When PR Meets the Mob

And now for today’s Cluetrain moment:

Who owns the social media mission in your company? The public relations team most likely. Sorry, make that the press relations team — as the modern PR professional doesn’t talk to the public directly, but to them through the press. Handling the unwashed masses and mobs with their pitchforks and torches was usually the lot in life of the 1-800 telecenter drones and the hapless ticket agents in the terminal. Social changed all that. Now that neat blog you built to talk about your chili contest and good works with the local Walk For Hunger, the one the PR team uses to ghost expressions of empathy and good cheer from the CEO?; well now the comments are stuffed with a lot of people with dirty faces and tattered hems calling bullshit and pointing out your lack of clothes and complicity in the death of the orangutans and polar bears.

You can’t measure ROI from your Facebook pony when its stable is full of poop. Consider Nestle and be warned. When flaks and spinmeisters meet the mob, the result is predictable. There Will Be Blood. From Slate:

“Enter Facebook. Nestle has a Facebook page, and until this week it was a quiet backwater. But on Wednesday, defenders of the rainforest and its orangutans began to visit, illustrating their profile pictures with various clever permutations of the Nestle logo — “Nestle Killer” — and making a series of mean comments about the company. The powers that be weren’t pleased. At 11:26 p.m. Thursday night, the moderator of the page posted on the Nestle Wall:

To repeat: we welcome your comments, but please don’t post using an altered version of any of our logos as your profile pic — they will be deleted.”

(and a disclaimer, my PR colleagues get this stuff, and we don’t hang them out to dry in our various outposts, they get support from people who know the Golden Rule)

via Nestle’s brave Facebook flop – How the World Works – Salon.com.

More marketers use social networking to reach customers – USATODAY.com

“Lenovo has seen a 20% reduction in call-center activity in the U.S. over six months because nearly 50,000 customers go to its community website for information about laptops.”

Congratulations to Mark Hopkins, the moderators of forums.lenovo.com, and Lithium for a great success story. One of the best payoff stories for social media and community marketing.

via More marketers use social networking to reach customers – USATODAY.com.

Beware the Social Media Charlatans – Business Center – PC World

via Beware the Social Media Charlatans – Business Center – PC World.

Someone had to say it:

“Lately it seems I can’t go anywhere without running into a gaggle of social media consultants bloviating about the wonders of social network marketing. Sure, you’ve seen ’em, too. Slick shake-and-bake “experts” promising to help you leverage the power of Twitter and Facebook to raise your profile and, inexplicably, boost your profits. But scratch the surface on most of these claims and they instantly crumble. Meanwhile, it seems the only people making any money in social media are the consultants themselves.”

Nike denies web rumours it forced Liu to abandon race

A big rule in community relations — don’t ask the Chinese government to go fish for the identity of someone posting bullshit about your brand.

“NIKE on Tuesday issued a strong denial of Internet rumours that it forced Chinese athletics hero Liu Xiang to pull out of the Olympics, adding it had asked authorities to investigate the posting.

‘The posting is a malicious rumour, and has not only misled netizens, but also seriously damages the company’s reputation,’ Nike, one of Liu’s major sponsors, said in a statement emailed to AFP.

‘We have immediately asked relevant government departments to investigate those that started the rumour.‘[emp. mine]

Nike denies web rumours it forced Liu to abandon race.

CC BBaunauch

SitePoint Blogs » 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging

Some shameless horn honking. Sitepoint named Lenovo to its list of companies that get the whole blogging thing.

“Below is a list of 15 companies that really get corporate blogging and produce blogs that are informative, fascinating, and a joy to read even for people who aren’t die-hard fans of the company. ..

Lenovo – The great collection of blogs from computer maker Lenovo demonstrate that the company really understands blogging. Lenovo intersperses posts about its product line with musings about business, design, life, and technology. Definitely don’t miss the Design Matters blog, which should be a must-read for any designer.”

We’re in great company — Dell, Sun, Adobe, 37Signals…..

SitePoint Blogs » 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging.

Malware Attack on Facebook – CSO Online – Security and Risk

Somehow this news from CSO Online that Facebook is a possible malware venue doesn’t surprise me. The number one annoyance in my experience is the incessant app downloads that ask a user to spam their friends to enable it for themselves. The app Lenovo is using during the Olympics from Citizen Sports is not malware, but, any perceptions by users that applications are risky is going to quickly injure confidence in the Facevok platform. IMHO.

“August 07, 2008 — CSO — The popular networking site Facebook is the target of a new attack that is spreading messages with malicious links.

Boston-based IT security and control firm Sophos is warning users about the problem. Sophos said Facebook user’s computer can be infected after they view a video that is infected with the bad code.

According to Sophos, messages left on Facebook users’ walls are urging members to view a video, which appears to be hosted on a Google website. But users who click on the link are taken to a site which urges them to download an executable file to watch the movie, according said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. The file downloads malicious code and displays an image of a court jester sticking his tongue out.”

Sophos: Facebook Malware Attack Puts Work Computers at Risk – CSO Online – Security and Risk.

Why Most Online Communities Fail and Typos Kill Stories

Ben Worthen at the WSJ blogs on a Deloitte study about how businesses overinvest in tech when building communities.

1. Going out with the claim that 60% of businesses invest over $1 million in online communities thanks to a Deloitte typo that should have stated 6% is not a great way to get off on the right credibility foot. Worthen does the correction, but …

2. The comments on the post are cluttered with community vendors, imagine that.

3. “Community” as a term, is tired and over-fraught with implications of good will, social good, and cooperation among customers and companies.

4. This is bad research on a tired topic.

“One of the hot investments for businesses these days is online communities that help customers feel connected to a brand. But most of these efforts produce fancy Web sites that few people ever visit. The problem: Businesses are focusing on the value an online community can provide to themselves, not the community.”

Business Technology : Why Most Online Communities Fail.

All Things Cahill The Shine is off Social Networking

All Things Cahill » Blog Archive » The Shine is off Social Networking
Very smart post by Mark Cahill that echoes my current irritation as the hype pendulum swings waay too far toward hyperbole over social media. Very much worth the read.

“Say it ain’t so, Joe! Over the past few weeks, it’s begun to look like Social Networking, the current darling of the conference and consultant set, might have jumped the shark. I personally would peg the exact point where it went careening off track as the day that Waste Management (the guys that probably run your local honey truck) opened their own social networking site.”

Word of the Day: Ouroborosphere

Twitter – John Battelle’s Searchblog

“I am very, very tired of the ouroborosphere’s take on Twitter. It’s time for the service to either fish or get off the pot, so to speak. And with $15mm in the door, it’s obvious which way it has to go.”

Echo chamber, reflecting pool — whatever you want to call the closed-terrarium of social media pundits that tweet and post and opine all day long about tweeting, posting, and opining — Battelle nails it best with “Ouroborosphere.”

And trolling for Yanks tickets on Twitter? That’s like looking for supermodels at a sardine cannery.