Posts Tagged ‘survey’


Facebook Study Reveals ‘Friends’ Can Be So Predictable

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

einsteinIt has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity. A quote attributed to Albert Einstein and something he might have actually said if the question was asked today, “How would you feel if a social networking site not only could predict who your closest friends were, but also have a say in the matter?”.

A research group from UC San Diego is claiming to be able to predict with great accuracy, who Facebook users closest friends are, by simply looking at their past site activity. In a controlled study led by researchers at UCSD, a survey group of Facebook users were asked to list their closest friends, the researchers would then try to guess who their closest friends were by looking merely at their Facebook activity. Using a model they developed, which takes into account the number of comments, messages, wall posts, likes, photo tags, etc. someone makes – the researchers claim that they predicted within 84 percent accuracy who were close friends. The study concluded, “The model’s success at discriminating closest friends from not-closest friends validates the use of online behavior data as a proxy measure for tie strength in real world relationships.”

But what I find to be more astonishing is that industry followers are taking this a step further. They claim a “prescribing of interaction” taking place at Facebook, one that may actually influence who you interact with more often on their site and, thus, making you closer “friends.” Some think a virtual or real life friendship or a blend of both may be strengthened between two people…. due to nothing more but “subtleties” on a web page. Benjamin Grosser, whose work has looked at Facebook’s role in our culture, says that the subtleties of its algorithms can shape which friends we interact with and how often we do so. “The question is whether the ways that Facebook prescribes interaction are changing how our friendships develop. This is not to say that the effect is strong enough to actually change who our closest friends are but a reminder that Facebook doesn’t merely capture a portrait of our social lives; it also contributes to what that portrait looks like.”

I am not a user of Facebook so I can’t comment whether I believe it is even possible for a web site to have an influence on who I determine to be my “closest friends” – but if this turned out to be the case, the only conclusion I would reach is that I needed to get out of the house more.

Top BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Posts in 2011 – Numbers 10 to 1

Friday, December 30th, 2011

iStock_000010469879XSmallYesterday, we kicked off our end of the year wrap-up with part one of the 20 Top BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas posts in 2011. Today we will be counting down the top ten.

What do you think of this year’s most popular Fresh Ideas stories? Were you surprised at the range of topics? What would you like to see covered in 2012? Please share your thoughts and leave comments below.

10. Are PR Budgets Back?

9. Don’t Let a Bad Interviewer Spoil the Interview

8. Twitter Chat Transcripts Now Available from BurrellesLuce

7. When It Comes to Brands and Content, Simplicity Matters

6. Measuring Social Media, The Value of Influence

5. The Evolution of Media Measurement: Dr. Jim Grunig, University of Maryland, Interview

4. Public Relations and Marketing With QR Codes

3. Can We Talk? Social Media’s Impact on Human Relations

2. Survey: Journalists Do Not Want to Be Contacted Via Twitter

1. Blogger Relations Misconceptions

Survey: Journalists Do Not Want to Be Contacted Via Twitter

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

A couple weeks ago, the Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) and Middleberg Communications announced the results of the 3rd Annual Survey of the Media in the Wired World. The survey utilized data gathered from 200 (mostly US-based) journalists to study the effects and impact of social media, new media and communication technologies on modern journalism. The results were released at the PRSA Digital Impact Conference on May 6th.Social-Media-Sites_Image

Interestingly, 69 percent of reporters said they use Twitter as a reporting/sourcing tool (this is a 21 percent increase from 2010) with 49 percent saying they have their own Twitter account. But only one percent indicated they’d like to be contacted via Twitter. The disconnect here is interesting to me and I have to wonder why, if they are using Twitter for research, they wouldn’t want to be contacted via the platform. Perhaps they want to listen (aka lurk) and not actually engage – despite the 37 percent who said they use social networking sites to participate in conversations (27 percent specified Twitter). Hmm… that’s a head-scratcher.

Other notable findings: 

  • 92 percent believe journalists’ reliance on social media is increasing.
  • 78 percent say they use company websites as a tool in reporting.
  • 75 percent indicated they use Facebook, with only 10 percent using MySpace. (No surprise there.)
  • 48 percent say they use citizen-generated video; 68 percent say they use citizen-generated photos.
  • 77 percent believe new media and communications tools/technologies are enhancing journalism; 14 percent think social media and citizen journalism will ultimately lead to the demise of the profession. (My guess is these will be the ones looking for a new job soon.)

 Key takeaways for public relations / media relations professionals is that 53 percent of journalists surveyed indicated they prefer to be contacted via email, and 34 percent prefer phone. 

Even as social media continues to change the media landscape, PR Daily surmised journalists still prefer more traditional methods of communication. 

Jen McClure, president of the Society for New Communications Research, stated: “Social media tools and technologies are being used by journalists to monitor issues, stories and content even after a story has been published. The publication of the story is no longer the end result. Today, media organizations and journalists also must serve as curators of content, are looked to to drive conversations and expected to provide information to keep the conversation going even after the story has been published.”

Do you agree with these findings?  Look forward to your thoughts and comments on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog.

