Reputation; worse than being talked about

Worse than being talked about

Oscar Wilde famously said: ‘There is only one thing worse [in the world] than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.’

But perhaps his view might be different if he had lived today. It is not so much that people are talked or gossiped about more now than they were in the Victorian era. It is the ease with which rumours are amplified on social media and given credibility by the sites that they are published on.

The Part Of Musical Amplifier Sound Amplifier Or Music Mixer Wit

Ricky Gervais’ latest standup HUMANITY explores this phenomena, drawing a distinction between fact and opinion.  Pointing out that turning up the volume on opinion and having it published online does not convert it to fact. The latter part of his standup focuses on fact versus opinion. He recounts how he dangles facts on Twitter, counting the seconds before they are taken, ripped apart and spat out by loud-mouth bigots.

Opinion over fact thinking

Speaking of which, opinion over fact thinking…

‘What you know matters less, than the volume with which; what you don’t know’s expressed!’

…is wonderfully told, or rather sung by Zinnia Wormwood, mother to Matilda [the Musical] in her song Loud.

We can go back further, OK magazine invited Katie Price to write an advice column between 2007 – 2009 after she disclosed to the media that she had suffered from post natal depression. Whilst it was admirable of Katie to share her experience of post natal depression; surviving the experience does not make her a mental health expert, nor does it qualify her to council other potentially vulnerable people.

A disregard to pay for ‘expert opinion’ or read journalistic quality news is a popular topic for siteAssets. This is because:

Businesses and individuals cannot make informed decisions unless they are based on facts.

And – opinions only matter if they come from an expert, someone with experience of what you are concerned about, or need advice with. That’s all very well and good but –

What do you do about wrong facts?

What do you do about being heard?

Managing reputation

If you are a business owner and someone has published a bad review about you, it can be very difficult to remove it from ‘the public eye’. We would advise that you respond to the bad review online, using the same platform on which the bad review was posted.

The exception to this is if the complainant is being foul-mouthes (it happens) or is expressing an ‘ism’ against you, your business or your staff. In which you should warn the individual of that – and state that you are taking the complaint offline. If you would like more advice please contact us.

If you are a business owner or you manage an organisation, such as a club or charity and you are struggling to attract customers or members. It may be because your website is not visible under the right industry categories, or that it is not visible on mobile phones or tablets. Both will bring your ranking and indexing by Google down. In addition you may lack reviews on eg TripAdvisor or on Google Maps. Again if you would like us to review your online presence and reputation please contact us.

You may have found that PR does not work for your business or organisation any more. This is because sadly, as print media has declined specialist journalists have been replaced with free-lance or more generic writers. This means that there may not be anyone at a local paper that understands why your ‘news story’ is important. And, PR consultants have struggled against the opinion trumps fact phenomena. They too cannot be heard above the din of social media. For advice on how to build a strong referral presence online please contact us.

Fake news, it’s just gossip

Fake news, it’s just gossip…

Really is anyone surprised to find that if you enable people to publish and share what they like online, via Facebook, Google, Twitter, Word.Press – the list is long…some of it is complete tosh. Publishing it and sharing it does not make it credible.

If my car broke down I wouldn’t leave it in the street with a note on it saying “Please mend for free.”

News is the same. You get what you pay for.

But the investment in news, media and quality journalism is a big one. And always there is commercial conflict between integrity of news and selling advertising space. Without advert sales and paid for subscriptions whether via a ‘pay-wall’ or not; print costs and news quite simply can not be funded.

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It is the content not the technology that makes the expert

So just exactly how do the figures stack up for UK news groups?

The Economist Group is a limited company made up of famous brands such as: The Economist and EuroFinance. The Group has three types of share ownership, including trust shares and special shares. This means that the integrity of how the Group operates and the quality of its news reporting is protected by the structure and ownership of the company. In fact over 43% of the Group is made up of special shares and trust shares, meaning that integrity is a core value.
The Guardian Media Group (GMG) parent company for the Guardian and the Observer newspapers; is also trust owned at around 50.1%. GMG reported losses of £62.6m last financial year (2015-16) the majority of which funded the trust ownership of newspaper.  As quoted in the GMG financial statement: ‘The sole purpose [of this type of funding] is to secure the editorial independence and financial security of the Guardian in perpetuity.’

