FEMA and Media Relations PR Nightmare

In the day and age when the Public Relations industry should be focusing more on interactions with the public and less on media relations, someone decides the best solution is to FAKE media relations. Brilliant.

From Bulldog Reporter:

FEMA employees last Tuesday posed as reporters at a news conference in
Washington about the Southern California wildfires. The briefing was
called on short notice and no journalists were on hand when it started.
Instead, FEMA deputy director Harvey Johnson stood
before a FEMA camera feeding live images to television networks and
took questions from agency employees posing as reporters.

World Creole Music Festival starts today

  Originally uploaded by eschipul

Yea! World Creole
Music Festival
starts today if you are in Dominica! This of course, is
the celebration leading up to National Day on November 3rd when they
became Independent from the United Kingdom.

So what is
with you people not dressing in traditional Carib attire today?

And on that note, my Mom OWES me one for making me promise to wear traditional garb. Note I am in Houston. Best comments so far today at work are below. They typically start with "you look like…"

  1. Santa Claus’ bullet proof vest
  2. You look like my Scotch tape cover
  3. You’re awful tall for an elf
  4. Are you looking for a Christmas tree to sleep under?

Yes these are the types of people I work with….

How to Wipe a Blackberry Clean

I had trouble figuring this out, so here goes. To completely wipe your blackberry clean varies by device. But it can be done. I had a 7100 series and the steps are:

  1. Settings (looks like a folder with gears on the top right)
  2. Options (just has two gears)
  3. Security Options – select this from the visible menu by scrolling down
  4. General Settings – select this from the visible menu by scrolling down
  5. << Press Scroll Wheel in >> – this shows a scroll wheel menu
  6. On the resulting scroll wheel menu there is an option to "wipe handheld" – That is what you want.

I mention this because several places on the interwebs told me to go to options and select "wipe handheld" but of course this ONLY shows up for this particular device in a scroll wheel menu.

Other sources (clear blackberry) and (blackberry faq)

Brian Connolly, Strumpette Finally Out of the Closet

Still crazy after all these years. Just a lot less cleavage. Brian Connolly has come out of the closet and relaunched strumpette with the less-cleavage brand name of "futhermore". So if we weren’t sure, yes, we now know he definitely wants the last, the further-mostest-wordest. Thanks for coming out of the closet Mr. Connoly.

Update: Had a somewhat funny conversation with Brian about this earlier this week. Very insightful actually and hopefully I’ll get my thoughts organized on a future blog post about PR in general.

A few things to be clear about.

  1. Yes I realize Amanda Chapel is a character that that there were numerous writers and not just Brian. I had a mental list to do a linguistics analysis of different posts just to prove this point, but never got around to it. Which leads to my second "update" point.
  2. As snarky and sometimes mean as Strumpette was, I am disappointed that the experiment is now completely off line. Yes reinvent, start anew, experiment. But to remove the old site leaves the world without an anti-brand for PR. The void will be filled of course, we know from Primal Branding that you must have your "non believers". And Strumpette filled that void. It would be a shame if it remains off line. It means the spinsters beat strumpette in the end. That bums me out.

Update 2 – checking my links for this post – it seems Amanda’s back (NSF link as usual). This is a good thing. I think. As long as the talons are pointed at me. But then again I would never bait someone like Amanda, now would I?

GN: What Should I Tell the Librarians? – I have some ideas

  Living in a Book 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul

What do you tell the librarians?

Global Neighbourhoods asks "what should I tell the librarians?" for an upcoming talk on social media to a group of librarians.

First lets talk about the audience. Librarians are the most over educated, in a good way, people who are typically underpaid worse than teachers. A challenging masters frequently relegates them to book guardians at a local library doling out fines. And baby sitting kids whose parents view the library as a day care.

Librarians are museum curators trying to decide if their mission is to protect the exhibits or share the exhibits (note most museum curators go for "protect and hide" hence the no-photography rules at so many American museums. But I digress.)

I say this from the perspective of someone with two librarians in my family. Neither of them work as librarians any more.

What I have found about librarians is they have a natural desire to help. To share knowledge more than just information. One phone call can save hours of google searches looking for just the right search phrase. Just as going to a conference made me understand how important Goffman was when no amount of google searches would have generated pop-up box saying "no really, you need to read this one!"

So what to tell the librarians. Tell them that:

1) Librarians are Teachers – The biggest digital divide is more cultural than economic in the US at least. Having access to a free blogging platform in no way teaches the ethos and culture of the blogosphere. So they should view part of their jobs as teaching the public about social software tools. These tools are vehicles that bridge the digital divide (three of the last four people we hired were bloggers. We ask every applicant and recruit bloggers. So a librarian-teacher could help kids in the neighborhood get real jobs IF they understand social media.

