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Thursday, 3 May 2007

Curtain Call - Goodbye

9 weeks of constant blogging, it's time to say goodbye, well the last post for PR & Tech module.
I must say I appreciate this opportunity of doing this paper and getting my hands on all the communication technologies. I have learnt a lot.
As I am a newbie to this whole social media, I feel that I'm not so qualified to comment on these communication developments and as a student perhaps the application of these ICTs aren't so obvious....learning as I go....I suppose.

Introduction to all these new things everyday is great, especially when it relates to PR. With this experiences, I hope to some time in the near future to apply it to the context of PR in my home town, Saigon, known as Ho Chi Minh city now.

These new ICTs have perhaps influence the way PR is practiced and will continue to make an impact on the industry and its way to professionalisation. PR practitioners now will have many challenges ahead yet continue to grow globally.

I would like to say thank you to Derek, our lecturer and to all my classmates for participating in this paper. I have learnt so much from you guys, from reading your posts and your thoughts. I am sorry if I haven't contribute as knowledge is limited. ;-)

I wish all of you happiness, success in whatever you choose to do in life after graduating.

Good luck and Goodbye

The curtain is drawn.

What to Measure & Monitor

The last topic of this paper 'Evalutation for the social media', our tutor doesn't has the answer to what would be the appropriate method of monitoring and measuring application.

More than 60 million blogs, countless forums and social networking sites, perhaps it's a little bit overwhelming. How can PR practitioners keep track of their client's name and exposure among plethora of the net. There are companies specialise in media monitoring, listed in PR Week, some would offer service to measure and monitor online media.

PR Weeek March 9th suggested to measure and monitor 'most relevant and influential media and influential bloggers', also keep an eye on 'sites are the most active...tracking the story back to where the news first broke, and seeing how it spread'. Citation indexing can help to detect influential sources of news such as links on blogs.

"Basically, RSS TiVos the Net for you. It captures everything on the Web that you care about and pulls it down for you in feeds. The minute something is mentioned about a client of mine on a Web site, I'm alerted to it. That's what makes RSS so powerful." Rubel said on Roger

On top of the keeping track of the traditional media, PR practitioners now also need to target online sources, double the workload. So the old principle still applies can't possibly monitor and measure all but you need prioritise, filter what most appropriate sources best suit for your client say a focus on their particular industry and what the papers, influential opinion leaders are commenting about client's brand. Of course it's difficult to define which websites, social networking sites and blogs are relevant and 'influential'.

PR Week suggest 3 ways of determinng influence:

"number of links between sites, which sites mention other sites most, which sites carry stories that have already been highlighted as bieng influential".

This is where keyword search, SEO, and RSS feeds technologies come in handy.

On the other hand, a simple service like Stats Counter can provide usefull information about website's visitors and their behaviours. Monitoring this will also help PR practitioners to target their audiences effectively.

There's no black/white answer to this solution, no exact method of what to measure and monitor because the social media and ITCs are fluid and constantly changing. The next best solution is the ability to adapt and adopt appropriately, timely, and stragically. Traditional media up to this point is still valid and sometimes blogs do repeat or comment on what has been said in the newspapers, but perhaps on a more personal tone. Then it is worth investing time to engage in those relevant blogs to understand the stories further.

"We can highlight the most important media, but it is up to PR professionals to use that information wisely and ensure that they are engaging with those media" Market Sentinel's Rogers in PR Week March 9th.

For Ogilvy, measuring social media also mean to measure success, ROI and:
If the program is meant to create more
  • digital word of mouth
  • product or service recommendations
  • raise awareness
  • raise or add search engine results

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Last few bits of RSS

My presentation on RSS is available to download as image file or view in Flickr. Click on the presentation, view as slideshow in Flickr.
Apart from my previous posts about RSS, here are the few remaining bits.

1. Why syndicate your site, among many other reasons: increase traffic, bran awareness, search engine ranking, marketing tools

2. Other uses of RSS:
Applications to area like Real Estate, Job Openings, Auction Items, Forum Headlines, Product related Sales or Specials, Airlines report, School announcement, Entertainment, Press Distribution, News and Announcements, Document listings, Bookmarks and other external links, Calendars, Search results

3. Tracking measurements
Track reads, clickthrough, circulation of subcribers
Make it easy to subscribe, personalised content for SEO
Own your Feed URL (own hosting services)
Ensure listing display correct and up to date information like ‘Add to MyYahoo’ actually works
Use your RSS Feeds address = your webpage address
Great for building network of links: blogrolls, trackbacks for BLOGS

4. This marketing site claims to have implication of RSS and PR. In fact, as I was scanning through the titles/articles/interviews, most of the content are for Marketing.

