If size matters to you, here’s a way to grow your Technorati rankings. I guarantee it!

February 23, 2008

This post is for bloggers who worry about the shrinking size of their Technorati. If that includes you, I have the magic potion that will boost your “authority” almost overnight. It works every time. I guarantee it.

technorati-fav.pngTeach blogging

Yep. It’s that simple. Become an evangelist for blogging, and convince others to do it regularly. But you must do more than coax people into blogging. You must make them do it — you know — my way or the highway.

That’s what we do at Kent State. Students blog or they fail. We know it’s coercion, but we don’t care. In fact, we’re damned proud our “blog or die” policy. It gets results.

Don’t want to blog? No problem. Kent State has over 300 other majors from which you can choose. But if you want a public relations degree, we insist that you develop an in-depth knowledge of social media and that you put your work out there for all the world to see and to critique.

Can you understand social media by simply studying them? I suppose you can. But you won’t grasp the “zen” of Web 2.0 until you become one with the medium. Social media are part of public relations practice, and we want our students to experience them beyond the superficial worlds of Facebook or MySpace. In the process, they learn about the blogosphere, and they learn how to write for an online audience.

Many students find their “voice” for the first time as bloggers in JMC 48003. All of them grow as writers.

At least half of the students in any given semester don’t like the blogging, and it shows. The other half seem downright giddy about it. Powered by ego or maybe just youthful enthusiasm, they post weekly (some more often), and in the process they build another element for their professional portfolios.

And you know me — I nail ’em for every error in grammar and punctuation. Because careful writing matters here at Kent State, even if it doesn’t in the blogosphere. This is part of the portfolio, after all.

So what does this have to do with the size of your Technorati?

Everything. Read the rest of this entry »

A week without social media? I tell you, it’s like getting your life back

November 28, 2007


Autumn dogwood, near Indiana, Pa.

It ain’t easy, this blogging thing.

If you care about clean, crisp communication, it takes time. If you care about being relevant, it takes time. Way too much time — especially if you have a “real” job.

My week away was refreshing. There was the holiday with family followed by the opening day of deer season in Pennsylvania. In between, I managed 16 hours of grading class projects, raked a ton of leaves, and helped install the snow fence on the east shore of Sandy Lake.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish without the burden of a blog.

My unwired week so energized me that I’m taking another week away from the blog — just to keep the buzz going. I’ll use the time to catch up on work at the “real” job and to devote full attention to my students during these final 7 days of classes.

Yeah, I may even sneak in one more day of deer hunting before I stow the old Model 70 for the season. I promise, no dead deer pictures.

Blogging isn’t hereditary, and I can prove it!

November 15, 2007

I’m headed to the woods of Western New York for a weekend of communing with Mother Nature and her creatures. With any luck, I’ll have one or two of them in my freezer by Monday. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried my venison pepper steak.

Until then, some Friday musings…

Blogging is not in the genes. Earlier this week, my Technorati page turned up a link from “Steele Works.” (That link has yet to show on my WordPress stats, but that’s another story.)

fish.jpgTurns out I had quite a hand in the first, and possibly the last blog post by my son, Chris. While he’s been reading ToughSledding on and off since I launched it, Chris was none too happy when his professor of Information Architecture required everyone in the graduate-level class to get blogging as part of their total immersion into digital information. (He also required they use Blogger. Go figure.)

So Chris, who’s just 22, did what any angry blogger might, he posted a rant — a rant about blogging. Here’s my favorite passage:

My old man even admits that the blogo-sphere is an “echo-chamber” and the majority of people paying attention are other bloggers. Some of his recent posts mimic a school-yard argument and are a perfect example of how no one’s paying attention to us … except us. (And I don’t even like the idea of being included in “us”).

So there you have it — proof that there is no genetic connection to Web 2.0. But the kid sure has attitude, eh? Wonder where he got that?


