Internet Society Job Opening: Senior Manager, Media Relations

Internet society isoc 300x149We're hiring! The Internet Society, my employer, is hiring for a range of positions, but the one I want to highlight here is the "Senior Manager, Media Relations". As the job posting states:

The Senior Manager Media Relations will be responsible for developing and executing public relations programs to increase the visibility and thought leadership of the Internet Society in the media.. The media relations strategy aligns with the organization’s priorities and is focused on programs and initiatives in the areas of Internet policy, technology, development, and education.

This new role will report to the Director of Media and Communications, be part of the Communications Team, and have a broad purview with many opportunities for visibility and impact. The candidate will collaborate with senior management, subject matter experts, and Regional Bureau Directors around the world. This position will be located in the Internet Society office either in Reston, Virginia USA or Geneva, Switzerland.

I can't speak highly enough about what the mission of the Internet Society means to me - and how critically important this time is right now in the evolution of the Internet. Back in 2011 I wrote about why joining the staff of the Internet Society was important to me - and 3.5 years later those reasons are still as important today as they were then... if not even more so! We've got an aggressive set of activities planned for 2015 - and we need people to help turn that action plan into reality.

We need people to join us to help tell the story of why the choices we make today for the Internet matter - and what we all as individuals and as organizations can do. In this particular position we're seeking someone who can help with connections out to the media around the world.

If you have a background in public relations / media relations, this is your chance to join a mission-based organization focused on ensuring that the Internet remains open for everyone around the world.

I love waking up fired up to go out there and help in whatever small way I can... you can join us!

PLEASE NOTE: I am personally not involved in the hiring for this position... the way to submit your information for consideration is at the bottom of the position posting.


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The Election Echo Chamber - Hearing Only What We Want To Hear

EchoechoThis morning a conservative friend posted to Facebook a link about how Mitt Romney had a very positive message and was a decent person, in contrast to President Obama who was extremely negative, full of lies and was treating half the country with contempt.

This post was followed soon thereafter in my NewsFeed by a link posted by a liberal friend about how President Obama had a very positive message and was a decent person, in contrast to Mitt Romney who was extremely negative, full of lies, and was treating half the country (or at least 47%) with contempt.

Tonight I see posts from my conservative friends with links about how Mitt Romney will be victorious tomorrow despite all the polls showing the opposite because Romney has seen internal polls - and saying how the liberals are all delusional after being fed propaganda polls by the mainstream media.

Those are intermixed with posts from my liberal friends with links about how Barack Obama will definitely be victorious tomorrow despite all the polls showing it to be quite equal - and saying how the conservatives are all delusional because they are cherry-picking only the polls they want to see.

Who is correct? And who is delusional?

The Internet has brought about a glorious revolution in online publishing - easily allowing anyone to post anything they want and have it read by tens or hundreds or millions. We talk within the communications profession about how today, in 2012, "every company is a media company". In presentations I have given on social media topics I have often accented this point:

There has never been a better time to tell your own story in your own words without the interpretation of media or anyone else. Your words - raw and unfiltered.

What we are seeing in this election, though, is the corollary to that statement:

There has never been a better time to hear your own views echoed back to you without the interpretation of media or anyone else. Your views - raw and unfiltered.

Because it is so easy for anyone to publish information - and because there is so much of it out there - we naturally filter the information sources to find the ones that we think are the "best."

In this book, The Information Diet, Clay Johnson writes of how we seek information online in our "desire to be affirmed" and that "affirmation" is the goal.

We want to be correct.

And there are any number of people and sites willing to tell us how correct we are.

Liberals read the Huffington Post while conservatives read the National Review. Conservatives watch Fox News while liberals watch MSNBC. Liberals take faith in Nate Silver's polls while conservatives believe Gallup's polls are the answer. And a thousand other websites, podcasts and video sites join in the fray.

The end result is that we wind up in a self-fulfilling echo chamber that reinforces and reaffirms the rightness of our views and how wrong the other parties are.

And so my conservative friends could make their strong statements because they are wholly and entirely convinced that they are absolutely 100% correct. And my liberal friends are equally convinced that they are absolutely 100% correct.

