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Hello, I'm Andy Ross. You can find me on twitter at @AJMROSS.

    Be part of the Wiki debate: 3 step guide

    Since December last year, my organisation, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), has been working with the Wikipedia community in an ongoing conversation about how the PR profession might work effectively with Wikipedians and Wikipedia.

    Last week, the first action of this dialogue materialized with Wikimedia UK hosting draft guidelines (written by the CIPR’s social media panel) for the public relations profession on using Wikipedia, for comment from Wikipedians and the public relations profession. The guidelines are intended to provide clear and detailed advice on how we as PR professionals should edit pages and engage with the Wikipedia community. Since the draft guidance launched there has been considerable engagement with this process, with over 120 edits and a vibrant discussion page. It is our hope that at the end of this consultation we will be able to produce a set of guidelines for our community (a practical handbook if you will) to draw on in day-to-day practise.

    This draft document provides an opportunity for you to be part of the debate, to discuss your views, your opinions and your experiences of the Wikipedia editing process. It also provides an opportunity to show that we can work together with Wikipedians, to build mutual understanding, and produce an evolving resource that will shape the way our profession interacts with a resource of such influence.

    It is a shared concern that one potential barrier preventing our community from contributing in this consultation is that the ‘wiki’ platform isn’t inherently intuitive. In the next few months we look forward to producing an on-demand webinar to accompany the publication of the guidance, whilst on Thursday 21 June we will be hosting a Social Summer session with Paul Wilkinson, CIPR Fellow and a long-standing Wikipedian.

    In the meantime, if like me, you’ve never previously used the wiki platform, but you’re eager to have a say, in the spirit of mutual understanding, the team at Wikimedia UK have assisted me in creating the following quick three-step guide to explain how you can be part of this collaborative process.

    Step One:
    Create a user account

    It is easy to create yourself a user account and you are not required to provide any personal information:

    1.       Navigate to the Create accountpage or click Log in/create account, located at the top right side of the page

    2.       Choose your Username

    3.       Select your Password

    4.       Entering your E-mail address is optional, but is needed for password resets, should you forget your password.~

    5.       Click Create account.

    Creating an account allows you to create new articles (pages), upload images, and rename pages across the Wikipedia site. You also get access to special features such as My watchlist. A watchlist lets you follow the articles that you are editing and bookmark other interesting pages. To add an article to your watchlist, click the star icon at the top of any article.

    More importantly, since all your edits are assigned to your account username, you have an identity on Wikipedia. The CIPR recommends that PR practitioners choose a username that is transparent and identifiable to you as a corporate representative. Avoid using just a company, group or product name, or sharing a username (see username guidelines).

    The CIPR also recommends that new users add information about yourself to your User page. Maintaining your User page is a good way to build trust and provide authenticity to your edits. Your User page is accessed by clicking on your username. Click Edit to write about yourself. Then click Save page at the bottom of the screen when you are finished writing.

    Note: You can edit Wikipedia without having an account. However, without an account, your edits are assigned to your computer’s Internet protocol (IP) address; some consider this a deliberate masking of identity in order to hide the impartiality of edits. Remember a core principle of editing Wikipedia is that editing articles where it might be hard to remain impartial is considered a conflict of interest on Wikipedia.

    Step Two:
    Making edits

    Once you are signed in you are ready to edit your article.

    To make changes to an article, click Edit at the top of an article (just beneath where you have clicked to signed in).

    This will bring you to a page with a text box containing the editable text of that page.  The text editor allows you to freely input text; advanced formatting options are further described in Step Four.

    It is often more convenient to copy and paste the text first from your word processing program into the Wikipedia text editor. You are free to type suggested edits, however please make sure that you cite your sources so others can check and extend your work. The CIPR recommends that all users post a timestamp when using the edit function; this can be done by clicking on the fourth icon along in the text editor.

