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Holtz Communications + Technology | Blog

blogging at the intersection of communication and technology

Published: 2017-11-22T14:17:00+00:00


Friday Wrap #240—or is it the first Wednesday Wrap? Either way, it’s a double issue


It’s the Wednesday Wrap! Knowing the holiday weekend is upon us, I decided to combine the items that would have appeared in a Friday Wrap last week with those I have collected so far this week (so there will be no Wrap on Friday). 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 CompuServe’s forums are shutting down—A long time ago, I was an assistant sysop on CompuServe’s PR & Marketing Forum (PRSIG). I even remember my CompuServe ID (76346,627). My memories of CompuServe—even when it was all text—are still good ones. There was a real community in the PRSIG, with real collaboration and genuine sharing. Of course, CompuServe is a footnote in the history of the digital world and its forums have been gone for all practical purposes for a long time. However, it turns out that the forums still existed in some format as part of Verizon (which acquired AOL, which had acquired CompuServe back in 1998, long after I’d stopped using it). Now, though, Verizon will eradicate those forums once and for all on December 15. Takeaway: I shall shed a tear. The world has moved on from CompuServe and its primitive interface, but there has been little to emulate the forums since. It was likely the fact that there were no alternatives back in the day, which brought everybody who had figured out the value of online communication before 1990 and wanted to connect with others on business topics to this one gathering place. The range of options and tools that have followed are breathtaking and wonderful, but we pay a price for all that choice. Farewell, PRSIG. Read more The end of Net neutrality—The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing to end Title II regulations on the Internet, returning it to an information service classification as opposed to a telecommunications one. The move opens the door for service providers to create “fast lanes,” delivering content faster for companies that pay for it and throttling the speeds of that that don’t (as long as they disclose it). Takeaway: This is a political football, but the simple fact is that companies like Google and Facebook may never have achieved their current levels of success if they had been subject to large fees in their early years just to have their content prioritized over the bigger companies (like Yahoo) who had the resources to afford it. Net neutrality ensures all content is treated the same—including your little startup that would struggle to find users frustrated by the slow speeds they’ll experience unless you pay up. Read more Honda finds a non-ad use for audience targeting and it’s brilliant—More than 10 million vehicles in the U.S. haven’t had repairs made that are necessary in the wake of the Takata airbag scandal. To reach owners of its vehicles that need fixing who haven’t responded to recall notices, Honda plans to use Facebook’s custom audience tool, usually used for selling stuff to people. Honda will use the tool “to match encrypted email addresses associated with recalled vehicle identification numbers to Facebook users.” Takeaway: Who knew Facebook’s advertising tools could be used for social good? Well, a lot of people, and it has been used to encourage people to register to vote, among other things, but this is the first time I have heard of a brand using it for something like this. I hope other companies are inspired to find their own non-commercial uses for audience targeting. Read more Mixed messages around a Hannity boycott—At first, brands seemed to be uniting around calls for a boycott of Fox News’s Sean Hannity over his support of Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. But after tweeting their endorsement of the boycott (including plans to remove advertising from Hannity’s show), some clarified their original messages and others deleted their tweets, especially after backla[...]

