Presentation on social media to Young Presidents’ Organization St. Louis

May 17th, 2013

Click here to download a copy of Jay Byrne’s presentation to YPO-WPO in St. Louis entitled “Keys to Success Online: How Technology Intersects with Key Stakeholder Behaviors” on understanding social media and online best practices.

V-Fluence Presentation YPO 2013

Your online reputation defined

July 3rd, 2012

Manage Your Online Reputation

Mark Twain’s often quoted admonition that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes is one way to describe the power of the Internet and the delicate nature of online reputations.  Indeed, when your personal reputation hits your online radar screen, you can bet, nine times out of 10, it won’t be a positive opportunity, and the truth may never see the light of day.

Unfortunately, many senior executives and business owners who acknowledge the influence of the Internet for business needs discount the Web when it comes to their personal and professional reputations. Most Fortune 100 executives know about Facebook and Twitter, but surprisingly, few actively engage with these or other social media channels.  Fewer still understand what matters and why when it comes to understanding and addressing online reputation concerns.

To help you navigate and understand your online reputation we’ve developed this White Paper detailing how to evaluate, understand and address managing personal and other brand reputations on the Internet.  We take this a step further and provide insights into the major online reputation management services’ offerings and what you can expect from them.

Click here to read and download our Online Reputation Management 2012 White Paper.

Did a 15 year old define your multi-million dollar brand online before you did?

April 16th, 2012

By Jay Byrne

In the first weeks of 2009 a St. Louis area 15 year old using the screen name Marcus_Qwertyus launched his career as a Wikipedian and new media influencer.  In less than six weeks Marcus (aka, Mark William Schierbecker of Webster Groves, MO) entered more than 500 edits for Wikipedia articles working at a pace only a teenager with free time over winter break might maintain.  In his first year this prolific social media participant made some 7,000 contributions to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia of stuff.  By 2012 contributions for this now high school senior have risen to more than 25,000.

Wikipedia Pinterest profile edits

His editing interests range in diversity of topics from hand grenades to mobile phones.  He caught my attention because on August 22, 2011, Markus created the first entry for the current social media phenom Pinterest.   I wondered how the folks at Pinterest allowed a teenager the first shot at creating the most potentially influential description of their brand and product offering online – a full year after they launched their product in 2010 and a week after Time Magazine listed them in an article about the 50 best websites of 2011.  Anyone who follows social media had to anticipate their brand would be the focus of interest online by the Wikipedia community.

Our youthful Wikipedian clearly got on Pinterest’s radar quickly.  Early contributor tracking for Pinterest’s new Wikipedia profile page reveals that an editor who offers to help brands online immediately petitioned to have the teen-created profile page deleted; however, our prolific Show-Me state editor responded.  Armed with effective use of Wikipedia community standards and tactics and enlisting the support of other community editors, his definition-setting article for this now emerging social networking powerhouse new media brand stands today.

While our teen editor Markus continues to be the major watchdog and influencer over edits to this page, the now well-massaged profile for Pinterest. with scores of edits and revisions,  is likely not a problem for the brand and its backers.  What’s most intriguing is how savvy Internet entrepreneurs with well versed new media financial backers missed an opportunity to define who they were first and at this critical early stage of their brand development.  Getting into Time Magazine and the buzz that was generating around Pinterest clearly suggests they had access to professional marketing and public relations support – this support apparently put some social media influence behind that of other traditional outreach in their plans.

We frequently come across organization brands which meet the qualifications for inclusion in Wikipedia, but whose management still aren’t sure about venturing into social media to engage and help define themselves.  Wikipedia engagement remains highly elusive and fraught with perils for most.  Executives are often wary of spaces where 15 year olds can yield equal or greater power over their names.  Community standards and engagement practices create challenges for traditional public relations and marketing professionals, but the influence of Wikipedia dictates that we surmount those challenges and embrace the opportunities therein.

An organization’s profile and references within Wikipedia, should they be created and maintained, will be found when people search for your brand and form opinions about you.  What’s included in this information will be cited and sourced in other discussion threads.  It will frequently serve as a starting point for journalists, analysts and other key influential stakeholders linked to your organization’s interests.  The first to move and create a profile sets the tone and framework for how others in Wikipedia will engage around your brand.  While you cannot own your brand on Wikipedia, leaving how it appears to fate and the whims of others, be they a savvy teen, critical activist or competitor, would be a gaping hole in any online brand and reputation management plan.

Executives or investors who are surprised and have to react when someone else defines your interests online, be it in Wikipedia or other influential social platforms, should reevaluate the sources of their marketing and public affairs counsel.

