53% of Wikipedia articles don’t “provide encyclopaedic coverage”

Wikipedia_mini_globe_handheld

Despite the English Wikipedia having 29 million registered users, only 119,453 have been active within the last 30 days, and it’s just 24% of this group that make over 5 edits each month. This is putting strain on the biggest crowd-sourcing project of the 21st Century as almost 30,000 active editing users are attempting to maintain 29 million English articles – let alone cover new topics (explore the stats here).

Wikipedia classes each article on the website according to its importance and quality score, a complete list of the quality scores can be found here. To date 53% of the articles on Wikipedia have been rated as stub class meaning “an article deemed too short to provide encyclopaedic coverage of a subject”. As studies have shown Wikipedia pages appear in 99% of Google results, this presents a reputation issue for companies wanting to provide internet users with accurate information about their operations, especially as even non-registered Wikipedia users are able to make public changes to pages.

When agencies and in-house teams worked with Wikipedia to form the ‘Statement on Wikipedia from participating communications firms’ in 2014 and sign the agreement that included to not make direct changes to the encyclopaedia due to conflict of interest, perhaps Wikipedia was in a better place? Perhaps Wikipedia editors were more likely to make factual changes on behalf of public relations practitioners?

Practical experience of working with Wikipedia editors and advising clients has shown me a potential lack of activity from once influential users on the website. With over 5.5 million articles on the English Wikipedia, there is simply not enough crowd-sourcing activity from maybe 30,000 people alone to ensure information on the website is kept up-to-date. The knock-on effect for the internet in general could be catastrophic, as Google and Facebook frequently pull the free information from Wikipedia to generate information around search results.

Wikipedia’s current situation presents both a risk and an opportunity for the public relations industry. Practitioners are being pushed into making direct factual changes to pages where they have conflict of interest, as the two-year-old signed agreement becomes difficult to follow in practice. Of course, the foundations of Wikipedia are also beginning to crumble as over half the information on the encyclopaedia isn’t seemed detailed enough to provide coverage of a subject.

The current situation Wikipedia is in requires an honest and upfront discussion with administrators on the website. As long as current active editors remains flat and the number of articles increase, the long-term content sustainability of Wikipedia is in question. Even though from a financial point of view, Wikipedia appears in the black.

If you’re trying to work with Wikipedia but are finding it difficult to find an active editor who can provide support then ensure you follow Wikipedia policies and guidelines before making changes and don’t be afraid to use ‘Wikipedia: Ignore all rules’:

If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipediaignore it.

LinkedIn rolls out new features for business pages

LinkedIn has begun rolling out its new website design for business pages, three months after the initial announcement. The face-lift is intended to lure people into spending more time on the social network and includes a host of new features for business pages. For a long time LinkedIn has proudly kept a retro design, in a similar way to Reddit, but it seems modern functionally has required a revamp.

The website design change comes 12 months after LinkedIn overhauled its tablet and smartphone app experience. Now that Microsoft has secured regulatory approval for its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the design change is no doubt to prepare for better integration with Microsoft services. Thankfully this has not meant adopting the 1980s-esk blocky metro design theme.

What’s new for business pages?

At the centre of the LinkedIn business page change is a clear focus on recruitment. Whilst LinkedIn proves valuable for B2B marketing efforts, this is mostly achieved through personal profiles, leaving LinkedIn business pages struggling to find purpose. The focus on recruitment isn’t just a design tweak, but shows LinkedIn is investing in a clear HR functionality for pages.

LinkedIn new design, overview

One of the biggest changes by LinkedIn is a ‘life’ page that focuses on showcasing the culture of a company. This provides the option of integrating a featured YouTube video, showing images of the workplace, profiling company leaders, and a spotlight section on what it’s like working in the company. In an age where companies are held accountable by their workforce to reviews on websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn is providing an opportunity for companies to have their own HR voice.

LinkedInLifePage

There is also a separate cultural insights section that uses information from registered employees on LinkedIn to profile seniority, working location, education level, and skills. Hopefully companies choose to profile the diversity of their companies in this section, rather than use higher education as a quality goal in its own right.

Content is still king

The new design change is akin to a Facebook page, as recently published content will appear high on the page. This shows that there is still a big role for content marketing on LinkedIn, beyond publishing content on individual personal profiles. It would be good to see LinkedIn Pulse article integration in the new business page design, but perhaps this is something for later this year.

What is Microsoft’s master plan?

We know that the Microsoft and LinkedIn leadership teams have been in discussions for a few months now and there is no doubt the design change plugs into Microsoft’s plans. Some of the features it has lined up that are useful for businesses are:

  • Extending the reach of sponsored content across Microsoft properties
  • Enterprise LinkedIn Lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365
  • Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365
  • LinkedIn notifications within the Windows action centre

Read The Verge’s full round-up here.

