For Immediate Release 113: Not a 280-Character Episode

Shel and I recorded the November edition of the monthly Hobson & Holtz Report podcast. We had a great chinwag on these topics: A follow-up to our KFC story (about 11 herbs and spices); the social media team struck again. Twitter has made its new expanded 280 character count available to almost everyone. Not everyone is happy about it. Uber’s new CEO took an investigator’s advice and scrapped the company’s old values statements. Instead of simply crafting a new one, he crowdsourced it to his employees, who responded in a big way. The traditional media thinks the fake news problem is elevating trust in the traditional media. Audiences don’t agree. When pregnant US mums get information from a website with […]

Continue reading

Twitter offers richer scope with 280 characters


Since Twitter first appeared in 2006, the notion of sharing your thoughts and those of others in a concise 140-character message you can create and share from myriad devices has become an enduring aspect of the social web. Today for many, it’s an essential communication tool that enables direct and unfiltered connection between individuals that results in engagement and even relationships. For others, it’s seen as a marketing channel that pays only lip service to authenticity. And for others still, it’s a dark place filled with fake news, misinformation and propaganda. One thing many of its roughly 100 million global daily active users might agree about is that Twitter can be a challenge to get a message across in only […]

Continue reading

SDF Podcast 13: 1984 meets Pavlov’s dogs


“Trust, but verify” is a phrase that was used often by Ronald Reagan. It is more than a little ironic that this is originally a Russian proverb (Doveryai, no proveryai). Trust is also what links the various topics in episode 13 of our podcast (with show notes written by Thomas Stoeckle). From Chinese citizen scores to alleged irregularities in the UK referendum and the US presidential election, the implications of GDPR and the prospects of blockchain: trust is the glue that should hold together the fabric of such interactions, in private as well as public contexts. China scores its citizens Writer and academic Rachel Botsman calls her analysis of our hyperconnected, hyperpartisan times Who Can You Trust. Both Neville and […]

Continue reading

Artificial intelligence risks GM-style public backlash, experts warn

Researchers say social, ethical and political concerns in the UK about artificial intelligence (AI) are mounting and greater oversight is urgently needed, according to the Guardian. Otherwise, we could expect to see the kind of social disruption that greeted the advent of genetically-modified (GM) foods during the past decades. The Guardian’s report notes that there are no testing standards or requirement for AI to explain their decisions. There is also no organisation equipped to monitor and investigate any bad decisions or accidents. AI has entered public consciousness during the past couple of years with largely a negative focus. In how AI is reported in the media – mainstream and social – that focus tends to be about how the robots […]

Continue reading

For Immediate Release 109: CEOs Torturing English

Shel and I recorded the October edition of the monthly Hobson & Holtz Report. This month’s topics: Three distinguished PhDs propose a Magna Carta for Artificial Intelligence. Too soon? Research establishes a connection between CEOs who mangle English during analyst calls and falling share prices. What can PR agencies and associations do to build a reputation of trust in the wake of the Bell Pottinger scandal? New data points reinforce the importance of companies taking positions on social and political issues. Most importantly, Edelman’s 2017 Earned Brand study found that 30% of consumers are “belief-driven” buyers. In the UK, political activists are using an app to influence party conference votes. Two crises — one from Facebook and one from Unilever’s […]

Continue reading