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Gini Dietrich

Welcome to the Fifth Estate

By: Gini Dietrich | May 31, 2011 | 
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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, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

73 comments
AbbieF
AbbieF

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

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

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.

JamesDBurrell2
JamesDBurrell2

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.

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith

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!

Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
Lewis LaLanne aka 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! :)

BillyDelaney
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?

HeatherShinnThomas
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." :-)

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

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! :-)

rachaelgking
rachaelgking

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

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

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.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

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

JGoldsborough
JGoldsborough

@HowieG @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 :).

Ike
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...

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@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
ginidietrich moderator

@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
ginidietrich moderator

@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.

Ike
Ike

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

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@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.

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith

@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
ginidietrich moderator

@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.

Yael Rozencwajg
Yael Rozencwajg

@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 :D

CristerDelaCruz
CristerDelaCruz

@ginidietrich I thought I was the only post-35 person who still said that :) It comes in the 'awesomest auntie' territory! @Danny Brown 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?) :)

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