Category Archives: Uncategorized

Moving on.

This post is a long time in coming, and is the final post in Calling PR.

To keep this closure-post short and sweet I will say that I’m proud of my first blog which is comprised of all the previous posts you’ll find here.

I’m currently working on a new project, one that is all my own, and includes content that is based on more than just my professional aspirations.

Until then, reference the below for a look into what I was thinking about PR, social media, and marketing in my last term of college.

Closed.

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The good & bad of Honda’s “green” Sasquatch efforts.

I spent this Memorial Day  weekend at the eighth annual Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington State.

The Gorge Amphitheater. (Image courtesy of washingtonstate.org.)

The event’s natural aesthetics beckon attendees to consider their environmental impact on the earth, and in addition to being 100% wind powered it was the perfect spot for Honda to stage a “green” PR tactic.

Of the 100+ featured bands, I caught most of my favorites on the Honda solar-powered Big Foot Stage, secondary to the much larger main venue pictured above.

Coupled with the solar-powered stage, Honda displayed new hybrid models and provided a bicycle-powered charging center for cell phones and other portable electronics.

On the down-side, the large orange banners that bordered the stage looked weather beaten and faded by age compared to the glamorous X-Box 360 Main Stage. The print branding could have certainly been more appealing to compliment its eco-efforts.

Most unacceptable was the stage’s poor sound quality. In this Honda news release, Tom Peyton, the senior manager of Honda national advertising said, “We have found that Honda customers are as passionate about the environment as they are great music.”

If that’s the case, they certainly weren’t impressing fans of Miike Snow, Portugal. The Man., Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, and other noteworthy groups. Some of the most exciting sets were ruined by drowned out vocals, an overbearing bass, and somewhat obnoxious feedback.

I was pretty bummed when I was trying to groove to Miike Snow and I couldn’t hear lead vocalist Andrew Wyatt’s voice. (See my favorite of their songs below.)

Despite the poor choice in print materials and the stage’s low sound quality (which I understand Honda most likely had no control over), Honda’s green efforts maintain their integrity and deserve their own round of applause. Sasquatch is the ideal event for inspiring youth culture with unforced ideas about preservation and conservation.

Why don’t you respond, BP?

Six months ago Mike Werch, having no connection to HJ Heinz Co., tweeted as @HJ_Heinz for two weeks, accumulating 367 fans before Twitter stepped in. (He now tweets at @Mike_Werch.)

As a big Heinz fan, Werch represented the company in a positive light, and was only conducting an experiment to see what happens if an individual misrepresents a corporation on the social networking site.

So, when I read this Bernstein Crisis Management post discussing the recent BP Twitter imposter, @BPGlobalPR, I was surpised to hear that BP wasn’t intervening.

Artist's rendition of a @BPGlobalPR tweet. Picture courtesy of bpglobalpr.tumblr.com.

BP clearly lacks an adequate crisis management plan, but every company should now, six months after the Heinz demonstration, be aware of how to handle a Twitter impostor.

This crisis management post explains that some of the key steps to handling a crisis situation include staying in control, always saying something, and using social media to respond. The fake tweeter demonstrates BP’s lack of control, awareness, responsiveness, and ability to successfully communicate with publics using all the tools in the belt.

It’s puzzling that BP doesn’t want to stop this impostor, especially because many people aren’t realizing that it’s a fraud. It may be an obvious parody to some, but others are developing an even worse impression of the company. They should at least respond.

There are currently 102,362 followers reading tweets like, “Due to public outcry, our ‘Spill Or Be Spilled’ flash game will be taken off our BP Kidz Klub website. ‘Smack the Greasy Manatee’ stays.”

Not good, BP. Not good.

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.

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.