Lies, damned lies and facts

It’s an inconvenient truth that facts don’t convince people. In fact, there is evidence that facts can work to convince people to believe the exact opposite, even more strongly than they did before. In the UK’s EU referendum the Leave… Continue Reading

Emerging tech: Your bookmark for 2019

Data has a better idea “We know from human history that developments in technologies over the centuries, ranging from the Industrial Revolution through to the invention of the automobile, then airplanes and so forth, the landscape of progress is littered with human casualties. People die because of these things being tested.” A provocative statement, the first thing you hear in episode 1 in the third season of the Digital Download podcast that I did with host Paul Sutton last month in which we discussed emerging technologies and communications and what’s predicted to hit the mainstream within the next two to three years. That statement was intended to sharpen focus on the dilemmas confronting all of us when we want to try something new or radically different to advance our knowledge, our well-bring, our development, where there are risks in doing so. It’s an extreme example of risk and consequence on the journey to that
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PR Ethics … “You CAN Handle the Truth”

ethicsGuest Post by Kirk Hazlett Jack Nicholson’s explosive response to Tom Cruise’s relentless questioning in “A Few Good Men” more than a quarter-century ago has always hung out in the back of my mind as I’ve worked with employers and clients over the years. You can’t handle the truth.” It most often bubbles up when I find myself confronted by a situation that presents an ethical challenge.
“Should we, or shouldn’t we?”…“What do we say?”…“What do ‘they’ need to know?”
Public relations is just that … open and honest communication with those publics who turn to us for advice, guidance, simple “do’s and don’ts.” But how should we, as public-facing representatives of an organization, be expected to tell those publics what’s going on or what we’re planning without causing even further damage to our organizational reputation? As those of us who have been doing
Kirk Hazlett
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Trust Me, I’m a Communicator

communicatorGuest Post by John Friedman It is a difficult time to be a professional communicator. Trust and credibility are two of the attributes that we rely upon to do our jobs. However, today, accusations of falsehood and deliberate deception are eroding trust in our profession by both those stakeholders we need to do our jobs as well as those we hope to engage in order to provide the maximum value to our companies, organizations or clients. The continuum between full transparency and “spin” (as it is charitably called) is one we must navigate, and we must do it well. Fortunately, there are tools and allies to help us. The question of ethics is one that seems simple, but can become quite complex. Certainly, there are legal ethics, and there are parameters and guidelines that are encoded in law that must be followed. That is why one of the most valuable
John Friedman
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SDF Podcast 18: Inertia, ethics, and breaches of trust

Data, data everywhere, but ethics in short supply. The latest episode of the Small Data Forum podcast follows the classic narrative arc of a three-act story. Beginning, middle, and end. The set-up, the confrontation, and the resolution. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. And although our wide-ranging discussion did run the risk of leaving all three co-hosts in the depths of despair, Neville HobsonThomas Stoeckle, and I end up hoping that the asteroid NASA predicts is hurtling towards earth can be diverted from its nihilistic path. This episode’s show notes were written by Sam Knowles. We kick off considering the implications of Google recently losing a landmark “right to be forgotten” case in the UK courts. For me, the case says more about national (courts) and supranational (the EU) organisations looking to flex – and being seen to flex – their regulatory and legislative muscles in the face of the
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Exposing the realities of our relationships with Facebook and other social platforms

This week has been an extraordinary one, not only for Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and members of the US Congress but also for users of Facebook and other social networking platforms wherever they are in the world. Indeed, it has been a week of revelation and food for considerable thought on a grand scale. During two days, on April 10 and April 11, the Facebook co-founder and CEO appeared before members of the US Senate and Congress to answer questions about Facebook and how it handles the personal information of its users. These appearances follow news headlines for weeks about the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica data scandal and undercover reporting-driven disclosures about grave misuse of the personal data of millions of users. Each session was around five hours; both were broadcast live on television and myriad social media channels, reaching a truly global audience. You can read transcripts of each session (
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Exposing the realities of our relationships with Facebook and other social platforms

This week has been an extraordinary one, not only for Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and members of the US Congress but also for users of Facebook and other social networking platforms wherever they are in the world. Indeed, it has been a week of revelation and food for considerable thought on a grand scale. During two days, on April 10 and April 11, the Facebook co-founder and CEO appeared before members of the US Senate and Congress to answer questions about Facebook and how it handles the personal information of its users. These appearances follow news headlines for weeks about the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica data scandal and undercover reporting-driven disclosures about grave misuse of the personal data of millions of users. Each session was around five hours; both were broadcast live on television and myriad social media channels, reaching a truly global audience. You can read transcripts of each session (
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SDF Podcast 17 – “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it”

The SmallDataForum convened in late March, and as for our big story, we had several candidates and angles on the same theme of the use and abuse of data.

