Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter trouble: Mark Cuban fined, Courtney Love sued -- over tweets

Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is apparently just as frank on Twitter as he is courtside at basketball games. The NBA fined Cuban $25,000 on Sunday for a complaint that he tweeted about the refereeing of his team's 103-101 loss to Denver.

Cuban complained that refs didn't call a technical foul on Nuggets guard J.R. Smith for taunting Antoine Wright after a missed shot. Cuban's 100-character protest, broadcast to his more than 13,000 followers on the short-blogging service, translated to $250 per character. That's one pricey tweet.

After telling the world about his slap on the wrist, Cuban quipped on his Twitter page, "can't say no one makes money from twitter now. the nba does."

He isn't the only celebrity getting in trouble for a loose tongue -- make that loose fingers. Rock musician and party girl Courtney Love is being sued for defamation because of messages on Twitter. She complained on her Twitter page (sorry, no link due to excessive swearing) about conflicts with clothing designer Dawn Simorangkir, which spurred the lawsuit that was filed in an L.A. court.

Defamation is a sensitive issue among journalists. We weigh the concerns of what may be defamatory in everything we publish. But it has rarely been cause for concern among celebrities — mainly because they used to have to go through the news media to get their statements out to the mainstream.

Now that everyone has a direct line to the public, the courts will either have to redefine the legal definition, or we're all just going to have to play nicer.

-- Mark Milian

Laptop Sweaters....Cool or Wierd?

Print Your Own Magazine with HP's Help is a new site/service from HP that allows anyone to create and publish a magazine. Miss PC Magazine? Sad about Blender folding (wait, is it possible to be sad about that?)? Then step in and fill the void with your own magazine.

The process is pretty straightforward:

  • Create a magazine on MagCloud or upload a PDF you have create.
  • Order a printed proof - verify your magazine before publishing!
  • Set your markup and publish your issue.
The New York Times reports about 300 different magazines have been produced so far on a wide variety of niche subjects. Lulu for books, CafePress for swag, now MagCloud for magazines. Is HP on to something, or is this a waste of their focus?

Friday, March 27, 2009

A second wave in the real estate crisis?

Interesting post from Jon Talton in his Sound Economy blog. He pegs his story on Amazon's decision to close three distribution warehouses but what is really revealing is the looming problems in commercial real estate.

But now the delinquency rate on securitized loans for office buildings, retail developments, stores and other investment property has more than doubled since last September, to 1.8 percent. We're talking about $700 billion... There's concern that hundreds of banks with heavy exposure to commercial real estate could fail.

While the Northwest largely escaped some of the more devastating declines in 2008, we are seeing vacancy rates increase in areas like downtown Seattle that binged on commercial development in the run up to this economic decline.

Are we in line for wave of commercial real estate defaults that fuels further economic decline? Let's hope not.

YouTube Makes A Few Name Changes

In the spirit of spring cleaning, YouTube has introduced some new nomenclature on the site. "Sponsored Videos" are now "Promoted Videos," which YouTube says more accurately describes its search advertising program that helps to push videos to a larger audience.

"Spotlight Videos," which take up most of the home page, highlight clips the company thinks users will like. On its blog, YouTube adds that "soon we are going to take a more thematic approach to showcasing some of the best videos our community and partners produce."

Just above Spotlight Videos at the top of the home page are "Featured Videos," which offer mainly professional content from YouTube partners. But they may also include popular videos that previously appeared in Spotlight Videos.--Mark Walsh

Monday, March 23, 2009

Papers Really Are Dying

As reported on publicola today, their editor received an official Washington State Capitol press credential today making him “the first internet-based reporter in the state to get press credentials” on the state capitol beat.

As Josh said, "When Olympia, where it seems like nothing ever changes, acknowledges a trend, you pretty much know it’s for real."

Managing Multiple Online Personalities

One of the problems with social networking is drawing the line between what's personal and what's professional. For some, there is no line. They're ok with full disclosure. Others would like to keep things separate and hold on to some privacy.

A friend linked to a blog post describing a good, simple way to keep your personal and professional social networks separate: multiple browsers. The author suggests using a different browser for each network (his setup: Firefox for work, Safari for personal), with some customization for each network (color schemes, default pages, etc.) to further reinforce the difference. A neat solution for those trying to keep their work persona separate from their private, personal life.

Friday, March 20, 2009

SXSW Dominates All Media All Week

Did you all notice how SXSW was everywhere you turned this week?! Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, NPR, TV, everywhere.

Many companies took the event as an opportunity and platform to push social media innovation. So much social media goodness came out of the overall event and the Interactive Festival.

