September 22, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

A Twitter rush to judgment

A Twitter rush to judgment

First up…

Chris Brogan, K-Mart, and Twitter–who would have suspected that this combo was so combustible? Chris decides to do a sponsored post for K-Mart, clearly stated, not on his main blog but on his Dad-O-Matic blog (think ‘daddy blogger’). Jeremiah Owyang tweets about it, mayhem ensues on Twitter (which, quite frankly, I think I’m getting a little tired of typing; it seems to happen so often). I think Twitter has many useful purposes, including keeping people updated in an emergency, but it is also way too easy for twitter mobs to form.

As I was accessing Twitter from my smartphone on Saturday, looking for information on the massive power outage we had in the Northeast, I kept seeing tweets about whether or not Chris Brogan had “sold out” and so on. Since I had more pressing things to think about, I filed it away to review on Monday. I did, and all I can say to his critics is: what is wrong with you people? The blowback on this is insane. Chris clearly disclosed what he was doing, and why. To those who commented that they read Chris for social media commentary, not K-Mart reviews, I’d like to point out (again) that the K-Mart post was on Dad-O-Matic “[…] a place for dads to share thoughts and ideas about parenting.” So, what were you doing looking for social media commentary on a parenting site?

Fact 1: People are moving towards receiving content online
Fact 2: Advertisers and marketers realize this, and are trying to reach people where they are
Fact 3: They can reach people one of two ways–upfront and with full disclosure, or they can go the surreptitious route.
Fact 4: Advertising pays for content. Good content commands decent advertising dollars. Great content commands higher advertising dollars.
Fact 5: Many in social media have proactively pushed this as a low-cost alternative to traditional advertising. Guess what? In a down economy, advertisers are listening.

By chastising Chris for doing a sponsored post, social media advocates are veering once again into the territory of treating social media as some lofty ideal, with no consideration of the real world–or, for that matter, with no consideration of what the community has outlined as acceptable. Harsh critique of a clearly disclosed post is exactly the wrong thing to do–brands need to be positively reinforced when they play by the rules. This isn’t the first sponsored post that Chris has done, so does this perhaps have more to do with K-Mart than the post itself? I don’t know. It’s utterly bizarre to me how quickly people turn on one another online. Chris’s post on advertising and trust lays out his thoughts on this brouhaha, but once again I’m left wondering if social media is populated by judgmental ideologues bent on maintaining a Utopia that never really existed.

P.S.–Best blog response to the whole thing? Chris Brogan is the Chuck Norris of Social Media.

Next up…who is expanding in this economy? Social networks, of course.

An interesting MediaPost piece describes how online social networks have been exploding in size recently, as the newly laid off seek to connect with others. The article specifically delves into an area that has interested me; many of the connections are not ‘deep’ connections (my quibble with using the word ‘relationship’ when all one is doing is flinging vampires at one another). According to the piece, we rely more on ‘weak’ ties when job-searching. From the article:

The strength-of-weak-ties theory was famously elaborated by American sociologist Mark Granovetter. He defined “weak ties” as social relationships characterized by infrequent contact, an absence of emotional closeness, and no history of reciprocal favors. In professional parlance, you might say people in your “extended network.”

Granovetter found that we rely on “weak tie” connections much more often than we think.

Most intelligent job-seekers don’t turn to close friends or family for jobs, unless they are expecting to benefit from the advantages of cronyism or nepotism. Most turn to their extended network. And most business networks are based on relatively “weak tie” associations.
Which brings us back to the economic downturn. When out-of-work investment bankers scramble to sign up to LinkedIn, they are making a rational calculation. They’re not looking for friends; they are seeking to leverage the strength of weak ties.

The piece then goes over some of the issues that have been mentioned here on Media Bullseye and elsewhere–namely, what is the job-search etiquette within networks like Facebook that consist of strong ties (family, close friends) and weak ties (business associates, former colleagues, etc.).  And, for what seems like the hundredth time in the past few months, Dunbar’s Corollary is mentioned.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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