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.

The Ghost-blogging Debate

I’ve been pondering the “ghost-blogging” debate for some time, listening (via podcasts) and reading (via blogs) the growing chorus of voices that proclaims ghost-blogging an acceptable and legitimate practice. People I respect are among those who argue…

Professional Associations – Redefine Value

There’s still time for professional associations to redefine their value to members, but I’m not aware of any such initiatives among any of these groups. The clock is ticking.

Fenced Commons or Walled Gardens?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my friend Dan York’s May 2 post asserting that the Web is fragmenting into a xxxx of walled gardens.

Live Blogging – A Next Step

The kerfuffle over live blogging isn’t likely to subside any time soon, given the growing popularity of live online communication. Add audio and video to the mix and the people who hold live blogging in disdain are likely to go apopleptic.

Don’t Ignore Blogger Outreach

The issue of blogger outreach has been on the minds of several communication-focused bloggers in the last few days. Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, from the Church of the Customer blog, posted an item that advised against blogger outreach of any kind:

PR Should Have a Hand in Customer Service

I’ve had two customer service encounters today that have me pondering—again—the link between PR and customer service. If public relations is the management and maintenance of relationships between organizations and their core audiences, customer service should be considered a linchpin. Customers have to be considered a vital audience, and in today’s world, word-of-mouth from customers is worth more than dozens of expensive, traditional PR, advertising, or marketing campaigns. Yet many companies continue to blow it on this most fundamental of activities.

X Isn’t Dead

I am overly tired of the “X is dead” redundancy. I understand the enthusiasm with which those who spout “X is dead” embrace what they believe in, but communication channels rarely die because of the advent of something new, even when that new thing represents a revolutionary, paradigm-changing development. Print didn’t replace face-to-face communication, after all, and television didn’t kill radio.

Social Media & Traditional Press Releases From the Edge

My presentation at IABC’s international conference in June is on “edge” content. While most of you probably are familiar with the notion, it’s an alien concept to most people I talk to.

The Value of Company Sites

A recurring theme here at the New Communications Forum (in Las Vegas) is the value of corporate websites.

From the New Communications Forum

I’m in Las Vegas, but what happens here definitely won’t stay here. I’ll blog pretty regularly from the New Communications Forum, which begins this morning with pre-conference sessions, two in the morning and two (including the one I’m conducting on podcasting) in the afternoon.

The conference proper gets underway tomorrow with a keynote by David Weinberbger. Among the sessions I’m anxious to attend:

What’s Wrong at Best Buy?

Electronics retailer Best Buy is in hot water. Near as I can tell, they shouldn’t be. What’s gone wrong at the Minneapolis-based company seems to be a lack of coordination rather than the underhanded scheme that characterizes reporting about the crisis.

And it is a crisis, make no mistake. The company stands accused of maintaining a “secret” intranet that duplicates its consumer website but with higher prices. When customers come into the store asking for the price they saw on the web, employees reportedly show them the look-alike page on the intranet claiming the price isn’t as low as they thought, forcing them to pay more.

Shel Holtz on JetBlue’s PR

UPDATE:: Jenny Dervin has clarified her comments in a post to the PRWeek blog; thanks to Rob Clark for pointing out in a comment to this post.

WiFi Users Online More

Those busy folks over at the Pew Internet and American Life Project have released a study showing that people with WiFi access tend to spend more time online than those tethered to a hard-wired connection.

Thirty-four percent of Interet users have gone online using WiFi, with most of them using hotspots away from home or work. Details here.

From a communications standpoint, the first implication that leaps to mind is the potential for internal communications.

JetBlue CEO Hits YouTube

In another display reinforcing the idea that JetBlue understands how to communicate in a crisis, CEO David Neeleman has produced a video and had it uploaded to YouTube. Neeleman doesn’t read-in fact, he comes across as very human with a lot of "umms" as he speaks off-the-cuff, probably from a simple outline of things he wanted to cover.

GoDaddy’s PR problems
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For a variety of reasons, I’ve been registering all my domain names at GoDaddy.

Vista – Will it Increase Feed Reading?

Jon Udell’s screencasts are among my favorite multimedia on the web.

Tech Leaders See Second Life Gold Mine

Fortune magazine senior editor David Kirkpatrick is just out with an article on the future of Second Life, noting:

RSS on Your TV

As if there isn’t enough evidence of media convergence, Niall Kennedy reports that the latest high-definition TV’s from Sony will allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds.

Play by Rules or Get Unwanted Attention

Whether the rules of any given social media space are written or unwritten, it is important for marketers and communicators entering these spaces to learn them.

Humanity, Business, and Blogs

Several years ago, I read an article (I can’t remember if it was in Forbes or Fortune) that featured Jacques Nasser.

Sometimes Company Bloggers Aren’t Enough

The beating Microsoft is taking in the blogosphere and elsewhere over a patent filing leads me to wonder whether this isn’t an instance where some solid, formal communication might be in order.

Red Hot Blog URLs …Pitch to Bloggers

Just as PayPerPost has revised its business practices by requiring its bloggers to disclose the fact that they’re getting sponsorship money, another enterprise has unleashed a service that will make it drop-dead easy for anybody to start pitching bloggers without any such constraints.

The Blogosphere’s Peak

Research firm Gartner has predicted that the growth of the blogosphere will peak at about 100 million by the mid-point of 2007.

Telstra Teaches Australia How to Join the Conversation

I conducted a teleseminar on business blogging for the Public Relations Institute of Australia a few days ago.