Is Digital Media Changing PR’s Role in News-Gathering?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
Flickr Image: Yago.com

Flickr Image: yago1.com

The Oriella PR Network issued their 2010 Digital Journalism Study recently. The survey consisted of 770 journalists across 15 countries, and is used to find out how digital media has changed the nature of news-gathering. In reviewing this study, I naturally paid the most attention to those items that directly affect public relations and media relations practitioners. 

For example, according to the report, “interest in traditional news content remains healthy.”  Results showed:

  • 75 percent of journalists surveyed indicated they like to receive emailed press releases, and
  • 52 percent want to receive still photography.

Interestingly, demand for social media news releases (SMNRs), chosen by 19 percent of journalists in 2008’s survey, and 15 percent in 2009, has leveled off at 16 percent in 2010.  

  • Video content has fallen to 27.5 percent from 35 percent.
  • Audio / podcasts have fallen to 15 percent from 19 percent.

The report notes it is possible that these declines may be due to the fact that publications have the capabilities to produce their own multi-media content now. Previously they were more reliant on content from third parties.

Considering the international reach of this survey, I was curious if our own U.S.-based media followed suit. I set-up a (very un-scientific) three-question survey on PollDaddy and asked my Twitter and LinkedIn journalist connections to respond. There were only a handful of responses, but the poll answered my question.

  • 85 percent of journalists who responded to my survey indicated they prefer to be contacted via email. 
  • 44 percent said it was okay to contact via Twitter, but keep in mind that I posted the survey on Twitter and LinkedIn so the journos that responded are those that are on social networking sites – be wary of assuming this is true across the board.
  • 67 percent want to receive hi-res photos with press releases.
  • 55 percent would like to see supporting documents (such as backgrounders, bios, fact sheets, etc.) and/or attributable quotes. 

When I asked for additional comments, one respondent replied, “I wish press releases had original quotes instead of marketing-speak.”  Another responded, “Short, sweet and to the point. Make it catchy. Make it actually newsworthy. Make it interesting. And don’t send something that’s happening that day. Timing is EVERYTHING.”

Jessica Pupillo, freelance writer and editorial director for St. Louis Sprout & About, opined: “Put the news release headline in the subject line of an e-mail. Also put the text of the release in the body of the e-mail, and ALWAYS include copies of the release and access to photos on your online press room. Include a phone number where you can be reached during reasonable hours (7 a.m. to 9 p.m.). If you don’t answer your phone when I call, I may just skip your news.”

The author of the Digital Journalism Study results report surmised, “Time pressures remain – it is down [sic] to the PR community to facilitate access to relevant stories so they can turn it into a compelling story as efficiently as possible.” And, goes so far as to state, “While the communications landscape has become increasingly complex, journalists continue to rely on PR professionals to address the basics of news gathering in the content they produce. Communicators that overlook this essential need do so at their peril.”

If you’re a media professional, do you agree with the survey findings published in the Digital Journalism study or from my poll? What do you wish public relations professionals would do better? If you’re in PR or media relations, how are you tailoring your strategy to meet the changing needs of journalists? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

What’s In A Name?

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Comcast’s rebranding of its cable, telephone, and Internet services (now Xfinity in 11 markets), prompted an interesting article in Time regarding the value of a name change. “Here’s one thing we do know,” xfinitylogosays Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “Comcast is going to spend a huge comcast_c2amount of money to get that brand to mean what it wants it to mean.” Here’s another thing we know: Shareholders should be asking, “Why?”

Was this name change a smart move? 25 years ago, my father and his colleagues at Manning, Selvage and Lee  surveyed the financial community about what kind of corporate names attracted investors and whether a name affected people’s decisions to buy or sell stocks. Nearly two-thirds of the securities analysts, portfolio managers and investment advisors surveyed said that a corporation’s name had a direct effect on whether a customer buys a stock. In fact, brokers and analysts shared that they had even turned down the recommendations of their own research departments when they did not like a name! Takeaways from the survey include:

  • Be wary of a name change and be prepared for a name change to take time (years and even decades) before it achieves the previous level of familiarity. At the time of the survey (1985), respondents derided the decision made by Tampa Electric to change to TECO Energy. While the new name did eventually take hold, it took years to build up the level of recognition Tampa Electric once had. While companies often change their names as a result of acquisitions and divestitures, because the focus of the business has changed, or to create an association with a trend, the survey indicated that many companies would be well served to think twice.
  • A name should be easy to pronounce and remember.  “Keep it simple and short,” my dad advised and pointed to the frustration of one investment advisor whose suggestion of “Harnischfeger” rarely resulted in more than a puzzled look.
  • Good names are recognizable, easily understood, highly identifiable, and give a clear impression of the business.  Although names like Exxon and Google can certainly work, give serious consideration to a name that describes your companies business. Personal and brand names are popular for these reasons. Survey participants responded well to names like National Semiconductor or Staples.  Likewise, start ups should avoid using initials. While initials are fine for a well established company as IBM, potential investors are more likely to be attracted to a product they can easily recognize.

While there are a variety of other factors to consider when determining a name today (e.g. optimizaiton of the name in search engines, the availability of the website domain and/or username availability for social networking and bookmarking sites, among others), many of the insights from 25 years ago remain compelling.

How important do you think a name is to the success of a brand? What do you think of Xfinity? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.