5. Security implication such as virus, spyware when receiving a Feed file. FEEDEMON offer security

6. Tips for maximise RSS Feeds
Original content
Content should be compelling and unique, with an interesting angle
In contrast with frequency, readers will be tired of nonsense posts that contain no value to them, therefore a focus in providing quality information, just like anything really. This includes making sure RSS Feeds work properly; verify your feeds and information before making a post. Do apply the rules of correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This is not a SMS
Title of your Feed item should relate to the content of the actual post in the link. You could use the same headlines for both: in the Feed title and the article title. Having said that, there’s no need to be boring. Using creative, catchy titles wouldn’t hurt but make sure it’s the same information.
Stay on the topic, be specific and don’t stray
The balance of just right amount of word: not too long, not too short. Post length should be consistent throughout the entire blog/feed
Inaccurate information can damage your credibility. After all, this rule applies to anything you publish really. Do provide credentials when offering opinions and ensuring factual information is accurate.
You may include links to related content in the RSS Feed, a good way to supplement content. Outgoing links could result in links back into your website.
It’s vital to stay consistent, don’t vary too much in your daily posts
Listen to Audiences
Readers can communicate what they like/dislike about your content. So stay in tune
It’s possible to put up ads with your Feed however balancing that with quality content is a must.

Like most of website content, published information, it’s easy to attract
readers at first yet maintaining their interest is more difficult. RSS Feed is
just like any tool. It requires strategic planning, sensible and appropriate
content to maximise its application, usage and potential. Quality control,
measurement, and evaluation still apply.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

GPS on your mobile

(credit for pic of New York: )

Mobile Augmented Reality Applications is a project that Nokia research team is about to release....a GPS navigation on your phone, not only in your car.

What this technology can do, according to Technology Review at MIT:

'Using data from these sensors, the phone can calculate the location of just about any object its camera is aimed at. Each time the phone changes location, it retrieves the names and geographical coördinates of nearby landmarks from an external database. The user can then download additional information about a chosen location from the Web.....

.....Finding your way around a new city can be exasperating: juggling maps and guidebooks, trying to figure out where you are on roads with no street signs, talking with locals who give directions by referring to unfamiliar landmarks. If you're driving, a car with a GPS navigation system can make things easier, but it still won't help you decide, say, which restaurant suits both your palate and your budget.....'

This could help to eliminate the amount of papers you're carrying around while exploring the new city: maps, Lonely Planet books, discount vouchers.......and make you look less like a tourist....

So if you're a PR consultancy and your clients are tech-savvy or interested in ulitising mobile technology for their publics, perhaps getting your clients' names on this list of providing information to publics' mobiles seem to be a good idea. Although the cost of listing could be huge since it's a new technology. There are some concern over investment in this mobile technology for marketers such as ROI proof, response rate to subcriptions...etc. The trend towards this application is rising not only in the US and Europe but also in South Africa.....the technology is changing the way farmers are doing business. (see list)

The N95 phone, although doesn't look fashionable for a girl, I've been waiting to get my hands on it since Jan.

More on Internet for your phone can be found at:

or Mobile web search with pictures:

Farmers and mobile:

Thursday, 12 April 2007

The bright side of Twitter

(from )

After having a row with my friend about Twitter and its usage, there's something to learn.

The way Twitter works, or work efficiently, for eg you have 5 friends who only YOU choose to have your feeds of the Twitter either on the phone or pc. The 'beauty' of this beast is its speed and it's instant. Perhaps in a case of ' I need information on this' or in urgent recruitment of people/talent to do the job. If my friends/followers check their phone/pc and receive my message then they can act/respond instantly.

