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Posts Tagged ‘Slate’

What You Need to Know About Canada’s Crazy New Anti-Spam Law

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Did you know that yesterday was Canada Day? Did you also know that, while everyone from Google to PR Newswire has been cracking down on spam recently, no one has gone quite as far as that country?

Some details of the world’s most restrictive anti-spam law: if the sender of any message related to “commercial activity” fails to officially verify the consent of the individual recipient, he or she could face “fines of up to 1 million Canadian dollars (about $940,000) for individuals, and up to 10 million Canadian dollars for companies.” Also: this isn’t just email; it applies to “any commercial electronic message”, which may well mean social media posts and DMs as well.

Wow. We dislike spam as much as the next trade blog, but that feels a bit steep.

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TurboTax Wants Your Filing Process to Be As Difficult As Possible

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Of course everyone dislikes filing taxes. The fact that we have to do so once a year is one of the main reasons so many Americans have low opinions of government–at least in the abstract.

And yet, the whole process might be easier were it not for the interference of…the people who make and sell tax filing software.

The Slate piece on TurboTax‘s lobbying efforts to defeat the passage of simplified “return-free filing” measures is damning enough to cause a mini-stroke, but we were particularly incensed by this line:

“A public relations firm working on the trade group’s behalf has been luring unsuspecting spokespeople to join its cause—reaching out to them without mentioning any lobbying ties.”

Shocking, we know.

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STUDY: Media, Tech and Entertainment Fields Still Dominated by Men

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Some things, unfortunately, do not change

Well, this one’s a bit of a downer: despite all the news of women making progress in the corporate world and the rise of women in leadership positions within the public relations industry, the media that covers all this business remains a field overwhelmingly dominated by men. Ditto for tech and entertainment.

The Status of Women in the U.S. Media“, the latest study conducted by the Women’s Media Center, didn’t just find that most syndicated columnists happen to be of the male gender. We have more disturbing stats for you!

  • Men are quoted three times as often as women as “experts” in front-page New York Times stories
  • The percentage of female staffers in newsrooms (~36%) hasn’t changed since 1999

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AOL’s Tim Armstrong Gives Sincere Apologies

Or so says Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times in the first episode of his planned series #ApologyWatch (and yes, we know that others used the hashtag before him).

We like how someone just had to make the “we have too many lawyers in this country” non-joke and the way CNBC’s backing music serves as an Academy Awards-style call to wrap it up, already.

But yes, Lawrence Spiegel and Sorkin made some valid points about balancing the importance of waiting to ensure that there’s meaning behind the apology with the public’s desire for an immediate response in the social media era.

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THIS JUST IN: Grilling BBQ Is Gonna Kill You

THIS JUST IN 2This can’t be good PR for the beef and barbecue industry, everyone that sells barbecue and fried foods, and the aficionados of all things thereof.

I should know — I am one of those beloved people, equipped with the XXL grill in the backyard, devotee of BBQ sauce drizzling on my “Kiss the Cook” apron, and full of the proclivity to purchase a fried artifact every now and again. However, when I stumbled upon this story from Slate, I didn’t hurl my “I Heart BBQ” friends card out of my window (I am a Texan after all) but I did think twice about buying a Turkey Leg recently.

So that counts for something right? I mean, we could be talking cancer here. How? Find out after the jump…

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Here’s Why Your Facebook Engagement Numbers Are Way Down

One fact we didn’t know: the average Facebook user still shares nearly four posts every day.

One fact we did know: no one sees any of those posts anymore, especially if that user happens to be a client who doesn’t care to pay for each update.

We’ll let blogger Derek Muller explain why in greater detail:

So, while your friends may well have reached peak reproductive age, that’s still probably not the reason your personal feed is all babies and weddings right now.

You can also blame this new engagement-based algorithm for actively pushing your client’s promo posts away from the eyeballs they pay you to earn. We sort of knew this already, but we do appreciate Muller breaking it all down for us.

Now that you mention it, we’re also glad we didn’t buy any Facebook stock.