Where does it end?

Tomorrow we hold an election. One candidate will win while the other will lose.

The ads, the postings and the articles will fade in their intensity...

... but the echo chambers will remain.

How, then, do we bridge the divide?

As C.C. Chapman wrote in his excellent piece this morning, "Wednesday Morning In America," the hard work starts Wednesday. Despite all the venom and vitriol... despite all the negativity and harsh words... despite all the divisions... we must as a nation work together to move the USA forward.

How do we break out of our individual echo chambers? How do we suppress that desire for affirmation enough that we stretch our minds and listen to other points of view? How do we move beyond our self-reflected delusions?

I don't know that anyone has all the answers... but we must together work toward that goal. Somehow.

If you are a US citizen casting a vote tomorrow (and I do hope you will vote (or have already voted)), we need to think of what happens next...

... and how we start listening to each other's points of view - even if they are adamantly opposed to our own - and finding somewhere in there the common humanity that can allow us to work together... as insanely hard as that may be to do.


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CircleID - A News Site About Internet Infrastructure, Domain Names, new gTLDs, more...

CircleidWant to stay up on what is happening with the underlying infrastructure of the Internet? Or perhaps more interested in what is happening with domain names or the new "generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)"? Curious about Internet governance issues? policy issues?

For all of those topics, and many more, a site I've come to rely on is CircleID.com.

It is a "news" site, but one that is very focused on what is happening in the underlying infrastructure that powers the Internet - and from both a technical and business/marketing point-of-view. There are technical articles and blog posts focused on topics such as IPv6, DNS security, cybersecurity, cloud computing, etc. - and there are more business-focused articles and blog posts talking about the business behind domain names or the new generic TLDs.

For marketers and communications professionals these latter topics are quite important - there is much going on right now in that space that will define what the future of domain names will look like.

I should note that Circle ID is a community-driven site and anyone can register and sign up to contribute. If you want to publish articles in this space - or have a client for whom this would be a logical audience to write - the folks behind CircleID are always open to new contributors.

To that end, I should note that I do write at CircleID from time to time and have republished some of my Disruptive Telephony posts there in the past.

It's a great resource, and one that many of you may find useful to track what is happening behind the curtains of the Internet.

P.S. Naturally CircleID is also on Twitter and Facebook, too, and has a host of RSS feeds.


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Watching Live Blogs FAIL During Apple's iOS 5 Event

Today was a fascinating day to watch live-blogging services fail in a rather dramatic way.

Engadget... Gizmodo... MacRumors... ArsTechnica... and more...

Thanksapple

Unless you were under a rock or otherwise hiding offline, you know that today was the big, huge, ginormous "iPhone 5" announcement event from Apple. (It turned out, of course, that there was no iPhone 5, but that didn't stop the media frenzy.)

As you probably also know, Apple does NOT live-stream these events. I think Robert Scoble nails their reasons - it's all about control. The PR folks at Apple are also masters at "creating spectacle". These "events" become the huge media events they are precisely because there is scarcity... you can't get the info unless you are in the room.

And so, the "media" get to be gatekeepers to the knowledge again.

Lacking a live video or audio stream, all the interested techies, media and fanboys must turn to live blogs and to Twitter (and Facebook and Google+) to get their updates.

But boy did those live blogs fail today!

Now, don't get me wrong..

I DO understand that providing live updates to an unknown - but very HIGH - number of visitors is hard to do.

I get that... but still it was interesting to see who survived and who didn't (and I mention both below).


Live Blogs That Struggled

One of the first I saw go was MacRumors, who was originally using a service that embedded "live blogging" directly into their web page. That seemed to fail under the load and they dropped back to simply providing bullet updates on their live page.

I was watching Engadget's coverage for a while and it was great ... until it wasn't:

Engadgetliveblog

Even worse, the entire Engadget site seemed to be down at times:

Engadget2

The site went in and out during the course of the coverage but was mostly out for the latter half of the coverage.

