Monday Morning Reads: Churnalism, Bubble Bursting, Influence Limits

Happy Monday! A varied bunch of posts and stories this week, from PR’s effect on the media (or is it just lazy journalism?), to avoiding getting caught when the social media “bubble” bursts, to reputation management, influence and lastly a couple of Google stories to round things out.

Let’s get to it!

The Guardian: Churnalism or news? How PRs have taken over the media

The Guardian reports on a new service from journalism watchdog the Media Standards Trust that reveals how all media organisations are at times simply republishing, verbatim, material sent to them by marketing companies and campaign groups. The website allows readers to paste press releases into a “churn engine” which compares the text with a constantly updated database of more than 3m articles and assigns each article a “churn rating”, show the percentage of any given article that has been reproduced from publicity material.

Has PR taken over the media?

Julien Smith: How to Avoid the Social Crash

Great piece on escaping the bursting of the social media bubble. Lesson for communicators: diversify. Don’t just be a “social media guy” (or gal) – be a communicator that thinks about integrated approaches. Communications isn’t going anywhere.

Avoiding social media osolescence

Mashable: What Brands Can Learn From Taco Bell’s Social Media Lawsuit Defense

Interesting piece from Mashable shows how Taco Bell benefited from avoiding what we at Edelman call “abandonment valley” by engaging in ongoing online activity. Thanks to this, when a reputation issue hit, the company was able to communicate directly with its fans (alongside smart SEM) and manage the problem.

Taco Bell avoids abandonment valley

BrandSavant: The Limits Of Online Influence

An interesting case study of influence apparently not working. A couple of points leap to mind:

  • Expecting results from “impressions” is futile, without considering context – quality of content, tone, messaging within, quality call to action, etc.
  • Influence is irrelevant without context. People may be influential on one topic but not on others

Still, the case study makes for interesting, thought-provoking reading.

Questioning online influence

The Next Web: Google acknowledges Gmail issues as users complain of missing emails

In another reminder that we should all take care to back up the data we have stored in “the cloud,” this piece outlines problems that numerous (albeit a small proportion of) Gmail users have been experiencing with emails disappearing from their inboxes.

Back up your life

Hubspot: Google Changes Algorithm to Punish Content Farms

There have been some interesting stories recently about spammers and content farms winning the war with Google. This piece from the folks over at Hubspot suggests that Google is fighting back, making changes that penalize companies like Demand Media and affect roughly 12% of Google searches. Promising changes.

Google strikes back at content farms

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