Pepsi’s Twitter strategy stands out as one example. It's definitely beyond the block and tackle:

Read Kevin Dugan's review of it here:

I know there are many more social media innovation examples from this week out there... What caught your eye?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Twitter Experiment on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Last night, Diggnation hosts, Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht joined Jimmy Fallon and comedian Russell Brand in an experiment to make a relatively unknown tweep (?) secure more followers than Barack Obama, who is the most followed person on Twitter.

Bryan Brinkman was in the audience for the taping and had a following of 7 people. Fallon, Rose, Albrecht and Brand tweeted for everyone to follow @bryanbrinkman during the taping of the show. As of this moment, Brinkman now has a following of 22, 797! In one day, four heavily followed twitterers were able to empower 22,790 people to follow this unknown person. It will be interesting to see if more people follow Brinkman or if this is just his 15 minutes and slowly his following begins to decline.

Watch the video:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

PN's Marian Salzman Offers Up a View of the Way Things Will Be

Porter Novelli CMO (trendspotter, futurist, smart cookie) Marian Salzman made a whirlwhind tour of Seattle yesterday—and lived up to the hype! Starting her day on the King/Kong morning show (I love that someone let them get away with those two station names together) Salzman made her case that not only are we in a recession but that along with it, value and values are changing. Camping and soup—as both metaphors and actual acts—set the stage for the way our lives are changing. A return to nature, a return to family. When times get hard we’ll just keep putting on more soup, and inviting more people to the table. Of course it wouldn’t be local morning TV without the awkward anchor moment where the co-anchors nervously chuckle that they “need to get on Facebook.” But they're kinda right, they probably do…

Then it was on to a luncheon at Tom Douglas’ tasty Lola. The modern Greek fare was good but the company even better. More than 50 people from a broad mix of our local clients and some of our favorite local companies and non-profits attended. Like a college lecture from a professor who is clearly a lot smarter than you, it took a minute for the room to catch up with Salzman’s trend talk. She operates on a macro level—big picture, 30,000 foot stuff that most of us aren’t used to thinking about.

The economy dominated, natch, but she took the room on a journey of what to expect in the next year or two. We all know the great recession is here, but haven’t truly thought about what that means for our society and how our clients get themselves ahead of that coming curve. That’s where Salzman and reality intersect. Where local was the new global, hyperlocal is now the new local. She argues that we went global for the last few decades and we’re now returning to the cul-de-sac and neighborhood values of the 1950’s and 1960’s (though she was quick to point out that it’s the good values of those decades—family, support, generations living together/not the gender roles, lack of tolerance, checked out bliss that we will experience). We’re also collectively going to look at our history more—Lincoln, Darwin, the Great Depression. Our world is looking back in order to ground how we move ahead (and indeed part of that is that older parents or grandparents may be living with us soon). A practical, DIY attitude will prevail—crafts, home projects, knitting (hold the macramé please). And though it’s not a trend, she confirmed that technology is here to stay—love or hate it. The future holds more “edutainment”, more interactive (Twitter) real time engagement (less passive Web searching), and a greater reliance on social media. Media is the Third Place (since we’re from Seattle we also add Starbucks!)—a great escape where we can get away from this new reality (and instead just laugh at it on 30 Rock).

Lots of notes were taken and a series of questions—Who will be the new journalists? (Not yet identified, but she argues that it’s likely not anyone that's on our radar today.) Are newspapers really going away? (Hello--Seattle P-I?) Where we will get our information? (Trusted sources in our social media circles.) Will hyper-parenting and helicopter parents still persist—even through the economic downturn? (Yes…sigh.) What about broadcast? (On its way out too—at least as we know it. Look for Hulu like options coming to a TV near you.) And what about the rules of engagement for online media? (There aren’t any, just don’t be stupid about it—perhaps the best advice of the day.)

She rounded out the day with a visit to our Seattle office to record a podcast and talk to the team about the future of PR. It looks good but it will require those who will work hard and get smart—fast. The ad model can’t survive like it used to--eight months to get a commercial recorded and placed—who knows the landscape eight months from now?

It’s PR’s moment…we have about 30 seconds to grab it. And go…

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marian, March 10, Made it Happen

Porter Novelli's Chief Marketing Officer, Marian Salzman was kind enough to drop the latest trends on a variety of Seattle business folks and PNers alike, as Chiefs are apt to do. She discussed the social and generational trends that are shaping American society in 2009, from technology, to privacy, to generational power shifts.

Here is a sample of what she had to say when she stopped by our PN Seattle podcast studio earlier today.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Online only P-I

The P-I is destined to stop printing any day. New reports today indicate it will likely have an afterlife online. With a limited staff, do you think content will suffer? Or with a new, keen focus on new media and writing for the Web, will it thrive? It will be interesting to watch it play out.

Read more:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Journalism On The Brink - Can Digital Save It?

