PR is dead — long live social PR

pr is dead social prPR is dead.

Did you hear me? The career I’ve been in for 18 years — dead. Over. Toast. Done.

It’s evolved into something much more powerful and effective. Social PR.

I think that PR and social media are not separate anymore — and are in fact the same thing.

I’ve seen social media evolve over the past 30 years, from CompuServe to the WeLL to AOL to Craigslist to Ryze, then Friendster, MySpace,, blogging, and today, Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook is just another chat room. It’s all just a big virtual cocktail party.

But what has changed — dramatically — is how we influence other influencers today. And who those other influencers are.  They’re not just press anymore.

You cannot separate “PR” and “Social Media.” They must be on the same page. The strategy must be interwoven.

Your social media, PR, marketing, web and advertising teams need to talk to each other.

Your marketing strategy must be a social marketing strategy.

Your PR strategy must be a Social PR strategy. You must evolve from the 1990s idea that “announcing to the media” is any different than “talking to your customer”.

You’re communicating directly to the public.

Your brand isn’t just B2B, or B2C. It’s person to person. Human to human.

It’s not a one way broadcast anymore. It’s a multichannel conversation.

Today you talk to everyone at once.

Your customer is there. Your investors are there. The press are there. All in the same room.

You must take social media seriously as the front line of your brand, pay attention to it, and stop posting lame, idiotic, poorly written, typo-riddled, boring dreck.

Social media is the front line of your brand!

Social media is marketing + branding + advertising + PR + analyst relations + investor relations + customer service rolled into one.

Why is Facebook worth billions — and newsracks are empty?

Today, a single Facebook post can easily reach 1 million people. That’s more than the circulation of most daily newspapers.

A Facebook ad can reach more customers for $5 than any other form of marketing ever devised in the history of mankind.

But you’re blowing thousands of dollars on ad agencies, PR agencies and print ads?

And you’re outsourcing social media to the cheapest possible, lowest level employee you can find?

Get rid of that 1990s idea that a newspaper article is more influential than a Tweet, a post or even your own blog.

You used to have to own a TV network to have influence. Today, a kid in their bedroom could have more viewers on YouTube than Oprah.

A musician or DJ who happens to have 100,000 fans or friends could be much more influential than a columnist or a journalist. (Many magazines don’t even reach 100,000 subscribers.)

Have you taken the train to work lately?

Do you see anyone reading a print publication? I don’t.  This is what the train looks like on a typical morning in San Francisco.  And these guys in t-shirts are your target audience.

Do you see them reading the banners on the bus? Billboards? Newspapers? Do they look like businessmen in stock photos?

And they’re probably not reading your website on that little screen unless it’s mobile-enabled.

Morning commute in San Francisco on the MUNI train, 2014. Do you see anyone reading a newspaper? Most of these people are probably reading Twitter and Facebook.
Morning commute in San Francisco on the MUNI train, 2014. Do you see anyone reading a newspaper? Most of these highly influential business people are reading Twitter and Facebook on their smartphone or tablet.

You need to start taking Social Media seriously as the front line of your communications strategy.

It’s not an afterthought to be delegated to Interns, your receptionist, or “maybe I’ll get to it later”.

Social media is the front line of your brand.

Social media is where you get to tell your own story. Where you generate your own news. Where you build relationships with the media. And where you let your customers know about your press coverage.

But just social media isn’t enough. Because newspapers and magazines are still important. That’s because most readers discover the news on Social Media, and because reporters and publications have influential followings on social media.

Newspapers and magazines are still very influential –– they have high page rank and authority in Google, so getting mentioned in them does wonders for page rank and SEO. They drive traffic to your website — forever.

Social PR blends traditional mainstream print/TV/radio news media Press Relations with “content marketing”. (That’s a fancy word for: “photos with words on them.”

To do viral content marketing effectively, your messages must be created specifically to reach influencers who spread the word further. And you must include those influencers in your community.

This also means, simply, that your “friends” on your social network also happen to be reporters, freelance writers, columnists and editors and they “discover” the story ideas you share on their news feed. (This is kind of like sending out a press release only much faster.)

These days, instead of relying mainly on email pitching and press releases to announce news, I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to build relationships with press and influencers.

Try following and befriending every member of the media or influencer crucial for your product. You’ll be surprised how many follow you back.  And they’ll follow what you say — so make it great content, moderated by a professional who is talented in storytelling, community building, customer support, relationship building and conflict resolution. (Hint: they’re probably not even close to entry level.)

