Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The 'love at first sight' embedded chip - a 2020 PR issue

There is a very interesting discussion going on at PR Conversation. I have just added a comment about PR in 2020 and re-present it here.

..... Perhaps we can take a wider look at ethics and social media and some other aspects of the new PR mediated by the Internet of Things.

Seeing, for example, social media from the constituent's perspective one finds some pretty dangerous happenings.

For example in Wired Mat Honan describes an experiment he did by 'liking' everything he say on Facebook. The most worrying aspect of this activity is the impact he had on his followers. They were bombarded with, in effect, his propaganda (and some of it was pretty distasteful http://goo.gl/SdsPlV).

Do we, as practitioners, monitor what our constituents see to identify if they too are targets of propaganda? Do we ensure that our 'marketing' colleagues are not using such tactics? There are some big ethical issues here too.

Meanwhile, www.brightplanet.com and www.torproject.org, two of the Darkweb search engines make password/paywall protected content in the Lightweb visible for all to see - yes, even your academic papers!

It does not stop there, these search engines shine a bright focused spotlight onto a much bigger internet than most would credit. Internet porosity is now a much bigger issue. Is this sort of search and monitoring ethical?

Once again, we might also ask the ethical question of our marketing colleagues and web masters. Information is  'leaking out' faster than we imagine.

And so back to wearable technologies.

By 2020, London will have 5G (http://goo.gl/iBZEUn).

4G offers download speeds that are roughly equivalent to your superfast broadband (around 30-40Mbps) at home. 5G will go well beyond that http://goo.gl/dPsTBx.

You will be able to download a film to your Google Contact Lens in less than a second http://goo.gl/gnfWsc.

Regardless of the technology adopted, it's thought that there will by multiple smaller antennas employed, allowing signals to be emitted in multiple directions and even bounced off off buildings and solid surfaces. New York University, have come up with the idea of utilising millimeter-wave frequencies. The main advantage of using this frequency range is that it's scarcely used by other broadcast technologies http://goo.gl/fiPBNd.

Already there are a range of network technologies that can be deployed that are almost 'invisible' to the onlookers too e.g. http://maidsafe.net. There is no question that such capabilities will evolve to work on the new 5G networks.

Apple is rumoured to be working with Intelligent Energy, a fuel-cell firm that could enable Apple's devices to last "days or even weeks," http://goo.gl/R9BTMz. There are also experiments being run to generate electricity from microwaves. Such technologies remove the need for batteries or other power supply http://goo.gl/t3oz58.

 Not only will it be 20-100 times faster than 4G, it will be a communications technology that can be embedded into almost anything (think light-bulb). It will provide an opportunity for development of a distributed network internet unencumbered by the big ISP's and not needing batteries or other connections to electrical power.

The internet will then be able to reach areas and communities that do not have electricity or a reliable electrical resource.

Embedded and mobile devices. The "Internet of Things" will explode. Such devices are being developed now. Some predictions suggest 50 or more mobile devices per person by 2025 (that is only eleven years away).

Why should this be relevant to PR?

If there is traditional media, social media and a new medium called 'Things' and we have 50 'Thing' media attached to us one way or another, the evolution will be many times more significant than the 4G mobile phone plus the tablet communications device 40% of the population already carry with them wherever they go.

Which of your students will resist the 'love at first sight' embedded chip which tells them that the pheromone count of the the hunk that just walked in the door thinks they are gorgeous? For the proponents of PR as relationship management this chip will be a whole new area of practice and for the PR as a communications discipline will have ever more communications channels/content  to worry about.

So can we imagine such developments in 10-15 years?  Did we envisage Twitter and YouTube as part of the PR discipline in 2004 or 1999?

Perhaps PR needs to begin work on what to do now and not leave it too late.

I am certain that we should be working on development of University courses with such developments in mind.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Old stuff and Bebo

I keep lists of URL's that I can go back to. 
Some of these lists are over a decade old and are fun to look at.
This one is fun:

When researching my post last week on mobile social networking, I canvassed several industry bigwigs to get their views on how well the likes of MySpace and Bebo would translate to mobile. 

Bebo! what's that?

