Last month the Council of Public Relations Firms published a sponsored section in Advertising Age, "The PR Factor 2011". This had us scratching our heads a bit, for although Ad Age is an excellent vehicle for reaching marketing industry decision makers, we were baffled as to why a trade association representing a profession for whom delivering credible, legitimate earned media coverage is a key core competency decided to promote itself via a paid advertorial. 


Consumers looking for online reviews of products need to be careful that they are finding real customer reviews and not for-hire endorsements or blatant promotions, according to a recent USA Today article. When doing a review search, fake review sites can be the first ones up on your results page, leading to confusion and bad purchasing decisions. 


A recent article in The Atlantic asserts that Internet technology has unleashed a glut of thought contagions that are pushing behavior. The author cites as examples the riots in the U.K., Occupy Wall Street, and the Arab Spring. Can these contagions drive people to take such extreme positions that rational solutions become impossible? 


While social media can quickly spread ideas and build a community of discontents that can challenge the status quo, it has not shown itself able to replace one power structure with another, according to a blog post in Digital Communities. 

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