The Web Changes News – and PR – Forever

Since the development and growth of the Internet, the way in which news is reported and distributed has changed dramatically. Taking this into consideration, there are ever increasing changes PR practitioners must deal with. When looking at how the web changes news and PR, there are a number of factors to consider. It is important to look at how ‘new’ media differs from ‘old’ media. The distinction between “old”, or “traditional” media and the “new” forms such as blogs, podcasts, Internet radio, and video sharing with YouTube being the most popular hosting site. With the Internet now being the primary source for news and entertainment for most people, traditional media is on the back burner, with Print, Television and Radio becoming, some would argue, obsolete.

One of the main differences between old and new media is geography. Television, print and radio are all geographically limited in their audience reach. New media, on the other hand, can tap into any publics that have internet access. The production of old media is closely edited, so that the content (what the consumer reads/sees/hears) is controlled. On the internet, there is no control. To quote Eric Schmidt, “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” New media is boundless. Though there is debate whether this ‘free speech’ is for the best, the freedom of uncensored news is a positive for society.

This goes hand in hand with distribution. The distribution of newspapers is a resource intensive process. Similarly, with radio, transmission towers send out content at one particular time with the potential that many people or perhaps no-one listening at any given time. New media has an altered distribution process. With all forms of new media being digital,communication is broken up into digital bits and bytes and distributed through the internet, mobile phones, etc. This has dramatically lowered costs for communication as well as the potential for personalization and the time frame for receiving the communication. Indeed, this has created significant problems for old media in terms of its audience and revenue. All of these traditional forms are often desperately trying to catch up with and make use of new media. 

Connection two persons

Perhaps the most important difference between old and new forms of media is communication. In traditional media, communications are strictly one way. The content provider sends information to the consumer and the consumer sends money to the provider. There is no mechanism for a flow of either information or money in the opposite direction. The consumer is strictly passive. In new media practices, there is a dialogue between the provider and the audience.


Many, including Andrew Rashbash, chief executive of The Economist Group, have found this development in consumer engagement has made consumers “lean back” from the traditional media forms, mainly television. This highlights a change in how we consume news. Though news cycles are much quicker than they were in the past, the quantity of news consumption has risen dramatically as a result of the web. Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates Ltd  prepared a report for Google in 2013 which outlined how the change in media and roles within the media are creating new expectations with regards to digital consumption.  Although the web has been blamed for many of the travails of traditional news media – and contributing to a reduction in choice in the event of closures or coverage reduction – the choice both offered and used by consumers has increased hugely.

PR practitioners now need to adapt their skill sets in order to grow with the newer digital trends. In 2005, Rupert Murdoch gave a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington DC regarding digital trends and the shift old media needs to take in order to stay relevant.

“We need to realize that the next generation of people accessing news and information, whether from newspapers or any other source, have a different set of expectations about the kind of news they will get, including when and how they will get it, where they will get it from, and who they will get it from. Anyone who doubts this should read a recent report by the Carnegie Corporation about young people’s changing habits of news consumption and what they mean for the future of the news industry.” – Rupert Murdoch 

Murdoch spoke of how digital natives didn’t want to rely on a “God-like” figure to give them their news. He realized that digital natives wanted a multitude of information from a multitude of different sources. Ten years on from Murdoch’s speech, the internet has indeed overcome the traditional forms of media. It is therefore vital that PR Practitioners learn and adapt to the changing media climate. This change has resulted in a shift in revenue, with newspaper sales down 7% in the second half of 2014 in Ireland.


Education and The Internet

After my last cybercultures class, I began to wonder, should knowledge should be open to all to both use and contribute to? Yes, and it’s this intuitive philosophy that forms the base of The Open Education Movement, which has been gaining momentum since 2006, the same year Dr. Dan Colman, launched Open Culture, the greatest free cultural and educational media website I have ever seen. Open Culture is the largest database of free cultural and educational media in existence.

“I’m trying to bring the best good ideas to the rest of the world. There currently exists too much of a gap between the university world and the general public.” -Dr. Dan Colman, editor of Open Culture.

There are two dimensions to Open Culture: Firstly, it acts as a portal, collecting external links so users are able to access materials directly from the distributor, whether the media be on a site, YouTube or iTunes. Secondly, it includes blog-style content with 2-3 posts a day of handpicked media bites. Open Culture features over 350 courses in its collection: links to ever popular TED Talks, over 400 high quality streams of classic movies and tens of thousands of hours of audio book material. In fact, 50% of Open Culture’s collection is audio content.

