Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Secretary sacked for blogging

The story of the British secretary who was sacked for blogging about her life in Paris is doing the rounds - a colleague mentioned it to me this morning, then I read a Sydney Morning Herald report.

33-year old Catherine blogs on Petite Anglaise, and has built up a huge following judging by the number of coments she receives on each post.

She was sacked recently for gross misconduct, her employers claiming she brought the company into disrepute. And she is now launching a test case before a French employment tribunal.

Catherine's blog posts look harmless enough - I guess there are always two sides to the story, but the focus of her blog is really about her personal life, and it seems to be a fairly large over-reaction by her employer. It will be interesting to see how the court case pans out.

On a related issue, my colleague Glenn Fannick, was blogging last week about where people who blog for work should draw the line. He said,
"A few of my co-workers were chatting this morning about how much a person like myself should say when blogging about product development issues. It is a tough question. In my role at Factiva, I'm privy to product development and business plans which would be very interesting to write about. The things we wrestle with when deciding new product features and where to take the business would make for interesting writing. However, revealing such things could be bad for business. We don't want to tip our hands to the competition."
I agree with Glenn's view that it can be tricky to know when to draw the line about what to write on a blog about work - he goes on to say it is a matter of common sense. And I also share Glenn's view that a company like Factiva can foster loyalty in its employees by encouraging them to blog professionally or personally, and trusting them not to do or say anything that will harm the company.

I truly hope for the sake of free speech, that Catherine wins her court case.

At the end of the day there has to be a way to avoid cliches...

A couple of years ago, Chris Pash, an Australian colleague, and Factiva's Director of Publisher Relations in Asia Pacific showed me a "Cliche Index" he'd developed. He and his journalist mates would brainstrom what they considered to be the most frequently used (and abused) cliches. Chris then ran searches for those cliches across to see which in fact were used most frequently. It's a but of fun, but also an interesting demonstration of how the English language changes over time.

These days, we're able to use our Factiva Insight technology to track more cliches and update the index more frequently. The system can even tell us which publications are using the cliches...writers be warned!

WSJ Columnist and blogger, Jeremy Wagstaff has just written about the latest Factiva Cliche Index - check it out.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New enhancements to Factiva Search 2.0 get the thumbs up!

Last week, I was asked to give a new starter at Factiva an overview about the PR function, and I said that I felt it was critical for PR practitioners to be passionate about the company they work for, and the products and services they offer.

I couldn't imagine plugging away, trying to pitch a company, product or brand that I fundamentally thought was cr@p, boring or unethical.

So it's always satisfying to read positive external endorsements about your company or products - like the review of Factiva Search 2.0 that was published today by Information World Review, entitled Factiva sets scorching pace in Web 2.0 stakes.

Try Factiva Search 2.0 for yourself by typing in a keyword in the search box under my profile. Go on. You know you want to!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My blog makes it into print!

Hoorah! My little 'ol blog made it into print. Andrew Cave's article, The World According to Blog, in the June edition of CorpComms referred to Factiva as a company who endorsed blogging by employees, and listed A Surplice of Spin as an example.

The article also quotes my colleague, Patrick Kervern, our Business Marketing Director for Media and Reputation Solutions, about why companies must begin to engage more with stakeholders this way:

"We believe that in a public relations dialogue with stakeholders, one of the best ways to communicate is to have a blog. Blogs present risks, but also opportunities. Silence is not an option any more because if you don’t talk to people, somebody else is going to talk on your behalf." - Patrick Kervern.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

New PR blogs and websites

Back from a couple of weeks holidays, and it appears that a few new PR blogs and websites have cropped up.

The busy people at PR Business launched their website (although some sections are still in the process of being populated), shortly after relocating offices and revamping their magazine's layout.

Tony Bradley, President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is also blogging about the PR industry on PR Voice. His most recent posts were about his attendance at the 3rd World Public Relations Festival.