Last week a group from the PN Seattle office attended a panel discussion on the current state of journalism at the University of Washington. Our city may be only weeks away from losing one paper, The Seattle P-I, and on the way to losing another due to financial problems, which is why this discussion has been especially relevant for many in Seattle. We put together our own panel from PN Seattle to discuss the questions that many newspapers are asking themselves today. Feel free to add your own .02 on whether or not you think digital can save journalism in the comments section.

Do you think people should have to pay for journalism?

Angie: Yes and no. Yes in the sense that good journalism is not free. Besides salaries, there is a real cost to that travel to Iraq, to that server holding news archives and streaming videos, to that coffee with a trusted source. But the question is what does “pay” really mean here… by suffering through advertisements, product placement and other cost supplements we are in a sense paying for it, which I believe is a necessity. But paying for each article via an iTunes-like model or paying for “the rest of the story” to me doesn’t seem sustainable. The Internet will find a way to = free.
Jessica: Nope. Supplementing the cost of journalism with advertisements allows everyone to get what they want. Journalists get paid and the people get the information they want.
Rob: I don't think they should "have to" pay for it. Honestly, no one "needs" journalism to survive in this world so really the onus is on journalists to prove their value, just like any other service-based profession. Some argue that democracy is dependant on the fourth estate, and therefore it should be taxpayer funded as it contributes to the greater good of society. But as long as there are open records laws, journalism is basically an "aggregation" service that does the leg work that any individual citizen could do on their own. That's not the same as a military or a social service safety net that does something that regular citizens can't do and therefore requires collective funding.
Matt: Of course. Sorry, this is simple for me. There are plenty of other industries using aggregation tools to pull information or synthesize their products. Additionally, if we’re honest, name an industry that consistently puts forth quality products/services – and I mean CONSISTENTLY.
Lindsey: I’m all about journalists being paid…however; I’ve grown very accustomed to my free online content.
Kizha: I agree with Angie that people will have to pay for “good” journalism, but don’t know how it’s going to happen. I donate money to public radio stations that I like and could see myself doing the same for newspapers, but which ones and for how long? That’s where it starts to get sticky.
Sydney: I know I wouldn’t pay for it. I think lead generation and the referral process is a good place for papers to look for generating money.

Do you think online papers should build a wall around their content, i.e. WSJ?

Angie: If too many start to do it I sense a backlash and focused hacking so we could all get to it anyway. The WSJ gets away with it now because they are the behemoth and their readers have money to pay extra.
Jessica: No, because as long and information is posted online people will access it for free if they want. The cost can again be supplemented by advertising.
Rob: Walled content will only work when the value of that content justifies the cost AND there are no suitable alternatives. Most outlets can't meet both of those bars. Those that do better also need some sort of barrier to entry, otherwise a competitor will emerge that will find a way to fund it without charging.
Matt: Yes, but there needs to be added return – beyond news consumption – for subscribing. There should be a social network-like community behind that wall to engage with loyal subscribers. Perhaps journalists are available in an online forum to discuss their notes and process for creating the piece? This would help communicate the “true cost” of journalism.
Lindsey: I think it can work in certain isolated situations, but most online papers don’t have the audience or the credibility of the WSJ necessary to pull it off. I don’t think it is a long-term solution.
Kizha: Heck no! It seems stupid when the online walled content is only available to subscribers, who presumably read that information in the print publication already.

Should local papers only focus on local content?

Angie: What local papers?
Jessica: I disagree. As a consumer of journalism I want to be able to get a broad sweep of news in one place. Also, a local twist on national news can be extremely interesting.
Rob: Yes. Because of the proliferation of information sources, I no longer consumer news "generally." I consume news in a very "specific" way. I only visit sites that I trust will provide me with the best and deepest pool of information on a particular topic. For Seattle tech news, I'll visit TechFlash. For sports news, I'll visit ESPN. For news on my friends, I'll visit Facebook. For weather news, I'll visit The only area that local papers can possibly compete is on local news and even there they are starting to be replaced by blog sites like myballard or PhinneyWood that provide news on my immediate community.
Sydney: Good Point Rob. I don’t think the local community blogs will be able to compete for ad dollars though, but I don’t think they necessarily have to either to survive.
Matt: I agree with Rob here. A special part about local papers is their ability to service niche audiences. They understand the local scene.
Kizha: I do think they should focus primarily on local content and I get frustrated when most of the content in my local paper is syndicated from other national papers or wire services.

When papers go will investigative reporting go with it along with the budget?

