Camille Reyes

Posts Tagged ‘social media’

The State of Media sponsored by a URL Shortener

In media, Social Networks on March 26, 2012 at 11:40 am

An interactive map that shows the relative popularity of media outlets by state? Sign me up! I am straight-up fascinated by this project between Bitly (the peeps who shorten web links) and Forbes. For instance, seeing my Oregon bathed in the pea soup green of NPR overflows my giant bowl of Portland pride. Notice I say Portland and not Oregon. That’s one of the issues with this study as it tracks social media sharing, and I seriously doubt residents in rural Oregon are chatting about one Melissa Block. Have you ever been to John Day? I didn’t think so.

Mmmm, painted hills. (Photo:

Before I continue to point out some other concerns with this study/project, I want to stress how cool I think it is. They get a gold star for grabbing my interest, for making me share and care. Their advertisers should be pleased. Now, on with the rub …

“When you share or click a link on a social network like Facebook or Twitter, you’re most likely using a Bitly link.”

Know your memes! Know your political economy of media!

Uh, this was written by “friends” at Bitly. What’s in it for Bitly? Facebook has their own proprietary link shortener called I’d have to research if they still use it, or if they’ve dumped it for another service. My point is, the way this is phrased, it is unclear how the process works and how many people are using these links. I may “likely” be using Bitly if it is shortened automatically due to an agreement with Facebook and Twitter, otherwise, I can assure you, I’m likely not. What’s the ratio of traditional hyperlinks to shortened links (regardless of ownership)? It’s also likely that the data makes claims about the population of Bitly users in a state and not the entire state of Oregon, for example. But it is more impressive to look at a map of the U.S. vs. a map of Bitly users.

This is where I would expect Forbes, as a media outlet, to force their friends at Bitly to show a little more Jolie leg, i.e. lift the shroud over the research and give us some numbers, please. I think a standard deviation is some sort of ho-hum night at a gay bar. So when I ask for more numbers, your eyebrow should be arched high, very high.

Pesky Apples and Oranges

Is the Onion (number one in Wisconsin) a media outlet? Here our “friends” at Forbes and Bitly conflate entertainment and news. This is actually a fun debate, and I typically come out on the side of potent vegetables as news; ditto for John Stewart’s show. But if it is news, I think we can all agree that an onion is not an orange, the Colbert Report is not the New York Times. The way information is delivered matters, in this case, to consumption and sharing. What does it mean that satire is more popular than reportage among Bitly users in Wisconsin? This is the state that has shown incredible union solidarity in the face of a particularly nasty Republican campaign to bust unions and feed the rich. I know this because I watch Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. What does this say about me? Are Bitly using Wisconsinites more inclined to share satire because they need more comic relief? Does the Onion simply “cover” Wisconsin more? If so, did this push this result or will Wisconsin Bitlyheads tweet the Onion out of some form of media pride, the way Portlanders drink NPR by the gallon and eat their libraries?

And what of the medium itself? Is there something inherently more “shareable” about print news over audio/visual news? If more people consume news at work, is the A/V content too obvious, i.e. more likely to be detected on the boss radar?

Finally, who are these Bitly users? We may assume they are on the computer holding side of the digital divide. This fact alone leaves a lot of people out. Again, I want numbers at the very least. Idaho peeps may indeed watch a lot of MSNBC, but you say potato and I say potato. I’m not sure which tots we’re talking about. Hey, Pennsylvania, pass the ketchup and the Huffington Post.

Link (non-shortened-heh,heh) to the Forbes story:


The Social Network Review For My Social Network

In Culture, Film, Social Networks on October 4, 2010 at 12:20 am

Try as I might to convince myself that The Social Network is a work of fiction loosely based on real events, I found myself annoyed with the similarities between what I think I know (I’ll get to that) and what was on the screen.  I’m not a fan of Zuckerberg, although I love his software so my discomfort had nothing to do with any awkward sympathy.  No, it was that the film didn’t develop Zuck as a character enough for me, and that it didn’t capture the extremely rare moment in our global culture that he helped to create.  It was too truthy to be entertaining, and too fake to be realistic.

Again, let me be clear, I think Mark Zuckerberg is an ass, at least his public persona at any rate.  I saw him attempt to keynote at the SXSW Interactive Festival years ago.  It was a Q&A format with a journalist who shant be name because I still feel sorry for her.  He was mostly non-responsive save for the sarcastic bon mot, and he watched her go down in a blaze of grotesque self-promotional glory.  Some people barf when they are nervous; the reporter vomited narcissism.

