I am Simon + We Are Social = Win

So this week’s edition of PR Week has probably hit desks and if you haven’t read it yet then you will have missed the awesome news that I’ve joined We Are Social. The news is awesome for a couple of reasons, both personal and professional.

First the professional: I’ve been watching We Are Social grow over the past year and a bit and have been impressed by both the clients they’re working with and the work they’re doing. Seriously. Now I’m on the inside I continue to be blown away by the briefs that come through the door and the work that goes out.

That may sound overly sycophantic but it’s a genuine response. The work that’s being planned and delivered at We Are Social is the kind that you don’t believe exists working on the PR agency side. Clearly brands and organisations want to understand social media and its impact on their reputation. But it seems they aren’t turning to their PR agency to deliver this work, instead looking to digital and social media specialists.

The funny thing is: I’ve long been blogging about how the PR industry is losing out to other industries and players in the digital space. It’s taken me joining We Are Social to realise just how far things have gone. But that’s a topic for another post.

On a personal level I’m really happy to be planning and delivering real, juicy, smart, social media campaigns, rather than bolting on digital tactics which was often the case (although not always) when working to a PR brief.

Add to that the fact that I’m tasked with growing the public sector, NGO and not-for-profit work that We Are Social does means I’m working with sectors with which I have a deep personal affinity (in case you aren’t overly familiar with my LinkedIn profile I started out in PR working for NGOs). Moreover, social media comes to the fore when empowering organisations and individuals to deliver issues-based campaigns and citizen engagement.

So that’s the news. I’ve joined We Are Social. I’m excited. You can see it in my tweets. I’m going to Twestival. I’ve started blogging again. I am, as Manuel Castells might say, back in the space of flows.

Tags: We Are Social, Weber Shandwick, employment

Fancy a paid digital PR internship at a smart London agency?

Big Yellow Self Storage Star Search
I've have a fair few emails each month from people wanting to get experience working in a digital PR environment. I do what I can but it's not always feasible to give opportunities to everyone or or sign-post them on to other contacts.

However, word reaches me from friend and ex-Edelman colleague, Amy Clark, that help may be at hand if you are looking for a pretty cool digital opportunity. Amy heads up the digital activity over at Splendid Communications and is running a rather smart campaign with their client, Big Yellow Storage.

Big Yellow Self Storage is running a competition offering one determined and talented individual the chance to win a month’s paid internship in Splendid's digital team.

Highlighting the sort of creative digital work you can expect to experience first-hand if you win, Splendid are running the competition through a clever social media mechanic.

According to the official blurb:

"The right candidate should be able to sell themselves via an online audition which will last no longer than 12 seconds.  We’ve teamed up with 12seconds.tv to run the world’s first speed-video job application. We’re looking for people to tell us in no more than 12 seconds why they’re right for the job"

Interested applicants can submit a video by heading over to the Big Yellow Storage campaign/12seconds website.  

Another really nice feature of the competition (IMHO) is the way the outcome is socialiased. By that I mean that while there is (can only be – due to resources and time) only one paid internship they have committed to "showcasing all entries to the industry in the hope that other talented hopefuls will be snapped up by recruiters". It's a cliche but evryone could be a winner…. so why not spread the word!

The competition is open to anyone else providing you're over the age of 18 and
are eligible to work in the UK. I've posted the full how to enter details below.

How to enter:

Candidates ready to rise to the challenge and enter the limelight need to speed over to 12seconds.tv and upload their video interview in five easy steps designed to test the entrant’s social media prowess.

1. Register an account on 12seconds.tv/campaign/bigyellowselfstorage

2. Link your Twitter account to your 12 seconds account

3. Record your video 12 second video on a mobile phone, video camera or webcam and upload your video at 12seconds.tv/campaign/bigyellowselfstorage

4. Fill in the ‘submit my CV’ from and attach a recent copy of your CV

The closing date for entries is May 30th 2009. The winner will be announced on June 15th 2009.

News: I’m joining Weber Shandwick

Going by the number of kind Tweets I’ve just received it seems PR Week has run the news of my appointment as Head of Digital in Weber Shandwick’s Consumer practice.

You can read the official announcement on the PR Week website.

The more personal account of my appointment is – as ever – here on my blog.

Obviously, making the decision to leave Edelman wasn’t an easy one to make. Edelman has a good reputation in the digital space and I have some great friends there.

