Inside PR: Intranets and the new face of Facebook

In this week’s Inside PR, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I talk about Intranets and the recent changes to Facebook.

At Thornley Fallis, our Intranet is built around a Wiki to host content, to support publishing and linking to content and Windows Live Messenger to enable one to one video calls. We encourage people to use these three tools to divert content from emails (we all suffer from inbox glut) and to channel communications from broad publishing through to one to one communications via video. For us, video is the best communications channel. Unlike email and text, it enables us to read facial expressions, posture and all the physical clues that add nuance to communications.

Martin Waxman points out that we have so many “places to go,” so many channels of communication, that managing these different channels can become a challenge unto itself.

And then there’s Facebook. We received a comment from Liza Butcher, who suggested that, “With the changes made this past week, I believe facebook it is trying to be too many things in one space, and ostracizing generations of people that may not be as tech savvy as others. … Facebook was a place for everyone, and now it is becoming too technical for the masses.”

Gini and Martin talk about their impressions of the most recent Facebook changes. Gini points out that it will be important to decide what you want to include in your timeline. Sharing everything won’t be for everyone. And it’s important to be aware of what the timeline automatically shares so that you can filter out the info you wouldn’t want to see there. Martin suggests that we all should become familiar with the “view activity” panel that will enable us to remove content from our timeline. Other neat features: the cover photo we can add to our Facebook profile and the ability to add “milestones” to fill in our timeline.

As for me. I still can’t be enthused about Facebook’s effort to move us away from the open Internet toward the walled garden of Facebook. Bah. Humbug.

And one final reminder: Inside PR will be recording live from the PRSA International Conference in Orlando on October 16 and 17. We’ll also be interviewing speakers and participants. So, if you’re planning to be there, let us know and we will grab a sound bite with you.


cross-posted from the Inside PR podcast blog


We're recruiting a new Senior Web Developer

We’ve just had one of the best summers we’ve had in years, adding new clients every month through the summer. That’s not bragging. It’s just the background that explains why I’m writing this post. 76design is busy, busy, busy. And we are looking for a Senior Web Developer to join our team.

Here’s the job description from the 76design careers page.


76design is looking for an experienced Web Developer to join our Team.

The winning candidate should be prepared to work in collaboration with other developers, graphic designers, marketers and public relations experts towards the development and implementation of industry leading solutions.


  • Maintain visibility and respect in the online community
  • Contribute to the development of the Studio’s culture and quality standards


  • Understanding of fundamentals of new marketing and communications principles
  • A solid understanding of informational architecture practices
  • Gathering, reviewing and validating project requirements


  • Demonstrated experience with the following: Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP5
  • Experience with a modern MVC web framework like Zend Framework, Java Spring, etc.
  • Background in web API programming; do you prefer api.twitter to to
  • Polylingual programming beyond PHP considered an asset (Java, .Net, Ruby, etc)
  • Comfortable with use and function of a variety of modern CMS: WordPress, Drupal;
  • Direct experience with social media tools and platforms, such as WordPress, Google+, Twitter, etc.
  • Work with tiered deployment environments.
  • Experience with a version control system like SVN.
  • Experience with automated deployment using tools like Phing, Ant considered an asset.
  • University degree in computer science or software engineering
  • Use of OO and design patterns
  • Working knowledge of web standards, SEO and accessibility
  • Front end development experience working with XHTML, CSS, Javascript, Ajax
  • Agency experience an asset
  • A relentless and visible passion for and participation social and community engagement
  • Experience and confidence presenting to clients


  • Unix system maintenance, shell scripting
  • Apache web server configuration, virtual host management


  • Experience with Microsoft SilverStripe CMS
  • Experience with modern ORM such as Doctrine
  • Knowledge of Apache Software Foundation Projects: Lucene / Mahout


Go by foot, by bike, by skates, by bus or by car. Our centrally-located office spaces in downtown Toronto and Ottawa are easy to get to.


You’ll never wonder how long that pot of coffee has been sitting there. Our Starbucks coffee machine grinds fresh beans for every cup, and it makes a tasty cup of cocoa.


At TF & 76, TGIF starts first thing in the morning with breakfast treats, the team then caps off the week by kicking back with a few drinks in office. Frequently, this spills over into one of the many nearby watering holes.


We’re an agency of talented, passionate, creative individuals. We want to create amazing work and solve our client’s problems in the coolest ways possible. This means we’re looking for people who are also talented, creative and passionate about the things they do. We’re looking for people who inspire and make us better.

Is this you?

If so, please contact Laura [at] to let her know that you’re interested in joining us.



Inside PR Podcast returns from summer hiatus

August couldn’t last forever (too bad) and neither could our vacation from the Inside PR podcast. So, as September ushers in cooler weather, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I are back in front of our microphones to record this week’s Inside PR.


Be a mensch

We start off with a discussion of corporate social responsibility – an issue Liza Butcher raised in a comment last week. Gini talks about the preference people have to work with a company that gives back. I cite Guy Kawasaki’s suggestion in his new book, Enchantment, that you “should be a mensch.” Among other things, this means that you should “help someone who can be of absolutely no use to you.” Martin underlines this point with an example of a company that risked appearing self serving and self congratulatory in acting upon their social responsibility.

We the People

We also talk about the We the People site that is being launched by the White House. I compare it to the British Prime Minister’s Number10 Website, which also has a petition function as well as links to policy consultations. I’m skeptical of the value of pure crowdsourcing for policy development. I believe that it can lead to unfocused conversations. The best results are achieve, I think, when the policy makers are prepared to guide the conversation, being up front and honest about parameters, practical limits and secondary objectives. In other words, I think that the best public policy emerges when policy makers channel pure crowd sourcing into “purposeful discussion” through their active and open participation in the conversation.

Gini argues that the site falls short of its potential by making the culmination of the process a response from policy makers in the White House. Martin wonders about the requirement for 5,000 expressions of support as the threshold at which petitions will receive a reply. Is it an arbitrary number? Or is there some rationale for this?

Darwin for measurement

Finally, we talk about the recent news that monitoring service VMS shut its doors recently. Katie Paine published a thoughtful post on why the service failed. One of her arguments that rang true to me is that some longstanding suppliers are focused on giving their customers what they feel comfortable with. Newer entrants like Radian6 and Sysomos are innovating to provide the marketplace with new insights. Services that don’t match them will fall by the wayside.

So, that’s our first post-summer IPR. Please give it a listen and let us know what you think.

Why I'm hooked on Google+

Mark Ragan asked on Google+: “Why do you like Google+ or dislike it? What are its greatest strengths? Weaknesses?” I wrote a longish answer, which I’d like to share here as well.

Why I keep returning to Google+

I find myself looking at and replying to the posts in my Circles at least daily. You can see my public posts Why have I added it to Twitter and RSS feeds as a principal source of information?

1) The organization of comments with the original post enables an intelligent, longer form conversation. A step above the declaratory statements that Twitter’s 140 character limit make possible.

2) The absence of the “traffic building” gimmicks that caused Facebook’s interface to become a junkyard (on the way to being he next MySpace in terms of a messy interface?)

3) Google+ Hangouts and Chat provide instant communications options – from every page.

4) Circles, of course! Think about organizing your interests in different circles the way you’d sort your clothes into different drawers by category and season. It makes it possible to focus on the conversation about the subject  you are interested in at any given time.

It still could be improved

Not every thing is perfect. Google+ is still a channel-in-the-making. The biggest disappointment so far is the Sparks feature. I can only hope that Google is going to give us more refined search controls on this feature. Once they do, it too could be great.

My public profile on Google+

If you’re interested in following what I have to say on Google+, check out my public profile.