This episode’s show notes were written by Thomas Stoeckle.

Sam is now a newly published author of a book about how to tell powerful and purposeful stories with data, Narrative by Numbers. A very timely (and equally timeless) topic and title.

A recently published study in Science about the velocity and spread of true and false news online caught our attention. Tina McCorkindale, CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, did a great analysis with key takeaways for communicators.

Discussing the study, Sam referred to Jonathan Swift’s famous quote from 1710 in The Art of Political Lying that “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is

Continue reading “SDF Podcast 17 – “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it””

SDF Podcast 17 – “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it”

The SmallDataForum convened in late March, and as for our big story, we had several candidates and angles on the same theme of the use and abuse of data. This episode’s show notes were written by Thomas Stoeckle. Sam is now a newly published author of a book about how to tell powerful and purposeful stories with data, Narrative by Numbers. A very timely (and equally timeless) topic and title. A recently published study in Science about the velocity and spread of true and false news online caught our attention. Tina McCorkindale, CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, did a great analysis with key takeaways for communicators. Discussing the study, Sam referred to Jonathan Swift’s famous quote from 1710 in The Art of Political Lying that “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is
Continue reading "SDF Podcast 17 – “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it”"

What next for Facebook?

Epic fail Even if you’re not interested in nor a user of Facebook, you’d have been hard pressed indeed to have avoided the blaze of publicity about the social networking site every day this past week. That blaze has been white hot in its ferocity and intensity on alleged wrong-doing by the American firm, and by a British political consulting and data mining company called Cambridge Analytica, over the mishandling of data related to more than 50 million users that allegedly played a significant role in influencing voter opinion in the US presidential election in 2016 (and the UK referendum on remaining in or leaving the European Union also in 2016). As you’d expect, commentary, narratives and opinions embracing the widest spectrum of views and standpoints have dominated the media, both mainstream and social, all week as well. There’s so much of it, it’s hard to get a handle on
Opera-Snapshot_2018-03-24_221310_twitter
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What next for Facebook?

Epic fail Even if you’re not interested in nor a user of Facebook, you’d have been hard pressed indeed to have avoided the blaze of publicity about the social networking site every day this past week. That blaze has been white hot in its ferocity and intensity on alleged wrong-doing by the American firm, and by a British political consulting and data mining company called Cambridge Analytica, over the mishandling of data related to more than 50 million users that allegedly played a significant role in influencing voter opinion in the US presidential election in 2016 (and the UK referendum on remaining in or leaving the European Union also in 2016). As you’d expect, commentary, narratives and opinions embracing the widest spectrum of views and standpoints have dominated the media, both mainstream and social, all week as well. There’s so much of it, it’s hard to get a handle on
Opera-Snapshot_2018-03-24_221310_twitter
Continue reading "What next for Facebook?"

What next for Facebook?

Epic fail Even if you’re not interested in nor a user of Facebook, you’d have been hard pressed indeed to have avoided the blaze of publicity about the social networking site every day this past week. That blaze has been white hot in its ferocity and intensity on alleged wrong-doing by the American firm, and by a British political consulting and data mining company called Cambridge Analytica, over the mishandling of data related to more than 50 million users that allegedly played a significant role in influencing voter opinion in the US presidential election in 2016 (and the UK referendum on remaining in or leaving the European Union also in 2016). As you’d expect, commentary, narratives and opinions embracing the widest spectrum of views and standpoints have dominated the media, both mainstream and social, all week as well. There’s so much of it, it’s hard to get a handle on
Opera-Snapshot_2018-03-24_221310_twitter
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In Truth We Trust?

I often hear people say… the one thing they appreciate in someone is “how honest” they are …or that they “speak their mind.” But, they’re not the same. Honesty is free of deceit and untruthfulness. The other, is when you say what you think very directly. It’s important that each of us understand the differences …for they form our foundation of ethics, morals and character. They symbolize what is or isn’t ok for us …as individuals and as a society. You make a choice and those choices add up. Are you willing to overlook the truth to build your future? Do you keep looking the other way and hope for the best? Or do you define a personal standard for which you stand …and do and accept the things that chart your course? Your choices represent what you represent and who represents you. And, that defines your path and
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The Problem With Social Media

warming fire in fireplaceI hadn’t been back in the U.S. for even a week before there was yet another social media eruption. One might almost call it “fire and fury.” (See what I did there?) And it kicked off yet another debate about who should and shouldn’t be allowed to use Twitter, etc… including in my Social PR Posse group. I’m trying not to get political here, but you’re probably not super-surprised that at first I thought Twitter’s somewhat lily-livered response to the President’s tweets was a cop-out.  But as I’ve been continued to chew on this, I think there is something we need to consider (and here is where I might start to get controversial).  So I’m going to throw this out there for debate (hopefully a civil one).
Why should they?
We call Twitter, Facebook, Insta, etc., “social media,” but the fact is: they
Shonali Burke
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SDF Podcast 14: Looking forward by looking back