In the future, Colman would like to implement a social feature so that users can rate certain classes and share those ratings. Most importantly, he wants to add what he calls “the critical element” to Open Culture and the Open Education Movement. How can users get feedback as if they were in a classroom? How can they receive due credit? And perhaps, how can we measure learning in this new way?

Research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that teens use the Internet as an essential study aid outside the classroom and that the Internet increasingly has a place inside the classroom.

Here are some of the significant findings from a survey of 754 youths ages 12-17 conducted last November and December:

  • 94% of youth ages 12-17 who have Internet access say they use the Internet for school research and 78% say they believe the Internet helps them with schoolwork.
  • 71% of online teens say that they used the Internet as the major source for their most recent major school project or report.
  • 41% of online teens say they use email and instant messaging to contact teachers or classmates about schoolwork.
  • 34% of online teens have downloaded an online study aid.
  • 18% of online teens say they know of someone who has used the Internet to cheat on a paper or test.
  • 58% of online teens report using Web sites that had been set up specifically for their school or for a particular class.
  • 17% of online teens have created a Web page for a school project.

This research highlights just how important the internet is in education.

Virtual Community – Hacktivists & Hacktivism

Research and critically analyse an extant, and ideally vibrant, virtual community in terms of one key “cyberculture theme” of your choice.


Hacktivists, it has been argued, are individuals who redeploy and repurpose technology for social causes. In this sense they are different from “garden-variety hackers” out to enrich only themselves. People like Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates began their careers as hackers — they repurposed technology, but without any particular political agenda. In the case of Jobs and Wozniak, they built and sold “blue boxes,” devices that allowed users to defraud the phone company. Though these people today are establishment heroes, and the contrast between their almost exalted state and the scorn being laid upon hacktivists is instructive. The term hacktivism has been defined as the nonviolent use for political ends of “illegal or legally ambiguous digital tools”. These include website defacements, information theft, website parodies, DoS attacks, virtual sit-ins, and virtual sabotage. (Mitchell, 2004.) Capitalizing on the power and pervasive-ness of the Internet, hacktivists attempt to exploit its manifold access points to gain publicity and also to spread information about their views. (Denning, 2001)

                                                                      Hacktivists as a virtual online community have changed the way the internet works for years and years. Although it has not always carried this name, people have turned to hacktivism since the Internet’s early days. (Arquilla, 2001) An example of which was the protesting of the passage of the Communications Decency Act in the United States in 1996 when a hacker defaced the website of the Department of Justice with images and commentary: “Free speech in the land of the free? Arms in the home of the brave? Privacy in a state of wiretaps and government intrusion? Unreasonable searches? We are a little behind our 1984 deadline, but working slowly one amendment at a time. It is hard to trick hundreds of millions of people out of their freedoms, but we should be complete within a decade.” As the Internet has advanced, so too have the tools used by hacktivists to pursue their ideological aims; additionally, an individual’s objective and point of view will likely determine his form of hacktivism. (Taylor, 2005)

It would appear that governments, in particular the US government, consider hackers or “black-hat hackers” less of a threat than those who are trying to make a political or social point (white-hat hackers) (Hurley, 2015). An example of such is the case of Andrew Auernheimer aka “Weev.” In 2010, Weev discovered that AT&T had left private information about its customers vulnerable on the Internet, he and a colleague wrote a simple script to access it. Theoretically, he did not “hack” anything he merely executed a simple version of what Google Web crawlers do every second of every day — chronologically walk through public URLs and extract the content. When Weev got the information (the e-mail addresses of 114,000 iPad users, (including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the White House chief of staff), he did not try to profit from it; he notified the blog Gawker of the security hole.

After WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents in 2010, the ensuing cyber-attacks waged by all sides in the controversy brought the phenomenon of hacktivism into popular focus. Applicable law in most developed countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, generally prohibits hacktivism. However, these countries also protect the right to protest as an essential element of free speech. One could argue that there are many forms of hacktivism that are primarily expressive, that do not cause serious damage, and that do not exploit illegal access to networks or computers. Scholars have outlined that hacktivism sufficiently resembles traditional forms of protest and therefore this warrants protection from the application of anti-hacking laws under widely accepted principles of free speech. (Denning, 2001)

