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Introducing the digital edition of the Portland Quarterly

Part of my summer reading this year was Erik Qualman’s excellent book “Socialnomics” http://www.socialnomics.net/ which examines how social media is transforming the way we live and do business. As Erik puts it “We don’t have a choice whether we do social media; the question is how well we do it.”

Although many brands have worked out how digital channels can reach and engage consumers, I am surprised how many major companies and organisations are still unsure about navigating this space. Ignoring the social media, however, is simply not an option.

In the old days, corporate reputations would primarily be formed by shaping and influencing the mainstream media.  Now the people you want to reach are fragmented across many more platforms – ones you cannot influence and certainly cannot control.

In fact, the audience will be having conversations about you, your brand or your key issues, whether you like it or not. So, the challenge is to know which of these conversations are important and then to find the right content that will engage that audience.

This needs, first, an understanding of this fast-moving landscape.  My article in Issue 4 of the Portland Quarterly focuses on the latest technological and societal trends shaping the world.  In case you hadn’t realised, from the newsroom to the living room, there’s a revolution going on….

Digital and social media is also having a massive effect on how crises are developing and how they should be managed.Portland’s Managing Partner, Steve Morris, takes a look at how the new media in speeding up and amplifying a crisis. In essence, social media doesn’t change, but instead underlines, the basic rules of crisis communications. But the speed at which crises can travel in a digital age means you need to have a plan ready to implement.

Mobile technology has become a powerful tool for brands to enhance their reputation but it can just as easily be used to inflict damage on companies. Charles Cadbury of PutitOuthttp://www.putitout.co.uk/ argues that businesses need to be prepared to be bold and act on instinct to win in this area.

We like to think that our own new Portland Contacts app is ground-breaking and sets new standards.  As more and more brands enter the apps space,Portland’s Claire Thom shares some lessons on what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

We all remember how Barack Obama stormed the US Presidency with his pioneering internet-led campaign in 2008. Four years on, my colleague Jon Steinberg asks why we haven’t heard more about online innovation around the emerging 2012 presidential race.

Talking of campaigns,Mark Wallacehas been taking a look how grassroots campaigning has adapted to digital technology.  The question remains, how much easier would it have been for the Chartists or Suffragettes if they’d had access facebook and twitter?

The rapid growth of digital and social media throws up some meaty policy challenges for governments around the world, including our own. Portland’sSam Sharpsworked in digital policy within the UK Government until recently and gives his take on current thinking.

Finally, your friend and mine (err…coughs) Guido Fawkes (http://order-order.com/) has taken part in the Portland interview. Britain’s Number 1 political blogger demonstrates that underneath that errant schoolboy image lies an intelligent and perceptive commentator of the media landscape.

Check out Issue 4 of the Portland Quarterly here . (http://www.portland-communications.com/issue-4)

Written By

Mark Flanagan