(H/T Slate; the story original appeared on Business Insider)

Tell Us More About How ‘White’ Santa Claus Is, Megyn Kelly

Last night Jon Stewart went off on Fox Newsrising starMegyn Kelly for taking a moment to remind all the 6-year-old news hounds who watch her 10PM show that both Santa Claus and Jesus were white men, and that’s a fact so they should just freaking deal with it.

Jiminy Christmas, what was that all about?

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Thanksgivukkah: Best or Worst Marketing Stunt of the Year?

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We honestly can’t decide, especially after reading this perfectly trollish Slate piece calling it the worstest thing ever for mixing religion into the food-and-booze mix and emphasizing the differences between people (ugh).

Here are some facts we learned about the “holiday” this afternoon:

  • The original inspiration may have occurred in an episode of The O.C.
  • The “brand” was created last year by—get ready for it—a marketer based in Boston! Yes, we know you were thinking New York, but we’re not responsible for everything. Just most things.
  • Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has turned it into a city-wide event along with the Combined Jewish Philanthropies 
  • Creator Dana Gitell collaborated with the hip retailer Modern Tribe to sell some t-shirts and posters, donating 10% of proceeds to hunger charity Mazon
  • This 9-year-old created a “menurkey” (yes, that’s a turkey menorah) and raised nearly $50K on Kickstarter to produce and sell it
  • There will be a Thanksgivukkah Festival in L.A. on Thursday
  • Whole Foods isn’t really “all over it”, but they did write a blog post
  • The Jewish Daily Forward let us know that George Washington ordered everyone to celebrate the first official nationwide Thanksgiving on December 18, 1777, thereby ensuring that the world’s first Thanksgivukkah would occur two years later

We’re not quite sure what to make of it all, but we do know two things:

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Jennifer Weiner to Jonathan Franzen: Twitter Isn’t Evil and All Writers Are ‘Self-Promoters’

What about "An American Novelist?"How do we classify a popular novelist’s Twitter feed: is it marketing? personal branding? public relations? It’s a bit of a grey area. But, as Jennifer Weiner so politely told Jonathan Franzen this week, social media is a necessary tool for any writer who wants to engage with his or her audience.

Yes, this is a literary spat, but stick with us: it will feel very familiar to anyone in marketing, advertising or PR.

We like Franzen because he writes good novels, but he’s also an ivy tower contrarian who feels compelled to talk down to the young and unenlightened among us. This week The Guardian ran an excerpt from his latest long-form essay opus under the frightening title “What’s Wrong with the Modern World?”, and it’s an epic rant. Some key points:

  • The instant gratification of social media is destroying our ability to focus and create real value
  • Marketing has led us to define ourselves by the brands we buy (“I’m a Mac guy”)
  • Amazon reviews are the worst thing that ever happened to publishing
  • Writers who engage with the public via social are diluting the integrity of their profession

These are generalizations worth considering, but we’re more interested in his personal attacks on fellow authors who turn to social media to “brand” themselves.

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Teens Haven’t Really Abandoned Facebook

Yes, your 13-year-old cousin is totally over Facebook. Yes, she wrote about that fact on Mashable. But that doesn’t mean that you should sell all the stock you bought last year. More importantly, it doesn’t mean that your clients should stop paying you to manage their pages.

Slate offers a counterpoint because that’s what they do, noting that, while none of the author’s friends are on Facebook, she supposedly fears getting in trouble for unflattering pictures that her older acquaintances post on their timelines. And seventh graders never imitate their elders.

For the two hundredth time, Facebook isn’t going anywhere. More than 40% of Americans still check it every single day. Mark Zuckerberg says that the site’s teen membership has held steady over the past couple of years; if you don’t believe him, the latest Pew Research study found that it’s still far and away the most popular social network, no matter how much Yahoo paid for Tumblr.

You already know how this story ends, but we’ll clarify. All this little bit of citizen journalism means is that Facebook is not, and never really was, the be-all-end-all of social media promotions—and you’ll need more than a timeline post to win the attention of the youngest generation.

That’s it. Moving along…

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