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Monday, 25 June 2012

Is Linkedin's new PYMK Feature Showing You Up?

Have you ignored your email invitation to the new-look People You May Know (PYMK) on Linkedin? 
The new look PYMK first appeared in March and has been rolled out over the past weeks. If you haven't noticed it yet, do log into your page. You should see PYMK  near the top right hand side with an updated note beside it - as per the screenshot above.  
Instead of the old column of recommendations with tiny photos, click on the box and you'll get recommendations laid out like clear business cards, with much larger photos, making it much easier to recognise those John Smith blasts from the past.  The company claims the recommendations are not only streamlined, but more accurate. Plus filtering results by company or school is just a case of clicking on the appropriate logo.
But the biggest practical change for me has been the (almost) endless list of people you may know (generally people with 2nd or 3rd level connections to you).  Gone are the handful of recommendations: now there's a world of potential. Particularly crafty is the way it makes you think you're nearly at the end of the list. 40 scroll-downs later, and I was still there, encouraged by finding a smattering of helpful people from times well past. 
Once you've been through a few pages of "business cards", you can't help noticing that the new layout really shows up the people without photos. Since LinkedIn has so many people on board, you can't guarantee a name and a job title will be enough to identify you. Faced with so much choice, even people that think highly of you will pass on by if they can't instantly see whether your listing is for the person they remember (or not).  That's why I believe it's now even more crucial to get your picture up there if you want more invitations to connect. 

I was going to show you a screenshot of the top end of my recommendations to let you see what the new results look like, but there was "a PR professional" without a photo, so I didn't feel I could. I'm ashamed to say that the number of people in my sphere of operations (publicity/ PR/ marketing) without photos just beggered my belief. I'm guessing their high visual standards for client work mean they just haven't found a photograph that is good enough yet.... but we of all people surely understand the power of personal branding? You don't get more personal than a face...
Once I noticed this photo omission, I saw it everywhere. But worse was to follow: photographers without photos! It may be a case of cobbler's bairns, but if a photographer can't take a decent self portrait, why should we believe they might do a good job on us? Then there were the online media specialists without a photo to optimise....  

Plus designers with really rubbish photos (imho). 
Do all of these people really want to turn away work? 
If so, why are they on LinkedIn?
Conversely, I did like Craig Mackie's Black and White pic with yellow border - he's the MD at SHINE - and he did. Richard Findlay's film-edged moody shot was both fun and apt for an entertainment lawyer (at Tods Murray LLP).

I felt rather sorry for the people who put up company logos in place of portraits on their personal page. Get a life, and boost the business! "The sale follows the face" is an old sales adage. That is especially true in high value B2B sales where relationships and good advice are the edge when price is measured in terms of budget impact, ROI and ease of use. 

Job titles are another fertile area for developing a stand-out feature in the midst of the long PYMK list. The "award" for the job title that I found the most intriguing on my PYMK show list must go to George Anderson, an  "Executive Coach for Disruptive Physicians" in Los Angeles. And the most interesting goes to Bill Jamieson of The Scotsman for "Rainmaker at SUNNY UPLANDS". I am also most curious about the Spanish tutor at Netherton farm near Inverness. It's either an enterprising farm diversification into language classes, or is it herding Spanish speaking cattle.... 
I thought the lady who listed herself as "a complaint handler" for BT was a brave tall poppy. 

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Friday, 15 June 2012

Streisand Effect Made a Meal of the School Dinner Blog

It was a classic example of the Streisand Effect* where the attempt to suppress something fairly innocuous magnifies the publicity effect enormously.

It happened when Argyll & Bute Council in the west of Scotland banned nine-year old Martha (nicknamed Veg) Payne from taking photographs of her school meals for her NeverSeconds blog which she started at the end of April with the help of her father. The blog has ingenious touches like her 'food-o-meter' and health ratings. The last time I checked the blog, before all the fuss, it had over 2 million hits and public support from top celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Nick Nairn. That's a remarkable achievement in such a short time. It's like a lot of internet successes: a highly focused and brilliantly simple idea about something almost everybody has experienced and can relate to.

I was really surprised to hear of the ban today. I thought she looked like she was doing a pretty good job of even-handedly reporting on her school meals, many of which came in for praise and the school is supportive of her efforts.  Her father has told the media that the school and kitchen staff have been "brilliant"about the blog. Plus she was doing a great job of using the high blog profile to raise money for the Mary’s Meals charity and had raised her goal of £7,000 to help them fund a kitchen shelter for nearly 2,000 pupils at Lirangwe Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi.

It seems that council staff were upset by a Daily Record headline "Let's Fire the Dinner Ladies"on a story about the blog. That was not Martha's fault.

The good news is that the council have done the sensible thing in the face of intense media pressure and have acted quickly to remove the ban.

Even better news, donations to her charity soared and at the time of writing her £7,000 fund-raising effort has swollen to £46,458.46 through her Justgiving account and broken records for the fastest fund-raising effort.  You can support her effort here:

I just hope that the council will now take the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive and work with 'Veg' to improve school meals and spread the good practice throughout Scotland.  In a land so blessed with fantastic food, great chefs and food producers, it's ridiculous that the fried Mars bar should be synonymous with the idea of the Scottish diet.

* The Streisand  Effect term was coined after Barbara Streisand tried to suppress an aerial photograph of her house online. Apparently her house's image had been downloaded 6 times before her court case (and that included two downloads by Streisand's own lawyers). The case was dismissed, but once the news of her legal action went round the world, there were 420,000 visitors to view the offending photo!

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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