary field recorder


Journalism has truly turned up side down. And I think that’s just great. I just ran into a few great examples of that:

First of all check out the WTOP reporter Neal Augenstein, who has replaced his heavy radio equipment on an iPhone. He’s writing about this interesting change in MediaShift. And it’s truly inspiring. In particular for those who want to go out on the field to cover, create, and distribute remarkable stories direct to their audience. It hasn’t been easier than now.

Neal describes himself in his Twitter bio as follows:
“Believe I’m first major market radio reporter using iPhone as primary field recorder.”

And he says:
“Now, with the Apple iPhone 4 and several apps, I can produce intricate audio and video reports, broadcast live, take and edit photos, write web content and distribute it through social media from a single device.”

“With the VC Audio Pro app from VeriCorder, I can quickly pull cuts, edit and assemble audio wraps, and adjust volumes on a three-track screen similar to the popular Adobe Audition used in many newsrooms. The amount of time saved by not having to boot up the laptop and transfer audio has been my single greatest workflow improvement. The finished report that used to take 30 minutes to produce and transmit can now be done in 10.

This is a rundown of all the key ways he’s using on and with his iPhone.

Neal Augenstein hasn’t a journalist page – yet. But Nicholas D. Kristof has. He’s one of the top journalists that might got inspired of the possibilities that Justin Osofsky, Director of Media Partnerships at Facebook, talking about on the brand new Facebook page “Journalists on Facebook”. The page has been created: “to serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories.”

Justin says that “The Page will provide journalists with best practices for integrating the latest Facebook products with their work and connecting with the Facebook audience of more than 500 million people.

I was actually one of the first to like that page, now one day later, they are ten thousands of journalists. And all of them are now asked to create professional pages on Facebook, for both reach and interact with their audience, listen to them, work with them, get ideas for articles of them, and so on. Some of them might already have done that, like Nicholas D. Kristof, that already has more than 200.000 “fans”. And some of them also bring their page to their newspapers bylines like Robert Fisk at The Independent. Why not?

I’m pretty sure that many journalist now will take the oppertunity to use this possiblity, to get more out of their daily work. Some of them will be CNN journalists if they haven’t already joined “the Facebook revolution”. And the media itself is no exception… Look at NPR or the very small local news blog Rockville Central.

When I talked to Nick Wrenn, vice president of digital services for CNN International, during the conference Social Media World Forum, in London, he said that Facebook is an equally obvious that common source of information and meeting point. But he would rather emphasize CNN’s iReport and Open Stories as the public Forum for meeting, collaboration, and sharing, between CNN journalists and their audience.

Communication a huge and confusing melting pot


Everybody in communication business talks about it everywhere! The new and ever-changing communication landscape has turned the media industry on its head. The confusion is now complete. Much of what we have learned and become accustomed to is no longer valid. This applies particularly to media, journalism, public relations, marketing, and sales. The professionals within each of these fields are either desperately holding on to their old identities, or are groping around for new ones.

The role of journalists is questioned. Previously clear concepts such as “journalist” and “journalism” have become blurred. The same goes for “media”. What is a media today? And “PR” … what is PR? It’s obviously something else today than it was yesterday. And what about “marketing”…

“Markets (and marketing) are conversations” as the Cluetrain Manifesto puts it. Conversations are based on relationships. Just like PR. Because PR’s is all about relationships, right? It’s all about relationships with both the market and those who influence it, including journalists. However, since all consumers now have access to almost exactly the same “tools” and methods as traditional journalists, it seems like the market has in some way also become the journalists. The market represents a long tail of new journalism and new media that perhaps has the greatest influence on a company’s market and might perhaps be their key opinion leaders. “Put the public back to public relations!” as Brian Solis put it long ago.

People have started to talk to each other in social media at the expense of, or sometimes in tune with, traditional media. They’re no longer writing letters to editors. They would rather publish their news ideas directly on the Web. Media consumption, and production, publishing, packaging and distribution in particular, have rapidly moved in to the social web. And both the PR and Marketing communicators are following, or are at least gradually beginning to do so.

As the market moved to the web, and the web has become social, marketing communication has become “social” too. Companies have started to talk directly with their market. And I mean “talk”, not pushing out information. Campaigns with no social component become fewer and fewer. “Monologue” ad banners, with decreasing CTR and increasing CPC, are becoming less acceptable. Google revolutionized with Adwords, Adsense and PPC. Press releases written by former journalists synchronized with Adwords and presented as text ads, turned things upside down.

Aftonbladet has been very successful with advertorials where only a small ad-mark distinguishes the ad from an article produced by journalists. This method is about as successful – and deceptive – as “product placement” in TV and film. That method has gone from small product elements in parts of a program to a complete sellout of the entire series or film. (In Sweden, think Channel 5’s Room Service and TV4’s Sick Sack.) But what can the television business do when the consumer just fast-forwards past the commercials, or worse still, prefers looking at user-generated TV like YouTube?

What will newspapers do when consumers ignore their banners? They will convert advertising into editorials. Or vice versa: they will charge for editorial features and charge companies to publish content on their platform, without involving any “investigative” journalism.

IDG calls their version of this “Vendor’s Voice”, a medium where companies publish their “editorial material” (it used to be called press information) directly on IDG.se and its related websites. The service is conceived and hosted by Mynewsdesk. It works pretty much like the Apple App Store; it is possible for any media to set up their “channel” (the media) on Mynewsdesk, promote it, and put a price on its use.

