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Digital

Edward Snowden to the World: ‘Let That Whistle Blow!’

edward snowden anonymous

Edward Snowden has become a cult icon for people who “work” in their grandparents’ basements, pining away on Alienware while talking to Star Wars figures still ensconced in their original packaging.

The NSA and American consultant-turned rogue whistleblower was a guest at H.O.P.E. 2014 (that’s Hackers On Planet Earth) last weekend, and he asked the world to do something via secluded Google Hangout:

“Spill more government secrets.”

He made this questionable edict to all hackers, coders, and developers who were gathered at the New York City conference, as well as the ones watching via live stream online. While Snowden was applauded, he wasn’t the only famous whistleblower at the event.

That guy is after the jump.

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Mediabistro Course

Presentation Writing: Design and Delivery

Presentation Writing: Design and DeliveryLearn how to use storytelling techniques and visual content to create and deliver successful pitches and presentations! Starting August 6, Amanda Pacitti, the manager of learning at Time Inc., will teach you the best practices for presentations, from using software like Prezi and Powerpoint, to writing your script, and using images, audio, and video to drive your points. Register now! 

Dining Goes Digital With a Mash-Up of IBM’s Watson and Bon Appetit

watson bon appetitIBM‘s Watson supercomputer and food magazine Bon Appetit have joined forces to create an app — “Chef Watson with Bon Appetit,” currently in beta — that finds new ways to mix and match foods based on 9,000 Bon Appetit recipes. Essentially, Watson consumed the recipe data and can now manipulate it into new flavors and concoctions.

“To come up with these creatively crafted cuisines, Watson uses Bon Appetit’s insights about ingredient pairings, cooking styles, and dishes and then mixes that with food chemistry, the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes, and regional and ethnic tastes,” reports CNET. “The idea is to help people discover new and flavorful recipes that are fine-tuned to make taste buds happy.”

Something like fennel-spiced baby back pork with a tangy apple-mustard sauce. Good grief. Sounds delish.

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5 Things Wrong with the Press Release

PR ER

Once upon a time, there was a tool called the press release.

It was the largest hammer, longest nail, and strongest muscle all in one. Flacks were able to write commercial-esque documents in hopes of national pick-up. Clients were happy because of their approved (and finely crafted) 18-paragraph quotes. PR agencies were happy because they had a sure-fire journalism story written with fluidity.

Today? No one seems happy.

Releases don’t get that universal attention. Clients don’t get infomercial-length quotes. The Web certainly can’t stand such content, what with Google’s pet Panda traipsing all over free news wires like a scene from Godzilla. So, what happened? After the jump, we take a look…

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New Media Influencers on Rebranding, Expansion and ‘Obsessions’

Mic.com Logo“Voice, perspective and messages framed so they resonate with younger readers have all become more important in media now. That means having our ears to the ground in politics and entertainment, then packaging topics accordingly”, said Jake Horowitz, founder and editor of Mic (formerly PolicyMic).

Mic is among a growing number of media brands that launched or renamed recently, like re/code (formerly AllThingsD), Vox.com and Quartz. Editors from these outlets appeared on a PCNY panel on Thursday to discuss their latest moves.

While these sites generally don’t use PR-related pitches, that may change over time. Given their global focus, one could equate landing a story in these outlets to the U.S. soccer team’s World Cup game vs. Ghana: challenging but not impossible.

Here’s a brief rundown on each outlet and their approach.

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How ‘Exposed’ Are You? Social Media-Powered Statement Dress Grows Transparent

How ‘Exposed’ Are You? Social Media-Powered Dress Becomes Transparent to Make a Statement - PRNewser

A common topic of conversation in the political, PR, and marketing spheres is the increasingly-delicate balance between “sharing” on social media and becoming completely exposed in a digital world completely devoid of privacy.

In an effort to make a statement about how unaware the public seems to be about what they are revealing to marketers, strangers and companies online, artists Xuedi Che and Pedro Oliveira of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program have created a project called “x.pose,” a “wearable, data-driven sculpture.” In essence, it’s a dress that becomes more and more see-through as the wearer tweets and shares on Facebook via her smartphone.

