Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cool Social Marketing and Media Web Tools

I e-met Cha Cha via Twitter and she has a social media blog. Click on the link above for her ever-updating list of cool tools for social networking sites.
Tell her I sent you!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Capitol Steps or Halliburton Steps

The Capitol Steps, who started out as a group of Senate staffers, appeared at Virginia Beach's Sandler Center on Sunday, September 28th. They satirize the crazy business of U.S. politics. And, they're equal opportunity artists of the political lampoon, i.e. they're "bi-partisan butchers"! And hilarious! My face hurt from laughing so much.

We met a few of the Steps prior to the show and laughed as they told us that they just couldn't make this stuff up. What goes on in politics today provides SO much material that they just can't use it all, and they could change their schitck daily!

Some of the best skits dealt with Bushisms, Spoonerisms and the naming opportunities of major corporations, hence the lampoon of their own name into "Halliburton Steps".

See some of their hilarity for yourself on their YouTube Channel HERE.

Round and round we go... where we end up, do you know?

An article in TIME magazine (15 Sep 08) claims that just ten roundabouts in Virginia save 200,000 gallons of gas a year due to no more idling.

Roundabouts calm traffic. Traffic engineers' main reason for using highway roundabouts is more safety at lower cost, compared to traffic light-controlled intersections, overpasses with on- and exit-ramps, and two or four way stop signs. But, gas saving (and cost saving) is a darn good by-product!

Traffic lights waste more fuel and cause more fumes to be produced compared to roundabouts. Insurance studies show that drivers run stop signs and stop lights, and when they do stop, they sometimes obliviously pull out into oncoming traffic. This results in catastrophic collisions.

More interesting reading on the subject:

Billions of gallons of gas (i.e. dollars) could be saved by "Smart Intersections"

Timing Traffic Lights Would Save Billions in Fuel, Emissions and Wasted Time

Sunday, September 28, 2008

LMAO at Last Comic Standing on Tour

Enjoyed Last Comic Standing (LCS) at Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts on September 26th.

Louis Ramey, 5th runner up on the 6th season of LCS, served as MC. His jokes, rapport with the crowd and overall professionalism leads me to believe that America may have gotten this season’s winner wrong. Iliza Shlesinger as the season winner became not only the first woman but the youngest to carry the title. Her appearance last night was disappointing, to say the least.

Multi-tattooed Marcus, who came in 2nd during the season, and Jeff Dye, the non-swearing-yet-still-twistedly-profane young comedian, both intimated it aptly during their sets. They’d already lost the LCS title, they’re on a nationwide touring gig and are being paid nonetheless, so it didn’t matter if they were funny or not. Yet, they both came through like champs, and I laughed ‘til I cried.

However, Iliza has the same philosophy, I fear, and although she came away the winner, the pressure is on her to continue to hone her craft and be sharper than ever. She allowed what was a great stage show at the Ferguson to end on a very low note.

Best thing about the evening IMHO? Marcus’ impressions of Christopher Walken as the newly-elected-write-in U.S. President.

Blogging Projects

Ever run out of things to say (i.e. write about)?

Not me! And, now I've found some great lists of cool topics for even more blog-fodder. Here's my short list, and, of course, I'll always blog about Hampton Roads.

1. Photo Tour, take pics of off-the-beaten-path things to see in each of the 17 cities, towns and counties of Hampton Roads.

2. Video "How-To", gotta think on this one, but not sure what I do that would be video-interesting, hmmm. Suggestions?

3. Share Friends, share some friends’ blogs or websites and comment on them.

4. Tools I Use, share some of my favorite web tools.

5. Interviews, talk to anyone, family, friends, coworkers, and ask them the same questions to compare their perspectives.

6. Questions, pose interesting, creative questions on various social sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook and then add to blog with best responses.

7. My Media, show podcasting or video creation in action.

8. I have a Cause, share my favorite social cause with background, challenges, ways to connect and join the cause.

9. Something Silly, share my "guilty pleasures", such as LOLcats or fashion faux pas or funny videos.

10. Business, the list is limitless here of all things to do with my business, including trade and professional membership organizations.

11. Photo Blog, post stories told in pictures or video or perhaps just sounds.

12. History Tour, discover and share photos of historical persons or historical places, perhaps even contrasting current photos of geographical changes.

13. Talk with Journalist(s), "interview" a radio, TV or newspaper personality, especially with regard to social media.

14. Tomorrow’s Classroom, make suggestions on improving education in America today, such as using social media tools, video-immersion, etc.

15. Next Big Thing, make predictions, make suggestions for improvement for an existing brand.

16. I've got a Secret, share tips on something at which I'm an "expert", such as engaging in social networking or sales.

17. Fan-ship, show appreciation and passion for what makes me a fan, be it golf or sci fi, or Hampton Roads; use social media to change opinions and make others a fan, too.

18. Oops, share stories of mistakes and mis-steps, such as fumbles in social networking, and share the experience with others as a teaching tool.

19. Share Media, show mainstream media new ways to connect and be relevant.

20. Reviews, share thoughts by reporting on speeches, concerts and other events.

ok, I could go on, but you get the idea!

Photo Credit, MrLomo

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Social media in moderation

Posted this Q&A on with some interesting variety of responses to follow:

How do you impress upon those in social media that moderation is key; if you're profile is on the web, everyone can see it??? Just realized my nephew (20 yo) looks like an idiot online!

A follow-up from my first post:

From Blake Imeson
"When it comes time for him to get a job and he starts to get Googled then he will realize you have to be careful about what goes online. I am around his age and I think most people are conscious of the danger to your reputation the internet can be. There are still people that are oblivious to the image they give online. Consolation is that most profiles are fairly private (Facebook for instance) and most can be set to decent standards of privacy, people just don't bother."

From Kathy (Ford) Broniecki
"As a potential employer, I purposely avoid facebook and myspace accounts of prospects. Especially those under 25 that haven't figured out that potential employers could be looking at every drunken escapade. I view this much like I view the multiple tatoos and piercings - somewhat of a right of passage. Some measure of leveling humiliation generally precedes maturity. However, I'm in the advertising industry and someone in a more conservative industry may see things differently."

From David Bird
"My final year students are similar. On a session I do on privacy, we have a good look at their googled photos. Then we have a long talk about all the privacy options available on the social networks. The other conversation we have is: would you want to work for someone who would actively exclude you from a job interview because you had a good and wild time as a student?"

From Bridget Waldron
"I would let him know that his online image is a part of his personal brand and he should be more careful of how he presents himself in person and online. In the age of You Tube, blogging, facebook etc., being overexposed has its drawbacks and more companies are paying close attention to these sites as they screen potential employees."