    If you want to simply make spelling corrections, formatting, and minor rearranging of text you can click the This is a minor edit box before clicking Save.

    After you have finished your edits, click Save page. (it can be helpful to summarise the edits you have made in the  Edit Summary). Please note that it is best practice to click the Watch this page box so you can monitor the progress and development of the page in My watchlist.

    Your edits are now visible to anyone who visits the page. If you have more information to add or need to correct a mistake, make another edit. Do not be afraid – you cannot accidentally make permanent deletions. All previous versions of an article are saved under View history and contributors can revert to an earlier version by simply clicking undo.

    Step Three:
    Contributing to a discussion

    Discussion appears at the top of each article. Discussion pages, commonly known as talk pages, are a place for you and other contributors to plan article structure, discuss and build consensus on article content, and ask for help from one another.

    You will see that the discussion on the ‘Draft best practice guidelines for PR’ is varied and at times polarized in opinion. Feel free to state your opinion of the document on the discussion page. The CIPR recommends that all users post a timestamp when using discussion pages; this can be done by clicking on the fourth icon along in the text editor. You can also Add topics for discussion by clicking Add topic to the right of the edit button.

    Step Three-and-a-half:
    Advanced editing

    Provided below is a handy cheat sheet of shortcuts that are frequently used in marking up wiki’s that will help you when you edit Wikipedia articles:

    (Source: Wikimedia UK)

    — 2 years ago
    #wikipedia  #public relations  #PR  #editing wikipedia  #wiki 
    "Miss… can we watch #Kony2012?"

    Seconds after I got home last night; “Have you seen Kony 2012 trending on twitter? All the kids are talking about Rihanna, Beyonce, and even Stephen Fry tweeting about it…” My first thought, I’ve been left behind by 13 year olds, then the obligatory, “I’ve had a busy day, and no I haven’t.” “Well can you see if it’s suitable to show my form tomorrow morning?” So I dutifully investigated.

    Invisible Children have created a viral video outlining the actions of Joseph Kony. Using the hashtags #Kony2012, #StopKony, and the phrase “Make Kony Famous”, Invisible Children’s cause was trending worldwide in hours. By targeting the key gatekeepers to the masses – celebrities or culturemakers – Invisible Children have gained more support in 24 hours than in their past 9 years of activity.

    A look on Social Mention, reveals a strength ratio of 99% (mentions in last 24 hours divided by total possible mentions) for both #StopKony and #Kony2012, and a sentiment of 3:1 in favour. The video alone has well over 15million views less than 96 hours after release. What marks this out from the usual ‘viral video de jour’ is that this video isn’t a Hollywood Megamercial or a dancing M&M, it’s about warlords, genocide and human rights.

    But, who are Invisible Children? There are indeed legitimate concerns about their strategy and finances. Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they haven’t had their finances externally audited. They’re a group in favour of direct military intervention via the less than reputable national Ugandan Army. Plus it seems the majority of their income goes towards creating campaigns such as this (actually the 11th in a long production line). Musa Okwonga offers an insightful background to the rights and wrongs of supporting this campaign in The Indy.

    And debate polarises online from;

    Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign has revolutionized global involvement: By merely Tweeting or sharing a link, one can help save a region in need “- overstating influence if I’ve ever seen it.

    Invisible Children’s actions are tied heavily into the promotion of a false consciousness type of activism that glosses over the complex history of the region…” – overstating is becoming popular.

    However it is undeniable that as a viral video, it’s objective [Tick] and sentiment [Tick]. However, as an ongoing social media campaign will it create that longed for ‘stickiness’? As a mobilisation tool - how many will actually participate in the April 20th event? For that we must wait and see.

    My conclusion? Show it to them, it’s a beneficial way to educate them about social media campaigning and viral marketing, whilst also providing an understanding to both sides of the morality debate and - they’ve probably watched it already too. I wrote down a few simple points about public relations including a watered down version of the CIPR definition, I also asked to put the question to them “do you know what PR is?” Apparently she’s setting some homework about social media campaigning too. I’ll let you know the results.

