Tag Archive: Internet

Or should we say the Pols are wrong?

The experts backed by polling originally told us: Britain will leave the European Union (EU).

Hold on. Wait … the polls and pols then said there would be no Brexit.

Global markets surged and the pound sterling gained strength against the greenback.

Ahh … the polls and pols were wrong once again. Can’t they get anything right?mobilelandline

Britain is indeed leaving the club. PM David Cameron resigned. The markets tanked along with the pound sterling and the Euro. It’s a mess.

What happened (again) to the “experts”?

Remember the elite pundits told us Donald Trump will flame out when the “Silly Season” turns to the “Serious Season.”

And then … The Donald will never win the Republican nomination. Certainly not.

Certainly, yes.

Why do we pay attention to the polls and listen to the pols?

“Two Nations Separated by Common Language” – Winston Churchill

Before we go much further, Almost DailyBrett will immediately acknowledge the political landscape of one nation does not necessarily equate to the state of affairs of another.

Some including the Daily 202 of the Washington Post are now hyperventilating that Brexit could very well mean that Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States.BREXIT ahead: UK leaves the EU

Let that thought permeate for a nanosecond or two.

Consider the contradictory news flashes from this morning:

Washington Post: New Post-ABC News poll finds support for Trump has plunged, giving Clinton a double-digit lead.

Wall Street Journal: Trump weathers stormy month on campaign trail, loses only two points versus Clinton — WSJ/NBC Poll.

What’s it going to be, political experts?

What may be certain in this most uncertain political environment is the electorates on both sides of the pond are anxious, full of angst and may be downright angry … and that makes them increasingly volatile and unpredictable.

The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.5 percent for the past seven years, at least one full point under what it should be, is not and should not be accepted as the new normal.

Instead of celebrating globalization, free worldwide trade and technology breakthroughs (e.g., social, mobile and cloud) and having these all serve as symbols of progress, they are increasingly viewed as threats.

How long will it take for the machines to be cheaper than people (e.g., automated check-out, ATMs, robots, driverless cars …)? Each of these gadgets also has the added advantages of never whining, complaining, calling-in sick or demanding a pay raise.

The net effect: Far too many believe they are being left behind, and no one seems to care about them or that is their sense.

The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.7 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And yet only 38,000 new jobs were created in May and labor participation stands at just 62 percent. And how many of these “employed” are underemployed, working less than 30 hours per week for zero benefits?

Something is amiss and it is not just in the new world, but obviously in the old world as well.

Land Line Surveys vs. Internet Polls

“Never in recorded history have so many been so misguided by so few.” – With apologies to the memory of Winston Churchill, if he was still around to sound out his opinion about pollsters and their surveys.berniemichigan

Hillary was supposed to blow out Bernie in the May 8 Michigan primary by 20 points; she lost by nearly two points.

The folks in the UK were increasingly expected to vote to stay in the European Union. Instead, they are leaving.

The polls are particularly wrong this year. What seems to be the problem?

Let’s face it, quantitative analysis has always suffered from the being a snap-shot-in-time syndrome. Polls are scientifically accurate with a 3.5 percent margin of error, 95 percent of the time provided the random sample is large enough … let’s say 1,000 respondents.

The increasingly difficult proposition lies with how one gathers a random scientifically valid critical mass of respondents to participate in a nationwide poll. The traditional way is for polling firms is to call registered voters on their land lines.

There were days when everyone had land lines. Those days have obviously passed, leaving the only folks with land lines to be older, less receptive to mobile technology, but at the same time they have a greater propensity to vote. Translated: These folks need to be surveyed, but they are not representative of a changing electorate.

The alternative is to call mobile numbers of the CPOs (cell-phone onlys) or a combo of mobile dialing and/or internet surveys. The advantage: This is clearly the wave of the future. The disadvantage: the mobile and PC crowd are younger and more educated, but with a lower propensity to vote.

The net effect of this discussion is a changing, volatile electorate that is increasingly difficult to measure with any sense of accuracy.

Can’t anyone get anything right?

Seems like a germane question at this point of time.










Or unemployed …


Love him or despise him, you can always count on Mr. Warm and Fuzzy, Charles Barkley, to have an opinion. In this particular case, he has a point: Sometimes the Internet draws fools into its web.

