forget 50 shades of grey…..

….check out 50 shades of social!

Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals’ is a crowdsourced social media book from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, due for publication in print and digital formats by Wiley on Friday 20 July.

It started as an idea at a meeting presented by Stephen Waddington as a way to capture all of the social media training that the CIPR SM panel runs over the summer each year.  Since then, the idea has grown and finally came to fruition this week.

Since launch, the book has shot to number 1 on the Amazon PR and marketing bestseller charts based on pre-orders alone. The book is split into 26 chapters over eight topic areas, covering the media and public relations industry, planning, social networks, online media relations, monitoring and measurement, skills, industry change and the future of the industry. Each chapter has been contributed by one of the foremost experts in the given subject area. Even me. I did the psychology chapter 🙂

‘Share This’ has been edited by Stephen Waddington with contributions from Katy HowellSimon SandersAndrew SmithHelen NowickaGemma Griffiths, MeRobin WilsonAlex LaceyMatt ApplebyDan TyteStephen WaddingtonStuart BruceRob Brown, Russell GoldsmithAdam ParkerJulio RomoPhilip SheldrakeRichard Bagnall,Daljit BhurjiRichard BaileyRachel MillerMark Pack, and Simon Collister.

During the coming weeks, the book launch will be supported by the release of YouTube video introductions to each of the chapters by each of the authors; a social media quiz from the CIPR, designed to test the digital knowledge of practitioners; and will culminate in an exclusive invite-only launch event at Google Campus, east London on Wednesday 18 July. I have a couple of spare tickets so if you’d like to join me, let me know 🙂

Perhaps the most exciting thing is the endorsements we have received about the book.  ‘Share This’ has been endorsed by Lord Sugar; Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes); Paul Mylrea, Director of Communications at the BBC; Professor Tom Watson, Professor of Public Relations, Bournemouth University; Marshall Manson, Managing Director, Digital, EMEA, Edelman; and Avril Lee, Partner, CEO London, Ketchum Pleon, among others. Not too shabby, eh?

‘Share This’ will be available on Friday 20 July and is available in hardback (RRP: £16.99) and digital format (RRP: £10.99). It is available to pre-order from WileyAmazon and various other retailers.

Chapter One: An Introduction to Social Networks by fellow author Katy Howell is also freely available for download via the CIPR website.

Amazon sees censorship decisions magnified through the social web magnifying glass

Now we all know the effect the Internet and indeed, the social web have on magnifying seemingly small issues or business decisions in record time….don’t we? Well Amazon apparently does not.

Twittering merrily about choccie eggs has been usurped today by the issue of #amazonfail, currently ranking pretty highly on Twitter and attracting interest across the blogosphere.

What is #amazonfail?

The letter here sums it up perfectly:

Somehow, the brain trust of your company has decided to protect the “entire” Amazon customer base by restricting access to content that someone (who?) decided was offensive. In your zeal to protect me from myself, of course, you managed to leave content that I find singularly repulsive online (really, exploring the human condition is bad, but Mein Kampf is just fine?).

This loss of ranking, listing, search functionality seems to be largely, but not wholly!, limited to fiction and non-fiction with themes relating to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. Authors affected range from E.M. Forster to James Baldwin to John Barrowman, our beloved Captain Jack on Dr. Who and Torchwood and others, including a host of female authors who write erotic fiction.

Gee, I can buy a book on training fighting dogs (something so offensive my stomach hurts just looking at the cover image), but specific types of human relationships are suddenly taboo?

Whist watching this PR disaster in the making, what is interesting to me is how the story ends up being reported tomorrow and Tuesday as fellow PR, Eb Adeyeri points out:

Fascinating to see the twitter-verse rise up on an issue such as #amazonfail I wonder if their PR gets to it before it makes the nationals

As far as I am aware, Amazon does not have a “rep” on twitter, or not one that is very well known anyway either in house or agency-side.  If they did, this could probably have been nipped in the bud earlier or at least properly explained.  Instead, the twittering-classes have pretty much made up their own minds and the issue (and possible damage to reputation) will no doubt have been done by the time a more damaged piece appears in the press.

Ironic that one of the world’s largest online brands seems to be at the centre of a potentially large online PR disaster and its blog hasn’t been updated for over 24 hours.

What lesson can all brands learn from this about the online world? Even if you don’t contribute very often to the online conversation…at least listen and respond.

{update} great piece by Clay SHirky on the topic here.  I still think that regardless of the issue, organisations are dealing with percepotions and the FAIL Amazon made was not speaking up early enough.