Facebook Trending Videos point to deeper issues with Facebook as a media outlet

FIR_itunes cover_Inside_PR

Early data on the performance of Facebook Instant articles. Periscope makes videos permanent. Donald Trump does something that crosses the ethical line for PR pros. And we look at the deeper issues underpinning the discussion about Facebook’s Trending Topics.

Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley tackle these topics and more in this week’s Inside PR podcast.

This week’s #InsidePRMustKnows:

  • Publishers are reporting mixed results with Facebook Instant Articles, according to Digiday. They are driving traffic, but it is less engaged. Nevertheless, revenue is flowing to publishers. So, Instant Articles as a publishing platform isn’t going away anytime soon.
  • Periscope is about to make videos permanent with save settings in its app. This is big news. Facebook Live Videos gained a huge advantage over Periscope by making it easy for people to save their videos. By making it easy for users to save their videos beyond the current 24 hour expiry date, Periscope will even up the playing field.
  • And in our “too bizarre not to be true item,” Gini offers her thoughts on Donald Trump posing as a PR rep in a call to media. “It’s not OK!”

Algorithms are not neutral

In our main discussion, we turn our attention to lack of transparency in how Facebook’s Trending Topics are selected. This is a far reaching and important issue. It’s about Facebook’s emergence as a media outlet. It’s about dominance of one player. It’s about the level of transparency necessary so that we can assess bias. And it’s about the additional obligation to transparency and scrutiny that Facebook should now be subject to.

During our discussion, we cite several sources that you should read in order to have the facts to make up your own mind about what is at stake:

This article is cross-posted at the Inside PR podcast blog.

Inside PR podcast turns 10

FIR_itunes-cover_Inside_PR-728x728

We’re  belatedly celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Inside PR podcast. Terry Fallis and David Jones posted the first episode of Inside PR on April 3, 2006. Back then the tag line was “Inside PR: Going deep on the state and future of public relations.” After recording 200 episodes, Terry and David decided that they’d said all that they wanted to say. But they didn’t retire the podcast. Instead they passed it along to Martin Waxman, who had been co-hosting with Terry and David. Martin, in turn, brought Gini Dietrich and Joseph Thornley in as new co-hosts. And thanks to Terry and David’s benevolence, the Inside PR podcast now has been running continuously for over ten years. That’s a record of longevity that we’re proud of. And we’re not thinking of stopping anytime soon.

Also this week, we give a shout out to original co-host Terry Fallis, who has just been shortlisted for the Leacock Medal for his novel, Poles Apart. Terry has won the Leacock award twice before, for his first novel, The Best Laid Plans, and for his fourth novel, No Relation.  The award winner will be announced on June 11. So check your Twitter feed on the evening of June 11 and send Terry your best wishes.

This week’s #IPRMustKnows:

Also this week, we talk about the Counselors Academy Conference that Martin attended in Puerto Rico. Martin’s big takeaway from the conference was the continuing trend for PR agencies to integrate design, video, paid media and other disciplines as the traditional silos of creative, advertising, PR and content converge.

While at the Counselors Academy Conference, Martin interviewed one of the keynote speakers, Duncan Wardle, Vice President of Creative Inc., Disney Parks and Resorts’ creative think tank. He offers some great advice for priming creativity in our own organizations.

Wall to Wall Facebook on Inside PR 440

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman, and Joseph Thornley chat about all things Facebook on this week’s Inside PR.

It may be big, but Facebook is like a shark. It just keeps moving. Recently, Facebook opened itself to sponsored content. We talk about recent changes at Facebook, including sponsored content. We talk about the need for adequate disclosure of sponsored content to enable people to recognize it as such.

We also discuss Facebook Messenger’s second email inbox. It seemed to have sent a lot of people into a tizzy. Joe, on the other hand, is quite happy to have Facebook Messenger filter out as many messages as possible.

Facebook uses its huge data store to fine tune its news and advertising algorithms. But kudos to the company for this innovation: Facebook introduced auto captioning to make itself more accessible to people with site impairment. Good on Facebook!

And we couldn’t talk about Facebook without talking about Facebook Live Videos. They are available to all of us and we’ve been using it. Video for the rest of us. Video that persists (unlike Periscope which expires.) Video that we can schedule with an event. Or, as we have done, video available only to members of a group (join the Inside PR Facebook group to see the video Joe made of his end of the recording of this podcast.)

We’d love to know what you think. 

  • Is Facebook going to become the one social network to rule them all?
  • Junk filters? Nuisance or must-have.
  • Have you used Facebook Live Videos yet? How was your experience? Do you have tips for others who are just beginning to use them?

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

Inside PR 436: Meerkat pivots, Facebook Reactions, Snapchat videos

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I are back together again for  Inside PR 436 – the first episode in over a month in which all three of us are together.

