Social media revolution: are companies next? Plus
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Social media revolution: are companies next? Plus

Paul Holmes

  • Will the social media-empowered pro-democracy uprisings that have brought down dictators in the Arab world translate into equally revolutionary attacks on corporate oligarchs? At Forbes, contributor David Kirkpatrick makes the case that “this social might is now moving toward your company. We have entered the age of empowered individuals, who use potent new technologies and harness social media to organize themselves.” In response, he says, “companies and leaders will have to show authenticity, fairness, transparency and good faith. If they don’t, customers and employees may come to distrust them, to potentially disastrous effect.” It’s worth a read. Maybe you’ll be less cynical about the chances of any real change than I am.
  • An interesting nugget from The Penguin and the Leviathan for those who believe that the soaring compensation of American CEOs is somehow “performance based”: “In 2006, for example, then [General Motors] CEO Wagoner made more than the top twenty-one executives at Honda combined, and somewhere in the order of fifteen times the salary of his equivalent at Toyota.” Good thing that was reflected in the American company’s vastly superior sales, financial performance and shareholder returns, eh? Otherwise, Waggener would probably have felt like a complete fraud.  
  • A California case demonstrates that public relations people savvy and cynical enough can trick Google News into disseminating crude propaganda as if it was real news. Which I suppose is good news for clients who know their story is so weak it can’t stand close scrutiny, their position so untenable it can’t generate any third-party support, and their horizon so short-term they don’t mind the inevitable discovery and scorn.
  • Google—like so many before it—has recognized the need to build relationships with the policy-making and regulatory communities, and is apparently now showering Republican lobbyists and right-wing think tanks with its largesse. While continuing not to be evil, of course.
  • The US Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations are suing to protect their right to keep employees in the dark. A proposed National Labor Relations Board rule requiring that employees be informed of their rights is apparently an egregious violation of companies’ own First Amendment rights.
  • Mark Penn continues to irritate the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. The good news, for Penn at least, is that no-one in the media, the Democratic Party, or indeed the rest of the known universe really gives a damn what the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party thinks.
  • “Chocolate 'as good for you as exercise,'” is the Daily Telegraph’s headline on a story that—needless to say—suggests absolutely nothing of the kind, unless the “you” it refers to is a mouse and the definition of “good” is narrowed to the point that it is utterly meaningless.  Somtimes you don't have to produce a bogus survey to generate bogus coverage. And in the UK, the Telegraph is considered (by some) a "quality" paper, not a tabloid.
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