Gini Dietrich

Welcome to the Fifth Estate

By: Gini Dietrich | May 31, 2011 | 

Think about when Twitter became a household name. Do you remember when that was?

I do.

It was when the plane went down in the Hudson River and a guy named Janis Krums tweeted a photo of the plane in the river, from the ferry (about as close as anyone could get without being on the plane), as they were going to rescue the passengers.

That was January 2009…and that was the turning point.

Krums tweeted the photo and the “news” instantly. And it took traditional media, what seemed, an eternity to report on the crash. In this instance, Krums represented citizen journalists, or the Fifth Estate, and Twitter became a household name.

Welcome to the Fifth Estate

Geoff Livingston, co-owner at Zoetica, and now two-time author (not including the two books he hasn’t published) is the author of the newly released Welcome to the Fifth Estate.

The Fourth Estate, or the traditional media, got its nickname by policing the governments of France and Great Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The French Estates General consisted of The First Estate of 300 clergy, the Second Estate of 300 nobles, and the Third Estate of 600 commoners.

The media, or the Fourth Estate, fulfilled a new role, providing their readership with more factual information about political events. As a result, politicians were held to a new level of accountability.

The Fifth Estate, or citizen media, often introduces previously unreported, yet relevant news, and it questions stated facts.

Think back when Natasha Richardson died. The Fifth Estate reported her death, not minutes, not hours, but days before it was confirmed. People at the ski resort where she fell and hit her head witnessed…and reported.

Case Studies, Measurement, Actions…Oh My!

The book follows the idea of the Fifth Estate, as it relates to marketing and to how companies can and should communicate with their citizen journalists.

It has 14 case studies that follow a summary, engagement, results outline. It’s worth the read just for those as they’re not commonly used case studies and there is a variety for several industries, including non-profits and associations.

The chapter on measurement, written by Geoff’s business partner Kami Watson Huyse, is one of the best I’ve read. She understands how to relate the Fifth Estate activities to a P&L and gives you tips to create your own dashboard that will make the executive team happy and you an investment instead of an expense.

You’ll recognize some well-known names in the book, and you’ll also find some friends (cough, Ike Pigott and Shonali Burke, cough).

But if you buy it for only one reason, it’s for the list of general actions to consider as you embark on integrating new tools into your marketing program (hint, it begins on page 113).

So there you have it. I highly recommend it. It’s one of the best business books I’ve read since Groundswell. You can buy it by clicking here (not an affiliate link because we’re not allowed in Illinois).

Disclosure: Geoff is a friend. He gave me a copy of his book (though I’m going to buy copies for our clients) and he signed it for me. He bought me a glass of wine and this really yummy fig and marscapone bruschetta in NYC last week, while we discussed some future projects. But I’d already read the book and written most of the review at that point. So I wouldn’t really consider it a bribe.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • CristerDelaCruz

    Love the review! Will read the book… oh, and the disclaimer is one of the best I’ve ever seen!

    So true. Instantaneous nature of Twitter (and social media in general) is one of my most favorite things about it.

  • ginidietrich

    @CristerDelaCruz LOL! I laughed at myself when I wrote the disclaimer. You can borrow my copy if you promise to return it!

  • cubanalaf

    Ha, the disclaimer was my favorite part.

    I had already planned to buy G’s book, but this cemented it. Thanks other G! 🙂

    • Gini Dietrich

      You’re welcome, LAF!

  • Gini, does this mean I owe you a glass wine when I publish my book ?

    Love the part about social media and their impact on P&L, when is it released?

  • adamtoporek

    Gini, nice review. The book sounds excellent! Question: Is it more geared towards the large company CMO viewpoint or is there some good value for SMB’s as well?

  • wow… looking pass the yummy fig and marscapone bruschetta- sounds good, can’t wait

  • KDillabough

    Great review: LOL awesome disclaimer. On my list to buy. Thanks Gini. Cheers! Kaarina

  • KenMueller

    @adamtoporek I echo this question. Just about every book out there is for the larger CMO point.

  • Where the hell was my wine and fig?????

  • @KDillabough It really was. 😉

  • @KenMueller @adamtoporek There IS an echo in here, same question.

  • Hmm… but I might have to maneuver and try to get my wine and fig bribe. And Illinois doesn’t allow the links huh? Wonder how many millions you’re missing out on? 😉 Good review, certainly piques my interest .. as well as knowing many of the names included. FWIW.

  • By far the best disclaimer on a blog post I’ve ever read.

  • Twitter became a household word around Saint Paul a bit earlier – exactly 3 years ago, when we had the Republican Convention in town. Many people were using twitter to stay ahead of the action in the streets and know what was going on. That’s when I got hooked – and a lot of other people did, too.

