When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011, many questioned the company’s ability to successfully move forward in the absence of a true visionary.
Ye of little faith!!!
At the close of market on January 24th, Apple reported its operating results for the first quarter since Jobs’ death – record sales and profits – easily outpacing analyst predictions!
While it’s great to see Apple continue to thrive under less than ideal circumstances, I can’t help but question the ever increasing effect and footprint it has on America and, for that matter, the world. And with close to $100 billion cash in the bank, it appears that the sky is the limit for Apple’s ambitions for world domination.
To put this into perspective, allow me to bring you into a typical day in the life of Jeffrey Goldberger:
Quickly slip into my running gear and plug into my favorite music, downloaded from iTunes onto my iPod;
Come up from the gym, boot up my Mac and continue to listen to my favorite music as I take a shower and get dressed;
I walk out the door, listen to my iPod, check my emails on my iPhone (repeatedly) and ask Siri to remind me to call my mother;
I know this is getting monotonous but my daily Apple saga doesn’t stop there: Throughout the day, I consistently use my iPhone to review emails and to explore my growing relationship with Siri (I sure hope my fiancé doesn’t get jealous);
I come home from the office and sit on the couch to surf the Web on my iPad, while simultaneously scrolling through Apple TV hoping to watch some of the Oscar nominated movies before the Academy Awards broadcast;
Finally, as I prepare to go to sleep, I download a movie from iTunes to my MAC for an upcoming trip, and re-charge my overused iPod, iPad and iPhone – hopeful that I don’t overload my apartment building’s electrical system.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m simply pointing out that I’m just one of the tens of millions of people worldwide that are currently experiencing a massive convergence of Apple products in their lives.
I hear that Apple television sets are just around the corner and being the lemming I have proven to be, you can safely say that the days are numbered for my perfectly adequate Sharp flat-panel TVs. If it existed, and it probably will in due time, I would list these soon-to-be discarded electronics on iBay, instead of eBay.
But why stop there:
iGirlfriend – The best type of girlfriend; looks good, clean lines, trendy and always ready to go! But the real advantage is that you can discard her when the iGirlfriend 4S comes out; don’t worry, you don’t have to wait for iGirlfriend 5!
iAirlines – Beautiful and efficient, but best of all, comes fully-loaded with all your favorite mobile media devices – iTV, iTunes etc. – as well as your favorite standby airplane snacks – iPretzels, iNuts and to wash those items down, iLittle Bottles of Booze.
iCandy – Reference iGirlfriend above.
In life, Steve Jobs was revered for his steadfast quest for perfection, but I predict that his true genius will eventually prove to be Apple’s continued ability to take something old and make it better:
iJeffrey Goldberger – A better version of the original, sleek, timeless and always evolving.
As can be seen from a recently published article in BloombergBusinessWeek, more and more foreign issuers are recognizing the value of the American depositary receipt (ADR) as another means to allow U.S. investors to gain access to foreign companies. ADR programs managed by banks such as BNY Mellon essentially package a foreign issuer’s common stock, which is listed on a non-U.S. exchange, in a vehicle that trades in the U.S. either on the over-the-counter (OTC) market or a major exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or NASDAQ.
So why would a company choose to go the ADR route rather than use ordinary shares for a listing or initial public offering (IPO)? There are several reasons. The first is cost. Ordinary share IPOs can cost companies significant amounts whereas ADRs can cost signfiicantly less with the assistance of the depositary bank. Second is the timing issue, while there are different levels of ADRs, some of which allow for capital raising and others which do not, the process for listing some types of ADRs is far less exhaustive than an IPO. Creating over-the-counter traded ADRs only requires approval by a company’s board of directors, filling out some paperwork, having legal review and then awaiting clearance.
Once created, investors in the U.S. no longer need to go overseas to purchase shares in a foreign company. However, remember that a proactive investor relations (IR) campaign will obviously be required to ensure that retail investors and institutional investors in the U.S. know that the company exists (and this is no different for domestic issuers). After the foreign company’s story is out there, it is only a matter of time before U.S. investors begin to trade the ADRs, just as investors in the company’s home country do, and liquidity builds through multi-market trading, making the company better prepared and positioned for success.