A surprise on Facebook this week. Amanda’s back! Yep, Amanda Chapel, late of the infamous Strumpette blog, re-emerged on the social network this week with her amanda.jpgentire network of 230 friends intact. She disappeared more than a month ago, supposedly because Facebook doesn’t allow pseudonyms. Right!

It’s interesting to note just how many of Amanda’s vociferous detractors are also her friends on Facebook. This puzzles me. I mean, when I hate someone, I don’t friend them. But I guess it’s all part of that echo chamber I’ve yet to figure out, right Chris?

Maybe the whole damn blogosphere is just make believe, like Second Life — or like Amanda. How cool woud that be?

My regular readers know that I stirred up a veritable s*%# storm last month with this post. So let’s NOT do that again, OK? I’m going off grid for the weekend, but I’m gonna be armed.


Some really, really interesting stuff on measurement. Spent Tuesday with the folks at Fleishman-Hillard’s HQ in St. Louis, and some of the discussion there got me thinking again about social-media measurement. Turns out that one of F-H’s fleishman-hillard-158x82.gifdivisions is developing a serious metric for measuring reputation and its impact on the selling price of stock, which may be the ultimate gauge of credibility and trust — at least in the C suites.

In this story from Business Week, published last summer when I was off in a canoe somewhere, included this comment from Paul Argenti of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth:

“If we can get this right, we have found the holy grail of communications.”

So I will leave you with this all-important question: What is your quest? No, no…What is your name? Wait…What is your favorite color?

And that’s tonight’s lesson from the old professor. So sorry to rush off like this, but I gotta get to WalMart before they close. I’m low on ammo.

One PR man’s sordid affair with Amanda Chapel

October 16, 2007

Update: In case you haven’t heard, the next iteration of Strumpette is in the works. It’s called Furthermore. The evolution will be interesting.


A few online friends have asked for the “real story” of my no-so-secret love affair with Amanda Chapel, aka, Strumpette. Most of those calling me out are devotees of Web 2.0 – a PR practice niche we’ve all celebrated in our blogs. Since Amanda rejects the use of unmediated communication in PR, many can’t accept my fascination with this anonymous, potty-mouthed vixen — the very one who last week signed off the blogosphere for good.

Here’s my confession – for the record.

amanda.jpgStrumpette delivered a critical and seldom-heard take on the PR business. We needed it. But many couldn’t accept the message thanks to Amanda’s, er, unorthodox style. Unlike most bloggers, Amanda didn’t “converse” with us about her views. She spewed them, sometimes in venomous fashion, and she couched them in satire that many found offensive. But if you read Strumpette as the “Theatre of Amanda,” as I did, you chuckled and you moved on. Amanda loved opponents who locked horns with her, and she ate most of them for lunch. Read the rest of this entry »

Do social media reshape PR strategy? MSM tell one story, PRSA tells another

September 19, 2007

My return to the classroom this fall has been rough. But if you’ve read my last few posts, you know that, eh? Still, I won’t ask for pity from folks who work real jobs that operate 12 months a year.

free-jena-six.jpgIt took this story from today’s Chicago Tribune to jolt me back to serious blogging. The story tells how civil rights leaders are using blogs and social media to mobilize tens of thousands in support of those kids charged with assault in Jena, La. The case already has drawn the attention of mainstream black leaders (Sharpton, Jackson, King III), but social media are getting credit for raising $130K for legal fees and 220,000 petition signatures.

Regardless of how you view the case legally and morally, PR pros need to pay attention. It shows how a disenfranchised public is finding its voice — and its power — in Web 2.0. The civil rights movement has always been grassroots, but now the grass is digital. How will this new grassroots power affect your organization or clients?

images2.jpgCan you believe what’s happening on Facebook? Membership, now open to the masses, has more than doubled in the past year. And it’s not just a place to meet and greet. Facebook is now a place for serious business networking. Read the rest of this entry »

True Confessions: I’m a middleaged blog censor

July 21, 2007

Hardcore “blog heads” are gonna call for my social-media license after for this. But I’ll just have to live with it.

censored.jpgI removed a comment last week (from this post), and I have no plans to re-approve it. The author of that comment has demanded I restore his “1st Amendment rights.” Sorry, dude. While I cherish open and unfettered conversation, I’m the final arbiter of what’s appropriate on this site.

