TWTWTW #12 | 🌍 Society and politics 👂 Public relations 💻 Technology 🍆 Social media

⏸ Twitter politics 🔍 Big tech monopolies 🙊 The Dialogue Project 🚗 Tesla abandons PR 🎤 #PRtech 📧 Email 🧅 Sexy onions 🛹 TikTok

Welcome to another week of That Was The Week That Was in public relations and communciation. Remember you can also now read it as Your PR Primer on PRmoment (link to the first one last week). Both versions are slightly different so it’s worth subscribing to both. Did I mention they are both free?

🌍 Society and politics

Twitter politics - Social media companies get a lot of flack for the way they do and don’t ‘regulate’ public discourse. Twitter is implementing several measures to improve the tone of conversation. I’ve been doing political social media since before it was called social media. I was the third politician and first councillor in the UK to have a blog. I ran the UK’s first Twitter campaign for a senior politician (it would have been the world’s first, but John Edwards beat us to it by doing it while ours was still just a plan). Twitter’s additional steps are the right ones. I particularly like the prompt to pause and add commentary by opening the Quote Tweet composer if people try to just retweet. This should be good for public discourse and Twitter deserves praise as it is doing so despite recognising it will add “friction” for users. I got this news direct via Nick Pickles, senior director, public policy strategy and development at Twitter who I’ve known for years, since before he was a Conservative Party candidate for Wakefield, standing against my friend Mary Creagh.

🔍 Big tech monopolies | A report details the business practices of the big four tech giants - Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google. It isn’t pretty as it’s highly critical of certain practices of all four companies. At 449-pages I have to confess I haven’t read the whole thing but I’ve read several summaries and commentaries. The most detailed is this AdExchanger article. The report is by the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee which is a standing committee of the US House of Representatives. The overall conclusion is there needs to be “structural separation” which is its way of saying they are too big and need to be broken up to make the market more competitive. [Disclaimer: Google is a recent former project client].

Photo by Stuart Bruce.

👂 Public relations

🙊 The Dialogue Project - a new global study looks at how business can improve civil discourse and reduce polarisation in society. It includes case studies from companies such as Chevron and Lloyds. The most useful part for PR and communication professionals is its eight key principles for actions you can take. The most interesting of which is number two “Listen to understand, not to win”. Listening is one of the most underrated public relations skills. Too many practitioners don’t spend enough time on insight and understanding before they jump in and start proposing solutions. The Dialogue Project is run by ICF Next+, supported by the Institute of Public Relations and USC University of Southern California. Via Rod Cartwright.

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels.

🚗 Tesla abandons PR - Elektrek reports “Tesla dissolves its PR department”. Alarming news for those of us who believe in professional public relations and communication. On closer examination its fake news. What has actually happened is in the USA Tesla no longer has people dedicated to either proactive or reactive media relations. Even the article acknowledges its clickbait article is wrong as it refers to the fact Tesla still has “a few PR managers in European and Asian markets”. It also helpfully links to the LinkedIn profiles of several former PR/communication people. Bizarrely this includes Gina Antonini, whose profile clearly states she is director, external relations and employee experience at Tesla. That’s definitely PR. It’s the age-old story of journalists mistakenly thinking PR is media relations because that’s the tiny tip of the iceberg they see. Via Neville Hobson.

Photo by Jean-Christophe André from Pexels.

💻 Technology

🎤 #PRtech | In the last couple of weeks I’ve spoken to the founders of several #PRtech vendors about their products. I’ve seen some fantastic innovation and ideas. An increasing part of my business is advising in-house comms and PR agency clients on the effective selection, purchase and implementation of the best technology. It grew out of the fact that one of the most popular parts of all my PR courses is when I talk about #PRtech tools. In this great podcast PRmoment founder Ben Smith talks to ex-Golin CEO Jon Hughes to explore some ways technology is likely to change the shape of the PR and communications businesses.

📧 Email | Errm! I’m a big believer in science and data. But I’m not buying this. Resolution Foundation CEO Torsten Bell writes about new research claiming to prove that not filing emails into folders is more productive than filing it. I call bull****. The idea that you can find the right email by search is ridiculous. For that to work you have to be able to find a unique enough word or set of words to find it, or be able to narrow it by other parameters. I usually find emails because I’ve filed them so am searching one folder. On the occasions where it fails and I resort to search it rarely works because I can’t think of search parameters that narrow it down enough. Via Antonia Bance.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels.

📽 Social media

🛹 TikTok | The most recent TikTok viral sensation was Nathan Apodaca skateboarding along swigging a bottle of Ocean Spray to the soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams. To be honest it is one that I struggle to see the appeal of. It’s just a bit ‘meh’. What did catch attention was the response by Ocean Spray’s CEO Tom Hayes. A great example of a CEO prepared to embrace new ideas. The viral success of the original video led to the 43-year-old Dreams hitting number one in the iTunes singles chart and the Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits album to number two on the album charts. We don’t know the impact on Ocean Spray sales.

That Was The Week That Was

That’s it for this week’s TWTWTW. If you’re reading this on the web or it has been forwarded to you then please subscribe by adding your email below or by adding the RSS feed in your news reader. Remember you can also read a slightly different version as Your PR Primer on PRmoment (link to last week’s edition).

You can also find me on Twitter, my PR Futurist blog and on LinkedIn as well as other platforms.