Top PR and social media blogs

I love ranking lists, especially the ones that include me. So I have to write about these rankings from Invesp Consulting that list blogs in a variety of categories, based on factors like Google Page Rank and incoming links. I am happy to find Media Culpa currently listed as number 21 in public relations and 119 in social media. Not bad for a guy blogging in a second language (and I get 0 for subscribers since my FeedBurner stats are not in yet). Especially cool to see that among the biggest PR blogs in the world, this blog is ranked #8 on Google Page Rank, #12 on number of incoming links, #13 on most indexed pages in Google, #18 on StumbleUpon reviews, #19 on Delicious bookmarks and #23 on Alexa site rank (that was a real surprise).

The list of social media blogs include such well-known blogs as ProBlogger, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb and Scobleizer, so I’m quite happy to be included at all.

Hat tip to Chris Abraham (#18 in PR).

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75,000 Twitter users in Sweden

The social media analytics company Sysomos has released an in-depth report (pdf) about Twitter users – “Inside Twitter, An In-Depth Look Inside the Twitter World”. According to the report, about 0.54 percent of all members on Twitter are Swedish. With an estimated 14 million members (as of April 2009), that would mean that there are at least 75,000 Swedes on Twitter. That makes Sweden the 15th most active country on Twitter. The exact number is of course hard to determine, but for the first time we at least have a ball park figure to relate to. I think that the number is pretty accurate, given how respondents answered my fourth annual Swedish blog survey earlier this year.


But as the report says, a large percentage of the members on Twitter are not very active.
– 50.4% of Twitter users haven’t updated their status in the last seven days.
– 21% of users have never posted a Tweet
– 5% of users account for 75% of all activity, 10% account for 86% of
activity, and the top 30% account for 97.4%

Other interesting findings in the report are for example that “of people who identify themselves as PR professionals, 65.5% have never posted an update”. If that is correct, that is quite astonishing numbers. PR pros are lurkers on Twitter.

Go check the report, it is quite intersting reading.

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How to lose friends and alienate people, the Ryanair way

Kyla Ebbert, a woman from Californa, was thrown off a Southwest Airline plane last year because the airline staff found her clothing too revealing. The story was discussed in both mainstream media and on blogs, and Southwest Airlines eventually apologized to Ebbert in a press release.

“Kyla, we could have handled this better, and on behalf of Southwest Airlines, I am truly sorry. We hope you continue to fly Southwest Airlines. Our Company is based on freedom even if our actions may have not appeared that way. It was never our intention to treat you unfairly and again, we apologize.”

Apart from issuing an apology, the airline also took the opportunity to create a somewhat positive spin on the story by poking fun at itself. In a news release, Southwest Airlines lowered its already low prices to “miniskirt” fares, a stunt that was widely covered in media and blogs.

Irish low fares airline Ryanair is another airline that has taken a blow in media recently. Readers of this blog may remember the “beds and blowjobs” debacle some time ago. And now they are at it again. Last week the Swedish Council against Sexual Discrimination in Advertising (ERK) found one of Ryanair’s ads to be sexist. The ad, which was published during the start of the school year, featured a scantily clad woman posing as a schoolgirl, announcing the “hottest back to school prices”.

sexist ad by ryanair

But instead of admitting any wrongdoing, the airline went on a counter attack with statements like these.

“We are sure that the anti-funsters at the ERK do not speak for the majority of the famously liberal and easy going Swedes.”

“The ad simply reflects the way a lot of young girls like to dress. We hope the old farts at the ERK loosen up a little.”

“Ryanair defends the right of Swedish girls to take their clothes off.”

The company was then criticized by the Swedish MP, Birgitta Ohlsson urging customers to choose other airlines. Ohlsson said that “Ryanair is relying on old fashioned, outdated values and they’re proud of it.” But instead of responding to journalist questions, the company issued a new “fun” press release.

“Ryanair, Sweden’s only low fares airline, today laughed off the stupid comments by Swedish MP, “Boring” Birgitta Ohlsson, when she called on Swedish passengers to boycott Ryanair and fly on high fare, fuel surcharging, SAS in protest at Ryanair’s use of a sexy model to advertise its “hottest ever” back to school fare.”

“This really is a storm in a D cup! We’re sure that Boring Birgitta will be overrun by the flood of right minded, liberal, people who support Ryanair’s determination to defend the rights of girls and boys to get their kit off – if they want to.”

“We will also be sending free tickets to Boring Birgitta so that she can take a nice relaxing break, loosen up a little and stop calling for silly boycotts, avslutar Ryanair.”

The airline also announced it would “celebrate Ryanair’s sexy Swedish ad” by launching one million €10 mid week seats.

