Subscribe: a shel of my former self
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
business  ceo  communications  company  data  employees  facebook  media  new  news  read  social media  social  takeaway  twitter 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: a shel of my former self

Holtz Communications + Technology | Blog

blogging at the intersection of communication and technology

Published: 2017-05-26T19:31:00+00:00


Friday Wrap #217: WaPo on Reddit, GIFS from data, AVEs persist, Mastodon grows, VR growth slows


I extract items for the Wrap from my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow. To make sure you never miss an issue, subscribe to my weekly email briefing. News Facebook community moderation guidelines leaked—Materials used to train Facebook content moderators has leaked, exposing some troublesome guidelines that the company is struggling to explain. Among them, live-streamed suicide attempts are fine “as long as they are engaging with viewers and threats to kill more than five days in the future are not to be viewed as a high priority. The guidelines address child abuse, animal cruelty, nudity, and other sensitive issues, offering unprecedented insight into how the company wants its moderators to treat posts. The takeaway: I wouldn’t want to be the person who has to create these guidelines, nor would I want to be one of the moderators who has to apply them, which one person called “one of the worst jobs on the internet.” As this Guardian article notes, Facebook is in a lose-lose situation, expected (for example) to curtail live-streamed crime while also being accused of censorship. Read more Washington Post has a Reddit profile page—Reddit wants to be a venue for content from publishers, much like Facebook with its Instant Articles and other opportunities for media outlets to distribute their stories. The Washington Post now has its own profile page, giving it the ability to publish articles and conduct Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions.The takeaway: Reddit is rolling out profiles to everyone, starting with content creators, so expect more news organizations to show up on Reddit. Rather than simply duplicate content published elsewhere, they should get to know the Reddit culture and share unique items likely to earn upvotes from the community, which will lead to attention from other venues. Read more Google introduces Data GIF Maker—Telling stories with numbers is becoming important, especially given the rise of data journalism. Companies should think about finding ways to tell their own stories with data. Google is making it easier with the launch of Data GIF Maker, which shows “how two competing ‘things’ compare to each other in terms of popularity. All you have to do is enter the data and download the GIF. The takeaway: It’s fairly limited in scope and could easily be overused, but when you want to show a comparison for which data is available, it could be a useful way to get people to sit up and pay attention to your numbers. Read more AP Stylebook changes focus on gender—A lot of communication departments and agencies adhere to the AP Stylebook, which has introduced the use of “they” as a singular pronoun in order to make it easier for writers to be gender neutral. The idea is to provide an alternative to the “overly awkward or clumsy” wording writers have struggled with when aiming for gender neutrality. Other changes to the 2017 edition including the advice to limit the use of LGBTQ to quotes and organization names (because it can be used as a slur in some contexts) and the use of “gender” to denote a person’s social identity while “sex” explains a person’s biological characteristics. The sections on cyberattacks and fact check/fake news have also been rewritten, with “fake news” to be used “in quotes or as shorthand for the modern phenomenon of deliberate falsehoods or fiction masked as news circulating on the internet.” The takeaway: Language evolves and writers should make an effort to stay up to speed, even if the updates raise their grammar hackles. Read more Judge finds emoji are proof of intent—A judge in Israel has ruled that emoji used by prospective tenants in a message constituted a statement of intent. The couple must pay the landlord $2,000 based on the emojis they used to signal their plan to rent a house. The landlord removed the listing based on the message, but the couple stopped communicating with him. The takeaway: If this doesn&[...]

