Move over Web 2.0, here comes social media…

Hi, Brianne Miller, LCI’s Senior Counselor, here with my first Backtalk post.

Don’t you just hate when you get used to one buzzword and another pops up to replace it? Move over Web 2.0, here’s social media.

Admittedly, I love social media…it’s the next step in the democratization of opinion and personal interests made possible by the internet. Don’t have any local friends interested in beer-making? Join a social network devoted to it, populated by people from all over the world. Thought that infomercial product really stunk? Post a comment on a shopping site and tell the consumer public. Social media is a pretty broad term that encompasses communities associated with products, services, media, circles of friends…pretty much anything. And they can make or break your business.

So why should PR folks care? Because word of mouth is almost instantaneous now, so if there’s a falsehood or rumor out there, it’ll be around the world in 5 minutes flat. And if you’re a cult brand ready to break out – well the same is true of a ringing endorsement. There are only two words to remember in social media – authenticity and transparency. So go ahead and use social networks to spread your word – sponsor a group, post a review. But do it in your name, and explain up front that you represent the product.

Feel free to comment here or email me your thoughts (Brianne’landispr.com).

Here’s Brianne’s “Top Twelve Bay Area” list for the week:

1. Golden Gate Recreation Area – go ahead, stand on a hill overlooking the mighty Pacific and tell me your soul isn’t touched – www.nps.gov/goga/

2. Yank Sing restaurant in San Francisco – mmmmm, dim sum – www.yanksing.com

3. Coi Restaurant in SF and Ubuntu in Napa – named this week by the NY Times as “two of the country’s top ten new eateries.” – www.nytimes.com,
www.coirestaurant.com, www.ubuntunapa.com/index_flash.html

4. The Curran Theater – true, intimate, Broadway-esque theater right off Union Square – www.shnsf.com

5. Junipero Serra Statue on Highway 280 – only in the Bay Area would a freeway host a giant statue of a saint pointing toward the sea – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_280_(California)

6. Alcatraz – I’ve been 4 times. It’s great on a foggy, damp, scary day. Look for the ghosts! – www.nps.gov/alcatraz/

7. Coit Tower – a monument to firefighters sponsored by a woman who loved them. Enough said. Love the firefighters – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coit_Tower

8. Dungeness Crab – find it fresher elsewhere? Um, no. – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeness_crab

9. Sourdough Bread Bowls – filled with soup. Brilliant! Try it at Boudin’s on the Wharf – www.boudinbakery.com/

10. Grace Cathedral – majestic place that lifts your spirit – www.gracecathedral.org

11. Politicians – we have some of the craziest. It’s like a combination of Falcon’s Crest and MSNBC. Try Chris Daly out for size: www.sfgov.org/site/bdsupvrs_index.asp?id=22661

12. Garages in Palo Alto – peek into one and witness the next big thing – www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/11/27/BUGGNFSQFG1.DTL

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