FIR Podcast #114: Stupid chatbots


Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. Chris Christensen and Christopher Penn joined host Shel Holtz for this week’s FIR podcast to talk about… Todd Defren’s departure from SHIFT Communications, the PR agency he co-founded in 2003 (and which was acquired by Canada’s National PR about 18 months ago) Podcast “super listeners” could be the next advertising sweet spot Travel podcasts (including the three Chris Christensen hosts or co-hosts) are coming into their own A head-to-head competition between human and chatbot Instagram account managers produces some interesting results United Airlines is auctioning off pieces of a 747 to loyalty members Artificial Intelligence is the new electricity Waiting to respond to a crisis costs you customers In his Tech Report, Dan York reports on the evolution of Facebook Stories, Facebook’s rebranding of its “Mentions” app, and Google’s crackdown on AMP users who create teaser pages. Dan also updates stories from last week, including the release of WordPress 4.9 and the “Freedom on the Net” report. Connect with Chris Christensen on Twitter at @chris2x and with Christopher Penn at @cspenn. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About our guest co-hosts: Chris Christensen is the CEO at, a website that helps connect companies with relevant bloggers, writers, podcasters, videographers, and other content creators. He’s also the host of the Amateur Traveler Podcast, which he’s been producing almost as long as this show, since June 2005. He recently introduced Passport, a new podcast with co-host Leif Pettersen focusing on travel marketing and PR, which is part of the FIR Podcast Network. He also co-hosts the podcast, This Week in Travel. Chris is also a coder; he was a director of Engineering for TripAdvisor, Executive VP of Engineering and Operations for LiveWorld, and a manager at Apple, designing and programming server solutions. Christopher S. Penn is Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications. Chris is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, AI for Marketers, introduces marketers to the different types of machine learning and how AI is impacting content creation, conversations, content distribution, and analytics for marketers. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee” marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero. Links for this episode: Are podcast’s “super listeners” audio advertising’s next sweet spot? The travel podcast comes into its own Should you let a bot manage your Instagram account? Chatbot use is on the rise United Airlines to auction off Boeing 747 hardware to MileagePlus members AI is the “new electricity” The AI-powered SEO process: Associate Four new AI tools that will help you be more productive Waiting to respond to a crisis loses you more customers Links for Dan York’s Tech Report Update: WordPress 4.9 is out Update: “Freedom on the Net” report raises concerns about Internet shutdowns, censorship, attacks on journalists, and more Facebook launches collaborative Stori[...]

FIR Podcast #113: Not a 280-character episode


Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. Neville Hobson joined host Shel Holtz for the monthly installment of the Hobson & Holtz Report. Neville and Shel had a chinwag (as Neville would say) about these topics: A follow-up to our KFC story (about 11 herbs and spices); the social media team struck again. Twitter has made its new expanded 280 character count available to almost everyone. Not everyone is happy about it. Uber’s new CEO took an investigator’s advice and scrapped the company’s old values statements. Instead of simply crafting a new one, he crowdsourced it to his employees, who responded in a big way. The traditional media thinks the fake news problem is elevating trust in the traditional media. Audiences don’t agree. When pregnant moms get information from a website with social media elements, they’re more likely to get their children vaccinated and keep those vaccinations up to date. There are lessons here about mixing content and social media that go beyond healthcare. A startup aims to change the CV forever, which could also change the nature of employment. Meanwhile, Microsoft has connected Office 365 and LinkedIn’s Resume Assistant. Taylor Swift’s attorneys created a crisis that could have been averted with advice from a PR professional. Dan York’s Tech report includes Dan’s take on Twitter’s new character count along with more news from Twitter, including a technical issue affecting search results around words related to sexuality, longer name lengths, and problems with its user verification process. Dan also covers the impending release of WordPress 4.9 and The upcoming “Freedom on the Net” report. Connect with Neville on Twitter at @jangles. Be sure to listen to Neville’s Small Data Forum podcast. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About Neville Hobson: Neville Hobson was co-host of The Hobson & Holtz Report for over 10 years. For over 15 years, Neville has been a voice of experience and influence when it comes to speaking about digital technologies, disruptive change in workplaces and marketplaces, relevant trends to pay close attention to, and what it all means for your business. His experiences embrace deep understanding and subject-matter expertise in contemporary business issues that include social, digital and cognitive technologies, connecting that with a career in traditional public relations, marketing communication, employee compensation and benefits communication, and investor relations. Based in the Thames Valley some 30 miles west of London, Neville works either from his home office or from a client’s location; or from wherever he has a good network connection. Links for this episode: KFC’s social media team generated more buzz from its stealth “11 herbs and spices” gag Twitter expands its character count from 140 to 280 Neville’s post about Twitter’s expanded character count Brands jumped into the new 280-character craze Uber’s CEO crowdsourced the new values statement (which he calls “norms”) The LinkedIn post from Uber’s CEO about the company’s norms Study finds the media thinks the fake news epidemic is elevating trust in the media       Fake News: The Neutron Bomb Explodes More infants get vaccinations after moms are exposed to social media messaging Blockchain-abased CVs could change employment forever Microsoft Office 365 users to get LinkedIn-powered Resume Assistant TED Talk on how blockchain could eliminate the need for trust JP Morgan’s AI software took just seconds to do what lawyers spent 360,000 hours doing How Taylor Swift’s overzealous legal team created a PR mess Links from Dan York’s report: Twitter’s search issue Twitter’s verification issue Twitter’s longer names [...]

