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ABC (Australia) Science Show on Podcasts vs PR (and a debatable first)

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  • Les Posen
    Will podcasting kill PR spin? Anna Salleh ABC Science Online Friday, 28 October 2005 Podcasting and
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 28, 2005
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      <http://abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1492265.htm>

      "Will podcasting kill PR spin?
      Anna Salleh
      ABC Science Online

      Friday, 28 October 2005


      Podcasting and blogging are transforming how companies talk to the
      public, and could undermine methods of traditional public relations,
      says an enthusiast of this so-called social media.

      Cameron Reilly, of Melbourne, Australia, who runs what is billed as
      the world's first podcast network, recently moderated a panel
      discussion on the topic at the second global Blogon conference in New
      York.

      Podcasts, digital audio programs that can be downloaded via the
      internet, and online journals called blogs, are great new marketing
      opportunities, says Reilly, of The Podcast Network.

      He says conference participants discussed the ways companies can use
      podcasts and blogs to sell products and services.

      They can advertise directly to targeted audiences through existing
      podcasts and blogs or set up their own, says Reilly.

      But he says one of the most important messages to come out of the
      conference was the need for companies to monitor what people were
      saying about them online and to engage with it.

      Rather than dealing with problems when "the shit hits the fan", says
      Reilly, companies should be having ongoing online conversations with
      customers about what's working and what isn't and how to improve what
      they're putting out.

      He says it involves an entire rethink about how public relations
      people manage issues.

      "This isn't about control," says Reilly. "When an issue does happen
      you need to engage early, be honest, be transparent and talk about
      what you're going to do about it."

      The internet doesn't forget

      Reilly says corporations that ignore online conversations do so at
      their own peril because there are 30 million blogs out there, many
      spreading messages about their product.

      And the worse the story is, the more likely people are going to link
      to it and the more likely it will show up on Google.

      "The internet doesn't forget, " says Reilly.

      He says some companies set up fake blogs, like McDonalds.

      "They created what's called a 'flog', a fake blog," he says. "They
      invented a fictional character whose supposed to be a real passionate
      user of McDonalds and it's all fake."

      But he says people find out about these fake blogs very quickly and
      talk about them online.

      "And it does the company an immeasurable amount of harm," he says.
      "Because these stories will never be forgotten."

      Reilly says corporate blogging can also influence a corporation's
      image offline as well as online, especially since many journalists
      read blogs.

      Microsoft, for example, allows its workforce to write blogs about its
      products.

      "The amount of positive press that Microsoft gets today as a direct
      result of their open blogging strategy is amazing compared to two
      years ago," says Reilly, who used to work with the company. "You
      couldn't buy that amount of positive press."

      Transparency only goes so far

      But Canberra-based veteran PR watcher, Bob Burton, editor of the US-
      based Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch, says corporate
      accountability and transparency online is only likely to go so far.

      He says while some companies are well-known for their blogging on
      products and services, they are less likely to be transparent about
      their role in other forms of online opinion shaping.

      Burton says companies fund think-tanks, as third parties, to spread
      ideas designed to influence policy makers. But these ideas aren't
      necessarily something that would appeal to the very same people they
      are trying to woo with their open corporate blogs.

      He says one example of online opinion shaping is when a Microsoft-
      funded think tank published a report on its website critical of open
      source operating systems, such as Linux, which present a commercial
      threat to Microsoft.

      The report said that open source was a legal minefield because the
      code came from so many different sources which could one day start
      suing for theft of intellecutal property.

      This came at a particularly critical phase when a whole series of
      governments were contemplating going to open source software, says
      Burton.

      "But when you just read the statement coming out of these think tanks
      it wasn't immediately apparent that they were being funded by
      Microsoft."

      Microsoft and the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution think tank have
      confirmed the funding arrangements in articles in Techworld and Wired
      earlier this year, although have declined to discuss details."

      ________________________________________________________________________
      My take: Hand over podcasting to the PR boys and girls, to corporates
      selling their wares or protecting their asse(t)s, and it's just
      another form of spin, whether you call it social media or hype. I
      think Cameron learnt a great deal from his time at Microsoft.
      Probably one reason he won't get much attention from me, except when
      quoted in reports like this. YMMV.
    • jim stewart
      Interesting to see Cam getting his name out there again. I ran a workshop on this last week for the Public Relations Institute of Australia. They were all VERY
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 30, 2005
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        Interesting to see Cam getting his name out there again. I ran a workshop on
        this last week for the Public Relations Institute of Australia. They were
        all VERY interested in it's potential.
        Regards
        Jim Stewart
        SEO Vlog<http://feeds.feedburner.com/StewArtMediaIncreasedOnlineTrafficVideoStreaming>
        Personal Vlog <http://feeds.feedburner.com/JimStewart-ItCanOnlyGetBetter>
        On 10/29/05, Les Posen <lesposen@...> wrote:
        >
        > <http://abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1492265.htm>
        >
        > "Will podcasting kill PR spin?
        > Anna Salleh
        > ABC Science Online
        >
        > Friday, 28 October 2005
        >
        > ________________________________________________________________________
        > My take: Hand over podcasting to the PR boys and girls, to corporates
        > selling their wares or protecting their asse(t)s, and it's just
        > another form of spin, whether you call it social media or hype. I
        > think Cameron learnt a great deal from his time at Microsoft.
        > Probably one reason he won't get much attention from me, except when
        > quoted in reports like this. YMMV.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
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        >


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