I was thinking how on earth is this technology evolutionary? Well the argument, my friend's point of view, is no other technology can do this up to this point in time, although IM I think pretty much do the job. Another point is that you limit who can subscribe to your Twitter and whether they have access to phone/pc at the time of communication, they can respond right away. There's a chance you can get the text update FREE on your mobile. For UK number: it's +447781488126

I asked, yes this is all wonderful but do you ever think about people at the receiving end? perhaps that person's preferred method of contact is calling, text, or email or whatever. The answer is of course all participants must share the same enthus and idea to make it happen. is the drawback....people can decide whether they want to join your Twitter updates or you can't really impose anything on them. From a marketing point of view, you have a list of well targeted consumers/audiences who would potentially buy in our products/services.
So for PR, various applications, and please comment if you can think of more ideas I love to hear, from this Twitter magic, are:
  1. Internal communication
  2. Freelance PR
  3. Crisis communication
  4. Updates on current events faster than Feeds/Emails
  5. Personal PR: use for practitioner own's benefit such as bloggers like Drew

Twitter, the 'hot' tool

With 140 words limit, you now can give your friends or the 'public' or whoever happens to be online at the time, your whereabouts, what you're up to, a personal brief diary 'What you're doing?' on

Drew B, a prominent PR blogger, provided intensive information about this new social media tool, in which he is a fan of. Also, the Guardian's post on the topic shows similar support. So I was curious and wander to the world of Twitter, created an account for myself and see what's the happs. Just like other social media tool, a bit like Instant Messenger (IM) but of course more sophisticated. I can post my current 'doing' such as 'I’m feeling stressed about the Tech assignment' onto Twitter. I can invite my friends to be on it so that we all can view each other's updates, of course with the condition that we must be on the net....pretty regularly.

I also can get updates on my phone, view Public timeline (what other people around the world are doing) every second. Another option available is 'Followers' who are people get my updates on their phone or IM. And there is a Twitter Blog, you can participate in.

So I get it. You and me, geographically distant, if we're both connected via this Twitter, I will know what you're doing right now at this moment, via my phone alerts. The Guardian called it evolution of blogging. The Twitter package also extents to Google Reader and Yahoo Pipes or Google Talk, many other and of course the familiar RSS feeds.

Question is SO WHAT?

For me it's like another version for IM, which really if you have a Blackberry and get all the updates, feeds, news, email and other million things, Twitter is perhaps another of that similar kind, a relative, another bug that would crowded my phone. And if this tool has any advantages for marketing purpose or PR (I can't find any usage for this), I truly doubt its ability and capability of getting the messages across to the intended user, bear in mind the competitive environment that other tech tools are crying out to be heard. It’s the same situation really, more tech-tool for communication, more choices and the audiences get confused, and the boomerang effect…..

I’m feeling sorry for audiences whom are targeted by this whole new social media world. How on earth can on suppose to read so many feeds, and updates and everything……Just like advertising, so many out there and if one catches your attention, it must be really lucky.

Yes I cannot ignore the potential for any technological advancements, but getting all ‘enthus’ about something without critically assessing its application is like a reflex when you visit a doctor and get a knock on your knee…what will happen?

Wires- Just a thought

A world of wires, connected to each other, interlinked, intertwined, crossing each other and all the possible adjectives to describe the connections and relationships among these wires, just like human being.

Yet what is so amazing about these wires: their power and existence in this world. They're everywhere, in your personal computers, inside each wall of your house lies telephone wires, cables, electricity, Internet connection and perhaps many other places...even in your toilet/bathroom, if you have a boiler.

Similarly, this phenomenon of interconnectedness originated from us, people, whom among themselves, desire to be linked to each other to whatever degree. The invention of tech-communication is just another example of this urge, the urge to be closed to each times to the point of choking themselves.

This network of people, network of wires spread on the global scale. People now, almost everyone, carry a telecommunication device, such as cellphone, blackberry, PDA, 247 with the hope to stay updated, stay in touch to all current events.

Maybe it is our nature to be so closed to each other that we strive to invent countless technologies and equipments, although not all proved to be useful. The 'invention' or idea of Instant Communication with real time features enable us to see who's online, to call PCs, to do voice call, to chat, to share files, diaries, thoughts and emotions, after all to communicate with one and other. A simple wish but resulted in so many different variations of equipments such as SMS, IM, Cellphone, PDA, Yahoo/MSN, Blackberry, and Twitter...etc

It could be the end for all these wires when we move on to the wireless world, when we abandon these messy cords lying around, taking up all our precious spaces. A wireless world. Yet the simple wish, of communication, remains the same. Do we ever stop to think...what is all of this?

The point of Web 2.0 isn't scary enough but there's Web 3.0 NOW. The continued journey to endless gadgets just to aid one purpose only: Be together, Be closed together like those wires inside a personal computer.

And for PR, this industry absorbs telecommunication like a sponge. After all, it is communication and relationship which PR depends on. Will it catch up with the technological race or will it stop and think and choose wisely? A question yet to be answered or not?