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Hang the DJ September 27, 2006

Posted by James Warren in media, pr.
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Panic on the streets of London.  Panic on the streets of Birmingham…  Nowhere is the disruption being felt by the media more apparent than the streets of the UK’s major conurbations.  In an attempt to stifle the decline in circulations – and also in direct response to the challenge laid down by the original freesheet Metro – publishing giants News International and Associated Newspapers have begun giving away newspapers.  It seems to me extraordinary that these canny, profit-obsessed and hard-nosed businesses should resort to giving away content just so they have somewhere (anywhere!) to sell advertising.  Of course it presents further opportunities for us in PR and so for that I guess we should be thankful.  Clearly there must be a financial case for it, but I just can’t help thinking that overall this is going to drive down the perceived value of print news and analysis.  Aren’t these newspaper publishers guilty of cutting off their nose to spite their face…?  Or, as Time would have it, is printing newspaper actually an archaic and generally cost-ineffective practice?  By the way, I love the local community element to the Time piece – the most switched-on analysis of the future of media I’ve read in a long while.  Hey ho.  Good to be back.

Social Media (Social Media… Social Media… Social Media… Social Media…) September 26, 2006

Posted by James Warren in pr, social media.
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I recently had the opportunity to meet with 20 young PR graduates to talk about social networks, consumer-generated media and its implications for the future of our industry.  I was really looking forward to it, as I hoped I might actually learn a lot from this fresh-from-university crowd about how they and their peers are using social media to connect and ‘play’.  But when I asked how many of them visited MySpace regularly, no hands went up.  I asked them whether they used any other social networking sites – one or two had used Facebook.  Okay, so surely you’ve all got blogs, right?  One hand went up – and his was in development.  Visit blogs regularly?  A couple, one of whom had spent a lot of time in the US.

I admit it, I was shocked.  Fortunately they were an enthusiastic crowd and I soon had them quivering with anticipation at the opportunities available to PR within Social Media.  But it raised the question – is all this digital-native-super-public-youth-obsession hype just hot air?  Are we stuck at the heart of a social media echo chamber?  Are the stats wrong?  Or was this not a truly representative sample of the UK population?  I’d love to hear what people think.  I’m going to do some vaguely official research of my own to try and discover the extent to which social media *really* has infiltrated UK society, and youngsters in particular.  I’ll come back to you.

Magic September 26, 2006

Posted by James Warren in apropos of nothing, work.
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So I’ve been away on holiday and then in the US on business (Miami…  nice) and then catching up on work after more than three weeks out of the office.  Anyway, I’m back, I missed you and here we go…  Incidentally, when in the US I took part in a panel discussion on social media with the Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook, Chris Kelly and Ed Keller, CEO of, er, Keller Fay and author of erm, influential book, The Influentials.  It was fun and interesting and as soon as I get approval that I can write about what was said, I’ll sit down and, um, write about what was said.