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Imagine that a restaurant’s menu offers a delicious-looking entree of spaghetti, meatballs and red sauce. Wonderful. Well, sorry, but you are prohibited from ordering them together, on a single plate. Absurd, right? Sounds like a Seinfeld episode. That is the state of earned, paid and owned media. You can use PR for earned media, digital marketing or advertising for paid media, or content marketing for owned media. But mixing them? Blasphemy.

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It looks like WhatsApp is taking a page out of Snapchat’s book, just as Instagram did before it. On Monday, WhatsApp unveiled a new wrinkle to its “Status” feature, adding the ability for users to share videos, GIFs and pictures with their friends for just 24 hours before disappearing. Those visuals can be customized with emojis, written upon and captioned as well. In the past, users could only update their status with text—now you can show, rather than just tell, your friends what you’re up to.

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It’s too early to say with a lot of certainty, but it appears Uber has absorbed several PR lessons concerning crisis management. It’s had a fair amount of practice. The most recent incident for the SF-based company has Susan Fowler, a former employee, penning a widely circulated blog post about sexual harassment at Uber. It’s hard to fault the response of the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, this time. He’s taken several of the basic steps of crisis management and done so promptly.

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To look at the news about Instagram last week you’d be forgiven if you didn’t think it also is a tool for business, particularly suited to small communications shops. The rapper Nicki Minaj, who hinted all week she was about to do something big, posted a photo of her sitting on a small bed in what appears to be a tiny bedroom. True to Instagram’s acceptance of informality, the photo seems far from the highly stylized, professional picture of a celebrity that the public usually sees. The photo’s lighting is spotty, Minaj isn’t centered and the bed is disheveled. Still, it’s a very effective photo. Clad in six-inch heels with tassels, wraparound shades, bikini bottom and nothing else, Minaj makes an arresting subject. Quickly the post had in excess of 10,000 comments and thousands of likes.

As someone old enough to remember the 1980s, I pondered a question while organizing my thoughts before putting figurative pen to paper to write this article: In our age of social media, would today’s youth be able to comprehend J.R. Ewing of the old Dallas series? (Hint: Think Billy the Kid in a board room, only less ethical.)

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[Editor’s Note: This regular feature asks communicators to spot trends and discuss their reactions to them. In this edition we hear from Larissa von Lockner, PR & social media manager, PwC.] The Trend: We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through your social feeds wondering what your friends and family are up to and you just can’t escape the those targeted ads. Those shoes you found last week during your lunch break—the ones you added to your shopping bag but never bought—they’re haunting you!

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When social media channels started to emerge in the early 2000s, many of us thought these platforms would improve business understanding and help break down barriers between companies and their critics. More than a decade later, it hasn’t exactly turned out that way. These days the chatter in business sanctums is more about the weaponization of social media. Twitter, Facebook and others are being used to denigrate, belittle and demonize brands as well as the people who run them.

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This Week In PR

February 20th, 2017 by

A weekly roundup of trends, news and personnel moves in the PR industry. This week’s stories include a strange time in Washington, D.C., an industry post for Mark Weiner and Ogilvy’s reorg begins on this side of the Atlantic.

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When it comes to social listening, it can be difficult to cut through the noise. While many analytics tools attempt to measure sentiment—to quantify how positive or negative a social media post or engagement is received—it has proven to be an elusive metric, even for a brand as big as Nissan. “One big misconception is trying to model the information in social media into something you want it to be, instead of listening to what the customer is saying and fixing the problem presented to you,” says Bryan Long of Nissan.