Angie: Sadly I think this is the trend. Activist citizens will always work to uncover the truth in the same spirit of investigative reporting, but there still has to be a filter for truth in there, an objectivity that is missing from citizen journalism. I hope we figure out a model where the big conglomerates still find budget for deep, investigative looks at top issues that affect us, but don’t see any future there for localized reports.
Jessica: Agree with Angie that they will likely go away. I am not sure that bloggers have the resources to dig up dirt may not care about those local stories. But investigative reporting will continue for national stories.
Rob: No. The great thing about the connections that the Internet has created is that it only takes one citizen to bubble up issues any more. Investigative reporting is going to give way to hyper transparency that comes with networked communities. One person uncovers corruption, deception, etc. and carries that message to an interested community that has already formed around that topic. For example, there is a very strong community that has formed around environmental issues. One individual who uncovers illegal dumping can very easily bring that topic to the attention of the environmental community. The environmental community then continues the "investigation" and builds upon the story and may bring it to the attention of other related communities (say a community that has formed around a particular company/brand). Eventually, that issue may reach the attention of the "mainstream media" that survive the current consolidation.
Matt: Doubtful. I’m pretty sure investigative reports will always be valued. We love stories; folks communicating in a unique voice will always be heard. The budget is perhaps another story.
Sydney: John Cook said, “bloggers=beat reporters” and I like the idea of a bunch of bloggers stooping around their neighbors trying to collect dirt for stories. This won’t replace the investigative reporting that we need though so we’ll have to rely on bigger sites like for this that will have bigger budgets.
Lindsey: I echo Sydney here. I thought it was so interesting that John Cook said, the most investigative pieces of his career were done at TechFlash. Again, I think there will always be a place for traditional, old school investigative journalism, but I think we need to be open to the fact that solid, investigative reporting will have many faces in the future. And maybe that is a good thing.

What are your thoughts on reporters coming out behind their bylines and being a part of the conversation?

Angie: I’m loving the momentum here toward real dialogue. Reporters start a conversation with each story so why shouldn’t they continue it?
Jessica: I am also on board with this but am concerned about premature story telling. When a reporter starts telling the story bit by bit, readers may get the wrong idea and jump to conclusions. But the idea of "celebrity" reporters, which they discussed during the panel, is very interesting. Following a journalist because you like them in addition following the news seems like an interesting idea as long as they remain objective.
Rob: Journalism has long lacked transparency and it has created problems for the industry (see "Glass, Stephen"). The old model is somewhat predicated on the supremacy of the journalist, who is the arbiter of the "truth" for his readers. I think it’s an arrogant assumption and discounts the ability of the reader to apply their own filters, knowledge, etc. to understand the news, which is often not as black and white as it may seem. By making journalism a participatory endeavor, we get more perspectives which gets us closer to the "truth."
Matt: I like the idea. Although, Monica was a bit patronizing in her tone. Bringing down the barrier between journalists and the public is what classic reporting is all about.
Lindsey: I know that I find myself drawn to writers whom I feel I know. There will always be a place for the traditional, old school journalist, but I like where this new direction is taking us as well.
Kizha: I’m all for it, but I do worry about independent reporters having some sort of protection from lawsuits (or as many bloggers today have seen, threats).
Sydney: Overall I support this idea because that is what we encourage our clients to do online everyday to strengthen their brands and I think anytime you can bring people closer to your brand or the news is a good thing.

What do you think about papers partnering with private foundations, do you think that’s a good model for making money?

Angie: Seems like a slippery slope here as I agree that ultimately that influence inevitably creeps over. Like Ross was saying last night, I want to keep the wall up!
Matt: Eh, yes and no. I think for that to be possible the public must embrace partisanship for what it is – a plate of cheeses. That way, journalists employed by a certain publication have no conflicts of interest. They can seek out the publication that works best with their “voice” and let the games begin.
Jessica: Ethically, they should stay away from private sponsorship because it would be easy to fall into a place where the paper becomes a vehicle for propaganda. However, as a business model it may be the only way to keep print publications alive. The PI is for sale and will go to the highest bidder or die.
Rob: I don't see how foundation ownership would differ from Hearst or Tribune or Gannett owning a paper. People somehow think having a profit motive has created the problems newspapers face. The real problem is that they are trying to be generalists in a market where information is widely available. I don't need a generalist's perspective when I'm one click away from a specialist who can provide me much better, deeper information. Because there are a limited number of specialists who report on my neighborhood or Seattle Tech news or the weather, they can charge a premium, both to consumers and to advertisers. It's simple supply and demand. These specialists won't be as big as Hearst or Tribune or Gannett but they won't have to support the massive cost structure of an organization that size, either.
Kizha: I agree with Rob, I don’t see how it would be so different from our current model. And frankly, papers with a strong “voice” are often the ones I am attracted to. Locally, Real Change is a publication run by a non-profit, and although I would certainly never rely on them for all of my news, I think they provide a valuable POV that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.