2) Specialize – with the explosion of available information you can’t just be an "academic librarian" or a "community librarian". You need to specialize.

3) Virtualize – given limited budgets, they should be not only using social software tools themselves to connect to other librarians, but helping the public do the same. Form a super-librarian-group on facebook that enables them to connect people with the right librarian.

Continue reading “GN: What Should I Tell the Librarians? – I have some ideas”

Two Examples of Micro Fundraising Today

Two great examples of micro-fundraising today. First Andrew Hyde and the folks from StartupWeekend had a goal of $500 to cover dinner for Startup Weekend Boston. Using Crowdfunder he is at $550 with a $200 anonymous donation. For dinner. This is a fund raiser for dinner. Interesting.

Crowdfunding Startup Weekend Boston

So now we can all use our iPhones and chip in for dinner.

On a far loftier scale, we have Beth Kanter’s personal fundraising campaign to send a girl to college.

Twitter, Facebook, Chris Brogan and 52 other people send Cambodian girl to college!

From a tech perspective and a social perspective, both of these are wonderful occurrences. Fun with money.

“Pimp My Non Profit” Panel for SXSW 08 Makes the List!

  light at the end of the sxsw tunnel 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul

Yea! The SXSW 2008 Panel initial results are in and the Pimp My Non Profit Panel made the list! WHOOOOOOOP! The initial SXSW panel list, subject to change of course, is posted on the SXSW site.

As a recap, the topic for the Pimp My Non Profit panel is:

Non profit groups struggle with funding and public support issues on a
daily basis. Yet many have overcome the odds and made a splash online
and offline by using the latest Web technologies — for pennies on the
dollar. This discussion will center around the stories, strategies,
triumphs and challenges of innovative non profits with a passion for
change and the cajones to rock it out online.

I am the official "cat herder" as the moderator. The panelists planned are (note – Seth was unavailable due to travel so Michaela is joining us – Thanks Michaela!):

Beth Kanter, bethkanter.org
Rachel Weidinger, Strategy for Social Entrepreneurs and on Netsquared here.
Michaela Hackner, Girls with Macs and World Learning.
Erin Denny, Senior Product Manager, YouthNoise Initiatives

So a couple shout outs. First – thanks to Netsquared, Britt, Marnie, Beth, Katie, Jason. Beth also introduced me to Michaela who I am really looking forward to meeting in person soon. A special THANK YOU to Katie as she is the one who came up with the "Pimp My Non Profit" theme and panel description.

OK, now before Britt says anything I need to go and actually post to the Netsquared blog for a change!

The photo? Just a good visual to go with the LONG WAIT between the panel picker votes closing and the announcements. Thanks for the hard work Hugh! I can’t imagine SXSW panel selection is easy!

Tornado Scare at the Pub

Tornado Scare at the Pub
Originally uploaded by eschipul

Fort Smith Arkansas. Killing a bit of time before going back to the hotel. Walking around taking pictures on Garrison Avenue in Fort Smith (see previous in series). It starts to rain a bit so I dash into the one open pub – Roosters.

The rain picks up a bit, but being from Houston I respectfully submit that I am more familiar with rain than the folks in Arkansas. We live in a swamp that got paved over for heaven’s sake! So there I am at the bar drinking a bud light. Listening to the locals and … well doing nothing.

A guy comes running back into the bar and hollers “Man, look at that!” referring to the rapidly picking up wind. The door to the bar being pulled open and the rain went horizontal in less than a minute. The speed was scary.

Next man says “funnel cloud” and “GET IN THE BASEMENT Y’ALL” – and (the rest of the story is on flickr here)

AAF of Fort Smith Social Media Presentation Deck

Presentations slides from my American Advertising Federation of Fort Smith Arkansas presentation on Social Media are below. If you want to embed this in YOUR blog or web site go to the AAF presentation on slideshare.net and copy/paste the "embed" part on the right hand side.

A few links that I mentioned
www.technorati.com – search the blogosphere
www.lynda.com – great for training
www.slideshare.net – youtube for slides
www.schipul.com/en/sem/keywords/ – keyword density analyzer
www.marketleap.com – link popularity checker

The Tipping Point – Gladwell
Naked Conversations – Scoble, Israel

The Profit of Diversity and The Wisdom of Crowds

I firmly believe that the reason you should be diverse is it makes you smarter. Diversity makes a business more profitable. There is a bottom line positive impact in business that can be achieved by surrounding yourself with people who do NOT agree with you. Yes look for shared values in hiring people, but also be sure to look for diversity of opinion and thought and backgrounds. Diversity is the most profitable thing to do.

