OPINIÓN DE CORRESPONSALES, LEÑA AL FUEGO

Mucho hablamos últimamente de la opinión de nuestros vecinos europeos sobre “cómo nos ven” o “estereotipos” que tienen de nuestro país y de nuestra gente. El manido concepto de “Marca España” continúa bajando en picado, dicen los supuestos expertos, a consecuencia de la mala imagen que da nuestra economía. Aprovechando la crispación generalizada, tanto en nuestro país como en Europa, la corresponsal alemana Stefanie Claudia Müller ha escrito sus reflexiones y no ha dejado a nadie indiferente.

Su artículo de opinión, publicado en varios medios alemanes, ha corrido como la pólvora en las últimas horas por todos los medios online posibles: desde blogs, redes sociales e incluso medios digitales. Ha sido hace un rato cuando me han dado la pista. “Mira lo que piensan de nosotros los alemanes”, ha dicho, con un e-mail abierto. No, no se trataba de la típica cadena de e-mails. El texto, que trata sobre la crisis española, hace un intento de análisis sobre sus causas. Con razón o sin ella, Müller ha sabido explotar desde un punto de vista comunicativo un tema que en principio podría haber sido considerado como cansino y manoseado.

Sin necesidad de remontarse a diez años atrás, ni de apoyarse en datos de informes incomprensibles, Müller es capaz de dotar de argumentos sus principales mensajes: la corrupción de los bancos y de los políticos, la pobre separación de poderes, la necesidad de liquidar el sistema autonómico… En cualquier caso, parece que el principal motivo de la expectación que ha generado no surge por los temas de los que trata, ni siquiera del ángulo desde el que los aborda… se trata más bien de saber que quien firma es una alemana afincada en nuestro país. Una opinión fresca, sincera y sin hipotecas; y lo que es peor… publicando en el país vecino la opinión sincera del que se critica. Un entorno perfecto para alimentar a las redes sociales.

Más allá de la polémica, vuelve a ser fascinante observar el poder de Internet. Sorprende ver que un blogger aficionado, que debió de ser uno de los primeros en llamar la atención del artículo de Stefanie Claudia Müller, recibiera cientos de visitas en pocas horas, tal y como comenta en una de sus propios posts.

UNA VISIÓN ÍNTEGRA DE LA ORGANIZACIÓN PARA MEJORAR SU REPUTACIÓN

Las organizaciones, como cualquiera de nosotros, están sujetas a una cantidad infinita de impresiones. Todas ellas están distorsionadas, aportan fortalezas, limitaciones, formas de ver y también de no ver. Gareth Morgan, creador de las llamadas “metáforas de la organización” a través del best seller Imágenes de la Organización, fue capaz de construir la imagen definitiva de la organización a través de ocho metáforas: como máquinas, organismos, cerebros, culturas, sistemas políticos, prisiones psicológicas, como cambio y transformación y como instrumentos de dominación.

Se trata de un clásico imprescindible dentro de la bibliografía de la teoría de la organización, pero también de un recurso infinito desde la perspectiva de las relaciones públicas, porque explora la complejidad de las organizaciones con amplitud de miras y con ello, infinitos contextos en los que la comunicación tiene un rol protagonista.

Mediante una evaluación crítica detectaremos cuál de ellas se ajusta más a nuestra organización o qué áreas, metodologías o herramientas de gestión podríamos identificar a través de estos puntos de partida.  Por ejemplo, la parte burocrática y el control asociado a la organización como máquina la encontramos sobre todo en las administraciones públicas, mientras que identificaremos como organismos a los grupos o departamentos que se adaptan o sobreviven dentro de una gran complejidad en su estructura interna y del entorno. Las compañías que actúan como cerebros son muy creativas y requieren de un constante aprendizaje; las que se entienden como culturas suelen tener una dimensión internacional o líneas de negocio diversificadas.