Gizmodo's live blog didn't give the same kind of errors, but simply stopped updating for long periods ... and then had problems loading display elements (which I missed capturing):

Gizmodo

Ars Technica did better with their coverage up until about 40 minutes into the event when they stopped updating the site and pointed people over to Twitter:

Arstechnicaliveblog

Their coverage came back... and then froze again several more times.

I would have loved to be watching the stats on the traffic these sites were getting as it had to have been a TON of traffic.


Live Blogs That Worked

Still, some sites seemed to work well through it all. And while I have no insight into how much traffic these sites had versus the ones above, it could also be the architecture they chose to use as well as their choice of content.

Ryan Block's gdgt live gave the best experience I found, integrating both text and pictures to provide a great way to know what was going on:

Gdgtlive

They had a couple of momentary hiccups, but overall they seemed to consistently be publishing more and more content.

Mashable's live coverage was also consistently available, although they went with a more Twitter-esque series of mostly text updates. They added in polls for some more interactivity and also had links to other posts and info. They had a few photos, but not all that many compared to others. However, the coverage was consistent and always there:

Mashablelive

Finally, GigaOm's coverage was noteworthy in that they started out from the beginning to just provide simple text updates to a blog post that you had to manually refresh. No auto-updates... no embedded widgets... just a straight-up blog post with a mixture of text and pictures. Not as sexy as other sites, but every time I refreshed it the content was there with updates.

Sometimes, simplicity can win.

(Now, in fairness, because there was no auto-updating and because I wasn't sitting there hitting the refresh (this was all running in the background on my computer while I ate lunch and was doing some other work), the GigaOm site could have gone down several times between my refreshes.)


Again, I do realize that providing this kind of large-scale coverage is hard, but in the era of "web-scale" and with the availability of content delivery networks, caching services, etc., there are certainly options available to companies providing "live blogs" of events.

Now maybe some of the sites that "struggled" had all that kind of stuff in place and still succumbed to the overwhelming traffic.

Regardless, today was an interesting experiment in seeing what worked and what didn't work. Personally, I'd love it if some of the services that had technical difficulties would write up a bit about what happened and how they were hit.

It would help all of us learn how to scale our sites.

And help people get ready for the NEXT Apple event ;-)

P.S. And yes, there were undoubtedly other sites that were offering live blogs of the event... these were just the ones that I happened to know of or find.


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Apple vs. Microsoft: TechMeme Shows Who the Tech Media Care About...

Today was of course the first day of Apple's World-Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) with the annual keynote from Steve Jobs and friends. It's the time when nerds, geeks, fanboys and the tech media all look out to the Moscone Center in San Francisco to learn about what is new from Apple.

This year, someone at Microsoft decided to have an Xbox event at the E3 conference, starting a half-hour before the WWDC keynote. While I saw some media outlets on Twitter trying to tweet about both events, it was pretty clear where the attention of the early adopter and tech set was... and when I looked on Techmeme at the end of the WWDC event, it was VERY clear. Here is a screenshot of the Apple-related stories:

Techmeme apple

Here is a screenshot of the Microsoft-related stories:

Microsoft

I went back in time a bit via Techmeme's interface, but never saw much more of a rise in Microsoft stories.

Now... is this because the tech media sites are fans of Apple? Is it because the Xbox event was live-streamed so anyone could watch it... while the WWDC event was NOT, so you had to read about it? Is it a reflection that Apple was talking more about general software while the Xbox event was about games?

Probably a bit of all of the above... but it's also a good sign in my mind of where the attention is these days.

P.S. And yes, I, too, was watching the live-blogging and tweeting coming out of WWDC...


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Why did CNN need to fake Sarah Palin's new Twitter page?

UPDATE: CNN's post now includes this text:
UPDATE (Friday): A few hours after Palin changed her Twitter account name, she switched it back to @AKGovSarahPalin. @SarahPalinUSA is now a new separate account altogether. CNN e-mailed a Palin representative seeking comment, but has not yet heard back.

So apparently the screenshot was in fact legit, only that the account was later changed back between the time CNN started writing and then published their post.


