An interesting look at how different generations at work -- Boomers, Gen X, Gen Z and Millennials are looking at AI in the workplace, if they're experimenting with it and what it might mean for their jobs. One thing that is interesting is that people would trade off AI doing automation for a 4-day workweek and lower pay. That seems like something that would best be characterized as "be careful what you wish for" as you make that trade off, I'm sure corporations would take deeper cuts.

This story was blowing up in the music journalism world on Twitter last week; the TLDR of it is that a Forbes contributor was working with a music publicist for a softball story on the musician - to the point that the publicist had final approval of the copy. Now, this is different than fact checking. I used to love getting the fact checking phone calls (both from large business publications and technology/trade press) and then try to charm the fact checker to see if the overall story was good or bad. I think I'd usually say (to a laugh) "okay, do I need to pack up my office or am I good for another week?" While this looks bad for Forbes (again), and hurts other journalists a lot of what I've seen written has ignored the publicity firm. Are they not too culpable, or is this common enough for the publicity side of PR and communications? I mean, yes, we'd all love slam dunks but if we devalue media this much, do the hits matter since the readership disappears?

Yes, there are the warnings that ChatGPT sometimes pulls/makes up fake data (I've seen nonexistent book references in reporters' posts), but this time it was nonexistent case law. With more and more people experimenting with ChatGPT, I expect to see more and more examples of this. One thus far was the PR firm that used ChatGPT to pitch reporters and mentioned a non-existent book and had to come clean that the pitches were AI generated. That's not as bad as the lawyer example in the article, but automation can breed laziness and mistakes are just going to become more common.

Local news seems to be one of the harder media focuses: look at the death of Patch, how local papers keep getting smaller and smaller. Axios Local and newsletters were supposed to be a savior, but now even Axios Local is slowing expansion. The biggest part of local news now seems to be local TV affiliates who have hours to fill, but it seems to be a replay every 30 minutes (think old CNN Headline News) and not new stories every show. Local news is important for the stories that they tell, the information that needs to get out to the community (but if there's no readership, does the community just not care?).

Last minute reminder! Join me as I moderate a panel on content creation with Chris Lam, Brad Hall and Emily Moser!

While a lot of the focus for the coming election and AI is that it makes fake news, fake videos and images much easier to make, there are other places that AI is changing this upcoming election, especially data management. For better (data management) or worse (fake imagery and videos), there will be a lot of lessons learned from this campaign that will be able to be applied to communications and marketing plans.

An interesting analogy to all the web3/crypto pundits (or influencers) that also jumped ship and are now all-in on AI and how that is the future of technology. There's a lesson here for communications and social media: first mover might have that advantage for being, well, first on social and punditry embracing whatever is next, but it's a bet that those people often lose and have to rush to the next hot thing to be ahead of others to sell some snakeoil. Slow and steady, testing it privately and seeing what business operations and programs could be done with the technology? That works better for everyone involved.

The One Thing

Recently, I fell down a rabbit hole because of an Insider article on Snowflake's CEO, Frank Slootman . Following the links, I read a profile in Forbes and then a great interview with Jon Fortt and CNBC . There's one line that stood out to me in the CNBC interview, a question that Slottman asks everyone (or as CNBC put it, claims to ask everyone):  “If you couldn’t do anything this year except for one thing — one thing and you couldn’t do anything else — what would that be?” Now, apparently, my first response would not be the right one as it's to show what you would focus on, and is a hard question to answer. My first thought was, well, personal or professional? I have different answers for both, and my guess it would show that I am able to separate professional from personal (which isn't an easy thing for people to do, especially now working from home).       Personal would be to focus on health and exercise; like most people the pandemic has included weight gain. P

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We're All Interns

The big hullabaloo the past few weeks was a snark tweet about ConEd and the “intern” handling the Twitter account. Interns don't run the social media accounts of major corporations, especially not in the middle of a communications crisis. I will gladly die on this hill, as a senior social media staffer who has worked late into the night writing apology tweets one by one from a brand account. — ella dawson (@brosandprose) December 28, 2018 This, naturally, caused a few tweet thread responses that social media executives are not interns, and then another tweet that the current social media executives are the CCOs and CMOs of the future. Adding to this spot-on tweet: social media managers know the following about your company: -Marketing -Comms (especially crisis) -Creative (graphics, imagery, photos, video) -Branding -Industry trends -Customer service -Create/maintain passionate user base Future CMO/CCOs — Matthew K

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The VC/Tech Industry has a Crisis Communications Issue

I have been working in public relations for the past 20 years. Part of that time, I have done work in crisis communications, having been called on for crisis counsel with an online influencer/star, working with a consumer-packaged goods company on messaging and plans, and others that I will not even vaguely identify. There's a lot of smoke right now in the technology world, and there are more fires that will soon need to be put out, on the rampant sexual harassment for which women are now coming forward. Today's  New York Times article was both shocking and yet not surprising - especially as I read friends' and acquaintances' names in the article. And the NYT is not the type of publication that goes to print based on one or two accusations. They had a half dozen women willing to risk their own reputations, and two dozen more with whom they confirmed stories behind the scenes. That's why this is both smoke and fire, and we will see many more articles. Based on w

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You're an aviation expert! You're a crisis communications expert! You're a PR professional! You're a legal expert! Everyone is everything!

