PR Campaigns – The blog

March 2, 2009

Are blogs becoming paid thoughts?

Filed under: Step Up Communications — cafuller @ 12:47 pm
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For a while now, I’ve been trying to explain to my roommate what Twitter is, and why these social media tools aren’t really as useless as she thinks – they’re actually pretty fun!  She continues to be critical and simply unimpressed, reacting each time with a casual “oh, I guess that’s cool.  I just don’t get it.”  Then, last week, her reaction left me stumped.

It seems to be a topic of conversation every time I walk into my PR Campaigns class now.  “Did you see what Shaq posted today on Twitter? He’s so hilarious, you need to follow him!”  I found a blog by Niki D’Andrea  of the Phoenix New Times describing a Twittering Shaq story that I found particularly cool.  I was sure it was just what I needed to draw my roommate into the Twittering world.  Instead, when she finished reading the story, all she had to say was “Twitter must be paying Shaq for all of this publicity.”  I was speechless and, honestly, a little annoyed.  After all, how can someone be so critical and skeptical?! But, could she be right?

I came across a blog today by Steve Rubel all about the ethics of sponsored blog conversations – A.K.A. – bloggers who are paid to discuss certain topics.  Rubel discusses the controversial issue in conjunction with a Forrester Research study that said this sponsored sort of blogging is becoming more popular.  While Rubel discusses some ways to manage sponsored blogging, he also argues that this type of communication needs to be handled carefully, with a lot of disclosure and credibility.

I’ve always viewed blogging as independent thoughts.  People share what they’re thinking, without being guided by their employer or anyone else.  Is it just me, or does the idea of sponsored blogging/social media make things a lot more confusing and less reputable?  For some reason, a comparison to infomercials keeps coming to mind – people being paid to say they like a certain product.  I guess those aren’t all that bad, but then again, I don’t usually take what I see on infomercials very seriously.

I’m beginning to think that my roommate’s skeptisism might not be such a bad thing, after all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still keep using and loving all of this new social media popping up everyday, but I’ll definitely start to keep a skeptical eye out for purchased thoughts.


September 25, 2008

Journalists’ Right vs. PRs’ Might

Filed under: The Agency — agilliam @ 11:22 pm
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In the past few days there has been quite an uproar from the media due to the McCain campaign’s continued sheltering of Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. On Tuesday and Wednesday she met with world leaders from the United Nations for the first time, and her campaign attempted to only allow photographers into the meetings. The journalists involved refused to take pictures if there was not an editorial presence there. They compromised at allowing the editorial presence, but only for mere moments.

Is it OK for Governor Palin’s public relations representative to say no to the press? The campaign has allowed for almost no questions from the media. Is that their right? As public relation’s people, how do we balance the need to be in control of certain things while still being ethical? And couldn’t this type of “hiding” cause a backlash from the media, who we need to have good relations with? It may have already caused ripples with some news outlets, but perhaps the campaign decided it was worth it.

Thursday, Governor Palin opened up questions to four reporters, so I thought maybe they decided to let her show a bit of herself. Then I realized that she only answered questions of her choosing. Is this all an ingenious strategy or do you think that the public will eventually get tired of it? I don’t mean to be picking at Governor Palin, I think many in the field of public relations use this strategy, but does that make it right?

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