Archive for the ‘ PR and Communications ’ Category

Misschien moeten de overheden in de wereld wat meer ‘deuren’ hangen….


Toen Martin Luther in 1517 zijn stellingen voor hervorming aan de kerkdeur van Wittenberg nagelde, stak hij het uur aan de lont van de reformatie.   Een beweging die hervormingen  – of toch minstens  herziening – eiste van de toen gangbare katholieke dogma’s.  Het revolutionaire van Luther’s actie lag niet in het nagelen van zijn boodschap aan een kerkdeur.  Die deur werd vroeger wel meer gebruikt als “messageboard”.  De kerkdeur was het ‘portaal’ waar de gemeente bij elkaar kwam en dus een snelle manier om informatie wereldkundig te maken en te verspreiden.   De kerkelijke overheid deed er toen ook alles aan om “schadelijke content” zo snel mogelijk van hun messageboard te verwijderen.

Het revolutionaire van Luther’s stellingen bestond uit een visie over de toekomst van de kerk, die niet van de kerkleiding zelf kwam en die daarbovenop ook nog eens in het openbaar onder de bevolking werd verspreid en de bevolking de kans gaf  om daar zelf een mening over te vormen.  Mocht Luter vandaag geleefd hebben had hij waarschijnlijk zijn stellingen via facebook of Twitter wereldkundig gemaakt.

Mensen in Tunesïe, Egypte, Jordanië, België en overal elders in de wereld gebruiken Social Media om elkaar – en bij uitbreiding de rest van de wereld – te informeren en op de hoogte te brengen.  Om hun frustratie te uiten over wat er mis gaat, om oplossingen te vragen en voor te stellen.  Om hun visie kenbaar te maken, te duiden en te bediscussieren.   Social Media is de hedendaagse versie van Luther’s kerkdeur.

Het is dan ook meer dan spijtig dat overheden in rusteloze gebieden altijd trachten om het internet en het gebruik van social media te beperken of zelfs te verbieden.   Net zoals de inquisitie boeken verbrandden om de verspreiding van ideeën tegen te houden.

Spijtig, want een overheid die Social Media omarmt en het gebruik ervan aanmoedigt, heeft er alleen maar voordeel bij.  ‘Tapping into the wisdom of Crowds’, weet u wel. Een voorbeeld: afgelopen zomer hield de gemeenteraad vanhet Britse Coventry een interactieve, online dialoog met haar inwoners. ‘CovJam’ maakte hiervoor gebruik van de IBM “Jam” methodologie.

In een periode waarin strakke besparingen en sneuvelende budgeten vele gemeenten in de UK het mes op de keel zet, vond gemeenteraad van Coventry er niet beter op dan haar inwoners te bevragen over hoe ze de volgende 20 jaar het hoofd boven water kunnen houden.

De  jam liep 24/24 gedurende drie dagen.  CovJam levered een oogst op van meer dan 2000 commentaren en ideeën van burgers, ondernemingen en publieke instellingen van de negende grootste stad van het Verenigd Koninkrijk.

De bevolking kreeg een online platform waarop men zijn ongenoegen uitte, frustraties ventileerde en om aandacht voor tal van problemen.  Maar tegelijk discussieerde Coventry open over het verbeteren van de levenskwaliteit van de inwoners, over het aantrekken van investeerders en hoe de werkegelegenheid in de regio kon worden aangezwengeld.

De jam werd gemodereerd door een team van vertegenwoordigers uit de gemeenteraad, plaatselijke verenigingen en experts die de discussies opvolgden en aanmoedigden. Zij hielden de discussies ook gefocused op het objectief van de ‘jam’: creatieve, maar praktische, ideetjes zonder grote kosten die het leven in de stad verbeteren. Ondertussen zijn er al ideeën van de jam uitgevoerd.   Verscheidene anderen zijn in de planning van de gemeenteraad opgenomen.

De graad van engagement was indrukwekkend meer dan 4/5de van pre-geregistreerden nam daadwerkelijk deel aan de ‘Jam’.  Het dubbele daarvan lieten een comment achter op de site. Meer dan een kwart van de deelnemers was ouder dan 50 jaar – waaruit blijkt dat leeftijd geen drempel is om aan dit soort initiatieven deel te nemen.

