Category Archives: Social Interactive Media (SIM)

Why ‘Managing the Message’ Doesn’t

“What we got here….is a failure… communicate” Captain, the Prison Warden in Cool Hand Luke

Captain (Strother Martin) in 1967 film, Cool Hand Luke knew how to manage the message

Captain (Strother Martin) in 1967 film, Cool Hand Luke knew how to manage the message

If you are a business professor teaching students the importance of  ‘managing the message,’ or a Public Relations (PR) firm telling your client how to ‘manage the message,’ would you please stop. No, I mean stop right now. In fact, contact everyone you have taught or advised and tell them you were wrong then refund their money.

CEO Tony Hayward got his 'life back,' but BP is still in PR clean up mode in the United States

CEO Tony Hayward got his ‘life back,’ but BP is still in PR clean up mode in the United States

‘Managing the message’ cost Mitt Romney the Presidential election. It severely damaged Netflix in 2011. It cost a BP CEO his job. It took the Susan G. Komen Foundation from being a major player in non-profit foundations to one that has to hide its name in shame. 


First, ‘managing the message’ doesn’t work. Second, it’s a cowardly way to approach public relations. Third, it’s stupid advice. Fourth, it will end up causing major problems up to and including the end of an organization.

‘Managing the message’ assumes a person has control over the message. That would be a stupid assumption in a world driven by Social Media. John F. Kennedy’s words should be amended:

You can fool all of the people some of the time….until Social Media picks it up and then you’re screwed.

PR is no longer about creating an image. That was true back in the day individuals had no voice and people were subjected to mass advertising in every thing they watched, heard, and read. That was yesterday. Today an organization’s image is created by everyone who comes into contact with the organization. Customers, especially angry ones have as much of a voice in an organization’s public image as the Vice President of Marketing. Today PR is about listening and being honest and real in everything you say and do. That is something that can’t be faked or managed.

Reaction Avoidance
Managing the message is mostly about reaction avoidance. The idea is that if an organization handles it correctly, any negative situation will be minimized. The technique acts like a dam that has a short-term benefit, but a long-term disaster. When a PR crisis occurs the first instinct is to pretend there is no major problem. That is the start of a PR death spiral that only leads to bigger and bigger denials until the organization appears to be run by fools. By then executives turn and blame the PR staff for not ‘managing the message’ better.

TOMORROW: Public Relations Techniques That Kill Organizations. The two common techniques that characterize an organization who is trying to manage the message and why they fail.

MONDAY: The Dark Side of PR: Distraction and Deception Or ‘Armstronging’ the Public. When ethics are not a consideration, an organization is headed into a downward spiral that will almost always end with a public image that can be fatal. 


Filed under Business, Communication, Crisis Management, Customer Relations, Customer Service, Employee Retention, Ethics, Information Technology, Internet, Management Practices, Opinion, Public Relations, Respect, Social Interactive Media (SIM), Social Media Relations, Technology, Traditional Media

Why You Hate Facebook and Can’t Stand Twitter

Social Media Violates the Dual Work/Home Personality

You hate Facebook and can’t stand Twitter. You are mystified as to why anyone would want to share their personal information on the Internet and you probably make fun of people who do. The surprise is that it’s not because you’re male or because you’re over 40. But you are.

The reason Social Media is such an annoyance to you is because it goes against everything you were taught as you grew up. Social Media exposes your private persona and violates the boundary between your professional and personal identities.

Self Identity Devoured By The Corporation
Industrialization in the 19th and 20th centuries changed reshaped the life of the American male. As employment opportunities switched from being primarily farmers and small business owners to employees of the factories and corporations, workers found that their on-the-job behavior had to conform to company expectations. Job advancement within the company structure depended on a bosses perception of the perceived professionalism of the employee and not who they were in real life. That transformed the American worker into an actor who performed by the company script while he was under the watchful eye of his employer.

This division of a person’s life between home and work created a dual personality in men. At home a man was relaxed, caring, and spontaneous, or ‘unprofessional.’ At work a man was controlled, self-conscious, and unemotional, or ‘professional.’ As corporations became bigger, the division between the home and work personas became deeper to the point that a man might not be recognizable to his co-workers if their paths crossed outside of the work day.

Enter Social Media
Social Media tools like Facebook and Twitter have no work/home boundaries. The idea that a man should have a two personas is laughable in a Google searchable world that exposes the smallest of lies. That cold and tough business man doesn’t look so tough or cold when he posts pictures of his family activities on Facebook and that strips a man of his power base. The fake professionalism at work that empowers him can’t compete with the real person revealed on-line. The more a man’s power is dependent on his ‘professional’ persona, the more likely he is to abhor Social Media.

However, men who are angry about the lack of privacy in Social Media are trying to wage a hopeless battle to protect the nurtured idea that they must maintain two separate personas. The problem is that humans were never meant to divide their lives. Who we are at home is who we should be at work and vice versa.