Friday Wrap #239: Big Brother Really Is Watching


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 Twitter doubles character count—Twitter has officially expanded the character count for a tweet to 280 characters. Most of those testing the new limit in late September didn’t generally take advantage of the longer count, leading some to believe that most tweets will remain short; only 1% of tweets created by the test group reached the 280-character limit, while 9% of the control group—still using the 140-character limit—reached the cap. Still, as you’ll see below, some users were ready to try out the new expanded count. The 140-character limit will continue on the site’s Chinese, Korean, and Japanese sites. Takeaway: There has been much winging about the new character count, but I suspect it’ll just settle into being the new normal and won’t make much of a difference to Twitter or how people use it at all. Read more Brands jump on Twitter’s expanded character limit—Brands have been experimenting with the new 280-character limit on Twitter, seeing just what they can do with the expanded count. National Geographic loaded a tweet with animal emojis and the hashtag #280characters, a hashtag that has been embraced by everyone playing with the possibilities. Emojis were a popular approach (used by Sony, DiGiornio Pizza, Charmin, and Spotify, among others), though KitKat repeated the lyric of its jingle and the TV series “Law and Order” SVU ran its well-known intro voiceover (“In the criminal justice system…”). KrispyKreme shared a photo of glazed donuts and tweeted, “Who needs #280characters? A picture is worth a thousand words.” Takeaway: Was any of this necessary? Did any of it sell more toilet paper or pizza? Is this kind of crap the reason anybody follows a brand’s Twitter account? Maybe I’m just cranky today, but shouting, “Look at me, I’m using 280 characters!” seems fairly lame. Read more Blowback over an old media relations tactic—A lot of companies freeze out publications that give them bad coverage. (Apple is famous for it.) The Walt Disney Company probably figured it was just employing this age-old tactic when it banned the Los Angeles Times from film screens because of its negative coverage of Disney’s business operations. That, however, led other media companies to boycott Disney, leading Disney to walk back its ban. The film journalists joining the boycott earned a lot of praise for their solidarity. Takeaway: While I can’t in a million years imagine tech journalists boycotting Apple’s press events over a colleague the company has blacklisted, other industries should take note. Find another way to handle dissatisfaction with the press covering your organization lest you be accused of “bullying and press censorship.” Read more REI’s #OptOutside campaign gets interactive—In 2015, REI kicked off a movement by closing on Black Friday and encouraging its employees—and customers—to stay away from stores and spend the day outside. The campaign is back for a third year with a digital twist to help people figure out what to do and where to go. A new #OptOutside site features an experiential search engine. Type in a location and an activity (kayaking in the San Francisco East Bay, for example), and you’ll get curated experiences, organized by hashtags, as well as practical advice, like what kind of food to bring.” The site also features 20 user-generated videos. Last year, 7 million people and 700 organizations joined the event, which has become a bona fide marketing asset for REI. The site, which I assume will be promoted heavily, should add more momentum to a campaign that should serve REI well for many years by continuing to buck the crazed Black Friday shopping meme by offeri[...]