Een overheid die Social Media omarmt, doet er zijn voordeel mee.  Het zal een veel nauwer contact hebben met haar bevolking en op elk moment weten wat er leeft.  Het zal de inhoud van berichten die op haar deur genageld worden begrijpen en er actie op ondernemen. Misschien moeten de overheden in de wereld wat meer ‘deuren’ hangen…

Wenst u ook deel te nemen aan een Jam ?  IBM Social business jam van 8 tot 11 februari 2011.

First time ever TV game #Jeopardy will have computer as contestant. #IBM’s #Watson on air February 14, 15, 16


Today, IBM and Jeopardy  announced that an IBM computing system named “Watson” will compete on Jeopardy against the show’s two most successful and celebrated contestants — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, and that the competition will air on television on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011.

Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, has been developed over the past 4 years by a team of IBM scientists who set out to accomplish a grand challenge – build a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence.  Jeopardy provides the ultimate challenge because the game’s clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not.

When the IBM scientists began this project, others in the scientific community believed this task to be impossible and the IBM scientists themselves believed the challenge was so difficult, they did not know what they would be able to achieve. This fall, the scientists achieved remarkable results, when Watson played more than 55 “sparring games” against former Jeopardy Tournament of Champions contestants. Highlights of the sparring matches can be viewed and tracked over the next few weeks at IBMWatson.com

Watson is the most recent example of how IBM’s approximate $6 billion per year investment in R&D is spurring new technologies to help build a smarter planet — driving progress in areas such as healthcare, biology, energy, water resources, food safety, and more.

Watson’s ability to understand the meaning and context of human language, and rapidly process information to find precise answers to complex questions, holds enormous potential to transform how computers help people accomplish tasks in business and their personal lives. Watson will enable people to rapidly find specific answers to complex questions. The technology could be applied in areas such as healthcare, for accurately diagnosing patients, to improve online self-service help desks, to provide tourists and citizens with specific information regarding cities, prompt customer support via phone, and much more.

Like Deep Blue, the IBM supercomputer that defeated the reigning world chess champion in 1997, Watson represents a major leap in the capacity of information technology systems to identify patterns, gain critical insight and enhance decision-making despite daunting complexity. But while Deep Blue was an amazing achievement in the application of compute power to a computationally well-defined and well-bounded game, Watson faces a challenge that is open-ended and defies the well-bounded mathematical formulation of a game like Chess. Watson has to operate in the near limitless, ambiguous and highly contextual domain of human language and knowledge.

Watson’s patented technology furthers IBM’s leadership in analytics solutions, which help organizations use the vast amount of information they collect to improve their business operations and service to their customers. Additionally, Watson harnesses IBM’s commercial Power 7 system, showcasing how IBM workload-optimized systems provide unmatched capabilities for processing thousands of simultaneous tasks at rapid speeds, once the realm of only scientific supercomputers.

In his 2009 letter to shareholders, Sam Palmisano said: Many companies are reacting to the current global downturn by drastically curtailing spending and investment, even in areas that are important to their future. We’re not looking back, we’re looking ahead. We’re continuing to invest in R&D, in strategic acquisitions, in growth initiatives— and most importantly, during these difficult times, in our people. In other words, we will not simply ride out the storm. Rather, we will take a long-term view, and go on offense. Throughout our history, during periods of disruption and global change, this is what IBM has done. Again and again, we have played a leadership role. We have imagined what the world might be, and actually built it.

Watson is the latest example of IBM scientists imagining what might be and inventing it. On February 14, 15 and 16, the world will see the result of their imagination and ingenuity compete against two of the world’s most successful and celebrated Jeopardy champions.

IBM invites you for a Service Jam: making the world work better through Service


As announced at the Conference on Volunteering and Service in July, on October 10th to 12th, IBM will host a Service Jam as part of our Centennial Celebration of Service. The Jam will facilitate a virtual discussion on “Service as a Solution,” and will provide a collaborative platform to redefine how service —from volunteerism to philanthropy to socially innovative strategies— will take on our world’s largest challenges.

As an expert and leader in Service, you are invited and encouraged to Save the Date and play an active role in the Jam.

The Jam will include thousands of participants from leading NGOs, companies, academic institutions and government agencies around the world, who will generate breakthrough ideas through mass digital collaboration using IBM’s Jam technology.

