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Friday Five: Google+ Alters the Social Media Value Equation

Not unlike the past 200 or so weeks, social media was a big news story this week, both within the PR profession and beyond. The question on many pundits’ minds was how can the same sites that build brands, and strengthen business-to-consumer relationships, also dismantle the level of consumers’ online privacy?

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook still offer companies valuable brand-marketing strategies. But with interest in, and use of, Google+ rising and becoming more of a force, consumers are questioning: “What is the value of oversharing?”

PRSA’s “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest PR and business news and commentary — looks at the consequences that consumers could face as a result of new privacy changes to Google+ and explores the strategic requirements for businesses using Twitter.

Google’s no-opt-out privacy changes and the end of the anonymous Internet (ComPost / The Washington Post)

Reporter Alexandra Petri says that Google’s latest privacy changes have left many consumers asking, “Must you, Google?” This is in response to the search giant’s announcement this week of plans to integrate data from all its services with Google+ users’ profile information and status updates. Try searching yourself on Google, and you might be surprised by how much Google seems to know about you. The Washington Post examines how our online activity may soon cause real-world consequences.

Facebook, Twitter Call Out Google On Social Search Results (Digits / The Wall Street Journal)

The Wall Street Journal reports on cries of hypocrisy Facebook, Twitter and Myspace over Google’s decision to promote Google+ pages in search rankings. Known for providing users with the most relevant and objective search results and information, the argument, as The Journal reports, is that Google is forcing Google+ plus pages to the top of search results when Facebook profiles and Twitter pages may contain content that is more relevant. Google rushes into the social media arena late in the game but may pose unexpected competition.

‘Don’t Be Evil’ tool alters new Google search results (Los Angeles Times)

Focus on the User is a new website created by Facebook’s director of product, Blake Ross, and software engineers, Tom Occhino and Marshall Roch, that gives internet users the opportunity to compare Google+ search results against non Google+ search results. The goal of the website is to show users that the Google+ social network gets a boost at the expense of other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Why Your Company Needs to Structure Properly for Social Media … Right Now (Edelman Digital)

This week, Richard Edelman unveiled the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer. The results of the study, which tries to answer the seemingly simple question: “Who do you trust?” may surprise you. Social media saw the biggest percentage increase in trust among media sources, which includes television, radio, and newspapers, with 75 percent of the surveyed population trusting the information and content they find via social media. As the Edelman Digital bloggers notes, this sets a standard for social networks and social content sites to uphold if they want to remain in good standing with users, which explains why Facebook and Twitter are upset over Google’s decision to promote the search rankings of Google+ content. The concern is this: If one social media bad boy breaks new ground, will it negatively affect consumers’ trust in other social media sites?

Related: Build Corporate Trust by Trusting the Internet (PRSAY)

4 Strategic Requirements For Corporate Tweeting (Fast Company)

It’s been several years since businesses first caught on to the Twitter bandwagon, but as Fast Company blogger Richard Levickm writes, many still don’t seem to get it. Offering a plethora of examples of social media greatness and mishaps, he says there are four strategic requirements for any business using Twitter. Keeping these in mind should protect brand reputation and improve stakeholder engagement. Those requirements include:

  • Twitter means powerful consumer engagement regardless of whether it is officially labeled customer service.
  • Twitter requires a compatible (not over-lawyered) legal culture.
  • Twitter requires your team to actually converse.
  • Twitter requires enhanced risk-management preparation.

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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