Monthly Archives: May 2010

KWVA Birthday Party: Event Planning Pays Off.

Everyone in public relations knows that events can be used as a great way to promote a brand or product or modify its image. KWVA’s annual birthday party at the WOW Hall in Eugene does more than that.

The event is free to station members, and students are offered a free membership just by filling out a simple form. It’s a way to say thanks to our community supporters and the students of the University of Oregon.

As marketing director it was my job this year to plan the 17th Birthday Bash, and what a job it was. Between booking the bands, coordinating the volunteers, promoting the event, and  raising enough funds to make it all happen, I was looking forward to it all being over.

But once things got underway I found myself pleasantly enjoying the fruits of my labor. The bands, Bobby Birdman, Music for Animals, The Dirty Mittens, and YACHT, were all better than expected, in addition to being really cool people to work with.

But the most important part is that everybody around me was having a great time, and I knew it would reflect well on the station. Seeing 300 people with that kind of energy at a KWVA event can only mean good things for the station’s future.

So, if your organization has the resources to give back to its fans or supporters, I suggest doing so. It is definitely worth the work, stress, and chaos to make it happen. Just make sure you are in attendance.

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In defense of multiple identities.

On May 14th Danah Boyd blogged about her thoughts concerning the Facebook privacy story, discussing a lack of transparency on Facebook’s behalf. Included in this post was one very thought provoking quote from Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg;

Image courtesy of Facebook.

“You have one identity… The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly… Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

I was immediately distracted from the privacy topic at hand and began considering the many scenarios in which one should modify their persona in order to be  respectful, professional or successful.

I’m the first to admit that many images, comments, and status updates that represent my identity on Facebook are aspects of my true persona that I would not want potential employers or some family members to see.

By aiming to downplay or withhold certain characteristics from specific audiences, I am essentially creating a second, third, and fourth identity.

I think, and many may disagree, that  my consideration of others’ perceptions is part of having integrity, and does not reflect the absence of it.

This goes far beyond having a “Facebook” persona, which in my case primarily represents my social life. The need to create separate identities is prevalent in many facets of daily interaction.

Sometimes I hold my tongue or mislead another about my true beliefs in order to avoid offending others and disrespecting their beliefs. For example, when I censor my thoughts about, let’s say Catholicism, it’s because I’m considerate of others feelings. Having consideration for others is part of having integrity, even though I may be portraying a second – or false – identity.

I always dress professionally for an interview. I also adjust my slouchy posture, speak more eloquently, suck up to potential employers, brown nose, and act interested in topics that I may actually find uninteresting. I think most people engage in similar behavior as a function of their professional persona, a separate entity from their private one.

The professional persona is not a sign of a lack of integrity, but rather a reflection upon the individual’s ability to respect the rules that govern their futures and their careers.

I intend to hide my Facebook information from future employers and others. If Zuckerberg truly believes that this means I have no integrity, then I’d love the chance to compare his social behavior to his media presence.



A few things I want to say about the Ipad.

I had an informational interview a few weeks back with Portland public relations firm CFM. Our discussion led to the then pertinent and timely arrival of the Ipad, and we both agreed it would become a standard tool of the PR trade.

Before this undernourished looking machine becomes my next time-sucking gadget addiction, I have a few brewing thoughts that must be hashed out.

“Ipad:” Like many others, I didn’t like the name Ipad to begin with, and I don’t like it now. A discussion I had last night prompted a quick brainstorm of better names, including “Itab,” “Itablet,” and “Islate.” Other names like “Ipon,” Imaxi,” and “Iultra-thin” were generated, but were discarded for being equally or more faulty than the current.

AppleDictionary: I don’t want to admit that Mac has this power, but they do, so here goes: Mac steals words. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself citing word definitions from AppleDic in the future.

When you Google search the word “apple,” you must scroll past six results for Apple Inc., before you find anything related to America’s second favorite fruit. (The banana is #1, so they will probably steal that too.)

Other examples include:

  • mini
  • shuffle
  • pro
  • air
  • nano
  • apps
  • pod
  • touch

Looking back, I think the name Ipod touch was chosen as to avoid saying “Itouch,” which could have been equally as risky as Ipad. That said, I’m sure they could have pulled it off. When Apple takes on a word, the word takes on an Apple meaning. So too will happen with “pad,” and just as easily could with AppleDic. (Just to clarify, this is not a legitimate Apple product.)

In PR: In addition to my distaste for the name “Ipad,” I had difficulty grasping the market potential of the product. Who needs this? Who wants it? Now, I do.

This post from Communications Conversations does a good job summing up the Ipad’s potential uses in the public relations industry, as well as many others. I’ve had more than one conversation that has highlighted the same ideas.

The pad will  make presentations more dynamic, giving viewers a hands-on interaction with multimedia. The owner can sign people up to mailing lists or become Facebook fans and  Twitter followers whether they’re on a bus or in a bar. We can access a social media press release instantly to help us quickly tell the story.

