Travis Hudson, formerly of Gizmodo, is now in charge of new media relations for Samsung cellphones. Why? Because Samsung, and their PR company, MWW, saw a hole and the needed to fill it with someone who can probably program a Samsung phone in his sleep.
Travis is a close friend and great writer and we got a chance to have an exclusive sit-down and talk about his new position and the way MWW and Samsung are tackling new media and blogs. If you blog about gadgets, put Travis in your address book.
CG: Tell us about yourself. The guys at Giz knew you as Travis Hudson, but what is your background? Where did you go to school?
Travis Hudson: I am a 22-year-old that fresh out of college from Kansas State University. I have always been interested in journalism as a whole, and I have actually dabbled in many different areas of journalism. I began doing design and ad sales throughout high school. During college I shifted my focus to writing, thanks in part to the internship I had with Gizmodo. I was given the opportunity of a lifetime, when my internship blossomed into a full-time job blogging with Gizmodo. I did this for two years, and looking forward to taking what I learned and applying it to this new position.
CG: So why PR? Is that what you would call it? What is your official position at The MWW?
TH: PR, and specifically consumer relations is an interesting area for someone that is interested in seeing how people pick up on the latest gadgets. I have always been that guy sitting at the airport people-watching and wondering what makes a person tick. This position will allow me to interact more closely with the online consumers from the larger perspective, and dive into the minds of the consumers, specifically the ones spending a lot of time online.
I will be the go-to guy dealing directly with the consumers, through the online and new media outlets. My official title is New Media Account Executive, but my number one concern will be with the consumers, the same consumers that happen to regularly read and contribute to the new media outlets.
CG: What are your goals? How are you going to help the blogosphere?
TH: One of my main goals is to break the barrier between large companies and online consumers. I want to be able to provide the average online consumer with perspective and knowledge from inside the company that was previously difficult to obtain.
It’s important to reiterate that I am going to treat the consumers the same way PR companies treat the media. The consumers are becoming as important in the new media atmosphere as the bloggers and other online journalists and it is important to keep everyone on the same page regardless of job title or status.
CG: Where are blogs – and, in a related sense – PR companies going? Why is your position necessary?
TH: One of the biggest changes in blogging is not the growth, or professional-ization, but the fact that these sites and their writers are beginning to see significant amounts of traffic and search engine presence. To that end, these sites are becoming extremely important to any company, brand or individual that is being mentioned. Even the slightest typo or rumor can quickly become a large news story.
PR firms have a responsibility to not only understand how blogs and other online media work, but have the ability to know when – and more importantly, when not to – contribute to the user comments often accompanying the blog posts. I will be specifically addressing these issues.
CG: What can we look forward to from Samsung in terms of your position? More access? More information?
Information is going to be key. I know what it is like to be a news-hound. I understand that mindset of needing to know everything about a product at any given time and I will be here to ensure everyone is in the know about all things cellphone from Samsung Mobile.
The online consumer will be treated the same way the MWW treat the news media, so there will be some opportunities for the average reader to really dive into Samsung cellphones through a variety of events, programs and loads of information.
CG: What is the one message you want to send out to the blogosphere as a former blogger?
It is important for online consumers to know how much their opinion and input contributes to the development of this industry. If you feel strongly about something, be sure to comment about it online because people who can make changes happen are definitely reading it.
CG: How can readers contact you with questions?
TH: You can e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here to help you, the consumers better understand Samsung’s mobile technology, so I am more that willing to listen to your suggestions and input. Your input could impact the future of Samsung cellphones.