From Kimmo Linkama (a viewpoint from outside U.S.)
"Then again, it is really sad if you have to start seriously watching every word you say when you're hardly 20. I think this corporate interest about the quality of employees is bordering on paranoia -- and when you finally get a job, you're subjected to "voluntary" drug tests and what have you. The same paranoid watching over you all the way... There are clear cultural differences, though. My impression is that Europeans allow more foolishness than Americans. Another interesting point is that when young people start to realize they have to be on their best behavior on the internet, how many of them will knowingly create a false profile? I'm sure this is already happening. Employers should not pay a lot of attention to the more personal or intimate social media as an information source."

Friday, September 26, 2008

YELP, help is on the way!

Yelp is all about the power of word-of-mouth, WOM in an online community format. Review everything local to share your insider tips, warn others about bad experiences, help folks who are new in town, and support your favorite local vendors.

I'm doing my part (check out my reviews by clicking on the YELP link), be sure to do yours!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Marketing Tactics with an Eye on Strategy

On my list of "things to do", key marketing tactics for success:

  • Marketing Plan, keep it simple, listing purpose in marketing, key benefits, target audiences, marketing weapons, niche (value proposition), and identity.

  • Marketing Calendar, for the next 12 months, including media, metric to measure and results.

  • My "Name" or "Brand", something easy to spell, pronounce, remember, believe in and share.

  • Value Proposition (niche), what makes me special, what do I stand for, what makes me different, what can I "own".

  • Key Benefits, a simple list of all the benefits offered.

  • Research, References, Referrals, what people say about me, what I've done in the past that shows my successes.

  • Friendly Guerrillas, designate several friends, viral and otherwise, to share my brand.

  • Competitive Advantages, listing why someone should come to me if I offer some of the same benefits as others.

  • Networking, online and off.

  • Elevator Speech, 30 seconds, 75 words (preferably less) that I use to into myself and makes others want to know more.

  • Contacts Database, customers, prospects, suspects (prospective prospects) and friends.

  • Vision, Values-define who I am by what my customers want me to be.

  • Email Program, for higher response rates than USPS mail, less intrusive, eco-friendly, easy to "pay it forward".

  • Money Back Guarantee, 'cuz I believe in me.

  • Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up! On average 70% of business is lost is not due to poor service or bad quality, but because of apathy and lack of follow-up.

  • It's All About the FREE! Start offering a free one-hour consultation to prove my expertise.

  • Speaking at professional and trade organizational meetings, and for free (see above).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Social Media and Marketing, getting started

Courtesy of my friend, Lizz Gunnufsen, Public Communications Coordinator for the City of Chesapeake, here is a recap of her efforts to implement SM into her city's government:


Looks like her forays into Social Media have paid off with her MANY requests to give the presentation to others.

Way to go, Lizz!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

UrbanPlanet, we live here so get used to it

Great online discussions revolving around communities can be found at UrbanPlanet.org, like this one on Virginia Beach Light Rail and Transit, Light Rail/BRT and other Transit initiatives.

Lynx Light Rail in Charlotte NC
Photo credit deritastudio

Monday, September 22, 2008

Do you have Great PR Manners?

I saw this great PR email request posted recently and had to share. Fill in the blanks with your name, company name, location, prospect's name and see if it works!

Oh, so simple and yet SO effective!

TO: _______________

Good evening, my name is _________ with _______ (PR/AD agency) in City, State______. We recently created a social media department, and are working with a client who specializes in the creation of social networking platforms. I know they have very specific announcements coming up, and I was wondering if you even like to receive these types of announcements (e-learning, online collaboration, marketing, social networking, corporate training.) The last thing I would want to do is just start blindly sending press releases or other correspondence your way, without even an introduction email asking you if you would even be interested in receiving these type of announcements.

I know you must get countless email a day regarding this type of thing, so I wanted to at least send you an email introducing myself and gauge your interest level. I’ll be in touch, thank you for your time.

All my best-
Company Name________________

2008 Marketing Facts from AMA, MarketingPower.com, did you know?

Top 10 U.S. Sponsors for 2007:

1. Anheuser-Busch (#1 in 2006, too) – wonder what will happen with the InBev purchase?

2. PepsiCo (#2 in 2006, too)

3. Coca-Cola (up from #4 in 2006)

4. Nike (up from #4 in 2006)

5. GM (dropped from #3 in 2006) – and surely will drop even more?

6. Miller Brewing (same position as in 2006)

7. AT&T (didn’t even make the list in 2006)

8. Sprint Nextel (up from #9 in 2006)

9. Toyota-USA (didn’t even make the list in 2006)

10. Ford (dropped from #8 in 2006) – and surely will drop even more?

Extrapolating from 2007’s global online population brings us estimates through 2012 (that’s only 4 years away from now!) of well over 2 Billion. Yes, that’s with a B. Asia and the Pacific Rim are now and will continue to dominate with close to 45% of users on the world-wide web. North America trails with less than 15% of users. The biggest growth % seen will be in the Middle East/Africa by doubling their population of users.

What is the most local of all advertising media? Radio. Nearly 71% of the $21Billion spent in radio in 2007 was for local spots.

And how did all media ad spending fair? Comparing the same time period from 2006 to 2007, all ad spending was relatively flat. The biggest losers? TV and newspapers. Their losses were felt as gains in ad expenditures in magazines, radio, outdoor and the internet.

Newspapers overall have lost big numbers (nearly 8% overall) within national and retail ad spending; the biggest of all in classifieds (16.5% over 2006 numbers). Online newspaper ad spending helped make up some of the loss by growing 18.8%.

Who were the media spending winners over the last 5 years (2002-2007)? Alternative marketing with gains of 17.5% overall. Online and mobile (+31.4%) includes search and lead generation, online classified/display ads, e-media, online video and rich media, internet yellow pages, consumer-generated ads. Interactive marketing (+28.6% includes e-direct marketing, WOM (word of mouth) marketing and e-custom publishing. Entertainment and digital out-of-home advertising (+15%) includes local pay TV, VOD (video on demand), interactive TV (ITV) and digital video recorder (DVR) ads, videogame and home advertising and satellite radio advertising. Branded entertainment marketing (+13.4%) includes event sponsorship and marketing, paid product placement, advergaming and webisodes.

Where is the biggest advertising spending growth in format? Video and rich media (including sponsorships, lead generations/referrals and email embedded ads.

Online social network spending is the most explosive category by far logging a +163% gain over 2006, projected to “taper off”, and I use that term loosely) in the next 5 years to approximately $2.6Billion (again, with a B). Currently, MySpace leads the way with over ½ of all social network ad spending. Rival Facebook enjoys approx 18% of the ad market.

OUtdorr advertising increased 7% from 2006 to 2007 with eh biggest gains felt in catergories of Comunications (+35.7%), automotive “other” (+11.8%) and insurance/real estate (+9.2%).

Overall TV ad revenue dropped in the same time period at a rate of 4.4%, the biggest loss felt in local broadcast TV of 9.5%.