It will be conducted online, with asynchronous virtual discussions conducted under these content topics:

  • Quantum Leaps in Service
  • The Digital Revolution in Service
  • Empowering the Individual
  • Increasing Value & Impact of Service
  • Scaling Impact
  • Measuring Social Impact
  • Progress through Collaboration
  • Global Challenges, Local Action

Featuring special guests:

George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.
Falcao e Cunha, University of Porto, Portugal
Harris Wofford
, U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
Jean Case, CEO, The Case Foundation
Justin Davis-Smith
, CEO, Volunteer England, UK
Luminita Oprea, Founder, Saga Business, Society Romania
Marc-Philippe Daubresse, Minister for Youth and Solidarities, France
Michael Bursch, Former Member of the Bundestag, Founder Centre for Corporate Citizenship, Germany
Michael Nutter, Mayor, City of Philadelphia
Momo Mahadav, President, Maala Business for Social Responsibility, Israel
Oistein Mjaerum, Head of Industry Relations, Red Cross Norway
Ray Chambers, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria
Sam Palmisano, President and CEO, IBM

During the Jam, invited Hosts—distinguished leaders in the social sector—will be leading specific discussion forums, as well as conversing live with participants.There will be 8 discussion forums occurring at the same time. Participants are encouraged to join any forum of their choice at any time during the event.

The Jam will serve as a first of a series of events as we move toward our 100th anniversary in 2011, a year dedicated to a Celebration of Service, aiming to forge global connections around the spirit of service.

Look for more details and opportunities for you to engage with the Jam soon. Please share this post with colleagues that may want to participate!

For more Information: www.ibm.com/servicejam

The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media


In a post on the website  fastcompany.com, Scott Stratten published an excerpt from his new book “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging”.

The post is titled “The Deadly Seven Sins of Social Media” and shows the profane acts users of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn commit.

Just read the post. I have nothing more to add…

#SocialMedia and #PR: body or bling ?


During my holidays I was reading the interesting book ‘Putting the Public back in Public relations’ by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge.  Although I do not completely agree with them (maybe later more in a separate post), it gave me food for thoughts.

For arguments sake, let’s make a difference between traditional PR and Social PR.  Traditional meaning, all means of communication, except social media.  Social PR = all means of communication including social media.

The last couple of months I’ve been spammed by hundreds of  companies and/or agencies promesing me Social Media Nirvana.  They would train me and help me getting started in Social media.  Hell, they even do it for me. I just needed to sign up with them.

Let’s not be zealous about this.  I do believe in the authenticity of Social Media, but sometimes you need to outsource to keep it manageable. Marc Meyer wrote an interesting post this topic.   Now if I have to outsource, I would turn to my most trusted provider of Communication Services, my PR-agency.

Suppose I was looking for a new PR-agency…. (Not! My PR-agency is doing a wonderful job).  If I was looking for a traditional PR agency, one of the key factors would – and always will – be network.  How big is their network of journalists and analysts.  Do they have and maintain a good personal relation with these journalists or analysts ? Can they build a good personal relationship with the journalists and analysts ?  You want to make sure that any agency you’re going to work with is capable of pitching your message to the right audience (Sorry, Brian, this is one of the points where I disagree with you) and make it stand out !

For most of the agencies I know – and/or worked for – their database with press contacts is their little, precious, lump of gold that needs constant caring. That D-base is the result of years and years of networking and relationship building. This is their moneymaker.  But times are a changing….    If you want to deliver a message today, you need to get engaged in Social Media.   The most trusted source of information are no longer the institutions (read publications, magazines,..), they are people like you and me.   So a good PR-agency adapts, start looking, reaching out and building relationships with influential people in Social Media.  For most of the agencies this means starting all over from scratch… A painstaking and slow job….

My good friend @horationelson don’t believe in little black books anymore – as he tweeted me.  I disagree.  I’m convinced, as a professional communicator, that we need the little black book with relations more than ever; be them journalist or bloggers.  Brian and Deirdre actually encourage this in their book – and here I can only agree with them.

So, PR ladies and gents, what about YOUR Social Media Database ?   Does it exist already ?  Can you promise your clients/prospects the outreach they want ?   Can you pitch their message to the right audience via Social Media ?  In other words, can you put your money where your mouth is ?

Looking around, I see a lot of Social Media on the surface of PR, like a new coat or some extra bling they hang around their shoulders, but the body inside still remains “traditional”.  These are exceptional and exciting times.  We see the fundamentals of PR change right before our eyes.  PR-agencies have to fulfill a role of consultancy and  support to their clients.  I like my PR agency to have a firm body; frivolous business wise, to the point, with great knowledge and expertise and with a huge, qualitative  network.   If I need bling, I’ll turn to an ad-agency

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