Kudos to Jen McClure and Elizabeth Albrycht for putting on a great New Communications Forum last week in Palo Alto. Pictures from many on Flickr tagged here.
My first panel was “Blogging and Word-of-Mouth Marketing,” and was moderated by Jen McClure. In addition, it featured: Matt Galloway, author of TheBasement.com; Cydni Tetro, VP of product and corporate marketing, Next Page; and me. Coming from Nielsen BuzzMetrics, I really tried to emphasize the most important component (and first-step) of word-of-mouth marketing: listening. That’s true for big companies that use Nielsen BuzzMetrics to study online consumer-generated media, as well as very small companies that employ more manual, anecdotal techniques with free search engines.
My second panel was “The New Ethics of Mass Communications,” and was moderated by Elizabeth Albrycht. It also featured Philip Young, senior lecturer in journalism and public relations at the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom. Philip represented the important theoretical side, while I argued the more pragmatic side as a representative of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). The WOMMA Ethics Code seeks to provide tangible guidance and rules to protect consumers and enable a promising marketing discipline.
But are there new ethics for communications today? I would argue no. Media are fragmenting, consumer trust in traditional information sources is eroding, and social and interactive media are proliferating. Sure, our media context is changing thanks to technology, the breakdown of mass-marekting models and the rise of peer-to-peer communications. But at the end of the day, we’re all just human…people. And I think we humans will be ok if we just embrace the time-tested Golden Rule.