Facebook’s stand against ad blocking

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Facebook really doesn’t want you to block ads. Who can blame them? Generally social media sites are struggling to monetise the huge amounts of web traffic visiting; if a significant proportion of people blocked advertising this could eventually make social media businesses unsustainable. Given the risk ad blocking poses to the advertising industry, Facebook had to make a stand.

We’re all waiting for Twitter to be taken over, Yahoo (despite promising) has ruined Tumblr, and everyone is still scratching their heads about Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion as their valuation doesn’t match reality.

Despite the popularity of social media and increased internet usage, finding a successful online business model seems near impossible. The rumours say that The Guardian is losing £1 million a week and only has 7 years of life left at this rate, City AM is trying another daring business model (best of luck to them), and Buzzfeed is proving profitable but needs to navigate the fact 70% of their readers digest content from third-party sites, such as social networks.

A broad view of online profitability tells us that quickly adapting to market needs and positioning your business as a facilitator tends to reap dividends. We can see how Uber achieved this by making the private taxi business more convenient by mobile app bookings and coordinating via GPS. The music industry was slow to respond; illegally sharing files through LimeWire was once the mainstream method of gaining access to digital music online. Eventually legal methods of buying music online became available, such as the launch of the iTunes store in 2003.

In my opinion, the most successful industry that has constantly adapted to the changing media landscape is gaming. The UK is currently Europe’s second largest video game market after Germany, and estimated the 6th largest globally; worth nearly £4.2bn in consumer spend in 2015. It is the only industry that has quickly adapted to different form factors such as desktop PCs, tablets, smartphones, smart watches, and smart TVs. Games consoles have become home entertainment systems, and game copyright settings have successfully locked most people into purchasing a copy each time.

So, why am I taking you on this journey of online monetisation?

Going back to the start of this post, Facebook’s stand against ad blocking; they believe online advertisements can truly be useful. Those advertisements can alert you to when a favourite band is playing nearby or to a product/service you may genuinely find useful.

What they don’t say is that the ads you don’t deem useful are still using up your mobile contract’s data allowance. Or the disruption ads have made to Facebook’s newsfeed meaning content from your friends has been given a lesser priority compared to that ad looking for sperm donors or telling you to lose weight.

Facebook have weighed in on the online advertising debate to protect their $1 billion per quarter in advertising revenue. The question is how are we going to respond as social media users? Are we willing to have companies target us with their advertising, generalising aspects of our lives and trying to find improvements?

Facebook wants you to keep your ad blocker switched off and convince you to tell the network what sort of advertisements you would prefer to see. A nice idea, but why do I want to spend my time giving Facebook a detailed picture of my life just so they can push more advertising to me?

The debate I’ve touched upon here will continue to rage, especially as the number of bot traffic online continues to rise, questioning if ad interactions are made by humans at all. Just as the PR industry has faced its struggles and criticisms over the last decade due to digital developments, the advertising industry will now need to tackle some of its upcoming challenges.

Anyway… some thoughts from me as this blog has been neglected for the past month!

Facebook reveals 10-year plan to take over the world

Mark F8 3 2016

Social virtual reality, a 360-degree camera, and chat bots in case human conversation becomes mundane. These were some of the announcements from Facebook’s (almost) annual developer conference called Facebook F8, named after the company’s tradition to hold eight hour hackathons.

When CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s 10-year plan was to “Give everyone the power to share anything with everyone”, the small print must have read ‘but only if you advertise’. The plans are ambitious, many projects far beyond the remit of a social networking site, but then Facebook isn’t your average social network; their plans to serve Facebook internet via solar-powered drone showed that.

Facebook roadmap

Numerous reputable news sites have dedicated column inches to Facebook’s big announcements. I personally recommend you visit The Guardian and Time for a quick read of the main events. This blog post looks behind the headlines to see what Facebook F8 may mean in the immediate future for internet-savvy organisations.

Balancing money and social experience

From a social engineering perspective, it could be said that Facebook has become a victim of its own success as the sheer volume of content means that organic (non paid-for) reach is in decline. This means increased competition among friends and brand pages for newsfeed coverage as on average 1,500 new posts could appear each time you log into Facebook. So Facebook’s algorithms attempt to show more high-quality content and from connections who you value the most. Remember that old school friend? Probably not, because Facebook has decided you won’t find value in their content.

