Socking it to soc med

Every now and again you read an article that makes you laugh out loud (no I’m not going to use LOL for reasons that will become clear).

I recently had a social media detox for a week – an order from my wife for our honeymoon. On return to the UK, one of the first articles I read was Paul Carr’s write up of his trip to Butlins. I strongly recommend it to anyone working as a ‘social media guru’ or in corporate communications.

For someone who works and constantly waxes lyrical about the benefits of social media, I have to admit there are some companies for which soc med just isn’t the answer. On first inspection, I thought Butlins attempts were a perfect example of a company that doesn’t quite get social media (we’ll just invite some social media experts on a weekend and everyone will see us as down with the kids).

But do they really need to? Sometimes a company can get so caught up in the hype, it loses all its self-awareness (PRs are notorious for this crime).

As Paul and his Butlin cronies concluded, it struck me that at times and for some social media isn’t the magic bullet. Just stick to what you do best and play on it.

That said, Butlins will have undoubteldy got a huge amount of hits from the piece so maybe they know more about social media than many of the experts….

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Companies using social media – another tool or a state of mind?

Following on from a debate I was reading from Wadds into how do you measure PR and a question Silky asked me about the difference between digital PR and social media, it got me thinking.

tape measure

There seems to be a consensus that PR needs to have better ways of evaluating and measuring (there’s an EU summit on it) itself and social media affords the perfect opportunity to do this. My colleague Morgan made the point that the we are converging with advertising in this respect.

But a wider issue in my mind is how clients view social media. About six months ago, I would have said that many viewed social media (or digital PR) as an extension to their existing PR channels. Now however I’ve started to noticed clients wanting support in building  communties. And I did even tell them to use that phrase!

I think the more social media tools become widespread and mature, we’ll see clients really wanting to engage with a community rather than just ‘punt’ a message to them.

If it does nothing at all, social media will at least force companies to think of people as people and speak to them rather than talk at them.

Mandy vs Marr – My take

I’ve always said that when the nuclear holocaust hits only two things will remain. Cockroaches and Peter Mandelson.

Based on the now (in)famous interview between Mandy and Andrew Marr, I can see why. There’s been a debate in the office between myself, David Brown and Will Sturgeon about this.

He is clearly a master in the art of controlling the media. I never thought I’d be defending anything Peter Mandelson said or stood for (I was first in line to cheer when he got pelted with green custard) but as someone who works in the dark art of PR, you have to admire the way he didn’t allow himself to get flustered by Marr. If anything, for most of the interview it seemed that Marr was the one with something to squirm about. It takes a lot to get a seasoned hack like Andrew Marr hot under the collar so Mandy clearly has something about him.

Now I’m not saying that politicians should evade questions but in a age where lazy journalism seems to be the order of the day, reporters have to be on their toes when interviewing especially when the subject is as wily as Mandelson. It might be that Andrew was having an off day, but I’m sure he’ll think twice before taking Mandy again in future.