Los sistemas políticos también se representan dentro de las organizaciones, como por ejemplo en el modo de elección de sus responsables, el estilo de liderazgo y de poder. Morgan también dedica en su metáfora de la prisión psicológica el modo en que la personalidad y la forma de pensar de los responsables de la compañía “empañan” el modo en que actúa, y la de cambio y transformación, denota el estilo en la toma de decisiones. La dominación o influencia que una organización puede ejercer sobre el entorno y sus empleados también es crucial para comprender su papel en cualquier contexto.

En resumidas cuentas, Imágenes de la Organización puede ser un excelente aliado para que los profesionales de la comunicación y de las relaciones públicas puedan detectar, interpretar y gestionar oportunidades en la creación y/o mejora de la imagen de nuestra organización. Unas gafas de gran espectro para evaluar cómo nos ven y cómo podemos mejorar nuestra reputación.

Las relaciones públicas de las relaciones públicas

Según algunos académicos, como Huertas y Cavia, Tilson y Saura, Xifra o Toro en algunos artículos, los españoles todavía ven las relaciones públicas como una actividad pobremente estructurada, que se encuentra en algún lugar entre las relaciones personales y la organización de eventos. Sí, ese país donde al decir “relaciones públicas” todo el mundo evoca a la persona que por unos pocos euros (y admiración de los compañeros de universidad) luchan por dar los “pases” con sus firmas a pie de discoteca. No le quito mérito, es más, encuentro similitudes más que razonables entre esta actividad y la definición que algunos académicos ofrecen (pues de nunca parece haber habido acuerdo). La más generalmente aceptada es la de “la gestión de la comunicación entre la organización y sus públicos” (Grunig &Hunt, 1984), o incluso más acertada la de “la gestión de las relaciones entre la organización y sus públicos clave” (Ledingham &Brunig, 2000), desde una perspectiva relacional.

Y entonces cualquiera se preguntaría, ¿cómo es posible que las relaciones públicas se consideren como una disciplina académica y “profesional” cuando ni siquiera hay consenso ni sobre lo que es, ni sus límites con otras ciencias ni su alcance? Pensar en la utilidad de definir un objeto, una idea o una opinión va mucho más allá de la justificación de su validez. Si por poner un ejemplo cualquiera, quisiera explicarle a un alienígena lo que es una mesa, podría explicarle de mejor o peor manera que un objeto utilizado para comer. Sin embargo, no le estaría informando ni sobre la idea que se tiene sobre la composición de una mesa (normalmente cuatro patas y una tabla superior cuadrada), ni que suele estar acompañada por sillas ni que por lo general se sitúa en la cocina o en el comedor de una casa.

Las relaciones públicas, según los expertos, atrapadas en su historia que generan connotaciones penosas (manipulación, propaganda -relacionada con regímenes totalitarios-), no sólo no son “re”conocidas, pero es que se ocultan con eufemismos definiendo las “patas” de su actividad, como “gabinete de prensa”, “community manager”, “consultores de comunicación”, “relaciones institucionales/externas”, “public affairs” y podría mencionar muchos más. Este caso es especialmente destacable en los portales de empleo, donde la profesión es categorizada junto al marketing o incluso ventas. No puedo imaginarme el posible enfado ante semejante situación entre un traumatólogo y un fisioterapeuta, o un ingeniero y un arquitecto. Hay labores, y por supuesto objetivos, que son compartidos. Pero no tiene sentido seguir disgregando aun más la disciplina. Desde la teoría no hay consenso, de acuerdo, pero desde la práctica debería haber una tendencia aunadora que nos facilitara la vida a todos.

En España, este efecto tiene consecuencias especialmente duras. La incapacidad de otorgar una definición cerrada a una labor que gestiona valores intangibles pasa factura a una industria que es incapaz de incrementar su legitimidad dentro de la sociedad, y como consecuencia sus metas (y por tanto sus evaluaciones) siempre serán relativas. Nos conviene un movimiento que englobe con fuerza una profesión que sea capaz de sentar la cabeza y que genere experiencia para un futuro donde es indiscutiblemente necesaria la gestión de la comunicación dentro de la sociedad de la información. Necesitamos trabajar más por aplicar las relaciones públicas a nosotros mismos.

