BrandingEncouraging the evolution of breakthroughs in technology, be it gadgets, processes or just theories, is what defines thought leadership. Maggie Fox and the Social Media Group have done just that with the recent launch of Digital Snippets, a progress milestone in the evolution of the social media press release (or just social media release) and newsroom. They should be applauded and thanked for doing so.

Thanks to Maggie’s work, the conversation about social media releases (and social media newsrooms) has rekindled. Chris Heuer, one of the originators of the social media outreach idea, posted an interesting video Utterz (very cool new feature, by the way) this week to remind those new to the conversation from where we’ve come. In it, he brought to light the consideration of renaming, or perhaps re-framing, the social media release.

Here’s a suggestion and the thinking behind it for consideration. These thoughts all converged this week as Heuer, Brian Solis, Geoff Livingston, Jeremy Pepper and Fox, among others, all reacted to my “not enough context” reaction to Digital Snippets. (Is Defren on vacation? Just asking … and kidding.) While I still hold the opinion that Ford’s Digital Snippets effort is a bit lacking in context, the reiteration of the conversation and reminders of the framework in which each effort resides has dusted off my thinking lobe. (Yes, I’m keenly aware client’s strategy and wishes precede our passionate principles, wholesome as they are.)

As Solis noted in his comments to my Digital Snippets reaction post, the term “social” tacked on to the “media release” or “press release,” in Brian’s words, “… implies conversation … whether hosted internally or externally.” By definition, he is certainly right. However, by perception, the term “social media” is often interpreted as “bloggers.” Sure, that accurately describes the general intended audience, but that excludes an all-too-important group that, in my opinion, is as apt to use and find value in the social media release: traditional media.

I’ve offered internally and to clients my belief that the elements of the social media release, even one without my community-principled context and reference, comprise all of the self-serve resources public and media relations professionals would ever be called upon to provide the “old” media. Because of this, I believe what we call the social media release (and social media newsroom) will become the method of choice for all media, new and old, moving forward. Sure, the need and usefulness of the traditional narrative approach will remain, but perhaps we add an editorial section to the social media release and incorporate it.

So where does this thinking lead us in terms of labeling (dare I say “branding”) what this thing is becoming? As Heuer asked, “What should we call this?”

We’re all producers of media. We all operate in the digital world. (What “old” media outlet doesn’t?) The dissemination of information, whether it is done via social media or the trusty (rusty) old newspaper or newscast, sparks conversation when compelling. So instead of putting a wall up to separate a social media release from a traditional press release, let’s define it as it is: a Digital Media Resource.

Digital – Technology-based, but not limited to technology or the Internet alone.

Media – Any person or entity that produces content.

Resource – A place to find information.

Thus, the DMR is a place for media producers utilizing technology to find information.

Does this cast too wide a net? Is my all-inclusive approach flawed? Are there synonym Nazis out there who will pick this apart?

There are answers to all those questions. Please offer yours here as we continue to define social media releases and social media newsrooms in the hopes of best serving us, our businesses, our clients and (perhaps most importantly) our on- and off-line communities.

Other conversations you’ll find interesting:

  1. Social Media Release Criticism: Nine Points To Consider
  2. On Digital Snippets
  3. PR People Please Take This Quiz Before Sending Another Pitch Or Press Release
  4. If I Could Change One Thing About The Social Media Press Release
  5. 5 Social Media Trends That Will Impact PR

IMAGE: From Lucinda’s Sanchez Adobe.

[tags]socialmediarelease, socialmedianewsroom, social media release, social media newsroom, social media, public relations, PR, journalism, media[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.pr-squared.com Todd Defren

    zzzzz… huh? someone mention my name? whuzzat?

    Jason, I haven’t commented on Digital Snippets cuz:

    a) I have some substantive issues with it, but figure that anything I say will be construed as “defensive” …
    b) …especially since I’ve stated that I have my own “next rev” coming soon.

    Having said that, even though I have issues with it, I *do* applaud Maggie & Co. for the attempt, and for furthering the conversation.

    I may yet weigh in; still debating with myself, Hamlet-style.

  • http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/blog Geoff Livingston

    Poor, Todd. I think lots of criticism has been vetted about Digital Snippets, some which has been valid. The latest I’ve heard is the lack of obvious trackbacks (which you mentioned in your prior column), lack of headline, and the TM of Digital Snippets. I look at the TM as a joke, it’s like every agencies “unique branding process.”

    Regardless of version, you are moving us in the right direction in my opinion. We need a general working document that every version agrees with so the average joe practitioner who has no idea what any of this means can implement. In short, keep it simple.

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Hey T-Def (great rapper name, by the way),

    I knew you were listening and am anxious to see SMR V2.0. Looking forward to the discussion, debate and what-not. I understand your silence on Digital Snippets, but if you’d like a place to break it, you’re welcome to do it here. (I know, not likely.)

    Thanks for popping in.

