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With hundreds of definitions swarming around the phrase “thought leader” it can be hard to define for some. Thought leader is typically defined as a person (or business) who is an authority or expert in a specific field. This individual can be seen as the “go-to” person for opinions, expert commentary, future predictions, etc. Though if you ask some PR people, they may define thought leader as any of their clients. With that said, the title of thought leader can be pretty easily thrown around in our industry, especially when everyone wants their client to be forward-thinking or, excuse my language, “groundbreaking.” Unfortunately, last month, LinkedIn gave most of us a wake-up call by releasing a new thought leader feature. The verdict? You’re probably not one.
When Beyoncé posed the question, “Who run the world?” Her answer was, “Girls.” I would argue the answer might actually be “Beyonce,” but that’s beside the point. Yet regardless of who is running the world, or what is going on, the best place to find out about it remains everyone’s favorite micro-blogging site, Twitter.
Twitter broke out as the timeliest of newsfeeds when Pilot Chelsea “Sully” Sullenberger landed US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River and Twitter user Janis Krums tweeted the first photo published of the plane on the river.
It was this “Miracle on the Hudson” that made Twitter the place to find out about news first. First being the key word. But today, particularly after this week’s tragedy of Hurricane Sandy, Twitter has become not only the place to find out about news first, but the place to follow a story unfolding, period.
When Oprah decided to leave daytime television and start her OWN network, she was taking a big risk. Oprah fans – and there were a lot of them – had become used to watching her at a certain time each day, on a certain station, and to see certain guests and topics (who doesn’t remember her infamous interview with Tom Cruise?). Oprah became a habit. And habits – like cultural norms – can be hard to change.
Let’s look at a few examples. The television was first invented in 1926; 22 years later in 1948, there were only about 35,000 television sets in the U.S., compared to 40 million radios. Today, there are roughly 285 million. The smartphone era began in 2002, but four and a half years later in 2006, only 715,000 smart phones were sold. Earlier this year, it was reported that smartphone ownership had reached 110 million users in the U.S. While these technologies eventually became mainstream, it didn’t happen overnight.
When Mitt Romney announced his pick for Vice President – on a Saturday morning in the middle of the Olympics – it seemed like curious timing. Who would try to compete with the ratings juggernaut that is the Summer Olympics? However, not long after the announcement was made, promotions started running for the first interview with the newly minted Romney/Ryan ticket in an exclusive with 60 Minutes.
The Romney Campaign clearly wanted to set the agenda for the Sunday op-ed pages and the Sunday morning talk shows. Even though “Meet the Press” was pre-empted by the Olympics, Eric Fehrnstrom, Romeny’s right hand man, was front and center on “Face the Nation” and Governor Tim Pawlenty defended the ticket on “This Week,” with George Stephanopoulos. The week that followed became all about the Republican challengers and a little about P90X.
The 2012 Associated Press Stylebook has arrived, containing more than 270 new and updated entries in fashion, broadcast and social media that will help writers perfect their prose.
Before thumbing through the nearly 500-page news writing guide, here are five important updates to the revised edition:
- Hopefully. At the center of debate is AP’s updated definition of “hopefully.” The news service no longer objects to using hopefully as a floating sentence adverb, as in Hopefully, the Boston Celtics will advance to the NBA Finals, allowing the modern usage meaning of it is hoped. Linguists, however, argue that hopefully is one word that waters down writing. They say it’s insignificant and doesn’t strengthen script, while other critics say “it’s a free-floating modifier that isn’t attached to the verb of the sentence, but rather describes a speaker’s attitudes.” Other floating modifiers—sadly, mercifully, thankfully or frankly—are common in English grammar and haven’t sparked discussion.
You may be a media maven or a social superstar, an astute strategist or a canny writer, but in the PR agency world, this means little if the client ain’t happy.
I’ve been a PR consultant as well as a client so I’ve seen both sides of the fence. I know what it’s like to operate on the outside, trying to read the tea leaves to figure out what’s going on in my client’s world. And as an in-house PR manager, I’ve also experienced the frustration of my inherited PR agency not completely being on the same page as me (I corrected that quickly).
Walking in your client’s—or your prospect’s shoes—is an essential skill for any PR practitioner. It’s not something you can learn in a book. It’s a state of mind, a commitment.
Tech blogger and humor writer Paul Carr recently released his book Sober Is My New Drunk, which details how he solved his drinking problem with the help of social media and why he found the Internet to be more useful than AA to stay clean and sober.
When the Wall Street Journal posted an excerpt of his book on its website, the trolls came out to play. They bet money that he’d be off the wagon in a year, chastising him for not joining AA with comments such as, “CONGRATULATIONS!!! Let us hear how YOUR steps are working for you in 20 years.” Others conveyed hope that Carr would start drinking again because he didn’t join the program.
When it comes to social sites, we’ve all been poked on Facebook. We’re forced to Google+ if we want to come up in search results. And now we’re so excited about Pins you would think it was 1964 and the quarterback wants you to be his girlfriend.
But what about LinkedIn, which many still think of only as a place to look for a job? It may not seem nearly as exciting as the other shiny tools, but it’s a little like Clark Kent – with a Superman shirt under his shirt and tie.
Around this time last year, LinkedIn hit a milestone with more than 100 million users worldwide. That includes more than 17.8 million members in groups and 1.2 million posts and comments to professional groups each week. Anecdotally, LinkedIn is one of the highest referring sources for our blog. And they make it pretty easy.