The controversy surrounding WikiLeaks, however, was only beginning. Soon, major companies that provided services to WikiLeaks and its users began withdrawing support. Citing violations of its “Acceptable Use Policy”, PayPal cancelled WikiLeaks’ account, preventing WikiLeaks from accepted donations through the popular online payment service. Subsequently, MasterCard and Visa suspended cardholder payments to WikiLeaks. Swiss bank PostFinance closed the account of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, claiming that Assange provided false information concerning his place of residence. (Ragan, 2010) Bank of America, citing concerns that WikiLeaks “may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies,” similarly pulled the plug, refusing to process payments to WikiLeaks. (Satter, 2010) In turn there was huge online backlash as a result of these corporate announcements. An equivocal, international group of individuals, known as Anonymousbegan to bombard the websites of bodies it deemed opposed to WikiLeaks with distributed DDoS attacks. Many of the sites crashed, and others were rendered inoperable for some time. (Bar-Yosef, 2010) Paypal, one of the community’s victims, lost £3.5 million as a result of their attacks. The group’s declared mission, calledOperation Payback, was to raise awareness of the actions of WikiLeaks’ opponents, to fight what it perceived to be censorship by identifying and attacking those responsible for the attacks on WikiLeaks and to support “those who are helping lead our world to freedom and democracy.” (Correll, 2010)

The conflict surrounding the WikiLeaks controversy to many people was the first real example of a war over digital information. (Satter, 2010) John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, announced on Twitter that “the first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops.” (Satter, 2010) To others, including members of Anonymous, Operation Payback is the most prominent recent example of a trend that has been developing since the invention of the Internet. One sees an increase in computer savvy people deploying their skills online to protest for or against a cause—or, more simply, hacktivism. The community of hacktivists is one that is constantly growing and innovating itself. Like many aspects of Internet activity, hacktivism is transnational in scope due to the fact that any effective legal response should include international coordination that draws on widely accepted democratic principles of free speech. (Rubenkind, 2010)

Like many aspects of Internet activity, hacktivism is transnational in scope; as a result, any effective legal response should include international coordination that draws on widely accepted democratic principles of free speech. (Jordan, 2004) As a community, Anonymous has been the most prolific targeting not only corporations but in recent times they have begun targeting public figures an example of which is in early 2015 they created a video aimed at hip hop artist Kanye West. (Williams, 2015) Personally I find hacktivism excellent as it allows the public to be fully informed on various political and social matters. In the case of Anonymous’ DDoS attacks, the British government were quick to react, arresting at least five members of Anonymous. (Halliday, 2011) One must ask, is hacktivism expressive? And if so should hacktivists be eligible for protection as a form of legitimate protest? Certain forms of hacktivism (specifically, virtual sit-ins and voluntary DDoS attacks) narrowly resemble traditionally accepted forms of protest such as physical sit-ins and picket lines. Though this is not justification for hacktivism’s expressive nature and should not be sufficient to guarantee immunity. However, like certain forms of peaceful demonstration that have, in the past, received reasonable protection, so too should acts of hacktivism that are principally expressive. In short, perhaps they should receive protection.

As demonstrated by Anonymous in the context of the WikiLeaks controversy, hacktivism is increasingly becoming a popular form of protest against perceived injustice. The community of hacktivists online are increasing in strength. (Leyden, 2010) I believe that hacktivism is extremely important as a legitimate form of protest. (Jordan, 2004) Furthermore, the potential for hacktivism as a multinational tool of protest justifies the peripheral burden it imposes in its permitted forms. Although most current systems of hacktivism are rightly regulated or prohibited outright, a narrow subset of hacktivism should be protected on the grounds that it is primarily expressive and causes no significant damage.



Arquilla, J. a. (2001). Emergence and Influence of the Zapatista Social Netwar – Networks and Netwars. Washington: Rand Corporation.

Bar-Yosef, N. (2010). How Operation Payback and Hacktivism Are Rocking the ’Net.Security Week, 9.

Correll, S.-P. (2010, December). Operation: Payback Broadens to “Operation Avenge Assange”. Retrieved May 21, 2015, from Panda Security :

Denning, D. E. (2001). Activism, Hacktivism, and Cyberterrorism: The Internet as a Tool for Influencing Foreign Policy. Washington: Rand Corporation.

Halliday, J. (2011, January 27). Police arrest five over Anonymous WikiLeaks attacks.Retrieved May 26, 2015, from The Guardian:

Hurley, O. (2015, March 08). Hackers – friends or foes? . Retrieved May 25, 2015, from Cybercultures – Blog:

Jordan, T. a. (2004). Hacktivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause? . New York: Routledge Publishing.