Neville Hobson
SDF Podcast 14: Looking forward by looking back
Janus As the Small Data Forum progresses through its early teenage years – our latest podcast is episode 14 already – regular co-hosts Thomas Stoeckle, Neville Hobson, and Sam Knowles are taking the opportunity to look forward by looking back. Patients of our own medicine, you might say, we’re using the year end and what we’ve observed and learned in 2017 to enter the predictive analytics business. We take our inspiration from Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, and time, after whom January is named. A sculpture of Janus appears at the top of this blog, from the Vatican Museum. This episode’s show notes were written by Sam Knowles.

In our latest pod, we’re all making our predictions for what we expect to see happen in 2018

Notably, in how we believe organisations will make better use of data
Sam Knowles
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SDF Podcast 13: 1984 meets Pavlov’s dogs

NevilleHobson.com
SDF Podcast 13: 1984 meets Pavlov’s dogs
Trust “Trust, but verify” is a phrase that was used often by Ronald Reagan. It is more than a little ironic that this is originally a Russian proverb (Doveryai, no proveryai). Trust is also what links the various topics in episode 13 of our podcast (with show notes written by Thomas Stoeckle). From Chinese citizen scores to alleged irregularities in the UK referendum and the US presidential election, the implications of GDPR and the prospects of blockchain: trust is the glue that should hold together the fabric of such interactions, in private as well as public contexts.

China scores its citizens

Writer and academic Rachel Botsman calls her analysis of our hyperconnected, hyperpartisan times Who Can You Trust. Both Neville and I are currently reading the book, and it will feature in our next podcast (by which time I
1984
Full - Empty
Thomas Stoeckle
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Artificial intelligence risks GM-style public backlash, experts warn

NevilleHobson.com
Artificial intelligence risks GM-style public backlash, experts warn
Stop the Robots Researchers say social, ethical and political concerns in the UK about artificial intelligence (AI) are mounting and greater oversight is urgently needed, according to the Guardian. Otherwise, we could expect to see the kind of social disruption that greeted the advent of genetically-modified (GM) foods during the past decades. The Guardian’s report notes that there are no testing standards or requirement for AI to explain their decisions. There is also no organisation equipped to monitor and investigate any bad decisions or accidents. AI has entered public consciousness during the past couple of years with largely a negative focus. In how AI is reported in the media – mainstream and social – that focus tends to be about how the robots are coming to take away our jobs, our livelihoods, our comfort zones. Undoubtedly, elements of AI – notably automation
JP Morgan software
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Normal

What is normal? It is something that is usual, typical, standard, average, unexceptional, routine, predictable, to be expected. Normal is the way things are done, part of the fabric of society, everyday habits, the unnoticed, taken for granted, culturally embedded. It defines the benchmark against which everything else is measured. The middle of a normal … Continue reading Normal

Social media stars breaching rules on promoting brands, watchdog says

NevilleHobson.com
Social media stars breaching rules on promoting brands, watchdog says
songofstyle Instagram The Guardian reports on a rise in complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK advertising regulator, who says ‘influencers’ on social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter fail to declare that they are being paid to publicise products. The newspaper defines ‘influencers’ thus:
Social media celebrities who have large and engaged followings online. They get paid money to publicise products and can command tens of thousands for one post.
This is about disclosure where the influencer publicising a product or service would makes it clear in his or her post that there’s some kind of relationship with the brand owner and/or that the influencer receives compensation for that post, financial or otherwise. It’s common sense to disclose such relationships, to ensure there’s no ambiguity and to improve transparency. In our current climate of fake news
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Who should die when a driverless car crashes? Q&A ponders the future

NevilleHobson.com
Who should die when a driverless car crashes? Q&A ponders the future
Pedestrian crossing In the 2004 science fiction film I, Robot, the police detective hero played by Will Smith is in a car crash resulting in his vehicle and another sinking in a river. The other car contains a trapped 12-year-old girl. With imminent death by drowning confronting both characters, a rescue robot appears and rescues the hero from his doomed car but leaves the girl to die. Why? Because, the robot’s logic tells it, her survival was statistically less likely than the Will Smith character’s. This ethical dilemma of choice – as a human would see it – underpins much of the movie (set in the year 2034), informing the viewer of the driving emotional forces motivating the hero. In our real world of 2017, such a dilemma is confronting us already with the advent of vehicles
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