A little over a year ago, these were the first thirteen words of a Forbes story titled “Google vs. Facebook”: “Competition is heating up between Google and Facebook for control of the universe…”

Whether you’re a Chief Communications Officer or a Chief Marketing Officer, it is extremely important you understand the nature of this battle because the wars waged over the Web by these behemoths can, and will increasingly, impact your online strategy.

Like every major conflict, it started as genuine competition (“I wonder what those guys are doing?”) before a fundamental difference of opinion (“That’s not the way it’s done!”) triggered a full-out war with some former Google employees taking parting shots on their way to Facebook.

Google, which went public less than five years ago, grossed nearly $22 billion last year in only its 10th year of existence. As far as the Internet is concerned, if you were to compare Google to an American, with the options being a) Tom Hanks, b) Tiger Woods, c) Barack Obama or d) Oprah Winfrey, the answer would be e) ‘greater than all of the above’.

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Our last post on the McKinsey article has generated a great deal of comment and discussion, none more insightful than that of Ed Block, one of the public relations industry’s most respected and revered leaders.  His thoughts follow.

First, the current financial meltdown (and associated scandals) was not the beginning of the destruction of corporate reputations -- it was the final nail in the coffin. But I digress.

In your post last week on who should own corporate reputation, I think you are correct in identifying the importance of where responsibility should be delegated in a corporate organization. I'm from the old school (the Arthur Page School) in the conviction that the job belongs to the chief PR officer. That's how it was in my generation -- and guys like Larry Foster (J&J), Ron Rhody (Bank of America) and so many others owned that position. Unfortunately, too many latter day PR executives came to define their jobs as "communications" and lost their authority and skills as councilors. (Communications is overhead, wise counseling is value added.)

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Last Thursday, Harvard senior and classics scholar Paul Mumma gave the traditional Latin salutatory at the university’s 358th commencement.

In his brilliantly delivered oration, Aetates Hominis Harvardiani, Mumma marveled to his classmates that in just their four years together, “mercatura totius orbis collapsa est, Pluto non iam orbis est, et licet parentibus Codice Vultuum uti” (the world economy has collapsed, Pluto is no longer a planet, and suddenly it’s OK for adults to use Facebook).

That drew an appreciative laugh, and it reminded me of a useful insight I’d recently come across about how those adults are – and aren’t – using Facebook.

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Jon Iwata, SVP of Marketing and Communications at IBM, on how IBM is integrating marketing and communications.

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