The more sceptical side of the organic reach-gate debate would say the newsfeed algorithms have primarily been put in place to enhance Facebook Advertising. This would be cynical and entirely true. Whilst Facebook have denied the drop in organic reach is to fuel their advertising network, there is no doubt that this has been the effect of their decision. Facebook is fundamentally an advertising network and brands must be prepared to invest heavily in paid-for activities in the hope to get noticed.

“Our goal is always to provide the best experience for the people that use Facebook. We believe that delivering the best experiences for people also benefits the businesses that use Facebook. If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in News Feed, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses.” – Brian Boland, leader of the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook.

The latest in-depth analysis of Facebook’s stock price is optimistic, showing the global active user base to be a whopping 1.4 billion people and their plan to reach users outside of the U.S and Europe is working. This is partly a self-serving prophecy due to the natural stock dip before Facebook F8 and it’s no secret that future cash will come from online advertising. To be precise, increased mobile revenues that will be driven by Instagram and WhatsApp, this is also linked to Facebook’s intent to monetise chat bots (we’ll come onto this later).

The latest in-depth analysis of Facebook’s stock price is optimistic, showing the global active user base to be a whopping 1.4 billion people and their plan to reach users outside of the U.S and Europe is working. This is partly a self-serving prophecy due to the expected stock dip before Facebook F8 and it’s no secret that future cash will come from online advertising. To be precise, increased mobile revenues that will be driven by Instagram and WhatsApp, this is also linked to Facebook’s intent to monetise chat bots (we’ll come onto this later).

The question that hasn’t been asked by the mainstream media when analysing Facebook F8 is “What does the future of online advertising look like?”. This is an article for another day but with expectations that online advertising networks may soon have to ask users for their consent before targeting them with Ads, and questions being raised around the fairness of advertising networks using individual people’s mobile data to target them with useless advertising, Facebook’s 10-year plan may have a bumpy ride.

Meeting shareholder expectations and to continue serving the world’s largest active online user base will be tricky.

Monetising conversations

As a past employee at Microsoft I witnessed the sadness first-hand when Microsoft Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) was laid to rest. The chat programme, alongside Internet Relay Chat (IRC), were my two-ways of communicating in the post-Facebook world. The launch of Facebook Chat in 2008 had a buggy reception but quickly began eating market share from Microsoft, wounding the giant as advertising revenues fell.

It’s widely accepted that if online advertising continues to grow, then it will need to become smarter than banner ads to gain the attention of users. Especially as the use of ad-blocking solutions soar, with Opera browser saying it will build the feature into their next release. This has made “native advertising” a hot topic, but embedded videos and sponsored articles can still become a nuisance and even misleading for user-experience. Only last week did I read a glowing review of the newly release game Quantum Break to find it was actually sponsored by Microsoft – talk about editorial independence! I won’t get those 10 minutes of my life back.

Chat bots aren’t new to the world, it’s essentially what Google Voice and Siri attempt to do with varying success. However, the ability for Facebook to provide a service where organisations and publishers can utilise chat bots to service their own businesses is new. In fact, you could almost call it revolutionary as it provides businesses a new way to service customers. Examples provided at Facebook F8 showed how the service could be effectively used with Uber and KLM to book services.

How long will it be for a financial services company to offer automated advice to customers? Could a chat bot begin showing signs of artificial intelligence as it trains from conversations you are having with it? Facebook’s chat bot announcement has huge opportunities, not least for monetising WhatsApp in a new way. How could your organisation utilise a chat bot?

Let’s hope that the chat bot future doesn’t go the same way as Microsoft’s Tay, Microsoft’s Twitter bot who quickly became “… a Hitler-loving sex robot”.

Microsoft Tay Hitler

360 Video and Virtual Reality (VR)

Currently the fastest watched video on Facebook is the title sequence for TV show, Game of Thrones. Why? It’s been given a 360 video makeover allowing viewers to look around Westeros and Essos. Have a play; it includes clues for Season 6.

360 video is a new way to share real-world experience and it really is immersive, especially if you match it up with a VR headset. If you have a spare £21,000 you should pop out and buy Facebook’s new 360 video camera, Surround 360, offering 3D and easy 360 video creation that can be uploaded to Facebook. It’s a publisher tool that may begin justifying its price if 360 video becomes the gold standard for video creation, rather than a fad.

