Baseball and Who “Owns” Social Media – #pr20chat Recap – 060810

I try to participate in #pr20chat every week, although some weeks I’m more successful than others. #pr20chat happens every Tuesday evening from 5 – 6 pm Pacific / 8 – 9 pm Eastern. One of the things I like about the chat is that it’s filled with really smart people, but doesn’t move so fast that you feel like you’re missing out on half the conversations. @prtini and @JGoldsborough do a great job moderating it and keeping things moving.

This week’s chat covered 6 topics: the blown call by umpire Jim Joyce that cost Armando Galaragga his perfect game; who in a company “owns” social media (which will probably turn in to an hour-long #pr20chat of its own before too long), should agencies be doing their own PR, and a couple of others.

@pr20chat: Q1: What did the Armando Galaragga’s near-perfect game and Jim Joyce’s response teach us about public relations? #pr20chat

Overall, most people agreed that Jim Joyce coming out and saying that a) he had blown the call and b) that he was sorry it cost Galaragga a perfect game went a long way to restoring his public image and keeping the backlash against him to a minimum. There was some talk about the historical nature of the event and whether or not it will be remembered more / less than a perfect game

  • @MattLaCasse: Q1 Ppl will forgive screw ups. They rarely forgive cover ups. #pr20chat
  • @jeffespo: Q1 For Galaragga it was a lesson in humility and taught a lesson of looking good with bad circumstances #pr20chat
  • @adriwall: Q1:there IS crying in baseball:)j/k. Joyce garnered fan support by telling the truth,accepting responsibility,asking forgiveness #pr20chat
  • @erinkoro: Q1a: agree – this moment went down in baseball history as much for the debate as for the specific call. #pr20chat

@pr20chat: 1 more bball question. Q2: GM gave Galaragga a free corvette. Smart PR tactic or irresponsible spend of company money? #pr20chat

Question two continued on the baseball theme and asked whether GM giving Galaragga a Corvette was a good idea. There were a couple of people that questioned the linkage between pitching a perfect game and a new car, but there were a couple of really great comments about it.

  • @MattLaCasse: Q2 INCREDIBLY smart. Saw somewhere the valued exposure for the act was roughly 8.9 million. #pr20chat
  • @MattLaCasse: Q2 Detroit is The Motor City. GM is a HUGE employer in that town. I have zero issues with the gesture b/c of that #pr20chat
  • @adriwall: Q2:i don’t find it odd, it IS Detroit. could have been any car/any co; isn’t a Corvette a symbol of Americana just like Baseball? #pr20chat
  • @sjhalestorm: @LindsTR, Players receive benefits for historical achievements pretty regularly. This one has more impact on PR b/c of controversy #pr20chat

@pr20chat: Q3: @dbreakenridge at PRSA leadership rally answered: “Who owns social media?” Her answer: Your thoughts?#pr20chat

Question 3 definitely brought out the most response and raised the question of who owns social media within an organization. Deirdre Breakenridge (@dbreakenridge) was at a PRSA leadership rally and said that nobody owns PR.

Some agreed with Deirdre …

  • @Geoff_Barbaro: The question “who owns social media” is nonsensical – like saying who owns stories or who owns breathing! #pr20chat
  • @sjhalestorm: Q3: Nobody owns social – A business doesn’t *do* social, it *is* social. #pr20chat

There were several people, including myself, who say that social media breaks down silos and should be spread across the organization but that some department needs to responsible for leading the organization in their social media efforts.

  • @jeffespo: Q3 She makes a great point. While no one owns it, charge should be led by #PR or communications team #pr20chat They know value of comms
  • @PoppyPembroke: #pr20chat Who owns social media? PR peeps better be the gatekeepers if you want longevity for your brand!
  • @adamsherk: Q3 Nobody owns social media at a company, but someone needs to oversee/manage it #pr20chat
  • @JGoldsborough: @jeffespo @LeighFazzina Interesting pt 2me is shld PR facilitate helping other depts. get how SM impacts overall brand. U? #pr20chat
  • @jonnew: Nobody owns it but PR has an opportunity to lead. #Pr20chat
  • @jonnew: Q3: PR can lead strategic, tactics, design and development. Important pieces in driving engagement, conversation. #Pr20chat
  • @Geoff_Barbaro: You don’t “lead” SM either, you lead people – SM is a channel, a conversation, you can join in, influence, the conversation #pr20chat
  • @LeighFazzina: @GetPushing @jonnew PR should def lead SM. Just like PR should def lead Media Relations. SM pot more dangrous than MR I think… #Pr20chat
  • @jspepper: @JGoldsborough @cloudspark correct. Someone has to have ownership and responsibility for things when go or bad. #pr20chat
  • @GetPushing: @sjhalestorm Or, one could say sm is a tactic in a PR plan… An arm of the strategy reaching for an overarching goal. #pr20chat
  • @dcaplick: PR will facilitate “SM” but ownership will be the community itself – smart orgs will get out of the way and go along 4 the ride #pr20chat

And there were many thoughts about how to spread the responsibility of social media across the organization.

A scenario was raised about an employee (“Joe Cubicle”) tweeting something negative about the company posting information that was negative to the company and that led to a whole conversation on its own.