FIR Podcast #112: Marketing as a Profit Center


Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. Olivier Blanchard and Christine Perkett joined host Shel Holtz for conversations about these topics: PR and communication associations are lining up—with varying levels of enthusiasm—to answer Richard Edelman’s call for a universal set of ethics principles. The role of the CMO is changing. Those can’t adapt are being cast aside. Data suggests that longer-form content is just fine with some people. Are we missing some steps when planning communication campaigns? A study finds that consumers like it when brands break gender stereotypes In his Tech Report, Dan York reports on Facebook’s clarification about their “Explore” test (which Dan covered in FIR #110), Facebook’s new News Feed Publisher Guidelines, the addition of screen sharing to Facebook Live, Instagram opening its live video “Add a Friend” to everyone, and Vimeo/Livestream’s acquisition of Mevo and the introduction of the new Mevo Plus camera for live streaming. Connect with our guests via Twitter at @oablanchard and @missusP. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About today’s guest co-hosts: Olivier Blanchard is a French-born, American-based Brand Management and Digital Marketing consultant, the author of two best-selling books, and an acclaimed keynote speaker. As a Senior Analyst with Futurum Research, Olivier helps organizations better understand the crucial role that emerging technologies like Cloud computing, Big Data, Virtualization, Augmented Reality, Smart Automation, IoT and AI will play their industries and markets over the next 10 to 20 years. Though based in the US, his geographic range extends beyond North America to Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Olivier is the author of the best-selling #1 social business desk reference for digital managers and business executives: Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts In Your Organization (Que/Pearson). Olivier is also a sought-after subject-matter expert and corporate trainer. Christine Perkett founded PerkettPR in 1998 and SeeDepth, a PR analytics platform, in 2013. She has been named one of the ‘Top 25 Authorities Moving PR Forward’ in a recent industry study, and is routinely recognized as one of the most social media-savvy CEOs – currently ranked as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter (by Hubspot), a “Top Influential Woman in Tech on Twitter” (by Google’s Don Dodge, alongside such greats as Marissa Mayer, WSJ’s Kara Swisher, Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington, and others), and featured two consecutive years in BusinessWeek’s Social Media Special Report (keeping company of notable CEOs from Zappos, Virgin, Digg, HDNet, Mint and more). Christine was also awarded “Best Communications, IR or PR Executive” by the American Business Awards. Links for this episode: PR Council, Page Society Open to Edelman Ethics Proposal IABC Applauds Edelman’s Proposed PR Compact for Ethical Standards Global Alliance Answers Call for New Global Code of Ethics Is Your CMO—or Any CMO—Still Relevant? The Geekification of B2B CMOs in 2018 Under Armour CMO Out After Just 15 Months Audiences May Be Hungry for Longer Content Critical Questions Go Unanswered Before the Campaign Launches Consumers Respond Positively to Marketing that Breaks Gender Stereotyping This Ad Completely Redefines the Phrase “Like a Girl” Links from Dan York’s report: Facebook’s clarification about their “Explore” test Facebook’s new News Feed Publisher Guidelines Facebook Live adds screen sharing Instagram opens it’s live video “Add a Friend” to all Vimeo/Livestream’s new Mevo Pluss small camera for live streaming [...]

Friday Wrap #238: Hamburger emojis, GIF diversity, affluent influencers, AR murder tours, 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 Microsoft integrates LinkedIn with Outlook—Outlook users can view insights, profile pictures, work history, and other information from LinkedIn profiles without leaving their inbox. Takeaway: If the LinkedIn acquisition didn’t make sense before, it should now. Expect that this is just the opening salvo; more integrations that make both services more valuable are sure to be coming. Read more Top of mind for Google’s CEO: the hamburger emoji—Google CEO Sundar Pichai noticed that Google’s hamburger emoji has the cheese under the patty and promised in a tweet to “drop everything” to address it. Takeaway: Lest you think this is a frivolous issue for a CEO to tackle, look at the interest it has drawn and the press it has resulted in. Having a little fun (at the right time and about the right thing) never hurt anyone—not even a CEO—and can pay off in making the leader more human, authentic, and approachable. And besides, does anyone ever put the cheese under the burger?? Read more Google stops using country domains—Google will no longer use the country code related to the Google page from which users conduct a search in order to determine which results to serve up. Users will get one set of results based on where Google’s system believes the user is located. As a result, an Australian traveling to New Zealand will get results for New Zealand while she’s in the country, then return to seeing Australian results when she gets back home. Takeaway: This makes sense to me. When I was on hotel WiFi in Manila, I got The Philippines’ Google page. It was a hassle to get back to regular old Google, which I wanted. Anybody engaging in SEO based on country pages needs to rethink that strategy. [...]

What do you get when you mix a podcast and a chatbot?