GOOGLE ANALYZES MY BLOG

I must admit that I feel quite excited about the use of Google Analytics. At first I thought that it would be just another trendy and useless tool, much more when I realized that you needed first an account on Gmail and second Blogger as the software for my blog. Of course I have chosen Wordpress to set up my blog, and after few days of blaming Google for its monopolist tendency, I thought that instead of a problem it was an opportunity… to create my own space! So after all I have to thank this tool for this unexpected consequence.

The creation of this blog gave me more than one headache but after all I could fix everything up, including the counter to see how many visitors it has and Google Analytics. Well, I must confess that apart from not having as many visitors as my classmates, I’m shocked with the fact of having that many people interested on reading what I want to share with all of you.

I found especially relevant some different data. For example, in terms of how the users interact with the blog, I discovered that the 32,65% of you just visited once page, 22,45% two, 16,33% three and surprisingly 10,20% visited six (the average is 3,39 pages visited for each user). The information on fidelity suggests that the domain has impact, but it counts with less “fans” (44,90% who visit the blog just once in comparison to 20,41% that has visited it between 15 and 25 times). The average of time reading the content has been 6 minutes.

Another curiosities are the countries from where the blog has been visited: United Kingdom, Spain, United States, Germany, Canada and Netherlands. I could even checked if any mobile device were used to access my blog, and the results where Android and iPhone. Too much information to consider!

This information is very interesting to reflect how can I promote my blog depending upon the results. In this case, for example, I should try to raise the fidelity to my blog for example trying to write more frequently or fostering people to comment. I can increase the number of visitors as well trying to share the posts in another social media platforms such as facebook (that’s why I added a plugging for make it easier!). Hope now I can use this information to improve my blog!

DEAR TWITTER,

I know I didn’t dedicate so much time on you. I’m sorry for that. I know people use to do it at any time, at any place; from the computer or mobile phones. But even though I’m not that kind of person, hey, here I am writing this post just for you.

At first I refused to work with you, or even know how was all about you. I know that is hard to hear a prejudge, but you arrived after facebook and you must understand that, apart from the fact that you both give the opportunity to create a personal network, facebook let me access to much more contents, such as pictures, videos, groups, events, email, wall, chat, applications, etc. Probably you think that I cannot even begin to compare you both, well, you are right, I believe you can live with each other without problems; however I do in terms of information sharing and distribution. As you should know I’ve talked much more about you in other posts and I consider that your aim is much more focussed on the public sphere, whereas facebook is more personal (or at least pretends to).

I think that I’m influenced by the people with who I interact and who I am interested in; that’s why I’m not using Twitter that much (13 contacts in twitter in comparison with 160 on facebook so far). However, I really enjoy the fact of having the opportunity to “follow” whoever I want, without waiting for his or her acceptance. That makes me feel connected with the entire world, as I mentioned, in the public sphere.

I must tell you that I found interesting not just to tag every post with #stirpr (and feel that I’m part of a community in the middle of the virtual world), but to think who would be interested in what I want to share publicly. This way of thinking make me process the information and categorize what I believe is relevant to share. This procedure has helped me as well to find information about mobile technologies for my presentation in class, for example.

At the beginning of the semester I didn’t use you that much because I had troubles to set up my (this) blog, and I tried to find help by means of you. Well, you (and your users) really helped me, specifically with the links that they showed using another links reducers programs such as bit.ly or ow.ly. I really have understood your usability as a way to “give a shout” and catch the attention to then address it in the proper direction. That’s why I find your relevance in the field, as a tool for the correct use of PR practitioners: press releases, links to corporate blogs and its updates, reactions from external news, help to other users, or revision of public opinion in the public virtual arena (wall).

Thank you for all your help to the profession, even though I don’t think our personal relationship is going to be that relevant.