FIR Podcast #89: Learning Nothing at Penn State


Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network Richard Binhammer and Gerard Braud join host Shel Holtz for a conversation on these topics: Why hasn’t Penn State learned anything about crisis communications in the five years since the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal? They seem to be operating out of the same playbook following the death of a fraternity pledge. More CEOs are being shown the door over ethical lapses. Why is this happening and is there anything communicators should be doing to prevent it (especially given some of the Global Alliance’s Melbourne Mandate and the Arthur W. Page Society’s Corporate Character pronouncements). Twitter co-founder and Medium CEO Ev Williams thinks the Internet is broken. Does that make it a dangerous place for brands? A Sprout Social study finds that, in most cases, consumers don’t want company social media accounts to be snarky. The Trump administration is removing treasure troves of data from the White House website. How important is it for a government to make data available to citizens, given how we’re using data these days? Dan York reports on changes to Facebook pages for nonprofit organizations, Biz Stone’s return to Twitter, and audio versions of articles coming to Medium paid subscribers. Connect with our guest co-hosts on Twitter at @rbinhammer and @gbraud. Links to the source material for this episode are on Contentle. Learn more about and register for SocialChorus’s FutureComms 2017 conference. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. FIR was recorded using Zencastr. About our guests: Richard Binhammer is one of the first adopters of social media for business. In 2006, he became active in social media by engaging with bloggers who were using their new-found influence to impact brands and corporate reputations. From these beginnings of monitoring blogs through simple web searches, he became an early adopter of Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest, leading to strategic adoption of social networks for business purposes. He currently consults on social media strategies, skills assessments/training programs and corporate communications efforts. From 2006-2012, he was a widely acclaimed corporate leader in experimenting, adopting, analyzing and deploying social media as a tool to help business be social and do better business. As director on Dell’s Social Media and Community team, he was also responsible for communications, social relations and training while continuing to be active in Dell’s social media outreach and overall adoption across the company. Before Dell, he worked with several communications consulting agencies in St. Louis and New York and worked in Canada as a political aide to senior cabinet ministers. Gerard Braud (pronounced Jared Bro) is a crisis communications expert and media trainer who has helped organizations on five continents.  He cuts his teeth in the crisis arena as a frontline journalist for the first 15 years of his career. You may have seen him on NBC, CBS, CNN or on The Weather Channel. For the past 20 years, he has been president of Braud Communications. In the podcasting and video casting world, he is host of The BraudCast with Gerard Braud on YouTube. [...]

Friday Wrap #216: MP3’s demise, influencers at risk, Medium exodus, CMO promotions, snark’s appeal


I extract items for the Wrap from my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow. To make sure you never miss an issue, subscribe to my weekly email briefing. News FCC votes to end net neutrality—The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted 2-1 to open debate on a proposal to reverse the Title II designation used to enforce net neutrality and on whether the FCC should impose net neutrality rules through other mechanisms. The takeaway: Make your voice heard. Leave a comment on the FCC’s public comment page. Without net neutrality, the ability of small companies to compete against those who can pay for faster access will be threatened. Read more Is the MP3 dead?—The developer of the MP3 audio file format has ended its licensing program based on the belief that other formats—notably AAC—are better. The takeaway: The decision to end licensing of the MP3 after 20 years may mean iTunes and Spotify will stream a different format, but that doesn’t mean the format will vanish. Nearly all podcasts are delivered in MP3 format and not every podcast app supports AAC. Libsyn, the most popular podcast hosting service, specifically advises against AAC “as they will not play on Blackberry devices and many other portable media players.” Libsyn still recommends using MP3. Read more Google to launch jobs site—Google will aggregate job postings from across the web to make them more searchable. The site, Google for Jobs, will focus on matching the best candidates to open positions. Job sites Monster and CareerBuilder are partnering with Google in the initiative. The takeaway: Google’s search functionality will be a boon to job-seekers, but it’s the company’s move into the corporate world that intrigues me. They must see potential revenue here. Read more Biz Stone returns to Twitter—Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has rejoined the company with a role focused on “guid(ing) the company culture, that energy, that feeling.” The news of Stone’s return pushed Twitter stock to a six-month high. Whether his presence will have an impact is subject to debate. His role sounds fuzzy, many of Twitter’s problems had already surfaced while he was still there, and his post-Twitter ventures haven’t exactly been blockbusters. The takeaway: Twitter needs more than an internal morale boost, but I suppose it can’t hurt. Read more Instagram tests Location Stories—Instagram is testing a new feature, Location Stories, that dish up collections of publicly-shared images tagged with a location sticker. “Users can then visit that business, landmark, or place’s Instagram page and watch a slideshow of Story posts from there shared by strangers they don’t follow.” The takeaway: One of the key attributes of the smartphone is that it is with you wherever you are, which is why more local searches are conducted on phones than general ones. It will be increasingly important for local shops and attractions to make sure they have plenty of location-tagged images on Instagram. Read more Big changes coming to Facebook Groups—Facebook announced a slew of updates to its Groups, one of the most underutilized Facebook features for marketers and communicators. Among other things, if you have a Facebook Page, you’ll be able to participate in Groups as the Page instead of an individual. That is, the company logo (or whatever profile pic you’re using) will appear, not the profile pic of the Page administrator. Pages can even be Group admins. More analytics are coming to Groups, as well. The takeaway: I have also heard that you will be able to create subcategories within Groups so people can find discussions more directly focused on their interests. Groups are increasingly a valuable resource for building and participating in community. Read more Trends Dove proves social media outrage isn’t always a problem—Social media deemed Dove’s introduction of [...]