Zuckerberg’s latest PR stunt with the donation to Newark schools is one for the misdirection annals.  On Oprah, she said he had wanted to remain anonymous at first, but later he was persuaded to make it public.  Yes, so he just happened to be persuaded to reveal this information the week before a biopic he has publicly derided is released.  Apparently there was no question on his SAT asking him if we were born yesterday.

That being said, I read David Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect with complete relish and mustard, too.  He really captures the genius of Zuckerberg and his cronies.  The cultural moment is also conveyed without superfluous ballyhoo.  I’d say read the book over the movie.  I have not read The Accidental Billionaires upon which the film is based, and now I have no desire to do so.

I must give proper credit to the zippy Aaron Sorkin script.  We’ve all missed Josh and C.J. delivering insider zingers in the hallways, and Sorkin does not disappoint with his 64 bit dialogue.  The performances were also excellent, especially Justin Timberlake.  Full disclosure: I still listen regularly to Future, Sex, Love Sounds.  So there’s that.

So maybe I’m blaming director David Fincher?  To be honest, I want all of his movies to be Fight Club, and that’s just not fair.  Still, a shot of Tyler Durden would’ve been welcome, something to shake up Zuck’s blank stares.  Really, if I wanted to watch Zuck in action, I’d call up any number of his press interviews on YouTube (I did actually for a paper last semester on privacy rhetoric.)  Also, the frosty breathing special effect was too L.A. studio, not enough Boston winter.  Try again, lads.  I expected more from the Trent Reznor (whoa!) score, too. But again, I want all of his work to be Pretty Little Hate Machine.  I’m flawed, but I’m the blogger, bitch! Bottom line, I wasn’t entertained enough.  Facebook is literally my homepage.  Perhaps my relationship with the material is to blame; it’s complicated.

Press Release Roach Motel

In Advertising, media, PR on September 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Simon Dumenco of Advertising Age should know better than to write “A Death Of…” piece so soon after the tired Wired declaration of the Internet’s demise.  Could we put an end to “the death of” as a news device?  This funny video points out how much Wired alone abuses the trope.  Stylistic quibbles aside, I did feel a tinge of hope when I saw the object of Dumenco’s funeral march: the press release.

As a PR pro for almost 15 years, the press release and “relationship building” have been the two constants of my career.  Relationship building is an art form.  The press release is more Marcel Duchamp–stick a toilet on a platform and, “viola!” art!  Yet, there are rigid rules for releases; rules I stuck to because when broken it made the release even worse, like taking a sledge hammer to the toilet.  This is odd for me to say.  I’m a rebel in the office.  I take pride in learning the rules and strategically breaking most of them.  Not so for the press release.

For instance, releases should be no more than two pages long, yet your client will INSIST on a six pager at least once in your career.  What’s the big deal?  Ask this question to a reporter on a deadline, a reporter who is teetering on the brink of a layoff and learning how to video edit at night because guess what, that’s part of the job now, too.  Ask them how they feel about four fucking superfluous pages.

Another edict: don’t use flowery prose, let the reporter do the writing.  So when the team behind “Spirit of the Dance” INSISTED that I use their headline for the local run of the show in our press materials, I did what any good publicist would do.  I disobeyed them and gave my reporters what they wanted: just the facts.  Thus, “Spirit of the Dance Steps To A Tenth Decade of Blockbuster Irish Magnificence–Three Electric Nights!,” never made the rounds in Tampa press circles. They really should’ve bought me more drinks, the eye bleeds I saved them from.

Yet even when the press release is done right, in its “inverted pyramid” most-important-info-first glory, I pretty much hate it.  They are by nature utilitarian, and once you have built those relationships, a simple email or media alert (think calendar listing with a little fat) will suffice.  Skewering the press release saves you the pain of a committee of editors ready to gouge eyes over magnificence v. grandeur.

And yet, I must disagree with Dumenco, because like an upended cockroach in Florida, the legs of the press release are still twitching.

Yes, even I will admit that when you’re dealing with a gigantic media list, a list so large you must tier your reporters in priority order (now there’s a FUN exercise), there is nothing quite so useful as a press release blast on the wire.  If your client is looking for a high quantity of story placements, there is still no better tool.  What about Twitter and Facebook?  Ah, these fancy pants new media tools are quality pushers.  I love them.  Twitter is still a game for the techno-elite.  This might change.  Even Facebook is still limited.  Do you really think Walt is going to notice your product promoting status update nestled in the sea of photos of his grandkids?  Social media is an incredible new platform for relationship building, and it offers cool hybrids of broadcast and narrowcast media.  Yet social media is not a blunt instrument.  Getting your story picked up in the Paducah Post Gazette times 1,000 still requires a press release and a wire.

Believe me, I’m looking for the can of Raid, but in the immortal words of Python, “Not dead yet!”