Shel Holtz has asked me to co-host the For Immediate Release podcast with him tomorrow. Regular co-host Neville Hobson is busy attending Twestival in the U.K. and Shel needs a foil for the day. And that’s me.
Shel has asked me to suggest some topics for discussion on the episode. Here are a few ideas I’ve developed. What do you think of them?
One area I’d like to highlight in the discussion is Canada’s experience of being close neighbours with the United States and the opportunities and challenges that social media present for us to see ourselves while being part of the larger global community. One aspect of this is what I call the “Content Creation Gap.”
What do I mean by a content creation gap? Well simply put, the Forrester Social Technographics data shows that U.S. Internet users are more likely to engage in active social media content creation – authoring, critiquing and collecting – than are Canadians.
To understand the potential significance of this, consider that search engine algorithms already reward the most popular links. A U.S. population ten times Canada’s population is more likley to click on U.S.-relevant pages, driving them higher on future search results for the same term.than links relevant to other countries. Add to this that we are less likely than Americans to produce as much content on a per capital basis and it seems to me, there is potential for it to become harder for us to see ourselves reflected in the increasing flow of social media content.
Another aspect of living close to the U.S. and being so similar to Americans is the profound impact it has on the composition of our business community. As Chair of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms, I see that Canadian public relations firms are most directly affected by the consolidation of accounts into global relationships, most often anchored in the United States. This is a different approach to a topic I’ve heard addressed at both this year’s PRSA Counselors Academy conference and the IABC World Conference – how the (mostly-U.S.-based) PR industry can ensure that its strategies and programs are sensitive to the unique cultures and contexts of every country in which they are rolled out.
Another topic I’d like to discuss would be the importance of public relations practitioners grounding their approach to social media in sociology and anthropology as well as technology. Yes, the technology is important. But more important than the shiny new objects is what people want to do with them and how they interact and form communities of interest. This continues to be public relations strong suit, if we keep our focus on it.
What do you think of these topics? Are there related topics that I should add?
Are there other things you’d like me to discuss?