FIR Podcast #87: Gray Hair on the Digital Team


Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network The conversation on this special episode of the show focused on a single theme: ageism in PR and digital/social media. Guest co-hosts Jennifer Stauss and Mark Story joined host Shel Holtz to explore several dimensions of the issue, including… Whether digital media deserves its own seat the C-suite table and, if it does, what kind of experience needs to be represented there. Do you really need to hire somebody under 25 (or 40) for social media jobs? Why ageism seems to be the acceptable form of discrimination Connect with our guest co-hosts on Twitter at @jenniferjstauss and @markstory_. Links to the source material for this episode are on Contentle. Learn more about and register for SocialChorus’s FutureComms 2017 conference. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. FIR was recorded using Zencastr. About our guests: Jennifer Stauss is an award-winning, accomplished strategic communications storyteller who helps organizations succeed in a constantly evolving digital media environment. Jennifer’s success stems from more than 18 years developing strategy and flawless execution in public relations and social media campaigns, online and offline influencer relations and advocacy and brand ambassador community development, content development, blogger relations, reputation management, media relations, media training and speech-writing. Jennifer brings to her clients a varied and multifaceted professional background, including work in the advertising industry, television news industry, political and municipal arenas, entrepreneurial sector, online cancer advocacy and a wide variety of nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Her efforts result in high-profile campaigns that substantially increase awareness and produce desired objectives, such as the “Welcome to Omaha American Idol” crop circle and “WTF? (Where’s the Funding) for Lung Cancer?” social media campaign. Jennifer’s career in broadcast journalism that innately enables me to identify solid story ideas and secure prime media placements, as well as anticipate and capitalize on timely and opportunistic digital communications opportunities. Mark Story is a one-time contributor to FIR. Mark currently works as communication counsel and social media lead for the National Cancer Institute, and he was director of International Corporate Affairs for the Alibaba Group in Hong Kong and the first-ever director of New Media for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mark also put in time on the agency side as a senior VP for Fleishman-Hillard and a vice president at APCO Worldwide. Mark is also the author of the book, “Starting Your Career as a Social Media Manager,” which was published in 2012. Mark also teaches at Johns Hopkins University. [...]

Friday Wrap #215: Can AR save print? Does print need saving?