But, to end this post with a question, Apple isn’t the only tech giant with their hands in the cookie jar. Have you seen the Microsoft Surface? I’m excited to be a part of the next tech revolution, and to see how these developments change our careers.

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Drawing a line between Facebook addiction and proper utilization.

Usually, when I read a list of facts that I supposedly don’t know, I find a list of things that I probably assumed anyways. (Plus numerical data that I don’t care about.)  They are never really that interesting, surprising, or thought provoking. Until I saw an infographic in a Mashable post called Facebook: Facts you probably didn’t know, which was all three!

Interesting: Women ages 55+ are the fastest growing demographic of Facebook users.

Surprising: Can you believe Australia has integrated Facebook into their court system? You can receive a court summons sent to your page!

Thought Provoking: Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) has been identified as a new mental health disorder. Do I have FAD? Do you? Let the witch hunt begin!

Wanting to respond to the Mashable infographic, I did some research into how we can spot a Facebook addict and came across a CNN article that provided these five criteria:

  1. You Lose sleep over Facebook.
  2. You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook.
  3. You become obsessed with old loves.
  4. You ignore work in favor of Facebook.
  5. The thought of staying off Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat.

As a future PR professional, I feel it’s necessary to meet at least one of these criteria. I may or may not be using that as an excuse for definitely falling victim to #2, but this brings us to a very popular debate about whether or not PR pros need social media to be successful. The answer is still up for debate.

I think that my extreme familiarity with Facebook as a PR tool resulted from years of personal interaction with it. With very little effort I’ve kept up with Fan page and Insight developments that I would otherwise have to make an effort to learn on my own. Though this knowledge will continue to serve me in my PR career, I don’t think the immense amount of time that I, you, or any other potential professional has spent with the network is proportional to our ability to utilize it in the field.

It makes me laugh, but I take Facebook addiction seriously. We are all at risk! So, let’s make sure we draw a line between personal usage addiction and developing an adequate familiarity that allows us to properly utilize Facebook as a tool in our careers.

Before you go public…

While doing my usual web scan of Facebook, Twitter, current events and music sites I came across a really well developed blog via Ragan. It’s called Occam’s RazR, and blogger Ike Pigott suggested in yesterday’s post that “Communicators need to remember that it’s not what you meant to say, but what was heard that matters.”

He was referring to the image above, explaining that when he drove past this billboard on an Alabama highway he thought it said “Aerosmith.” Every time he sees the sign he thinks about the band rather than an anti-meth campaign.

I was interested to find other examples of failed visual communication attempts, and in doing so I thought about four key points to keep in mind before your final product goes public.

1. Design:

  • See the above example. There is nothing more discouraging than putting months of work into a visual concept that people don’t get, especially when you thought it was your best idea to date. I’ve been taught to run a “test drive” of anything that is going to go public, including survey questions, logos, and Facebook tactics. Find out what people think before it’s too late, make improvements, and test drive again.

2. Grammar: Don’t let these be your fault. Enough said.

3. Environment

  • This is simple. And obvious. But mistakes happen! Once an advertisement or piece of collateral material is released from your control, many other factors can affect its impact and meaning. This means that you are in charge of monitoring the visual’s environment to make sure there aren’t any fatal changes or additions. Like this:

4. Location

Similar to the environment, the location of the visual is equally as threatening. The good news is that you have control of where you put the product. If the location has a threatening environment, don’t put it there. You don’t want your ad showing up next to a news story that is as off-putting as it is comedic to your audience, like this:

Facebook Insights. Like this.

Part of my job as marketing director at KWVA is to manage and increase the effectiveness of our social media, which are currently limited to Facebook and Twitter. (Although I hope to have a blog up and running soon.)

It has become more of a hobby than a task for me to check our weekly Facebook Insights and see what kind of responses or interactions we have garnered. That’s why I’m thrilled that Facebook continues to develop and improve Insights, as I read in this  socialmediatoday post titled “The 5 new features on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn PR pros need to understand.”

Here’s why: The Insights provide me and my department with a platform for development by illuminating areas that need improvement and numerically rewarding us for strong posts and increased interactions.

Beating the numbers week by week has become a game for me, so this week when I noticed our post quality drop from 4 to 3 stars, I started doing my research.

Luckily, I stumbled upon this post, which highlights the most beneficial of the Insights metrics. Post quality is not one of them, but demographics is. Interestingly enough, female KWVA fans are increasingly more interactive with the page than males. See?

Thanks to Facebook Insights I’m aware of our apparent outreach sexism and am able to do something about. Goal: next week’s insights display increased male interaction.

PROpenMic video: Being an art director.

As promised, here is the video I created about being an art director for our J452 site takeover of PROpenMic. Everyday we will be posting new material, so stay caught up!