Social Media Top 5: Reaction-ary, DIY PR Advice From Hell, Making Better Conferences

Image credit: wackystuff on Flickr

Image credit: wackystuff on Flickr

One Question about Facebook Reactions:
Facebook officially released the “reactions” emoji, so people can express a range of emotions outside of the traditional “like” button when not bothering to actually comment on a friend’s post.  I do have one question about how this might change the way we use Facebook: will fewer people like posts because of the perceived extra work involved? I firmly believe there is a value to the drive-by like, and the perception that it will take a little extra effort may mean people don’t bother. Would love to see numbers on this in a few months.

Never underestimate the laziness of the average person just trying to get through their day.

Image credit: Alexander on Flickr

Image credit: Alexander on Flickr

More Terrible DIY PR Advice

I’m not solely a PR practitioner anymore, but articles advising entrepreneurs, such as this recent post, how they don’t need to hire PR counsel to get publicity have always galled me, from Jason Calacanis’ missive on promoting your own business from nearly a decade ago, to this latest article. The advice really being espoused? “Don’t worry about doing your actual job; don’t worry about hiring a professional (internal, agency, consultant, or any of the above) to do your promotion, you can do it yourself with no training, in your abundant free time. It was silly when serial entrepreneur and pundit Jason Calacanis wrote such advise almost a decade ago (which I dubbed “How to be Jason Calacanis”); it is still silly now.

The fundamental problem with this advice is not that there aren’t people who can and should do it themselves (or, for that matter, those for whom doing contracted PR work would be an absolute nightmare and not worth the retainer), but the assumption that a typical entrepreneur has the time, let alone the skills, to do their own PR successfully. To borrow a word from the late Justice Antonin Scalia: applesauce.

Improving Conferences

I attended Pubcon in Fort Lauderdale this past week (courtesy of my employer, Stone Temple Consulting), which put me in a long overdue “thinking about what I like or otherwise about conferences” mood. While any conference has ways in which it can improve, I generally enjoyed Pubcon and knew enough to make as much of my time there as possible. I will only leave one specific criticism, which is not aimed at the organizers but at every hotel or convention center that ever hosts a conference, especially in this age of social media:

I managed to take a few speaker photos using a camera with a very god lens (see below) despite the horrendous lighting, but I can only imagine that typical smartphone users were left with terrible quality – a little better speaker-focused lighting in hotel conference rooms would greatly improve the quality of organic social sharing at events.

Kyle Olson (@BecauseSEO) on advanced linkbuilding - Content placement -  #PubconSFIMA #twitter

After I came home, however, my colleague Mark Traphagen, in advance of his speaking at another upcoming conference, linked to this article about improving digital marketing conferences, but in his comment added: “Have an editorial team to work with speakers on their presentations.

10 Ways Digital Marketing Conferences Can Dramatically Improve Their Events in 2016

The best point I took away was in the area of speaker preparation. Conference speakers have their spots for good reasons (and as often as not they justify those reasons); but there needs to be more  balance between polished speakers who give empty but (maybe) entertaining talks (usually keynotes, or as I call them, a good time to get work done), and speakers with more practical takeaways who struggle with presentation style.

I agree that conferences can take a greater role in guiding speakers through their presentations. No, it’s not about editing the content of speaker presentations (god forbid someone monkey with your precious fireproof tips for SnapChat monetization), but about making sure people who pay to go to conferences are getting value. From every session. It’s not about flash, it’s about value.

TedX Cambridge is a great model- though it is difficult to expect the level of attention to detail the organizers give their speakers, a centrally-controlled speaker preparation program would greatly improve most conferences.

As for the Sales Lion article Mark linked to- I don’t agree with all of it, but it’s worth a read.

MacBook Selfie Sticks

Please, God, no. Regular Selfie sticks are bad enough. On the other hand, I see an increased opportunity for entertaining self-injury.


My Only Comment for Critics of The Met’s New Logo:

Another new logo, another righteous mob. I can’t bring myself to articulate a helpful response:


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