    If you haven’t checked out the video, have a look when you’ve got a spare half hour;

    — 2 years ago
    #kony2012  #viral marketing  #social media  #digital media  #pr  #public relations 
    Measurement - Is it a big ask?


    [Flickr - HeyThereSpaceman]

    My morning was spent at the office of Ketchum Pleon at AMEC’s ‘Big Ask’ Conference; my brief was two-fold. Win hearts and minds with regard to our very exciting new membership structure and in doing so not to make a fool of myself [but more of that later*]. Second and my raison d’être for attending was the opportunity to learn from the experiences of an expert panel of industry leaders discussing setting standards for social media measurement.

    This was the launch-pad for a consultation process on social media measurement standards, and follows on from a resolution made at AMEC’s European Summit in Lisbon in June to make the development of global social media measurement standards a priority by 2020. Fundamental stuff.

    From a line-up of some cracking speakers there were many fantastic points raised.

    Nick Masters, Head of Online at PwC had a tough job following Microsoft’s Pete Devery, hit the proverbial nail on the head. Nick gave a candid view and was brilliantly frank in stating that as a profession we can’t prove any reputational benefits in the social media results we’re currently providing, pointing to the scraps of evidence he attempts to provide in each and every meeting which have no solid data to stand on. To further highlight this point Nick talked of the fact that we can’t currently assimilate where our content ends up, who views it and how this is further distributed through their cohorts. How can we get better at measurement when we don’t know where to find the results? let alone what should be measured?

    There was definitely a difference in opinion between the panel and in the audience about the next step forward. Half the room was yet to be convinced by a standardized metrics model, who advocate to measure campaigns using bespoke metrics. There were then those who want further collaboration across the industry to devise a standard measurement model. However, is a common model plausible? Can there be a set of metrics or tools that can be considered as standard when your organization, your stakeholders, your strategy, your tactics are all unique?

    For me the Big Ask raised one important resolution, to educate . It is impossible to put an AVE value, or a number, on social media output which gives real meaning, despite the anecdotal revelations revealed by the panel and people I spoke to.

    So, what should the resolution be? My hope from the consultation process is that we see a production of a rubber stamp that can be put on a variation of metrics and methods. In particular This is not an industry standard, but a flexible approach that acknowledges that in digital and social campaigns, measurement, forming part of an overall strategy which aligns with business objectives, should be unique and not a one size fits all approach.

    *The part on making a fool of myself.  I somewhat succeeded on that front. Nonetheless, and take note, never ever, call yourself up-to-speed on all things digital/keen on social media and then forget what you’re twitter handle is. Total. Fail.

    — 2 years ago with 102 notes
    #public relations  #PR  #Social media  #measurement  #influence  #AMEC  #CIPR 
    Brand Olympic

