Thursday, 5 May 2011

Secrets behind the blog- Google Analytics

Evaluation of PR efforts is a massive issue within the industry; especially as it is hard to tell if efforts have reached their intended audiences.It's also hard to know what channels to concentrate on. However, online monitoring systems like Google Analytics have provided the means to easily discover who is visiting what websites and other useful information. I’ve been using it on this blog to discover who has been visiting mine.

First Google Analytics shows how many visitors my blog has had over time.
This shows that the blog has increased visits in the last few days and on what days it was visited. This would be very useful when doing a communications campaign as it would let you know if people increased their visits and would help assess if your website/blog was getting enough visits. 
Other information;
This can help assess and design web content;
    • New visits % helps determine if you're increasing your readership
    • Avg Time indicates how to design content by suggesting how quickly information needs to be accessed.
Google Analytics can tell you far more than just frequency of visits; it can give you detailed information about the visitors such as their location and technical details.
mapMost of my visitors were from the UK,but I did get some visits from the US & Spain.

This could help to assess if you were reaching a target audience.
It tells me other information about visitors such as the systems and search engines they're using.  Most people were using Windows.

It showed me that 63% of visitors were using Firefox and 35% were using Chrome. 

Other information such as screen colour and resolution are available too. All this information is useful; it can be used to ensure that the content on the website can be accessed by the users. It can also be used to create content and add-ons based on the browser capabilities.

Referral information
It also indicates where people come from to get to my blog and what search words were used. It showed me that most people came from blogger and no search words were found.
This would be very useful in evaluating your communication efforts on the internet and can indicate where you should concentrate your resources and time.

However, I’ve also noticed that Google Analytics' and Blogger's own ‘stats’ functions are different, which suggests that for clear understanding of web traffic a variety of monitoring system should be used.

au blog
Blogger suggests that I've had visitors from more countries such as Russia and South Korea.


Pictures from;

Monday, 2 May 2011

Twitter & The Scottish Election

Here’s a video about trying to use twitter to engage with MSP candidates & how it can be used to assess MSP candidates communications.
What this shows is that Twitter is still an emerging medium and its application in PR and communication is still being tested. It is useful in evaluating responses to communication efforts especially for live & TV events.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Press release & Newsrooms turning digital? New PR tools to meet needs of Web 2.0

The internet and development of Web 2.0 have changed the way that people acquire their information. Most noticeably it has decreased the power of the mainstream media, such as newspapers, whilst increasing the development of citizen journalists, such as bloggers, and interaction between people through social media. It is also claimed that it has increased and facilitated two-way communication between companies and their publics and changed the model of communication for mass audiences to a network system. These developments mean that the PR industry can no longer rely on traditional tools such as press releases to get their message out. Social media release and the social media newsroom have been present as possible alternatives.
What’s new about the social media release and newsrooms?
Both these tool do more that put their traditional counterparts online. They are designed to incorporate elements of social media and interactivity. They use elements of multi-media to make the content more intriguing and present large amounts of information in user–friendly ways. This helps to ensure that a variety of audiences can obtain relevant and in-depth information.
Key Elements
The Social Media Release
The Social media release
  • Multimedia content e.g videos, podcasts
  • Includes variety of quotes & Bio’s
  • Links to pages of other documents
  • A range of user friendly viewing types
  • Incorporates link to social media; Twitter etc
  • Comment facilities
  • Links to the social media newsrooms
The Social Media Newsrooms
    The Social media Newsrooms
  • All Social media & traditional new releases
  • Media coverage link or pdfs
  • Downloadable content like press kit & financial reports
  • RSS feeds for different sections
  • Links to social media; Twitter feeds etc
  • Bios of company with social media contacts
  • Interactive elements
  • built pages
Are these the Solution for  the PR industry ?
There are many advocates for both these tools in the PR industry. They claim that they provide a means for companies to interact with their stakeholders directly and utilise their social media network. It is also claimed that the format is easier to decipher for both online bloggers and traditional media channels therefore these formats will help to make the message more appealing and user friendly.
Many companies have developed platforms for organisations to use which provide a varying service such as realwire, pressfeed and Shift Communications. These different services have been rated and “how-to” service has been developed to support companies which use these tools. This may help the organisations to decide whether to adopt these tools.
Main ways that these tools are solution for Web 2.0
  • Aims to reach a larger audience than just media
  • Move to communicate with all internet users, rather than just communicating with mediators
  • Use RSS feeds, Newswire and can be personalised
  • Can easily share though other sites twitter, Facebook
  • Interactive elements both embeded and though links to other sites e.g blogs
  • Provide content that can be easily deconstructed for other online tools and media
  • Extra information easily available
  • Easy to decipher multi- media
  • Standardisation for all new content
However, there has been little research into how effective these tools are, apart from  P.Steyn et al (2010), which suggests that social media releases are seen as useful by some bloggers which suggests they may be the way forward.
However, not all bloggers are aware of these platforms, and many advocates are companies that provide these services. This makes me sceptical about how effective these tools are, and how wide an impact they have had.
Some problems
These tools do not come without problems. People are able to interact with your message and this means that the meaning can be very easily changed. So these formats can be used to create negative coverage.
  • Feedback might be inappropriate or unconstructive
    • Seen by all users
  • Content can be used by other online users in detrimental way
  • Interactivity can mean no control
  • Content changed when reproduced
It can be expensive and time consuming.
  • Needs constant updating
    • Not just website: Facebook, Blog, twitter
  • May need more staff 
Tool still needs visitors for it to be successful
How interactive?
It's claimed that these tools are a move away from one-way communication as they contain interactive elements. But they do not really use this to create two-way symmetrical communication as content is still controlled and users mostly just comment. This means the tools do not create full conversations or really build long-term relationships.
Another problem that occurs throughout social media use in public relations is that many practitioners do not use the internet platforms to their full potential. They frequently use them as an alternative media medium and treat them accordingly.