  • @LeighFazzina: Someone needs to own SM in comp. b/c what if Joe Cubicle tweets something about company and its negative? Who handles this? #pr20chat
  • @LeighFazzina: If Joe Cubicle spoke to the local Penny Saver newspaper or WSJ * said something negative about company – BIG TROUBLE! PR 2 rescue. #pr20chat
  • @dcaplick: Own vs facilitate is semantics – PR needs to edu Joe Cubicle on how it works and can backfire, then trust him to do it right #pr20chat
  • @sjhalestorm: @LeighFazzina, Rather than handling Joe Cubicle, should somebody look internally & ask why JC is unhappy? #pr20chat
  • @dcaplick: If Joe C can’t handle it, he’ll be out of a job, B/C SM is only going to grow more imp. in the future to orgs survival #pr20chat
  • @dcaplick: Don’t we always charge 2 rescue? On that note, gotta go – have a furball begn for a treat – have been gone since O dark 30 #pr20chat
  • @LeighFazzina: Say it was an accident. He didin’t know that what he shared would go viral and be negative. RT @sjhalestormask Why JC is unhappy? #pr20chat
  • @dcaplick: That’s when PR gets the call to craft an apology that means something, & help extricate him. It’ll happen again, tho -human nature #pr20chat
  • @sjhalestorm: @JGoldsborough, The org. is in trouble. If nothing else, employees will look to continue evolving. #pr20chat

This is one of those discussions that could not only take an hour, but is also going to vary at different organizations.

@pr20chat: Q4: Should agencies be doing their own PR? How should it manifest itself? What should it look like? #pr20chat

The next question asked if PR agencies should be doing their own PR. It was nearly unanimous that PR agencies should not only be doing their own PR – including entering their work in professional contests for awards – but that they should also be encouraging their employees to be out there developing their own brands. There were a couple of people that mentioned that PR agencies should never put themselves before the client. I shared one of my favorite examples of a PR / advertising agency (Eat Media (@eatmedia) showing that it knows how to do things with a very creative services page (

  • @MattLaCasse: Q4 If you don’t toot your own horn, no one is going to do it for you. #pr20chat
  • @jonnew: Q4: be thought leaders using blogs, sm platforms, etc. But always put the client before the agency. #Pr20chat
  • @christakeizer: @pr20chat Q4 Agencies should apply for awards, blog about success stories & trends; establish credibility & build a brand #pr20chat
  • @LeighFazzina: Agencies should also encourage personal employee brands as part of agency comm strategy. #pr20chat
  • @JGoldsborough: @LeighFazzina Totally agree. Agencies can benefit from halo effect of employees personal brands. #pr20chat
  • @LeighFazzina: I know so many PR peeps w/ strong personal brands (stronger than brand of the agency they work for!). Agencies can learn here. #pr20chat
  • @prosperitygal: Building personal brand and corporate brand has come time for it BE integrated brands -each brings value #pr20chat
  • @LeighFazzina: The personal brand helps the agency (look at @steverubel ) but also helps individ. Next job hunt – person is much more mktable! #pr20chat

@pr20chat: Q5: Where do you think cause marketing is going besides contests? What’s the next great PR integration? #pr20chat

There were some great ideas about cause marketing and how PR can get involved with cause marketing. At the time of the question, the discussion regarding who owned social media was still going on, but there were still some good thoughts — especially about PR professionals getting more involved with student organizations and making things more local and community-based.

  • @christakeizer: Agencies can give back by supporting/mentoring PRSSA, PR students & interns. 🙂 #pr20chat
  • @LindsTR: Pro bono work for a non-profit, presence, sponsoring, or volunteering at community event, for example. #pr20chat
  • @jeffespo: Q5 PR will dissapear and merge into communications. We’re really interacting with the public now, can only grow #pr20chat
  • @jeffespo: Q5 Reputation management is the next big PR frontier #pr20chat
  • @Sue_Anne: Q5: I’m hoping that cause marketing moves away from contests more and focuses on building relationships between brands and NPs #pr20chat
  • @Andrew_ShipPR: Q5: Next generation cause marketing = flash mobs, swarms (Foursquare), etc… Gathering together for a cause while integrating SM #pr20chat
  • @cloudspark: US companies spend $1 billion+ on cause related marketing campaigns, according to the IEG Sponsorship Report. #pr20chat
  • @christakeizer: I hope cause marketing doesn’t follow in the footsteps of KFC. Authenticity is key. #pr20chat
  • @cloudspark: In Aug 2009, Cone published a report on 10 trends in the cause marketplace. Good insights. #pr20chat
  • @Andrew_ShipPR: Would be cool to see an agency take next step many already supports PRSSA, etc: Would show community local interest #pr20chat
  • @derekdevries: Q5 Cause-related marketing is going to get smaller, more personal & become a daily occurrence as tools bcome cheaper/more portable #pr20chat

@pr20chat: Last ? of night. Q6: We know iReport and HARO. What are other tools PR pros are using to insert themselves in the conversation? #pr20chat

The final question of the chat was about what tools PR professionals can use to get more inolved in the conversation. In addition to iReport and HARO, social media tools were mentioned as a way to get more involved as were getting more involved in community organizations. @derekdevries provided a great link with resources on citizen journalism sites — Another chatter mentioned @ubervu as a way of finding conversations and joining in.

  • @derekdevries: Q6 There’s a burgeoning world of locally-based citizen journalism platforms that #PR folks are watching #pr20chat
  • @jeffespo: Q6 Twitter, Forums, Blog Comments, lot of journos using Twitter sources and tapping flacks for stories #pr20chat