The Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles

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After a brief break to collect my thoughts, I am back with a focus on evaluation and measurement. At a conference on measurement held in Barcelona in June, an important development was recorded: the creation of the ‘Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles’. The Summit was organized by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and over 200 delegates from around 33 countries voted on what is to be considered new standards in communication measurement. Participants at the conference included important PR and measurement organizations such as AMEC, IPR, The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), and The Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA).

The finalized version of these principles has now been published. The seven Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles are:

1. Importance of Goal Setting and Measurement
2. Measuring the Effect on Outcomes is Preferred to Measuring Output
3. The Effect on Business Results Can and Should Be Measured Where Possible
4. Media Measurement Requires Quantity and Quality
5. AVEs are not the Value of Public Relations
6. Social Media Can and Should be Measured
7. Transparency and Replicability are Paramount to Sound Measurement

The full description (pdf) of each of these principles and the thought process behind them can be seen on the  AMEC website.

Social media trends live!

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If you want to have a look at how exponentially social media is growing as we speak, here is a link to a live counter. Forward this to anyone who still questions the importance of social media in communication, particularly in business.

Some facts brought to you by Gary Hayes.

  • 20 hours of video uploaded every minute onto YouTube (source YouTube blog 09)
  • Facebook 600k new members per day, and photos, videos per month, 700mill & 4 mill respectively (source Inside Facebook Feb 09)
  • Twitter 18 million new users per year & 4 million tweets sent daily (source TechCrunch Apr 09)
  • iPolicy UK –  messaging has a bright future ( 09)
  • 900 000 blogs posts put up every day (source Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008)
  • YouTube daily, 96 million videos watched, $1mill bandwidth costs (source Comscore Jul 06 !)
  • UPDATE: YouTube 1Billion watched per day SMH (2009)- counter updated!
  • Second Life 250k virtual goods made daily, text messages 1250 per second (source Linden Lab release Sep 09)
  • Money – $5.5 billion on virtual goods (casual & game worlds) even Facebooks gifts make $70 million annually (source Viximo 09)
  • has 73 million visitors a month who upload 700 million photos (source Yahoo Mar 09)
  • Mobile social network subscribers – 92.5 million at the end of 2008, by end of 2013 rising to between 641.6-873.1 million or 132 mill annually (source Informa PDF)
  • – Over 2.3 trillion messages will be sent across major markets worldwide in 2008 (sourceEverysingleoneofus statistics)

Social media – controversial privacy issues in the US

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Finally the issue of government invasion of privacy linked to social media is being addressed. The Justice Department and other U.S. agencies are bein sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation over their policies for using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter in investigations, data collection and surveillance.

The EFF is a civil rights group which filed a complaint in San Francisco claiming that the government has used social-networking sites in conducting investigations and hasn’t clarified the scope of that use or whether there are any restrictions or oversight to prevent abuses. 

It is seeking the information to “help inform Congress and the public about the effect of such uses and purposes on citizens’ privacy rights and associated legal protections.” Bloomberg reports that it cited news articles that reported police searching Facebook photos for evidence of underage drinking and an FBI search of an individual’s home after the person sent messages on Twitter during the G-20 Summit notifying protesters of police movements.

The lawsuit seeks a court order for the government to process the requests and produce documents.

via Bloomberg

The pay-for-news venture

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In my courses we often speak about the future of news and information. Recently, a debate has emerged about a new model proposing a system that requires users to pay for news content. It was submitted to the the Newspaper Association of America(NAA) and now made public. The essence of this controversial model links back to none other than Google. The company describes a scenario in which paid content might co-exist in mostly free-content digital environment.

“Google believes that an open Web benefits all users and publishers,” Google’s RFI said. “However, ‘open’ need not mean free. We believe that content on the Internet can thrive supported by multiple business models — including content available only via subscription.” Google’s position is that advertising will likely be the main source of revenue for most news content, but that “a successful paid content model can enhance advertising opportunities, rather than replace them.” Pointing out the obvious, Google’s “Vision Statement” described two challenges: Foremost, the content has to be something consumers are willing to pay for. The second challenge is to create an e-commerce model that is “painless for users.” Google mentions its Checkout payment system and suggests it could be tailored for publishers’ use. “We can use this expertise to help create a successful e-commerce platform for publishers.

Google’s “ecosystem” includes:
• Single sign-on capability for users to access content and manage subscriptions.
• Ability for publishers to combine subscriptions from different titles together for one price.
• Ability for publishers to create multiple payment options and easily include/exclude content behind a paywall.
• Multiple tiers of access to search including 1) snippets only with “subscription” label, 2) access to preview pages and 3) “first click free” access.
• Advertising systems that offer highly relevant ads for users, such as interest-based advertising.

Read full article on Niemanlab

Measuring social media ROI

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measuringROIAn interesting post on Mashable by Christina Warren about measuring the Return on Investment of Social Networking. Indeed, we speak increasingly about measuring Public Relations initiatives such as specific campaigns, publications, websites, and events but exploring the impact of initiatives using the social networking channels remain uncharted territories.

According to an August 2009 survey by Mzinga and Babson Executive Education, 86% of professionals in a variety fields said that they have adopted social media in some way.

While the survey results are great in that they indicate an enhanced role social media in many industries, it also indicated that some professionals or companies are adopting social technologies without having a way to actually measure how effective or useful the measures actually are. In fact, 84% of respondents said they don’t currently measure the ROI (return on investment) of their social media programs.

Read the full article here>>

Public relations of war

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An article in the The New Nation by Phillip Knightley brings us back to the discussion on the ethics of Public Relations. Is manipulation inherent to all public relations tactics? This article on public relations and war adds some food for thought.

Lots of people and organisations make money out of war. But I learnt this week of a comparatively new arrival on the scene that is really cashing in: the public relations industry.

PR firms from the USA and Europe have been active in the Caucasus since the conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia a year ago. But few realised the extent of their operations or how sophisticated they have become. These PR firms pump out none of the crude propaganda of yesteryear. They employ former advertising men, ex-politicians and journalists to put across a subtle but convincing case for their clients. Even Moscow has joined the trend.

Read full article>>

Mobile phones – more than just one to one communication

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An interesting example of how mobile phone technology is transforming journalistic reporting and creative video recording today.

At this year’s Locarno Film Festival a film using new technology and creativity triumphed. Director Pippo Delbono showed that real talent can manifest itself through any lens.  His film, La Paura (Fear), a feature-length documentary was shot entirely on a mobile phone.

“The tiny camera, wielded like a sharpened knife, dissects the racism and hypocrisy of Italy through a range of quasi-related incidents. Delbono has transformed the pocket accessory into an artistic tool.” (The Guardian, Tuesday 18 August 2009).