Inside PR podcastInside PR MustKnows

In this episode’s #IPRMust Know segment, we talk about Meerkat’s pivot, Facebook Reactions and Snapchat’s big video view numbers.

Meerkat is moving away from live streaming and attempting to pivot to become some type of video social network. Not surprising, given the tight integration of Periscope and Twitter and the introduction of Facebook live videos. It would be tough to see how Meerkat could stand out with the two main realtime social networks offering their own live streaming platforms.

Facebook Reactions have been with us for several weeks now. Chris Penn’s early look at the impact of Facebook Reactions suggested that “haven’t statistically changed engagement yet. If you publish unengaging content, Reactions won’t help you. If you already have a highly-engaged audience, you will likely continue to do so – Reactions don’t appear to make it better or worse.”  We offer our own early reactions to Reactions.

If you didn’t have enough video in your life, take a look at Snapchat. Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel says that Snapchat users are watching more than 8 billion videos per day. There’s clearly an audience for video. So, if you produce video as part of your initiatives, it’s worth checking out what works well on Snapchat.

Fake accounts. Could this happen to you?

We close out this episode with a discussion of the communications agency executive who faked over $250 million in contracts go gain advancement at this advertising agency. Sad but true.

And a big thanks to Suzy Chisholm. Suzy, who heard me state a few episodes back that I preferred single purpose apps over those that take a “Swiss Army Knife” approach. Suzy, who lives in Switzerland, sent us three Swiss Army Knives, branded with the Philips logo (where Suzy works) and a very nice note. Thank you Suzy. You brought smiles to our faces and reminded us that there are times when you want to reach for that one thing that does it all. 🙂

Listen to the podcast

You can listen to this episode or subscribe on iTunes.

This post is first appeared on the Inside PR Podcast blog.

Inside PR 435: Of Twitter, Celebrity Advertising and Advertising Value Equivalency

Gini Dietrich and Martin Waxman fly without me on Inside PR 435. I was traveling for business and unable to record at our usual time.

FIR_itunes-cover_Inside_PR-728x728Martin leads off with a discussion of Jack Dorsey‘s attempt to shift perceptions in the ongoing conversation about the future of Twitter.  Gini talks about the importance of managing crises by participating in conversations  where they are already taking place. As Gini points out, many people resist change to the applications they know and are accustomed to using. That resistance will only be overcome with clear explanations and allowing people time to consider and try the new and changed features.

Speaking of shifting perceptions, Martin and Gini have a great discussion about ads featuring celebrities. And then they use this as a launching point to talk about advertising equivalencies (AVEs) and the importance of the PR industry to measure meaningful outcomes.

(This post originally appeared on the Inside PR blog.)

 

Inside PR Podcast 434: Talking about Counselors Academy, Specialization in PR, and Beavertails!

FIR_itunes-cover_Inside_PR-728x728On this week’s episode, Inside PR 434Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I take a look at PRSA’s Counselors Academy this week. The Counselors Academy conference is coming up May 1-3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. All three of us have participated in the past. It is a unique opportunity for PR agency leaders to learn about the “business of the business.” It’s a networking place to find others who share the same business challenges that you do as a communications business leader. In fact, Martin, Gini and I first met at the Counsellors Academy annual conference in Phoenix. It’s not too late to register for this year’s conference. If you do attend, make sure to say hello to Martin! 🙂

For our second topic, Gini asks the question, “Is specialization in PR a thing of the past or the way of the future?” Martin and I weigh in with our views and how they have harnessed generalist and specialist knowledge in their careers. But, why not download the episode or subscribe to the podcast to listen to the complete episode?

Teaching an old podcast new tricks

FIR_itunes cover_Inside_PRThe Inside PR podcast has been continuously produced since 2006. That’s a long time. Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I have co-hosted the podcast for half of that time. (We took over from the podcast’s original co-hosts, Terry Fallis (who also co-founded Thornley Fallis) and David Jones.)

Ten years in, we’re making a change to the way that we record Inside PR that could lead to a significant change to the format of the show that we publish.

For all of its life, we have recorded Inside PR as a double ender, with the hosts each recording their tracks locally on their computer or a dedicated recorder. Following recording, we upload our individual tracks to a shared dropbox. Then the show’s producer edit combines the voice tracks together with the musical intros and outros, edits out the bloopers (yes, there are even more than the ones that you hear) and runs the finished product through a program called Auphonic to eliminate background rumble and level the sound across the different input sources.

Screenshot 2015-12-31 07.52.05About a month ago, we started to use a new tool, Zoom.us that transforms the way that we record the show and opens the possibility to making it available as a video podcast as well as an audio podcast.