However, the opportunity with WS was too good to pass up in terms of my personal career and it seemed the right move to make as PR becomes an industry that must bake digital into the heart of its campaigns, rather than bolt it on as an after-thought.

I’m really excited about working with Scott, James and all the other smart people over at Weber Shandwick.

I won’t start at WS until November and look forward to saying ‘Cheerio’ to my friends and colleagues at Edelman and Spook tonight.

Technorati tags: Edelman, Weber Shandwick, public relations

Great VRM debate: will PR still have a place to play in a customer centred business environment?

There’s a great round-up on a recent VRM debate by Ian Delaney – although I am galled I missed the chance to meet Doc Searls 🙁

The event was put on by Media Influencer‘s Adriana Lukas who raised the spectre of PR (as well as advertising and marketing) having zero relevance to a world of VRM.

She flagged this issue in response to a comment I left on Ian’s blog suggesting that VRM might drive PR back to where it is supposed to sit in a classical business envirnoment: at a strategic board level (at least according to Grunig).

I buy into Adriana’s point about disintermediation entirely, but can’t help but feel that PR will still maintain a place at the table. It will be a radically altered place, but a place nonetheless.

Technorati tags: VRM, Vendor Relationship Management, Adriana Lukas

Cambridge tutors admits using Facebook during admissions process

Story in today’s Guardian about a Cambridge admissions tutor using Facebook to "check" on students applying to his college.

Dr Richard Barnes tells Emmanuel college:

"This has been the year in which I joined Facebook … I have
to confess that I actually joined to see what I was missing and also to
check up (discreetly) on applicants for a college position.

Cambridge University and the NUS say that Facebook shouldn’t be used as part of the offical admissions process (and there’s nothing to suggest it was).

Part of me thinks that’s the right move, but then part of me likes the idea of throwing something less formalised and beaureacratic into the mix. For the sake of equality lets make sure they check MySpace too.

Technorati tags: Cambridge University, Facebook, MySpace

European 16-24 year-olds spend more time online than watching TV, and other useful stats

Two stories in today’s Guardian make for an interesting juxtaposition and indicate that employers of the future have a rude awakening.

First up, a report by the paper shows employers are cracking down on the amount of time staff use the internet and in particular, social networks. A deeper read reveals that the investigation has only covered the public sector but still shows 1,700 staff have been diosciplined or sacked in the past three years for mis-use of the internet or email. Trade Unions also calims they are dealing with an increase in the number of disputes involving social networks.

Contrast this with the story a bit further on about young people aged 16-24 are spending longer than ever before on the internet and the number of people using social networks has doubled from 23% last year to 42%.

So as employers crack down on people connecting and socialising online, today’s young people (and tomorrow’s workers) are spending even more and more of their lives on the interent. Hopefully when they come to the world of work employers will have realised just how integral (not to mention useful) the internet and social web can be.

The report (produced by the European Interactive Advertising Association) also found:

  • an increase in instant messaging and the message functions
    of social networks use which has led to a decrease in email (see also, Robin Goad’s recent post)
  • 81% of surfers say they have sent an
    email at least once a month over the past year, down from 85% in 2006
  • internet users across Europe (7,000 specially selected
    people across 10 European countries) are spending an
    average of nearly 12 hours a week on the internet
  • Italians
    are the heaviest users (13.6 hours per week), followed by the
    Swedes (13 hours) and the French (12.7 hours). The British – in
    seventh place – spend 12 hours a week, up from 11.3 hours in 2006. The
    Dutch are last on 9.8 hours
  • Almost a third of European web users have watched a TV,
    film or video clip, compared with 12% last year.
  • The EIAA study shows the effect on TV viewing, especially
    among the youth audience which is using the internet more often than TV
    for the first time. The survey shows that 82% of 16- to 24-year-olds
    use the web between five and seven days a week while only 77% watch TV
    as regularly – a drop of 5% from last year

Technorati tags: European Internet Useage Statistics, Guardian, social networks, employment

Edelman: week one

Back home after my first frantic week at Edelman. My feet hardly touched the floor which meant time for blogging was non-existant. However, there are at least three posts I want to write up:

  • a piece about online identities from a really fantastic post by Elizabeth Albrycht;
  • why I think the web 2.0 bubble will lead to a cultural not a financial burst;
  • the shifting online media landscape: individual bloggers; newspaper columnist bloggers and individual columnist bloggers.

