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Populism is brewing in many Western democracies. Is there a way to fight back? It may be too late — at least this time around.

by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Expert in corporate communications and online persuasion

how to fight populism

Sensible arguments have little or no effect on populists. Why?

‘Populism’ is a derogatory term often used to smear certain political movements, however, as human beings and political creatures, we all indulge in our fair share of populism. Most of us have at some point or another told others what they want to hear — despite knowing that our talking points are at odds with a much more complex truth.

Populism plays right into basic media logic1. Messages with the ability to evoke dormant aggression are sure to result in a wider distribution than messages that are balanced or complex. “Make someone angry,” is a surefire strategy for maximizing organic reach.

As human beings striving to co-exist, we should be mindful when it comes to promoting anger or fear for political ends. Group psychology mixed with equal parts of aggression, scape-goating, and fear-mongering can result in a dangerous cocktail. It has happened before and it will happen again.

And here’s why:

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Public relations is easy to understand, but difficult to master. This post will guide you on how to de-code brand relationships.

by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Expert in corporate communications and online persuasion

PR is all about relationships.

Understanding relationships is fundamental to understanding strategic communications and to crack the code of public relations.

But that’s easy to just say — or write. But is it really possible for a business to de-code something as complex as a relationship with a brand?

Here we go:

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I’ve found this infographic by Advertisemint containing all Facebook ad targeting categories to be useful.

by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Expert in corporate communications and online persuasion

“Who” can you target on Facebook?

The categories listed below is a good start for getting an understanding of what kind of data Facebook (tag:Facebook) is offering to its advertisers. By combining these, Facebook offers a powerful tool for segmenting your advertising (tag:advertising) audience.

However, these categories are only scratching the surface. For one thing, Facebook offers even more categories to its premium advertising partners. Also, these can be combined with Custom Audiences generated from tracking scripts (pixels) on your site, or in your app. Or, from your native Facebook Page audience and their connections. And if that isn’t enough, you can also upload your email lists and create Lookalike Audiences.

Still, we’re most likely only in the early days of datadriven audience segmentation. To think about how far this can go when social networks and search engines deploy increasingly more complex machine learning technologies is mindblowing. 

See the infographic (tag:infographics) here:

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Longer videos tend to drive higher engagement, new research suggests.

by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Expert in corporate communications and online persuasion

Contrary to what most experts say, longer videos drive higher engagement.

This is similar to what we’ve learned about blog posts — search engines and engaged reader tend to favor long-form articles.

According to a recent report, 80% of all online videos are shorter than 5 minutes, however, these videos only drive less than a third of the total engagement (tag:engagement). In short, producing videos longer than the traditional 90 seconds might not be the wrong to go.

Check out the infographic (tag:infographics) by TwentyThree:

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Kialo is “a debate platform powered by reason.”

by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Expert in corporate communications and online persuasion

I rarely engage in public debates in social media.

This is not because I don’t enjoy debating (because I do), but because a majority of all grown-ups online can’t uphold a difference of opinions without resorting to populism, emotional immaturity, and logical fallacies.

That’s a harsh judgment, but not unfounded:

A majority of all grown-ups aren’t as high up on the maturity scale as one might think. Hate comments, mob mentality, and cyberbullying — yes, a lot of us are literally behaving like children. And we should grow up.

But where there’s a problem, there’s also an opportunity.

Enter Kialo, a debate platform for reasonable people.

Here’s how (and why) it works:

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Every 2-3 years, I shift my professional focus. This time, I’m moving from PR to social video production and distribution.

by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Expert in corporate communications and online persuasion

In my professional life, I like to find an important idea and convey it. Typically after 2-3 years, I’m usually proven right or wrong — and it’s time to move on. Onto to the next thing. And now it’s that time again.

Now, I feel that the next thing for me to focus on is social video. I believe that most businesses will communicate with their publics on a regular basis using video within 2-3 years from now. And this goes for both B2C and B2B.

But great communication through video is an art form; it’s not like putting up a landing page or sending out a press release. It requires an aptitude for corporate visual storytelling paired with lean production processes and social media distribution skills. It will require teamwork.

In short: 

If I’m serious about helping companies improve their video communication, then I’ll have to make an actual career change — at 38.

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It’s popular to write bucket lists of things to do before you die. But why not also write a fucket list of things never to try?

by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Expert in corporate communications and online persuasion

Well, this should be a fun little exercise.

A fucket list is the opposite of a bucket list. It’s the things you don’t want to do before you die.

(According to Urban Dictionary, it could also be spelled fuckit list and sometimes it refers to a list of people to have sexual intercourse with before you die. This is not such a list.)

The rules are simple:

  • It must be something you don’t want to do, ever.
  • It must be something that seems to be a “thing” to other people.
  • It’s okay to be slightly passive-aggressive.

Here goes:

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