Let's just get this out up front: United Airlines has some issues (and this is just one Google News link). 2017 has not been a kind year to the airline with public relations, and the statements put out by the airline have been tone-deaf, company-first, overloaded with legalese and double-speak. Third time's the charm, but it should not take three times for a CEO to get it right. And of course, the media found a good story and started digging to find other bad stories on the airlines ( CEO bumps passengers to go home is a good one) and started digging into the identity of the passenger (the first story seems too close to a standard crisis tactic - change the story, attack the victim - and the story has been heavily edited since it was first posted). For all the bad aviation news, a #TBT to one of the few times I had a good experience on American Airlines.... 😜 A post shared by Jeremy Pepper (@jspepper) on Apr 13, 2017 at 1:06pm PDT I was not going to wr

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Stop the April Fools’ Foolishness

Technology companies love April Fools’ Day (too much) . The marketing, public relations and other departments seem to invest good time, money and (some) creativity to their efforts to fool customers and the public into thinking some outrageous thing is real. Or to get the laughs. Rarely are the April Fools’ Day jokes funny, even with all the effort. So why do it all? Well, maybe for the lulz but also it seems to get media coverage and brand awareness. Think about that: it is for media coverage and brand awareness. We see companies ranging from startups to established Fortune 100 companies all attempting to pull off an April Fools’ joke. I even saw a tech reporter’s Facebook update noting that he was pitched multiple April Fool’s Day jokes on embargo. On embargo . Why are PR people pitching these stories? Why are those same PR people not pushing back and saying no? Don’t PR people have much more important stories to pitch for their companies/clients than such unoriginal

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A Blog Relaunch

July 2, 2003. That’s when I started this blog. I have been writing - off and on - for almost 14 years now. When I started, there were a handful of public relations bloggers and social media was not yet a term. Yes, some of us were doing online PR (remember that quaint term), and some were already doing digital work and coding. We were a pretty close-knit group, with not much drama or jealousy, and mostly egos were kept in check. What we did was try to learn from each other and help each other out. I still talk to many of them and think of them as friends. During that first year, the focus of the blog changed. I started with the issues of starting my own firm but grew really bored with that, and focused on the issues I was seeing - and still see - in the industry. And that industry has expanded to be social media marketing, marketing communications, communications and more. Or is that the lines have become so blurred in all the practices out there, that they are all bleeding int

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Social Media Punditry Needs to Die

When I first started this blog, I would do what seemed to be the de rigeur thing to do for a blog: write about how others were doing it wrong. I had a full series that ended after a few posts - the Clueless Train, based on The Cluetrain Manifesto . If you search for the posts, you will be amused by the Technorati tags. The irony here is I never fully bought into the manifesto as it seemed to crap on public relations and dismiss what public relations did for a company, but I digress. Anyway, I started doing what I believed (and still believe) social media bloggers and writers should all do: I did research and called up companies. You know, fact check. And grow up. And when I called out others for spreading wrong information, fake information, dare I say alternative facts and fake news - I was told that “I’m not a reporter, Jeremy, I’m a blogger.” Or as I call it, the laziness of wanting to be a pundit without doing actual work or thinking. In other words, I grew up and matured

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Crises in an Instant World

Back in January, Jeremiah Owyang posted about the need for a Presidential tweet crisis contingency plans. This spurred a good number of (threaded) comments on my Facebook post, and I noted that I had pitched a SWAT team at a PR firm, but nothing ever happened with the idea (good idea 10 years ago, even better one now - and with better tools). And a few of the comments noted that most PR people nowadays do not have crisis communications experience or skills, especially the startups with young “senior” practitioners. Yes, I know, I need to blog more often and faster since others are having these conversations now … when I was having them in early January. And, in an informal survey of friends, those that are qualified to have plans noted that they do not have a social media crisis plan written out, nor the talent or bandwidth on the social team to be able to write one that would actually work. That makes sense to me - not a good thing, but it makes sense. The skills and soft tou

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