They spread the word for you to their networks, which include their Fan pages, Twitter and the blogs and publications they write for.

Some of these influencers are traditional print or TV press.

Others are simply well connected on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — but have influence equivalent to or greater than that of traditional media.

Try discovering who among your followers and friends champions your brand and spreads the word most frequently. Reward them. Thank them. Give them free tickets and favors.

Over time, you create authentic, engaged communities who will be advocates of your brand. Who tell your story. Who spread the word for you.

Do Social PR. Because, social media is the new PR.

Is your Facebook fan page a cocktail party, a barbecue, a conference or a drum circle?

Social media is a virtual party.  Is your fan page a backyard barbecue, a formal cocktail party, a corporate conference or a drum circle?
Social media is a virtual party. Is your fan page a backyard barbecue, a formal cocktail party, a corporate conference, a yoga class or a drum circle?

The funny thing about social networking is…we often forget that it’s just a virtual party. It’s not about amassing tons of “fans” so you can have the biggest party — it’s about inviting the right people and serving tasty snacks and drinks.

It’s about playful banter, music and laughter.

You know what happens when you talk sex or politics at a party — dead silence.

A cocktail party is NOT the place to pull out a gigantic billboard and say HEY BUY MY PRODUCT! (Unless you are a paid sponsor with a table or booth.)  And imagine if you pulled up your shirt and showed off your appendix scar?

But people do this all the time on Facebook! They forget it’s a party.

A great Fan page is an authentically engaged community where you have a conversation — even better if your tribe cares about what you have to say and shares it with their communities. At a party this is called gossip and word of mouth. On Facebook it’s called sharing and viral marketing.

Remember — a great party is not about QUANTITY it’s about QUALITY. Be selective. Invite the right people. Dress to impress — or stand out in the crowd. Serve good spirits and keep the music upbeat and the conversation as bubbly as champagne.

We are not collecting fans or contacts for Ego — we are collecting real human beings and we should care about them as much as we hope they will care about us.

Think about the real world equivalent of your Fan page. How would you interact in these different real world parties or events?

50 friends or less = backyard barbecue, workshop,  a drum circle.
150 friends or less = a tribe, a retreat, a big party, wedding, etc.
1000 friends or more = a conference
2000 friends or more = industry trade show, music festival
10000 fans or more = sporting event or concert
100,000 fans or more = gigantic stadium event
1 million fans or more = broadcast on television

And here’s a great metaphor for Fan pages from #socialmediamixology:


Why I’m not excited about the #Twitter IPO. (I’ll wait for @Pinterest.)

English: Red Pinterest logo
Twitter IPO hysteria? No thanks. I’ll wait for Pinterest.

Unless you’ve been under a rock you know the @Twitter IPO is soaring into the stratosphere right now — “from the Moon to Mars” says the Mercury News.

Yes, Twitter has triple digit growth — but no profit. Just like the good old days of the 1990s dot com boom.

It is very exciting for to watch the Twitter IPO soar to over $75 (now it’s settled down to $60).

But I’ll wait for the #Pinterest IPO–and the apps that will capitalize on that. Because Pinterest is the future of social media. Twitter is the past.

Watching the construction cranes and the building frenzy in San Francisco next to Twitter HQ and Silicon Valley where a boring little 3 bedroom house in Palo Alto just sold for $3.3 million  — we are officially seeing the beginning of “Web 3.0 — the next Internet boom.

Web 3.0 is going to be the combination of mobile devices, touch screens, social media, big data, cloud applications and wearable computing. Some call this the “Internet of things.” It’s really the Internet of everything — music, commerce, shopping, maps, flight and hotel reservations, coupons, banking, film, literature, news — it’s all been replaced with a little device you can fit in your hand.

The new computer is a telephone — a touchscreen device built for two way communication with both voice and video with a GPS built into it.

And what is built from the ground up to take advantage of the mobile touch screen device with a video camera in it? Pinterest.

1. Pinterest is tactile. The other social networks all require a keyboard. Pinterest is made for touch screen devices. Facebook and Twitter are both stunted on a touchscreen interface and LinkedIn is almost impossible to use on a phone.

2. Pinterest is elegant, simple and MUCH easier to use–which is why women in particular love it. One third of all women in the US are on Pinterest now. That is a stunning statistic. And women do two things more than men — communicating and shopping.

3. Pinterest respects your privacy. (Facebook totally disrespects the privacy needs of its customers.) Twitter is somewhat more respectful, but it knows your phone number, and that’s not very private.

