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Phil Gomes
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From the day job: Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at the annual summit for one of our clients, Project Lead the Way. PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of learning programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), which not only includes K-12 curricula but professional development for teachers as well. My talk focused on what I felt were five defining forces that make now a critical moment for STEM education. More over at EdelmanDigital.com. Continue reading
Sound dramatic? Well, before I get into what this means for communicators (and inevitably convey spoilers), take a short break in your day and watch the eleven-minute film. Continue reading
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PR Leaders Today Affirm a Commitment to Abide by and Evangelize Wikipedia Community Norms Continue reading
At Edelman.Com, I have a post that speaks to my latest passion: bringing the hacker ethic into public relations. When it comes to the value of expertise versus authority, hacker ethics (as developed over time by students at MIT and Stanford several decades ago) double down on the former and strongly resist the latter. This code, in fact, posits several recommended behaviors that I believe are central to the evolution of public relations. For the sake of compression, here are three. This is the latest in a series of posts related to my talk "Hacking Public Relations." In previous pieces, I've outlined the general concepts and talked a little about the importance of thoughtful disintermediation. Image by William Grootonk. Continue reading
Ronnie James Dio, Even In Death, Has Plenty to Teach Communicators and Business Leaders Continue reading
PR Professionals Who Base Their Value Solely on Staying Between an Audience and a Company/Client Will Eventually Lose Both. Continue reading
I have a new article published on my employer's site about Internet freedom in light of Sir Tim Berners-Lee's proposed "Internet Bill of Rights." For staunch supporters of Internet freedom, Tuesday delivered evidence of one of the most satisfying self-inflicted injuries yet observed in U.S. politics. Senator Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate chamber to accuse the Central Intelligence Agency of secretly searching the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers. Senator Feinstein, notably, is the chair of that very same oversight committee and has played a pivotal role supplying the legislative air-cover for the computer surveillance practices that so vexed the likes of renowned whistleblower Edward Snowden and others. (Mr. Snowden is enjoying his own uniquely earned schadenfreude. Of course, the CIA denies wrongdoing.) Against this backdrop (and such fortunate timing), Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee called for an Internet “Bill of Rights” the next day on the occasion of his brainchild’s... Continue reading
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One afternoon as an undergrad at Saint Mary’s College of California, I was racing to the campus radio station where I was running late for my afternoon air-shift. As I turned the corner, I overheard the wonderful Brother Ray Berta (RIP) regaling one student with his latest big idea at the intersection of mass media and culture. Brother Ray was not a quiet man (a distinct advantage for a speech professor, I imagine) and so I managed to hear some of his conversation even in my haste. “You see, the old pornography is just so-so,” he said. “But, now, the new pornography is…” Okay... It was an odd statement coming from a Christian Brother. A couple of weeks later, I asked Brother Ray what he was talking about that afternoon. It turns out he was specifically referring to talk shows like Jerry Springer’s, Maury Povich’s, and others of that ilk.... Continue reading
Here are my slides from the PRSA talk I delivered recently, entitled "Hacking Public Relations: How Understanding and Embracing Open-Source and Hacker Culture is Critical to PR's Future." Hacking Public Relations from Edelman Digital Continue reading
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Anyone who has followed my work for five minutes knows that I'm a huge proponent of open source technologies and, more specifically, the philosophies that drive this important movement. This Sunday, I will be delivering my talk "Hacking Public Relations" at the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia. There's a preview over at the Edelman Digital site: Everyone can agree that the complexity involved in public relations and marketing has skyrocketed in the past decade. The question is “How do we address this?” and “What can we learn from communities who have done so?” I believe that looking to open-source and hacker communities gives us the answer. You can also read the full text after the jump. Friday5: Let’s Hack Public Relations By Phil Gomes Oct. 25, 2013 This Sunday, I have the great privilege of delivering a talk at the PRSA International Conference that reflects both a personal and professional... Continue reading
Earlier this year, a professional organization included me on a bcc'ed cattle-call seeking volunteers to help deliver a long-form seminar on "culture-jacking" a la this year's Super Bowl and subsequent events. I responded that I tend to take a strategic and measured view of such things, so the organizers could absolutely rely on me to ensure that the session stayed meaningful and wouldn't turn into a rah-rah session. I didn't get a response. With a pitch like that and given the frothy tenor that often surrounds that kind of thing, I didn't really expect to. For the past several months, everyone has been running around trying to be the next illumination-challenged snack experience. Some will be good at it. Some will excel at it. Most efforts will sadly amount to tolerated digital vandalism, the result of "checkbox marketing." ("Yup! Our brand TwitPic'ed something during the Indy 500. Well, glad I... Continue reading
