Posts Tagged ‘cyberspace’

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace: Engaging Individuals One Poll at a Time

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

by Lauren Shapiro*

The White House recently announced that they are taking steps to create a manner in which online identities could be protected from hackers through the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). This new initiative would provide individuals with online identification cards, ala drivers’ licenses or social security cards. This identity could then, hypothetically, allow for safe online banking and shopping. Although this program is quite a breakthrough and a necessity for the already burgeoning world of online transactions, it is not the first to discuss the issue of privacy in cyberspace.

White House

Flickr Image: ~MVI~ (Shubert Ciencia)

At the beginning of this year the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the FCC came to a head over the privacy concerns. And more recently the Federal Trade Commission considers implementing a do not track mechanism that would allow consumers to more easily manage targeted marketing.

What may be more interesting and certainly sets the NSTIC initiative apart is the communication strategy used by the White House.

The announcement of this program was made via a blog post by Howard A. Schmidt, cyber-security coordinator. In it, Schmidt describes the vastness of cyberspace, the relatively humongous role it plays in everyday life and the need for a greater emphasis on security within the online environment. The goal of the NSTIC is to, “reduce cyber-security vulnerabilities and improve online privacy protections through the use of trusted digital identities.” What better way to convey a message about cyberspace than in cyberspace!

The other PR savvy tactic: Mr. Schmidt asked for the public’s opinion on how best to mold this new proposal. By visiting you could submit ideas or opinions while browsing ideas already submitted and agree/disagree with them.

By empowering the nation to become an active voice in the creation of the NSTIC, Howard Schmidt has taken full advantage of one of the most beneficial aspects cyberspace has to offer – the ability to create an open forum of discussion and polling. Through this method, the White House will, theoretically, be able to create a system for the public by the public.

Do you use online polling or discussions during the creation of your PR strategies? Will we one day vote for the President of the United States via online polling? How does online privacy affect your professional communications objectives and personal activities? Please share your thoughts with the me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. 


*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now work as the supervisor of BurrellesLuce Express client services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Shared Experience Becomes Experience We Share

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Bill Hiniker is principal at MessagePoint Communications, a writing and consulting practice specializing in corporate and executive communications.  He blogs at and can be reached at

Instead of being a “shared experience,” TV is quickly becoming “an experience we share.”  That observation, made on a recent episode of NPR’s always-enjoyable Culturetopia podcast, really rings true for me.

I’m a first-generation television kid and am old enough to remember when the television dial was really a dial with 13 numbers. There were just three networks plus an educational channel and an independent channel or two that mostly showed old movies. Miss “The Twilight Zone,” “Ed Sullivan,” “Laugh-In” or, later, “Saturday Night Live” and you risked being left out of the lunchtime conversation. 

That was pretty much the way of the world until the first video recorders began appearing in homes and offices in the 1980s. Almost overnight it became possible to borrow a missed episode of “Cheers” from a coworker who hadn’t forgotten to set his VCR (as long as he didn’t have a Beta machine).  

This opened up a whole new world for communications professionals. Suddenly it became possible to record, copy, and share cassettes of the annual meeting or positive media coverage with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. 

Fast forward a decade or two and digital technology made it possible to post videos on company websites and e-mail links – or even short clips – to your key publics. Even more importantly, you could forward clips of cats playing the piano or bears catching fish to your friends.


Technology has continued to advance at warp speed. You can now see most of your favorite shows online or buy them for a couple of bucks on iTunes. More than 65,000 videos are posted on YouTube every day. And someone somewhere almost certainly watched the Super Bowl on his cell phone.

With more than 100 million viewers, the Super Bowl is one of television’s few remaining shared experiences, something almost everyone watches at the same time. Maybe Michael Phelps swimming at the Summer Olympics or the finale of “American Idol” also qualify. I’d like to hear your nominations. 

So what does all this mean for professional communicators? 

In some ways it makes our jobs harder. We have more channels to monitor and more competition for people’s attention than ever before. We have to do a better job of training, prepping, and equipping our spokespeople, because screw-ups can live on and on in cyberspace. And we’ve got to be more prepared than ever to respond quickly, effectively, and creatively to disasters, rumors, and PR challenges that didn’t even occur to us a few years ago.  Bad news can go viral faster than you can bathe in a KFC sink.

On the opportunities side of the ledger, we also have more tools at our disposal than ever before. We can respond to negative press overnight or, ideally, even quicker. We can set up dedicated YouTube channels, as Best Buy, Mercedes Benz, Apple and hundreds of other companies have done.  And we can get the word out – from executive speeches to news clips – faster and to a broader audience than ever before, with a few mouse clicks.

Six decades after television took over America’s living rooms, its power to communicate, persuade, and entertain continues to grow.  What are you doing to tap into the power of television in the social media age?