And, our good friends at Technorati tracked the staggering growth of the blogosphere over the last 5 years. Blogs have exploded from a modest 300,000 in Apr 03 to nearly 113 Million in Apr 08.

Consumer-facing companies in the webspace have connected with millions of consumers: social network Facebook, micro-blog communications tool Twitter, media voting site Digg and free community provider Ning. Not one can compare to the consumer interface created by Google, though.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

HD Radio(TM) Content Sees Strong Momentum

WHRO makes the Wall Street Journal! Here's the excerpt:

Hampton Roads Uses Six Channels to Time Travel.

Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications is taking multicasting to a new level with two FMs in Norfolk, Virginia. In what could be the most ambitious complementary programming strategy for HD Radio programming today, WHRO and WHRV program six digital channels daily. The main station, 89.5 WHRV (an NPR affiliate) is news/talk; the station's HD2 channel offers a "SpeakEasy" format; and an HD3 channel airs an alternative music mix dubbed "RadioNtenna." Meanwhile, 90.3 WHRO main channel plays classical music; its HD2 channel serves up connoisseur classics within its "Alternative Classic Music" format; and its HD3 brings listeners back to the roaring 20s via the "1920's Radio Network" channel.

For the full story.

Bert's brother, the advertising model

Ya' jes gotta chck out the Bubba!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Social Media Business Marketing Plan

  1. What is the goal? Prioritizing the goal(s) will help determine the proper tool(s) and to help stay on track vice diluting efforts by jumping at every networking opportunity.

  2. What is the budget? While most services are free, the professional time required to be successful, according to researchers, can be as much 10 hours per week. Time has a value and must have a real, measurable ROI.

  3. What is the message? The objective, obviously, is to make connections and build relationships, but the key is to find that common bond.

  4. What is the next step? Make it real. Time to lead the network into the real world. Figure out how to meet outside of the web. Coffee? Picnic? Happy Hour? Dinner? An event? Take it to the next level.

Branding By Word of Mouth or the Power of the Story

Belief in a brand is the most powerful influence of all, even to the point of altering our physical sensations, mixing our own personal experiences, and reducing all we know about a brand to an easily accessible impression or perception.

Humans are social creatures. We’ve flourished on earth because we take advantage of the power of groups. And, human survival has depended on passing information from those we trust. Word of mouth has been with us from the beginning and is a key influencer in every marketing study ever done.

The closer someone is to us, the more we tend to trust their opinion. And, the more enthusiastic the endorsement, the more value it has to us. If we get a lukewarm recommendation, we probably won't run right out and take action. Our “gut” immediately decides whether the word of mouth we receive is credible and whether or not to pay attention. Studies have also shown that we alter our own memories of a brand experience depending on the opinion of others.

Brand memories are not unalterable snapshots. They get changed every time we retrieve them, altering them to fit the opinions of others and saving this altered memory. Others have such a powerful influence on our brand loyalties.

"Social Networking" has taken over porn's top spot

Photo CreditOnline fever has everyone all atwitter. An article on Reuters highlights that Social networking sites are the "hottest attraction on the Internet", taking over the top spot long held by "porn". This is a MAJOR change in how people communicate. And, a welcome change in online users' "interests", too.

Research done by "data geek", Bill Tancer, analyzed the information of over 10 million web users, indicating that one of the major shifts in cyberspace has been a drop in the surfing of porn sites. Over the last ten years, porn searches have dropped from an all-time high of 20% of all web use.

"As social networking traffic has increased, visits to porn sites have decreased," said Tancer. Marketers take note of such an increase in social networking.

American celebra-mania is still affecting us, though, especially in the current U.S. presidential election. Web surfers are busy looking for photos of Republican VP candidate Sara Palin photoshopped in a teeny bikini or "researching" how tall is Barack Obama vice researching any real campaign issue.

Information spreads so quickly on the internet that the speed and the "need" for instant gratification predilects fact checking, too. The old adage of "just because you see something in print, it's not necessarily true" holds for online as well. Get the facts!

Now there's a business opportunity for someone: creating an online fact-filter search engine! And, I'm sure, those whose business models somehow combine porn and social networking are even happier with the survey results. They win either way.

So how popular are social networks worldwide? According to Synovate's survey, 42% of us are using social networks (like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn). The other 58% have no idea what we're talking about.

The survey was conducted over 13,000 internet users ranging from 18-65 years of age in 17 different global markets. Countries with the largest understanding of social networks? Holland 89%, Japan 71%, U.S. 70%.

Interesting factoid: on average only 26% of the users were actually using social networks. Holland 49%, United Arab Emirates 46%, Canada 44% and U.S. 40%.

Lots of people are uncomfortable giving their personal information online. Only 26% of all users surveyed , as a matter-of-fact. The highest fear rates: Serbians 71%, India 57%.

According to Synovate's Sr. VP, Bob Michaels, identity theft continues to be a major U.S. problem. Another growing issue is online defamation — posting negative and/or false information about someone online — so people are becoming more and more careful about the information they share. It's much easier to blast someone or something online if we only know you by your cleverly anonymous "handle".

So, who's most uncomfortable handing out their information? Japan and Germany both with 85%, Taiwan 83%, Canada 79%, Brazil and South Africa 77%, Poland and U.S. 70%.

And, then there are those people surveyed who think social networking is dangerous. Overall 51%. Brazilians 79%, U.S. 69% and Poland 62%.

Of interesting note, approximately 1/3rd of those surveyed claimed to be losing interest in social networking. Wonder who they are? No one I know.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Moving images

My Twitter "friend", John Dickerson, is Slate.com's Chief Political Correspondent. He recently tweeted his must-see playlist of past Presidential campaign ads.

Most interesting about the Tweet was learning about the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC (Astoria). Check out the "Web Projects" link for more web-accessible motion memorabilia.

I'd never heard of the museum and now MUST travel to NYC just to see it! The Museum of the Moving Image advances the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. It does so by collecting, preserving, and providing access to moving-image related artifacts; screening significant films and other moving-image works; presenting exhibitions of artifacts, artworks, and interactive experiences; and offering educational and interpretive programs to students, teachers, and the general public.

I wish we had something like this in Hampton Roads! Any takers?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Generations defined, the "Greatest", Boomers and beyond

The "Greatest Generation" refers to Americans who fought/lived in the era of World War II, preceded by the Lost Generation of the 20s and immediately followed by the Silent Generation of the 50s.

"Baby boomers" refers to the huge group of people born between 1946 and 1966.

One-third of American employees today are boomers. With many of us retiring within the next 5-10 years, there will be an equally huge gap in the economy: not enough qualified native workers available, for one. Companies are bound to employ immigrants and foreign workers. Trends such as part-time jobs, flex hours, telecommuting and outsourcing have been results of boomers.

What else will be strained? the tax system, retirement benefits, healthcare costs and insurance coverages as well as financial markets.