I’ll try to post at least one of these next week but in reality they may not appear until the following week! I really want to get these written so I am asking everyone to keep on hassling me via email, twitter, jaiku, IM to get them written!

Technorati tags: Edelman; hard+work; online+identity; web+2.0+bubble; blogging

Shift Happens and another good slide show

Richard Sambrook at Sacred Facts and Rohit Bhargava at Influential Interactive Marketing have blogged about a recent SlideShare competition.

Richard has linked to the winning entry, Shift Happens, which a very sound-bitey presentation about the the information revolution and China and India’s massive growth compared to the US. Kind of like The World is Flat meets China Shakes the World (a definite must-read) in 67 slides.

I must admit my favourite snippet from the presentation is this:

“If MySpace were a country it would be the world’s 11th largest”

Which is a nice, useful way to explain to clients that MySpace is more than just a website… it’s an online community somewhere between the size of Mexico and Japan.

Meanwhile Rohit plugs his own presentation, The 25 Basic Styles of Blogging… And When To Use Each One.

I’ve only looked at the first few slides but it looks like a good presentation. Although it didn’t win, it was commended by the judges.

Technorati tags: SlideShare; Shift+Happens; Rohit Bhargava

*UPDATED* Some new UK PR blogs

I’ve been meaning to write a post about some new PR blogs that I’ve spotted or been tipped off about for a while – but just haven’t got around to it.

Anyway, Evi Katopodi(?) is a MA student studying PR at Stirling University in Scotland. You can read her "thoughts and speculations about the miraculous world of Public Relations and Technology" at A PRomising Blog.

Evi’s blogroll also has a list of ‘classmate blogs’ – so it looks like Stirling has popped PR and social media onto its syllabus. Classmate blogs include:

Another site that looks and sounds like a really good idea is the PR and Comms Network blog.

According to the email from I received from Alex Pearmain. the blog is:

"an extension of the successful Facebook group we began at the end of last year, which now has over 400 young PR professionals or aspirants from the UK. We’ve had a couple of fun drinks events, with another planned for 17th May … The aim of the group was to give young professionals in the Uk a chance to get together on an informal basis, and we hope the blog will help extend some of those conversations. We plan on having guest posters, as well as profiles of ordinary young PR professionals, to help people get together."

Definately one worth checking out, especially as it combines both off and online networking to get maximum benefit.

I probably won’t be there for 17 May drinks but will do my best to turn-up and see what all the fuss is about at some point 😉

Facebook users can also have a snoop around the other members of the PR and Comms Network group.

*UPDATED* Just had an email from Leeds Met MA student Rajiv Harjai reminding me that he’s another new UK PR blogger. Rajiv blogs over at Indian PR. The only reason I can think for overlooking him is that given his recent dressing down over at …TWL… he is already part of the establishment!

Oh yes… and tomorrow I’m popping over to a Leeds Met student networking event with my boss that Rajiv is organising. Apparently there’s going to be beer.

Technorati tags: PR+blogs; Evi+Katopodi; PR+and+Comms+Network; Rajiv+Harjai

Exciting news: I’m joining Edelman

For those of you who know me, I’m not usually one to do things by half-measures. So, in-between getting married and going on honeymoon I accepted an offer from Jacqui White at Edelman in London to come and work with them as part of their Interactive Solutions team.

It’s a great opportunity to work with argubly one of the world’s greatest PR agencies and definitely one that is doing the most to drive forward a greater understanding, adoption and absorption of social media by the PR industry.

I can’t give a full overview of what the role will bring at the moment but rest assured there will be conversation mining; social media auditing and blogger relations thrown in for good measure.

This news also means that I will be departing GREEN Communications leaving an Account Manager shaped vacancy. It goes without saying that the people at GREEN have been nothing but great about everything and if anyone is planning their next career move then get in touch with them.

It would be advantagous but not necessary if you have any of the following attributes: an interest in social media; a love of creativity; a desire to be constantly challenged to improve ways of thinking or all of the above.

I start at Edelman mid-May and at this stage I’m not sure how light blogging will be around that time as I get to grips with new people, new clients and new processes. In the meantime, anyone want to buy a two-bedroom house on the edge of Leeds with study, great parking, incredible kitchen and a log-burning fire for those magical winter moments?

Technorati tags: Edelman; Edelman Interactive Solutions; employment; GREEN Communications; new job; PR agency