    As for the idea of a “Fifth Estate” …. eh, I’m a bit more of a Revolutionary than that. We all go in and out of being reporters in this new world, so there can’t really be any separation in thought or label. The more we pay attention to what we are “reporting” when it’s our turn, I say the better. We’re all in this together. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité! 🙂

  • geoff livingston , when @ginidietrich says she’s going to buy copies, take it with a pinch of salt… ;-p

  • @DannyBrown geoff livingston @ginidietrich Anyway Gini is a good saleswoman, she deserves a glass of Scotch whisky 😀

  • Ike

    @3HatsComm I wonder if you could include affiliate links in the comments? After all, if Livefyre’s servers are located elsewhere…

  • geoffliving

    @Yael Rozencwajg @DannyBrown geoff livingston @ginidietrich LOL, I’m honored to be in consideration for any kind of sale.

  • geoffliving

    @wabbitoid Mmm, but now that Twitter is waning, where will people go next?

  • geoffliving

    @DannyBrown Catch the early flight next time, mate!

  • geoffliving

    @3HatsComm @KenMueller @adamtoporek You will be happy to know that this is more of a boot strap, scrappy approach to social than the big company approach. Most of us don’t have the luxury of seven figure budgets.

  • Ike

    @geoffliving @3HatsComm @KenMueller @adamtoporek I don’t have a seven-figure budget, and that includes the two digits to the right of the decimal.

  • @ginidietrich OK I’m seeking for one like you :p

  • ginidietrich

    @cubanalaf You’re very welcome, LAF!

  • ginidietrich

    @johnfalchetto Um, yes. It’s the only way I do reviews these days. It is available today!

  • ginidietrich

    @faybiz It was so yummy I had to make some at home last night. Equally as yummy.

  • ginidietrich

    @3HatsComm @KDillabough Now I feel like all of my disclaimers have to be as good.

  • ginidietrich

    @geoffliving @DannyBrown What Geoff said! Nanny nanny boo boo!

  • HeatherShinnThomas

    Love it! And loved hearing @geoffliving at the PR News Facebook Conference last week – I almost won a free copy of the book during his keynote speech, but alas…my arm raised was not picked. Will definitely be on my “to buy” list, especially now that I know about the “boot strap, scrappy approach.” 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @Ike @3HatsComm I can include the links, I just can’t get paid. Illinois shut down affiliates last month because Amazon doesn’t pay state taxes.

  • ginidietrich

    @rachaelgk LOL! Thank you!

  • ginidietrich

    @HeatherShinnThomas And to think you missed out on wine and bruschetta, too. Boooo!

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown You’re all tough behind that computer screen!

  • ginidietrich

    @Yael Rozencwajg YAY! And I’m glad we’re back to being silly around here. Phew.

  • BillyDelaney

    I enjoyed this post and what it says about the future. Can’t trust the fourth estate. Wonder if they will find a way to block the efforts of the citizens?

  • Nerd #2

    Thank you Gini for being part of the Fifth Estate and reporting your finding this book to me!!! Who knows how long it would have taken the mainstream publications to get this information in my hands. EEEK! Just had a scary thought! They might not EVER cover this book!!!

    But thanks to you, a ton of people are now wiser on this topic! Keep up the good reporting! 🙂

  • HeatherShinnThomas

    @ginidietrich Boo indeed! Fig and marscapone sounds yummy…where did you go?

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @ginidietrich You can actually MAKE this? I thought it was bought from a gourmet store or something. So in that case… recipe please 🙂 @faybiz

  • CristerDelaCruz

    @ginidietrich I thought I was the only post-35 person who still said that 🙂 It comes in the ‘awesomest auntie’ territory! @DannyBrown Along the lines of @geoffliving ‘s response, I was going to say “Too bad, dude”, but refrained since I don’t really ‘know’ you. However, since we’re connected to “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo” lady, I figured you’d be cool with it (I hope?) 🙂

  • @ginidietrich Yes. Yes I am. 😉

  • @ginidietrich @geoffliving Didn’t get the invite, so chew that!

  • @CristerDelaCruz @ginidietrich @geoffliving As long as you keep calling Gini “nanny nanny boo boo”, no complaints here. 😉

  • @Ike @geoffliving @KenMueller @adamtoporek Forget bootstraps and shoestring marketing… Try ‘aglet’ marketing sometime. 😉 Good to know there are some scrappy approaches for SMBs, thanks.

  • adamtoporek

    @geoffliving @3HatsComm @KenMueller Thanks Geoff. Good to hear. I’m sure I would have read it anyway, but to Ken’s point, so many books are centered on the major brand CMO, knowing that it is not moves it higher on the list. Congrats on the book!

  • I think buying this book for clients is an excellent move. It sounds like a great explanation of the role of social media. But I have to say, my favorite part of this post was the disclosure copy!

  • Gini, I’m certainly intrigued by the concept, and thinking about it raises the question, have you or anyone that you know tried the new Facebook integrated Bing search? Peer/citizen journalism is obviously much broader in perspective/ point of view, so one can piece together a well-rounded story despite any inherent bias. I fear (sorry for going off on a tangent) peer based searches might tend to greatly skew results especially if one’s facebook friends tend to be of similar demographics and beliefs.

    Again, apologies for veering off topic; it’s just that the thought popped into my head while I was reading the post.