The new LinkedIn design is being rolled out gradually in the UK and if you are an admin of a business page, you should hopefully be given the option within the next few weeks.

My three words for 2017

Standing up

At the start of each year I share my three words, a way to guide my choices for the year ahead. It also summarises expectations of where I feel like I need to continue learning to develop personally and professionally. As this will be my sixth year of doing this (unbelievable!), I’m keen that this doesn’t become a meaningless formality.

Fancy joining in?

I joined in with Chris Brogan, an influential business blogger who began ‘three words’ in 2006. The aim is to pick three words or phrases that can either work together or separately to guide your decisions. You may want to use the words to focus on different aspects of your life. If you get stuck, pick up a dictionary!

Last year was about giving more to others

As I summarised in my three words from last year, change was a theme for 2015, therefore 2016 felt like an opportunity to give back by focusing on how to coach others, working as a member of the community, and not forgetting who I am when work gets busy. Charity and coaching will always be priorities, so this year it’s time to focus on something new.

My previous three words have been:

2016: Coaching. Charity. Adumbrate.

2015: Charity. Creativity. Insight.

2014: Balance. Contribute. Health.

2013: Stability. Growth. Decisiveness.

2012: Missed this year.

2011: Understand. Grow. Support.

My three words for 2017

Moderation – I loathe to be cliché and write ‘fitness’, so 2017 will be about moderation when it comes to food, drink, and even the amount of screen-time my eyes get. A balanced life is about moderation and knowing limits, something that is especially difficult in a modern age.

Seek – Social media is a bubble. Social sites such as Facebook are not driven by serving news that makes you think, but instead just wants you to click to fuel their goliath advertising network. So finding news and information that really challenges world views is becoming increasingly difficult and takes proactive work. This year I will seek more.

Generosity – This is about being ready to give more of something, not necessarily money but also time. It’s about approaching life showing more kindness and willingness towards others. It’s a key character trait, and not something I’ve forgotten, but at times I do need to focus on.

Top 10 Instagram photos of 2016

Mount Etna, Sicily

Before I moved from my last PR agency in 2015, a specialist recruitment consultant in the digital industry advised I go beyond strategy and implementation, and create. Not one to turn down a challenge, I started learning photography and publishing Instagram photos.

Instagram is a place for self-expression and must be one of the few social media sites where there is still a profound community and sense of belonging. Instagram has become a staple part of my life and has accidentally catalogued some of the most exciting moments of 2016.

Whilst in no way a Steve McCurry or Anne Geddes, I’m pleased by some of the Instagram photos captured this year and will continue the hobby throughout 2017.

Top 10 Instagram posts of 2016

Wonderful day at @YeoviltonAirDay. 1,300 photos, but this has to be one of my favs. Will sort the others soon.

A post shared by Michael White (@michaelwhite1) on

One of my favourite photos of the year that was captured by complete chance. The sound of the explosion prompted me to turn around and snap a few photos.

Another one from #aldeburgh. #hightide2016

A post shared by Michael White (@michaelwhite1) on

In an annual kind gesture by Lansons, we visited HighTide Festival earlier this year. In-between the talks, theatre, and comedy, I managed to snap this peaceful moment on the beach.

If you’re in Sicily then Catania is worth a visit for half the day, if only just to witness the only city in the world built of lava stone from Mount Etna’s historic eruptions. Whatever you do though, don’t drive.

And of course, Mount Etna herself. This photo was taken on the back terrace of our rented holiday apartment.

Incoming! Couldn't resist a photo on the tracks this afternoon.

A post shared by Michael White (@michaelwhite1) on

To think, five months after this photo was taken one of the trams on this network crashed and caused a number of fatalities. A little haunting in hindsight.

Of all the crickets in #hatchlandspark, this one got a photo.

A post shared by Michael White (@michaelwhite1) on

Just look at the detail!

Rufus, the amateur dog model.

A post shared by Michael White (@michaelwhite1) on

Strange, at this very moment Rufus is lying in almost exactly the same place as when I took this photo.

I have no words for this! #wellscarnival

A post shared by Michael White (@michaelwhite1) on

As part of the Somerset carnival season, dozens of floats brimming with light bulbs, dry ice, and pumping music make their way through the tiny city.

Not alone in the garden. Amusing how an innocent looking statue can appear like a dark metaphor in a certain light.

A post shared by Michael White (@michaelwhite1) on

I’ve got a ‘thing’ for black and white photography, although according to artificial intelligence this could be a sign of depression. Either way, this statue in my grandparent’s garden takes on a life of its own when dark.

Have hundreds of photos from #chesterzoo today, here's one. Got up close to this #giraffe at feeding time.

A post shared by Michael White (@michaelwhite1) on

And we’re ending with a giraffe pic.

Have something you’re proud of?

Then I would love to see your best Instagram photos of 2016, plus I’ll give you a follow if I’m not already.

