Thursday, February 17, 2011

Government Can Learn from Donald Trump

What Donald Trump Could Teach Government About Public Relations
Guest writer Dr. Mark Drapeau is the Director of U.S. Public Sector Social Engagement at Microsoft, and the editor of SECTOR: PUBLIC. Follow him on Twitter

Donald Trump is a master of public branding and marketing for himself and his eponymous business interests. While government doesn’t usually consider itself in the business of “marketing” itself, in reality, the Open Government movement is to some degree about publicizing data and information in order to get it to people who can find it useful and transform it into knowledge. Mark Drapeau discusses what government employees working in public affairs or other public-facing jobs could learn from Donald Trump’s self-promotion tactics.

1. Be ubiquitous. Donald Trump seems to be everywhere at once sometimes, particularly when he’s promoting a new project.

2. Be strategic. Trade favors with people who can help and people you can help.

3. Exceed expectations.  Shock your audience by exceeding their expectations, committing to providing a great service, overwhelming them with attitude, expertise, or other factors.

4. Be hired. Be the most trusted source of information about your agency.

Read the complete article.

Social media undermining society?

By Eric Fischgrund, Social Media Manager, Beckerman
As details continue to emerge surrounding the Tucson, Ariz., shooting and the alleged gunman, Jared Loughner, we are learning more about his role in several online message boards. Spewing hate on some boards, and hated by the community on others, it's clear Loughner had significant mental issues that none of his online contacts (or enemies) were aware of. Was Loughner the same guy in real life that he personified online? This tragedy — coupled with observations that come from the numerous websites, blogs and message boards that I visit each day has got me asking — where is the love?

Is their social media presence a reflection of people's mentality or of how they behave in face-to-face encounters? Are people the same when they come through their front doors, take off their jackets and sit down at their keyboards as they are in the rest of their lives? I sure hope not. It seems that Internet bullying, scathing and racist posts, death threats and other hateful forms of content are escalating.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Google helped engineer Egyptian uprising

Google's chief executive has praised a Middle Eastern executive of the US company, Wael Ghonim, for helping to organise the popular uprising that led Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to resign last week.
'We are very proud of what Wael and that group was able to do in Egypt. They were able to use a set of technology that included Facebook and Twitter and a number of others to really express the voice of the people,' Google chief Eric Schmidt told an audience Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress trade expo in Barcelona.

A Facebook page set up by Ghonim, a Gulf-based head of marketing for Google, called for the protests against Mubarak Jan 25. When Ghonim entered Egypt and led demonstrations there, he was detained and held for 12 days in police custody.

Schmidt said that 'collaboration technology' on the internet 'does change the power dynamic between government and citizens in some very interesting and unpredictable ways'.


AOL purchases Huffington Post for $315 million

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- AOL, the online media company that has recently snatched several smaller content firms, has agreed to purchase news blog service The Huffington Post for $315 million, the two companies announced Monday.

The companies said Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post's co-founder and editor-in-chief, will be named president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all Huffington Post and AOL content.

Huffington Post is known for its political coverage, with a left-of-center bent, as well as blogging about sports, entertainment and local news in selective markets.

Read more:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The media coverage of the official line in Gaza

"The messages, which governing bodies want the media to convey, are necessarily those that will reach the public," wrote Blondheim and Shifman (2009, p. 207).

The researchers identify three main arenas of war news: homefront media, opponent's media, and media of the rest of the world.  Three types of scripts exist: power, vulnerability, and disaster.  Leadership has greater influence over its domestic media, dependinng on the nature of the regime and the relationship with the media.

Four fundamental political attributes of parties to a conflict are important: the nature of the entity, whether sovereign or nonstate; cohesiveness determining the extent of consensus or political variety; the degree of openness regarding information flow; and the extent of authority exercised whether authoritarian or limited/democratic governments.

In the fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas in December 2008 and January 2009, Blondheim and Shifman (2009) determined that a high degree of collusion existed between the the government goals and the homefront media's coverage.  "Local media followed the government line."  Hamas control in Gaza is authoritarian.  They don't allow dissent.  The local media in Gaza portrayed Hamas as powerful.

Most reporters in Israel personally support the government position.  They adopted the power and vulnerability scripts put forth by the government in describing Israel.  Israeli reporters depicted Gaza as vulnerable in terms of weakness. Gaza reporters presented Israel as vulnerable, rejecting the Israel's power script.  Israel wanted the outside world to see its vulnerability, but the international media depicted Israel as powerful and the Palestinians as underdogs in a "David and Goliath" struggle.

Hamas promoted a disaster and power script, showing injured babies and destroyed houses on one hand and bragged about victories on the other hand.  The international press adopted the disaster script to describe the Palestinian situation.

Their coverage was related less to reality and more to the need of the international press to compete in the news market. Disasters make "good" news stories.  First, disaster coverage is unambiguous. the disaster message is clear in contrasts to the vulnerability script.  Second, humanitarian disaster coverage is meaningful and relevant. Third, disaster coverage is about real people.  Finally, disaster news is negative; news can't get much worse.

Blondhem, Menahem and Limor Shifman. (2009). What officials say, what media show, and what publics get: Gaza, January 2009.  The Communication Review, 12:205-214.  DOI: 10.1080/10714420903124036.