  • KDillabough

    @ginidietrich @3HatsComm We’ll be watching for that Gini: the gauntlet’s been thrown down:-)

  • @ginidietrich Yes although I need a good old Scotch after my 2 hours boxing … Phewww 😉

  • KDillabough

    @Yael Rozencwajg @ginidietrich Ah, a woman after my own heart…single Malt? I’m a big Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Oban fan…not all at the same time, of course!

  • ginidietrich

    @JamesDBurrell2 Jamey! Hi! 🙂 I actually am not a Bing fan so I’ve not tried the new integrated search. Have you?? I think you’re right about skewing results. I have a friend who is NOT shy about his political standing and we don’t agree. I’d hate to see MORE of what he has to say that I don’t agree with. HAHHAA!

  • ginidietrich

    @MimiMeredith It’s one of those “hear it from someone else before you listen” things. So clients will get it and they WILL read it! 🙂 And thank you…I laughed at myself when I wrote the disclaimer.

  • ginidietrich

    @Nerd #2 I’ve been trying to think of a smart ass response to this for hours now. But I’m coming up empty. So you win!

  • ginidietrich

    @BillyDelaney You know, that’s a good question. I don’t know. I hope not! I can’t imagine they’d even be able to…look what’s happened in the Middle East.

  • ginidietrich

    @HeatherShinnThomas I have no idea! Oh wait! Let me look in my Foursquare history. It was ‘inoteca e liquori.

  • ginidietrich

    @Yael Rozencwajg LOL! Well, now you can because you burned all those calories!

  • ginidietrich

    @CristerDelaCruz Who you calling post-35?!? And you can say really mean things to @DannyBrown . All the time.

  • ginidietrich

    @KDillabough @3HatsComm I just told an author, whose book comes out on June 22, that he has to help me beat today’s disclaimer. I don’t know if he’s up to the task.

  • @KDillabough @ginidietrich Only pure Malt of course 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @CristerDelaCruz @faybiz So easy. I just got some cibatta, sliced it, drizzled some olive oil, grilled it, spread marscapone on top, and then added a dab of fig compote. Just a dab because it’s so sweet.

  • @ginidietrich Not so sure…my cals cannot get rid of me they are too affectionate, you probably know how they are trying hardly to stayyyy even if you run faster…my precious ones 😀

  • @ginidietrich Which is precisely why we get along. We are happy to laugh at our own brilliant cleverness, even if no one else affirms it ; )!

  • ginidietrich

    @MimiMeredith Well, one of the many reasons.

  • ginidietrich

    @Yael Rozencwajg LOL! It does seem like they don’t want to leave sometimes.

  • Ike

    @JamesDBurrell2 From what I have seen, the order of the Bing results aren’t silently skewed by your Facebook list, but the “Likes” show up within the results. So it’s clear that your friends’ collective influence is coming from your friends…

  • KDillabough

    @ginidietrich @3HatsComm If not, we’ve got your back:-)

  • ginidietrich

    @Ike @JamesDBurrell2 Thanks for the insight, oh wise one! BTW. Your commentary on Cameron Diaz?! HILARIOUS!

  • HowieSPM

    I think the 5th Estate has always been there. But now it finally has a platform. We all have been getting emails for years about conspiracies or news. People have always self published pamphlets and newspapers. But even with email you need address. Print go hand them out yourself. But with social I can out someone today and have it circle the globe today.

    The problem is quality and how do you sift through rumor vs fact. Photo’s help. Photo and Video is 100% proof. TMZ is built on the 5th estate right?

    The great thing about Digital is unlike say in the past (or current in some places) when the Man comes to shut you up and kill you….it is hard to erase the digital damage you did to get the truth out.

    I dig @geoffliving and glad you shared wine and broke brushetta with him. I am sure the book is excellent.

  • JGoldsborough

    @HowieSPM @geoffliving @ginidietrich Well said, Howie. The 5th Estate now just has more platforms to be visible. And we sift through it like we always have… by identifying with people we like and trust. We just have more to choose from.

    One of the parts of GD’s and dannybrown ‘s preso at BlogWorld that I found most fascinating was how PR is treating the Fifth Estate and how that might, needs to change. Who is influential to us has only changed minimally. But the easy accessibility of those influencers to us and all of our social circles is what companies need to be on the lookout to understand. Even if they can’t see every step of WOM in action.

    GL, congrats on the book. Very anxious to read it and I have my copy. I am also glad that you drank wine and broke bruschetta and that you didn’t try it the other way around. Might have spilled on the book, after all :).

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  • AbbieF

    Bummer – went to order and it is out of stock and not available on Kindle yet.

  • ginidietrich
  • ginidietrich

    @JGoldsborough I’ve taken that presentation and evolved it, specific to PR pros. I’m giving it on Friday so it’ll be interesting to see how it’s received. But there are waaaaaay more bad examples than good on how PR pros are treating the Fifth Estate. It’s scary.

  • @ginidietrich @JGoldsborough I better be getting commission on re-use rights….

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown @JGoldsborough You get commission on what I didn’t evolve.

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