The labels for the generations following baby boomers are a bit muddied depending upon the source, but, in general, are as follows:

"Generation Jones", aka "Cusp Boomers", born between Baby Boomers and Generation X (between mid 1950s and mid 1960s), also referred to as Jonesers or as GenJonesers in the U.S., U.K., Western Europe, Australia and in New Zealand.

"Generation X", aka the 13th Generation or "Baby Busters", born between mid 1960s and 1980, are highly entrepreneurial and tech-savvy individuals, contributing to the growth of the web and social media such as -- the founders of Amazon, Dell, Google, MySpace, Wikipedia and Yahoo. (Gen Xers were featured in the movie, Reality Bites)

"XY Cusp Generation", aka the MTV Generation or the Doom Generation, born between mid-70s and mid-80s.

"Boomerang Generation", aka Generation ‘Why’, born between 1977 and 1989, usually prefer to return home to parents, while taking care to continue with their own social and professional lives, hence the term "boomerang".

Boomer parents are often referred to as "Helicopter Parents" for their constant hovering and participation in their children's lives, a distinct difference from Boomers own parents from the "Greatest Generation".

"Generation Y", aka Echo Boom, or Millennials, are born after Generation X, usually in the 80s and 90s.

"iGeneration", or the Internet generation, the sub-generation comprised of late born Gen Y (1991-1999) and early born Gen Z (2000-2005). Bet Apple is happy with this designation!

"Generation Z" is the youngest of all the generations so far.

Check http://www.blogger.com/www.BabyBoomCaretaker.com for more resources on generational trends. Good to know if you are marketing ANYTHING as each generation tends to have their own uniqueness to which you must adhere.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just the Facts!

For a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters, visit FactCheck.org.

According to their website, FactCheck.org's mission is to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics by monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases.

FactCheck.org's goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg to create a community of scholars that would address public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels.

The APPC accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation.

Hard knocks can be the best teacher

For marketing or communication management positions, I often wonder why organizations feel compelled to hire someone with background in the product or service versus hiring someone who is a professional marketer by trade.

Learning a new product/service is relatively easy. A marketing professional can bring an objective view of your product or service.

(If you’re just “preaching to the choir”, you may not need a marketer anyway. A marketer reinforces the choir's belief in you and coaches them as evangelists but, most importantly, brings those to your product or service who don’t already know and love you.)

Years of marketing and communications experience isn’t come by easily. It’s not something you can necessarily learn from a book. Sure, you can get the basics and the background, etc. But testing and real-world applications, i.e. the school of hard knocks, can be the best teacher.

My 2 cents.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time's Top Ten, revisited

Stephan Savoia / AP

One week later and Time's Top Ten still lists five articles re: Sarah Palin (down from six stories last week):

1. Sarah Palin

The Republic Veep pick is the first female vice presidential candidate in GOP history

2. The Evolution of the College Dorm

From the monastic rooms of world's first campuses to today's luxury residence halls, TIME examines the ever-changing ways that students live

Interviews & Captions by M.J. Stephey

3. Photos: September 11, 2001

Photographs from the archive of TIME photographer James Nachtwey

4. Poll: Obama, McCain Split Key States

By TIME Staff

Despite McCain's poll surge, Obama leads in Michigan and New Hampshire, while McCain is up in Missouri and Virginia

5. Sarah Palin's Alaskonomics

By Michael Kinsley

Viewpoint: The candidate says she's a tough fiscal reformer. But Alaska leads the nation in leeching off Washington

6. Can Obama Win Back Wal-Mart Moms?

By Karen Tumulty / Washington

Is Sarah Palin's appeal to white women voters a temporary blip or a real problem for the Democrats?

7. Sarah Palin Hits the Campaign Trail

TIME photographer Brooks Kraft travels with the Alaska Governor during her first week as the official GOP vice-presidential nominee

8. On 9/11, Obama-McCain (Briefly) Unite

By Michael Duffy

After days of trading insults, the candidates make two joint appearances. Will the suspension of hostilities last?

9. Steve Jobs: Not Dead Yet

By Josh Quittner

Despite rumors of illness, the Apple chief appeared in good health at his San Francisco press event — but his software could sure use some work

10. Searching for Palin's 'Hot Photos'

By Bill Tancer

The current Republican vice-presidential candidate is shaping up to be not only a celebrity, but a sex symbol, according to popular Internet searches

Mass transit can work here

Listened to Joel Rubin's "On the Record" recently and heard his recount of a trip to NYC. Here is the video. Scroll to 20.42 for Joel's show wrap-up re: mass transit in NYC and why we need something similar here in Hampton Roads. Food for thought!

Photo credit pedestrian shots

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Hit Parade (media hits, that is)

John Guiniven, associate professor of corporate communication at my alma mater, James Madison University (JMU) and fellow PRSA member provided some insight into measuring PR recently in PRSA's "Tactics":
  • tracking numbers of hits (media impressions) is only one part of any ROI measure of PR
  • media hits don't mean much unless the right people are seeing them
  • while large numbers of hits can be impressive, they're not an indicator of audience comprehension
  • impact and planned outcomes are what matters and not just large quantities of output
  • social media is impactful with even a few followers due to the multiplying power of this viral medium
  • the "downwind" effect (a story starts in one media outlet and gets picked up by another and then another, etc.) should be thoroughly evaluated to determine patterns and should even be included in the PR planning process
  • another important metric to include in PR measurement is how long a story stays in key media
  • first impressions matter when they're lasting ones

Norfolk, then and now

She looks a little different nearly 25 years later...

Norfolk 2008

Norfolk 2008

Norfolk 1984

click on photos above for large Flickr versions

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SNL highlights Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton

thank you Tina Fey! you were spot on! I think we've found who'll play Sarah Palin in the movie of her life.

757hamptonroads and citizen journalists

You have heard the statistic according to NewspaperDeathWatch.com that over 8000 newspaper journalists nationwide have been "laid off"?

Soon, "citizen journalists" like bloggers will be the only remaining writers of news.

Which scares me on so many levels: like who is fact-checking? who is editing? where is the fair-and-balanced?

Read this post by fellow blogger, Russell Manning, that prompted this VERY early morning rant.

Social Media and Communications Objectives

Photo credit gauravonomics

What would you add as Communications Objectives for using Social Media?

Posed this question to my online (and offline) Social Media buddies. Lorraine and Vicki tied for 1st place, IMHO. I'd like to use a blend of both in place of my Ten C's list. Edward R. Gurney, Sr. admonished my list on LinkedIn by commenting: "I think I see a few synonyms here...". sorry, Edward.

Lorraine Baker, Owner, LBEnterprises wrote:
Missy, Thanks for offering up another delightfully creative conundrum. With my trusty ”Rodale Synonym Finder” by my side – I chose to define SMO in terms that mirror the traditional song celebrating one of the earliest origins of social media communications: MOTHERS -- as in “ M is for the many things she gave me…..” Thus:

S = Synchronize
O = Opine
C = Comingle
I = Influence
A = Amplify
L = Lead

M = Mentor
E = Enlighten
D = Disseminate
I = Inspire
A = Actualize (as in: to achieve the communications
objectives of Social Media)

Lorraine Baker (aka: a fully socialized media communicator!)