I extract items for the Wrap from my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow. To make sure you never miss an issue, subscribe to my weekly email briefing. Upcoming Free Stuff Free crisis communications webinar—Next Thursday at 2 p.m. EDT, I’ll join Jen Zingzheim Phillips for a fee webinar on crisis communications hosted by Carma, the company that owns media monitoring service CustomScoop. Did I mention it’s free? Register Panel on measurement planning will be broadcast—Also on May 18 at noon EDT, I will moderate a panel of Fellows from the International Association of Business Communicators on how to plan for measurement of communication efforts. The hour-long panel will be broadcast free via a Google Hangout on Air. Read more News Facebook demotes low-quality sites in News Feed—Facebook doesn’t want you to see lousy websites. To that end, the company is pushing links to such sites far down the News Feed and is refusing to carry ads that point to them. The company considers these sites to be those that contain “little substantive content, and that is covered in disruptive shocking, or malicious ads.” In addition to saving us from clicking to these sites, the move could also help in the fit against fake news, since these items are usually motivated by ad revenue and the sites to which they are published often meet these criteria. The takeaway: The flip side is also true: As Facebook buries crappy sites, high-quality sites may rise higher in your News Feed. Read more Is a crisis ever really a crisis?—You would think that the passenger-dragging incident had a financial impact on United. You would be wrong. Even as the company struggled to calm public outrage, United posted the strongest gains of the year when it comes to passengers served and seats filled. That not only beats the same period in the previous year, but it’s the best performance by United for all of 2017 so far. The takeaway: Crisis experts struggle with this kind of report. Why respond at all if the bottom line won’t suffer? Other factors need to be considered, including recruiting. Also, it could be the next period that reflects any economic consequences, since most travel in April had already been booked before the dragging incident went viral. Read mre Nugget-craving teen breaks retweet record—Sixteen-year-old Carter Wilkerson tweeted the Wendy’s fast-food chain how many retweets he’d have to get for a year of free chicken. Wendy’s responded: 18 million. “Consider it done,” Wilkerson tweeted back; then he tweeted, “HELP ME PLEASE. A MEAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.” Next, he launched a campaign asking for retweets from friends and celebrities. The campaign went viral: t-shirts bearing #NuggsforCarter appeared, and he began getting invitations to appear on TV shows. Wendy’s kept up with the campaign (e.g., “1 million?!?! Officially SHOOK”). Wilkerson has beaten the previous most retweeted tweet (the Oscars selfie by Ellen Degeneres) and currently stands at about 3.6 million. For that, Wendy’s is giving him the free nuggets even though he’s not likely to hit the 18-million mark. The takeaway: When you hear about social media being a channel for companies to engage with customers, remember this story of a one-to-one interaction that caught fire. Read more United’s nugget tweet gets the response you’d expect—In response to Carter Wilkerson’s quest to get 18 million retweets in exchange for free Wendy’s nuggets for a year, United Airlines tweeted that if he reached the goal, United will “give you a free flight to take you to any @Wendy’s in the world in a city we serve. Good luck!” Does anybody at United think before they do anything? It’s not hard to guess the Twitterverse’s response, which addressed everything from the recent dragging incident to the[...]

