Tag Archives: Facebook

Martha McSally: The Bolton PAC, Mercer family, and Cambridge Analytica connection

Back in May of 2014 I posted in Questions for Martha McSally: Are you a Neocon war monger like your endorser John Bolton?

Martha McSally’s views on foreign policy and national defense just moved up to the top of my list of topics that I want to depose her ask her campaign questions about with this announcement on Thursday (the local media should do the same). Bolton PAC Makes First Endorsement:

Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton’s political-action committee will make its first endorsement on Thursday, backing former Air Force colonel Martha McSally in her race against Arizona Democratic representative Ron Barber.

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The John Bolton Super PAC (he also has a regular political action committee) will support candidates who share his vision for a muscular American foreign policy and the need to revive America’s role in the world.

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McSally will receive a total of $10,000 from Bolton’s organization . . . “I am honored to have the support and endorsement of Ambassador Bolton, a great American who has advocated for our freedom against enemies worldwide,” McSally said in a statement.

Oh Hell No! On a Batshit Crazy scale of 1 to 10, John Bolton breaks the scale blowing past 11. Martha McSally is the first endorsement for Bolton’s Super PAC? And she calls this reckless war monger “a great American”?

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The social media leg of the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation comes into focus (Updated)

Cambridge Analytica is a company created by Robert Mercer, a billionaire patron of right-wing outlets like Breitbart News. Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah, is a board member. Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, is a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica, and the former editor of Breitbart News. Trump confidant Gen. Michael Flynn also had “a brief advisory role” with Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained:

Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality profiles for voters. They then take that information and target individuals with specifically tailored content.

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In June 2016, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to take over its data operations.

We know from the reporting of Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim at the New York Times that Jared Kushner, who was charged with overseeing Trump’s digital operations, is the reason Cambridge Analytica joined the Trump campaign.

Kushner hired a man named Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital expert who had worked previously for team Trump. According to Confessore and Hakim, Cambridge Analytica convinced Parscale (who has since agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee) to “try out the firm.” The decision was reinforced by Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica.

It’s not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped (Parscale denied that Cambridge was of any use in a recent 60 Minutes interview), but we do know that Trump’s digital operation was shockingly effective. Samuel Woolley, who heads the Computational Propaganda project at Oxford’s Internet Institute, found that a disproportionate amount of pro-Trump messaging was spread via automated bots and anti-Hillary propaganda. Trump’s bots, they reported at the time of the election, outnumbered Clinton’s five to one.

Pro-Trump programmers “carefully adjusted the timing of content production during the debates, strategically colonized pro-Clinton hashtags, and then disabled activities after Election Day.”

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“Waiting for Warren!” Until she didn’t do what they wanted.

I’ve been skeptical of the claim by many Sanders supporters that they are not down on Hillary Clinton at all because she’s a woman, oh no, it’s because she’s a terrible woman, for a while now. Clinton detractors on the left have insisted that they do want a woman to be President! But it has to be the right woman! And they have such a woman in mind: Elizabeth Warren! They’re #WaitingForWarren

I agree that Massachusetts Senator Warren is wonderful. And here she is being her terrific self on her Facebook page on February 22nd:

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Some people cling to the belief that Eric Garner was killed by everything but the cops who killed him

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Steve King

Rep. Steve King (R-NY) told CNN that Eric Garner’s death was caused by his obesity and not by the choke hold administered by five Staten Island cops.

“You had a 350-pound person who was resisting arrest. The police were trying to bring him down as quickly as possible,” King said in an appearance on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” “If he had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese, almost definitely he would not have died from this. The police had no reason to know he was in serious condition.”

The confrontation between Pantaleo and Garner was also caught on video that showed Garner repeatedly telling the officer he couldn’t breathe. King said police hear that kind of thing all the time.

“But if you can’t breathe, you can’t talk,” he argued.

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Futurist Watts Wacker on Corporate Goodness & Storytelling

Skyscrapers.20-sig-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Has social media pushed us beyond the information age and into the age of goodness?

With the blurring of the lines between news and entertainment and the blurring of the definition of a "friend", futurist Watts Wacker told attendees of the Public Relations Society of America Western District Conference that we are creating a macro culture that will "replace the information age".

Wacker's presentation was a string of observations about "cultural transformation" in our evolving world.

In the global village that is social media, people and corporations can no longer differentiate themselves by what they do-– for example, sell cars, bake bread, play music– because so many others are performing those same services, and thanks to social media, we all know about them. In the information age, we relied on corporate media and advertising to tell us where to buy a car, what bread is best, and who is the greatest rock band ever. Now we get information from our "friends". According to Wacker, corporations, celebrities, and just plain folks have to differentiate themselves by who they are… as people (since corporations are people, my friend.) 

The Age of Goodness

This cultural transformation has brought us to "age of goodness" – corporate goodness– Wacker said, as he proceeded to use Whole Foods as an example.

Failing to mention Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's now infamous comments likening the Affordable Care Act to fascism, Wacker said that Whole Foods is trying to build a positive image by supporting local produce and sponsoring farmers' markets in their parking lots. (As an aside, he mentioned this exercise in corporate goodness increases Whole Foods' produce sales by 20% on the days they allow farmers' markets in their parking lots.)

But perception is the hardest thing to change, and many still view Mackey as a stingy capitalist who wants to pass the cost of healthcare on to customers or employees– rather than paying for the healthcare insurance (and taking the tax deduction). Mackey now says he regrets the Obamacare = fascism comment, but is it too little too late? In the past year, Whole Foods and other corporate giants– particularly Papa John's, Applebee's, and Denny's– faced customer backlash through social media, when they announced their opposition to expanding healthcare insurance to their employees.