If you are an active participant in the realm of social media, you actively gauge three things: 1) How many followers you have on Twitter (ahem); 2) Who you should ignore on Facebook for unwarranted and over-the-top political rants; and 3) Why did your Klout score drop again. Ok, ok, maybe those aren’t the three most important factors to you when it comes to gauging social media, but there are some people, particularly those at a growing company in San Francisco, who may disagree.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Klout. For those of you not in the know, Klout ‘actively’ measures your online social media influence over a 90 day period. Some of you are probably asking, “How is this done and who really cares?”
Your Klout score is measured on your ability to extend influence throughout social networks. Generally speaking, every time you post a message on Twitter or comment on a Facebook post, you are influencing others. Klout uses an algorithm that pulls together data from your various social outlets and determines the following:
• True Reach: How many people you influence
• Amplification: How much you influence them
• Network Impact: The influence of your network
According to the company, Klout uses five different networks to calculate your score: Twitter (Retweets and Mentions); Facebook (Wall posts, Comments and Likes); LinkedIn (Comments and Likes); Google+ (Comments, +1’s and Reshares) and Foursquare (Tips). You can link your Klout account to other services such as Facebook pages, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress, Flickr and YouTube, however they will not affect your Klout score as of yet.
Klout scores vary from 1 to 100 – a higher score deems an individual a more superior influencer on social networking sites. Lady Gaga, for instance, has a Klout score of 92. Quite the influencer some might say. According to Klout’s CEO Joe Fernandez, the average score is around 20 with anyone over 50 being a major influencer.
So who cares how high your Klout score is you might ask? Well, advertisers and marketers certainly do as companies in multi-billion dollar industries are looking for ways to broaden their product reach and are turning to Klout as a way to increase awareness.
Enter Klout Perks. Klout Perks are given to those who have higher Klout scores as well as individuals who are major influencers on specific topics. One example of a Klout Perk involved Chevrolet. Last November, Chevy, through Klout, arranged 139 three day loans of Chevy’s new car, the 2012 Sonic, to people with Klout scores of 35 or higher. The individuals who received this perk were not under any obligation to post positive comments about the Sonic. It was up to that consumer if they wanted to write something positive, negative or in several instances, nothing at all. Microsoft is another company that just partnered with Klout to send 500 influencers free Windows phones. Not too shabby if you ask me.
So how do you increase your score? It’s all about the content and how much you and others engage with it. The more engaged others are, the higher your score. You don’t necessarily have to be the one to create the content, just as long as you are engaged in the discussion. Simple as that.
Does your Klout score really matter? There are many companies looking for ways to measure online influence and eventually use that to ring the cash register. Even job applicants are posting Klout scores on their resumes. So is Klout the answer? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, if you are looking to increase your Klout score and become that influencer you always dreamed of becoming, I leave you with three simple words to remember: Engage, Engage, Engage.
I’m a huge fan of the media. I believe in its power, its vital role in a civil society and the need for free and unfettered speech. The vast majority of my professional career has been working in and around the media. For years I’ve watched the growth of social media and been awed its reach and immediacy. I’ve played around blogging, been on Twitter for years and believe wholeheartedly in its role as a legitimate form of communication.
Yet the debate over whether bloggers are journalists is yet to be decided. For the sake of argument (and anyone who knows me knows I love to argue), let’s assume that bloggers want to be journalists. Then they should abide by journalistic ethics on anonymity – both of sources and of byline – as a mainstream journalist.
On the social web we see that the training, oversight and ethical infrastructure that has been built up over centuries in mainstream journalism has yet to permeate blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
The anonymous source has been one of journalism’s most powerful and useful tools. Were it not for unnamed sources we would never have known about Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, Abu Ghraib and a myriad of other acts and actions that have taken place in the dark. Journalists like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein certainly used anonymous sources, but they always put their names on the line. It was always their byline, their faces and their names.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it best: Sunlight is the best disinfectant for fraud and other nefarious acts undertaken by governments, corporations and individuals.