But it appears that the support from the easy going Swedes is minimal. Christian paper Dagen hopes that Ryanair chokes on their laughter. Ryanair is called “horny guys airline” in a column in Dagens Media. Bloggers are writing things like “Bye bye Ryanair”, “Yet another reason to dislike Ryanair” and “Ryanair: Swedens only no-brains airline”.

There is a huge difference in the way Southwest Airlines and Ryanair have handled these incidents. First of all, SA was not accused of being sexist, but to be too prude. Big difference. Then SA apologized and used humour to laugh at themselves. Ryanair does the opposite by not apologizing, talking trash to anyone who opposes, and then giving us more of the same thing they were criticized of from the start. Like this blogger says, to counter sexism with more sexism is hardly the smartest way to go.

Secondly, SA already had a presence in social media with its blog Nuts About Southwest which allowed the airline to have a closer dialogue with customers. Ryanair on the other hand, don’t respond to journalist questions, send statements in English in which there are no local spokespersons. If you on top of that try to gain support by referencing to the Swedish psyche, or rather your view of what Swedes are like, it is very easy that local customers feel that you are just an ignorant foreigner who paints a malicious portrait of how we are supposed to be.

Ryanair has a history of sexist related crisis and a CEO who leads by example. But maybe this is very clever branding. No other airline has positioned themselves as the airline for horny guys. The top position is available and Ryanair seems determined to take it.

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Bigmouth strikes again at Ryanair

Michael O’Leary, CEO of low-cost airline Ryanair, has a reputation for speaking his mind in a way that is great if you belong to the school that believes all publicity is good publicity. If you on the other hand think that a CEO that, among other things, calls journalists “wankers” is a walking PR nightmare, then O’Leary is it. And now he is at it again. In a press conference in Düsseldorf, Germany he recently joked that “in economy it will be very cheap fares, say 10 Euros, and in business class it will be bed and blowjobs”.

I don’t think that there is one single female flight attendant at Ryanair that finds that comment helpful in their daily jobs. Last week I flew to London and in the row behind me some “senior” business men apparently felt they had the right to get better seats so that the three of them could sit together, instead of divided on each side of the aisle. The flight attendant was a pretty, young woman who they addressed as “my little friend” and “be a good girl now”, basically talking to her like she was a twelve year-old. Typical male suppression techniques in other words. Now, the plane was full so there was no chance for these passengers to move and they made it clear to the flight attendant that she let them down, these superior men that she should serve.

It’s not difficult to guess that this is the daily routine for female flight attendants and so many other women in service professions. And O’Leary is adding insult to injury. So, O’Leary, that joke isn’t funny anymore, to make another reference to the Smiths. But what really surpised me was that Ryanair apparently is trying to spin this in a positive way. On their website the company has issued a news release that claims the video is the most viewed video on YouTube’s travel section. While that in itself probably is a bit of a stretch, instead I would be worried about the company’s reputation that so many people have watched the video.

The news release continues with quotes like “Since then it is rumoured that the ‘Beds and Blowjobs’ debate comes up at most management meetings and everyone is cock sure, it would grow from strength to strength.” They also make a big deal out of the fact that the poor translator did not find any German word for blowjobs.

Remind me to stay clear of Ryanair next time I need a cheap airline ticket. It’s not worth it.

Note to Dagens Media: this is not what any sane person would call good PR.

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Control and command PR backfires

Yesterday we could read that cartoon figure Dilbert is embracing web 2.0 by letting readers “create cartoon mashups, use widgets, rank comic strips, share favorite lists, subscribe to RSS feeds, and add commentary”. If it works out it could be a great example of how to give up control of your message and put it in the hands of consumers, who are encouraged to become brand champions and spread the word about Dilbert.

The exact opposite must be artist James Taylor who held a concert in Stockholm earlier this week. Apparently the organisers demanded that the media that were present signed a contract that limited the use of their own photos. As a result, both Dagens Nyheter and Expressen refused to publish any text or photos about the concert at all. And as you might have guessed, you only need to go to Flickr to find a few photos from the concert.

It’s quite ridiculous to try to limit the use of photos in this day and age, especially in a country with more than 100% mobile penetration. Instead, take a look at the way the Shins involved fans to create a video from 200 video clips from fans’ mobile phones and cameras.

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I’m joining Burson-Marsteller

I am happy to announce that I am joining Burson-Marsteller to head up its digital PR practice in the Nordic region. For the last four years I have been exploring blogs and other social media in my spare time, trying to learn what is is all about and how it affects the PR profession. Now it’s time to “walk the talk” and start to work with these topics professionally. I am very excited about this opportunity to work with businesses and organisations in the Nordic area.

Burson-Marsteller has an impressive global network and I hope to learn a lot from my new colleagues. I will start my new job on 1 April. More info about me at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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