A laggard returns to Twitter

October 30, 2008

It’s funny, but my friends think I’m a digital wizard. After all, I maintain 3 blogs and have a life in 6 social networks (not all are on FriendFeed). For a 55-year-old geezer, some think I am seriously connected. Now I add one more network.

After bailing out of Twitter more than a year ago, I have returned for a look around. And I like what I see.

This isn’t a post to extol the virtues of Twitter. I’m still learning my way around the application and observing the culture. Nor is this a mea culpa for my occasional criticism of “twits” over the past 15 months.

But I will say this: Twitter is more useful and interesting than it was in the summer of 2007, when I sampled it then dropped out. I didn’t get it then, but I am no earlier adopter. Today, I find on Twitter has a critical mass of interesting people I can learn with and learn from. It makes an old professor smile. Read the rest of this entry »

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Power of Facebook comes through at “You Too”

March 8, 2008

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If you believe in the power of Facebook, then the snowstorm pummeling the Midwest right now is all my fault. I’ve been praying to the Facebook gods for one last blast of winter. One last chance for some Nordic ski action. One last shot of chilly wind to the face. Ahhhh.

My Facebook status updates this past week:

March 6: Bill is waxing those skis. Oh yeah. Bring it on! 10:43 p.m.

March 5: Bill would give anything for one more good snow — just one more. Kick, glide. Kick, glide. 10:46am

March 8: Bill is thanking the Facebook gods for delivering a great snow storm. Awesome! Totally awesome! 11:17 a.m. Read the rest of this entry »


Is it just me, or have PR blogs lost their wind?

February 4, 2008

enlarge_cph3c10697.jpgDo you feel it?

Me neither.

It’s sometimes as tough to sense inertia as it is to overcome it. But it’s happening here in the PR blogosphere. I just know it.

I didn’t think much about the lull in our conversations until Judy Gombita pointed it out last week. She’s right. There’s not much of substance in the online discussions of public relations, especially those focused on social media. And what IS going on seems, well, a bit stale and contrived. It has me longing for the days of the Edelman-Walmart scandal or the once-edgy essays of Strumpette.

Are we dead in the water? Have we lost our wind?

Here’s some evidence from my world: The most popular post on this blog over the past three days is the “About Me” page. My previous post — the one that shares advice on media relations from Web 2.0 influencer Tom Foremski — drew not a single comment and only 73 page visits, about 30% of normal for new posts.

By contrast, I built a page on my homeowners’ association blog this past Saturday to help neighbors sell their home. It drew 150+ visits.

Hey, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so. I scanned the feeder this past weekend to see if the inertia problem is more widespread.

Todd Defren, a guy I consider the most perceptive of the Web 2.0 practitioner-bloggers, wrote a post encouraging us to vote in the primaries. It’s a heartfelt message, but hardly a conversation starter.

Brian Solis yesterday tells readers that his “Social Media Manifesto” post is up for a SEMMY award as one of the year’s best blog posts. Hardly earth-shattering news, though it should drive up Brian’s page views as readers go back to check it out. I read it the first time. Read the rest of this entry »


PR links to make you think — and cringe — and cackle!

October 24, 2007

I’m not known as a “linker,” and most readers will question my credentials as a “thinker” as well. But take a few minutes to check out the info here. One will have you rolling on the floor, the other two will get you thinking about what we do and how we do it.

New Media Douchebag. This hysterical 2-minute video pokes fun at the denizens of Web 2.0, of which I am one. Don’t click if you take yourself too seriously. You’ve been warned. Hat tip, Scott Monty, who offers useful commentary with the clip. (Update: I’ve added the video below for your convenience. And here is the link to the creators.)

Passive voice rules! Yep, this little morsel comes, via boingboing, from Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen (full article). Seems that active voice isn’t always the answer in the online world. You can bet that journalism professors across America are downright suicidal. Hat tip to Jim Horton, the brightest linker AND thinker in the PR blogosphere.

Are professional associations relevant? Catherine Arrow raises the question, then challenges associations with a prescription for success in a connected world. Let’s hope PRSA leadership checks out this post. While you’re there, cruise around PR Conversations, a blog with international focus that’s growing in both readership and importance.


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.

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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 »


Media Convergence, Facebook, Lousy Writing and the Summer of Love

July 9, 2007

Lots to talk about today, so I’ll try to keep it short.

I’ve had nearly two weeks to think about this return-to-blogging post. But I didn’t. Instead, I hung out on the beach with friends and family, paddled my canoe down the Clarion, and drank a shitload fair amount of beer. But during moments of sobriety, here are a few items that tripped my trigger.

pogue.jpgMedia convergence and the iPhone. While the world suffered iPhone envy these past two weeks, the folks in our School of Journalism were checking out David Pogue‘s video blogs about it. If you haven’t seen these clips (here and here), take the time.

To see a columnist for the MSM embrace a new medium this way, you have to wonder what’s next in media convergence. Of course, if you read Pogue’s bio, you won’t find his stage presence at all surprising.

This ain’t your father’s journalism, boys and girls. But that is your father’s newspaper, the venerable New York Times. Do you think maybe Pogue was celebrating the Summer of Love anniversary in a magic bus somewhere? Far out, Dave! Read the rest of this entry »