Jay Byrne is president of v-Fluence Interactive, an agency offering digital research and strategic communication support for online reputation and issues management.  v-Fluence provides clients with customized brand and product research, white papers, best practice guidelines and execution support for engagement across new media platforms.

Social Media Week 2012 Success Model

February 24th, 2012

by Jay Byrne, v-Fluence Interactive


Packed attendance at MSMW2012

While Social Media Week 2012 conferences were held in various locations around the globe, Malaysia can tout one of the most interesting and dynamic events.  The Malaysia Social Media Week 2012 (MSMW2012) conference held in Kuala Lumpur February 13-17  brought in diverse speakers from across the globe to interact with the country’s robust blogging and new media entrepreneur communities.

From political bloggers (Malaysia ranks among the highest per capita in the world) to regional new media application developers, participants were given a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse blend of high ranking business leaders, government officials and journalists. The event was sponsored by the Social Media Chambers, a regional NGO dedicated to facilitating dialogue, best-practice training and social media advocacy.

A panel of International journalists including Asian Correspondent publisher James Craven and Asia Provocateur writer Andrew Spooner engaged with Malaysian journalists on the evolving social media impact on politics and free speech.  Social media experts like South Africa’s Dave Duarte,  India’s Pradeep Chopra and Murray Newlands from San Francisco shared best-practices and research insights informing more effective use of new media tools.  And, all of us were introduced to Malaysian social media leaders and their experiences using new digital channels to share and export information on local food, entertainment, travel and other societal and cultural aspects of the region.

High ranking government officials participated and listened throughout the conference as both local and international bloggers, politicians and activists discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by social media.   Elected officials and candidates from multiple parties and opposing viewpoints shared panel sessions and openly discussed the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of social media’s influence on Malaysia’s political system (experiences, worth noting, which are not unique to Malaysia).   I participated in numerous panels discussing regulatory, political and business challenges and opportunities where government ministers, business leaders and political party representatives engaged in real dialogue on contentious issues.

Diverse and opposing views were openly but civilly aired – a very positive sign at at time when such interactions and engagements are often rare or non-existent.  This, in particular, was a refreshing contrast to political blogging conferences in the United States (e.g., CPAC and Netroots) where typically only those with shared  ideologies sit with one another presenting escalating and one-sided attacks on those who oppose their views.   Australian Green Party and former Senator Andrew Bartlett, an MSMW speaker, noted the critical importance of bridging divergent political philosophies and the opportunities social media engagement offers to achieve real and positive movement benefiting people throughout the region.

The MSMW 2012 created an important opening and potential example of positive engagement for other countries grappling with political, commercial and societal issues which are arising from rapid adoption and new accessibility to social media tools.  Further, it helped enlarge the view into other positive social, cultural and environmental aspects of Malaysia that can help inform and engage audiences outside the country with shared interests in travel, food or entertainment.  Such topics and shared interests can help transcend often polarizing political discourse which too often dominates online dialogue and mainstream media.

This positive engagement should be noted and encouraged for the openings it is creating by groups researching and evaluating democracy, free speech and social media issues.   MSMW 2012 can serve as a model step forward for others navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by ever increasing social media adoption and opening of new communication channels both inside and outside their countries.

Jay Byrne presentation to Malaysian Social Media Week World Bloggers Conference

February 13th, 2012

On February 14, 2012 I had the pleasure of presenting on new media strategies and effective communications at the Malaysia Social Media Week 2012 in Kula Lumpur.

My presentation slides are available at the link below and here are some links to the local news coverage of the conference.

The Sun Daily – Social Media Experts to Address Bloggers Meet in KL by Neville D’Cruz.

Jay Byrne presentation: IABC Southern Region Conference

October 18th, 2011

On October 14th Jay presented background and case studies for  Online Research & Tactics for Digital Reputation & Issues Management to the IABC Southern Region Conference in New Orleans.    A copy of his slides are available here:

Jay Byrne IABC Southern Regional Conference 2011 (Adobe PDF – 3MB)

Talkers 2011 New Media Seminar

June 10th, 2011

A copy of Jay Byrne’s presentation to Talkers 2011, New Media Seminar can be downloaded here:

I’ve been asked to provide an example of intersecting real world behaviors with new media tactics. So, let’s take Twitter. While some will use Twitter for customer service, others for one-to-one and one-to-network information sharing, the fact remains that most people aren’t using Twitter or going there in their day-to-day interactions.

But, something a significant volume of people do is search and scan news online. Twitter influences what stories we are likely to see in online news aggregator sites (e.g., Google News, Yahoo! News or your local newspaper’s website which pulls in those feeds) and has an influence in traditional search. Your tweets, if properly executed and syndicated, can play a role in this influence. If you want to know more, read on…

To tweet or not to tweet… consider taking two minutes to read this before you answer.

