Are students lazy or super-smart??

I came across an interesting referral from Google in my blog stats tonight.

I’m guessing it was a student who had decided to google search their latest essay title straight-up. Why else would you stick the following into Google and hit return?

The future of political ad spending, like the future of media consumption, will exist in the open-minded forums provided by You Tube and My Space

Phillip, if you’ve set this as your latest assignment you might want to be having words…

Technorati tags: students, Google, cheats

Welcome back… James Barbour

Last seen blogging out of Hill & Knowlton, James Barbour is now back blogging out of the British Embassy in Moscow.

James’ blog was a must read for me when I first started and I’m equally – if not more – intrigued to follow his role as Press Secretary within Her Maj’s Government.

Given all the bally-hoo regarding the British Council recently I’m surprised he’s so open about his real role…

Technorati tags: James Barbour, British Embassy Moscow, James Bond

Throwing your license-fee into a hole….

I walked past the giant hole in the ground today that is/will be the BBC’s new Broadcasting House at the top of Regent Street.

I think it’s fair to say that’s one of the most immpressive holes I have seen in a long time.


Technorati tags: BBC, Broadcasting House, Big Hole

Letter to PR Week – ‘Ethical web practice is critical for sector’

My letter to PR Week was published in last week’s issue. It was in response to the article about PROs in the UK spamming bloggers as good practice and using link-farming to game search engines.

Basically I suggested that this was not the way forward for the UK industry. The full letter is below:

Opinion: Letters – Ethical web practice is critical for sector

It is a sad indication of the state of the UK PR industry if firms are relying on snake-oil salesmen tactics such as link-farming to manipulate search rankings for clients (Features, 11 January).

"Not only does this reflect the short-sighted attitude with which a large section of our industry approaches the internet, it also highlights how many firms do not understand the fundamental changes in communication being wrought by the web.

There are some examples of good practice in the article, such as Immediate Future’s efforts to create ‘honest conversation with bloggers’. But identifying key bloggers using computerised algorithms and then sending them four press releases a month is spamming.

There are attempts to lead the industry in the ethical adoption of social and new media tools – Edelman being one such firm championing responsible practices – but the industry also needs leadership from bodies such as the CIPR and PRCA, which have so far remained largely silent."

Technorati tags: PR Week, ethics, public relations

Edelman Trust Barometer – UK findings and video

I’ve had a couple of requests for the UK specific results from yesterday’s Trust Barometer launch.

I haven’t got managed to get my hands on Robert, our UK CEO’s presentation yet, so I have embedded a video of his presentation of the key UK results below.

The over-riding – and perhaps surprising – result was that trust in Britain has seen a significant upward leap. There are a number of speculative reasons for this as Robert outlines.



Technorati tags: Edelman, Edelman Trust Barometer, Robert Phillips

Some official and personal Trust Barometer highlights

Following today’s highly successful trust barometer launch I thought I’d stick some of the official – and unofficial – key insights into a post and share it with you – although you definitely have a look at the Trust Barometer site which has a pdf of the main findings as well as a video of the full launch event.

So official highlights of the report (which is released in full next week) include:

  1. Trust in business is higher than government in 14 of 18 countries. The US is experiencing the widest divide.
  2. Twenty-five-to-34-year-old opinion elite, surveyed for the first
    time this year, tend to trust business even more than their older
  3. Trust in media as an institution is at a high point in the study’s history.
  4. Mainstream media are the most widely used sources of information about a company.
  5. Social media is on the rise, particularly in the BRIC countries.

My personal highlights were:

  1. The top three global *media* brands were…. BBC, CNN and Google
  2. Wikipedia was the second most trusted source of information
  3. High levels of trust in NGOs across the board

I’m sure there’s more coverage of the findings on Technorati and our European President and CEO, David Brain has a fuller round-up over at Sixty Second View.

I also had a good discussion with Neville Hobson about how the concept of ‘trust’ is changing/has changed. It’s a fluid concept and personally I’m certain that what trust means to younger elites is very different than older elites.

On top of that I’ve been thinking of late about what the media and the social web means for civil society and democracy. Some of these thoughts have been co-agulating and spurred on by the NGO findings – especially in BRIC countries.

I’ll hopefully have some more thoughts about these issues soon.

Technorati tags: Edelman, Edelman Trust Barometer, NGOs, civil society

Tell Cap’n Ahab I can spot measurement on the horizon

I wasn’t going to post about my colleague Jonny Bentwood’s efforts to pull together a formula for measuring online influence until I’d read it. But as serendipity would have it, both Doc Searls and B.L. Ochman have both added to the debate.