    The anticipation and excitement surrounding the Olympics has reached new heights with the games now only a year away. However, how do you engage with such a large audience on such a large scale? At Beijing we saw live streaming going head-to-head, Silverlight and NBC vs. Adobe Flash and CCTV (China), which enabled the interactive viewing of different events online, (in 2012 there will be up to 12 sports taking place simultaneously). In addition to mobile coverage also becoming comprehensive in Beijing, leading brands used social media in their Olympics campaigns, anyone remember McDonald’s ‘The Lost Ring’ or Coca-Cola’s ‘Design the World a Coke’? In 2008, the Olympics became an on-demand, 24/7 experience whilst being one of the first testaments to the sheer engaging power of social media in brand building. So what may we see from the Olympic brand a year from now? There is the opportunity to utilize Twitter as a channel to connect vs. a channel to push content, the interactivity and conversations that stem from Twitter’s two-way relationship can increase the Olympic ‘buzz’ significantly. In Vancouver, a verified Olympian list worked well and the I.O.C. took its first steps into the world of Facebook. [Check out this video for an insight into how the Olympics, social media and Vancouver came together]. The Olympic brand speaks directly to collaboration and community building, two of social media’s best and brightest. The I.O.C. should be THE content aggregator that takes their best content and that from other committee organizations, as well as media outlets worldwide, and act as a town-centre for Olympic related content, with Olympians as the town criers. Give or take Phillips Idowu or Charles Van Commenee. Away from the Olympic brand, the BBC will certainly be putting social media centre stage. It has been said that “the Olympics will do for digital media what the Coronation did for television.” As host nation broadcaster is there an opportunity to embrace social TV commentary? For this we must wait and see, but there is no doubt that if there ever was a perfect candidate for social media coverage,  then the Olympics surely must be it. Plans are afoot for a CIPR Social Summer session featuring the BBC, sport and the Olympics in September. In addition, for PRs, one of the many challenges will be getting valuable content in front of journalists during the Olympics and legislation governing PR activities relating to London 2012 and the Olympic brands – this will be the topic for the 3 August edition of CIPR TV.

    — 3 years ago with 13 notes
    #public relations  #pr  #digital  #branding  #olympics 
    Old Post #8 - Lights, Camera, Action

    Engaging with your audience by broadcasting through social media - Russell Goldsmith, markettiers4dc  [Click to view slide deck]

    Last Thursday evening at Social Summer, Russell Goldsmith of markettiers4dc gave the case for using broadcast/video as a tool to engage with audiences online. As PR’s have won the land grab for social media, it is fitting that we become more keenly involved in the creation of video content. So is the camera mightier than the cursor? It is estimated that 33 billion videos have been watched across the web, with an average video duration of 4 minutes. YouTube, one of many of different video-sharing websites, has 31million unique users every month in the UK alone – that’s a reach of 60.5%, over 3 ½ times that of Twitter. Video also makes you stand out online. Facebook’s ‘Edgerank’ algorithm, is used to rank posts on a user’s ‘top news’ feed to determine which posts should, and shouldn’t, be shown on top of the ‘top news’ feed. Edgerank decides that your ‘top news’ is the news that has the highest level of interaction, amongst others such as recency, personal behaviour, author etc. By their very nature, videos (and pictures) encourage interaction, create click-throughs and generates discussion. Google works in a very similar way. Russell ran through some terrific examples of work markettiers4dc have undertaken recently. A great standout from the deck is work done by Jaeger who, to maximise viewing, embedded LinkTo™ technology on their catwalk videos to enable the audience to engage with the video to gain more information on featured products and add them into their shopping basket. Is this the interactivity of the future? Imagine watching live football on TV and it being possible to pause and purchase your favourite players football boots, or the replica match ball? All in all if a picture is worth a thousand words a video is definitely worth a couple of thousand. Oh and if you need further convincing to invest in that video tech, Ragan’s PR Daily gives 10 great reasons why it’s an essential investment. If you want to check out more of the Social Summer content from the CIPR go to and you will find a link that will take you to the previous session’s decks. Also, Russell is running a Freshly Squeezed session in early September titled ‘Using Video Online’.

    — 3 years ago with 14 notes
    #broadcast  #video  #public relations  #pr  #digital  #social media 
    Old Post #6 - Disaster strikes - Social media “No No’s”

    Ged Carroll - Social media no nos [Click to view slides]

    A cringeworthy rendition of U2’s ‘One Love’ and Stewie from Family Guy’s reaction to a certain viral internet video were included in the order of service at Ged Carroll's highly entertaining CIPR Social Summer presentation. The theme of the evening was to highlight what NOT to do when undertaking social media activity. Ged explained to the audience that the key to a great social media service was to understand the ‘Golden Rule’ - one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. It isn’t rocket science. A few choice disasters not mentioned by Ged, and a worth a lesson (and a cringe!) are:

    So what should be done to avoid such an epic fail? Simple, make sure you have a detailed social media policy/strategy plan in place.

