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Digital Bits #12: How *Not* to Get Cancelled

Digital Bits PR & Communications Newsletter
Digital Bits #12: How *Not* to Get Cancelled
By Cam MacMurchy • Issue #12 • View online
The debate over so-called “cancel culture” seems to have permeated everything these days, serving as the newest flashpoint in the US culture wars. The latest “victim” was Lin-Manuel Miranda, the guy who wrote a hit musical in which he made the US founding fathers black. He wasn’t blasted for Hamilton, though, but for his new film In the Heights. Miranda apologized to critics after they accused him of colorism by failing to ensure the Afro-Latino community in Washington Heights, the Manhattan community at the heart of the film, was accurately represented.
It doesn’t look like Miranda is actually cancelled, which underscores the fact that nobody is quite sure what “cancel culture” even means. It’s been used to describe the backlash against everyone from Harvey Weinstein to Billie Eilish, which is a problem.
USA Today tries to address this question in a longer article about the phenomenon, which it argues should be called “accountability culture” instead. Regardless of the label, the forces behind cancel culture are the same ones that can generate outrage on social media and sometimes aim it at companies, creating another landmine in an already dangerous field comms people navigate each day.
Another story that flew under the radar last week could have big implications over the long term. Andreessen Horowitz, the flashy Silicon Valley venture capital firm, decided in January that it would completely bypass the tech press and launch its own media outlet. Future, as it’s known, went live last week.
The decision by Andreessen Horowitz didn’t just come out of nowhere – there has been a long, simmering conflict between technologists and journalists, which was detailed in great length in a New York Magazine article in May. The gist of the story is tech firms feel journalists have become too critical and are failing to see the positive developments brought about by technology.
(Note: We also discuss a couple of these issues on the latest episode of the PR & Law Podcast. You can listen to a discussion of Andreessen Horowitz’s launch of Future beginning at 22:32, and a brief chat about Lin-Manuel Miranda at 43:05)
Lastly, we all know that erroneous information can spread fast, and now we have the perfect example. A famous soccer star removed two bottles of Coke from his table prior to the beginning of a press conference in full view of reporters, knocking US$4 billion off the company’s share price – or so it was reported. Trust me, this will be a good one for future presentations.
As always, if you see a great article for the newsletter or want any specific topic to be addressed, email me directly at We are also ramping up content for the Digital Bits social media channels – we will publish the best news about the industry, trends, tips, and even case studies, so make sure to follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
‘Til next time,

It’s Time to Cancel "Cancel Culture". Let's Call it "Accountability Culture" Instead.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Responds to 'In the Heights' Colorism Criticism
Brunswick Sells Minority Stake To BDT Capital Partners
Stung By Media Coverage, Silicon Valley Starts Its Own Publication
Tech vs. Journalism: How Silicon Valley Gets Written About
Andreessen Horowitz’s ‘Future’ is a Media Machine
Andreessen Horowitz Doubles Down on the Future
6 SEO Tips for Communications Pros
A Post-Truth World: Why Ronaldo Did Not Move Coca-Cola Share Price
Examples of the Best - and the Worst - PR
4 Tips for Picking the Right PR Firm
Pass to Your CSR Team: News Releases Related to CSR
Margot Edelman Talks About the Family Business and Silicon Valley
A Eulogy for the Free Press in Hong Kong
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Cam MacMurchy

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