January 23, 2012
by Dan Ward
I know technology is advancing at the speed of light, but this takes things to an all-new level.
About 10 days ago, I ordered a remote control from AT&T UVerse (to replace one that was not working), and was told it would arrive by early last week. I had heard nothing since and was about to call for an update when I received this shipping notice from UVerse:
|Item Shipped: CYB S10-S1
|Shipping Method: UPS
|Shipped On: 01/23/2012
|Expected Arrival Date: 01/18/2012
|Tracking Number: XXXXXXXXXXX
Now that’s customer service. AT&T UVerse sensed my displeasure in having to wait an extra week to replace my remote, and will now deliver the replacement five days before it was shipped.
I can’t wait to begin using it last week.
January 23, 2012
by Kerry Martin
The PR world has been all abuzz about the recently published stance from serial-entrepreneur Mark Cuban that advises startups to “Never hire a PR firm.” The commentary appeared on Entrepreneur.com as the “12 Rules for Startups” taken from his book, How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It.
While my husband does take the time to educate me on all things NBA, I must admit that everything I know about Cuban comes from his five-episode stint on “Entourage.” With a brazen personality and an aggressive take on business, he seemed like a guy who probably doesn’t owe his success to sheer dumb luck. It’s easy to see why he would be considered an entrepreneurial guru, but I think anyone looking to him for advice should consider how Cuban’s experience and management style are different from their own.
There are only so many hours in a day, and for many startups, there are a number of decisions and projects that are put ahead of public relations activities. Mark Cuban’s hands-on approach puts the onus of outreach/media relations on the small business owner, yet another aspect of the business they have to oversee. Bringing in a public relations firm allows the owner to effectively delegate those responsibilities to a team of skilled professionals who have experience in the field to get results—while taking a load off the owner’s shoulders.
Another consideration is the marketing know-how of the entrepreneur. For some innovators-turned-owners that don’t have a background in communications or public relations, Cuban’s advice won’t be as helpful. They know how to make a top-of-the-line widget, but they don’t have the same self-promoter gene that has helped Cuban achieve such success.
In the end, I can see some truth to what he says. There are some small business owners who are great at seeing opportunities for publicizing their business with many public relations strategies. Maybe Cuban could have taken a less definite and brash approach to stating his No. 11 rule of “Never hire a PR firm” by phrasing it as “Don’t feel pressured to hire a PR firm.”
I would say that Cuban needs a little PR help himself with softening his rhetoric, but he’s actually doing a pretty good job of keeping up the cutthroat persona. Maybe it worked to draw a big audience of PR professionals to ABC’s “Shark Tank” on Friday night.
January 20, 2012
by Julie Primrose
Two months after scolding its staffers for breaking a news story on Twitter before it reached the wire, The Associated Press has released an updated version of its social media guidelines.
While the clause that forbids AP employees from prematurely sharing news on social networks remains intact, there are some interesting takeaways from the revised guidelines, particularly those that concern journalists expressing their personal opinions online.
AP encourages all of its journalists to have social media accounts and recommends that they maintain one account per site, for both personal and professional use. Employees are permitted to express their opinions on social media; however, they “must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues.”
They are allowed to comment on less controversial issues, such as sports and celebrities, which in my opinion, leaves a gray area a bit too vast. All too often celebrities and athletes become the news, for better or worse (but usually for worse).
I commend the Associated Press for maintaining a comprehensive set of social media guidelines, but there are still many gray areas that remain. I don’t know if social networking will ever be free of subjectivity, especially when the media is involved, but the fact that the AP not only maintains but also takes the time to update its social media guidebook is a great sign.
January 20, 2012
by Kim Taylor
Tweet Ups are so 2009, right? Wrong. WESH Channel 2, Central Florida’s NBC station, managed to put a new spin on the gatherings that some may think are a thing of the past.
Officially dubbed #WeshMeetup, the invite-only event was hosted for a limited number of folks who are presumably social media-savvy and fans of the station. Orchestrated by the social media brains behind WESH, Gabe Travers, the group was invited to meet at the WESH studios for a behind-the-scenes tour, info session and breakfast goodies provided by one of Orlando’s famed food trucks, Melissa’s Chicken & Waffles and locally owned Barnie’s Coffee.