    1. Decide what steps your company will take to deal with an escalating crisis, who will flag comments, and who will deal with immediate responses.
    2. Understand what the worst-case scenario is and understand the impact this would have on your organisation or brand.
    3. Make sure your responses are quick and well-thought but personal and direct.
    4. Stand up to the mistakes you’ve made, honesty and openess are key in a social world!
    5. Don’t panic, understand the benefits of being open and social. People will always complain and you can’t make everyone happy. However, not responding and putting your head in the sand will make the situation 10x worse.

    If you want to check out more of the Social Summer content from the CIPR. Go to and you will find a link that will take you to the previous sessions decks.

    — 3 years ago with 9 notes
    #public relations  #pr  #social media  #digital  #crisis communications 
    Old Post #5 - Churning it Around

    Yesterday evening I attended a debate on Churnalism with @EmmaJaneCIPR held by the Media Standards Trust. The motion, “This house believes news articles based on press releases should be marked ‘advertorial’. Basically should PR be marked as paid advertising?

    The result was a few hours of very interesting debate, combined with plenty of jumping over each side of the fence from both sides. From the outset a consensus emerged that to mark stories based on press releases as ‘advertorial’ was not only erroneous, but it didn’t take into consideration the more complex relationship between PRs and journos. However, the issue that caused the most heated debate, and emerged from an agreement among the speakers, was regarding transparent sourcing in journalism.

    In my mind and as a recent academic (and this was a point that was raised by an audience member) it is taught at university to reference each one of your sources, and your comment on those sources should be original input, but would referencing all your sources work in the real world of journalism? This call for transparency not only means marking ‘this comes from a press release / advertorial’, but as one gentleman in the room put it, most exclusives should be marked a ‘leakatorial’… how many journalists would reveal their close sources and their wine-and-dine relationships? Futhermore, in the words of an audience member “transparent sourcing would lead to journos abnegating responsibility for assessing source credibility.”

    What could be concluded from the discussion? Press releases shouldn’t be considered news and taken for fact, they are a point of information, I imagine many PRs would prefer a journalist not to cut and paste, but to pick up the phone and go and get an original quote from the CEO or the board. Trevor Morris said that “PR is a subsidy for journalism” – I agree. As such, this was more than a debate on churnalism, it was lazy journalism vs. lazy public relations.

    Of course, after the events of the past few days, the polemic nature of journalism has reared its head, and a case of bad PR has poked its head around too. The Guardian’s role in this shows excellence in investigative journalism, whilst the actions of the News of the World (a 168 year old title and the best selling English language newspaper!) show the dark side of journalism we all knew existed, but perhaps with not so much disregard for ethical and moral standards.

    For PR? Julio Romo hits the nail on the head in saying “This is a going to be a text book PR case study of HOW NOT to manage a crisis and solve the reputation of an established news outlet.” Furthermore, and in relation to churnalism, the other side of the fence should perhaps consider the multi-dimensional nature of PR and what it can bring to the table. As for a final point on churnalism, from my side of the fence, simply marking press releases as ‘advertorial’ is too crude a cure for journalism’s woes.

    — 3 years ago with 2 notes
    #public relations  #pr  #social media  #digital 
    Old Post #4 - 5 of the Best COI Public Information + Campaign films

    I orginally posted this on the CIPR’s ‘The Conversation’. Check it out for loads of original comms content from top comms people. Although the government has decided to call an end to the COI, over the past 65 years they have created some of the UK’s most innovative and memorable campaigns. Given the current rise of online video content used in digital marketing across sharing platforms like YouTube, it is worth looking at how high quality, memorable content can support public information communications.