Blogging is part of who I am

Rain on window

Blogging is more than just a side project. It has become part of who I am. The pages of this blog act as a diary documenting a student life, entry-level PR experience, and now as a senior practitioner. Past articles can make for awkward or difficult reading, but it’s history.

So it’s disappointing to reach the end of a successful professional and personal year, to then reflect on a blog that at times did feel abandoned, at least in comparison to other years. Visits to this blog peaked at 50,000 in 2014, but this year it has dropped. Whilst posts may show quality, blogging still requires constant feeding to grow and create community.

Despite only publishing 32 posts throughout the whole of 2016 (around 2 a month) the benefits of blogging still shine through. Through my everyday work I’m always pleased to hear how often this blog is read, especially when it contributes to new business efforts and talking about Lansons initiatives.

The challenge is balancing the responsibilities of a more senior role in a busy London consultancy, being mentally available after work (rather than an exhausted husk) to feed a personal life, and then blogging. This year practical work in my career took priority over the blog as I adapted to an account director role after promotion end of 2015. It was the right decision.

Still, it’s been a wonderful year and here are the top five posts of 2016.

SEO is no longer a discipline, it’s a skillset

After attending the well-known BrightonSEO conference, I reflected on how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an integral skillset for PR practitioners.

See beyond your age: 26 life lessons at age 26

A very personal post that attempted to explain some life lessons and reaffirm parts of my personality on this blog.

UK Blogger Survey 2016: It’s all about fashion and poor PR pitches

Good old Vuelio conducted a survey with 500 UK bloggers revealing the pitches they receive and ways of working.

Britain’s best PR student bloggers 2016 #bestPRblogs

There are so many talented student PR bloggers worth keeping your eye on, this post ranks the best based on Behind the Spin’s #bestPRblogs competition.

The Independent: where print declines, online soars

The title of this post is not true, online clearly does not guarantee success. However, online does provide opportunity and more immersive ways to engage readership.

Looking to 2017, it is clear that blogging needs to come back onto the agenda in a big way. I’ve continued to feel the benefits this year and if I refocus, then this may lead to even more opportunities.

 

Only 36% of PR practitioners admit digital efforts are “very effective”

Woman using laptop

New research shows that the Public Relations (PR) industry still seems to be struggling to remain relevant in an online world. One of the headline stats reveals that only 36% of PR practitioners admit that their digital campaign efforts are effective, with 24% claiming little to no effectiveness at all.

When surveyed about the greatest challenges expected in their industry over the next 12 months, prepare for difficult reading as a lack of investment, time, and training appear top of the list:

  • 61.9% say they expect a lack of resources or funds
  • 57.7% find it challenging to find the right measures/metrics to evaluate work results
  • 58.8% expect a lack of time to try new strategies/technologies
  • 51% say there is a challenge when it comes to internal skills and competencies

This is unchanged from 2015 as PR practitioners are forced to deal with growing workloads and expectations to produce creative campaigns without always the budget to support.

Appropriate measurement for PR programmes is an important area for me as it helps demonstrate the value of investment into digital activities. Whilst 61% of respondents say that return on investment is an important measure, 84% use follower increases as the most frequent measurement. Whilst nothing wrong with this, it does suggest that the PR industry is generally finding it difficult to deliver business results. Of course, this could also be a general symptom of social media and its challenge to be an acquisition channel without paid-for support.

The research that surveyed 2,500 PR practitioners across nine different countries was conducted by Mynewsdesk and Berghs School of Communication. Respondents work across local, regional and global PR firms across 17 different industries including media and entertainment, business services, software and internet, government, and non-profits. The results of the survey are being compiled into a three-part eBook series that is being published between December 2016 and March 2017.

Digital PR study

The first eBook boldly begins by explaining PR has an opportunity to implement digital tactics, potentially replacing traditional advertising that “… is often viewed by consumers as an imposition and an unwelcome intruder…”. A deep marketing transformation partly driven by consumer trends of streaming or recording television, paying for music services, and using AdBlocking software, provides the PR industry an opportunity to have a “revolution”.

The revolution of PR is a passionate ideal I once held when studying PR at University and practicing in entry-level roles, but today I’ve changed my mind. Looking back at my work throughout 2016 I would say only 50% of what I do could be considered traditional PR in the sense of issues management or media relations. The other half consists of digital marketing, working alongside public affairs, contributing to change and employee engagement programmes… PR cannot be an umbrella term, it’s too misinterpreted by its media relations undertones and it’s not practical for PR industry bodies to represent the entire marketing mix and management consultancy space.

Draw your own conclusions from the new research. Sign-up for the PR Revolution e-book series to discover more of the challenges, opportunities, and solutions the communications industry is facing.