Vicki Bass-DeBinion, Enterprising Sales Champion-Training Guru (San Diego) wrote:
Dare to be different...........and it fits your stipulation for 11 Communication Objectives for using S.O.C.I.A.L. M.E.D.I.A. leading to Change ;)

• Socialize
• Orchestrate
• Challenge
• Inspire
• Associate
• Learn

• Mentor
• Elaborate
• Develop
• Intellectual
• Assist

Cheers! Vicki Bass-DeBinion ALL Invites Welcomed!!

Here are some of the others I received and all have their particular merits:

Justin Whitaker, Assistant Vice President at State Street Corporation wrote:
Connect-You connect to people via Social Networks.
Converse-You converse with them.
Community-You turn them into a community.
Collaborate-You collaborate with them to make your community/product/offering better.
Change-You change your business, your products, and the perception of them, and change the world.

Cliff Bryant, Director of Marketing at Physicians for Peace wrote:
... Achieve!

Robin Croft, Principal Lecturer at University of Glamorgan, UK wrote:
I would limit myself to learning: about how the new media are evolving, and how users are using the channels. Social Media are virtual word of mouth platforms - organizations need to understand what is being said about them instead of merely trying to influence the exchanges. Modern audiences are media-savvy and social media are popular because they develop authentic relationships. If you start segmenting, targeting and positioning and you will soon alienate your customers and then the very platforms you were trying to exploit will be used against you.

Credibility, creativity, integrity what about these?

Jean Shields Fleming, Award-winning content strategist wrote:
Confide, confront, confabulate, and to break out of the C category, amuse, inform, and express.

Sheila Powell, Director at Old Dominion University's Executive Development Center wrote:
Missy, Catalyst comes to mind, but that is very close to change. Perhaps champion i.e. take the lead, support etc. I'll keep working on it.

Ken Rochon, CEO of AbsoluteEntertainment.com, DJ Mixologist, Linguist absolutemixer@aol.com wrote:
We will have the forum up on PN very soon. I would like you to ask this question there too.
1. Reach
2. Ease of use
3. Ease of search
4. Ease of communication
5. Google friendly
6. Education oriented "Q&A", blogs, articles, etc.
7. Unique complimenting platforms, radio, face-to-face, seminars
8. Price
9. Benefits given at a great ROE
10. High Quality Community (There is another "C" - Community.
11. Interesting to stay on
12. Growth, site is continually growing in quality and quantity
13. You can learn something from the people on the site.

Jelise Ballon, Marketing Manager at Dimension Data wrote:
What about building your brand?

Cindy Huffman, Freelance writer/editor at Ad Concepts and Copy wrote:
Interesting question! My thoughts:
Consulting others' opinions and expertise
Civility in all correspondence
Conversation - make it a two-way street for optimum benefit to all
Consideration of other viewpoints
Creativity where possible (an option, not a necessity here)

Teri Sawers, Owner, Communications Insights wrote:
Missy, You need the one that starts with L there too. Listen. To what the community is saying and what you listen and learn, when not actively participating.

Vic Beck, Strategic Communications / Public Relations wrote:
Bottom line: It's really about informing and/or influencing someone -- just like many other communication channels.

Gail Kent, ABC, Managing Director, The Buzz Factory, a boutique PR/marketing firm in Hampton Roads, VA wrote:
Contribute to the discussion.
Clarify your position.
Celebrate different opinions.
Chat with friends and acquaintainces.
Check out the competition.
Links: http://theprbuzz.com and www.HRMediaConnectionz.com.

Laurel Phelps LaFlamme, Online Advertising, Internet Marketing and PR Consultant wrote:
These are all good suggestions. I think Gail "nailed" it. You must keep tabs on the competition. "-- It's an open form of eavesdropping-- You can get both sides of conversation AND expand your network". I would add: comment carefully and with courtesy. Remember that anything written and published online can come back to haunt you if written thoughtlessly or with malicious intent.
Links: www.seroundtable.com

Check these visual representations of this Social Media conversation:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hot, Flat, Crowded - you betcha!

Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times columnist, has published the next steps after his acclaimed best=seller, The World is Flat. It's Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America.

HOT=global climate change
FLAT=global middle class growth
CROWDED=global population growth (1Billion more born in next 12 years)

Forget the warm and fuzzy term "global warming", we're experiencing "Global Wierding". Weather is getting wierder: hotter hots, longer droughts, heavier rains and snows, bigger and more destructive storms.

And, the next Chapter of Hot, Flat and Crowded will be written by us. Mr. Friedman's self-proclaimed Version 2.0 will include ideas and proposals sent in from readers: ideas about clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation; about politics and nation-building.

Have an idea? Post them on his website.

In the words of Sheikh Yamani, former OPEC oil minister, "The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones." It ended because we found something better.

Personal Branding

Chris Brogan just sent me his Free eBook on Personal Branding. Ok, he sent it to everyone who subscribes to his blog, but, hey, he's sharing, and I like what he has to say!

Check it out!

Friday, September 12, 2008

How To Debate a Girl, and Win

Loved, loved, LOVED the open letter to Sen. Joe Biden from Slate senior editor, Dahlia Lithwick.

Dahlia's sage advice to Sen. Biden? Pretend Sarah Palin is a man. And don't be such a "Joe Biden". Dahlia writes that Gov. Palin is "a charming, confident, and gifted reader of speeches", but points out the differences between the two, extoling Biden as a "six-term senator and chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee" with World leaders as routine friends and qualified from day one to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

While I agree with Dahlia that everyone expects Sen. Biden to win the debate on substance, I disagree with the numerous "sexist bully" remarks.

So, Sen. Biden cannot "act too smart", "condescend", "engage, fight, bicker, or bluster", or he'll lose this debate. Why is Gov. Palin's gender even in play? Why are we such a shallow society that we even consider Sen. Biden may "gaze fixedly at her breasts or ask her to fetch" coffee? What a sad commentary on where we are as a people of this Earth.

Dahlia also refers to Palin as "not a serious candidate" and "that by every obvious metric—experience, knowledge base, decades of public service, policy experience, understanding of the world—Palin is an unserious candidate for the vice presidency of the United States". I think she's VERY serious; she will be aggressive and well-schooled by the time the debate rolls around. She will "argue, tell jokes, kick ass, or get her ass kicked, just like a man".

Yes, I would suggest to Joe Biden, as well as Dahlia did, that we don't need flirting, smirking or flattering. And, he shouldn't be a "blow hard", either. There's nothing wrong with "amiable", but what happened to a good, old-fashioned handshake versus pecks on cheeks unless you're cheek-pecking both genders. Stop with all the pandering and kisses, and let's get down to issues.