On this topic, there is a great post on O’Reilly about the Wisdom of Crowds. Three points emphasized below, although you really should read the entire post, are (note – emphasis added on all three excerpts by me).

One of James Surowiecki’s key observations in his book of that name was that a diverse collection of independently-acting individuals produce the wisdom of crowds effect. To the extent that those individuals reinforce each other’s opinions rather than preserving independent decision making, they tend to undermine that group intelligence.


The problem: everyone was in more or less the same stocks, with the same offsets, so this strategy, a winner when only a few people were using it, became exposed to much more systemic risk merely because the technique had become so widespread.


In thinking about the future of collective intelligence, we need to make sure that we not only think about systems that lead to convergence of opinion, but also ones that ensure divergence, and fresh inputs. The surest way I know to get this is not to pay attention to the breaking news in your own pond, but to find the next community over, and to create new cross connections. Once the connections are well established, move on.

Continue reading “The Profit of Diversity and The Wisdom of Crowds”

Spammers! Come Quick! New Twitter Tracking!

I definitely enjoy twitter. But boy, they need to be careful with this recent tracking update. As I understand it, if I follow phrase on twitter I can see all updates that contain that phrase even if I am NOT following that person. First the email announcement from biz:

Tracking Twitter We’re really excited about this new feature which allows anyone to track concepts in real time over SMS or IM. Tell Twitter what words or phrases you’re interested in and you’ll receive updates containing those words the instant anyone Twitters them. One of the most popular words being tracked by people right now is "overheard." Send "track overheard" to Twitter to find out why. (Send "untrack" if you change your mind and "stats" to get a list of words you track.)   (emphasis added)

Now it doesn’t take a genius to figure out everyone is going to track their name and their brand names. So if you want to spam the world with pro-DRM-content all you do is post about @scoble and everyone tracking that phrase receives it.  

As Clay says, spam is part of the system. Google alerts work because they filter them for crap based on their existing algorithms. It will be interesting to see how twitter does.  Bottom line: the Twitter tracking feature is a Great Feature, but ONLY IF you have akismet spam filtering technology enabled. If not, not so good. This is going to be a problem Biz!

As for me, well I have some twitter alerts to set up! You didn’t think I wasn’t going to try it out, did you?

PR Losing Impact in a Web 2.0 World – NOT really….

This headline "PR losing impact in Web 2.0 world" in the bulldog reporters daily dog email caught my eye. My first thought was "Public Relations is more important than ever because PR is now be talking directly to …. um…. THE PUBLIC!"

Well it turns out it was just a catchy headline. What they should have said is "lazy PR people need to do less media relations and get back to working with the public". But that wouldn’t have been politically correct. Good thing I didn’t say it either.

From the article by MJ Gilhooley

Simply put: Audiences are more in control than ever and increasingly
savvy about filtering marketing messages. As a result, PR pros have a
new hat to wear: listener, learner. With the tables turned per the
advent of Web 2.0, sheer Darwinism alone will lay to rest the pros who
five years ago considered major market headlines and covers the end

And on that note, from talking to several PR people recently, it surprises me despite their study in their own field, that they don’t bother to study branding. Advertising may not be the same as PR, but it is still awesomely powerful stuff and worthy of study, particularly when it comes to brand names and psychology. But that is another post.

Any Excuse, No Matter How Valid, Is Still an Excuse

  Sunday Breakfast 
  Originally uploaded by darkhairedgirl

One of the points that is articulated well in the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is the awareness that:

Any Excuse, No Matter How Valid, Is Still an Excuse

We rotate kolache and donut duty at our office and the email went out this morning with this line in it.

“Not a lot of varieties. The guy in the Kolache store just had a baby last night, so he didn’t get much time to make more.“

Read that again. The man’s wife had a baby THAT NIGHT and still opened the store for business taking care of his customers. While his regulars would surely have understood if he wasn’t there, new customers would have wondered if the store was closed. So he opened it regardless.

This is a guy, who for better or worse, understands the phrase "any excuse, no matter how valid, is still an excuse". This is the competition. This is why I work on Saturdays. Yes be smart. Yes have a work/life balance. But know that the competition opens the kolache store at 4 AM after being up all night with his wife who just had a baby. That is the competition. Be afraid.

Update: before you ask, yes I was there when my kids were born so judge me by my actions. I am not advocating or even agreeing with this man’s actions. I am however impressed with his drive.