8 Ways to Stop Misinformation in Its Tracks

Editor's Note: I usually refrain from discussing politics. Last week's U.S. Senate theatrics, however, were way too Animal Farmish to resist addressing. The truth will not always set you free when Web 2.0 unleashes scary boogeymen. That sounds harsh but sadly illustrating my point is last week's U.S. Senate vote killing U.S. ratification of a United Nations treaty aimed at bringing the rest of the world in line with U.S. standards on how to treat the … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Craft Calls to Action that Overcome Barriers

Why would people ignore your call to action even when you effectively grabbed  their attention and engaged them emotionally? Most often, your messaging failed to provide solutions to barriers stopping them from taking action. There are six common barriers to action: 1. Hard. Your call to action must be perceived as easy to do—either immediately (e.g., "give $15 now without leaving Facebook" versus making people click off to another site to support your … [Read more...]

Using #SMEM Lessons Learned for Public Diplomacy

What do natural disasters and social media swarm-fueled diplomatic disasters, such as the recent anti-Islam film riots, have in common? One hundred percent certainty that they will occur regularly, albeit unpredictably. Now that one third of the world's population has Internet access and 79 percent of people in the developing world have a mobile phone (more than the percentage with access to electricity), anything anybody writes on social media, no matter how … [Read more...]

Castrating Hate-Fueled Leaderless Web 2.0 Swarms?

A low-budget Islamophobic video translated into Arabic and crafted to provoke, offend, and evoke outrage near the anniversary of 9/11 is the latest example of how almost anyone can incite powerful leaderless social media swarms. The scary thing is a tech savvy but disturbed high school or college student could pull a similar stunt. It turns out the producer of "Innocence of Muslims"—which mocks Muslims and the prophet Muhammad and incited mob protests against … [Read more...]

Limits on Federal Public Relations Activities? Sort of…

I read with interest yesterday a post on a "wide-ranging" Senate investigation into the federal government's use of public relations services. From the Institute for Public Relations website: "Twice in the past year there have been investigations into public relations spending by the federal government. The most recent was launched in late February by Senator Claire McCaskill (D–Mo.) and Senator Rob Portman (R–Ohio), who have triggered a wide-ranging investigation … [Read more...]