Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good Connections: How Social Media Are Changing The Way Architects Do Business

Remember when the Internet made its debut in the business world and faced criticism as a source of potential distraction for employees? It took awhile for the Web to be appreciated as an indispensable resource. Similarly, professional service firms have been hesitant to recognize the benefits of social media. The buzz can no longer be ignored, however, as the professional service industry, including architects, continues to hold seminars on social media marketing and practices.
The Marketing and Public Relations Committee of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter has conducted numerous panel discussions on the subject, and “people are eager to learn more about social media and how to use them,” says Tami Hausman, head of the public relations sub-committee. “Firms are also very interested in incorporating social media programs into their marketing and outreach efforts, but many need help.” 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How a Social Media Maven Ranks on Her Own Turf

As public relations professionals, we are typically the silent surveyor during an interview, the nodding head of approval as the camera rolls, the invisible mouthpiece that guides communications. On the social media front we play the role of auditor, monitoring and sometimes engaging in conversations about the companies and brands that are under our auspices.
It is less common that we find ourselves in the spotlight, forced to evaluate our personal reputation and check in on our own public persona. Similarly, I suspect that most executives’ foremost concern is with the public sentiment of the brand they represent than the perception of themselves as individuals. However, leadership must also cultivate their online reputation with comparable prudence as invariably individuals reflect on the companies they keep.
This week I appraised the social media sentiment of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, known for her savvy business skills as well as commitment to empowering female business leaders. Credited for building Facebook into a profitable enterprise, Sandberg is indelibly associated with the social network’s identity and success. But how does she stack up when she is the subject du jour on her own social media platform and the blogosphere?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Writing on the Wall, A Good Thing After All?

It’s no secret that humans are social beings and have long developed communication systems to exchange ideas and information. Along with cave paintings and hieroglyphs came the roots of telecommunications, the transmission of messages and signals over a distance, in smoke, drums and pigeon post. After a few upgrades, we’ve arrived in the age of social media with myriad methods of contact across locales.  Are the latest tools a help or hindrance? Improvement or impediment? Worthwhile or worthless?

I recently caught up with Lyle Estanislao, a creative professional using an internal social network for colleagues to converse and collaborate. Here's how he weighed in on the clamor over Yammer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trust, Authenticity and the Ethics of Social Media

On January 8, 2006, America took a collective gasp when an article in The Smoking Gun exposed the nationally acclaimed memoir A Million Little Pieces as fictional, contrary to representations by the author, James Frey, that is was a factual account of his struggle with addiction and rehabilitation. Controversy ensued around the fabrications presented in the emotional memoir and Oprah Winfrey, whose endorsement was largely responsible for the book’s exponential success, voiced the feelings of betrayal from millions of American readers when it became apparent that we had been duped by false authenticity.
The national outcry against Frey is indicative of the simple fact that we just don’t like to be lied to. Our tolerance for deception is low and we expect, often demand, transparency in the media. However, the advent of social media has unleashed a world where identities, authorship and claims often lack verification, a world which beseeches trust at your own risk.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

#AmericanDemocracy in 140 characters

As a New Yorker, it's fairly common to experience the occasional celebrity sighting on the way to the office or while on a lunch break. Of course, there are those initial 5 minutes when you frantically search for your camera phone and text everyone you know to bear witness to your TMZ moment. But more often than not, as the adrenaline fades, you reflect on how "normal" Heidi, or George or Julia looked. For some reason it seems odd that they would be walking in sneakers hand in hand with their child, or having brunch at your favorite restaurant. And then comes the epiphany that public figures are just like us, with the differentiating factor of their occupation.

On July 6, President Obama delivered that same "ah-ha!" moment to millions of Americans when he joined the Twittersphere and answered questions from concerned citizens in an unscripted session at The White House. Razing the serpentine pavilion of politics, the #AskObama townhall provided the common student (and even someone named Shnaps!) with equal power to reach the President as the Speaker of the House. The success of the event, and perhaps of the President’s re-election campaign, lies in that simple gesture of access.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Social Media: The Bad Kid on the (PR) Block

Remember that childhood friend that you were told not to hang out with because he/she was a “distraction”? Mom and dad just wouldn’t listen when you told them that (insert friend’s name here) was misunderstood and that you were perfectly capable of getting good grades while maintaining that friendship.
Well, it looks like we haven’t grown up that much. Only now that friend is social media and our parents have been replaced with our employers.