"All problems in business are cultural," Wacker noted. This seems like a simple statement, but it is quite profound. Operating in the global village of social media, corporations can no longer hide how they treat their workers. Corporations should consider putting workers first, not customers, according to Wacker. Why? Because workers are story tellers. Workers can be a company's best or worst advertising.

We are the media

In what Wacker calls the neo-tribal world, we natives are talking with each other. News, gossip, images, and video are shared at the speed of light through social media where anyone can have 50-5000 "friends."

Look at how one hand-held video clandestinely shot by a bartender changed the 2012 presidential election. In fact, the headline on the ABC News story about the video says it all: The Lesson of Mitt Romney’s 47-Percent Video: Be Nice to the Wait Staff? Yes! Be nice to the wait staff and your employees because we're all talking and sharing.

In the neo-tribal world, corporations "can't push or pull products" through traditional media, according to Wacker. They must "build a tribe around their brand". This is where the fresh-faced, well-dressed PR people attending the PRSA conference come in. Now more than ever, armed with blogging and social media, they are being charged with telling the "good news" about corporations. Anyone who has been on Facebook since before they went public on the stock exchange knows how it has shifted from a personal focus to becoming more advertising oriented. (Will greed kill the Facebook Goose that laid the Golden Egg, just as greed has made watching commercial television so annoying?)

Building Self

According to Wacker, there are five influences in "building self": life stage (how old you are); enculturation (your culture and background); events you experience; whose opinion matters to you; and the media.

In the neo-tribal world of social media, whose opinion matters and the definition of media have changed dramatically. People growing up in the "information age" (AKA the age of television and corporate media) trusted wise talking heads like Walter Cronkite to tell them the truth; his opinion mattered.

In today's world, people– particularly younger people– want and listen to a variety of opinions before they make a decision. Back in the Dark Ages, before the Internet, people bought Fords, Budweiser, and Wonder Bread because their parents did. How did their parents make purchasing decisions? Advertising. How many of you have asked your Facebook friends' opinions before making a purchase– rather than looking in the Yellow Pages or looking at newspaper ads? How many of you have looked at online reviews before buying a product or trying a new restaurant?

Media has flipped from being corporate to being personal, since the Cronkite era. Posting on Facebook, commenting on Amazon, uploading cell phone videos to YouTube– we are all content creators. We are all media. We are all pop culture.

Wacker observed, we can build an audience around ourselves (or our corporate clients/employers) and can build ourselves as brands. Arizona has several examples of bloggers who have built themselves up– built their brands– as media pundits. In the Cronkite era, these folks (including me) would have been just retired teachers, lawyers with spare time, ABD community college math profs, or opinionated politicos. Social media and blogging have elevated opinionated people who can sting together a few coherent sentences to the level of "media". The dearth of newspaper "news" has accelerated this process and made blogs more important news sources.

According to Wacker, editing is no longer taking out what is not necessary, it is about bringing what is interesting to the tribe.

"When we see change is coming, we try to deny it," Wacker told the nearly 100% female audience of PR professionals, corporate communications specialists, writers, and editors. But the future is upon us, and we must seize the moment and ride the wave.

"I am pop culture" 

What drives pop culture? According to Wacker, there are classic stories that build pop culture and create "news":

  • Lightning in a bottle: things you can't plan or predict (eg, the World Trade Center bombing, the 47% video, the Boston Marathon bombing and the indredible saga that followed);
  • Breaking the membrane: people suddenly become know because of some event or discovery (eg, the Boston Marathon bombers or Louis Taylor);
  • Fall and redemption: the rise and fall of famous people (eg, Bill Clinton, Tom Cruise, John Edwards, the list goes on);
  • Archetypes and icons: archetypes hold up standards; icons hold the standard during a period of time (eg, Jesus, Pope Francis);
  • Edge surfers: the fastest, strongest, best (eg, the Red Bull space man);
  • Anniversary dates: look how many stories are built around anniversary dates (eg, the beginning of the Iraq War, 9/11, the end of WWII).

Encouraging the audience members to become good storytellers, Wacker also offered multiple themes that run through these classic stories: love and care for others, good and evil, truth, transformation (rags to riches), faith and justice, voyage and return, exerting control, beauty and awe, moral redemption, fall of the self, mistaken identity, joy, independence, revenge, courage and overcoming adversity (or the monster). 

According to Wacker, these classic stories "touch people in places they don't have words for" because they can relate to them. (Think back to the Whole Foods example. Is Mackey's apology for dissing Obamacare a story of fall and redemption? Of course it is.)

In the brave new world of social media, we are the story tellers, the story sellers, and story storers. We must use our power wisely.

Will Facebook Become More ‘Brand Friendly’ and Less ‘User Friendly’ with New Look?

Facebook02by Pamela Powers Hannley

OK, I admit it. I'm a Facebook junkie, but my love for social media has its limits.

Earlier this week, I declared to my husband (whom I met when he started flirting with me on Facebook four years ago), that I am bored and disgruntled with Facebook. I even toyed with the idea of kicking the habit– at least for a while. 

Now, I've learned that Facebook is rolling out a new look and new functionality tomorrow. (Every time they do this, I like the site less.)

According to PR Daily, the new look will include multiple news streams and is designed to keep us engaged with the site for longer stretches of time and to show us more "brand friendly" views. I assume this means we will have to hunt more for real news and, as a consequence, be exposed to more advertising.

I'm already really annoyed that on the iPhone and the iPad ads are inserted into my "news" feed. Well, people, expect more.

Check out this article about the proposed (and rumored) changes: 3 imminent Facebook changes that could affect brands