Monday, September 29, 2008

Should Twitter be Used in Church?

Two news stories came to my attention this week, both involving the micro-blogging tool, Twitter. New technologies always stretch our boundaries, and these two stories are no exception to that observation. And, they point out a traditional struggle for public relations practitioners, the ballance between an individual's right to privacy and the public's right to know.

Case #1
The Rocky Mountain News recently decided to assign a reporter to cover the funeral of a three year old on Twitter. The child died after being hit by a car driven by an illegal immigrant with an arrest record. After the initial horror of thinking --what if that were my child?--I thought about the stress of having to relive the event electronically. But that's not the central issue here. The central issue is whether the public's right to know about the funeral was justified by the live streaming of events during the funeral OR if the family's right to privacy was more important. INterestingly enough, the coverage was given a thumbs down by media watchers as being bland and uninteresting.

You can read about the coverage and follow links to other parts of the story here:

Case #2
On Friday, the San Antonio Express News ran a story on Imagine Fellowship, a local church which uses Twitter during its services, allowing the participants to Twitter about the sermon, with the comments appearing on a giant screen behind the pastor. Imagining I was in the pastor's place, I thought how harsh the criticism could be and how distracting while trying to speak. Again, though, the broader issue seems to be the line between individual privacy and public information.

As these new technologies can enhance our productivity and broaden our reach, we must insure that they don't also interfere with individual rights.

P.S. I would link to the story, but the Express-News Web site is horrendously hard to navigate if you try to find a story more than 24 hours after it appears.

A nice person from the church sent me this link to share:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quick Options for Finding Blog Coverage of Your Client, Company, Product, Etc.

I got an e-mail from a friend the other day who was looking for quick suggestions on how to monitor blog coverage or conversations. I thought I’d share my answer with you and you can add your suggestions as well if you’d like.

There are three big services – free. I use the first two all the time. I’m going to check out the third. Just like free media monitoring, it’s beneficial to use more than one source.

Google blog search

The advantage that Technorati has over the others is that it somehow calculates a ranking for each blog which can help you determine which ones to target. The disadvantage is that its searching capabilities have declined significantly in the last year. So you will miss some important ones if this is the only service you use.

A really good paid service that I've tried and loved is Custom Scoop. It does media monitoring including blogs. You get an e-mail each morning listing and linking to all your coverage for each search term. You can do a free trial through: (FIR just stands for the For Immediate Release podcast, one of three PR/comm. podcasts I don't miss.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Communication Tools ~ What Do You Use?

Communicate, it's what we do. We communicate to build relationships with our clients, colleagues, publics. We, as public relations professionals, build relationships as part of our living.

We all use different tools to do it; but, I was surprised by a recent Twitter poll asking if people still use the telephone to communicate (as opposed to just email, Twitter, and other social media). I don't know if I'm out of the norm, but I spend a substantial portion of each day on the phone. I call my colleagues, I call reporters, I call assignments editors, I probably make 15 calls a day.

Obviously, my answer to the question of using a telephone for relationship building was a resounding, "Yes!" But, am I out of the ordinary? Do you use a telephone still?

If you don't use the telephone, how do you make contact with your publics? As hard as I try, I am not able to see everyone I need to touch base with in person; and as friendly as I think I am, email just doesn't convey a friendly chat as well as a voice. So, what do you do to make contact? While I won't be giving up the telephone any time soon, I'd like to hear what others do to stay in touch, to build relationships.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Social Media Case Studies

The Society for New Communications Research has released a new research study, New Media, New Influencers and Implications for Public Relations, and made it available free online. It gives case studies of several companies regarding their use of social media. Here is the description from their web site…
Social media case studies and strategies from the American Red Cross, Blendtec, The Coca-Cola Company, Emerson Process Management, the Mayo Clinic, MARC Research, Quicken Loans, and the Seattle Union Gospel Mission highlight this research study by the Society for New Communications Research. The report also
features detailed findings from a survey of communications and marketing professionals focused on changing patterns of influence resulting from social media and other new communications technologies. This study was made possible by a grant from the Institute for Public Relations & Wieck Media.

And don't forget to sign up for our chapter's professional development session on social media!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

How Employee Online Behavior Affects your Organization -- PRSA Luncheon Program

Today (Thursday) our chapter holds its annual luncheon in recognition of PRSA’s ethics month. Our focus is on how employee online behavior affects your organization – both sides of the story. I'm so grateful to our panelists, Kelly Smith, assistant superintendent for technology services at Northside ISD, and Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, education editor for the San Antonio Express-News, who will discuss how employee online behavior away from work can affect your company and how you can encourage employees to communicate online without putting you at risk.

Below are links to further information related to today’s discussion.

San Antonio Express-News Education Blog

PRSA Ethics Information
See the PRSA Member Code of Ethics (in English)

See the PRSA Member Code of Ethics (in Spanish)

See other resources, including advisories and case studies

Samples of Policies
"What Employers Need To Know About Employee Blogging"

Blogging Policy Resources on the New PR Wiki