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Will companies stay in control of their PR? This is what academics say at Oxford today

Parallel Session I: The growth of the corporate blog – ‘Letting go’ of information control or maintaining the official line?


Simon Hampton, Google

Kara Swisher, Wall Street Journal

Mark Rogers, Market Sentinel

Chair: Jonathan Silberstein-Loeb

Blogs, Twitter feeds and even Facebook pages are increasingly featuring in the arsenal of PR strategies employed by large corporations and public institutions. This is not an idle choice: corporate blogs at both Google and Apple have at times, been the locus of intense media attention at times when new products have been announced or controversial decisions defended. Yet the use of such modes of communication raise peculiar challenges for companies willing to embrace new media, relating to the tensions between maintaining central control of information flows and the desire to react quickly when criticism arises in online networks or discussion groups. What do companies expect to gain from maintaining this sort of online presence and what are the implications of these trends for both the development of traditional PR strategy and business journalism?

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Future of social media from Social Media Convention

Blogging at 20? The future and potential of social media


Kara Swisher,Wall Street Journal

Dave Sifry, Technocrati

Richard Allan, Facebook

Nigel Shadbolt, University of Southampton

Chair: William Dutton, Oxford University

If social media are the defining advance of Web 2.0, whereby the network-as-platform enabled users not just to download content but to create it, tag it and share it, what will the next decade hold? Many of the social media businesses whose tools we rely on have yet to make a profit, whilst concerns about privacy, security and possibly even dignity suggest that our online habits may have to change. The technology press has for some time been heralding the oncoming arrival of Web 3.0, as an era where the web gets ’smart’, and research on the developing semantic web suggests that this is no idle prediction. But what will happen to social media in the interim? Will the next ten years see our fascination with blogging, wikis and social networks replaced by a re-focusing on the enhanced informational capacity of the Web or will we continue to Tweet?

Richard Allan. Increasing pressure to regulate. EU took broadcasting rules and applied to internet. When video hs TV like power – it will attract attn of regulators. We want to tak our identity with us – crunch area. Can we let ppl let us develop identities – regulation of identity is an attractive issue for governments. Increasing power of audience.

Daily reach Facebook in UK 9m by 0.5 hr.

Bill Dutton. In US, want anonymity.

Richard Allan. Germany, like pseudonyms. Some sites might want identity cards.

Nigel Shadbolt. Public data should public. Delighted Facebook is promoting portability. Somebody at Google -Data Liberator.

What can be predicted – space and place will be more exquisitely defined. Will be revealed by digital behaviour.

Social norms. Do we need regulation. Let’s have some very clear info about where our info is and we must held ppl accountable or misuisng it.


?? Strategy for governments. Need data. Lisbon – top-down.

Richard Allan. Next few years. What mashups could you build? Find a loo – Satlav. Get data out of local authorities. Make data freely data – at every local govt.

Kara . .. find Starbucks.

David. Urinary Liberation Front.

Nigel Shadbolt. Need to be able access data. Some inadevertently handed over. Rail timetables.

David. Legal proceedings.

Nigel Shadbolt. Each jurisdiction will have different view of what is a public good.


?? Who controls, for example, our language preferences. Who will control this in future?

Kara . .. Google.

Dave. .. easily fixable. Geo search. Area of enormous innovatin. Who tracks all that. Commonly available. Genie out of bottle.

Kara. .Google holds back results in China, by requiremetn.

Richard Allan. Geo location is covered by law in Eu.

Kara.. .. computer driven body parts.

Floor/Kara animals / kids – 2 blocks off.

Bill Dutton. Privacy and surveillance. Also issue of quality. Are social networks going to enhance quality or not in your area? Or sideshow.

Nigel Shadbolt. Purposive social networks. What can you keep private? Challenge to build networks with scientists. Interesting engineering to share data. Quality? Next year – most papers in chem.eng will be in Chinese. Data is published with paper.

Kara….. no downside. Scientists collaborative and competitive. Silos. New media is of quality and getting better – take quality and ethics and embrace speed. Do excellent work online and still of high quality.

Dave…. better and be worse. Think through consequences of speed.

Richard Allan. Comparing apples and pears. Comparing content and conversation. Framing doesn’t tell us about quality anymore. We can make wrong assumptions about what we are looking at.

Nigel Shadbolt. Internet . . didn’t persuade Americans to believe in natual selection.


?? Business model scalable to univeral access. Richer, younger, better educated are on line. Will we increase real life differentials?

Kara . .. distribution of technology in States. Universal access. Facebook has turned profitable. Google more profitable than Oprah – did I get that right.

Bill Dutton. Social accountability for small groups of users.


x hours of YouTube – people becoming illiterate. . ..

Kara . . think video, screens.

Touch it, move it.

Richard Allan. Video will distribute President Palin.

Nigel Shadbolt. Empowers illiterate.

Dave…. Had videos for years…. won’t replace multi-modal

Kara . . 4 year olds expect screens to be touch screens

Dave . . . What will be on top today, will not be on top then.

Nigel Shadbolt – silicon will be meat…. lifestyle data …. big

Richard Allan – serious movement of refuseniks


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