News Director Bob Longo and Assistant News Director Kirsten Wolff were our consummate hosts as we managed to weave our way from the parking lot to the newsroom and finally into the studio where we enjoyed a first-hand (and Live!) view of the “WESH 2 News Sunrise” newscast with Jason Guy, Aixa Diaz, Amy Sweezey and Kimberly Williams.
Not only did we have the opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow Tweeters, we also participated in a Q&A session with reporter/anchor, Stewart Moore, while he was in the field reporting on a local news story. We learned about many of the ways WESH is trying to engage viewers with products like U Local, and involving community members in the upcoming election by seeking those who wish to share their political insights and opinions. Syan Rhodes even took time out of her morning for a chat and pictures.
Hats off to the WESH 2 News Team for making the Tweet Up cool again!
January 18, 2012
by Heather Keroes
The Twitterverse is filled with question marks this morning. Some are serious ponderings …
Others, not so serious …
The rush of tweeted questions featuring the tag #altwiki is the answer from several “traditional” media sources to Wednesday’s SOPA-protesting Wikipedia blackout. The Washington Post, NPR and the Guardian have teamed up to offer (as Washington Post blogger David Beard puts it) “an experimental, one-day Band-Aid.” While none of these news outlets have taken an official stance on the SOPA bill, they have several journalists and researchers on call to answer questions … questions that you may otherwise look up on Wikipedia. Just tweet a question to #altwiki and you may get an answer.
I think it is a clever (and just a bit humorous) response to Wikipedia’s protest of SOPA. As I mentioned, none of these news outlets have taken an official stance on the bill, but in any case, they’ve added themselves to the conversation and reminded some of us that information can come from the news too (there are still people out there, called journalists, who do research for a living). And sometimes, you may find the answer you’re looking for, even if that answer is unexpected. Here’s The Washington Post’s response to that ever-tricky woodchuck question:
January 18, 2012
by Roger Pynn
So what’s showing up on every Web page telling the story of the tragic Costa Concordia cruise ship accident in Italy? But, of course, cruise specials … “Vacation Cruise Specials” screams one; “Italy is only $US606 away” beckons another; and, “Alaska Cruises 75% off.” Right below that is the headline: “Divers suspend search of capsized Italy liner.” Really? And further down, “Book a 5 day cruise to the Caribbean for only $349.”
Is it just me?
January 18, 2012
by Roger Pynn
No … this is not a political statement. Frankly, I’m not sure I have spent enough time on the issue to understand the uproar about SOPA and PIPA (a pair of bills that Internet leaders say would censor the Web and result in over-regulation).
This is about a day when Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales decided to go black, people may find that with a little careful digging there are many more meaningful resources than his user-generated encyclopedia … a source I often lazily quote, but also often find vague. As a former journalist, I know that simply citing countless references isn’t enough to justify a conclusion. You need to follow paths that often take you down winding roads, but sometimes bring you to a gem.
I don’t find that on Wikipedia.
Mr. Wales is an interesting personality. A serial entrepreneur he’s no doubt brilliant. He also has a history of taking his toys and going home when he doesn’t get what he wants. Cutting you off from his nonprofit encyclopedia for a day as a means of protesting legislation he fears will hurt his business ventures is an example.
January 13, 2012
by Dan Ward
Peter Funt’s column in The Wall Street Journal should be a wake-up call to media companies about the pitfalls of coffee shop journalism.
Funt points out that encouraging oxymoronic “citizen journalists” by giving them equal space in newspapers and broadcast outlets is equivalent to a professional baseball team putting a “citizen shortstop” in the game. Would that team still be competitive, and how long would fans continue to pay for the privilege of watching them play?
Even worse, Funt says that some papers are closing regional bureaus and sending professional reporters to “camp in coffee shops to get a sense of what the caffeine-conscious citizenry thinks is newsworthy.”
Instead of putting professionals in coffee shops and giving bylines to amateurs, perhaps the media should instead invest in professionals and give them all the coffee they need to stay alert to actual news … you know, the product customers pay for.
As Funt says, “news organizations can use all the citizens they can get – in the bleachers, not on the field of play.”