Want to know why people don't "trust" the mainstream media? Here's a classic example pointed out by C.C. Chapman (and he later posted a screenshot). In his CNN article, Eric Huhn writes about how Sarah Palin has changed her Twitter ID from AKGovSarahPalin to SarahPalinUSA and accompanies it with a "screenshot" of the page:

cnnfaketwitterpage.jpg

Here's the problem:

It's a fake.

Here is Palin's existing AKGovSarahPalin page, that looks basically like the one pictured:

akgovsarahpalin.jpg

Here is her (purported) new SarahPalinUSA page:

sarahpalinusa.jpg

Oops.

Leaving aside the issue of "Is the SarahPalinUSA page really from Sarah Palin or is from someone else pulling a really good joke right now?", the larger question is:

Why did CNN feel they needed to alter the screenshot?

I mean... did they seriously think people wouldn't look?

Bizarre.


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Newspapers fighting to survive - disrupting habits by dropping home delivery days...

As a lover of language, journalism and writing - and yes, as one of those anachronistic subscribers to not one, but two daily newspapers, I've watched with great interest the continued devolution of the newspaper industry. You all know it... the stories are, of course, in the newspapers and online almost every day these days. We're right in the midst of a great chaotic change in media consumption, as Clay Shirky recent wrote in his great essay

Today, though, the changes to the industry started to hit home for me personally. In the editorial page for the New Hampshire Union Leader, publisher Joe McQuaid laid out the (overall comparatively good) situation for the Union Leader, the tough challenges of providing local coverage, and then dropped in the change:

We are taking several steps to deal with it, the most noticeable of which will occur in mid-April. At that time, for areas outside Greater Manchester, we will discontinue Saturday distribution and begin publishing a combined Friday/Saturday Edition. It will contain all of Friday's features plus key sections and features from Saturday's current paper. It will be delivered to state-area subscribers on Friday and be available at retail outlets on Friday and Saturday.

For those who don't know New Hampshire, Keene is very definitely an "area outside Greater Manchester". We're about 1.25 hours to the west of Manchester down in the southwest corner of N.H. over by Vermont and Massachusetts.

No Saturday morning Union Leader for us.

Now as it happens, this isn't really a particularly big deal for my wife and I. The primary reason we get the Union Leader is because it is the only newspaper with daily morning delivery during the week. The Keene Sentinel, the other daily newspaper we get (and one of the oldest in the country still using the same name), is published in the afternoon during the week. However, both newspapers get delivered on Saturday morning. And in truth, both are fairly thin on Saturdays and, with the way the newspapers increasingly print wire stories, etc., they both tend to have a fair amount of duplicate content.

So this change is really no big deal. We'll just read the Sentinel on Saturdays. We really mostly care about the local news anyway (and the comics).

But I have to wonder about those in other areas of N.H. that don't have the duplicate paper. Will this accelerate some people finding (online) alternatives? Perhaps not... after all, it is only one day of service dropped.

Consider, instead, Detroit, where the Detroit Times and Detroit Free Press are reducing home delivery to Thursday, Fridays and Sundays. They are cutting four days of delivery. Which led me to completely agree with this quote (my emphasis added):

"They are accelerating greatly the print-to-digital transformation, and they are taking a great chance there," said Ken Doctor, media analyst with Outsell Inc.

The biggest risk is in breaking readers' newspaper habits, he said. If readers realize they can get by without a newspaper at the doorstep four days of the week, they might conclude they don't need it delivered on the other three days. Circulation could drop, and with it, ad revenue.

I think that is a serious gamble and risk on the part of the Detroit papers. Now, maybe, as the story seems to indicate, this is really a last desperate gamble to keep the papers afloat - but I agree with the analyst that this is probably only going to accelerate the ongoing transformation. Perhaps it's a step that will keep these two papers financially going in the short-term, but in the long-term I can't see how it will do anything but hasten the demise.

You are breaking readers' habits.

A personal story - the reason why we have two newspaper subscriptions is because of our habits. I have been a daily newspaper reader for decades. In every place my wife and I have lived we have subscribed to a daily morning paper. Before my daughter, I always snapped wide awake at 6:00 am pretty much every single morning of my life. My daughter got the early-bird gene but she ratchets that back to 5:00am or 5:30am and over the years my body clock has migrated to that as well. We therefore have tons of time in the morning before work and school start. So we like a morning paper. Great to read before the day begins.

