Category Archives: Reputation

Corinne Weisgerber :: Blogging & Managing your Personal Brand

Here is an excellent slideshow for exposing students to their first taste of online activity.

Gee Ekachai, of Marquette University, linked to the author of the slideshow – Corinne Weisgerber, of St. Edwards University.

Both are involved with PROpenMic, by the way. Visit their profiles in PROpenMic: Corinne Weisgerber and Gee Ekachai.

Truly a great, simple slideshow that all educators should use, IMO. It drives home the point of personal brand management. Some of the better quotes, “Google is the new resume” and “Find the Skeletons in your cyber closet”. You’ll enjoy this one. Continue reading


Google’s Friend Connect Arrives (Tonight)

Must admit, I’m intrigued by Google Friend Connect (Note: Not up yet. Later tonight.)

The details are here: Google Press Center: News Announcement.

Lots of other people are, of course, buzzing about it. See Techmeme: Previewing Google Friend Connect: Website owners can make any site social (Sean Carlson/Google).

Now, since it is just launching, I’m not too sure we can take advantage of it in this semester’s classes, but I’ll hope. I’d like for all students to be able to get an account. But, Google is rolling it out piece meal, like they usually do with Beta releases.

What’s The Benefit?

What might it do? offer to our student projects? Well, it can make a digital resume a social site, for instance. Would we want to do that? I don’t know, but some aspects seem compelling. The simplest explanation comes from the release above, “any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming — picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.”

Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social — and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect, any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming — picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.

Visitors to any site using Google Friend Connect will be able to see, invite, and interact with new friends, or, using secure authorization APIs, with existing friends from social sites on the web, including Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more.

So, although we wouldn’t want to necessarily add that info to the resume, we can put it on a sub-page. The student uses that to build their own network over time. Also, what about potential employers and internship providers that are digital adopters and want to connect with the student in their social networks? Well, now you can do it on your own domain.

Does it change the rules?

No, but it can change the opportunities.

Best practices will still rule. In fact, they are going to become even more important. This is, after all, as much an opportunity to screw up your online reputation as it is to enhance it. ;o) Translation: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t show Grandma and Grandpa.

I’ll be watching and signing up. Hope for a quick invite for me. No. I’m not holding my breath. ;o)

This could turn out to be a really good, easy way to explore socializing a site, while not spending too much time on coding and more. After all, we’re developing PR practitoners, not creating developers and coders.

Update: Well, I have (of course) not yet been graced with an invite to Google’s Friend Connect. Big shock. But, I have seen more talk about it out on the Web. Something I have since learned is the possibility that all of these new tools will be in an iframe. What’s that? Well, let’s call it a page within a page, or a frame (featuring content from other sites) inside an HTML page. Um, that’s not really “integrated” now is it. Hmm? See Google Friend Connect Tries to Strangle the Social – ReadWriteWeb (Hat tip: Google Friend Connect – Error 404 – Your Friends Not Found | My Blog Posts)

Well, this makes me a bit less energetic about the whole project. I’d still like to see it and try it for classes, but I was really hoping for something a bit more truly integrated. Still, I have yet to see the service, so I’m reserving my final opinion until later.

PR Bludgeons Itself :: Again

Kelli Matthews, of the University of Oregon, has a good post in entitled PR Taking it in the Teeth (Again).

I’ll share my response, but ask that you visit her post and read the comments by students (sign up required, membership is free). (After visiting that post, also consider going to Kelli’s blog at PRos in Training. It’s a good one.)

This revolves around a recent wiki (prspammers wiki) created by Gina Trapani of Lifehacker, tips and downloads for getting things done. Gina’s Web site is here: Gina Trapani, tech writer and web developer.

The short story? She’s been getting pitches to her personal e-mail address, whereas she has clearly stated links for pitching her and the other editors of Lifehacker (see left hand column). None of them say, “Write to my personal e-mail account.”

So, she has reacted in a public manner. Her choice to do that, of course. Most of us would likely have just filtered the emails and moved on with our lives. But, sometimes we all feel compelled to make a very public point. Right? So, yea! for Gina’s team. I really don’t see anything about her coming off as being malicious in her approach. So, I don’t have a problem with what she’s done.

Update: Kelli has pointed out something I didnt’ see. Gina did post this in Twitter: Twitter / Gina Trapani – “my PR blacklist: Feel free to add to it.” Well, by publishing it that way, and not providing any safeguard against people maliciously adding to the list with those that are not guilty, she’s just as guilty as those she condemns. Why? Well, she’s just created a vehicle that can harm others. In fact, it is worse. She has not just bothered people with spam, for instance, she’s created a process that may damage one’s reputation unfairly. Talk about Lifehacking. Sheesh!

