Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Guardian Unlimited article on Conversational Approach

From an article in the September 18, 2006 Guardian. [Registration required, but free.]

Know anything about wikis or dark blogs? How about web 2.0 or SEO PRs? Thought not. But anyone considering a career in marketing and PR is going to have to acquaint themselves with these terms and learn all about the brave new world they apply to - or perish...

..."Online marketing is about engaging the consumers in a dialogue and giving them something useful rather than just talking to them. It's all about interactivity," says Ryan...

Although Leo Ryan of Ryan Morrison & MacMillan sees public relations as a mere "subset" of marketing, it's interesting to see the conversational approach here, and the push for including it in curricula.

The article also includes a broader perspecitve on the role of online public relations:

"At that point the internet became of interest to the PR industry because conversations could be had, and that is what PR is all about," explains Katy Howell, managing director of immediate future, a two-year-old firm specialising in online PR.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back to the islands

I've moved back to Hawaii after two years at UNC. Though I'll miss Chapel Hill and that great school tremendously, it does feel good to be here at UH-Manoa again and back in the ocean and island culture.

As for a research update, I plan to get back to the second organizational blogging study once I get more settled in. It also looks like SAGE will have Public Relations Online: Lasting Concepts for Changing Media out late this year (they're projecting a December publication date).

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sampling and response data for MSDN blogs-and-public-relations study

First off, a big thank-you to anyone and everyone who took the time to respond to the survey on blogs and relational outcomes. This study is a follow-up to the one just published in JCMC.

Here's how Drew (a grad student I work with here at UNC) and I got the sample of 500 names for the current study: 1) A few months ago, we started looking at the reverse-chronological list of entries on 2) Then we looked for any comments on those blogs. 3) The next step was to see if commenters made their contact information available. 4) We did this until we found 500 leads -- 179 were e-mail addresses and 321 were Web contact forms.

The idea behind choosing the sample in this way was to survey a group that had at least a minimum level of interaction with an organization (in this case Microsoft, chosen solely for the magnitude of its online presence) and some minimum level of exposure to their organizational blogs. I wanted to get enough responses to run some statistical models.

Since there are so many ways to calculate response rates (and since these methods don't always translate well from mail and phone surveys to online surveys), I'm just going to include a table here with the approximate figures I have after just a quick look at the data set:

Undeliverable e-mails and inoperative Web forms (approximate)
Direct refusals via e-mail
Partially completed surveys
Completed surveys128
Nonrespondents/unknown (approximate)

So even by conservative estimates, the survey had about a 26% completion rate
(128/500). I'm guessing that for many of the analyses, I'll be working with
about 140 cases out of about 450 that I assume received invitations. So depending
on how you look at it, the "response rate" is somewhere between 26%
and 31%. (I'll be in a better position to give details after I start "cleaning"
and analyzing the data set.)

Most respondents who did e-mail me were very gracious and supportive, even
in cases where they were questioning the nature of the research and the deisgn
of the study. On the whole, MSDN bloggers and those they interact with are an
amiable group.** I've got to admit that surveying this group - a bunch of people
with a lot more computer expertise than me - made me a bit nervous.

It's one thing when someone sends out SPAM behind a cloak of anonymity. It's another
when you attach your name to a real request for help. Only two people responded
with irate, mean-spirited e-mail. I'd love to report their names and include
their e-mails here, just to reveal their nasty side. (One bills himself as a
consultant on e-mail ettiquette among other things - I hope that's not his day
job.) The irony is that I've got a responsibility to protect their identities,
while they freely attack me for disclosing mine.

*Many of these 48 responses were almost complete and provide usable data for the
analyses I'll run; others are people who just glanced at the first page, and
perhaps came back later to complete the survey.

**Lots expressed interest in hearing about the study's progress - hence this post - and one respondent did ask me to link directly to his blog: Michael Teper.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Moving at the speed of academe

Academic publishing is a painfully slow process, especially compared to everyday online communication. But there's something to be said for carefully designed, peer-reviewed work in the conversation on blogging and public relations. (And thanks to Constantin Basturea for saying something.)

"Organizational blogs and the human voice," though only a small first step, is now up in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11 (2). I've got another study under way in this same line of research. The next one builds on the experimental study just posted, with a broader sample from the "real world" of organizational/corporate bloggers.

The new study is an online survey, and there's an outside chance that if you're reading this, you might be part of the sample, so I probably ought not to make too much of it here. Shel Holtz recently made an interesting point about sampling issues with online surveys about blogging.