Video from
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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Who you know not what you know! Changing Social Networks

NickNick Clegg recently called for internships not to be based on connections or money but on people's achievements. He believes that current internship places are mainly given to people with friends or family connections which is a blocker for social mobility. He called on government departments to re-assess their internship programs by making the schemes fairer and transparent, to negate the importance of people's connections. However, David Carmon defended the current system as the idea of giving a helping hand to people you already have a connection with is part of the natural course. 

Though it would be nice to think that we could exist in a world based on merit in reality we all use our connections and networks to get ahead in the world. That does not mean that only the rich and privileged can create these networks and connections. The internet may help open these networks up and foster connections which were previously unfeasible.
It has been said ‘its who you know not what you know’ that gets you ahead in the world emphasizing the importance of networking and people's connections. That's because networking and connections help to gain access to people, like opinion leaders, journalists and policy makers, by developing interpersonal relationships. This is a fundamental concept in public relations and other communication practices, such as public affairs, as access is needed to get your messages heard and helps create goodwill.

NetworkJan Van Dijk and Manuel Castells work on Network society suggest that the internet has increased our ability to create these connection. This may completely change how this networking and connection are made.
Social media and online communities have enabled people to create networks bypassing the geographical and social constraints, but also meant that individual's networks are far wider and interconnected. This suggests that people’s online networks could connect them with individuals who could grant or gain access to places and people unattainable otherwise. 
The question is will these virtual networks translate into the real world? 

I believe that these networks enable information to be disseminated to larger audience which may mean more people learn about opportunities such as internships. I do not think that these online networks will substitute interpersonal networks and connections ,such as family and friends, that provide the greatest advantage.
However, in the future these online networks may provide the interpersonal connection needed.
Picture Source 
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Sunday, 10 April 2011

Facebook Revolutions? The Role of Social media

2011 has seen a protest movement spread across the Arab world which has resulted in two leaders being overthrown in Tunisia and Egypt. The movement is still growing in Yemen and Bahrain, not to mention the civil war brewing in Libya. These have been dubbed ‘Facebook Revolutions’ which suggests that social media has been a catalyst. However is it really the case that Facebook (and other social media) enabled these movements?
The growth of social media over a decade has encouraged many communications and public relations academics and practitioners to look at its role in activist and protest movements. They highlight how it can provide a means for individuals to network and communicate with people they have never met in various geographical locations with only one-click and with an air of anonymity. They suggest that it has created a space for activist and protest groups to form without the need to be physically present, helping avoid intervention from authorities. This organisation also takes considerably less time. Social media enables people to join a movement in one day, organise an action and carry it out the next day! It also provides a sphere for people to communicate with others outside the group without mediators like the media.
All these aspects can be seen in the ‘Facebook Revolutions’-
facebook 2

Facebook enables people to create and join groups regarding the movement which helps people mobilise in large numbers. 