Dahlia's line about Gov. Palin's "plans to sell Barack Obama's next celebrity memoir on eBay and give all the money to special-needs children" was hilarious. I also loved Dahlia's suggestion that Sen. Biden "ask politely (and like you really want to know the answer and not just hear yourself say the question) what she learned while leading the Alaska National Guard into that war against Saskatchewan".

In the words of the immortal Bette Davis, I think we're in for a bumpy ride, and a VERY serious one, too!

Photograph of Joe Biden by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images. Photograph of Sarah Palin by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How Do You Move From Print Advertising to Digital Advertising?

The following query was posed on LinkedIn by Mark Gordon, Webmaster at Prince William County Park Authority:
"We have a print magazine that we want to move to a digital format. Our current print magazine has advertisers that we would also like to take to the digital side. What steps would need to be taken to ensure that we charge a good price for this? We're not sure of the medium (pdf or other), but we would not be averse to having ads on our website (we currently only have google ads on our site. Is there something that speaks to the best way of doing this?"

My response to Mark:

First, and most importantly, you must ascertain if your target audience is READY for a move from the now-print version to a digital version of your magazine.

How? Ask them! You already have their attention with your print content, so develop a short survey and include it in your next edition. And, send the survey electronically, too. A great way to "test" your audience's acceptance of digital media. Sometimes the best information gleaned from a survey isn't related to a question and a response!

And, while you're at it, be sure to ask them HOW, if you should move to a digital format, they would want to receive it: via email with PDF of magazine attached, via email with link to website-archived magazine, via a reader like Zinio (with advertisers' interactive links), or a combination of media?

Be certain you have the email address of every current magazine recipient and reader. Again, ask for it and their opt-in in advance. (Think, too, about how will you reach readers that get an issue via pass-along.)

Don't push this one; you need to "pull" your audience along, providing what they want not what you want to give.

Plan to spend some money on obtaining email lists of prospective readers, too, in order to add/maintain value to your advertisers.

Making sure your audience WANTS a digital magazine is very, very important in today's social media frenzy. I can think of many magazines I currently read that I would unsubscribe in a heartbeat if they went digital-only. So proceed with caution to maintain readers AND advertisers. Depending upon your audience, perhaps you try to ADD a digital version to your current mix and test reaction/ readership. I've seen this done with great success. After you see your audience has not only accepted, but embraced, the new digital format, you can guarantee your advertisers with solid metrics and eliminate the print version (and all the related costs). And, for those few print-hangers on (and there will be a few), you have a solid reason for making the change, not just that YOU wanted to make the move.

As far as the pricing of online magazine advertising, you most definitely will be in a better position to maintain or even increase rates if you take some well-place steps FIRST to guarantee readership, stability AND growth.

PRSA Submits Formal Challenges to McCain and Obama on Ethics

The Clean & Fair Campaign 2008 group on Facebook just sent this important message:

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announced that it has submitted written challenges to the communications directors of the McCain and Obama campaigns. In a letter to Robert Gibbs (Obama for America) and a letter to Jill Hazelbaker (John McCain 2008), PRSA Chair & CEO Jeffrey Julin, on behalf of the PRSA Board of Directors, asks the campaigns to sign a formal pledge obligating them to abide by the PRSA Code of Ethics in their campaign communications.

PRSA has yet to receive signed pledge forms from either of the campaigns, but will continue to speak out publicly and vigorously on the issue. Stay tuned for further developments.

Now THAT's what I'm talkin' about! Thanks, PRSA!

Virginia Ideas Forum, what a brilliant idea!

Pardon the pun, but truly ... what a "brilliant" idea ... for the Commonwealth of Virginia to create a simple web tool to ask citizens for their ideas. Ideas that can be discussed, expanded upon and, potentially, acted upon.

I signed up for a free account. You should, too. Just click on the icon above and get to generating that next great idea!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Newt Gingrich at The Norfolk Forum

Last night at The Norfolk Forum, the guest was Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and now member of the professional speaker circuit, author and health/health care transformer. Mr. Gingrich, a self-described "passionate American", honored Hampton Roads by referring to us as a "region of enormous import". (agreed, Newt!)

His main point(s)? that the U.S. needs to understand a few things about ourselves:

  • Science and Information Technology (IT) is developing at exponential rates, and we'll see 4-7 times the number of discoveries in the next 25 years vice the last 25 years. (IMO: this may be an underestimate!)
  • China and India are not our friends, they're our competitors on the global market.
  • Our infrastructure needs to be addressed or we're faced with decay.
  • Energy is important to us and we must do everything (wind, solar, nuclear, conservation, oil, coal, etc.), including Drill Here-Drill Now-Pay Less (also the title of his recent book).
  • If our health system is healthier, our citizens will be healthier.

Mr. Gingrich directed us all to the 2Million Minutes website for a must-see film comparing 2 high school students each from the U.S., China and India, driving home the point that our educational system requires fundamental reform for the U.S. to compete on a global level. The students from China and India see themselves as citizens of the world (world-centric) while U.S. students are more concerned with what is immediately going on around them (me-centric).

Here is a snippet of last night's speech (albeit given at another venue at another time) re: federal bureaucracy in comparison to the efficiency of FedEx and UPS:

Mr. Gingrich espoused the application of metrics to bring about fundamental change for our success, such as those employed by Rudy Giuliani when he brought NYC to be the safest city in the U.S., improving the crime rate by 75%, also outlined in Giuliani's book "Leadership". Giuliani's metrics allowed his team to track improvements and make appropriate changes.

A brief history lesson took us from the Revolution for U.S. independence from England to the Jeffersonians to Andrew Jackson's frontier politics, to Lincoln's Civil War to the progressivism of American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt to Reaganomics. Gingrich's point is that the U.S. is now in the position for another wave of sweeping change.

His point was driven home that healthier citizens who live longer are cheaper than unhealthy ones, as Medicare costs 5 times what Social Security does. Saving Lives = Saving Money. Mr. Gingrich is promoting a national system on electronic, paperless health records which could be paid for by the savings from fraud prevention. He has founded an organization, Center for Health Transformation, working towards a 21st century solution for a healthier populace and health system, explaining that with the right incentives, a healthy change in behaviors can be affected.

Gingrich pointed out that the U.S. is a culture dominated by bureaucrats and trial lawyers which are strangling the change that is needed.

The Q&A, unfortunately, devolved into an Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin comparison, pointing out that, in his opinion, John McCain would not have chosen Sarah Palin as VP if Hillary Clinton had been part of the Democratic ticket. But, like Palin or not, she is a good contrast with Joe Biden, Obama's VP pick.

He added that, if asked a year ago, he would have said McCain would have been out of the race and the Democratic ticket would have been Clinton/Obama.