Social Media and Social Causes Can Bring CEOs Out of the Shadows


Some things you take for granted. The sun will rise in the east. A two-year-old eating chocolate will get chocolate on her face (and her arms and her legs). Breakfast for dinner is awesome. Employees know who runs their company. Well, three out of four ain’t bad. A recent survey from APPrise Mobile found that 23% of employees working for a company with 500 or more employees weren’t sure of their CEO’s name. Even more—32%—weren’t confident they could pick their CEO out of a lineup. This floored me. I wasn’t comforted when I learned that most of those who didn’t know their CEO worked somewhere other than headquarters and were more likely to be 25 or younger, just getting started in their careers. I would be willing to bet that, if asked, anyone in any branch of the military in 1944—regardless of location, rank, age, or years of service—knew Dwight Eisenhower was their Supreme Allied Commander. Yet this survey data suggests 111,000 Target employees couldn’t identify CEO Brian Cornell from his mug shot; 24,000 Procter and Gamble employees would stutter and shrug when asked who runs their company. (Answer: David S. Taylor.) Mentioning this data provokes some surprising responses from business people. Some of those I’ve talked with argue that it’s not important if a mill worker in a plant 1,500 miles from headquarters doesn’t know the CEO; it’s more important that he know his boss and the plant manager. I beg to differ. The CEO’s role is clearly defined. The highest-ranking executive in a company, the CEO is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction, has the final say on big decisions, manages operations, serves as a liaison between the board and everyone else, establishes and evangelizes the mission, and serves as the principal point of communication with key stakeholders. Employees should be the highest priority on the stakeholder list. Consider another finding from the APPrise Mobile survey: Only 55% of employees at larger businesses feel like they fully understand the company’s mission statement. At the same time, nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) stated that they believe they would better understand their company’s objectives if they received more regular and meaningful communications from their CEO. Increased communications from the top boss would also lead many employees to be more motivated (16%), recommend their job to others (9 percent), work harder (8%), and turn down other jobs (6%). To put that in a short declaration: Employees want to be led by leaders who lead. If the leader whose responsibility is to sell the mission isn’t even recognizable to the employees who breathe life into it, communicating the mission to other audiences is an exercise in futility. Connecting with employees, therefore, should be a primary concern for CEOs, who should explore multiple and cross-channel avenues for reaching their people. The Usual Channels Management by Wandering Around (MBWA), popularized at Hewlett-Packard in the 1970s, is fine but leaves behind anybody who doesn’t work in the same building as the CEO. Anytime a CEO visits a non-hq location, she should make time to meet with employees in a local town hall setting or, at least, walk the floor and talk to people. There are some terrific examples of CEO emails to employees, but most are infrequent and impersonal (and, worse, many are ghost-written). Some CEOs do a great job of communicating to staff with video. Cisco chairman and former CEO, John Chambers, had a reputation for producing quick, informal, unscripted videos that he delivered over his internal blog. Town halls are also fine (unless they’re not, and they’re frequently not), but every great town halls are only held quarterly or, worse, annually. Small group meetings with randomly selected employees (o[...]

FIR #86: The Executives On Rug Row


Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network Steve Crescenzo and Kathy Klotz-Guest were Shel Holtz’s guest co-hosts this week. The conversation covered these items: Nearly a quarter of employees can’t name their CEO or even pick him or her out of a lineup. What should CEOs be doing about this (and does it even matter)? Are town halls the worst way for executives to communicate face-to-face with employees? Political discussions are on the increase in the workplace and the results aren’t always good. You can’t banish such talk, so how should companies manage it? GE has just launched its latest branded content effort and once again, employees are front-and-center. Companies in the news have become the targets of online memes. Should companies ignore them, argue with them, or join in the fun? Dan York reports on breached email accounts, the Jakarta Declaration issued by UNESCO on World Press Freedom Day (and its call for open encryption), the challenge of cities besieged by delivery trucks (which result from the rise of online retailing), the future of jobs and jobs training, and a May 11 Chatham House event on the impact of the Internet on societies. Connect with our guest co-hosts on Twitter at @crescenzo and @kathyklotzguest. Links to the source material for this episode are on Contentle. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. FIR was recorded using Zencastr. About our guests: Steve Crescenzo started Crescenzo Communications 15 years ago after leaving his post as Editorial Director and VP of New Product Development at Ragan Communications.(Steve does a lot of great communication work, but his wife Cindy runs Crescenzo Communications.) Both Steve and Cindy do presentations, internal communication audits, and internal communication consulting. Steve and Cindy both present frequently, together and solo, at a number of communication conferences at events, and Steve has been recognized as the top speaker at IABC’s world conference a number of times. Kathy Klotz-Guest, MA, MBA, is a business storyteller, creative facilitator, and speaker. Founder of Keeping it Human, it’s her mission to help organizations turn jargon-monoxide into compelling stories and uncover bold ideas for marketing. A podcaster and comic improviser who launched her one-woman show in 2015, she is also the author o”Stop Boring Me! How to Create Kick-Ass Marketing Content, Products and Ideas Through the Power of Improv.” Her work has been featured in Convince and Convert,, Business of Story, MarketingProfs,, PR Daily, Pragmatic Marketing, and CustomerThink. Her 7- year-old is still her favorite audience! [...]