  • http://www.briansolis.com Brian Solis

    Hey Jason, when we originally formed the Workgroup, there was a lot of discussion around Social Media Press Release, Social Media Release, New Media Release, and we found ourselves using the latter two most often. Mostly because at the end of the day, it really wasn’t a press release per se, it was something new. “Social” is the flavor of the technology moment and “new” implies longevity to however we incorporate innovation into our communications strategy. In fact, we named the podcast series NMRcast and still flop between NMR and SMR.

    Here’s a couple of updates I added to the conversation last night:

    I think we all agree that Maggie’s Digital Snippets ™ is a positive release and an opportunity to bring the conversation into the spotlight in order to learn from one another. For the geeks, and to ensure the we don’t everyone else’s bruise egos, yes, it is comparable to a variety of tools and solutions that are available today from around the globe.

    Let’s celebrate the conversation and simply acknowledge individual achievements along with the great work contributed by others. Everyone deserves credit and as someone told me yesterday, why wouldn’t “we” look at the dozens of solutions out there and use them a point of reference to spark innovation. Otherwise we’re reinventing the wheel. It was an interesting comment.

    Honestly, there are many of us who can’t point to all of the comparable tools out there, which means we’re not talking about this enough. Perhaps we should add an “open” section to http://www.socialmediarelease.org where we can showcase tools, templates and examples. It can only help.

    People can make up their own minds about what works for them. But it all starts with writing a better release regardless of format.

    After several comments, I also added an example of a very simple way to create and distribute a version of an SMR to yesterday’s post.

    What we can’t forget is that most of the industry is still shaking their heads wondering what all of this means…so what are we going to do about it?

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Thanks again Brian for the input and perspective. I say what we’re going to do about it is just this. Continue to discuss and fine tune our thinking relative to our needs and clients and relative to the concept as a whole.

    This post wasn’t aimed at reversing work already done and certainly not a criticism of any previous naming or branding, but a response to Chris’s question, “What would you call it?”

    Digital Media Resource (perhaps interchangable with Digital Media Release) is what I would call it. So I offer that as a suggestion. To me, social media implies a limited audience. I think what we’re calling the social media release/new media release is something that more than just the social media (defined as bloggers and those of us “inside the bubble” to borrow Geoff’s references) can find valuable.

    I’m all for exploring the other avenues of thought, however. I’m not familiar with many of the versions that have been developed by PRNews and the like. An open section on socialmediarelease.org might be a worthwhile addition.

    Whatever we call it, we’re doing what needs to be done … talking about it. Continuing the discussion will fertilize our thinking and perhaps lead to a new breakthrough in the definition. I know we’re all anxious to see Mr. Defren’s new take. Maybe that will crystalize the SMR/SMN going forward. Or perhaps someone who hasn’t even chimed in yet (on of those head shakers) might raise their hand.

    I’m just hoping to be in the room.

  • http://www.socialmediagroup.ca maggie fox

    Hey Jason – this has been such a great discussion, and I can tell you that the whole SMG team has enjoyed it immensely!

    Quick point of reference – Digital Snippets is the brand name for the webservice we’ve built based on our work and research (amusing that there seems to be an issue with that, unless I’m mis-reading?) However, I want to clarify that we’re in no way trying to rename the concept of the SMPR “Digital Snippets”.

    We released the template that illustrates the functionality of Digital Snippets in order to share our learnings from actual practical application of the SMPR.

    @BrianSolis – I think the notion of opening up a free collaborative space where people who are actually creating and using SMPRs can contribute their learnings would be great. We’re pretty proud of the fact that we’ve created a platform that lets a story to evolve over time by allowing modular updates, we’ve also decided that we don’t need to own the conversation and ideally want to provide online content producers (MSM and “new” media) with the building blocks they need to tell their stories their way, so for us linking works, and commenting is of little or no value (as an example).

    Of course there’s lots of debate around all of these points, but if there were a free and open resource where people who were interested in the format could go to read best practices based on practical applications, I think that would be incredibly heplful.

    Shock/horror: there may not be a one-size-fits-all SMPR.

    Why don’t we crowdsource this sucker?

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Hey Maggie,

    I wasn’t under the impression you were trying to rename it. Chris Heuer’s video Utterz offered up the question, “What should we call it?” if we were to renamed the social media release. This post was simply a response to that. I guess others didn’t catch that part about Chris’s post (or didn’t watch it). Seems everyone seems to think I just came up with this idea to rename it. Not where my head was.

    Thanks for stopping by again!

    J

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  • http://chrisheuer.com/ Chris Heuer

    Hi Jason – sorry so late on this one – been busy with client work the past few days…

    The other name I had come up with during a prior NMRCast was “structured media release” but I am just putting it out there as another part of the conversation, not necessarily advocating for a new name – the SMPR has seemingly stuck, so thats cool with me…

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  • http://www.member-to-member.com Dana Theus

    Great post. I’ve been following the subject and agree with you that the SMPR is really just the beginning of a much bigger opportunity. I just posted on this subject and referenced this post. My post is here for those who are interested: http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/2008/01/25/rebranding-the-social-media-release/

    Thanks for the great stuff.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SOKJNYXGBTEWUSJRX2VAOHKWGU Gogi Khan

    I believe what we call the social media news will become the method of choice for all media, new and old, moving forward. 

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