Here are some more that might amuse:


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Social Economy

Benkler, von Hippel, Weber, and many others showed us that the Internet has liberated many economies. One economy is the traditional “commercial economy,” an economy regulated by the quid pro quo: I’ll do this (work, write, sing, etc.) in exchange for money (which is a recognised intangible symbol with an international reputation). Another economy is (the names are many) the (a) amateur economy, (b) sharing economy, (c) social production economy, (d) noncommercial economy, or (e) p2p economy. Even the Bitcoin economy. This alternative economies (however you name them, I’m just going to call them the “second economy”) is the economy of Wikipedia, most open source development, the work of amateur astronomers, etc. It has a different, more complicated logic to it than the commercial economy. If you tried to translate all interactions in this second economy into the frame of the commercial economy, you’d kill it.

Having now seen the extraordinary value of this second economy, I think most would agree we need to think lots about how best to encourage it — what techniques are needed to call it into life, how is it sustained, what makes it flourish. I don’t think anyone knows exactly how to do it well. Those living in real second economy communities (such as Wikipedia) have a good intuition about it.

But a second and also extremely difficult problem is how, or whether, the economies can be linked. Is there a way to cross over from the commercial to second economy? Is there a way to manage a hybrid economy — one that tries to manage this link.

Social Media now has a cousin called Social Economy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Um ..... where did I put that page.

I have been revisiting some sites, blogs and posts this week that I need to keep close to me.

This is meets my eye as I look round my study:

Every student in PR, marketing and economics should have read The Long Tail.

I keep talking about Transparency Porosity and Agency and need to be able to reference this page a lot. Peter Drucker saw what was coming and web 2.0 years before it arrived and is mega relevant today.

Applying Communications Models was an important paper in its day. So was Share This Too and then there is Reputation Economics ... I need to re-read them all.

Blazing Netshine has coloured my thinking for such a long time (and has morphed, I now discover) that I had to look at it again - not too rusty and I still like the title and some of the sentences I user e.g. "The digital riptide flows round historic information gatekeepers" and Prof Anne Gregory's comment "public relations practitioners `will also understand that complex feedbacks within and between systems and environment can create resonances that cannot be controlled and which may diminish or even contradict the desired result of communication.'"

The various versions of Online Public Relations have been interesting experiences too.

But here is a big question. Are the papers and books relevant any more?

So much emerges online and a lot of the real beef is available via mobile, should I be reading books at all.

Take Google Plus as an example.

The top gun is Martin Shervington. He could not possibly be relevant in a book. His subject is too fast moving.

So, I am now going to work on how I can keep up my reading on a mobile phone.

Here is how I can start beginning with Drucker.

Its the way ahead.


Phillips D, 2000 Blazing Netshine on the value network: Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2000, pp. 189±206
Evans, P. and Wurster, W. S. (1999) `Blown to bits', Harvard Business School Press.
Drucker, P. F. (1994) `The age of social transformation', The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 274, No. 5, pp. 53±80.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Rebooting PR - Radical Poroity

In this series of, posts we have already seen how the internet is now making organizations porous.

For a long time people have discussed their employers, friends, acquaintances and    a myriad of other relationships.
I do so, they expose torganizationsons and people to a wide constituency. Information in this way, inadvertently leaks  out.
The work I did on analysis of LinkedIn profiles also shows how people expose their employers to a low deep analysis (see Rebooting PR).

What is happening now is that a lot of data (Big data) available for such analysis. We can automate such proceses and then re-work the findings.

Radical porosity now allows us to identify the common and unique unique skills, capabilities of individual banks in relation to competitors - automatically. We can also use similar capabilities to match LnkedIn profiles with Twitter accounts and get near real time intelligence.

There are many more examples of how apparently innocent activities make oorganizationsmore porous.

Such is the extent of content provided by individuals that if an organization wants to have no presence it creates a hole in the Internet environment which points in the organisation.

From here we learn a lot. There is no hiding place.

We also learn there is a critical need for public relations to manage the effect of constituent's porosity.

Rebooting PR - Internet Agency

The internet can act as an agent.

For example, people can take a message output by an organisation and propagate it with great ease. They are acting as an agent. Re-Tweet, blog post and everything else in between allows this to happen. We have known about this phenomenon for twenty years and it is in the PR literature.

We have known that this form of agency is not limited to people. Technologies do this too. They can monitor websites and alert and broadcast content easily. All the news media monitoring services do this. CyberAlert.com has been offering this automated service for more than a decade and a half.

But now we are moving into an era when internet agency reprocesses information and prompts action; acquires new intelligence and identifies new knowledge and then provokes action in its own right and without human interference. At the same time, such capability offers a new, different, and for some, threatening future.

It would not surprise anyone to find an exchange that would provide data on the relative value of Avious Points, Tesco Clubcard points and Bitcoin. This would be a new form of financial exchange based on new forms of wealth and currency.