FIR Podcast #85: Could You Pick Your CEO Out Of A Lineup?


Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network Deirdre Breakenridge and Ken Jacobs were Shel Holtz’s guest co-hosts this week. The conversation covered these items: The FTC has sent warning letters to 90 influencers and the brands that pay them. Meanwhile, the role influencers play is getting bigger (and maybe even a little absurd, give the Fyre Festival situation). Forty percent of companies want to replace their communications agency this year. Nearly a quarter of employees can’t name their CEO or even pick him 0r her out of a lineup. The media bubble is real, and it can have a profound impact on public relations. Dan York reports on Mastodon’s growth to half a million users, Turkey’s decision to block all versions of Wikipedia, an algorithm for detecting fake news in real time, the Internet Society’s paper on Artificial Intelligence, Amazon’s Echo Look, and corporate media centers. Connect with our guest co-hosts on Twitter: @dbreakenridge and @kensviews. Links to the source material for this episode are on Contentle. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. FIR was recorded using Zencastr. About our guests: Deirdre Breakenridge is the CEO of Pure Performance Communications. A 25+ year veteran in PR and marketing, she is the author of six business books with her newest book, Answers for Modern Communicators to be published by Routledge in the fall 2017. Her other recent titles include, Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional,” “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations,” and “PR 2.0, New Media, New Tools, New Audiences.” Breakenridge speaks nationally and internationally on the topics of PR, marketing, branding and social media. She is an adjunct professor at UMASS at Amherst, and an online instructor for Rutgers University. She is also a LinkedIn video instructor with three PR courses published in 2015 and 2016 and two more marketing courses to be published in 2017. Breakenridge hosts the podcast show, Women Worldwide and is a blogger at PR Expanded. She was named by Traackr as one of the top Social Media Engagers in 2014, awarded the Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ in 2015, and recognized on the Richtopia 250 Most Influential Women Leaders in the World List in 2016 and 2017. Ken Jacobs, ACC, CPC, an experienced consultant and certified coach, is the principal of Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching. For 10 years, his firm has helped agencies grow and manage business, improve client service and relationships, and enhance staff performance, via consulting and training. Through his executive coaching, he has helped leaders from C-suite executives to managers achieve and surpass their goals by becoming more inspired and inspiring leaders. [...]

Friday Wrap #214: Alexa sees, United scrambles, influencers clean up, apps add AR, and more


I extract items for the Wrap from my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow. To make sure you never miss an issue, subscribe to my weekly email briefing. News It’s looking worse for Twitter—Twitter’s user base grew in the last quarter, but revenue fell while the company was outbid for Thursday Night Football live-streaming by Amazon. The takeaway: Twitter is an important conduit for news and information, but without any light at the end of its revenue tunnel, its prospects are bleak. If something doesn’t change in a hurry, I would expect Twitter to be acquired. Read more Can 24/7 live-streaming save Twitter?—Twitter plans to air live video 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “Our goal is to be a dependable place so that when you want to see what’s happening, you think of going to Twitter,” the company’s COO/CFO said. Don’t expect The Twitter Network (or whatever they call it) to arrive anytime soon. “We’re working on many things,” the exec said. “There’s a lot in the pipeline.” The takeaway: This could actually be a big deal if they get it right. You hear that something’s going on, open your Twitter app, and watch. Nobody else is doing that right now. The only question is whether twitter can survive long enough to introduce it and build the audience for it. Read more AT&T launches a fake 5G network—Fake news I understand, but a fake cellular network? AT&T claimed it is launching “the next generation of faster speeds” with 5G Evolution. It’s not a new 5G network, though, just a re-branding of its 4G network. The press releases introducing the network also says (in small print) that “actually results may differ materially.” The announcement came shortly after a news report found Verizon had outbid AT&T on a large portion of the actual 5G spectrum. “AT&T is using good old fashioned marketing tricks to dupe customers.” The takeaway: This is just sad. Really, really sad. Read more Amazon wants to put a camera in your bedroom—Amazon has introduced a new connected device, adding to the line that includes the Echo and the Dot. The Echo Look is the first with a video camera. The idea is to model your outfit for the day and get advice from Amazon’s Style Check, “a new service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists,” according to Amazon. The takeaway: I suppose this could be useful for some people, but doesn’t it seem a bit creepy to have an Amazon always-listening camera in your bedroom? And what can they do with all that additional data the camera might collect? Do you appear wealthy? Are you into certain kinds of furniture or appliances? I love my Echo, but count me out for the Look. Read more Police use Fitbit data to charge victim’s husband with murder—The data in a murder victim’s Fitbit could not have walked the number of steps that matched the story her husband gave them, leading to his arrest on murder charges. The takeaway: It’s great that police were able to arrest a killer with digital evidence. The bigger picture, though, has to do with knowing what kind of privacy you give up in exchange for the benefits of living a connected life. Earlier, there was a story about police seeking data from an Amazon Echo as part of a murder investigation; the Echo, remember, is always listening. (How else would it know you just said, “Alexa…”?) Expect more stories like this. Read more Facebook wants to get you out of your filter bubble—Facebook has begun adding “related” articles from a variety of different publications beneath trending news posts you find in your News Feed. “For example,” according to recode, &[...]