It also provides a way to quickly organise gathering and matches in different locations by creating events. facebook 1

Twitter has been used to direct people towards information and express opinions.
yemen 2bahrain

It helps give people up-to-date information, and was seen as so important that a voicemail was set up when the internet was shut down. This helped protesters to communicate what was going on to each other, and also to the outside world.
YouTube has aided the idea of the citizen journalist by providing a space where anyone can upload video concerning the events. This meant that the world was supplied unprecedented access to images of what was going on without the need for international journalism.

However, the underlying social issues in these countries were the reason why people joined the movements and these people would quite possibly have protested against them without social media. It may just have taken more time, especially considering it all started when a street vendor in Tunisia set himself alight!
The role of social media in the recent events in the Arab world cannot be ignored. It enabled fast and open communication between like-minded people without authorities, and also helped to spread their cause across the world. However it is tool, not a cause!

Pictures taken from!/Freesoulfree!/pages/Support-egypt-uprising/184584958231055
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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Would CSR saved the Energy giants Ofgem ruling?

On 21st March 2011 Ofgem announced its conclusion to its investigation of  the big six energy company pricing system. It conclusion were scathing claiming that all the companies were confusing their customers and rising price far quicker than lowering them  with changing wholesale prices. Ofgem has given them eight week to make changes or it will refer them to the competing commission which may lead to more problems for the companies. The question here is if these companies has practices CSR they would they have avoid these forced changes?  
These companies have clearly been behaving in a way that was against the interest of many of the stakeholder, mainly the customers, which has resulted in the regulatory authority intervening. If these companies had engaged in  CSR practices they would have know that what they were doing was not acceptable to their stakeholder or at least foster good relationships that would have protected them from this kind of scrutiny.

Instead they show a opportunity to increase their profit margins and believed that there were untouchable as they provided an essential service. They now have to make costly changes and sell off a share of the supplies to increase competition in the industry to meant the demands of Ofgem. This may cost them a lot more than the short term profit they gain.
This seems to be a warning to companies that may believe they are essential so can behave how they like that regulatory authority will step in and demand changing if they refuse to behave in a fair way. This suggest that companies should not just claim to be engage CSR practices, but start to really adopt the concept into their business practice to avoid costly regulations in the further.
Video Source from the  Press association available from  youtube 
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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Problem with Strikes


Strikes are seen as legitimate form of action when communication breaks down between management and employees. However, the question is whether they are beneficial in successfully communicating grievances and achieving the desire outcome. A key to successful strike is gaining support from people not involved in the disagreement. Therefore its important that groups involved in strike action insure they communicate their cause to wider audiences before the actually strike. Some Scottish university has made the decision to take strike action on the 24th March to protest against changes in pension changes. Stirling university staff  are to join this strike, but also to fight the upcoming redundancy in the aquaculture department.

Staff Rally and views of students

The Thursdays before some staff took teaching out of the classroom and had a rally to highlight their cause and gain support. The Speaker at the rally spoke passionately about the cause demanding that the need to stand united.  Though there was clear support among the crowd the rest of university seemed to carry on as usual.



Student that will be affected by the cuts seem to be well informed about the action and in support would support the strikes. However, Student in other departments had clearly not be well informed about the strike and therefore did not see the action as legitimate.  The fact that the majority of students had not be told about this actions indicates that staff are not relaying the need inform. This shows why strikes of this sort may not gain the support need for there successes. 

Only time will tell whether this strike will help the cause in the long run, but clearly more need to be done to ensure the the whole student body is on board.

Video Edited from footage taken on the 17th March 2011