Mobile (embedded?) technology

I’ve been doing some research about the mobile technologies for one presentation for my module of digital media and I started asking to myself: what is a mobile technology…? Well, we can say that it is exactly everything that the name implies: technology that is portable. It is striking (and scaring) how fast this technology has been developed, since the very beginning, when in 1857 Maxwell explained the theory of electromagnetic radiation. Since that moment everything happened very fast: the two- way radios, the bag phones, walkie- talkies, MTA and MTB, 1G, 2G, 3G and the next 4G…

Today 4.1 billions of people all over the world use mobile technologies, and specifically, mobile phones: doesn’t matter their age, their status or their country. The importance of the mobile phones, as a communication tool, has reached almost every corner of the world. This quickly development may arise some questions: how necessarily is this new technology (and how do we define “need”)? How do people use this technology and for what purposes? How will be used in the future and why is important to formulate these predictions?

Mobile technologies seem “embedded” to the new patterns of lifestyles, and we just have to look around to notice how odd is to find just one person without one mobile phone. Technologies as GPS, web browser, applications or instant social networking are tools projected for a use on mobile devices. As Morgan Stanley stands on the “Mobile Internet Report” Internet is actually the future of mobile technologies, and if we think about it, the real values for such a technology is precisely to have everything in our hands. Yes, from our mobile phones (will be not just a phone) we would listen to music, find the place that we are looking for, buy a pair of jeans or buy tickets for the most cool concert. However, it’s not a matter of what can the technology can offer, but how people interpret these advances and its usefulness.

From the point of view of PR, currently it is being used the .mobi domain name, applications (apps), the launch of mobile website blog, customise news releases, sms, rss feeds, surveys via mobile communications, and of course, access to email and social media. Despite the fact of the portability, we should not forget that not everyone uses laptops, notebooks or iPad; and not everybody has mobile phones with advanced technologies (apps, RSS feeds, 3G software). On the other hand, the mobile phone is a personal tool, so we should think about the intrusion that PR communication might have in our publics.

            The future of mobile media and communications is here.

Size matters

All the discussions about the new digital media, new devices, how to use it, how it helps our live (or not) are driving all the managers mental. Maybe this is happening because of the amount of information that we can compile on the Internet about these matters, or probably because of the relative novelty of these standards. We all agree about the possibilities that the digital media could offer, but do all the companies agree on its advantages as a pragmatic application?

  First of all, clearly, not all the organizations are the same. As people, its aims, features, values, opinions or interests characterize each of them. However, we can say, is there any pattern that can define if the new media is especially considered in some organizations and not in others? Well, probably what we can entirely assure is that not all of them feel that confident towards digital media and in new technologies in general.

It is very common to focus the attention on the use of the digital just on the multinational corporations, but the reality is that in the European Union small and medium enterprises (SMEs) comprise approximately 99% of all firms and employ between them about 65 million people. Globally SMEs account for 99% of business numbers and 40% to 50% GDP.

According with a post about the “Outstanding business Awards 2010” in Georgetown, the forum discussed about “the fearful and uncertain about tapping the business opportunities provided by digital media space to small and medium enterprises”. There’s a lot to do to fix the technological gap that many of the SMEs have, but a lot of these organizations are using the digital media in a variety of interesting ways not just to promote or communicate with their publics, but as a core tool for their businesses.

 

The PR role is, first of all, broadly inexistent among these types of companies. It is not considered as fundamental and in general some other person (in general the department of sales or marketing, depending on the size of the SME) is the responsible for the different communication activities. In general, the Webpage is the most used communication tool. It brings visibility and works as a “hodgepodge” where loads of information can be treated and show to the different publics.

On the other hand, the debate is grounded where the information is not controlled and here is where the fears attempt to managers. It is possible to think that for SMEs is more difficult to manage its communication in such places as blogs or social media, and managers usually feel concerned about harmful comments from dissatisfied customers or furious employees. Probably it is true that it can affect their fragile reputation, but the use of the new media can hugely benefit as well.

It is obvious that SMEs are increasingly looking at social media as important business tools, and the majority find useful data to base their decisions on platforms such as blogs, social networking sites or microblogging sites. Many SMEs feel that social network let them make contacts (facebook, linklidn, twitter). Small companies don’t feel that confident with new digital media… after all we can say, size matters.