First of all, in Can PR get past spinnage? Doc suggests that seeking to fit traditional metrics or measurement paradigms to a radically altered form of communication won’t cut it. Specifically:

“Focusing on influence alone suggests that PR is just looking to expand the spin business from old media to new, and from old targets to new ones. There are other corners of the prism, other angles to come at the problems and opportunities in around conversation and relationship…”

I agree entirely with this perspective. As I alluded to in a previous comment on Doc’s blog, the risk for the PR industry is that it attempts to re-model the social web into ways in which existing practices and business models continue to work.

This worries me. While the industry can talk about how this new medium has radically changed the communications landscape we can’t then pretend we can measure it in just the same way, using exactly the same metrics as before.

It won’t work.

Meanwhile B. L. Ochman argues that while her presence on another ‘Top 100/10/25 etc’ is flattering, lists in themselves are not an effective way of measuring popularity/influence/whatever:

“the criteria for each list is largely subjective, and, as soon as there’s a list, there’s someone who figures out how to game the list. Not to mention that most lists are created as a way for the creator to game search engines so the list-maker’s site will increase its search value. Therefore, just about all such lists are meaningless.”

Again, I agree. In fact perhaps lists are almost the wrong tool entirely to measure the social web.

The social web is multitudinous, easily sorted, filtered, and organised by abnd around the individual. It works in a million – and probably more – ways tghat can be adapted and re-shaped to a your personal perferences .

There doesn’t have to be just one way of organising something any more. And in this respect lists are exclusive rather than inclusive. That is proprietary – which is not how things are done any more.

Luckily for me both Doc and B. L. admit to not having the exact answer to this problem (is there one?). I’ll get back to you on that one!

Technorati tags: PR, public relations, measurement

Edelman Trust Barometer 2008: live twitter

Tomorrow sees the UK launch of the Edelman Trust Barometer, the de facto indicator of ‘trustworthiness’ across business, politics, media and civil society.

Edelman’s Global President and CEO, Mr Richard Edelman, will be in town to discuss the findings and what they mean for the PR landscape. He’ll be joined by UK CEO Robert Phillips, former Sunday Telegraph editor, Patience Wheatcroft and Daily Mail columnist and political commentator, Quentin Letts.

As previous years have shown – expect a significant (and rising) level of influence from ‘people like me’ and social media.

I’ll be live twittering the event, as will Edelman’s European President and CEO, David Brain.

For updates try following and from 8am GMT.

Technorati tags: Edelman Trust Barometer, Richard Edelman, Trust, Twitter,

Simonsays…: journalism

This section of my blog contains a selection of articles I’ve written in both a personal and professional capacity. They range from by-lined articles, to opinion and comment pieces ghosted for former clients through to academic essays and research conducted as part of my post-graduate PR Diploma from Leeds Metropolitan University.

Click on the links below to access my work as PDF downloads. Please note all work is covered by a Creative Commons license. You can click here for the specific terms of agreement.

‘Winning other peoples elections’: what next for Iran? – unpublished submission to Diplo Magazine, March 2006

Abolish Poverty and defeat Muslim extremism – ghosted op-ed for Dr Muhammed Ali OBE, cheif executive of QED UK, Yorkshire Post

Digital Dialogues: Q & A – report on Hansard Society’s edemocracy initiative, NMK, February 2007

Voluntary organisations must recognise the challenge of social networks – article about the impact of socila media on voluntary and membership organisations, NMK, February 2007

First MP to liveblog during parliamentary debate

The Deputy Editor of ConservativeHome, Sam Coates, sent me a fascinatng email this week telling me about possily the first example of liveblogging from the backbenches of Parliament!

Sam told me that the Tory MP for Harwich, Douglas Carswell, posted live to the ConservativeHome CentreRight blog while waiting to be called during a debate on the need to review the
parliamentary calling procedures. He posted via his Blackberry.

Douglas reports:

"I write this sitting in the chamber of the House of Commons listening
to a "debate" on education and skills.  It is now so utterly plodding
and pedestrian that the gaggle of Italian tourists up in the visitors
gallery got up and left after five minutes.

I bet liveblogging wasn’t proposed in the review on making Parliament more accessible to the public.Maybe that’s because live reports would be as damning as this one!

Douglas then offers us some constructive thoughts on reform:

"Rather than the current 15 minute time limit on backbench speeches, why
not have 3 minute limits, but allow speakers to make several
contributions?  That might force Honourable Members to say what they
mean, and allow points to be developed."

Well, he may have hit on something there. His proposed changes would certainly make the debates more conversational, rather than a series of broadcast speeches from Members.

Another change that would be great for parlimentary democracy (maybe) would be to screen a live Twitter backchannel during debates.

How much fun would that be? During grand ministerial speeches you could see tweets scrolling across the Chamber reading:

  • "Ask him where the money for his second house came from!"
  • "Those statistics are used out of context."
  • "Your flies are undone!"

I think it would be great.

Technotrati tags: ConservativeHome, Douglas Carswell, Parliament, democracy, Twitter