Bloggers, tweeters and others who use social media as a means to become journalists often rely upon the power of anonymity to break “news.” The problem is that many of these participants in the social web ignore at least three key assumptions that traditional or mainstream journalists make when vetting and protecting anonymous sources:
A. These sources have an agenda;
B. Anything they say should be confirmed independently by documents or a second source;
C. An anonymous source’s statement should never go without oversight from an editor.
The official position of The New York Times on anonymous sources is followed by most of the major media: “The use of anonymous sources should be a last resort when the story is of compelling public interest and the information is not available any other way. A supervising editor must know the source’s identity.”
This topic touches upon the intersection of traditional media vs. new media. The need to “out” those things that should not be kept in the dark is real. But given the viral nature of the ‘net, the shield of anonymity creates the potential for the cruel to be mass consumed.
I plan to explore this topic further in my next post. Before I write, I’d like your opinion. What do you think about the use of anonymous postings by bloggers and others on the social web? Do you think people abuse the concept of anonymity and should they be held to a journalistic ethic?
If you’re in PR, you’ve probably hit the pitching wall: these reporters aren’t answering their phones, no one is responding to my emails, are there even live people who work at The New York Times? How am I supposed to get coverage when I can’t even get through the main switchboard?
When it’s gotten so frustrating that you feel like you want to go all Fatal Attraction and scream “I’m not going to be ignored!” onto a reporter’s voicemail, take a step back. One of the benefits of social media tools – Twitter and LinkedIn in particular – is that they give you a very direct way to engage with reporters and outlets that you may have trouble getting the attention of otherwise.
Several months ago we were pitching a consumer product – The Kate Middleton Engagement Doll – during the royal wedding; there was a lot of buzz on the Twitter-sphere about Kate and William, the wedding of the century, but who was going to cover this? Retail reporters weren’t jumping on the bandwagon and there wasn’t a beat in Vocus for “Royal Wedding.” After some background research (which, keep in mind, should go into all of your pitching efforts when you’re trying to identify the correct reporter to reach out to) – I found a reporter who wrote for CNN.com. She was posting up to date coverage of the royal wedding and seemed like the perfect person to reach out to.
Using the Twitter handle created specifically for this product, we reached out to the reporter, saying we’d love to send her a prototype or some images if she’d be interested. After exchanging a few DMs and then introducing myself over email, the product ended up being featured on CNN.com as part of a royal wedding round-up.
What happened next? Since CNN.com is read by reporters at so many other outlets, reporters started reaching out in droves to cover the product as part of their wedding round-ups. Suddenly, outlets like People Magazine, US Weekly, The New York Times, USA Today, pretty much every outlet on your dream pitching list, were on board to cover the Kate doll.
This is just one example of how locating a reporter on Twitter (or LinkedIn) can pay dividends. It gives direct access via a (somewhat) unconventional channel. Whether reaching out on a client’s handle or your own personal handle, here’s a few tips:
o Make sure the message goes directly the reporter you’re targeting (be careful when DMing –make sure it’s ACTUALLY a DM – need we remind you of this and this?). Your tweet to a reporter should be very specific and not come across as “spammy.” “Hey @ReporterX, saw that you’ve been covering the royal wedding, any interest in…”
o If you’re asking a reporter to DM you, make sure you’re following his or her handle otherwise that person won’t be able to send you a direct message.
o Make sure your client’s Twitter profile is up to date and not only has the Company’s logo, but also a link to its website and a brief description of what it does. This is a quick way a reporter can verify if you’re legit. Similarly, on your personal Twitter handle, include in your bio that you work in the PR industry so they know you’re not some random Spam-bot sending them links.
In general, where there’s a will, there’s a way to get coverage. Happy pitching!