Gingrich closed with his assessment of the election as the "most fascinating 60 days in American history" and that the McCain-Palin ticket has triggered something in the American public.

Come on, stop with this "silly" stuff!

What's wrong with this picture? It's okay that six (yes, SIX!) of Time's Top Ten stories this week are about Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin. This election season is ground-breaking, to be sure. (Three were environment-related and #10 a tongue-in- cheek piece on the Obama/O'Reilly interview).

However, how sad is this commentary? Why is our main focus a search for "celebrity" status and "sex symbol" pictures of Governor Palin? Come on! Get with the election issues, and STOP turning TIME into People Magazine or US Weekly. STOP "dumbing down" the news, please.

1. Searching for Palin's 'Hot Photos'

By Bill Tancer

The current Republican vice-presidential candidate is shaping up to be not only a celebrity, but a sex symbol, according to popular Internet searches

2. Are Evangelicals Really Sold on Palin?

By Amy Sullivan

Viewpoint: Her anti-abortion credentials are impeccable. But some of her views are at odds with younger Evangelicals

3. Mayor Palin: A Rough Record

By Nathan Thornburgh / Wasilla, Alaska

Despite her reformer reputation, McCain's Veep pick was a polarizing figure in normally friendly small-town politics

4. In Wasilla, Pregnancy Was No Secret

By Nathan Thornburgh / WASILLA, ALASKA

Sarah Palin's hometown knew she was going to be a grandmother but also assumed it was nobody's business

5. Could Florida Survive the Big One?

By Michael Grunwald

The next big hurricane could leave the state not merely damaged but in financial ruin

6. Sarah Palin's Breakout Night

By Nancy Gibbs / St. Paul, Minn.

With curiosity high and expectations low, the vice-presidential nominee delivered a homespun howitzer of a speech

7. The Man Behind Palin's Speech

By Massimo Calabresi / Washington

Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully had crafted the words even before Palin was picked. A match made in heaven

8. Collider Triggers End-of-World Fears

By Eben Harrell

Scientists are dismissing critics who warn that the Large Hadron Collider could create Earth-swallowing black holes

9. Why Disasters Are Getting Worse

By Amanda Ripley

Hint: It's not really climate change. There's more destruction because humans have created more stuff to be destroyed

10. Obama Meets O'Reilly: No One Dies!

By James Poniewozik

In a (mostly) civil exchange, the Democratic nominee and Fox kingpin talk about the U.S. and the threats abroad

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Undecided Voter?

If you're undecided in this year's Presidential campaign, then "What Matters", the local public affairs TV show on WHRO-PBS and hosted by Cathy Lewis, wants you for a special election coverage show in October.

Contact Barbara Hamm Lee, WHRO Chief Community Affairs Officer and Producer of "What Matters", to be part of WHRO's Friday night public affairs line-up. Call Barbara at (757) 889-9437 and leave a message now, if interested.

Social Media and Youth, just realized my nephew looks like an idiot online

"What, if anything, are kids/young adults taught in grade school/high school and/or college re: online profiles and social media such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.? What if you found out that your college-age nephew, who is slated to take over the family business after college, looks like a total idiot online. How do we teach our upcoming "young professionals" that posting pics of themselves in nothing but a diaper at Halloween is just not appropriate? I'd be interested to hear from those in the education profession, too."

I posted this question on LinkedIn and to my peers on Help A Reporter Out, generating some great responses. Here was the winner IMO and excerpts from some of the others:

Michael Merrick Crooks

  • The mere fact that you must say something to some people is an indication that your breath will be wasted. At which point you are better off saying nothing.
  • Social media = Darwin's Theory of Natural Cyber Selection in which the dregs of the employment pool will drown themselves and float to the top making it easy to spot the one's worth hiring. They'll be the ones with their head above water.
  • Basically, Social Media is the new-age gene pool test. But unlike the past where Darwin Awards winners would actually kill themselves ... nowadays they simply shoot themselves in the foot.
Other excerpts:

  • I'm a French teacher in Belgium and I believe that the best way of teaching teenagers about dangers of the web is presenting them with stories about what people did live through after putting such material online. Just stories, not trying to convince them any other way. They have to think about it and you can't make people think.
    Pieter Jansegers http://frenchteachers.ning.com

  • In my college experience, we were constantly taught that future employers, as well as current professors, would be looking at our online profiles. We were often reminded to remove anything we wouldn't want employers to see. This subject was discussed by many professors in class and employers at job fairs/information sessions, and the school sent several emails about it as well.
    Christine Stoddard http://momcentral.com

  • “Don’t Let Facebook Kill Your Career!" “What is viewable to your sorority sisters, drinking buddies and family can often be seen by potential and current employers. This can cost you a dream job or that big promotion. With the job market so tight and information so widely available, more and more employers are either checking up on, or screening applicants using the Internet. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace give employers a snapshot into the kind of person who might be walking into their office. You won’t find this kind of information on a resume. The question becomes, ‘Do you want this person working for you?’ We strongly suggest that our applicants ‘clean’ up their profiles or make their postings private in order to present the best possible face for potential employers.”
    Here are 3 sample tips:
    • The Early Bird. Start the process early. If you are just establishing your online identity use caution. Imagine if your grandmother logged on and viewed your profile. What you feel embarrassed? Ashamed? If so, ask yourself if you are posting the best representation of yourself.
    • Management Track. Ok. It's too late to start over - your business is already out there! What can you do? First, clean up everything you can and then make anything personal "private".
    • Picture Perfect. A picture paints a thousand words. If you are a party, watch out who is taking pictures and how they might make you look. Remember, you can watch what you post but other people can post too - and you don't get to edit. Keep the lampshade off your head and your clothes on!
    Cyndi Nieto, CEO, Elite Placement Group, Inc., she has been an expert for BusinessWeek magazine, Entrepreneur magazine and USA Today among others.

  • It hasn’t taken long for employers to realize that Facebook and MySpace are a great way to find out more about potential candidates beyond what’s included in the typical resume. Unfortunately for some job seekers, this may mean finding out how many beers they bonged in Acapulco.

    That’s what Toni McLawhorn, director of career services at Roanoke College in Virginia, saw when she signed up for Facebook to see what the fuss was about. “Some were not bad at all, but other profiles were bizarre; just things that you would not want an employer to see,” she says. “Even though they might not be illegal, they might not give the best picture of you.”

    Students don’t generally think about how their profiles might affect future career choices, say career services directors. The idea of employers and the public using Facebook as a hiring tool has blindsided many students.“Their own sense of their world and who they’re connecting with may not include those entities [employers],” says Dale Austin, director of career services at Michigan’s Hope College. “Then when they find out they had access to it they think, ‘Oh my God what’s happened!’”

    “These sites give the illusion of privacy, but that is all that it is – an illusion,” says Gary Wipperman, CIO and director of information technology systems at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. “Information from these sites can be used by potential employers to make hiring decisions, by law enforcement in investigations and by others with less justifiable intentions.”