The revolution of communication- iPR

Inspired by the philosophy of the company Apple, it follows its patterns even with the process of communication. With this process wisely reflected in a post of Emilio Robles, he says “… great products could be doing the same to build their own mystique and stories. Mass communications doesn’t have to be massive, just smart”.


I used a famous advert of Apple, “think different” to show these values. I start explaining then how Apple is using the digital media to do PR of its products in a “smart” way, as Mr Robles says. I used as well a technique of stop- motion with an apple, which I use for the transitions between the different stages that I’m explaining. I hope you enjoy it!

Facebook or Twitter?

When we think about the future of Facebook or Twitter as new media to consider in strategic planning, how accurate we are? Do we have plenty of research to determine these options? The media planners manage different data to know which are the better hours to communicate with certain audiences, for example how women or elderly people make use of the television or the newspapers. We all keep talking about how wonderful tools or channels Facebook or Twitter are, but we need to know the tendencies of the uses that people do.

Recently I came across with an interesting article of the Harvard business review, which tries to answer some of these questions. Furthermore, what the study reflects is how users interpret which type of communication platforms these two tools are, and how they can use it for. As a consequence, is interesting to see how different audiences react.

It is surprising that according with its results, a typical twitter user contributes very rarely and the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one. However, the more active Twitter users (the top 19%) produce 90% of tweets. Another results reflect that men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users, yet men have 15% more followers than women. What’s more, a man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman, and women are more likely to follow a man as well.

According to this, is interesting the reflection of another post in which the author debates why Twitter has these tendencies in comparison with another social media tools. Twitter is visible for all the people and shows the information that users want to share, but in contrast, Facebook is largely private. As Twitter is seen as a “public forum”, the degree of disclosed identity is lower than on Facebook, which is a platform where users can distribute contents and communicate. Twitter offers more visibility but it suffers of a lack of privacy, as it is a different product, which offers broadcast or communication platform.

As in real life, we tend to copy the patterns of behaviour and protect and share the information that we want. Good examples are the celebrities, which are really active in the use of Twitter because their public projection and promotion. A list of the most followed people on Twitter shows that celebrities in general are the most popular. Different companies haven’t lost the time and pay even 20,000 dollars per tweet to some of them like Kim Kardashian, Nicole Richie or Brooke Burke.

GLOBAL ACTIVISM?

Today we have assisted to the “Earth Time”, that is the moment (8.30 pm in each country) when all the people all around the world are encouraged to turn off the lights as a gesture to demonstrate concern regarding the climate change. The NGO WWF motivates the campaign, which kicked off on 2007 and continued increasing its number of followers every year.

This brilliant campaign has been mentioned in all the media all around the world, having a huge impact. The issue of the global warming is relatively recent and must be maintained on minds of the global citizens in order to push changes and treatments among international politics. The Copenhagen agreement doesn’t have enough strength to calm the worries of scientists, so the problem arose as a consequence of their advertencies. People demand further measures against the impact of the climate change, but on the other hand, there’s not a clear message in the whole campaign (but probably it is the effect of a debate maintained just on the surface layer).

The campaign has been accused by who claim that one hour without light may produce an overload among the electric services. Although WWF keep insisting, “it’s not just about energy, but to raise awareness about the importance of fighting against climate change”. Anyway, it seems quite clear that the objective of the campaign is not towards particular politic measures, but to make all the population come to an agreement as a part of the solution of the climate change.

The “Earth Time” has been conceptualized to generate a powerful impact throughout the media and the strategy is creative. The fact of switching off the lights of the most representatives’ monuments of the civilization creates special alarm and seeking of information or answers. WWF has created a web page where the project is explained, and inspires visitors to share their experiences, “Capture the moment: get involved” making use of different new tools:

-       Flickr, where people upload their photos of the moment.

-       Youtube, where people can upload their videos when the cities turn off the lights.

-       Twitter, to share what people are doing using #earthhour

-       Blogs, to write about what people are doing during the event.

Do you think this day will eventually become a reference for the environmental activism or on the contrary it is just a passing campaign?




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