The world is getting dumber, or there’s something in the water in Northeast Ohio

February 4, 2010

If Jim Traficant wins a seat in Congress this fall, I may have to move. How could I live in a state of collective stupidity? That we’re even discussing “candidate” Traficant is downright crazy, and it has me wondering what’s happened to critical thinking.

Jim Traficant

You remember Jimbo, don’t you? He’s the former congressman from Ohio’s 17th District who spent the past 7 years in federal lockup, convicted of bribery and racketeering. He’s back, and a cadre of loyalists want to send him back to Washington. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Ethics’ and ‘trust’ are driving readers to my blog. There’s an SEO lesson here, I just know it!

January 26, 2010

I’ve come to a fork in the road in my blogging life. Should I optimize this site, or should I just focus on content and let growth come organically?

When you come to a fork in the road, blog about it!

Why ask this 3.5 years into the game? Check out the Top 4 search terms that brought people to ToughSledding in the past 12 months: Read the rest of this entry »

On social change and the role of the PR professional

November 2, 2009
Photo from

Photo from

When the Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago, I was a 37-year-old grad student studying social change. Hey, I was a late bloomer!

Each week, as our seminar convened, my classmates found something exciting to discuss as we dutifully applied our sociological theories to the events unfolding in Europe.

Two decades later, I don’t remember much about those theories. Read the rest of this entry »

Plagiarism and other tomfoolery — You won’t believe this

October 23, 2009
Susan Getgood

Susan Getgood

Online pal Judy Gombita sent me a link to this post by popular blogger Susan Getgood. I’m not a regular at “Marketing Roadmaps,” but I am interested in issues of PR ethics, so I’m happy Judy passed it along.

In her post yesterday, Getgood tells us about a PR pitch that appears to have been plagiarized from another blogger’s post  — almost word-for-word.  That’s more than bad PR practice — that’s theft of intellectual property. Read the rest of this entry »

Three years ago, the 2.0 world was buzzin’ about ‘WalMarting Across America’

October 13, 2009

I cross posted this item at my new Posterous site — my latest 2.0 addiction. The event is significant enough to warrant broader coverage in the Sledzik Social Media Network. And I really need to get a life.

WalMarting Across America: Jim & Laura's Blog

WalMarting Across America: Jim & Laura's Blog

Ah, the good old days.

It was Oct., 12, 2006, and my first month as a blogger when I came across this story in Business Week. It involved Jim and Laura and the fake blog called “Wal-Marting Across America.” The story became instant folklore in the 2.0 digital world of PR and marketing. I wrote about it here — three years ago yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

PR’s ethical dilemma: When should the chicken die?

September 10, 2009

As the old saying goes, if you want to make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs. But as it turns out, if you want those eggs at a reasonable price, you also gotta kill millions of baby chicks. It’s not a pretty sight, as this graphic video shows the world.

(Warning: Run time is 3:44, but you’ll probably get grossed out and quit early.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes you gotta realize that people are nuts, and build it into your PR plan

September 4, 2009
Photo by Alex Miroshnichenko via Wikipedia Common.

Photo by Alex Miroshnichenko via Wikipedia Common.

I used this story in class yesterday to illustrate how tough it can be to understand and communicate with publics in emotional situations.

Effective communication always starts with knowing your audiences and anticipating how they’ll behave. But what do we do, I asked the class, when your publics take action that seems entirely irrational?

“How many of you would refuse orders to evacuate your home if you knew a wildfire might engulf the structure and kill you and your family?” No one raised a hand as we reviewed pictures of Southern California residents standing up against the flames. Read the rest of this entry »