    So, what should students do to make sure their Facebook profile doesn’t ruin their chances of getting hired? For starters, members should clean them up, and to keep private information private. “A good rule of thumb is to not put anything on there that you would not want to show your own grandmother,” says Austin.

    Students can change their privacy settings in Facebook so that only their friends – rather than everyone – can see their profile. They should also exclude faculty, grads and alumni from seeing their profile until their job search is over.

    Doug Hamilton, director of career counseling at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Ala., suggests using Facebook as a way to network with other students for employment leads and ideas. “One student placed a Career Services link on their profile,” he says. “We are not preaching to not use Facebook but to always put your best face forward.”
    Laura Snyder, Dick Jones Communications

  • They want everything in real time, but what toll will this take? Because information is available immediately, young adults don’t always think ahead- including what they post on their online profiles.

    They are used to collaborating online and generating personal information for strangers. The workplace is showing the strains of the tools as well: Can you make a good decision on a Blackberry screen? What are the positives and negatives of keeping an online profile updated with personal info- is there really privacy anymore? For students especially, there’s information overload and they practically have the internet in their pocket! Now, when kids get an assignment to do a paper on the Civil War, they spend hours online doing the research—almost too much information. They need to learn how to narrow things down. Like an uncensored online profile, they also have to learn to step back before they push send. Instead of the “drunken 3 am phone call when you get home”, teens today are sending messages instantly while still at the party!

    If we ask a family today what is education? The responses are:
    • Mom-“What You Know”
    • Dad-“Who You Know”
    • Kids- “How to know where to go when you need to know” (Relying strongly on the internet)

    *From a PEW Research Report: The smart person in the information age will know which media to use when
    • 96% of all students who have access to the Internet use social networking: chat, text messaging, blogging, visiting online communities
    • 71% use social networking sites at least weekly
    • 41% post comments on message boards every week
    • 9% upload video of their own creation at least weekly
    • 25% update their personal Web site or online profiles at least weekly
    • 30% report having their own blogs
    Staci Weiner, http://www.schwartz.com/
    Liz Hamburg, COO, ApplyWise.com

  • I’m a 24 year old communications professional – I graduated college less than 2 years ago. Facebook first premiered when I was a junior (I already had a MySpace page at that point). Here are some of the warnings I received while in school: Many of my professors warned that recruiters and HR managers were looking at social networking profiles before bringing in potential interview candidates. We were warned to keep our photos professional and our profiles private (viewable only to our friends, or our networks).

    Yet, as my internship coordinator pointed out, even private profiles weren’t 100% safe. As an example, let’s say I’m about to graduate Marist College – I have a Facebook profile, but it’s set to private. I apply for a job at Company X, which happens to have several low-level, recently graduated staffers who also graduated from Marist. Since we are on the same ‘network’ on Facebook (the Marist network), these staffers at Company X would still be able to see my private profile.
    Rob Gedarovich, Account Executive, CreativePartners.com

  • I really appreciated your request today because I spend a large percentage of my FLIPPING BURGERS AND BEYOND blog posts on this subject of being very careful of a young person's image on the internet. Here's one such blog post.

    In fact, the "rising sophomore" of the above blog post is someone who cares very much about his image, very much believes in what I've taught him (there's a post about his appreciation of what I taught him), and yet when I told him to take the idiotic picture off his Facebook profile, his response to me was, "But I thought Facebook was only for social networking." I then wrote the above post to make sure he got what I meant.
    Phyllis Zimbler Miller, www.flippingburgersandbeyond.blogspot.com

  • I am a 25 year old marketing professional. I recently graduated from Penn State, with a degree in corporate communication, and many of my professors, as well as the career counselor, emphasized the importance of online profiles. Now that employers can Google an applicant, and see exactly how drunk you were last weekend via your MySpace profile, they wanted to be sure that we understood how important these online profiles have become in the workplace.

    I frequently Google myself (even more so when I'm in the midst of a job search), just so I can be sure that I am in control of what comes up. If you Google me now, I believe that only my Jobster profile shows up. It notes my interests, my location, and my previous positions. It's almost like a resume back-up, confimring that I am really what I say I am.

    I do have a Facebook profile, as well as a MySpace profile. The Facbook profile is mainly professional, with some "fun" things thrown in: a "flair" application, a garden, some old photos from high school. The MySpace profile is completely private, and is un-searchable. While it is appropriate for employers, some of my friends' profiles may not be, and I don't want that to influence someone's decision about ME.
    Megan D. Rothman

  • I wanted to pass along some information from the recently-released Cox Tween Internet Safety Survey. This will give you some good background information about what tweens are up to these days online.
    Key findings from the Cox Tween Internet Safety Survey are:
    • Ninety percent of tweens report having used the Internet by nine years-old.
    • Tweens online presence doubles or even triples between the ages of eight to ten and eleven to twelve.
    • Thirty-four percent of eleven and twelve year-olds have a profile on a social networking site. Tweens with social networking profiles post more personal information online.
    • More than one in five tweens post information about themselves online, including pictures, the city they live in and how old they are. Twenty-seven percent of tweens ages eleven to twelve admit to posting a fake age online
    • Twenty-eight percent of tweens have been contacted over the Internet by someone they don’t know.
    • The percentage of tweens that tell parents “a lot” or “everything” they do online drops rapidly with age. Only sixty-nine percent of eleven to twelve year-olds tell Mom and Dad a lot/everything versus eighty-six percent of eight year-olds to ten year-olds.
    • Of tweens who have been contacted online by someone they don't know (twenty-eight percent), eighteen percent keep the messages to themselves, and eleven percent have chatted with the unknown person.
    Todd DeFeo, Account Executive, Weber Shandwick Worldwide

  • Feel free to use information from the following links at my blog:

    Lewis Green, Chief Communications Officer and Founder, L&G Business Solutions

  • My daughter says she is smart enough not to post embarrassing stuff about herself, but there is not much she can do if her cellphone-camera-wielding buds post their embarrassing thoughts andphotos of her. I think that the opposition-research teams of the presidential campaign of 2040 (and beyond) are going to have plenty to work with. And, Photoshop manipulations to create new realities in the Facebook photos can add to the mix, also.
    Miles Abernathy, http://399Retouch.com

  • As an educator, I use some social media in my high school biology class and also have much discussion on what it all means. I am also a group of educators who are working on digital citizenship curriculum to help with this. Rather than block the use of social media in classrooms, we believe the only way to teach students the best use of them is to use them well.
    Louise Maine, http://hurricanemaine.blogspot.com

  • I work with an independent college consultant who helps high schoolers select colleges and work through the college admission process. The subject of social media profiles is of growing interest to college admission counselors across the country, and what kids do with their profiles can affect the college selection process.
    Wendy Carver-Herbert, President, Carver-Communications, Inc.