As competition in the Facebook newsfeed intensifies utilising new features such as 360 video may give organisations a chance to standout. This is another level of storytelling that is really only for organisations who can afford the price tag, but as with all technologies, we can’t be far away from 360 video becoming a mainstream way of sharing social experiences. The lovely people at Pocket Lint have shared a list of cameras currently offering a 360 view of the world; watch these prices over the next year or two.

 Instant Articles

By far the biggest announcement for publishers and a sign that Mark Zuckerberg is now seriously taking on News UK, Instant Articles is now open for all publishers (even my little blog). Instant Articles are a way for publishers to host their articles directly into Facebook when they hit publish, giving readers a cleaner experience as they don’t have to wait for an external website to load. For publishers this means that they can benefit from an article receiving the traffic from their own website and the reach from Facebook (with a massive caveat around advertising). However, this does also mean Facebook ends up hosting some of the most valuable written content from around the world – potentially devastating for publishers’ own advertising efforts.

Facebook Instant Articles

This announcement was technically made before Facebook F8 but has still managed to continue making the headlines. Increased engagement is claimed and of course, the ability to add in a spot of branded content. Over a 1,000 publishers have joined up and this number will inevitably only go up as Facebook have smartly offered an easy WordPress integration.

What else?

Many more features were announced at Facebook F8, but the ones explored in this article feel the most valuable for me in the immediate future. Facebook’s 10-year roadmap is ambitious and we remain to see if some of their innovative announcements can be monetised in time by pioneering businesses to make the investments worthwhile. Other announcements such as 360-video and improving video quality are safe bets, social virtual reality is fun but currently experimental.

We should all keep our eyes on Facebook’s mysterious building 8 led by Regina Dugan, former Director of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), just to make sure Skynet remains fantasy.

The end of ‘business as usual’ for financial services

The financial services sector has an opportunity to develop offerings, seek new business opportunities and diversify its stakeholder relationships using social media. The latest Ofcom report on ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes’ (2015) shows that internet use has never been higher, with nine in ten adults online (a 27% increase from 2005) and 90% using apps on their smartphone. Along with higher internet use is additional social media consumption; 72% of internet users have a social media profile (was only 22% in 2007). Most importantly, 68% of internet users have gone online to bank or pay bills.

Changing media use has had a direct impact on the financial services sector and how decision making is being influenced. Research carried out by Greenwich Associates in 2014 revealed that a third of asset owners made an investment decision or recommendation based on social media output; 85% of which relied on social content from LinkedIn. Whilst Facebook is not deemed as a ‘professional’ network, the research revealed 78% of institutional investors in Asia Pacific said Facebook was used at least once a month to source financial information.

In my role at Lansons I’ve undertaken small-scale research that revealed since The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in 2012, the reputation of the financial services sector still requires urgent medical help. Of the 60,000+ conversations about banking culture on Twitter this year, many make scathing references to “Eton Old Boys” and unjust bonuses. With the election of a new government come further conversations about the financial services sectors’ behaviour. Just how do you weigh up regulatory changes against the sector’s 9.4 percent contribution towards GDP?

This figure includes fintech start-ups, insurance companies, and brokers. All face the similar challenge of doing business in a world where traditional media ‘touch points’ are seeing competition from digital alternatives. Conversations are taking place online; are you listening and making use of opportunities? Communication programmes must offer an integrated approach and the financial services sector has developed to cater.

After public consultation, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its finalised guidance to ‘Social Media and Customer Communications’ (March 2014). Covering how financial promotions on social media should be conducted in a transparent and honest manner; tactically making use of the social features available. The Financial Services Forum recently ran a session on the “challenges of content marketing in B2B banking”; exploring how traditional networking can be used effectively in the digital space. Even at our offices in Farringdon, we can feel the innovation from fintech companies and projects being emitted from London’s Silicon Roundabout.

It’s the end of ‘business as usual’. Maintaining or growing market share is going to rely on the provision of competitive products, and the implementation of a slick social media programme that targets the right people, at the right time. It’s necessary for public relations consultants to be social anthropologists, supported by tools that can make sense of online data, and use innovative strategies to be heard above the competition.