 

2016: The year social media hit maturity

iPhone 3G Launch 2007

What better way to close off the year than with another Lansons newsletter? Predictions are for weather presenters, so I’ve instead written about a topic that has been weighing on my mind – the year social media hit maturity. This article first appeared in the Lansons newsletter.

Mainstream social media sites have reached maturity, they have come of age; either hitting the precipice of user registrations or continuing to climb further into the millions. They should definitely not be considered ‘new channels’ anymore as more than seven in ten internet users have a social media profile. They are even commissioning journalists and companies to create stories, and public relations teams must be more experimental with sharing stories to be heard among the online noise.

This means there is a pressure for us to create immersive content, such as using 360 video or broadcasting live. It’s no longer about creating a community around stories/campaigns/products, but being noticed by a mature social media audience who expect you to speak their language.

If 2007 was the year of technological innovation when Apple entered the mobile market with the iPhone, Facebook and Twitter began to really gain registrations, and the Amazon Kindle was launched – among many others; then 2017 will see the continuing maturity of the same social sites and a growing field of experimental marketing led by products such as augmented reality headset Microsoft HoloLens.

Aside from the maturity of social media, internet usage as a whole has matured with people consistently spending the same amount of time online, and accessing familiar apps and websites. Ofcom’s “Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes” report reveals that almost nine in ten UK adults use the internet, on any device, in any location and are spending an average of 21.6 hours online each week, which is unchanged since 2014.

Maturity has also spurred some big business deals and content developments. To name a few:

  • Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for a whopping $26.2 billion in an all-cash transaction, a move that is likely to see better LinkedIn integrations across Microsoft products.
  • Live video is now the hot content marketing opportunity. More Facebook Pages are live streaming, 529,000 in total in June 2016, now expected to be nearer a million. 10 million people are using Periscope, with over 200 broadcasts to date.
  • It’s been the year of messaging apps. Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat have all seen huge user growth, giving public relations practitioners the challenge of knowing the conversations that are taking place in private and often encrypted parts of the internet.

Never has the internet, social media, and any other online touchpoint been so crucial for all industries across the UK. Especially highly regulated industries such as financial services and health, many of whom have developed social media compliance procedures to meet the expectations of their stakeholders – whether business-to-business or direct to consumer.

In 2016 we’ve seen social media come of age, witnessed continued growth of digital services, and many companies have become comfortable producing immersive video content. 2017 will be about building on these developments to reach their audiences in more creative ways

Experiencing augmented reality with Microsoft HoloLens

It was only when I had taken the Microsoft HoloLens off that I had appreciated what I had witnessed. For a few moments the digital displays on my Apple Watch, iPhone, Windows PC, even games consoles had been one and the same world. Graphics were no longer confined to screens, but a tangible real-world thing.

It felt so natural at the time, but the graphical human skeleton standing before me that Microsoft HoloLens had projected into my eyes felt real. It stood neatly on the floor, you could walk behind it, even stick your head inside to see different parts of the body. When I used the internet for the first time, I knew it was different, marking the next technological leap – the same emotions were with me when I took off that headset.

In the same week I saw the Virtual Reality (VR)/augmented reality power of Microsoft HoloLens at the Integrated Live show at the ExCeL London and then at Lansons’ GIANT healthcare event, held at the edgy start-up-esque venue The Coronet. The first time the headset was being used it showed how prototype cars could be engineered without physically having to build. At GIANT it was being used to train medical students about parts of the human body.

Just imagine, using augmented reality in healthcare could mean loading up a virtual human tragedy in front of 10 students to explore. Together they would witness the same simulation, knowing how to tend for different crash victims. Alternatively interior designers could load up the finished product of 3 months of work, before their work has even started. The possibilities are endless.

Whilst experimental digital marketing isn’t new, over the last 12 months the discipline has thrived thanks to the availability of VR and augmented reality. You can pre-order Microsoft HoloLens for £2,719 today, but prices will considerably crash over the next three years. It’s only a matter of time before this experimental technology becomes a mainstream consumer option.

The same applies for other technologies making our shopping lists. Virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana continue to become more intelligent, and Amazon’s Echo is bound to make shopping lists in the US and UK this Christmas. In addition, wearable technology such as fitness devices and smartwatches offer platforms for PR campaigns to target. A few years ago my mobile was just for simple games, texting and phone calls – today it knows my heartrate, GPS positioning, and even the number of stairs I’ve climbed.

The “diffusion of innovations” theory shows us the rate of how new ideas and technology spread. You can read more about the theory on Wikipedia. When the late majority adopt a piece of technology, such as smartphones in 2007/8, it’s easy to begin taking the technology for granted. Today the innovators are creating software for the early adopters to use on VR headsets.

800px-Diffusion_of_ideas.svg.png

As I write this, I can’t imagine taking VR or augmented reality for granted, but it will happen… fast. Will you offer it to your client first or will your client request it?