It is understandable why you hate Facebook and can’t stand Twitter. They expose your greatest vulnerability…the real you. Perhaps someday that won’t seem like a vulnerability to you. And perhaps someday you’ll understand that the real you is not your weakness, but your strength.


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Filed under Aging, Business, Ethics, Generational, Information Technology, Internet, Lessons of Life, Pride, Public Relations, Relationships, Social Interactive Media (SIM), Social Media Relations, Technology

Coming This Week

My apologies for those of you who received an email alert regarding the article titled: Why ‘Managing the Message’ Doesn’t. It will be published this week; however, due to an error on my part it was briefly available late on Friday.

Currently I have three articles that will be published this week. They are as follows:

Monday: Why You Hate Facebook and Can’t Stand Twitter
Tuesday: Why ‘Managing the Message’ Doesn’t
Wednesday: Bad Public Relations Techniques That Kill Organizations

These articles should be available by 6:30 AM PST on the day it is published. I am also working on an article regarding ‘Grievance Collectors’ that I hope to publish be the end of the week.

Thanks for reading!


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Filed under Business, Communication, Crime, Crisis Management, Customer Relations, Customer Service, Ethics, Generational, Information Technology, Internet, Management Practices, Privacy, Public Relations, Social Interactive Media (SIM), Social Media Relations

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 47,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 11 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Filed under Social Interactive Media (SIM)

Conservative Credibility Account is Bankrupt

To be relevant you have to be credible and conservatives have spent all their credibility:

Bush Logic: Trust me. I know what I'm doing

Bush Logic: Trust me. I know what I’m doing

  • George W. Bush was going to force government to be smaller by taking revenue away via massive tax cuts. Then he made government even bigger and spent our country into debt.
  • Mitt Romney changed his position on issues on a weekly basis resulting in a trust deficit that he couldn’t overcome.
  • Oil companies and wealthy business men paid millions of dollars to finance conservative candidate’s political campaigns filled with deception and lies that were exposed within hours through Social Media.
  • Republicans vowed to obstruct President Obama efforts at all costs and blocked any legislation or appointments for two years, then tried to blame Democrats for not being able to ‘reach across the aisle.’
  • Republicans concept of smaller government and less regulation resulted in higher unemployment and unethical business practices that destroyed our economy.

    Conservative Investigation: Celebrate males testify about women's contraception

    Conservative Investigation: Celibate males testify about women’s contraception

  • Elected conservatives males demonstrate the absurdity of their positions on abortion and contraceptives exposing an underlying misogynistic attitude.
  • Conservative white state legislators in the South pass laws targeted at Latinos and minorities to discourage them from voting revealing a racist attitude.
  • Conservatives ironically insult minorities and Liberals as lazy, ‘takers’ who only seek handouts from the federal government while they seek to live in the United States of America without paying taxes for the privilege of living and working in this country.

    Boehner Math: 7.5% = 50%

    Boehner Math: 7.5% = 50%

Now conservative House Representative John Boehner is pushing the deception that a tax hike on the wealthiest 2% will impact fifty percent of small businesses. The fact is that a tax hike on those who have over $200,000 of personal income ($250,000 for married filing jointly) will affect only 7.5% of small business owners.

What is shocking is that the small percentage of wealthy small business owners pay themselves $200,000 or more out of their business account for fifty percent of all small business revenue. Note that the money is going into their pocket, not reinvested into the business, nor used for hiring more people, but into their personal account.  Boehner is trying to protect the interests of the greediest of small business people.

92.5 percent of small business owners will not be impacted by this tax hike, but Boehner continues to try to deceive America into the belief that he is protecting small business owners.

The Republicans have exhausted their credibility and still they continue to try to deceive rather than serve America. It’s hard to understand conservatives pursuit of deception as a political tool. If the last election demonstrated anything it was that the majority of America could not be bought or deceived. Social media quickly exposes lies and deceptions and yet Republicans continue to behave as if they live in an Orwellian 1984, and people will believe whatever they want them to believe.

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Filed under Business, Communication, Ethics, Government, Honor, Internet, Opinion, Politics, Public Relations, Respect, Social Interactive Media (SIM), Social Media Relations, Taxes

The Petraeus Lesson: Use Your REAL Name

David Petraeus knows about public image, but he believed an alias online was not public

Men my age have been taught the we should have two personalities. There is the ‘professional’ persona that we wear in our public/business life, then there’s the ‘real’ personality that we only show when we are off the stage. That worked when there was a clear division between public and private life. For most of my life I knew that the person I knew at work was not the same as the person who was in the backyard with a beer in his hand.

A baseball cap and polo shirt don’t mask the person, why would an email alias?

The Internet changed all that, but somehow older men didn’t get the memo. When we found out we could create an email account like ‘secretagent007′, ‘mysteryman’, ‘mrinvisible’, etc., we really believed we could say anything we want, do anything we wanted without anyone knowing who we really were. I admit, it is a seductive concept that our professional/public persona could remain unknown online, but the fact is that anything we say or do online is recorded in history and will always be attached to us. 

