Getting Things Done

High angle view of a businessman holding a paper and thinkingGiven how much time I stole from any of you that tinkered with the tools presented in last week’s Fun Tools, here’s 5 free (or pretty close) desktop applications that should help you reclaim some of that time.  A number of these only became truly useful to me after turning the corner a few years back and joining the ranks of flackery.  Sorry mac users, these are PC only (because really, we’re writers and can do our jobs with a-buck-fifty worth of supplies from the office supply shop, a napkin from the local bar and borrowed pen, or as West Wing fans know nothing at all because “Paper’s for wimps” and we don’t need the Mac-spense for ‘pretty’). 🙂 Continue reading

Back To The Basics

Classroom rulesWith the Internet constantly evolving, I feel like we have forgotten some of the basic rules of thumb that we all used to go by years and years ago. From the first day in 1993 or whenever I was in third grade, my father would always remind me of some of the following rules. I thought that this would be a good time to remind everyone about these rules, just because everyone needs a gentle reminder from time to time.

1. Everything you send, every website you visit, everything you type is there forever – Now I’ll be the first to say that I say what I want, when I want to, with or without censors, but I do have to put myself in check sometimes. Sometimes I do go overboard a little bit, and definitely don’t think what the consequences could be in the long run. Do I really want to be known as the guy that plagued the Internet with poop and jokes 5 years from now? Continue reading

What’s Important to Know?

Climate Change And Global Pollution To Be Discussed At Copenhagen SummitSome of the comments on the personal post of one of our writers brought up some points that I’ve been thinking about for awhile now. See a friend of mine spent two entire work days at a social media conference. After it was over, I asked him what he learned.

Imagine a very long, brief pause.  Then he started talking in circles, so I pushed again, “No, I mean what did you actually learn?” He proceeded to fess up that it was more of a networking event than an actual learning experience. All in all, he didn’t learn anything new. Continue reading

Where Next for the News Release

Thinkstock Single Image SetIf you go with the view that Ivy Lee created the first press release back in 1906, then the bread and butter of what public relations used to be best known for is more than 100 years old now.

In that time, we’ve seen the original idea behind the news release (or press release, depending on preferences) morph into many shapes and ideas. From the standard print release, to the search engine optimized release, to today’s social media news release, it’s evolved as needs have grown.

But apart from adding some nice flashy videos and blog links, or being able to rank a little higher in Google, how far has the news release really come? And is there still room in today’s instant feed market for something like the news release? Continue reading

Down with Digital

Time Square, New York, at night, elevated view. . .billboards, that is. They dominate Times Square and distract drivers across the U.S. There’s no denying that these brightly lit, monster-size ads are hard to miss. But are they effective?

Personally, I’m just not a fan. Perhaps it’s my natural aversion to anything bold and glitzy. Or that I’m a fan of content that you can consume on your own time and terms, i.e. not just when in Times Square or driving down the interstate.

The cause of my digital distaste aside, I wonder if digital billboards are really worth the space. Is it worth thousands of dollars to attempt to snag drivers’ attention as they zip by at speeds in excess of 65mph? Continue reading

Blind Leading The Blind

Woman Holding Hands over EyesI am a young PR professional and while no longer entry level, I am by no means seasoned either. I joined the social media world to learn more about my career and the industry. I’ve had the opportunity to meet great people along the way, mostly beginners but also some veterans, both of which have taught me more than I ever learned in school. I’ve participated in the many PR chats that our community moderates like #pr20chat, #prstudchat, #u30pro, and #journchat. I always walk away learning something new. But recently I’ve noticed more of my peers giving advice on issues that aren’t so black and white and it’s frequently in instances where they don’t have enough experience to back it up. My generation gets a bad reputation for being “entitled” and it’s because we feel we know everything. Well we don’t. My name is Christina, I’m in my mid twenties and proud to say I don’t know everything and hope I never do. Continue reading

A Customer Service Adventure

2 cheescarryers on the cheesmarketThis post could probably also called A Tale of Two Cheeses. Or TJ Likes to Complain about Cheese. But please bear with me. There is a point.

You may recall my not-so-very groundbreaking observation that a lot our damage control is just plain ol’ customer service. We’re here to help, right? So here’s a story about that in action.

Last week, I went to the grocery store and was railroaded by my beloved roommate into buying two kinds of cheese. By some strange coincidence, when we got home we saw that both brands of cheese had been improperly packaged and were sort of gross. My roommate was sad. I was excited.

Hooray, I thought, now we can see some 21st century customer service in action. Let’s get us some replacement cheese! I took some photos, wrote down some batch numbers on the packages, and generally tried to be a very good consumer. I went to both brands’ websites to lodge my good-natured complaints. And this is what I found. Continue reading

Blippy’s #EpicFail Demonstrates Importance of Public Relations

Credit card cut into mulitple pieces beside scissors, close-upDid you see the big social media news that broke Friday afternoon? Probably best to read up about how location-sharing site Blippy, which allows users to broadcast to their friends any and all of their credit card purchases, somehow managed to allow four users’ credit card numbers to slip through a public Google search.

This whole Blippy incident is an unbelievably epic fail, and frankly, not a good sign for the emerging, yet at times, controversial, location-sharing industry.

Here’s the explanation Blippy gave on its blog (from

In a post on its blog, Blippy said the problem was “a lot less bad than it looks.” “While we take this very seriously and it is a headache for those involved (to whom we apologize and are contacting), it’s important to remember that you’re never responsible if someone uses your credit card without your permission,” the company wrote. Continue reading

PRos Anonymous – Our Innermost Thoughts

Embarrassed BusinessmanI recently went to an event with a friend who doesn’t work in PR. How odd (sarcasm) I ran into a number of my fellow PR practitioner friends. What dominated the next hour of our conversation in this group? Starts with a ‘P’ and ends in an ‘R.’ Take a wild guess.

My friend, to very little surprise, was exhausted by “oh my gosh, and then she tweeted this!” and “oh, that editor doesn’t like me very much because my client cancelled their event last-minute.” Admit it; we can be a tiresome crew.

So I thought: Why don’t we make a PRos Anonymous? For those who talk too much about their jobs as public relations professionals and are just generally obsessed. Continue reading