Essentially, when companies publish their information in their own newsrooms via Mynewsdesk, they can also easily select any relevant channels for the information in question. The service still has the internal working title “Sponsored Stories”, which today may seem a little funny when that is the exact same name Facebook uses for its new advertising program, where a company pays for people in its network to share information about that company with their own friends.

Isn’t that pretty much what PR communicators strive for? It’s in the form of an ad, but this type of advertising is simply bought communication – just like some PR seems to be – with the purpose to “create attention around ideas, goods and services, as well as affect and change people’s opinions, values or actions…”

But the press release… That’s information for the press, right? Or is it information that is now a commodity, often published in the media, directly and unabridged, much like the “sponsored stories”? Maybe it is information that can reach anyone that might find this information relevant. They might not be the press, but they are at least some kind of journalist, in the sense that they publish their own stories, often in same media as “real” journalists, in platforms created for user-generated content.

Everything goes round and round: side by side are readers, companies and journalists. All collaborate and compete for space and reach.

The causal relationship is as simple as it is complicated. People are social. People are using the Web. The Web has become social. People meet online. The exchange is rich and extensive. The crowd has forced the creation of great services for production, packaging, processing and distribution. These are exactly the same building blocks that have always been the foundation for traditional journalists and the media’s right to exist. Strong competition has emerged, but there is also some  interaction and collaboration.

People have opted in to social media at the expense of the traditional media. They rely on their own networks more and more, which has forced advertisers to find a place in social media too. Traditional ads are replaced by social and editorial versions that are designed to engage or become “friends” with your audience, talking to them as you would talk to friends.

The media are in the same boat and are becoming more social and advertorial. Users are invited to become part of both the ads and the editorials. UGC (user-generated content) is melded with CGC (company-generated content) and even JGC (journalist-generated content). Journalism goes from being a product to being a process characterized by “crowd-sourcing”, before ringing up the curtain on a particular report or story. As the newspaper Accent writes on their site:

“This is a collection of automated news monitoring that we use as editors. The idea is that even you, the reader, will see and have access to the unsorted stream of news that passes us on the editorial board. Please let us know if you find something important or interesting that you think we should pick up in our reporting. ”

This is similar to how companies today present their increasingly transparent and authentic communication in their own social media newsrooms, where the audience is invited to contribute their own experiences and opinions, and partly acts as a source of story ideas for journalists.

All in all, it’s a wonderful, fruitful, but oh-so-confusing melting pot.

Bli lika (a)social som Telia på 20 min


Huruvida ett företag har en blogg, finns på twitter och Facebook säger inte ett mycket om hur bra de är på att bygga goda relationer med sin marknad och målgrupp. Det ger möjligtvis en indikation på att ambitioner finns men inte mer än så. Det är snarare hur väl företagen och dess målgrupp lyckas kommunicera via dessa tjänster, som kan ge indikationer hur bra de är på PR. Därför blir jag återigen så förvånad när jag ser tendenser på att folk i branschen fortfarande tror man plötsligt blir social bara för att man “finns på” Twitter.

Jag syftar på Episervers undersökning av sammanlagt 40 svenska företags hemsidor där de flesta företagen inte kunde svara “ja” på fler än max fyra av nedanstående 13 frågor. En av “vinnarna” var Telia som kunde “ticka av” (som Telias kommunikationschef uttryckte det) nio av ovan nämnda 13 kriterier.

  1. Finns blogg?
  2. Finns forum/community?
  3. Finns ”Följ oss på twitter”?
  4. Finns ”Detta sägs om oss på twitter”?
  5. Finns ”Följ oss på Facebook”?
  6. Finns ”Detta sägs om oss på Facebook”?
  7. Kan man dela innehåll via flera kanaler?
  8. Kan man betygsätta innehåll?
  9. Kan man ange favorit (gilla)?
  10. Finns film/webb-tv?
  11. Finns chat/automatiserad chat/webbrobot?
  12. Kan man maila via mailformulär alternativt mailadress/er?
  13. Finns telefonnummer

Kommunikationschef, LG Wallmark, var därefter snabb att utse Telia som vinnare i kundrelation på sin egen blogg med rubriken “Telia bäst i Sverige att använda sociala medier för kundmötet på webb”. Om jag inte hade känt LG en smula, och vetat att Telia faktiskt är rätt bra på att hålla en hyfsad kontakt med sin målgrupp på några av webbens mer sociala plattformar, så hade jag bara fnyst åt uttalandet. Men jag tycker trots allt att rubriceringen är en smula förhastad. För – som sagt – inget av ovan nämnda kriterier säger hur bra ett företag är på “att använda sociala medier för kundmötet på webben”.

Värt att nämna är att MyNewsdesk i dagarna har skapat förutsättningar för vilket företag som helst att inom loppet av 20 minuter bygga upp ett “social media newsroom” som uppfyller majoriteten av ovan nämnda kriterier, till en mycket blygsam kostnad.

Och – nej – det gör dem inte heller särskilt sociala – hux flux. Därför är rubriken på detta inlägg lika förhastat fel som LG’s. Men förutsättningarna att bli duktig på att skapa relation med sin målgrupp har aldrig varit så bra som nu. Upp till bevis.