The Petraeus Lesson is simply this: USE YOUR REAL NAME EVERY TIME  EVERYWHERE. Don’t allow yourself to be sucked in that YOU are smarter than every one of the 7,079,446,910 people on Earth. Never, ever, ever log on, create an email, or register for a social media site using a false name. If you have an email that doesn’t use your real name then get rid of it and get another one. This is 2012, and you need to know that what you say and do online is public. Period.

I know we older, white males were raised to believe in two personas, but it is a myth that we need to get over. It’s not a privacy issue, it’s a ‘am-I-smart-or-am-I-stupid’ issue.

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Filed under Aging, Branding, Business, Communication, Ethics, Generational, Honor, Information Technology, Internet, Lessons of Life, Pride, Privacy, Public Relations, Respect, Social Interactive Media (SIM), Social Media Relations

PR & SM Nightmare: Komen Foundation Race To A Self-Inflicted Kill

Founder & CEO Nancy Brinker leading a PR disaster

It is a public relations worst case scenario.

The decision-makers in an organization make a bad decision and then after it becomes public, the organization desperately seeks to ignore the obvious. Unfortunately, in a Social Media world, making a bad decision is tragic enough, but to try and deny the obvious is fatal. Such is the fate for the Susan G. Komen Race to the Cure foundation.

When a for-profit angers their customers they may see a downturn in sales, but often the customer often has some dependency on the product or service, so they may be willing to eventually forgive and forget.

Non-profit organizations are different. Non-profits depend on public goodwill and in the case of the Susan G. Komen foundation, they are heavily dependent on the active involvement of volunteers and donors of all political and religious views for their Race For the Cure® runs. While the Komen foundation’s purpose is noble, there are many organizations working on behalf of cancer victims and raising awareness of cancer issues. The Komen foundation has no lock on those people who have supported them in the past and continued goodwill is necessary for their continued survival.

A View To A Kill
The Komen foundation had been haunted by religious and conservative political groups once it was learned that grants by the foundation had gone to Planned Parenthood. These grants were specifically for women’s breast health issues, but the conservative groups kept pressure on the foundation to stop all funding of Planned Parenthood.

Karen Handel and Sarah Palin at campaign event

Enter Karen Handel, a rabid anti-choice advocate. Handel unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Georgia in 2010, on an anti-choice/defund Planned Parenthood platform. Her campaign was endorsed by Sarah Palin and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Handel narrowly lost in a primary run-off election. In April 2011, The Komen foundation hired Handel as Vice President in charge of public policy. The choice of Handel in this position was a clear message the Planned Parenthood funding would be in jeopardy and the first step in the PR nightmare to come.

In December 2011, the Komen Board of Directors created a procedural rule that would allow the organization to defund Planned Parenthood. The reaction within the organizations was immediate. According to an article by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, Mollie Williams, the senior public health director quit in protest. At least two sources in Goldberg’s article indicate that the procedural rule was invented to allow the Komen foundation to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

After the decision became public the reaction throughout Social Media was quick and massive. People began announcing their condemnation of the decision and that they would no longer support the Komen foundation and the Race For the Cure.

A Possible PR Save?
Once the scope of the reaction became obvious, the Komen foundation might have had a public relations opportunity to save the organization by voting to reverse their decision and immediately firing Karen Handel and any others responsible for putting the organization in a public image blood bath. That move would have instantly made them the target of conservative political and religious groups, but the organization had already experienced that pressure. A reversal would have helped to restore their public image and bought back some goodwill.

 The one thing they could not do was spin the decision to try and make it look palatable to the non-Conservative public.

The Nail In The Coffin
Rather than facing up to the bad decision the Komen foundation, led by CEO and Founder Nancy G. Brinker, instead began aggressively spinning the decision and denying the conservative religious and political motivations. Choosing to stand by the decision has now compounded the PR disaster assuring a slow and dishonorable death for the Komen foundation. Blogs are discussing the organization’s budget and how much money is retained for administrative costs. Certainly they might gain some short-term financial support from well-financed Conservative donors; however, they will not be able to replace the legions of volunteers who made The Race to the Cure possible in communities throughout the country.

It is apparent that the Susan G. Komen foundation leadership has little understanding of the impact of Social Media on public relations. They have acted as if they were operating in 20th Century media environment where a bluff could be held through a news cycle and the voice of the organization could drown out the facts of a situation. Now Nancy G. Brinker has spent all her credibility and has become the face of the scandal. Unfortunately, there is no turning back now. The Race For the Cure has made themselves political by making this decision, and by trying to spin the story they have made a serious wound a fatal one.


At approximately 8:30 AM PST on Friday, February 3, 2012, CNN said the Komen Foundation was reversing its decision and would fund Planned Parenthood.


Filed under Branding, Communication, Ethics, Honor, Information Technology, Internet, Management Practices, Politics, Public Relations, Religion, Social Interactive Media (SIM), Social Media Relations, Women