Inside PR: The G20 Summit aftermath and Kenneth Cole = #Crass

It’s the week after the snowstorm – and Inside PR is digging out from under the snowbanks – or at least Gini Dietrich is.

Lots to talk about this week

Last week, I chaired a conference on Social Media for Government, organized by the Advanced Learning Institute. This conference was bookended by a pair of extraordinary presentations by Linda Williamson and Elena Yunusov from the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario andScott Mills from Toronto Police Services that dealt with the demonstrations and conduct of the police during last summer’s G20 Summit in Toronto. Both the Ombudsman and Toronto Police Services use social media – and both were remarkably candid about their experience and the lessons they learned. All in all, two extraordinary presentations.

Gini takes us through the Kenneth Cole #Cairo fiasco on Twitter. Gini reminds us that companies trying to raise their profile through stunts should remember that all PR is not good PR. Martin draws on his background in comedy to point out that gallows humour is a tough thing to pull off. I suggest that hashtag for Kenneth Cole’s tweeting should have been #Crass.

And to close out the show, Martin talks about Twitter’s appearance in a recent episode of Gray’s Anatomy. Martin, is Gray’s Anatomy still on the air?

As always, thanks to Yasmine Kashefi for producing Inside PR.

Join us at Podcamp Toronto

We’ve scheduled a live Inside PR recording on February 26 at Podcamp Toronto. If you’re planning to attend Podcamp, please join us to take part in the live recording.

Let us know what you think

Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below or send an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, or message us @inside_pr on Twitter. Or connect withMartin WaxmanJoe Thornley, and Gini Dietrich on Twitter.

The people formerly known as Facebook Users?

As I see it, Facebook still is far short of fulfilling the promise of targeting advertisement to people for whom it is relevant.

Case in point: This ad appeared on my Facebook homepage.

Erase my criminal record? Heck, I haven’t had even a traffic ticket since 1985. I hardly need this. And it’s kind of creepy.

So, what’s really at stake here?

This isn’t just about me being annoyed by an ad and wanting to poke at Facebook.

No, the stakes are much bigger. We’ve seen other incumbents who thought they were too big to fail – MySpace, AOL, Yahoo and others.

As Facebook keeps pushing to monetize my attention, it will have to do a better job than this. If it doesn’t, I and others like me will be ready and quick to move away from it as soon as the next innovator arrives. And make no mistake, it will arrive.

So, Facebook, it’s time for you to respect me as a user. Respect my privacy. Respect my attention. Or I and others like me may become “the people formerly known as Facebook users.”

Controversial Clients: Too hot to handle?

If you take on controversial clients, you’d better be sure that the people in your company are onside. If you fail to do this, disaster lies ahead.

That’s where Eric Portelance, Sean Howard and I come down in this week’s Social Mediators. We revisit the question of how consulting organizations should decide whether to take on a potentially controversial client.

Sean believes that the decision about a controversial client can be a defining moment for a company. Indeed, the decision will affect both the external perception and the internal self-image of the company.

Eric argues that companies need to first determine whether their employees will want to work for the potentially controversial client. People should not be compelled to work on issues that conflict with their personal beliefs.

I suggest that this is one of those issues on which senior executives should be mindful that their own preferences must be balanced by staff preferences. Eric asks, Will the new client be consistent with the image of the company that employees themselves have.

How will existing clients view the new relationship? Every company must be sensitive to how existing clients react. Do clients hire us to accomplish a specific mandate or do they have a claim on other parts of our professional lives?

Our bottom line: In the era of the social web, when we all need to be authentic, it’s just not viable to say, let’s take all clients. It won’t pass the social sniff test. People will see you as a gun for hire, open to the highest bidder. And that’s not the way any of us would want to be seen.

As Sean Howard says: “Your decision shouldn’t be made out of fear. It should be made out of conviction.”

Would you, should you, take that client?

Francois Gossieaux brings the Hyper-Social Organization to Third Tuesday

This month’s Third Tuesday will interest anyone who wants to understand the impact of social media on businesses and how the most successful ones are adapting to it. Our February Third Tuesday speaker is Francois Gossieaux, co-author of The Hyper-Social Organization.

“In the beginning, business and commerce were social exchanges – if you sold poor products, people would bad-mouth you and shun your operation, forcing you out of business or pushing you to improve your offering,” writes Gossieaux. While we lost that element of personal contact and accountability through the era of mass media and mass marketing, it is being returned to us in the era of social media. Gossieaux argues persuasively that businesses must themselves become hyper-social in order to survive and thrive in this new era.

Together with his co-author, Ed Moran, Gossieaux has conducted annual Tribalization of Business surveys, examining the impact of social media on organizations and how they are adapting to it. The Hyper-Social Organization draws on this data to map a course that business can follow in the era of social media.

I’ve seen Francois present the Tribalization of Business Study data at Society for New Communications Research symposiums and I can tell you that he’s a smart, articulate presenter who gives everyone in his audience something to think about and act upon.

Best Marketing and Advertising Book 2010

Yes, it’s an award winner. The Hyper-Social Organization received the National “Best Book 2010” Award from USA Book News in the category Business: Marketing and Advertising.

It’s also received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Here’s a sample:

Tribes Rule the Hyper-Social Organization

Hyper-Social Organizations

The Hyper-Social Organization in a Book

Want to attend Third Tuesday with Francois Gossieaux?

You can register online to attend Third Tuesday in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Thanks to our sponsors

Third Tuesday brings great speakers to major cities across Canada. This month, Francois Gossieaux will speak at third Tuesdays in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. This would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, who underwrite the cost of visiting each of those cities. Thank you to CNW Group, Rogers Communications, Radian6, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. You help to make Third Tuesday Digital Canada’s national meet up.

Inside PR: Do you trust LinkedIn recommendations?

On this week’s Inside PR podcast, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I talk about a question raised by FIR‘s Shel Holtz: should we trust recommendations of a person that are posted on LinkedIn?

Listen to this week’s podcast to hear our take on this question.

What do you think about this issue? Leave a comment below or send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, or message us @inside_pr on Twitter. Or connect with Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich, and me on Twitter.