February 20, 2019

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Radio Roundtable: Gay Girl in Damascus, Klout, and Duke Nukem

Radio Roundtable: Gay Girl in Damascus, Klout, and Duke Nukem

After some minor technical difficulties on Friday, this week’s Radio Roundtable with host Jen Zingsheim and co-host Sarah Wurrey is here–the two discuss the problems created by the faux “Gay Girl in Damascus” blog, Klout’s move to integrate LinkedIn and Facebook–so is it a good indicator of social influence? and Duke Nukem’s PR firm has a meltdown.

Today’s show is 34 minutes long.


  • First, Jen and Sarah discuss the Gay Girl in Damascus blog hoax and subsequent fallout. Jen points out that the blogger’s actions have caused him to become a propaganda tool for the Syrian government. Sarah points out that there are a number of ways to come at this topic: from a fake blogger who creates a character and it takes off, to what he was trying to accomplish–essentially raising awareness about issues in Syria. By being found out, he becomes the story, rather than the important issues he was trying to raise. Jen asks if this damages the credibility of bloggers going forward and asks if this impacts the way we view news from Internet sources. On one hand, many are suggesting that news is becoming more crowdsourced via Twitter, and items like this, which call that process into question. Sarah points out that for those who have habitually questioned social media’s veracity, yes, they will jump on this as an example. For others, it’s an outlier not the norm.
  • Next, the two discuss a post on Social Media Explorer by Elijah Young titled “Is Klout a Good Judge of Your Social Media Influence”? Jen sets up the topic by discussing some of Klout’s recent moves to broaden the social channels from which it pulls data–and asks Sarah what her take is on Klout. Sarah points out that some people are focused on their Klout scores from a personal branding perspective, and those who are using it as a filtering tool or to track brand content. She points out that the true reach metric is the one that interests her most, as it gives a good idea on how many people with whom you are interacting–an interesting tool for helping to build an online network. Sarah also notes that Klout can get some things wrong, like in the categories in which you are influential. Sarah says they got her first three pretty solidly: social media, grammar, and tech–but, they also tagged her as being influential about Ronald Reagan–Sarah says she has maybe tweeted quotes from Reagan “once or twice”–which hardly makes her an expert. Jen notes that a person’s Klout score will go down if they are offline for a short while (Sarah agrees, noting that her score dips by 3 points when she takes the weekend “off” from Twitter). Jen also makes her standard caution: Klout tracks heavily based on Twitter, and that only 8 percent of the US population is on Twitter. It’s a narrow band of a narrow band–influence is contextual, and ignoring that is missing the point of targeting.
  • Finally, the two discuss the Duke Nukem/Redner Group PR fiasco. When reviews for Duke Nukem came in rather negative, the PR firm lashed out on Twitter scolding bloggers for the negative reviews saying that they wouldn’t receive any more advance copies if the negative posts continued. Sarah points out that social media lends itself well to sudden outbursts, and that seems to come into play here. She points out that this was a failure to know the audience: gamers are a passionate group, and this should have been considered by the PR firm–and, poor community management to boot. The PR firm, in her estimation, should not have been surprised, but they were and they reacted.



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