Yesterday I learned through Dagens Media that Electrolux today launches a social media newsroom. (For an overview in Swedish what this is all about, see my post Neo PR hos GM Europa, Cisco och Virgin Entertainment). I immediately tried to locate Electrolux’s interesting step on the Web (Dagens Media as many other traditional media is not keen on providing outgoing links). No success, until I asked a friend who I know advises Electrolux. He pointed me to newsroom.electrolux.com.
I like it a lot. Primarily because a Swedish (well…) major enterprise takes a step in this direction relatively early on. And while doing so humbly search for a good approach without drumming on how fantastic and innovative they are. Rather Electrolux now introduces a range of social media related functionalities and remarks (through my friend) that they have a growing list of things they want to add. For example, allowing comments. Perhaps it would be a nice thing if they offered stakeholders (bloggers, journalists, consumers, etc.) a wiki from which their newsroom project could be further informed.
The first thing that strikes me as novel (and different from traditional newsrooms) is the tag cloud. For a savvy visitor like me I appreciate the clean and organized layout. I quickly grasped (trough head lines in the right column) that they currently offer:
- Tag Cloud (where most is about ”Design”)
- Pages (links to core stuff for a newsroom)
- Videos and Images (YouTube and Flickr are their chosen services)
- More links (to Electrolux brand web sites)
- More blogs (search feeds from Engadget and Gizmodo)
- Subscribe (the newsroom via Feedburner services, and from YouTube/Flickr)
Of course there are news, at the moment with only nine items. Perhaps Electrolux will populate it with old news. Perhaps they will just add new news. In any case, it was easy for me to read all the news. Generally we find a title, an ingress, a number of paragraphs with text, of which some embeds links, and a few photos. None of the news items ends with a ”Fore more information…”. Even though the site offers a Media Contact page, that does not help if one gets the news over RSS. Hence, I still believe that contact information should be a part of the news entry.
Here comes my first disappointment. The newsroom is built with WordPress, and it would have been an easy thing to add a plug-in (e.g. Share This) that adds social media functions that facilitates sharing of the news content. (see Anders Edholms comment) I actually tried posting a news URI to my wall in Facebook. As you can see the Facebook app could not locate any graphics, which probably is OK. Possibly more important is the missing headline Should have been ‘Trendy Color Passion products make their debut’ instead of the generic ‘newsroom.electrolux.com’. All in all, this suggests that the newsroom is not optimized for search engines.
What also strikes me is that there is virtually no educational information. That is, explanations to visitors what this kind of newsroom is all about. True, there is an About this site page. But it just informs us about that the whole thing is protected by a Creative Commons license. In my view that´s OK. There is a sufficient numbers of social media enthusiasts that knows what to do. For a geek like me it would have been nice with a brief overview of how the newsroom is built (even though I believe I have hacked the most important stuff already).
There is no (traditional) press release at Electrolux.com about the new newsroom. But through Dagens Media we can learn that the site has ”been developed with a low budget by two employees with Electrolux and advice from an external consultant” (my translation). The current ambition is that one editor in the USA and one in Sweden will publish news items twice a week.
Now it is up to all of us to make the most of this.
[Update 14:40] I forgot to mention that the Swedish PR service Newsdesk for quite a while offers social media functions in their clients newsrooms. For example, Multimedia News Releases and Video releases.
[Updated 17:05 after Electrolux fixed the bug with Share-This]