The artists explain their project’s message on the x.pose website

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Buzzfeed + Cats = Perfect Recipe for a Viral Video

Cat food brand Friskies has figured out the perfect, deliciously simple formula for a viral video: Buzzfeed + cats, proving once and for all that the internet was, in fact, created for the sole purpose of sharing adorable/hilarious videos of our feline friends.  

The below ad for Purina’s Friskies brand, which depicts an older and wiser cat grudgingly bestowing sage advice unto a kitten, was published by Buzzfeed on June 5 (less than two weeks ago), and has already been viewed well over 10 million times. The spot has even spawned a popular Twitter hashtag #DearKitten, without either the brand or Buzfeed attempting to spread it.

Ah, to be a promoter of cat products and have the whole of the interwebs just waiting to do the heavy lifting for you. Sometimes all it takes is a fuzzy face, a couple of tugs at the heartstrings, a few laughs, and some seriously smart advice about the dreaded monster they call “Vacuum.”

Gamification Livens Up Events

LiveCube LogoGamification has cast a wide net and has been applied to many parts of our personal and business lives. We tuned in remotely to the GSummit in San Francisco this week–and while we didn’t see anyone tackled on the conference stage as in a recent episode of HBO’s “Silicon Valley”, we did hear about the broad inroads gamification has made and the ways in which it’s used for events.

Gamification now enables motivation to be delivered digitally, said analyst Brian Burke of Gartner Group. “All the elements of gamification have been around for years”, he added, like sponsors, contests, points and prizes. The difference now is digital, which offers an improved model to incentivize people. Now with greater connectivity you can scale to an audience of any size, at any location and it takes far less time to reach one’s business or personal goals.

Events are an area where gamification comes in quite handy, especially with event hashtags. Aaron Price, co-founder of LiveCube, acknowledged what those in attendance are familiar with – there are so many distractions that event organizers need to keep the crowd focused. Price’s solution is LiveCube, accessible via website or app, that clients like TEDx have used.

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10 Top Firms Promise Not to ‘Sockpuppet’ Clients’ Wikipedia Pages

wikipedia-logo

One of the PR industry’s longstanding ethical debates appears closer to a resolution: the matter of Wikipedia “sockpuppets“. Today, several of the industry’s top players released a statement promising not to bend the rules of the public database to their own clients’ benefit.

Last year, Wikipedia took a public stand against the practice of hiring administrators to revamp clients’ profiles; it even went so far as to call out Wiki-PR, a firm specializing in the practice, by name. The firms involved in today’s announcement, however, want the organization to know that PR and public content databases can be friends.

The list and the statement after the jump.

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FCC Flooded With Comments After John Oliver Tackles Net Neutrality

FCC Flooded With Comments After John Oliver Tackles Net Neutrality - PRNewserOn Sunday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver gave an impassioned thirteen-minute speech about the FCC’s controversial net neutrality proposal, which, in case you haven’t been paying attention, would allow internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and other giants to charge companies and websites for “fast lanes” to the web, which could leave smaller websites, companies, and online publications that can’t afford to pay in the “slow lane,” effectively doing away with the equally accessible level playing field that allows all online data to be treated equally, no matter who creates it.

Oliver said of the proposal:

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Imgur, Reddit and Boing Boing Launch Anti-NSA Campaign

Reset the Net

This coming Thursday, June 5, major websites including Reddit, Imgur, Boing Boing and others plan to take part in a collective effort to push back against government surveillance online.

The “Reset The Net” campaign, coordinated by Fight for the Future, will feature multiple websites showing a splash screen to all visitors, encouraging them to install privacy and encryption tools. Meanwhile, other sites plan to bone up their own privacy by enabling standards like HTTPS, which stops outside parties from “listening in” on what site users are up to.

General Manager of Reddit, Erik Martin, said of his company’s decision to join the campaign, “We can take back control of our personal and private data one website, one device, one internet user at a time. We’re proud to stand up for our users’ rights and help Reset the Net.” Read more

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