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Google’s Milo Medin Talks Google Fiber At Kansas Conference

Google’s Milo Medin provides some context for the Google Fiber initiative at Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s Economic Summit on Life Sciences yesterday.


  • When asked what Google expects to happen, he points backwards, not forward, pointing out all the apps we have today that couldn’t have been contemplated a decade ago.
  • When talking about a transition from megabit web to gigabit web, he uses words like “revolution.”
  • At first, the gig web will be about folks doing what they do today faster, but thinks that once it’s widely available, the Gig web will bring major transformation.
  • Medin also says he thinks the pioneer spirit is alive and well in Kansas City.
  • He elaborates on an example of interconnecting local institutions (particularly health care) with remote resources.
  • Hi-resolution video-conferencing is another specific example he lays out.
  • “We don’t really have all the answers.  We want to invent the future, together, with you.”

Google’s Grand Experiment in KCK

Google Fiber logo

Google Fiber logo

If you haven’t yet read Scott Canon’s piece from the Kansas City Star on the implications of Google’s selection of Kansas City, KS as the site for its initial deployment of a 1Gig broadband network, you should.

Though, after reading Canon’s piece, it’s clear that there are still lots of questions to be answered:

Although it promises to crank up super-fast Internet service in early 2012, it’s not sure of a schedule. It will make the price “competitive” and “affordable,” but still insists it doesn’t know how much it will charge. It might let other companies sell services over its fiber-optic network, but no news yet on who might sell what.

However, Google’s kickoff video does offer some hints as to the bigger things to come:

As the video suggests, education, health care and entertainment are likely to get plenty of attention during this initiative. But the geek in me wonders whether Google has some technological wizardry of its own it’s planning to test out during this “experiment.”

See also, Google’s announcement blog post.  They’ve also got a placeholder set up for a blog on the Google Fiber experiment, though they haven’t had a lot to say there yet.

More soon…

Chrysler Is Missing A Great Social Media Opportunity

Sure, the kid who accidentally dropped the F-bomb using the ChryslerAutos Twitter handle said something stupid.

And sure, he/she should have been called out for it.

But Chrysler could have turned this into a huge social media opportunity. Instead, they managed to look both inept and heavy handed.

The AdAge story on the controversy points out that Chrysler’s social media properties are divided between the marketing and communications functions, and boy does that sure show in the way they mismanaged this.

If they wanted to fire New Media Strategies over something else Pete Snyder did (telegraphing the Super Bowl Ad), surely they didn’t have to use this as the excuse.

According to the AdAge piece, the reason Chrysler got so worked up over the Tweet is because they believe it undermines the larger branding effort that they have underway .

OK. [Read more...]

The Ironic Social Media War On Social Media Champion General William Caldwell

I can’t help but note the irony that General William Caldwell finds himself under attack on social media as a result of allegations waged in a recent Rolling Stones piece by Michael Hastings.  The Hastings piece, which is hardly flattering of Caldwell, has been recommended on Facebook 18,000+ times.

What goes unmentioned by Hastings is what a champion General Caldwell has been in the use of “information engagement” by the U.S. military and how strongly he has advocated putting both the tools of social media and our trust in their use in the hands of our troops.

And, I’ll quickly admit, that background on the part of General Caldwell probably colors my reaction to the Hastings piece.

Though there are several legitimate questions raised in the Rolling Stones story, there are an equal or greater number of questions that are never even asked, much less answered. [Read more...]

Can Social Media Help Business Create Shared Value?

Here’s an important interview with Professor Michael Porter, in which he discusses his latest business concept of “creating shared value.” In the video, he gives an overview of the idea he and his coauthor, Mark R. Kramer, lay out in detail in the Jan-Feb 2011 edition of Harvard Business Review in the article: How to Fix Capitalism.

Porter must be taken seriously on this

Porter is not easily dismissed when it comes to discussions of business, as he is the academic who developed the theory of competitive advantage.