Like websites, then blogs, people have been rushing to Twitter as the next best thing now for a couple of years and often for the reason “because everybody is doing it…” As with anything, our reasons for investing our time and energy should be measurably linked to goals and not just following the crowd. I have this type of conversation with my pre-teen son and daughter every week; I never imagined I’d be having it with multi-billion dollar clients – but in the words of HL Mencken, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people…”

If a goal is to create awareness, linked to opinion formations which eventually support beliefs upon which our target audiences act associated with our organizational or personal goals, then we should consider how and why microblogging (e.g., Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr or microblogging features on Facebook and LinkedIn) can support that goal.

Like most social spaces, Twitter is first and foremost an “awareness” channel. Using this service you can create direct awareness of content for the people in your network and those to whom you extend your network using specific Twitter platform tactics (#hash tags, @directed tweets and RT re-tweets). However, the real value of Twitter is its power to influence broader awareness outside of the Twitter network where the majority of people reside.

In 2009 Google made a minor investment in Twitter to gain access to their live and full stream of content for use in Google’s search and the Google News aggregator algorithms. Search engine algorithms use a variety of factors to determine what search results appears above others and – this is most important for Twitter and our interests – what news stories to display on top of others in their news aggregator portals (e.g., Google News and Yahoo! News). These algorithms now tap Twitter seeking keywords tied to hyperlinks associated with news to influence what news items show up on top of these news aggregators and the news portals which display their results.

News portals have significant and broad influence – the content from these sites is streamed to hundreds of thousands of local news websites and topic portals where the vast majority of consumers and influential public policy figures get their news today. News and search portals are critical opinion formation spaces which can then lead to desired belief formations in support of our goals.

Twitter influences which stories appear and in what order they appear giving those who have effectively Tweeted first and with the most frequency (syndication) an edge on determining what the rest of the world sees on specific topics. Twitter can drive awareness AND help influence content that determines what opinions the public forms about a given topic.

News and search are influenced by Twitter

Now, only a small percentages of Tweets use effective tactics to influence search and news algorithms. If you aren’t able or willing to use these tactics effectively then the ROI on your time and energy will be limited. The two most important to consider are:

1. Inclusion of a hyperlink. On microblogs this typically involves using a URL shortening service like (my preferred service).

2. Inclusion of a relevant keyword associated with the topic, to which you can also assign a #hash tag. By including the “#” pound sign or hash tag in front of a contiguous string of characters you can alert others on Twitter interested in that topic and create new visibility for your Tweet which can help syndicate your search and news influencing links.

On any given day and for any given topic there may be numerous news reports (these can be from mainstream sources or simply blogs) associated with sustainable agriculture, biotechnology, etc… Typically, stories which have been amplified via Twitter with the following characteristics will have more influence than other stories:

• “First to be tweeted” – links to stories which hit Twitter first frequently appear as the top news. Speed matters.

• Most tweets (and re-tweets) – stories with the highest volume of links from Twitter frequently appear on top. Even if you aren’t an “early tweeter” you can help support those who are by re-Tweeting or re-posting their contents to your Twitter account. Size (volume) matters.

• Weight of tweets – the more people following your tweets (subscribers) gives them more weight. Further, you can add to this weight by linking your Twitter account to your LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media accounts so that your tweets are automatically syndicated to those networks. So “following” one another in our Twitter network and syndication within our other social networks, just like linking to one another’s blogs gives all of our tweets (whether we are tweeting or not) additional influence. Validation (followers) matters.

If you want to influence news and search and are willing to adopt one or more of the tactics which can make that happen, Twitter may provide you with a decent return on investment.

The Conference Board – Web 2.0 Conference New York

May 21st, 2010

A diverse and interesting conference with a long list of social media experts like Shel Holtz, Ed Garsten, Mary Henige, etc…  My presentation for Social Media Metris: Monitoring, Engaging and Analyzing Social Media can be found here.  Kudos to Lee Hornick and his team for another well thought and high value gathering.

National Advocay Summit – Digital Health Care

May 18th, 2010

Jay Byrne presentation to May 2010 National Advocacy Summit gathering of health care and patient advocacy groups on digitial trends from blogs to beyond into the cloud.  A copy of his presentation materials is available by clicking here:  Digital Health Care 2010

The Cable Show 2010 – Social Media Panel

May 11th, 2010

In a panel presentation sponsored by the Association of Cable Communicators entitled “Social Media as a Mainstay of the New Communications Mix” I shared brief slides and comments along side of New Media Minute moderator Daisy Whitney, Pam Slay of the Hallmark Channel, Alex Dudley of Time Warner Cable, and Rob King of ESPN.  A PDF copy (1MB) of my presentation slides is available here.



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