Monthly Archives: December 2009

Social reading

This holiday, it feels like I’ve been treated to my fiction wish list with new books by two of my favourite authors, Kurt Vonnegut and Philip Roth. Roth’s is The Humbling, a short novel about acting and dying (literally); and Vonnegut’s is Look at the Birdie, a collection of early unpublished stories that very much ring true today. I’ve read one book and am halfway through the other and wish neither would end. And speaking of books (now there’s a segue), I thought this is a good time to highlight and recommend a few social media reads that stood out…

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The secret of comedy?

…Timing. Yes, that’s the punchline to an old joke but it’s also very true. And for a comic, material (content) is key – but equally important is its delivery (timing). In other words, is your message getting to the people you’re trying to reach when they’re looking? (That’s what retail is all about.) I was thinking about timing this morning; I always do at the end of the year reflecting on what’s ahead, looking back. And I realized that, in addition to standout content, timing is of the essence for PR and social media. For example, if you’re trying to…

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Seasonal spam

If I can borrow a thought from Gertrude Stein, ‘a spam is a spam is a spam’. And I think it’s safe to say it’s something we all despise. This year, spam has turned seasonal with the proliferation of holiday e-cards. They’re coming fast and furious and there’s no way to stop them. Now, I’m no Scrooge McDuck. In fact, I love the Christmas Spirit. If you listen to Inside PR #184, you’ll hear me say that I think we should go back to saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and not rely on the euphemistic ‘happy, etc. etc.’ Having grown up without…

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Before marking

In early September, I wrote about the FDOC (first day of class) for my McMaster social media course. And now – 14 weeks later – we had our final session. And before I start marking (it feels like an arduous task), I thought I’d share a few observations. First off, I’ve had a great time meeting and getting to know the students; watching (and hopefully helping) them learn to make their way around social networks and seeing how their voices emerged. I’m happy to report that most of them want to continue their blogs. In case you’re interested, here’s a…

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PR and sales – cut from the same cloth?

I think we are. And I say that with complete sincerity. (Pause for the sound of people throwing things.) I actually think our profession has a lot more in common with sales than with marketing. For the record, I grew up in sales. My dad owned a couple of fabric and drapery stores in Winnipeg. And watching him go about his business, I learned that the best sales people, like the best public relaters, are all about two-way relationships. Listening. Helping. Telling a story well and truthfully. Being social. Engendering trust. Now that’s not to say we’re completely altruistic. Like…

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Does PR need a new name?

When I started in PR, I worked in arts and entertainment and called myself a publicist. And I was proud of the title. Then I switched to the corporate agency side and became a PR consultant who practised media relations. It didn’t take me long to realize those two were pretty close to the same thing. In fact, while we offer many types of communications counsel, media relations/publicity has, for a long time, been the cornerstone of what we do. But these days with MSM in transition, it doesn’t take an Amazing Kreskin to predict that our comfortably familiar landscape…

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