Archive for December, 2006

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!!

What’s the old saw? "May you live in interesting times." Amen.

It’s been a great year. Social Media frenzies. Democrats. Dinosaurs. Blogadocious bloviations.

Here at SHIFT, lookin’ at the year-end stuff, we’ve seen a 45 percent rise in our employee base, a significant revenue boost, and some notable client wins. It’s been an honor to meet and interact with oodles of fascinating people, prospects and partners, both online and in the real world (if not in Second Life, yet).

Now — it’s break time. I’m going to go dark for a while to re-energize.

Happy Holidays to you all! Let’s hope 2007 is at least as much fun as 2006.

Bloggers Pick the Most Notable Developments for 2006

Dan Greenfield, VP at Earthlink and blogger at Bernaisource, asked a handful of PR bloggers for their take on "The Most Important Developments of 2006." Among those participating are John Wagner, Kami Huyse, Mike Manuel the Media Guerilla, H-P’s Eric Kintz and of course, Dan himself.

While I am happy to participate, TIME’s announcement that Y-O-U are the most important development of the year seems to make this exercise moot! Then again, I suppose that asking a user’s opinion is kind of the point.

As a first step, Dan assembled a list of notable developments from 2006. The participants in this "collaborative post" were not required to use these elements, but, let’s face it, it is a handy list! So, here’s my take on the Top Developments of 2006…

Social Media News Releases – Yea, I know, you’d expect this from me but if you can excuse my evangelical wonkiness for just one minute, please, consider what we are talking about:

We are going to re-format a 100-year old document for an emerging era in which consumers wield unprecedented control. By re-architecting the news release, we will place the power to disseminate data and effect reputation directly into the hands of the consumer. By providing all of the relevant, legitimate multimedia assets of the brand — to anyone who wants them, to do with them whatever they please — we are making a huge bet that consumers can be trusted to re-model our clients’ image. (TIME would approve.)

The Social Media News Release is not the only way in which this will happen, but, due to the news release’s traditional role as the Official Voice of the Corporation, it is a handy, iconic representative of the Big Changes now taking place.

Wal-Mart/Edelman Flogs – The importance of transparency and ethics made crystal-clear… in part by showing how hard it is to hide nowadays, and by demonstrating the abuse that can come as part of the disastrous revelations.

GM’s Rebuttal to Thomas Friedman – It’s a conversation, now. This is a big part of what the TIME editors are espousing. The media is not the be-all, end-all, anymore. If the corporation disagrees with the columnist, in the Social Media era they now have a forum to discuss it — and (ironically) gain further credibility with consumers (who will in turn debate the issues) as a result of humanizing themselves.

In the old Command-and-Control world in which PR was bred, all of these developments would have been considered heretical.

But each is a shining example of how PR needs to think about its long-term relevance in an uncertain future.

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SAP's First (and Second!) Social Media News Releases

Via Thomas Pliel in Germany, I (belatedly) learned about SAP AG’s first experiment with the Social Media News Release format. Not surprising that they chose a relatively low-impact announcement to try out the newfangled approach. (I hope that if the industry reaction was mellow, it’s attributed to the relative value of the news — still, this is a heartening sign of the SMNR‘s traction.)

… As I was drafting this post — no, I am not kidding; it was near-miraculous coincidence — I got an email from our MarketWire representative, who excitedly pointed out this latest SMNR by SAP: "SAP Developer Challenge Fosters Co-Innovation and Global Networking". Without getting into details about the relative strengths of the PRN MultiVu vs. MarketWire qualities of the two releases, this second release does win on style points. It’s a far more elaborate, graphics-rich depiction of the SMNR’s virtues.

The "Developer Challenge" news itself is also a pretty cool preview of how virtual worlds in Second Life can be integrated with real-world back-office systems (which will be critical if you ever want to shop at an "Amazon Store" in Second Life!):

"In the winning demo, a Second Life Resident avatar initiated a transaction by gesturing at the product she wished to buy from a Second Life storefront. The winning team members… demonstrated how updates to back-end data were reflected in real-time in the Second Life storefront."

The SAP SMNR even integrates a full-motion video of this SL transaction within the online release itself: you can choose to run the machinima demo without leaving the page, or click on over to the demo’s higher-resolution version at Google Video.

Here’s the bummer, though: check out how the German ERP giant posted its rich-media SMNR on its own website. All the new-media tsotchkes are missing-in-action! It looks like just another ho-hum release. A wasted opportunity to up the Company’s cool-factor, eh? Hopefully the forward-thinkers who pushed for the SMNR format can work their way up through the brand guardians who must’ve put the kibosh on cool.

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5 Things You Don't Know About Me

A new game of memetag. "Five Things You Don’t Know About Me," per Susan Getgood. Here goes…






(Okay, maybe you already knew about the egomaniac part?) Of course, there are tons of other things ya don’t know about me, but then again, why would ya want to? Now, as for tagging — donning blindfold, spinning in-place — Steve, Mike, Rohit, Scott, John — you game?

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The Brand In The Consumer's Hands

NeatReceipts is a SHIFT client whose "Scanalizer" product is a gem for anyone on your shopping list who, like me, is often embarrassed by remarks about their "Costanza Wallet" (a reference to the Seinfeld sidekick’s messy, over-stuffed billfold).

Don’t worry, I am not about to start using this blog to flog client products, but I did want to point out a great example of how "the power is in the consumers’ hands," via this remarkably clever, mildly profane user review.

Welcome to the future. (Gulp!)

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