Here is my comment to Kelli’s post. A bit long for a comment, so I’m adding it here in case you don’t want to go to PROpenMic. But, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to. ;o)

Gina’s process of handling it, and how she’s dealing with it online, is much different than Chris Anderson’s. I’d say she has a valid argument and the nature of online business is that you can feel the backlash in a very public manner.

To me, the days of broadcast e-mails is long gone. It has been gone for over a decade, really. Maybe longer?

An example. That’s one thing I don’t really like about our network here. The invite tool is an invitation to print what many people likely perceive as spam. Scraping your address book to invite people isn’t personal in any way. It isn’t targeted, unless you consider a scattershot approach targeted. I don’t. Facebook’s many widgets are even worse. How many Facebook apps have you blocked? I think I block about 1 every other day.

My point? These practices and strategies (if you can use that term) are still being practiced, even built into the software we use, let alone built into PR firm practices and firm culture.

Years ago, and I mean 20 or so years, you could do a blast mail campaign to newspapers and almost be assured of vast pickup, particularly if you were looking to get into the class C & D papers (local dailies & weeklies). You can still do that today (for class C & D papers, only) and bet on pretty good pickup. But, does this really serve a client’s best interests? I don’t think so. It is lazy. It is unprofessional. It is not PR. Does anyone see any bridges being built through these scattershot approaches? Nope. The key phrase here is “mutually beneficial”, as in the PR practitioner needs to be giving Gina something she wants, not what the practitioner wants to have printed or covered. Why is such a no-brainer concept repeatedly lost on so many PR people?

Everyone holds responsibility here, but the onus is really on management. Is there frequent re-education / training? Is there a vetted process to assure who is using what names from what list? Is there oversight? Sadly, I’m betting the reality is that less than half of firms and organizations actually do that. And, I’m betting I’m being generous, too.

The reality may be a combination of two things. First, firms are trying to get the most out of every possible tactic (billables) and the client’s need for a ROI that they can buy into (retaining your client). These combine to engender a culture furthering these bad practices. Also, note that I’ve used the term ‘tactic’ yet, do we really believe there was any true strategy at work here? No. Strategy leads to tactics. There is no shortcut. You don’t have one without the other.

At least Gina exhibited mature and rational judgement in her effort to deal with the problem. Eh, not so fast … see above. Chris Anderson, on the other hand, well … he just came off looking like a very impudent child. Many of those he outed were not even PR people, some were people he asked to write to him and, worst of all, he uses the term PR and public relations to cover a wide variety of practices, like sales. Finally, his effort – by his own words – intended to do harm. Gina, on the other hand, just dealt with it publicly, yet (with a few exceptions) only published the domains of firms. Anderson is malicious, ignorant and myopic in his approach.

Related Posts:

POP! PR Jots: PR Pitching and Blacklists – by Jeremy Pepper

“Unsubscribe Lifehacker: My Email to Gina Trapani” « socialTNT

A Young Pro’s Take: Media Relations and the New PR Blacklists « PR Interactive

Tech PR Gems: Block & Tackle PR: Tackling the Blocking Bloggers

PR 2.0: Making Mistakes and Amends in Blogger and Media Relations

PR Squared: Open Letter to Gina Trapani of Lifehacker

A Whole Lotta Nothing – Stop asking, start filtering

Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges :: We do need Resources

Alfonso Bedoya made that quote famous in the 1948 John Huston film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It was Bedoya’s character, Gold Hat, that said, “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.”alfonso bedoya

OK, this is just my cute way to share some resources with the students and broach the subject of best practices in online communication. Also, I loved that film and enjoy seeing that line repeated in all its incarnations, like Blazing Saddles and Goin’ South, to name a few. Finally, Bedoya was a great character actor – so, I’m a fan.

There is a lot of talk about transparency and open dialog online, particularly with regard to business communications and social media. Some have suggested that a group label or badge might help to at least alert visitors to your Web site that you are interested in transparency and honesty.

The image to your left, for instance, offers a way to “take the pledge” and promise to be a good little blogger.

Well, badges may be cool to have on your Web site, but let’s remember that it is – to borrow a phrase – “the content of your character,” and not the little badge on your blog, that will make the big difference to all who read and interact with your Web site.

Still, a stated personal code of conduct can be a good thing. Some bloggers devote whole pages to their potential conflicts of interest, such as investments, stock holdings, employment, client list, and more. Nothing wrong with that and certainly a good idea if you wish to retain your good reputation.

So, with that said, let’s revisit some of the good sites with guidelines for positive online behaviour.

Allan Jenkins’ Desirable Roasted Coffee Code of Blogging Ethics is always a good read.

Then, there is the combined resource of Constantin Basturea’s epic work in the NewPR/Wiki.

At TheNewPR/Wiki, you will find the following resources (and more):

Oh, and that “Blog Honor” pledge I referred to, it is here: Continue reading