When it comes to anything and everything binary code, one must always recognize that digital is indeed eternal. Weigh these examples.adamsmithvante

  • Former $200K+ Vante CFO Adam Smith took a video of himself berating Rachel, a Chick-fil-A employee working the drive-thru window, about the company’s position on same-sex marriage and posted it on YouTube. He was fired. He can’t find a job.
  • IAC/InterActiveCorp senior director of corporate communications Justine Sacco dashed off her insensitive tweet about AIDS in Africa just before she flew to Cape Town, South Africa. Her tweet went viral. She was terminated before her plane landed.

Let’s ask here and now: Why are so many so damn cavalier when it comes to Twitter’s 140 characters?

Why are some so consumed with posting every minute detail about their lives on Facebook, no matter how trivial?

Do we have to post every still on Instagram or upload every video on YouTube, no matter how mundane or in some cases, obnoxious and offensive?

Why will others insist on uttering every-and-any political thought that comes in between their ears on WordPress, Wix, Tumblr or any other blogging site? Maybe we are not interested, let alone enamored, with your political views?

Barkley is not a fan of social media and has the luxury to say so. He and many others assume a who cares attitude toward the Internet. For the rest of us mere mortals, we know that social, mobile and cloud are game changers.

The World Wide Web is the classic definition of a destructive technology, the biggest communications advancement since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th Century. We can communicate to-and-from virtually any place on the planet in a matter of seconds, 24/7/365.

The Genie is not going back into the lantern.

The real question is whether we are using these tools with the care they require. Think of it this way: blogging, social media and other digital forms of communication are “radioactive.” They are not monolithic (e.g., think “Friends” for Facebook and “Connections” for LinkedIn), but they all have the potential and the capability to get us in trouble in nanoseconds.

They can be abused. Why do some insist upon posting literally anything about their daily lives on the net? How many baby pictures are necessary? How many images of casseroles are required? How many more cat photos do we need to see?

Okay, the author of Almost DailyBrett pleads guilty when it comes to felines; yes, I have posted a tabby cat photo or two on Facebook.

Reputation Management for an Eternal Digital World

“Someday that party picture is going to bite them when they seek a senior corporate job or public office. I think they should wake up now, and become aware of the extent to which they’re sharing parts of themselves that one day they may wish they had kept private.”– Don Tapscott, Author of “Grown Up Digital”

The most important public relations of all are personal public relations.party

Would a hiring manager performing a Google search (okay Yahoo and Bing too) uncovering photo of the obviously inebriated Florida Gator fan doing a little pole dancing, automatically disqualify this individual?

Is that fair?

Does the hiring manager actually know the individual?

Most likely, the answers are “yes,” “no,” and “no.” Translated: The candidate is disqualified. It’s not really fair. And the hiring manager does not know the individual … and yet she or he doesn’t want to become acquainted with the “candidate.” The digital ones-and-zeroes that make up the photo tell the story, and it is not a good tale.

Some have expressed a concern, particularly college students, that the vast majority of their photos of Facebook and elsewhere (hopefully not LinkedIn) usually come with a drink in one hand. Does the preponderance of party photos send an unwanted message? Is alcohol a problem? Maybe they should do a little surfing on Google images and see if there are one (or two) too many fiesta photos?

Studies have revealed that executive recruiters (e.g., headhunters) spend only 6.25 seconds on a contender’s LinkedIn profile, and the first place they go? A potential candidate’s photo.

If that is indeed the case, wouldn’t someone interested in personal reputation management choose the most professional JPEG possible? One would think so, and yet Almost DailyBrett has seen LinkedIn portrait photos that are more appropriate for Match.com.

Internet Jail?

“A little payback. Sometimes there are consequences for being a dick.” – TYT Network Young Turks host Ana Kasparian

Can Schadenfreude or the celebration of someone’s demise get a little out of hand?

Kasparian’s sidekick, Cenk Uygur, wondered if Adam Smith (not to be confused with the Adam Smith of Wealth of Nations fame) will ever get a job again, any job, let alone a six-figure position.saccolanding

Sacco’s sin, which she fully comprehended when she landed in Cape Town, is even worse, particularly when you consider that she rose in the ranks to become a senior communicator for a major media conglomerate. If she can’t police her own dialogue, why would a reputable firm turn over its messaging, branding and reputation management to Mizz Intemperate Tweet?

Both Adam and Justine are in Internet Prison. Did they earn a lifelong sentence? Is that fair? Maybe not. Will it change? Maybe not.

What did Sir Charles say about “Fools” and the “Internet”?













Maybe hiding money under the mattress isn’t such a bad idea after all.