If newspapers are curating content, why aren’t business communicators?


Beginning around 2011, content curation was a hot topic. There was no end of workshops and keynotes and blog posts and books. Today, you can talk about curation and hear a pin drop. Curation is alive and well even if it seems quaint compared to Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, voice tech, and some of the other technologies that have pushed it aside. SmartBrief has a nice business curating email newsletters on a wide variety of topics, from PR to the restaurant business, from pharmaceuticals to risk and compliance. I look forward to Shelly Palmer’s daily email, which features a handful of articles curated from a variety of sites; Palmer claims to have more than half a million subscribers. My own Friday Wrap blog posts and weekly email newsletter are curation efforts offering brief summaries of articles covering topics about which I think communicators should know. (I also curate content about the values-driven marketplace on Flipboard and about a variety of communication topics on Pinterest.) Still, I no longer hear anybody raise curation as a tactic in discussions about how to communicate. It’s time to revisit content curation That’s too bad since curation can still be an effective approach, effective enough that it has been embraced by The New York Times. According to a recent Poynter article, the failing Times (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) is producing collections of links to other publications. If that seems to run counter to its own interests, consider what Senior Digital Strategist Anna Dubenko says: “What if your really smart, funny, charming, friend — me — gave you recommendations of what to read without all of the craziness that you might get in your News Feed?” If you’re thinking, “I’d pay closer attention to what that person shares,” you and Dubenko are on the same wavelength. As the Poynter piece points out, the Times isn’t alone. BuzzFeed and The Guardian both publish features designed to expose their readers to alternative viewpoints. Facebook recently announced it would add “related” articles from a variety of publications to trending news topics that show up in your News Feed. (As recode put it, “You may see a post about Syria from the New York Times in your feed, but Facebook might also add similar stories from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Fox News directly below it.”) The idea behind all of these curation efforts is bursting your filter bubble by making it easier to see alternative points of view. The New York Times is doing that, too, with a twice-weekly collection of political titled, “Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss.” But they’re also sharing external links with collections about anything but politics, with headlines like “Take a break from politics with these 12 stories,” which takes readers to publications like The Atlantic and The New Yorker. New business uses for curated content Business communicators should pay attention to these collections, which are delivering high levels of reader engagement. The first thought I had after reading the Poynter article was focused on employee communications: Some internal communicator somewhere should produce a weekly roundup titled, “10 great stories about our competitors.” External audiences would also eat up round-ups with eye-catching themes. IBM, which is at the center of Artificial Intelligence, could offer “Five insightful articles about human intelligence.” Or how about a Home Depot collection of “Home improvement projects that won’t cost you a dime”? And these are just themes that break readers out of the routine topics they are inundated with daily. You could also create niche[...]