In short, Porter proposes that business take a broader perspective into account when formulating strategy. Instead of corporate social responsibility efforts, which are often criticized as empty PR efforts or as businesses meddling in charitable causes with shareholder money, Porter proposes that they take a broader view of self-interest and address the needs of the communities in which they operate. [Read more...]

Should Lady Gaga Be Your PR Role Model?

Chick In a Shell

Are you the next Lady Gaga?

Mia Pearson of Fleishman Hillard-Canada had an interesting piece in the Globe And Mail yesterday in which she extracted some principles from Lady Gaga’s egg-wearing PR stunt at the Grammy Awards to offer guidance to others hoping to emulate her PR success.

Pearson posed five key questions for those hoping to make the attempt of a Gaga-style PR stunt:

  1. Does your plan clearly map back to your communications objectives?
  2. Is it newsworthy?
  3. Will it be accessible?
  4. Does it pack a visual punch?
  5. Do you have a social media strategy to back it up?

She then offered some context and useful guidance.

Still, I would urge those considering making such an attempt to keep their expectations in check.  Pearson’s point about integrating your traditional media outreach with social media is an important one, but that’s where the differences between most people and Lady Gaga come into sharpest focus.  Most people don’t have access to the 8.3 million Twitter followers like Lady Gaga does and most don’t get to walk the red carpet at nationally televised events like the Grammy Awards.

With that said, the most important lesson from Lady Gaga may be a very simple one:  Make the most of what you have at your disposal.

Check out Mia Pearson on Twitter.

Do You Know What to Do When Your Reputation Is Under Attack Online?

Headline: Rumors Run WildIf you are running a business, advocating for a policy viewpoint, or running for political office, there’s a decent chance you may be confronted with rumors online that are potentially damaging to your reputation.

The sub-head on this piece from The Economist sums up an effective response quite nicely: “Denial is useless. Spread happy truths instead ”

The piece goes on to take apart Coke’s handling of chronic rumors about its operations in the Middle East.

Citing research by psychologists from the Kellogg School of Management and Stanford business school on the potential damage you can do to yourself by repeating a rumor in an attempt to knock it down, the piece goes on to offer this advice:

Instead of denying false rumours, a company should put out a stream of positive messages about itself, reckon Mr Rucker and Mr Dubois. This deprives myths of oxygen and also nudges people to doubt nasty things they may hear about the company in question.

The straightforward bottom line: In online crises, as in life, when you are in the middle of trying times, it pays to have friends.

So how do you think this applies to political campaigns, where current doctrine–dating back to the Clinton campaign–dictates that no attack goes without a response?  Is this reseach consistent or inconsistent with that view?  Or is it time to develop more complex strategies in that regard?

It’s About What You’re Communicating, Not About the Tools

I was fascinated to hear Larry Kramer, author of C-Scape, Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today, expressing his view of the modern communications landscape in this podcast from Harvard Business Review.

At the 4:34 mark, he makes the point that for too many organizations, the focus is on the tools–like Twitter, Facebook, and/or YouTube–and not enough emphasis is placed on using those tools to communicate something that matters to customers or constituents.

Larry Kramer: Why Businesses Need to Think Like the Media.mp3 Get Adobe Flash player

Last week, I presented on the topic of social media at the Democratic Senate Retreat just up the road from Monticello in Charlottesville.

During the discussion, I made the point that social media tools provide an enormous opportunity for staying in touch with constituents, but the focus shouldn’t be on the tools–it should be on what you want to communicate, and what your constituents want to communicate to you.

It’s nice to see others making the same point.

Ahem, Is This Thing On?

I’ll be rolling out a new blog here over the coming days. 

I’ll be talking about communications strategies, with an emphasis on digital.  I’ll also chat about interesting ways people are using technology, and I’ll reserve the right to touch on other topics from time to time.

Let me know in the comments if there are other topics that you think I should touch on.

A Social Scientist to Watch – Dr. Michael D. Jones