If you said “podbot” or “chatcast,” very funny. But I’m being serious here. While riding on BART this morning, listening to the latest episode of the Reveal, I heard this mashup in action. Reveal is the podcast from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Alex Leston usually hosts the show but Anna Sale—host of WNYC’s Death, Sex + Money podcast—took over hosting duties for this episode. The focus was on the immigration crackdown in the U.S., but that’s incidental to technique Sale employed that made me sit up and pay attention. At the beginning of the show, she announced that listeners would be able to text messages in order to get more information on topics raised during the episode. To test it, she invited listeners to send a message to the specified number, in response to which they would get Sale’s photo. During the episode, the episode focused on one mother and son in a detention center; she invited listeners to text a keyword in order to see video of the center. Another part of the show referenced a report; listeners could text REPORT in order to see the actual document being discussed. I have been podcasting for nearly 13 years. My first post alerting communicators to the coming of chatbots goes back to April 2016. Yet I never considered marrying the two. It’s genius. Podcasting, after all, is primarily an audio format. Podcast listening is a passive, lean-back experience. Adding a chatbot makes it engaging. Sale announced each texting opportunity at exactly the right point of the podcast, repeating the number to which listeners would send the text. Recognizing the keyword, the bot would return the relevant visual asset in near real time. What’s more, it’s easy to pause a podcast in order to spend a little time with the visual. Incorporating a chatbot makes podcast listening a lean-forward experience for those who want to take advantage of it. Those who don’t can still lean back and skip the texting. The kind of bot Sale used in the Reveal episode is neither expensive nor complicated. There’s no Artificial Intelligence, no branching, no need to respond to multiple inquiries. Just send the right keyword and the bot sends back the right content. You could learn to code a bot like this in 10 minutes. The only improvement I would make is including the number for texting (as well as the each of the keywords for retrieving the various visuals). Alternatively, you publish all of those visuals as part of the show notes. (In fact, if your show notes includes visuals, adding the chatbot for listeners who never visit the website would give those visuals greater reach.) I will have to start expanding my thinking about which technologies can play nice with other technologies. [...]

FIR Podcast #111: PR, Values, and #metoo


Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. Serena Ehrlich and Kathy Klotz-Guest joined host Shel Holtz for conversations about these topics: The #metoo hashtag that has been gaining momentum, exploding across Twitter, and what it means for companies and their internal and external communications The NAACP used data to warn African-Americans travelers about “disrespectful, discriminatory, or unsafe conditions” on American Airlines, and how this could represent “a new era of coordinated confrontation between mission-based nonprofit organizations and brands” The rise of LinkedIn as more than just a job-hunting service, but rather a serious business network “not besotted with fake profiles, fake news, and angry invective” Facebook is testing separating content from Pages into its own News Feed; news outlets in one of the countries where the test is underway have already seen a dramatic decline in organic reach KFC had extraordinary success with a carefully managed stealth marketing gimmick but failed to milk it for all it was worth Futurist Amy Web—whose annual survey is the journalist’s equivalent of Mark Meeker’s “State of the Internet” report—doesn’t see newsrooms planning for the long-term future Dan York reports on Facebook’s clarification about their “Explore” test (covered in FIR #110), Facebook’s new News Feed Publisher Guidelines, screen sharing on Facebook Live, Instagram’s upgrade of live video that enables you to “Add a Friend,” and Vimeo/Livestream’s acquisition of the Mevo Plus live streaming camera. Connect with our guests via Twitter at @serena and @kathyklotzguest. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About today’s guest co-hosts: Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, provides guidance for internal and external content creation and distribution services, ranging from PR programming to mobile marketing to social media updates. Throughout her career, Ehrlich has worked to provide guidance on investor relations, public relations and overall consumer behavior relations trends. Before rejoining Business Wire in 2013, Ehrlich designed and implemented successful local, national and international social, influencer, mobile and traditional marketing campaigns for brands including Kraft, Kohls, Avon, Mattel, Mogreet and more. A ’91 graduate of Brandeis University with a B.A. in History, Ehrlich was named one of the 2013 Top 25 Women in Mobile to Watch by Mobile Marketer. 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 of “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! Links for this episode: The #metoo movement and its impact on business communication The NAACP’s warning against American Airlines How LinkedIn has changed LinkedIn adds smart reply technology to posts (third item) Facebook’s feed-splitting tests KFC’s guerrilla marketing around its 11 secret herbs and spices Amy Webb’s 2018 tech trends for news Links from Dan York’s report: Facebook’s clarification about their “Explore” test  Facebook’s new News Feed Publisher Guidelines Facebook Live adds screen sharing Instagram opens i[...]