Whereas if we look at Facebook it had total assets of $64.96m at 2016 year-end, and total liabilities including stockholder equity, at $5.77m. Google on the other hand made $111,649.51m in total revenue at 2016 year-end with a gross profit of $68,275m.

Hmmm… this points to the money being in advertising, and if all you have to do as a publishing platform owner is – well erhh – publish then the outcome is lucrative. Thankfully both advertising platform owners are now taking steps to block fake news, and Facebook is piloting news feeds that contain interest and industry related news only, the feeds will not contain news updates from friends.

As to Twitter let’s hope it gets acquired by a trust or by a foundation, so that it can continue its heritage as a news micro-blog publisher and retain Wikipedia (or Wikimedia Foundation) credibility. For businesses and thinking people everywhere the lesson is to check the source of the news first, unless it comes from a trusted brand.

Twitter dumps LinkedIn – Ouch!

Twitter has ended its three-year partnership with LinkedIn, showing that LinkedIn always needed Twitter a whole lot more than Twitter needed LinkedIn. Why is this? Because LinkedIn lacks Social Media buzz, it’s a flat as Friends Reunited, and the end of this partnership means that LI may be headed that way too.

Why the partnership was so great for linkedIn; explained from an internet marketing perspective:

  • LinkedIn made Tweets visible in Google search results by publishing LinkedIn member news (in the form of individual Tweets) on their site;
  • This meant they were able to attract lots of professional users to their site;
  • This is why when you looked at what people [used to] search for before they arrived on the LinkedIn site you could see users searched on trade news items/hot topics (eg iPhone);
  • This was a bit of a coup considering that LinkedIn is not (and was not) an original news owner or publisher. In addition almost all (98%) of the traffic they got from their audience’s shared news and LinkedIn brand name searches was natural (organic or SEO) search traffic – which means that it was free!
  • So for three years LinkedIn overtook trade news owners from Brand Republic to the Guardian and also jobs boards growing their audience to over 4m unique visitors a month – that’s a lot. But now without visibility of all that trade news in the form of Tweets
And without…
Five months grace from 21 Feb* when LinkedIn member Tweets were still be published on LinkedIn and so were still being made visible by Google…
Now we (marketers, recruiters and jobseekers alike) need to look for some alternatives!
*Twitter shut Google out (21 Feb 2012) by partnering with Google’s biggest rival Yandex effectively bringing down an iron curtain on Google and its access to Twitter functionality and Tweet visibility in search results.

What this means for you as a jobseeker:

Think about your professional online brand, if you haven’t set up a Twitter account do it, and do it now. Check your privacy settings on Facebook and what you are saying during work hours. You are entitled to a social life, but consider having a professional Facebook account, one that you’d be happy to show a prospective employer. Whilst you are on Facebook check our BranchOut it is LinkedIn’s biggest threat. Based on what you do on Facebook and what you have put on your profile, you can connect with like-minded professionals on Facebook. Remember what’s visible on Facebook is down to you and your privacy settings, the BranchOut app is great – give it a go. Never share your Social Media logins. Do give yourself the best chance of getting hired.

What this means for you as a recruiter/hiring manager/HR professional/marketer:

If LinkedIn don’t start to pay to attract a trade reader (professional) audience the quality and volume of traffic hitting (and staying) on their site will fall. Check out BranchOut on Facebook, the app leverages a Facebook user’s network connections and has sophisticated likes and preferences data behind it. You are more likely to find talented professionals via this app.

What this means for LinkedIn:

They need to hire some skilled digital marketers!

For more web-savvy tips visit siteAssets, we run Social Media Recruitment workshops at a very reasonable price.

Good luck peeps.