Martin Waxman

Thirteen Crowdsourced Digital Media and PR Lessons of 2013

By: Martin Waxman | December 11, 2013 | 
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Lesson2of2013By Martin Waxman

It’s December.

A time to celebrate, wind down, and reflect on the past 12 months – and, of course, read all the looking-forward-and-back, new year/new you and ‘resolutionary’ posts.

Just before Thanksgiving, I wrote about my six social media lessons from 2013 and encouraged the Spin Sucks community to chime in with a few suggestions of your own so I could make it a top 10.

And in true Spin Sucks style, you came through!

There were many good ideas, including a funny retort from Rebecca Todd, who wondered why I was giving out homework. (I know, I know – it’s too close to the end of semester for that.)

So without further ado, here are four more social media lessons (slightly edited, all appreciated).

You can see my thoughts in italic after each.

Manage Your Reputation Online

James Halloran: Online reputation management (ORM) will be even more important in 2014. Any agency working in ORM will have to make sure their practices are still considered respectable and honest; especially because accusations such as the Wiki-PR scandal could jeopardize not only themselves, but also all of their clients.

MW: A week doesn’t go by without a social media brand gaffe; the most recent casualty is Spaghettios. Good ORM starts with good judgment.

We Make Mistakes When Worlds Collide

Paula Kiger: When it comes to social media, the boundaries between what is work and what is personal become extremely squishy and non-rigid. I used to be shocked if I happened to be home sick or something and would see a coworker I knew was at work post to Facebook.

My view on that has softened, but I still saw a coworker terminated this year based on a Facebook post about her side business and how hard she was working on it when SHE was ostensibly home sick (adding a whole other layer to the situation). Got to get back to work now, of course. 🙂

MW: I’ve learned a lot about social media from old Seinfeld episodes, especially from George, the poster boy for what not to do when worlds collide. So maybe when we’re unsure of how to behave, we should ask ourselves what would George do and then become Opposite George.

Make a Choice and Stick to It

Amy Snow: Most of us hold a mobile device in our hands through which the world communicates with us and we use it in dozens of different channels; it is easy to become bogged down in the weeds. We need to re-learn how to prioritize in a digital age. Do a scan of all your social networks and email accounts and decide what really needs your attention now and what can wait. Take one step at a time. If you’re not giving your complete focus to one thing at a time, you’re not doing your best work.

MW: In other words, shift from constant partial attention to paying full attention to what you’re doing and the people you’re with.

It’s Become a List of 13

Steve Sonn offers four lessons that came to mind from 2013:

1. Short-form video offers great potential for those that can use it effectively.
2. Google updates are changing the game for search, with a new focus on quality content and authority.
3. Print and other “traditional” media are not dead, just evolving.
4. Journalists and media professionals need quality communications professionals now more than ever!

MW: You’ve summed up a few things we should all be watching and especially around high quality content and visual storytelling. Plus, my fingers are crossed that your fourth point comes to pass.

Thanks to all of you for commenting on this and my other posts. This is my final Spin Sucks guest blog (now wait, before you burst into applause) – of this year! I’ll be back in 2014.

So until then, I want to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and very social holiday season!

About Martin Waxman


Martin Waxman, MCM, APR, is CMO of Spin Sucks and runs a consultancy, Martin Waxman Communications. He leads digital and social media training workshops and conducts AI research. He’s a Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning author, one of the hosts of the Inside PR podcast, and past-chair of PRSA Counselors Academy. Martin teaches social media at UToronto SCS and Seneca College and regularly speaks at conferences and events across North America. Find him on Twitter @martinwaxman.