Leyden, J. (2010, December 10). Anonymous Hacktivists Fire Ion Cannons at Zimbabwe.Retrieved May 28, 2015, from Register:

Mitchell, W. (2004.). Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Ragan, S. (2010). Recap: WikiLeaks Faces More Heat in the Wake of Cablegate. TECH Herald, 20.

Rubenkind, N. J. (2010, December). WikiLeaks Attack: Not the First by th3j35t3r.Retrieved May 21, 2015, from PCMAG:,2817,2373559,00.asp.

Satter, R. G. (2010, December 03). WikiLeaks Fights to Stay Online amid Attacks.Retrieved May 23, 2015, from Business Week:

Taylor, P. A. (2005). From Hackers to Hacktivists: Speed Bumps on the Global Superhighway? New Media & Society , 625-646.

Williams, W. (2015, March). Anonymous hackers issue ominous warning to Kanye West.Retrieved May 23, 2015, from IT Proportal :

How marketers are using LinkedIn to gain more than a new job!

It can be seen in today’s market that LinkedIn is a strong contender. With over 330 million users, LinkedIn is fast becoming one of the world’s largest professional networking sites. Indeed, it can be said that LinkedIn is not merely a social media website, it is a strong marketing tool for it’s users.

LinkedIn is the most powerful marketing tool of the 21st century and there are three main reasons why — media, partnerships and clients. – Anfernee Chansamooth

Though LinkedIn may seem to some as merely an online CV, LindedIn has developed into much more than that. Employers are now looking at all of the details of one’s profile, not merely past work experience. There are several hundred articles dedicated to using the website efficiently, Forbes and Hubspot both share an insight into having a “winning profile”. Interestingly, in both articles one can see that it is not just about listing your past experiences, networking is key.

When it comes to business to consumer (B2C) marketers, a report has found that LinkedIn has grown from 51% last year to 71% this year: LinkedIn is now not only for job searching, Cheryl Conner from Forbes  highlights strategies one can use on LinkedIn in order to be successful. Tactics such as using LinkedIn to check out your competition, asking for direct consumer feedback on your product and using LinkedIn polls to carry out market research are all discussed within the article.

Publishing on LinkedIn is also a huge area in which marketers can gain. Be creating your own content, you have total control of your published content on the esteemed website.

Sponsored updates are also extremely helpful for marketers. This helps widen the audience of your posts on the website.

There have been several extremely successful marketing campaigns on LinkedIn. This article chose it’s top five campaigns that companies used on LinkedIn. By looking at these as a blueprint, your business can learn from these fine examples and see how these could provide inspiration for your business.

Analytics, asking questions, targeting your posts, filtering content, making the most of your product and service section and engaging with reccommenders are some of the key ways marketers use LinkedIn to market their businesses. This article is fascinating as it encompasses all the different areas in which a business can thrive on the mostly cost-free site.

In all, LinkedIn is more than simply a job search website. If used correctly, marketers can use it for more than just social networking.

Cork Digital Marketing Awards Ceremony 2014

Finalist for Best Use of Facebook for a Company with 20 Employees or less.

Finalist for Best Use of Facebook for a Company with 20 Employees or less.

I had an amazing time at the Cork Digital Marketing Awards Ceremony today. Unfortunately we didn’t win in our category of “Best Use of Facebook for a company with 20 employees or less”, but being nominated was such an honour. It’s really exciting for my future in marketing and the future of digital marketing in Cork.

At least we came away with this!

At least we came away with this!

Top 10 tips for using Twitter to market your Irish SME


With 284 Million monthly active users, Twitter is the way forward when it comes to social media. It is therefore imperative that for a business to succeed, your business is properly represented on one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. Here are some top tips to help you market your SME.

This is a comprehensive video about marketing your business on Twitter:

1. Understand Twitter

By learning the basics of the site itself, you will be able to utilize it to your full advantage and this will help you market your business. By studying ‘Twittiquette’ you will understand your audience and this will aid you in interacting with your publics.

2.Choose a good handle

Not only should your name be relevant but you should try and have a catchy, easy to remember twitter handle. Here is an interesting article on choosing a twitter handle. Your handle aids in the branding of your business online and helps tie in your entire business to your online profile.

3. Have an Action Plan

It is of the utmost importance that you create an action plan for your business with regards to Twitter. What are your aims? What do want to achieve on this social platform? By having an action plan in place before you begin using Twitter to your full advantage, you will reep the rewards!

4. Listen to your audience

The key to the success of Twitter for businesses is the interaction with your publics. By listening to the feedback from your customers and taking this feedback into consideration in your strategies, your business will grow and thrive through close contact with the consumers.