4. Pinterest encourages commerce. (It is still impossible to directly sell anything on Facebook–a huge missed revenue opportunity. Who sells stuff on Twitter?)

5. Pinterest is visual. When Facebook and Twitter started, the Internet and devices could not handle the rich media content they now are capable of. Twitter required special apps to use photos and just recently got photos that show up in the feeds.

6. Pinterest encourages ubiquitous sharing and search beyond your friend list. You can only share content to people you know in Facebook. You can only communicate with people who follow you on Twitter. LinkedIn is a totally closed network.

7. Pinterest is very searchable. (Even with Graph search, search still sucks in Facebook. It only works with #hashtags in Twitter)

8. Pinterest lets your content be shared to other social networks, blogs, websites. You can only do that in Facebook if you use an app. Twitter is somewhat more sharable, but really, it’s primitive compared to Pinterest.

9. Pinterest is creative, inspiring, positive and uplifting. Facebook … people get clinically depressed when they use it. Twitter…um, does it ever inspire you, emotionally? LinkedIn? Zzzzzzzz.

10. Pinterest recognizes and respects that your content is yours and ties it back to your website url. Forever, as a Pin is repinned, it virally drives people back to your site. Brilliant!  Facebook tries to “own” your content. Twitter can only point back at a url if you add the @ symbol as a courtesy. LinkedIn: Content? What content? We’re pretending to be professional here and afraid of anything creative or expressive.

11. Pinterest is built from the ground up to handle rich content and video–this is the future of social media.

The future of social media is television. As investor and film angel Sheridan Tatsuno of the Silicon Valley Global Network group on Facebook says:

“All social media bloggers and group admins are like TV network producers since social media already incorporates audio, video, photos, etc. Remember the million-channel Interactive Television that people talked about? We now have it. Soon, the advertisers and marketers will cherrypick the top social media producers and turn them into full-service Amazon-like lifestyle e-commerce sites. User attention is the scarcest resource so top social media creatives will be worth a fortune, sort of like rock stars and top athletes.”

I am already seeing the most engaged folks on my Facebook friend list getting TV shows and book deals. They are the ones who know how to get a conversation started and moderate it, kind of like a talk show host with a live, interactive audience. They know how to create moving content that gets shared. And they know how to monetize this audience with conferences, events, festivals. ebooks, products, consulting services or seminars that bring in revenue.

As we move into this next wave, it will be obvious why Pinterest is the future of social media.

I predict that someday, not far away, interacting in social media is going to be a lot more social — like talking at the front of a room, to an audience. We will do this with a device, like an iPhone, that recognizes speech. It will be mobile, and it will both send and receive video.

Basically, you will be live streaming, in two way conversation, to millions of people, who participate on their devices — kind of like a talk radio show, but it’s television, and it’s interactive. This will be the future of everything — music, learning, seminars, sermons, conferences, communication, film, theatre.

I know is sounds a little scary now — but it will not replace the live experience which will only become more valuable and prestigious.

It will continue to accelerate the information sharing and consciousness raising enabled by the Internet and free, ubiquitous shared social media.

We will still have live events, but these will be more like the live audiences that watch the Academy Awards or the the Tonight Show — much smaller than the televised audiences.

Which social network is most poised for the future of interactive media, at least today? Pinterest.

PS — there are rumors on the street that #Yahoo will buy Pinterest. It certainly fits in with Yahoo’s role as a content provider and media empire, rather than search engine.

You’re not just building a fan page — you’re building a community.


I just designed a new banner for my Facebook, Google + and WordPress blog today — it’s a collage of photos of some of the conferences, festivals and events I’ve promoted with social media marketing.

The audiences are now the real world manifestation of the online communities we create to promote an event. The social media and the event are the same thing!

When you bring an audience together today, you are creating a community of customers and you need to maintain communication with them year round. It’s a huge commitment.

In other words, your fan page represents exactly what your product or event is — a community of real people. It can tell you their demographics, age, sex, education, where they live and even what time they are online. You can dig deeper and learn just about everything about them, personally and professionally.

This is a lot deeper than email. Think about it. “”  is about all you know a about someone on your email list. But on social media we know intimate personal details about each customer and what they look like.

With this unprecedented access to our customers comes a commitment to treat them with respect, humility and to pay attention to them. It’s not a one way message anymore, it’s a conversation.

Will synchronized global dance/meditation live streams soon surpass the Superbowl for global viewership?