College is expensive. It's been the job-hunting license since the '70s or so. With tons of federal money flowing into higher education in the form of loans and grants, it is relatively unresponsive to competition and market forces. The universities get the cash, the student gets the debt. But what if there was an alternative certification that could send a signal to an employer that a candidate is just as smart/educated/qualified as one that went through a four-year degree? Recognizing that a GPA says more about a school's grading regime than the student's aptitude, a test meant to send such a signal is already available. The Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+) presented by the Council for Aid to Education, a non-profit organization, seeks to test the critical thinking skills of college students. This spring, more than U.S. 200 colleges and universities will administer the exam to measure graduating students' worth... Continue reading
I have a new post up at EdelmanDigital.Com about the Edward Snowden case from a media perspective: “There are no secrets,” podcasting pioneer Adam Curry once said. “Only information you do not yet have.” Opinions vary widely regarding the case of Edward Snowden, the former contractor with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) who has leaked information about U.S. intelligence practices and operations. This has surfaced interesting commentary about the nature of journalism and media today, especially in a world where leaks and other high-profile events move quickly and have far greater impact than just a few years ago. Here are five of the many topics that the Snowden case has brought to the fore. Read the rest. Continue reading
Was sad to hear that one of my heroes, Doug Engelbart, passed away yesterday. NYT's John Markoff and TIME's Harry McCracken have the best articles on his passing that I've read thus far. I'm still going through the rest. For those who don't know, Doug is the father of modern concepts of human-computer interaction and collaboration. In 1968, he delivered what came to be known as The Mother of All Demos, wherein he ushered a world where humans not only interacted with computers in a practical way, but interacted with each other through computers. In the process, he showed hypertext, document/object linking, document collaboration and, yes, the mouse. He and his team received a standing ovation, which was highly unusual for conferences of that type. I was very fortunate to meet and talk with him several times during my five-year agency-side tenure with SRI International, where he undertook the work... Continue reading
I have a piece up on the day-job site entitled "The Big Thing Companies Get Wrong About Online Behavior Policies." From the article: Face it: The number of employees who wake up in the morning and say, “My company’s reputation is a chief decision variable for what I’m going to post online today” is very small. (If you are the type to visit this site regularly, you are probably a member of this tiny group. Congratulations.) This is something that no policy will change — and it takes vast amounts of arrogance to think it will. The way mechanisms and institutions of control attempt to come to terms with online communities is a passion of mine. Continue reading
Post-publication, I had an additional thought about the SEC's recent "Netflix Patch" with regard to fair disclosure of material information on social media. It's easy for folks to look at this announcement as the death of the wire services. But here's one thing those services offer that, say, an IR blog or a corporate Facebook account does not: data integrity. You transmit that earnings announcement on a wire service and, short of an additional transmission, you can't really modify what you've said--that toothpaste has left the tube. You put up a Tweet, it can be deleted. A Facebook post can be modified. It takes more sophistication than the average investor has to determine what occurred to the original post. There isn't a lot of confidence, then, that what you saw was the same thing that someone else did. This highly important point is relegated to the second-to-the-last paragraph in an... Continue reading
I have a post up at Edelman.Com about the news of the NYPD's social media policy. From the piece, called "The Thin Blue (Digital) Line": A balance must be achieved here. One could argue that we have a very strong incentive to know as much as we possibly can about those we pay to protect us. So, we should want members of law enforcement to be online as much as is practical, so long as it doesn’t interfere with their duties or compromise loved ones. A policy, if too-broadly drawn, may have a chilling effect at precisely the time when citizens desire more transparency from their government. Continue reading
Had the great fortune of working with Jeff Zilka and Rich Myers from Edelman's Financial Communications and Investor Relations team on this analysis of the SEC's recent decision about social media and material disclosure. From the article: On April 2, 2013 (a date perhaps chosen to avoid a misunderstanding), the SEC issued clarification about social media’s role in disclosure. This was in response to a controversial Facebook post by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who posted the achievement of a business milestone on Facebook. This sparked renewed debate about the topic of what constitutes “disclosure” on the social Web. The intersection of online citizenship, corporate communications, and regulatory pressures represents the most exciting area of our industry today. Continue reading