Zoom.us replaces the double ender recording of individual tracks onto separate devices with a single online recording which can be downloaded as a single, level-balanced track. This eliminates a lot of work. But even more importantly, it also enables us to capture the recording on video. And we’re keen to add a video component to what until now has been an audio-only podcast.

For now it’s an experiment. If you listen closely to Inside PR episode 428, you’ll hear some significant variations in the sound quality between Gini, Martin and I. We’re attempting to identify the source of the differences – mic quality, the age and specs of the computer, the quality of the internet connection are the obvious first candidates for scrutiny. But as we bring up the general quality level, we hope to move on to offer a video feed in addition to the traditional audio feed. So, stay tuned for that.

#IPRMustKnows: Facebook and Google Make Some Moves

Each week on the Inside PR podcast, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I’m thornley on Twitter talk about three #IPRMustKnows, three things that we think that communicators and marketers should know about because they are likely to affect the way that we use digital media and social networks to connect withe people.

This week’s #IPRMustKnows are:

Facebook has made its platform even more attractive as a place to publish videos by providing new tools to give publishers greater control over how they post their videos and target their reach. Facebook has joined YouTube as a must-publish place for video. If you aren’t already publishing your videos to both places, it’s time to test a dual publishing approach. Test it for several videos. Watch your stats closely. Then draw your own conclusion about how these two platforms work together to enable you to reach the people who are interested in your content.

Google isn’t giving up on video. It keeps innovating with YouTube. It is updating the YouTube mobile app, to make it easier for you to upload, find and view videos.

And going the other way – reducing a service’s scope and reach, Google announced that it is decoupling Google+ profiles from the login for other services, starting with YouTube. What does this mean for Google+. Trying to strike a positive note, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s product manager for Google+, said in a post on his Google+ page that,

“Google+ can now focus on doing what it’s already doing quite well: helping millions of users around the world connect around the interest they love. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. But you’ll also see a slew of improvements that make this use case shine (like the recent launch of Collections – https://plus.google.com/collections/featured).”

So, there is a lot happening with both Facebook and Google+. Things you should know about.

If you find these #IPRMustKnows to be useful to you, click over to the Inside PR podcast blog to subscribe to receive the new episodes as soon as they are published.

 

Inside PR 414: Humans, algorithmic content creation and #IPRMustKnows

Episode 414 of the Inside PR is available for download.

On this week’s episode, Martin WaxmanGini Dietrich and I give you three #IPRMustKnows:

  1. Meerkat introduces and embeddable player. Now you can put your streaming media on your own site.
  2. Yeplive joins the streaming video field. And it lets you shoot your video in landscape mode, unlike Meerkat and Persicope which serve up your videos in portrait mode. You can get the Yep Live app in the iOS and Play stores.
  3. Google “began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.” The code supports Google’s hotword feature that enables voice commands. This is the kind of feature you need to be aware of. Remember what you enable on your device because always-on monitoring has become a “feature” of our lives.

In our main discussion this week, we turn our attention to the increasing role of algorithms and computer code not only to shape the distribution of news, but also to create content. Do you know when your news is generated by a person or generated by an algorithm? This is the type of development that strongly divides people. And it is a discussion that we’ll surely be having much more in the future.

We’d love to hear what you think.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: if you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

(This article is cross-posted from the Inside PR podcast blog.)

Google+ ends name restrictions. Why? Why now?

I’m as mystified as I was the day of the announcement. Google is removing restrictions on Google+ user names. They announced it with, what else, a Google+ post.Screenshot 2014-07-28 10.42.54

“When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names. 

“Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use.”

When I first saw it, this move left me asking, “Why? And why now?.”

I think that those potential users who objected to having to use real names on Google+ long ago stopped caring about Google+. And the folks who are using it now are probably quite happy with the rules as they are. And they use it and like it.

I worry that the most immediate impact of lifting restrictions on names will be to welcome the trolls onto Google+. In fact, Gini Dietrich tells Martin Waxman and me that shortly after the announcement, she received a marriage proposal from one of the newly-minted anonymous users. A fun move? Or just plain creepy? Whichever, hopefully this is not a sign of things to come.

If Google+ is hoping to attract hordes of new users to mainstream itself as one of the larger social networking platforms,  they’d better have some new magic up their sleeves. There is no reason for people who’ve decided that Facebook or Twitter meets their needs to abandon those services for Google+.

FIR Podcast community on Google+In fact, I think that Google+ has built a happy and enthusiastic group of users around features like Hangouts and Google+ Communities. I’m thinking about the FIR Podcast Community that generates a constant flow of conversation. Yes, it’s only 500 people strong. But it is a community that has a specialized interest and actively uses Google+ to converge around that interest.

So, Google+ is a success for those who use it. Why would the people who cared about anonymity in the first place ever come back to Google+?

Why Google? Why now?