One could easily come to that conclusion after reading “Cyberwar: The Threat from the Internet” lead commentary and lengthy analysis in this week’s “Economist” http://www.economist.com/. The cover piece should be required reading for public relations professionals, especially those working for entities managing extremely complex and sensitive digital data (e.g. defense agencies/contractors, stock exchanges, banking institutions, major retailers, hospitals, public utilities, insurers, air traffic controllers…).


These institutions may even want to seriously consider hiring from what should be a new class of communications professionals with extensive backgrounds in not only crisis management PR, but also with a keen understanding of computation, IT and/or electrical engineering.

Is this just an ill-timed call for another SG&A (selling, general and administrative) expense at a time when we very well could be staring in the face of a double-dip recession? Here’s another question to ponder: How expensive will it be if entire communities are indefinitely deprived of power, denied access to financial resources or discover that their sensitive personal information has been compromised? We can be sure that not all of impacted people in these unfortunate circumstances would have been wise enough to hide sufficient hard-earned cash under the mattress or in the coffee can.

Last February, this blog recounted the State of California’s 1989 response to the massive 6.9 on the Richter Scale Loma Prieta (Bay Area) Earthquake, a more conventional crisis communications incident. https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/the-bay-bridge-is-in-the-water/.

Recently, we read about the recurring Toyota recalls, the seemingly out-of-control NYSE-computers that plunged the market nearly 1,000 points in less than 10 minutes, and of course, the Mother of All Oil spills, BP’s environmental (and public relations) nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico.

In each of these cases and others that are similar, the text-book crisis communications response really boils down to the journalistic who, what, when, why, how and most important what is being done about it. We can measure the Richter scale reading for an earthquake; count the number of Toyotas that were recalled; determine the staggering amount of market capitalization that is lost when the NYSE computers decided to get a mind of their own, and measure (and measure again) the number of gallons per hour of crude that are pouring into the gulf.  More importantly, we can usually respond expeditiously about what happened and what is being done to rectify the problem, even in this age of ever-shrinking news cycles.

We have all read more stories than we care to count about the vast potential of social media in successfully branding an organization. We also know of examples of how these same digital tools can quickly undo even the best marketing and branding campaigns https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/the-power-of-new-media/.This very same Internet has even more potential to promptly wreak havoc on any organization, including entire countries.

According to the Economist, more than nine-tenths of Internet traffic travels by means of undersea fiber-optic cables, some of them bunched up in not-very-nice places including the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa and the Luzon Strait. About 90 percent of the 140 billion e-mails sent daily around the world are spam, and about 16 percent of these are money-making scams. The US government believes that $1 trillion is lost each year to cyber crime.

What happens in a denial-of- service (DDOS) attack impacting thousands, if not millions, of personal financial or medical records, shutting down regional energy grids or making it impossible to simply access money? Who is the culprit? The answer is obviously somebody, some group, some competitor, some adversary, some nation with access to the Internet. One of the first public relations problems associated with a cyber attack is going to be purely diagnostic: What happened? Why did it happen? When did it happen? Who is responsible? What is the extent of the damage?


If you have no concrete responses to these questions how can you offer solutions to editors, reporters, analysts, bloggers who are demanding immediate answers? And if you do not have enough credible information to provide intelligent commentary, will journalists allow you to buy time? Or will they turn to others for quick answers to provide copy and fill air time? And what are the agendas of these other “sources?” Are they the same as your agenda? For better or for worse, all voids are going to be filled one way or another.

As we can see through the example of the 2008 compromise of the personal records of 285 million Verizon Communications customers, these cases will surely recur the future. Do they constitute warfare? Corporate espionage? Terrorism? Vandalism?  One thing is certain, large organizations will benefit from those who know not only how to manage information and calmly communicate in the cyber crisis’s’ of the future. They will be crisis comms pros, who will also have a working knowledge base about the digital systems that are vulnerable to attack via the Internet and can describe complex IT systems in plain understandable English or whatever constitutes the vernacular.

And in the case of outright theft or foul play, an organization will need to cooperate directly with law enforcement or in certain cases national security. If the cause is not just sinister intent, but real or perceived lax IT security by your client, then you can be virtually assured that the trial bar will see an opportunity to tap deep pockets on behalf of aggrieved “plaintiffs.” http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/06/11/most_data_theft_tied_to_basic_security_flaws/

Whether an organization decides to hire a new breed cyber crisis communications specialist or not, we do know for certain that the Internet-driven world of the 21st Century has brought forth a variety of new digital opportunities and threats that were not even conceivable a mere generation ago. Welcome, regardless of whether you are ready or not or whether you agree or not, to the brand new world of cyber crisis communications.

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