Friday Wrap #237: Split feeds, bloated numbers, success with memes, what influencers want, 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. Announcement After 21 years as an independent consultant (which followed 19 years in the corporate world), I have re-entered the corporate world. As of Tuesday, I am director of Internal Communications at Webcor, one of the largest commercial construction companies in California. I am excited about what lies ahead for me in this role. As for this newsletter, I plan to keep it going. It may be shorter, given that my time has become much less flexible, but cranking out HC+T Briefing is how I stay current on the kind of news and information that’s important for me to know, so for now, I plan to continue with the Briefing. Some weeks it may be shorter than others, based on how much time I have. It may come out later than usual (as it is today). But as long as you want to keep reading, I’ll keep publishing. News Facebook test makes it harder for publishers—In a new test, Facebook has split publisher content into its own feed, separate from the default feed containing posts from friends and family (and, of course, advertising). To see content published to Pages, users will need to click (or tap) to a separate feed, a form of segregation that threatens to erode already tumbling publisher reach. Facebook says its goal is to see how people react to non-paid content from Pages they have liked. At the same time, they will watch to see if publishers start paying to boost their posts (and thereby get them into the primary feed). Takeaway: Hoping your Facebook Page content will obtain any serious organic reach is a pipe dream. That doesn’t mean you should abandon Facebook. (You’re not a teenager, after all.) A destination for customers is important and there ways to make a Page a destination. Read more BuzzFeed tests Stories feature for its mobile app—Instagram and Snapchat Stories have taken off like a rocket; even Facebook Stories is starting to get some traction. Now Buzzfeed is getting into the act, applying the format to a digest of articles on the mobile app. Takeaway: The Stories concept may well become a standard approach to content on all kinds of apps. Does your organization have an app where a Stories-like feature would appeal to your users? Read more Adobe’s Project Cloak removes and inserts objects in video—Adobe gave users a sneak peek of Project Cloak, which lets remove objects (including people) from a video, as well as insert objects into a video. Takeaway: Fake news is about to get a whole lot faker. It’ll soon be necessary to keep an eye out for fake video and debunk clips that paints your organization in a bad light. Read more Facebook introduces “Sets” to take on Pinterest—Another Facebook test, underway in a few countries, lets users create sets of posts, photos, and videos for friends who want to follow those sets. These themed collections are clearly an assault on Pinterest. Takeaway: While Pinterest users are bound to remain loyal, those who have never taken to it but are immersed in the Facebook experience could start creating sets, representing a real threat to Pinterest. In the meantime, if the test turns into a full-blown feature, brands would be nuts to ignore it. Read more Twitter has been overstating user numbers—For the last three years, Twitter has been including users of third-party apps in its total monthly active user count. That resulted in the company’s first reported shrinkage of users in two years, noted as part of Twitter’s third-quarter earnings. The current active user count is at 326 million. Takeaway: Know your audience when you use Twitter but don’t bank on it becoming as dominant a player as, say, Facebook or I[...]

Solo No More


In mid-1996, after nearly 20 years in the corporate world, I left my job as a senior consultant and regional communications practice leader at a global human resources consulting firm and struck out on my own. My goal was to help organizations apply emerging technologies to their corporate communication efforts while continuing to develop employee communication strategies. The last 21 years as an independent communications practitioner have been fantastic. As of Tuesday, it’s over. On Tuesday I started work as director of Internal Communications for Webcor Builders, a San Francisco-based commercial construction contractor and one of the largest builders in California. Why Webcor? A few months ago, my feeds dished up the job description for the opening. If somebody had asked me to write the job description for my perfect job, this would have been it. With nothing to lose, I applied. [...]