When we moved to Keene last summer, we started out subscribing to the Keene Sentinel, but in comes in the late afternoon, usually around 4:00pm or so. We tried... but it broke our habit and try as we could we just didn't find we ourselves adapting. We even tried reading the previous day's Sentinel the next morning... but that just didn't work. So we sucked it up and subscribed to the Union Leader primarily to get a morning paper. We wound up keeping the Sentinel as we enjoyed getting all the local news that didn't wind up in the state-wide Union Leader.

Because of a habit, we subscribed to a paper. Break that habit, and we'll stop.

If the Union Leader were some day to drop to only doing home delivery three days a week, I can say with probably 99% certainty that we would drop our subscription for those remaining 3 days. It's a daily habit... a pattern... and if that habit can't be fulfilled, what's the point?

I would expect the Detroit papers will be finding this out...


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Topics and links for my FIR report into show #432- March 19, 2009

fir_100x100.gifToday I sent over to Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson my usual weekly report into For Immediate Release. In my actual report, I said I'd post the links to the reports that I was talking about in the report. They are:

Now, as to what I said about each of those.... well, you'll have to wait until Shel & Neville edit/produce FIR #432 and post it on the FIR site sometime today. :-)


TIP: As you'll hear in the report, I recorded it in the field. I did so using the iRecorder app on my iPhone which I've used in the past. The neat thing about iRecorder is that it's trivial to get the files off the iPhone - the iRecorder app simply runs a local web server on your iPhone and you connect to that web server from another PC on your local network.

However, as I discovered today, that is the only way to get the recordings off your iPhone and so if you don't have WiFi access... or more specifically unrestricted WiFi access... you are out of luck.

Today I recorded this segment en route to my local Panera Bread where I planned to work all day offsite and mostly offline. I figured I'd just transfer the file over the free WiFi and send it off. However, this failed miserably. Both my laptop and my iPhone were able to get on Panera's free WiFi, access the web, etc. But when I put iRecorder in its "Sync" mode running a local web server and then tried to connect from my laptop, I couldn't! After a couple of attempts (and a cup of tea) I wound up returning home to do the transfer.

Blame the security folks, methinks. In trying a couple of other connections, it looks like the folks at Panera are very nicely restricting people from connecting to other computers on the free WiFi network. This is a VERY good thing! 99.9% of the time... just not when I want to do a file transfer over the local network. It's actually good to know and honestly makes me more inclined to use Panera's network, since they appear to be protecting me from scanning from other computers on the network. It was just not how I thought today would work out. Ah, well. Lesson learned.


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Media consumption habits are hard habits to break...

What are your media consumption habits? What happens if a that media (newspaper, TV show, magazine, etc.) goes away? How well do you adjust?

We're experiencing that dilemma ourselves in our new home in Keene, NH. You see... we are still some of those people who participate in that increasingly quaint and archaic custom of... newspaper subscription. More to the point, we are in the habit of getting a morning paper. For pretty much all of my adult life I've had a morning paper. It's been part and parcel of my morning "routine". Wake up, get ready for the day, have breakfast... and read at least part of the morning paper. Especially things like the weather, the major news and of course the comics. It's the habit I've had and one that my wife and daughter have also had.

keenesentinel.jpgHowever, when we moved to Keene we discovered, to our surprise, that the Keene Sentinel, our local paper, turns out to be one of the few remaining afternoon papers! It's delivered by 5pm each week day and by 8am on Saturday and Sunday. We immediately subscribed, following our pattern... but it's been quite strange over the past week as there's been very definitely a missing piece in our morning routine. You can't really save the previous day's paper for the next morning because the news is that much older and, honestly, as it is a smaller paper it's so far really only good for one sitting. We're considering subscribing to another paper, like The Union Leader, but we do like getting the local news that appears in local patterns. Maybe we'll subscribe to both. I don't know.

It has made me think, though, about media consumption habits... they can definitely be hard ones to break!

What about you? What media do you consume on a regular basis? What would you miss if it wasn't there?

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