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Posts Tagged ‘Social Times’

Can Wikipedia Defeat the ‘Sockpuppets?’


It’s not just Fox News, guys. Not by a long shot.

Wikipedia is in the midst of a crackdown on ethically dubious practices by “sockpuppets” paid to write and/or edit slanted entries. As of last night, the site’s administrators have shut down more than 250 “suspicious” accounts following a Wikimedia Foundation press release lamenting the fact that they “may have been paid to write articles on Wikipedia promoting organizations or products” and violating numerous site policies that prohibit conflicts of interest.

We get it: repeated studies have shown that inaccuracies in Wikipedia profiles can significantly damage corporate and personal reputations, and the same studies indicate that the process of correcting such errors is too inefficient for such an important source of public information.

At the same time, we see this development as bad news for both Wikipedia and the PR industry at large: it could not play more perfectly into the perception that we’re all paid liars.

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Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

The Art of Online Reputation Management

Full disclosure: we recently Googled a friend from long ago to see what he/she had been up to in recent years and found ourselves confronted by an entire images page filled with mugshots. Is there a point to this sad story? There is! Yesterday our sister site Social Times (follow them on Twitter!) posted an interview on a topic that should be of interest to anyone in PR: the art of online reputation management. The primary lesson stressed by Mike Zammuto, president of rep management firm Reputation Changer, is “fight negative content with more (positive) content.”

What does that mean?

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How Important Is Oreo-Style ‘Real-Time Marketing’ Now?

After the Oreo team’s big social media win dominated the post-Super Bowl buzz, a whole lot of people who had never used the phrase “real-time marketing” before started throwing it around like a hot potato.

The point is that pretty much any business whose description includes the words “firm” or “agency” now needs to claim that it has “real-time marketing capabilities” in order to win the interest of big-name clients. McCann Erickson, for example, named its new social media-only division “McCann Always On”. The “RTM” phrase doesn’t just apply to agencies that label themselves “ad” or “marketing”, either — PR wants to “own” social media too, remember?

The problem is that the whole phenomenon just isn’t that simple — and it’s not too terribly revolutionary either. Explaining that to clients, however, may be a bit of a challenge.

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Hollywood Pushes Back Against Zero Dark Thirty Critics

Zero Dark ThirtyWe haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet, but we are intrigued by the PR back-and-forth between the film’s makers/promoters and various members of the US government. A couple of questions are central to the controversy:

  • Does the film glorify torture and imply that information gained during torture sessions eventually led to the location and assassination of Osama bin Laden?
  • Did the filmmakers act inappropriately in collecting information from confidential sources within the Central Intelligence Agency?

This is a bi-partisan issue; California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Arizona Republican John McCain both voiced concern over the fact that the movie might lead Americans to see “enhanced interrogation” as an acceptable element of the US military’s intelligence arsenal. The conversation grew so heated that director Kathryn Bigelow found the need to release a public statement calling herself a “lifelong pacifist”, disavowing the use of torture and reminding everyone in the media that retweets do not equal endorsements. The senators have also sent a letter to the acting director of the CIA asking for more information in terms of the filmmakers’ discussions with members of the agency’s intelligence community.

Now the pushback on behalf of ZDT is growing stronger–and it’s an interesting case from a PR perspective.

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