Social innovation for your organisation could be:

  • Monitoring international reputation by conversations on social media or how articles are being edited by the community on Wikipedia;
  • Social media community management of Twitter profiles;
  • Advocacy programmes on forums;
  • Producing a podcast

Social innovation is making sure that the Google search results about your company are a true reflection of the work you do. The financial services sector has an opportunity to reinvent itself and invest in its future. It’s up for the industry to decide what the future of financial services looks like.

This article was originally published for Lansons’ Future of Financial Services event 2015. Register your interest for 2016 here.  

 

Facebook ‘likes’ beheading videos

This morning my request to Facebook to remove a graphic beheading video was denied. The video appeared yesterday afternoon, doing the rounds on multiple social media sites. The site in question features macabre photo galleries of extremists decapitating helpless victims; in the name of promoting Islamophobia.

It is truly disturbing. So is Facebook’s response:

“Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment.

We reviewed the share you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn’t violate our Community standards.”

Say, what?

So I had a look at the Community Standards:

Graphic Content

Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences and raise awareness about issues important to them. Sometimes, those experiences and issues involve graphic content that is of public interest or concern, such as human rights abuses or acts of terrorism. In many instances, when people share this type of content, it is to condemn it. However, graphic images shared for sadistic effect or to celebrate or glorify violence have no place on our site.

When people share any content, we expect that they will share in a responsible manner. That includes choosing carefully the audience for the content. For graphic videos, people should warn their audience about the nature of the content in the video so that their audience can make an informed choice about whether to watch it.”

To say that this Community Standard is flaky to say the least, it’s lawyer-written garble to say “Facebook’s Law”. Having unfortunately visited the website in question I would say images are shared for sadistic effect, promoting an equally dangerous view of Islamophobia in the UK. Watching these videos can only be of sadistic interest. And in all of this, note the helpless victim pushed to the ground with a machete above his neck doesn’t get a single say.

It’s surprising that Facebook’s policy on nudity is a lot more clear-cut. Even though I would rather see a porn star on my news feed than a murder. A friend of mine recently had a picture of her semi-nude baby removed by Facebook – it really was innocent. Priorities?

The censorship of certain content on social media has long been a contentious issue. As an advocate for freedom of expression, a supporter of the Liberal Democrats blocking the snooper’s charter, it pains me to admit some content should be censored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a #FacebookFail for James Bond Spectre announcement

As the title for the new James Bond film to be released next year was announced, a coordinated media effort was taking place in the background. Those of us who work with social media know the difficulties of planning content, making sure everything is posted in a timely manner.

However, sometimes in the heat of the moment mistakes are made. Unfortunately the Skyfall UK & IRE Facebook Page had a little mishap with sharing the news of Spectre, creating a little spectacle – making multiple reiterations within minutes.

James Bond Spectre

It’s out! Although watch the spelling of that hashtag…

James Bond Spectre announcement 2

A few minutes later everything was fixed. Phew.

James Bond, post gone!

But wait? Where has the post gone?

James Bond Spectre announcement fixed

Oh, it’s been completely deleted and replaced.

It’s a little sad to say the least to have followed those developments so closely, and I’m not criticising the team in charge, we all make mistakes. However, it does highlight the need to keep an up-to-date content calendar with prepared posts that have been agreed with the client (if you’re an agency).

In this example, posts were timed perfectly with the announcement with changes made in minutes. But what a farce.

Google Campus shows the way in breaking down news silos

The smell of tech start-up innovation is intoxicating at the Google Campus in London. The ideas being generated there are helping drive Britain’s economy. Which is why the Financial Times is now focusing so much editorial attention on tech companies. The classic tech lined along the walls, the Googleboxes (once phone boxes), TVs presenting social feeds all prove one thing – geek is chic.

Googlebox

I was at the Campus thanks to The Media Society, which arranged an event entitled ‘Media and Tech: What’s the story?’. Chaired by BBC Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, he was joined by a panel of speakers including the European Technology Correspondent for the Financial Times, Murad Ahmed; the Technology Editor for Mirror Online, Olivia Solon; the Head of UK & Ireland Communications at Google UK, Tom Price and the Vice-President & Global Communications at SwiftKey, Ruth Barnett.

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With a complimentary beer in hand, here’s what I learnt about technology and the media.