On December 21, 2012, 20 million people worldwide turned in to watch a global simultaneous broadcast of every Solstice ceremony via There's a huge missed opportunity for sponsors and brands to leverage these global synchronized moments.
On December 21, 2012, 20 million people worldwide turned in to watch a global simultaneous broadcast of every Solstice ceremony via WorldUnity2012,, Shift Network and Birth2012. There’s a huge missed opportunity for sponsors and international brands to leverage this growing movement of global synchronized events for visibility. Photo: Jeff Eichen.

On December 21, 2012, I had the opportunity to help coordinate one of the largest global synchronized moments in history — millions of people participating in a candlelight ceremony at dawn (5:11 am UT) to celebrate the Winter Solstice and the end of the Mayan Calendar.

We succeeded in getting more than 20 million people to watch a live streaming video broadcast for 72 hours continuously for three days.

It’s quite possible that these global events, streamed over the Internet and self organized by volunteers will soon surpass those numbers. It’s an enormous, overlooked opportunity for global brands to capture the attention of the Millennials, a fickle group that doesn’t watch TV anymore.

When have we ever had the technology to simultaneously watch the sunrise at ever sacred site in the planet before? This was that moment when it shifted.

How significant is this?

– 7.4 million people watch Oprah.

– Only 8.5 million people watched NBC Nightly News and 21 million people watched 60 Minutes in 2010 — network news has been on a gradual decline for years and these numbers are sinking.

– 40.2 million watched the Academy Awards in 2011 — a number that is also in decline.

– 113 million people in the US watched the Superbowl in 2012 — which was most watched television event in American history.

3.1 viewers saw a television PR campaign I participated in for Hewlett  Packard in 1992 for the launch of their first wireless palmtop device — which was then thought to be an incredible number. This involved an astronomical budget, multiple PR agencies, a press conference at the Rainbow Room and professional b-roll.

It’s quite possible that these global events, streamed over the Internet and self organized by volunteers will soon surpass the SuperBowl. It’s an enormous, overlooked opportunity for global brands to capture the attention of the Millennials, a fickle group that doesn’t own a TV anymore–let alone watch one.

Synchronized Internet meditations and dance flash mobs  like this are becoming more and more common. Recently, a group called One Billion Rising had an impressive turnout for Dance flash mobs on Valentines Day 2013 — so we can expect this trend to continue to amplify.

The One Billion Rising Dance Flash Mob on Valentine's Day, 2013.
The One Billion Rising Dance Flash Mob on Valentine’s Day, 2013.


While a few generous individuals contributed money to sponsor the December 21 broadcast, including a technology company that supplied some of the sattelite uplink equipment, the December 21 live stream was produced on a shoestring budget by global marketing campaign standards.

The outreach happened by word of mouth over the social networks and enthusiastic volunteers, including a group backed by Hollywood veteran Michael Short, called BeThePeace, which is composed of volunteer industry professionals who have experience with events like the Superbowl and the Academy Awards. It was also assisted by World Unity 2012, Synthesis, Birth2012 and, a group of savvy young social marketing branding experts and web developers in San Francisco. who have been creating unified events such as MedMob.

Dozens of PR teams and social marketing teams from all of the festivals collaboratively promoted the December 21 event with their Fan pages and email lists encouraging viral sharing.

Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Beyonce, Russell Simmons used their huge Twitter and Facebook networks to Tweet about #Unify and the events taking place worldwide.

The next global event will be Earth Day on April 20, 2013.  The Earth Day festivals, which have been taking place globally for 40 years, now attract a global attendance of 1 billion people in 196 countries. That’s 1/7 of the planet! While not everyone at every EarthDay will be coaxed into dancing and doing yoga — the potential for large numbers are extraordinary.


It’s important for brands to recognized that dance, yoga or meditation flash mobs leveraged for advertising must be authentic — the Millennials can see right through hype and do not like to be “marketed” to.

Samsung got ridiculed by the media when they had a fake dance flash mob in New York’s Times Square to launch the new Samsung Galaxy phone.  Reporters called the fake flash mob “cheezy” and “embarrassing.”

Says Adil Kassim, who is one of the masterminds behind #Unify and the upcoming Earth Day yoga and dance flash mob: “Brands want to associate with stuff that matters.”

And Millennials want to associate themselves with brands that matter.

Please share the graphic below on your Fan pages and help get out the word:



The success of the December 21, 2012 broadcast surprised us. I remember standing in Chichen Itza in the modest room where a team of about 10 extremely hard working volunteers (who barely slept during the weekend) running the show on a few monitors and laptops and struggling with the bandwidth issues in Mexico, managed the epicenter of the broadcast.

