All posts by Jeff Esposito

From “Yes We Can” to No You Didn’t; A Cautionary Lesson in Social Media

President Barack Obama’s use of social media has seen its ups and downs. Back in 2008 his social media savvy helped propel him into the Oval Office. His use of technology was instrumental in his campaign, and it is looked at as the blueprint for how campaigns should be run in the Web 2.0 world. Many social media books use his historic campaign as an example or case study of an effective social media strategy.

Now that he’s in office, however, there is significant room for improvement in his social media activity. First of all, after the election, his social accounts lost their personal touch and turned into more of a broadcast medium managed by his staff. As his Twitter profile notes, only Tweets marked BO are coming directly from the Commander in Chief. So engaging, it is not. While I wouldn’t expect the President to be Tweeting away, his staff should have kept up an engagement level similar to large corporations.

In the middle of the federal debt ceiling negotiations, Continue reading

Quintessential Summer Reading

With the weather heating up and Fourth of July weekend around the corner, I find myself nostalgic for the summer vacations of my schoolboy years. While most of the memories are fond ones, I also remember the last month or so of the summer where everyone tried to cram in the required summer book list. Although it was somewhat of a drag, the activity actually kicked your brain back into gear for the coming year.

Flash forward to present day and your summer distractions. Chances are that you don’t get June to August off of work and your Little League games have probably been replaced by slow-pitch softball leagues where winning flip cup at the bar is more important than winning the game. Even with these changes, it is important to keep your mind fresh. Continue reading

What is Coverage?

Over the past few weeks, I have really been questioning what is wrong with PR people. Now, I am no journalist and I’m not going on a rant about communicating with reporters. I am alarmed at two things: “the state of ME” and coverage.

The first is “the state of ME.” While social media is a really powerful tool that all PR pros should know, lately it seems as if folks in the industry have had their vision clouded by social media. Instead of making the company or client the story, many flacks have made themselves an integral part of the story.

Sure, we could easily say that the Brian Solises and Peter Shankmans of the world have fostered the appearance of PR pros turned media darling pundits, but that is just stupid. At the end of the day both Brian and Peter have busted their asses and I am pretty sure that when either worked on a client, they made sure that it was the client that got credit and didn’t try to make the success about them.  They also made it possible for many to see PR as an important corporate cog. At the end of the day, as a PR pro, you took a selfless job to make others see their name in print – remember that. The C-suite signing your checks surely will.

My second beef Continue reading

Pittsburgh Putting a Steel Curtain Up on Social Media?

A few weeks back, pundits noted that Twitter had its moment. The 140-character service was on fire with tweets mentioning the death of Osama Bin Laden at a rate that traditional news outlets couldn’t keep up. Once the story was confirmed by President Obama, Twitterville was generally filled with messages of happiness, relief and closure from all across the country.

Then there was Rashard Mendenhall, who had a slew of Tweets that you could consider offensive and/or ignorant including this gem:

“@dkeller23 We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style”

Following the Tweet, the running back had both teammates and the Steelers organization trying to distance themselves from him. The coldness has had a local columnist to suggest that the team should install a no social media policy for the team’s players. Continue reading

What We’re Reading at PRBC

Every week it seems like there is a new list coming out listing the top 20, 50, or 100 blogs in a particular industry. These are usually based on available public stats, people submitting themselves or, for some, some nepotism. I often wonder if the list creator reads any of these blogs or simply relies on the numbers and makes the list to build backlinks.

So with that in mind, I chatted with the folks round the PRBC water cooler to compile a list of blogs that we all read and would recommend you checking them out in both social media and PR. Continue reading

Enter the Leper Messiah

I am pissed off. The PR industry has recently received one black eye after the other – and you know what? It’s our own damn fault.

Yes, I said it. The recent bad press for the PR industry (and individual practitioners) in TechCrunch, Forrester and the New York Times came from the work of horrible PR people. These ranged from bad pitches to scamming a small business.

That pisses me off even more than anything. Instead of being a source of news and information from the media – our industry is being looked at as nothing more than a bunch of snake oil salesmen.

While every industry has its share of bad apples, it seems like we’ve had more than our fair share. Sure bad news and our symbiotic relationship with reporters makes our follies easy fare to sell papers, but it’s still no excuse to promote shoddy workmanship.

So how do we fix this? Continue reading

Everything’s Bigger in Texas – Even PR Headaches

If you haven’t heard by now, the NFL had a giant game in Dallas a few weeks ago. It brought in buco-bucks, drew the largest viewership in television history and made a lot of fans from a small town in Wisconsin very happy. So one would think that the league left the Lone Star State feeling awesome and without problems.

Well, if you haven’t been living under a rock and you pay attention to sports, or news for that matter, you know that the league is facing a major PR issue that may tarnish their image. This doesn’t concern the looming lockout of the players (a PR conundrum for another day), but rather folks who fill their coffers – the fans. You see, there were over 90,000 fans who purchased tickets to come to the game, problem was the seats weren’t available for over 1,000 of these ticket holders to be sat in during the big game. This was because the seats were not completed and did not pass muster of the fire marshal. Continue reading