Can you recommend some books on social media? Advice for the late adopters

January 20, 2010

While some of us are  a little tired of discussing “the conversation” about the conversation, others are just now beginning to examine potential of social media. For example, a former student called last week asking me to recommend social-media books that would get her up to speed. “Jessie” graduated before SM made it to our classrooms and was busy starting a family while the phenomenon was unfolding

I chuckled at first, remembering this tweet from Paul Baker. Ain’t it the truth? But late adopters are a sizable group, and as I told Jessie, books are a good place to begin the catch-up process.

Because I’m an educator, people pose the cursed “book question” all the time. It sucks, because it means I have to read a lot of books that do little to expand my knowledge base or worldview. But reading the literature, for me, is sort of an occupational hazard. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stating the obvious? Professional communicators need business skills

January 13, 2010

I’m not part of the online debate about who is or is not a “social-media expert.” I leave that topic to the leaders of the echo chamber. I real life, no one really cares.

What clients and employers care about is how we use the tools of communication to make their organizations more successful. Clients and employers expect us to understand the business proposition. The C-level folks look to us to help change attitudes and behaviors, because that’s what drives the bottom line. Read the rest of this entry »


PRSA’s “he said/she said” controversy has me looking for answers

December 28, 2009

Color me troubled over a conflicting story emerging from the Public Relations Society of America in this holiday season. I’m not ready to take sides in this battle, but I’m also not sure whom to believe.

It started with this story from Joe Ciarallo at PRNewser, a story announcing PRSA’s decision to shut down its Multicultural Communications Section (MCS) and make it part of the society’s standing Diversity Committee. Read the rest of this entry »


Darth Blogger’s Holiday Writing Rant

December 21, 2009

Confession: Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday.

Before you “scrooge” me, consider that Christmas follows one of my two busiest times of the year: finals week and finals week. You bake cookies and trim trees; I grade papers. When I could be choosing meaningful gifts for the people I love, I’m coaching the next generation of PR pros, and occasionally evicting a few from the business. It’s a dirty job, but… Read the rest of this entry »


When it comes to manufacturing buzz, no one does it better than PETA

November 30, 2009

Love ’em or hate ’em, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) ranks among the most skilled media manipulators anywhere. PETA’s publicity machine makes the best Hollywood flacks look like rank amateurs.

What makes PETA so good at creating headlines? First, they pay attention to current events, then they make stuff up. That “stuff” often involves gorgeous naked women, and that always gets my attention.

Actress Charlotte Ross earned plenty of exposure for her appearance in this PETA ad.

I’m not saying PETA lies or fabricates. The group simply understands how to re-frame a story and give it a creative spin. Most times, PETA’s publicity supports organizational objectives and fuels the fundraising machine, too. Read the rest of this entry »


Reflecting on an Excellent Adventure @ PRSA09

November 18, 2009

From Wikipedia Commons

I spent just 72 hours at the PRSA conference in San Diego last week, and I tried hard to be a good blogger. It didn’t work.

My most popular post, the one about Mike McDougall’s 24-second news cycle, drew just 5 human comments and 111 views. Key message in that post was about ethics in media relations, but I buried the lead. You sometimes make those mistakes on deadline. Read the rest of this entry »


Strong words from PRSA veteran over leadership restrictions

November 16, 2009
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Art Stevens

Longtime PRSA leader Art Stevens doesn’t mince words in a scathing editorial posted today at Bulldog Reporter. It is a must-read for all PRSA members. (Special thanks to Judy Gombita for the quick link.)

Stevens’ wrath is directed at the 2009 PRSA Assembly, which last week rejected a bylaw change that would have opened the ranks of PRSA leadership to many more of its members. Read the rest of this entry »