It’s now a new year, so make a resolution to claim, build and impress with your social media brand. Your brand is how people see you; it’s what makes you unique. In today’s high-clutter, information-overloaded landscape, do you stand out? Here are five steps to building your personal social media brand in 2012.
1. Know your brand As communicators we counsel our clients to think strategically and consider how actions and messages fit in with objectives – but most of us don’t think in these terms when we use social media. We want to be on Facebook so we can see what an ex is up to or we want to be on Twitter because it sounds like it would be really cool to get rewards for a high Klout score. Don’t jump on the bandwagon!
In 2012, when you’re making your social network choices, think about what you want to be an expert in. Then figure out what content you can generate to build that expertise and which network best fits that content.
2. Own your brand Developing a social media brand is not just about having something unique to say, it’s about actually being unique in search results. If you Google yourself (we all do it), do you come up in the first three pages of results?
Create a vanity URL that uniquely identifies you online. This should be used for your Twitter handle as well as your LinkedIn, Facebook, blog and other social networks. If you’re trying to come up with a really great URL, Knowem.com is a helpful site that lets you check the availability of a username on more than 500 major social networks.
Word of advice: Remember this is your social media brand – it’s not your company’s brand. There was a recent case where a writer left his job and was later sued for the Twitter followers he built at that position. While this case is on the extreme end, it’s good to just avoid any such problems. Interact with your company on Twitter and retweet them, but build your own brand as well.
3. Build a digital hub
Social media has created a virtual world and just like the actual world, real estate is very valuable. You want to build a hub that serves as your digital piece of real estate. When clients or employers check out your social activity, you want to be able to drive them back to your site.
If you’re a more technical person, it’s great to build a personal website. There are a lot of platforms that make it simple and you can always just build out your WordPress blog site. But if you want something attractive that’s also quick and easy, definitely consider using About.me.
This tool allows you to pull together multiple social networks to build a single digital brand. You go through a simple process to create an attractive personal splash page that is branded under your name – about.me/yourname – and links to all your social accounts. Then when a visitor clicks on a network icon, your recent activity pops up for their review.
This site is great because it only takes a few minutes to set up and it also lets you track visitor statistics. So take a little time and set up your digital hub before another year goes by.
4. Expand your footprint Let’s not forget that to build your brand and hub you actually have to be present on some of the major social channels. Here are a few tips for optimizing your activity:
• Use Facebook timeline: Design a creative cover that fits your brand
• Claim a Google+ profile: It doesn’t matter if Google+ wins/loses the battle against Facebook. It’s already king of search and a profile really helps your content rise to the top
• Get the Twitter 4-1-1: Unless you’re an A-list celebrity, people don’t care that you just got a coffee at Starbucks. Twitter gives you an opportunity to exchange content with influential users. Every day share 4 posts from influencers, 1 original post and 1 post that markets your brand.
• Complete LinkedIn 100%: This is the tool for networking and showcasing your skills and achievements, so don’t miss an opportunity. Connect your social sites for SEO, add Skills so you come up in search, build credibility with recommendations, etc.
5. Protect your brand
Now that you’ve started to build your personal social media brand for 2012, don’t forget to protect it. Ok, social media is an uncontrolled environment, so you can’t really protect your brand, but make sure to monitor it. Set up Google alerts on your name and use a free Hootsuite account to monitor for any potentially negative Twitter and Facebook posts. Search at least once a month to see what people are saying about you and if it’s on brand. Remember, the goal of a social media brand is to help you stand out, so make sure you’re standing out for all the right reasons.
Fox News recently led a discussion on the idea of “pork” spending by the federal government. The term refers to measures that direct federal funds to specific local projects, often at the behest of a member of Congress who inserts an “earmark” benefitting their district into a federal spending bill.
Some people think pork projects are wasteful and resent the practice. Others view it as a necessary part of the federal spending process.
I was invited to participate in a debate of this issue on Fox News:
So tell me what you think. Is a ban on pork the fastest way to reduce the federal debt?