We were thinking, well, maybe 20 thousand people are watching. When we heard the numbers – 20 MILLION? We were astonished. 20 million people watching a candle ceremony?  This is proof that simple, genuine, spiritual and unifying events can draw more viewers than sports, news or Hollywood blockbuster films.

This broadcast was live streamed on multiple websites, including Barbara Marx Hubbard‘s Birth 2012, The Shift Network, and, simultaneously.  Websites and social media outreach connected these ceremonies at festivals all over the world.

Viewers participated in a synchronized candle ceremony at sunrise — starting at The Uplift Festival at Ayers Rock in Australia, and moving across the planet in waves of synchronized meditation ceremonies, to events in Maui, HI, the Synthesis 2012 festival in Chichen Itza, Mexico, the Stonehenge festival in England, Newgrange monument for the Ireland 2012 festival in Ireland, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt for a festival produced by the Do Lab of Los Angeles, then Jerusalem and Mt. Fuji in Japan.

A simple candle ceremony on December 21, 2012 attracted more than 20 million Internet viewers and up to 1 billion participants.
A simple candle ceremony at sunrise on December 21, 2012 attracted more than 20 million Internet viewers and participants at dozens of festivals worldwide and captured by many International network news broadcasts.

People tell me they left their computers running for 72 continuous hours watching the live stream while they did their chores.  They had viewing parties, they were glued to it. They said it was transformational and deeply moving.

imagesThe event didn’t feature any big rock stars — but New Age speakers like Rev. Michael Beckwith of the Agape Church in Los Angeles, author Barbara Marx Hubbard and ceremonies with Mayan and Indigenous elders. The peak viewership moment came when the author of “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz, gave a humble speech while sitting on the edge of the stage in Chichen Itza and swinging his legs back and forth. (Ruiz’ book was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 7 years.)

A synchronized moment of dance on the beach in Santa Cruz, CA, captured by photographer Marianne Grace:


Synchronized Internet meditations and friendly dance flash mobs   are becoming more and more common. We can expect this trend to continue to amplify and draw ever greater numbers, offering a tremendous potential for sustainable brands and global technology companies to sponsor these events for unprecedented global visibility at a fraction of the cost of traditional network television advertising.

If a sponsor would like to leverage the next global unified moment to get out the word about their brand at every Earth Day in the world — reaching up to 1 billion people — please contact:

Facebook is a global network you can’t afford to ignore.

This map of Facebook friendships looks not surprisingly like a map of the Earth as seen from space at night.

Are you utilizing this vast network of more than 1/3 of the most wired, affluent and educated people on the planet to promote your business, consulting practice, art form or cause? You should be.

Executive social media jobs exploding. (It’s not just for ninjas, gurus and interns anymore.)

Look how fat I am on your airline.
Commedian Kevin Smith posted this Twit Pic with the caption: "Look how fat I am on your airline," after Southwest bumped him off a flight for being too fat.

2010 was the year of the uber-embarrassing social media blunder:

  • Southwest Airlines threw celebrity Kevin Smith off a plane for being too fat to fly in one seat. Smith’s Tweets about the incident were not only widely read and hilarious, but a PR nightmare for the airline.
  • The Gap changed their logo and the blogosphere errupted by ridiculing it with the “Crap” logo and the “Gag” logo.

In the wake of so many embarrassing social media disasters, smart businesses are finally starting to take social media seriously. This week, social media hit a new Tipping Point and the Fortune 500 started creating new jobs and investing in seasoned professionals.

Today I did a search in one of the employment databases and found an astonishing 3,193 new jobs created in the US in the last few days for social media professionals! But more amazing, most of these jobs are senior level, VP, Director or Manager positions. This is a dramatic shift from even a few months ago.

Here are just a few of the major brands that are advertising for new social media posts:

Sony, Corning, American Express, Coca Cola, Ingram Micro, Intl, Nike, Accenture, EHarmony, Red Cross, Forever 21, Vocus, View Sonic, ToysR US, IBM, BBC News, Lowe’s, DSW, Chrysler, L’Oreal, Chase, COX, Este Lauder, Yahoo, Vonage, MGM, Citrix, GNC, Kellogg, Equinox Fitness, Bloomberg, HP, Ann Taylor, Starwood Hotels, Omnicom Group, CitiGroup, Lily Pulitzer…

Many web-based businesses and tech start-ups are also searching for social talent:, Tiny Prints, Elance, Moxie,, Yahoo, Tripadvisor, EHarmony, Shopzilla, Vocus.

But not a single ad looking for a social media “guru” or “ninja.”