So why did I approve the comment in the first place? Habit, I guess. Readers have posted more than 500 comments since I launched this blog last fall, and I’ve never turned one away. Until now.

The comment in question disparaged University of Dreams, a company that uofd.gifconnects students to internships around the world. The comment made claims but offered no evidence. And from what I can discern, the accusations weren’t at all characteristic of U of Dreams behavior. Run a Google search on these guys and you’ll find they’re squeaky clean. Read the rest of this entry »

Clarion call overpowers the blogosphere

June 26, 2007

tilley.jpgIn another bold attempt to drive off readership while also enjoying the summer, I’ll be leaving the blog world for 10 days or so. We’ll spend a long weekend on our annual Clarion River expedition followed by a week of partying at home on Sandy Lake with friends and family.

If you don’t already know this, you can’t be a gracious host while blogging. It’s not possible. Ask my wife. Yeah, I’ll be monitoring this site and approving comments, but I won’t have anything intelligent to say for a while. You probably won’t notice.

Look for me down there somewhere — in the green Old Town Tripper wearing my trusty Tilley hat, eh? If you want to canoe the Clarion, contact Dave Love, the best friend this river and Western Pennsylvania’s environment ever had.


ToughSledding’s Holiday Was Way Too Short

May 27, 2007


I warned you I was taking two weeks off. This picture might explain why. It’s the view from our cabin at Ti Kaye Village in St. Lucia — a place I’d recommend for anyone seeking a romantic getaway. I don’t know much about romance, but I know a great beach resort when I see one! And the local beer is to die for.


If you’ve ever run your own business, you know it doesn’t come with paid vacation. My job does — lots of it. And for the last two weeks I’ve been using some of it. It feels good. But in the process I’ve been neglecting my “customers.” Read the rest of this entry »

Kent State PR bloggers are immersed in social media

May 7, 2007

Aside from showing students how to use WordPress, I can’t take much credit for this semester’s PRKent bloggers. Professor Michele Ewing created and taught the class, “Online Public Relations Tactics.” I just persuaded her to make blogging a required activity. Decide for yourself if it worked.

bloggers.jpgTo know a blogger, you must be a blogger. That’s my view. But not everyone has the constitution for it. You gotta be thick skinned to blog, and you need to be a little bit full of yourself, too. You won’t find many modest bloggers, as most of us love to show off.

So it’s not surprising that student bloggers have reservations about putting themselves “out there.” Yet for eight weeks this semester, they did it. We asked students to create blogs focused on some aspect of public relations so they could promote their careers, showcase their PR savvy and enhance their portfolios while learning a bit about social media.

Check ’em out when you have minute. I think you’ll like what you see. And yeah, I’ve begged ’em to fix the typos and usage errors. Here’s hoping they do it before this post goes up! Read the rest of this entry »

Social media can bite you — Just ask Steve Rubel

April 25, 2007

rubel1.jpgSteve Rubel, top PR blogger and Edelman SVP, proved last week he’s human. I prove the same thing 3-4 times a day, but I don’t have a Top-200 Technorati ranking to worry about.

When I screw up, no one cares. When Steve screws up, the whole PR blogosphere has a front-row seat. Steve, it may seem like I’m piling on here, but I’m just doing the professor thing and showing my readers (many of ’em students) how social media can bite you in the ass — even when you’re on top of your game.

Steve’s trouble grew from a message posted to Twitter, the social network that “takes instant messaging to an extreme.” In a hasty post, Steve said: “PC Mag is another. I have a free sub but it goes in the trash,”

Jim Louderback, PC‘s editor in chief, took offense and fired back with this guest editorial on the Strumpette blog. Here’s an excerpt to give you the flavor: Read the rest of this entry »