A day in the life of tech reporting
Rory began by asking each member of the panel what a typical day involved for them. Inevitably, Facebook’s role following the results of the inquiry into Lee Rigby’s murder featured prominently (Interestingly, The Mirror’s line was that Facebook was not to blame). The FT kept Google’s PR team busy over the “right to be forgotten”, no doubt complemented by tax and privacy questions. SwiftKey are in campaign planning mode and the BBC technology desk had a day of writing, TV presenting and attempting to persuade Facebook to do an interview. On both sides of the media fence, clearly their days are hectic.

The intimate relationship between hacks and flacks
We all suspected it, but now its been confirmed; top tech journalists can receive up to 500 emails a day from PRs! The majority are, according to the speakers “untargeted buzz-world filled c**p”. The Mirror estimated that of this daily deluge, only about ten each day represented anything of news value.

Given the above, its not surprising that both sides of the panel agreed that more could be done to improve the hack/flack relationship, largely by making more of an effort to better understand each other’s roles. PRs believe most journalists underestimate the stress of their role, often assuming that they are lying!

However, the main cause for concern around the top table was when hack/flack relationships get too close. At this point, journalistic integrity can be lost through inducements such as free trips and products.

For instance, it was made clear that some game companies get journalists to sign a contract to withhold poorly reviewed games until two weeks after launch. Shocking.

Facebook’s PR mess
Facebook had been at the top of the public’s mind this week since they were revealed to be the tech company at the center of Lee Rigby’s murder. It is (and was) a typical case of poorly planned PR. On the day of the inquiry’s findings, Facebook’s identity was originally hidden in the report. Its identity was revealed at approximately 4pm. At this point the story had legs, privacy concerns at the center of the inquiry could be led by Facebook’s supposed failure to act. And at that point Facebook’s PR team should have contacted specialist correspondents to share their side of the story. Uncomfortably Facebook is now being held to push the government’s Draft Communications Data Bill (AKA. Snoopers’ Charter). The more libertarian geeks in the room found this uncomfortable.

Tech is hard news, not just Christmas gift guides
The two biggest sources of stories for the FT at the moment are banking and technology, as the newspaper judges that these will be two of the key drivers for Britain’s growth. However, the typical newspaper reader still struggles to see technology beyond Christmas gift guides. Technology reporting has yet to have its seminal story about the rise of computers or growth of mobiles. The focus tends to still surround political correspondents, but increasingly some mainstream stories rely on having a good understanding of technology.

Google’s view is that our news structure is dated and still arranged around silos that may result in readers missing critical details about modern technology. Their premises shows that the future lies in a different direction.

Also published on the Keene Communications blog.

Facebook is a misleading advertising network that promotes an out-dated approach to social media

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to recommend Facebook as part of a social media strategy. Here’s why.

In September 2012 Facebook announced that they were making changes to the way content appeared in peoples’ newsfeeds. This involved limiting the organic reach of posts from Facebook Pages (when posts are published without advertising). Following this change, global brands reported a staggering 40% drop in reach.

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Facebook did this for two reasons:

  • As a business they need to make money, and the primary way for them to do this is through advertising. If a Facebook Page could reach all their fans without paying, then there would be little need for businesses to advertise. By Facebook drastically limiting organic reach, organisations are more likely to use advertising to give their page a boost.
  • There is too much content being published on Facebook and, because of this, the social network has had to filter what appears in peoples’ newsfeeds. All of the posts you publish are in competition with other pages on Facebook so that your fans aren’t overwhelmed by content.

Both of these reasons were confirmed earlier this year when it was announced that Facebook users only see 20% of the content that is published by friends and pages.

The only way to change this is, unfortunately, is by advertising on Facebook. This means that Facebook Pages can reach more of their existing fan base and present content to other targeted users. However, this does begin to question whether Facebook can accurately be called a social network anymore; isn’t it more of a social advertising network?

The rebellion has started…

Eat24 – A BREAKUP LETTER TO FACEBOOK FROM EAT24

“It makes us think all you care about is money. Why should we have to wade through a dozen promoted posts about how to lose belly fat (are you trying to tell us something?) and requests for Candy Crush (NO! Just no.) and suggesting we like our arch nemesis’ page (seriously, WTF) before we can finally find the perfect Doge meme, It really seems like you’ve lost your way and have become nothing more than an ad platform.”

Copyblogger – Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page

“Have you ever stared at something, knowing you’re doing everything right, but it still won’t … freaking … work? That’s how Copyblogger has felt about its Facebook page for quite some time. As of today, the page has 38,000 “fans,” but Copyblogger’s presence on Facebook has not been beneficial for the brand or its audience.”