What we would see is an internet capability to buy things that stepped round existing currencies. 

What is more important is that it would have crossed national and currency boundaries as well. 

True international currencies with global exchange rate could be a reality. Such ideas go much further than just the crypto currencies. Such an activity can take place without any recourse to existing currencies, governments, cenral banks or regulators. Their success is completely dependent on international trust, goodwill and reputation.

With such benefits they can also also interact with the existing currencies.

It may be worth having a look at: http://www.topcashback.co.uk. The idea already exists. We have already entered into such an economy. The idea of radical agency is with us already.

For traditional PR people this is something of a problem. Interactions with the Wikipedia world is beginning to have some sensible resonance with the profession (and less so for the cowboys). This is a good thing because and automated system of creating corporate presence in Facebook based on the Wikipedia profile is happening now. A lot of companies did not lift a finger and yet find themselves with a Facebook presence in their name. These forms of radical internet agency are becoming ever more sophisticated.

The intermediaries of a bygone day no longer have exclusive rights.

The idea that 'publics' form round issues or that there are groups of people who own a 'stake' in organisation even if they are not shareholders is now of a distant age. The 'organisation' is now a number of value added, if intangible, content assets that it may not have had a hand in creating. If you like, computer generated assets.

Radical internet agency is an interesting area for PR practice. It is part of reputation management and management of intellectual assets that even the organisation may not be aware of.

Rebooting PR - Radical Transparency


Once, it was cool to propose that organisations be transparent and that secrecy was commercial and political suicide. It was an idea that caught on. 

Greater transparency led to higher profits for those who had access to the information about the relevant tax rate; transparency in Government, democracy an politics has many advantages and made governance accountable to the electorate. Increasingly governments around the world are experimenting with initiatives in transparency or open government. These involve a variety of measures including the announcement of more user-friendly government websites, greater access to government data, the extension of freedom of information legislation and broader attempts to involve the public in government decision making.

Bennis points out why and how digital business strategy is an important transformational issue for leadership. He argues that information driven transparency will forever change the way that power it derived by top leaders and that leaders need to embrace this new transparency.

Making information available to help inform, enthrall and educate people who are customers and prospective customers also informs competitors, vendors and employees. They too can see the product and its pricing online.

Until recently agency was easy to understand:
  • Had email for fast delivery of information  - That could be circulated easily to anyone.
  • Created websites which showed off: products, services, Director’s names, locations and much more - To everyone!
  • Then came discussion lists, blogs and Social Media - The constituency read added value content and could interact.
So far so good but now we can see new developments. People tell each other about the products and prices, they rank, rate and review about all these products and services and add intangible values. 

Alongside these people are technologies that help spread the word and aggregate the information. They compare several competitors and seldom miss ones out (despite the claims of the advertisers).

Today there is:
  • Competitive pressure to make more information available to develop competitive advantage
  • Competitors see the nature of competition and respond to remain competitive (example - supermarket pricing - PwC publish research papers for free and so all competitors have to do it).
  • Transparency via multi media including ‘social media’ words, pictures, video. Lots of automation to spread messages etc etc
  • Content available across many devices from PC to mobile to digital window displays
  • Content provided by many actors - e.g. social media authors as well as many other company ‘faces’.
  • The network effect means the information available and provided by the organisation constituency potentially reaches many generations from the first view and crosses from one medium to the next and the next and also jumps platforms (PC, Tablet, Mobile phone, game machine and even down to the fridge). Transparency is now also a matter of multimedia distribution.
Radical transparency requires the PR practitioner to develop content for many media, devices and outputs, to monitor the reach and identify the extent of the added intangible value.

Sophisticated computer algorithms help automatically understand human-generated text. A growing field within NLP is semantic analysis and its application to social media content is just starting to mature beyond labs and classrooms. Semantic analysis is capable of providing valuable insight into the meaning behind social media content.

Its like finding that your content has been located to where you wrote it! This is added value and more of the intangible value being developed online. To understand it we need universities able to teach this as part of a PR curse and the profession to include in continuous development programes.

The rate at which the move to online content is being used is not hard to see (see Unilever below) but being adept at optimising transparency is harder than just being seen in Facebook and the machines now have a strong hand in all of this too.

Unilever is a classic example:

Leadership in a Digital World: Embracing Transparency and Adaptive Capacity
Warren Bennis. MIS Quarterly Volume 37, Number 2 — June 2013