    The COI’s ‘Top Five’ Number five:

    The Credit Crunch in 2008 saw the beginning of the current period of economic austerity in which we all have to count every penny. Ever since, money advice can be found not just in the back of the newspaper or on your mobile phone, but on almost every Google search you do. Impartial advice can make a significant difference to people’s lives. Indeed this campaign’s debut advert designed by illustrator Andrew Park, premiered in June this year, is a fabulous idea executed with real creative flair.

    Number four: RAF Afghan Diaries

    One of many campaigns the COI has undertaken for the armed forces, this campaign was a groundbreaking recruitment initiative which saw an RAF Regiment Gunner record daily video diaries during his six-month deployment to Kandahar airfield, which were then posted on a dedicated YouTube site. Senior Aircraftman Paul Goodfellow’s diaries aimed to increase awareness and understanding amongst potential recruits about the role of the RAF Regiment by showing what life is really like on operations. What’s more is that this was compelling content for online and offline mainstream media publications. Also, picking up a CIPR Excellence Award for your troubles can’t hurt can it?!

    Number three: FRANK

    FRANK was launched in the early noughties with a mission to educate the ‘contemplators and dabblers’ out there thinking about, or being pushed into, recreational drugs. Done in association with the Mother Agency, this campaign utilized a mix of print, broadcast and online comms. Pablo the drug mule dog sticks in mind as one of the latest adaptations of the FRANK campaign. Pablo (voiced by David Mitchell) starred in a series of advertisements aimed to deliver a range of messages uncovering the truth and revealing the dark side of substance abuse. Truly informative and entertaining, the perfect ingredients for a great campaign.

    Number two: “Charley Says…”

    What would a snap-shot of the COI be without a nod to the past of the glorious public information film?! Featuring a little boy and his cat, Charley, the two were involved in various thrills and spills throughout the 70s and 80s which aimed to educate children in issues such as not using matches to dangers found in the kitchen. Ever immortalized in the 1991 Prodigy hit single ‘Charley’, all these videos can be found in a handy little collection at the National Archives online. These historic films led the way in communication, just as the ads and films produced to this day are often pioneering or challenging both in creative approach and subject matter.

    Number one: Change4Life

    Launched to the public in January 2009, Change4Life responded to an urgent need to tackle the alarming rise in obesity. From a comms perspective the campaign utilized numerous channels to produce effective stakeholder engagement, fully embracing social marketing techniques. In my opinion Change4Life stands out as the best because this campaign is an attempt to change society for the better, encourage people to eat well, move more and essentially live longer lives… Result! The COI has made a major contribution to UK public life. As for what the future holds for centralized government communications, I think that’s a headline that hasn’t yet been written…

    — 3 years ago with 16 notes
    #public relations  #government  #coi  #pr  #social media  #public information  #public affairs 
    Old Post #1 - Web 3.0 and The Internet of Things

    Philip Sheldrake - Web 3.0 and The Internet of Things [Click to view slide deck]

    This was originally posted on the CIPR’s ‘The Conversation’. Check it out for loads of original comms content from top comms people. Last Thursday evening Philip Sheldrake headed up a Social Summer session which created and stirred up debate at CIPR towers. Philip gave a whistle-stop tour of the web up to the era we now find ourselves in – Web 3.0 or, the semantic web. In a nutshell, we’re at a point in time where we are finding the Web itself understanding the meaning of all the content and participation currently at your fingertips, but you can check out his deck above for the specifics… One of (the many!) tools Philip revealed was Rel Finder, this ‘extracts and visualizes relationships between objects in RDF data and makes these relationships interactively explorable.’ Seriously, it’s well worth a quick play with and is an outstanding tool aiding our understanding in how things are related with each other online. The second half of Philip’s session explored the much debated Internet of Things. To find out more, check out this awe inspiring, but slightly scare inducing IBM movie. If you’re keen on checking out other Social Summer sessions, the next one being ran by Ruder Finn’s Ged Carroll (7 July), head over to the schedule – tickets are only a tenner!

    — 3 years ago with 16 notes
    #public relations  #pr  #communications  #social media