5. Fresh Content

You should aim in having interesting tweets. Try to mix up what you are putting out whether it’s videos, memes or photos, these will aid in engaging with your target audience. Don’t be boring!


6. Don’t sell

A major rule one should follow when using Twitter for your business is don’t sell to your customer, interact with your customer

80% of your Tweets should focus on driving interactions with your followers, such as Retweets, replies, and favorites. Once you’ve built some rapport, you can mix in direct offers or promotions that get followers to take actions, such as clicking on a link or making a purchase from your website.

7. Use Hashtags


By understanding your brand you will be able to use hastags to your advantage. Don’t overuse them either, but learn the importance in aiding you to reach out to your target audience.

8. Reward your followers

Competitions, follow sprees etc are some of strategies you can use to help your fan base grow. By rewarding your followers and engaging with them on this level, it will inspire others to become more involved in your business. Applications like Crowdbooster help you to see who is the most influential in engaging with your business.

9. Be Consistent

It is detrimental for any SME to be consistent in your output on Twitter. You should only tweet about things your target audience would be interested in. As well as this, it’s important to vitalize applications like Hootsuite so that your twitter feed is constantly being updated. 55555

10. Know your market

By keeping an eye on local news and trends, you will be able to engage with your audience and make a bigger impact.

Facebook – Playing by Their Rules Matters


Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms in the world. A sharp increase in active users from 2008 to 2014 highlights to businesses the importance of Facebook.


For Businesses, competition is everything. Facebook’s new stricter guidelines highlight how the world of business competition is changing. – Facebook Page Guidelines

Social Media Marketing is one of the largest areas for businesses and Facebook is imperative in this. With thousands of businesses using their Facebook pages as their primary advertising space, the rules and regulations for competitions have eased during 2014.

We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps
Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:
  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.
Accurate tagging is required in promotions
In order to maintain the accuracy of Page content, our Pages Terms now prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in. So, for instance:
  • It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
  • It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

An article I found insightful with regards to the new rules about Facebook competitions can be read here. Discussing third party apps and sharing, it makes some valid points when it comes to playing by Facebook’s rules.

With many sources highlighting that Facebook is indeed the top dog when it comes to social media, keeping their new rules in mind is vital for businesses.


Many pages on the internet have been dedicated to aiding the business to decipher these new guidelines. I found the Social Skinny’s article really good in outlining in detail what was being asked of the business by Facebook.

The Future of Social Media Marketing is Mobile

Indeed, the future of Social Media Marketing is mobile. This is plain to see with companies strongly relying on social media as a method of marketing and advertising. Not only is it free, but the audience on these social networks is extremely large. Mobile marketing is quickly becoming the new digital focus.

According to WeAreSocial, there are over 6.7 billion mobiles in the world, as opposed to 4.2 billion television viewers. Mobile marketing is the new “lean forward” approach.

As of January 2014, 74% of online adults use social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter etc. It should come as no surprise that mobile social media marketing is the way forward. Josh Steimle of Forbes discussed in his article of the huge importance mobile will have on the future of marketing. It is evident with large companies around the world that being consumer-friendly is the way forward. Engaging on social media platforms such as Instagram, Pintrest, Twitter and Snapchat, the company only gains in it’s customer base. The large audience reach within these sites, mainly Facebook, only further highlight to the marketer that these must be used to gain in business.

Social Media Examiner highlight 7 tips your business can use in order to connect with mobile users. Engaging with your customers is key in succeeding along with making your content short, interesting and easy to scroll.

Visual networks are on the rise, with Instagram being hugely influential with regards to social media marketing. Andrew McCarthy outlines how Instagram can be used to get your fans excited for Christmas. This is a fascinating article as it shows how the best of breed use the free social networking platform to engage with it’s customer base and grow it’s audience reach.

 outlines how your business can utilize Instagram to it’s full capacity by bringing you through the key functions of the site, the power of using hashtags and the usage of Instagram Direct.

The more engagement you drive on Instagram through your comments and posts, the more others will do the same for you or want to be part of the conversation too. The key is being as diligent on Instagram as you are on Facebook and Twitter.- Sue B. Zimmerman

In light of all of this, I believe the future of social media marketing is mobile. With more and more consumers purchasing on the go than ever before, tapping into this as a marketer is the only way to succeed.

This Youtube clip of Mobile Marketing Trends 2015 is very interesting for the future of social media marketing:

The Future of Social Media Marketing is indeed mobile.

What is your favourite app?