The point about Facebook is this: their algorithm changes and focus on advertising is causing much anxiety in the business community. It is quite simply becoming too expensive to be on Facebook. Especially as the content you painstakingly create may only organically reach a small percentage of your fan base.

I’ve worked with companies in the past who have literally spent hundreds of thousands of sterling on managing a global presence on Facebook. But WHY? There is nothing to verify users who ‘like’ a page, other than what Facebook’s own Insight measurement dashboard shows. Even then, these profiles are private, the owned property of Facebook. In a sense, you’re not really buying a fan but instead renting them; due to their lack of information (I’m personally convinced many are bots) and that you’re unable to export any of their individual data (such as email addresses).

As Facebook owns all of the data, the only way for them to sell to companies is by promoting the idea that social media metrics are the main purpose behind an online campaign. A dated idea in a world where the real value of social media is attained through the data – driving real-world conversions. Who cares if your page got 4,000 more followers this month? This shouldn’t be the aim – drive sales, bookings, downloads, etc… ANYTHING!

It’s interesting to note that in Facebook Advertising’s promotional copy, case studies are referenced claiming such results. Although in reality, I’ve never met an organisation that can claim such a successful experience with Facebook.

It isn’t just the big organisations that should question their use of Facebook. It’s the little ones too.

Last week I met with a small business owner who needed some social media advice. In exchange for a couple of ales, she revealed that she was primarily putting all her effort into her Facebook Page. However, our discussion was about improving the ranking of her website on Google. In the kindest way possible, I had to explain that it might be time to refocus efforts on SEO related activities. After explaining the costs needed to drive a successful Facebook Page – she whole-heartedly agreed.

She saw that Facebook was misleading her, enticing her with promises of sales that would realistically never meet the cost of her investment into buying fans. The social media metrics were not the end goal for her business; it’s sales.

For this reason Facebook is a misleading advertising network that promotes an out-dated approach to social media; that your business will thrive if you buy fans. Even worse, it is misleading companies into spending thousands of pounds on attracting fans to their pages, which they will never organically be able to reach.

This is why I find it difficult promoting Facebook in a social media strategy. There are better methods.

EC=MC, Generation Y is the answer

As observed in a blog by David Phillips, there is a massive shortage of digital skills available to the PR industry. This is a worry. The industry needs to protect its budgets, especially from online advertising which can promise much but delivers questionably. Organisations who have remained traditional have felt the heat of digital approach them. Online campaigns, social media monitoring and online publishing are all common place – the PR industry must be ready.

The transformative question is… EC=MC

(Every Company is a Media Company)

The phrase was coined by Tom Foremski and describes how companies are publishing content to its stakeholders, meaning that companies must have an understanding of the publishing tools available. The phase never really caught on in the UK but its effects are being felt across the profession.

PR agencies are publishing an increasingly large amount of content online but still write in a fashion which most would deem unsuitable for the internet age. Digital platforms are not designed for dull press releases but rich, dynamic and engaging content. Therefore, agencies not only need to have an understanding of how to use digital tools but also those who understand the correct tone for the digital age. Essentially, agencies need to understand content curation (and this is another blog post altogether!)

In most cases (only in my experience), the right people are not always the more senior. Instead we should avert our eyes to generation Y. Only they can solve the EC=MC equation.

In 2004, whilst most upcoming seniors were still writing press releases, generation Y were already engaging with digital tools. In most cases these were:

        • PHP Forums
        • Instant Chat (such as IRC)
        • Growing blogging platforms (such as WordPress)
        • Building websites from nothing (pure HTML goodness)

MySpace was VERY popular whilst I was growing up and to make any sort of design changes required rather in-depth HTML knowledge. Am I saying PR people should have a knowledge of programming? Yes I am.

The online landscape is as diverse as the cultures living in a student’s dorm. It is more than just social media, far more complicated than “social media gurus” can comprehend. The subtitle of this blog is “Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations and Stuff” because digital has blurred all disciplines and there is even stuff which cannot be categorised.

PR agencies need a helping hand and, in most cases, generation Y is the answer. So go on, give a student a job!

 

My thanks to Neville Hobson who highlighted EC=MC at his #CIPRsm session last week, “How social do you want your PR?”. To see a full list of other sessions taking place visit the CIPR Social Summer page.