The Edelman Trust Barometer shows how we’ve driven into a ditch

We are living in a portentous moment, characterized by distrust in our leaders and institutions. But what’s the context — is it measurably worse now, and what does it mean? The global communications firm Edelman has released its 2017 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey on exactly these topics. Edelman clearly and evocatively … Continued

The most vacuous press release ever: Revolt PR

Sometimes, when I boil down a piece of writing, I find nuggets of truth embedded within a matrix of jargon and bullshit. But sometimes, I just find nothing but platitudes, emptiness, and evidence of incompetence. That’s the apparent communications strategy of Revolt PR. Here’s what the press release says: Revolt PR believes it can help … Continued

Talentedly email: communications experts have a burden to be clear

A friend of mine got an email from Talentedly, a company that “informs, educates and inspires people at work by combining technology and experts to create products that are affordable, accessible and make work feel amazing.” When you describe yourself that way, your communications had better be simple and clear. Theirs wasn’t. Some people start … Continued

The Slack letter to Microsoft is built on meaningless platitudes

Slack wrote an open letter to Microsoft, ostensibly welcoming it to the market for workplace collaboration systems. It’s a weird hunk of prose, direct and honest on the surface, but fundamentally insincere. The choice to publish this letter — and to fill it with platitudes — makes me question the judgment of the company. Here’s what happened. … Continued

In the Wix vs. WordPress fight, impressions matter

Matt Mullenweg, the originator of WordPress and CEO of Automattic, is fighting with Avishai Abrahami, CEO of Wix. (Both companies make it easy to build web content.) The question driving this fight is the appropriate use of open source code. But what’s really at stake is reputation — and on that front, Abrahami’s wry commentary … Continued

Press releases: how to go beyond waste, fraud, and abuse

Stop writing and distributing press releases. Please. They’re stupid, annoying, and useless. And according to an analysis by Christopher Penn of Shift Communications, they don’t work. I spent 20 years as an analyst at Forrester Research. During that time, I received 10,000 press releases. I estimate that about 200 had even the tiniest amount of … Continued

They’re not buying Twitter, they’re buying you

The bidding for Twitter is heating up. The Wall Street Journal is predicting a price of about $20 billion. What’s worth so much? You. Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton painted a devastating portrait of the years-long dysfunction inside the company. Here’s a sample: But in between all of those reasons [that previous bids to buy it … Continued