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About Shel Holtz

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.

Twitter in Emergencies

I can remember several episodes from my life in which I was at the emergency room with my wife, son, or daughter, while family members waited anxiously for word. At other times, I was on the waiting end, pacing and wondering exactly what was going on.

The 30-Second Spot Isn’t Dead

The 30-second spot isn’t dead, just our patience with being interrupted by them.

Those “America’s Favorite Commercials” specials in prime-time television draw strong enough ratings to prove that people—at least, some people—are willing to sit and watch half-minute tales used by advertisers to pitch their wares.

Electrolux and Social Media

When conversation turns to companies that have embraced social media, Electrolux isn’t one of the names that comes up. However, Richard Gatarski sent me a note about a post he wrote on the launch today of Electrolux’s social media newsroom.

We Love Social Networks…No, Wait

There seems to be a case of split personality going on in a lot of companies. On the one hand, the blocking of social media sites continues apace. On the other hand, the adoption of social media in the enterprise is also on a growth spurt.

Journalists Rely Increasingly on Blogs

I used to wait impatiently for Don Middleberg and Steven Ross to release their annual study on how reporters and editors use the Internet. Don sold is agency several years ago and the survey vanished. Fortunately, the Arketi Group is out with some data in its 2007 Web Watch Survey, according to MediaPost.

Print vs. Online: Apples & Apples

I’m a big fan of print and a believer that old channels like print can adapt nicely when new channels come along. It follows that I’m usually pleased to see studies that reinforce the value of print. The new study from the Poynter Institute, however, doesn’t do much for me.

The Sound & Fury of Open Social

While Google’s Open Social initiative has caused a surge of commentary, it hasn’t raised much more than a ripple in the PR/communications corner of the blogosphere.

Dell’s Bold New Step Into the Conversation

Dell Inc. embraced social media in a big way with the launch of Direct2Dell, its customer focused blog. Greeted originally with catcalls by many observers, the blog—under the guidance of Lionel Menchaca and other members of Dell’s communications and customer service team—has been a cornerstone in the computer maker’s reputational turnaround success story.

Facebook Advertising

Much of the reporting of Microft’s acquisition of a piece of Facebook has questioned the ultimate value of the social network.

(Microsoft’s investment puts the total value of Facebook at about $15 billion.) With advertising as the only significant revenue channel, many are wondering if people networking on sites like MySpace and Facebook are paying any attention to the ads.

Marketers Plan for More Social Media Benefits

It’s always nice to see another bit of research supporting the business use of social media. This one comes from Prospero Technologies, which provides businesses with a social media platform including blogs, widgets, article commenting, ratings and reviews and other tools.

Why Isn’t Audio Podcasting Mainstream?

I’ve had this post in mind for a couple months now. I’ve put it off due in part to my travel schedule and in part because I wanted to chew on it a bit more. It’s certainly not a new topic; in fact, it’s well-worn territory:

Why hasn’t audio podcasting become mainstream?

Company Benefits from Employee Intranet Blogs

G. Oliver Young is fast becoming my new hero. Every time this Forrester analyst puts out a paper, it provides me with fodder to support my arguments supporting social media in the enterprise.

Careful How You Use Flickr Images

When I started my music podcast, I needed an apporpriate image for the podcast blog. I found an ideal image on Flickr accompanied by a Creative Commons attribution share-alike license. The image of an electric guitar neck now graces the JamJourney blog.

Blogging and Strikes

73,000 United Auto Workers at 82 plants walked off their General Motors jobs and launched the first strike against GM in many years.

The action came as a surprise to many workers, according to a USA Today report, which noted some workers were “unnerved and are welling to make some concessions to help GM cut costs.”

Cisco Social media release
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First HP did it, now Cisco Systems has issued a Social Media Press Release. Not only is the release on the News@Cisco site, but it’s been distributed as a MarketWire press release (shown here picked up by CNN/Money—interestingly without the videos, but links to them instead).

Listening to Customers, Not “Bowing to Pressure”

From a business standpoint, one of the critical advantages social media bring to the table is the ability to tap into what important segments of the population are thinking. GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, for example, is on the record claiming that the Fastlane blog has provided him with better intelligence than any traditional form of market research.

News Releases vs. Press Releases

My post on August 2 about a news release issued by the Adfero Group has prompted some discussion about some of the fundamentals of the social media release.

End Embargos on Company News

I get a lot of pitches and press releases these days. An intriguing media advisory crossed my in-box this afternoon about student use of social networks. I was all set to grab the PDF of the study and blog about it until I saw this on the release:

“The report, available now for media only…is embargoed until Tuesday, August 14, at 12:01 a.m.”

Blog Launches with “New” Chrysler

The “new” Chrysler officially launched yesterday as most of the transition of ownership from Daimler to the private Cerberus has been wrapped up. A day earlier, though, the company unveiled a blog prominently accessible from the company’s business home page.

Long-form Content from Advertisers Hits NYT

It is increasingly interesting to witness the mashup of trends as various businesses experiment with and figure out new media.

IBM Sets Virtual World Rules for Employees

IBM’s guidelines for employee bloggers are fairly well known among people who pay attention to such things. Now, IBM has become (as far as I know) the first company to establish a policy for employees who venture into Second Life and other virtual words.

Earn Comments for Your Blogs the Organic Way

When I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, I learned that the U.S. Food and Drug Admnistration would send the equivalent of undercover agents to industry trade shows. These spies would hang around company booths listening for any sales or marketing rep to make a claim or statement that violated FDA guidelines. The FDA would promptly turn around and fine the offending company.

Social Media Burnout

When the web was relatively new, I worked with a large insurance company to help them begin a monitoring program, this in the days before eWatch and other monitoring services. After the program was in place for a few weeks, the media relations manager got in touch with me to tell me how much time the effort was taking. A few months later, though, he reported that what initially was taking him several hours now got done in 15 to 20 minutes.

What happened? Something new and alien evolved into a routine.

Define Business Transparency

I was supposed to be a guest speaker at a meeting on the East Coast last Friday. I was invited by PodCamp founder John Havens, who set up a BlogTalk Radio connection.