I'm featured in a virtual roundtable this week in The New York Times' "Room for Debate". The topic is a favorite of mine: employee online behavior. From my contribution: Business in the information age is, in large part, governed by Industrial Age rules intended to restrain J.D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and so on — bit-and-byte realities wrestling with concrete and steel legacies. It will prove interesting to see these laws and policies applied to corporate social media governance. I'm also joined by my good friend Daliah Saper, who writes: Even if a company did not create a “don’t act stupid” policy, it could easily fire or discipline its employees for posting inappropriate photos to Facebook or disclosing proprietary information on Twitter. Employees, in turn, should know that their conduct in public – including social media accounts visible to outsiders – can expose them to career repercussions. Continue reading
Given the attention around BP and Wikipedia, I struck up a correspondence with Brian Merchant at Vice. The result is this interview, which covers a wide range of topics relevant to Wikipedia, corporate communications, online reputation and, of course, CREWE. The following quote pretty much encapsulates where my head has been at for the past several months: I think the PR industry in general needs to attain a visceral understanding of hacker and open-source culture if it is going to continue to be meaningful in an always-on, hierarchy-averse, release-early-release-often world. Look for more thinking from me in this vein. Continue reading
In the wake of Google's shuttering of its beloved Reader service for RSS aggregation, I'm reading some posts rehashing the idea that simply following the right people or sources on Twitter is a better way to go. I disagree. Let's put aside the fact that we're not talking about a mutually exclusive choice and there's room for both in one's information-consumption workflow. I'm not saying that Twitter is useless as an information source or that a well-managed Tweetdeck won't provide great value. Many of the sources that I rely on to stay out front actually do not use Twitter. The reason why I'm at all successful in what I do is that I try to ignore the majority of the social media punditocracy as much as professional responsibility will allow. Nevertheless, I must follow that group in any case, owing to said responsibilities. So, in that small but important slice... Continue reading
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A sad day, but... Wow... What a rich, full, incredible, inspiring life. I remember the first meeting I had with Dan in 2006, talking about WWII, California wines, Vincent Price, etc. He briefly lamented he had to give up handball sometime in his 70s, which I found both funny and, even in my 30s, enviable. I wanted to record the discussion for earSHOT, which was the Edelman podcast that I briefly hosted. "Phil... You think we can just talk?", he asked. I scribbled notes like a madman. Fascinating discussion. I will never forget it. I shot this photo during the celebration of the firm's 60th Anniversary. Captured a moment for me that I couldn't quite describe at the time. Thoughts and prayers are with the Edelman family. Continue reading
The folks at ComplianceX appear to agree with me: The post on Facebook was available immediately to over 200,000 subscribers to Hastings’ Facebook account. It is also not clear how many of these subscribers are Netflix investors or equity analysts. It is clear however that posting on Facebook removes any advantage for the equity analysts and professional traders who monitor the press releases closely. If the SEC goes forward with this action against Netflix, it will signal that they are trying to restrict, not expand the sources that investors have for obtaining information about companies. This is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing. See my previous post on this topic for context. Photo Credit: ebayink Continue reading
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted the following on the company's Facebook page in July and it recently earned him the ire of the Securities & Exchange Commision: Netflix monthly viewing exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time ever in June. I'm no expert in securities law, but it seems to me that the case for materiality here is fairly weak. An analyst mentions in the related Reuters piece that this post caused the stock to go up from $70 to $80 that day, so of course it was "material". I see at least three things wrong with this argument. First, if the market's reactions were, alone, the test for materiality, then no one would say anything, anywhere, ever, about their business aside from turgid press releases and regulatory filings. Second, I suppose any analysts who are crying foul are doing so because A) they were caught not paying attention,... Continue reading
Dan Primack's must-read "Term Sheet" newsletter today pointed me to Bessemer Ventures' "Anti-Portfolio" page--a list of venture opportunities with spectacular exits that the firm, for whatever reason, decided to pass on. It's chock-full of names you know, going back decades. Whatever the reason, we would like to honor these companies--our "anti-portfolio"--whose phenomenal success inspires us in our ongoing endeavors to build growing businesses. Or, to put it another way: if we had invested in any of these companies, we might not still be working. Photo Credit: San Diego Air & Space Museum Continue reading