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    Online observations of public relations, marketing, advertising and social media; the occasional frivolity; and The Rundown show notes. Jump in, the water's fine.

    Please Note: Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its constituents.

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Friday Frivolity

I'm feeling a little frivolous today. Just found out I earned an A in empirical research, which means I managed to maintain my four-point-oh GPA for my graduate career. I'm pretty pleased. As I was having a conversation with Erin the other day we concluded that hard work may indeed pay off. And just when I was about to give the whole thing up…dang.

So I'm just about wrapped up with my coursework and all the hoops one has to jump through to graduate, which I plan to do with much aplomb this weekend.

So in the spirit of good cheer, here's something for you. At a completely inappropriate time yesterday, I ran across this site while I was proctoring my student's final exam. You just have to read it. It'll make your day. So funny.

Much to the dismay of my mentally-taxed students, I actually laughed out loud during their test. I couldn't help it, just struck a nerve with me and I lost my composure. Another way the Internet can get you into trouble. Thanks to Boing Boing for pointing it out.

So what does this have to do with PR? C'mon, cut me some slack, I just finished exams…okay, okay. If you simply must have a connection, let's look at it this way. Suppose you're the PR person for the department of transportation in this area. How do you handle that?! Two days? That's a long time. I know a woman who works for the Dept of Transportation in Akron…that is not a job I envy. Can you imagine handling communication during summer construction? I can just see trying to sell a blog to your boss if you work there. "You want me to allow people to post their thoughts on what we're doing? Now? During construction season? Have you lost your mind?" It would be an interesting challenge. I'm always up for a challenge. But not right now…give me a couple days to rest…then I'll be ready.

New BlogoSPHERE search

For those of you who haven't heard, a new blog search engine came out rather recently. I read about it first at TechCrunch on Monday. It's called Sphere and it's worth a look. I played around with it for a little bit yesterday and today. I wanted to see what was different about it. Good user interface and it seems really quick. It appears to really focus on the most recently updated blogs, although you can choose either relevance or recency in your blog search.

I found this bit from the "about" page interesting:

Who needs Sphere?

Everybody, of course! In one of three flavors…

1 People interested in timely topics, who aren't quite sure about this whole blogging hoo-ha.

2 Readers who already use blog search engines, and are sick of disappointing results and spam. Those who secretly crave a faster, more intuitive, and feature-rich experience.

3 Publishers who might like to include some really good blog content in their websites, but only if it's really, truly good.

I would posit that anyone who wants to keep up with what consumers, lovers, and haters are saying about your organization, as well. It's hard to put that nicely…that's the PR version of it, I guess. I like how they try to play all the angles here. They mention, first, the uninitiated; the blog-leary, if you will. Then they mention the experienced; those searching for proper content. And lastly they mention the bloggers; those searching for substance in the crazy place we call the blogosphere. I like their approach.

The "About" page goes on to talk about why this search engine is better. Only time will tell, if you ask me, but I'm willing to try contrasting and comparing it to other search engines. I'm also quite thrilled to see that it allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds of your searches. There's a really nice interface that's so easy a…less-technological person could do it. It's a snap, just click on the RSS icon after you search. This will pop up a selection of aggregators, you choose your reader of choice, and you're in. It all worked very well. The real trick with any search engine is results, though, wouldn't you agree? So we'll wait and see. I've subscribed to a similar search feed in several search engines. We'll see what happens.

The "tips" page gives suggestions and tips for getting the most out of your Sphere experience – from the simple to the advanced. Quite interesting. I'd like to spend some more time noodling around with it. One thing I've learned from it, my name brings up some strange results.

To keep abreast of the latest news and goings-on with the folks at Sphere, feel free to read more about them at the Sphere Blog.

Update: This isn't really an update. I forgot to mention when I wrote this that I had already seen one referrer to this blog from a Sphere search result before I penned the post. So, people are using it to find blog info.

GOPR Holds Name Change Contest!

Yes, you read that properly. It seems that I wasn't engaged in any sort of forethought when I named this thing. Not a great admission for a student of PR who's looking for gainful emploment. But the name had such a nice cadence to it – Graduate Observations of Public Relations. It's so poetic that it might even be dactylic hexameter, iambic pentameter, or laparoscopic cholecystectomy at least!

But times, they are a-changing. I'll be graduating in May and Beth graduates in August so it just doesn't seem right for our blog not to reflect that. We toyed with the idea of just shortening it to "Observations of Public Relations" but then we're just OPR, which sounds like a British indie pop band or the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility. Plus, then we lose our poetic rhythm.

So we've decided to host a contest! That's right! In the spirit of transparent discourse we're going to open ourselves up to suggestions from our friends and readers, after which we'll probably just pick something we thought of while taking our Empirical final. But don't let that stop you! Be creative, be clever, be wise, and be kind. We'll make a final decision by May 15th, the day after I (theoretically) get my MA. I can't speak for Beth, but I'm looking for something that reflects our intelligent, thoughtful discussion of PR, our communication education, and my sincere interest in immature cartoons and ice hockey.
Note: Luke and Beth [Hereafter, "We"] are under no obligation to use or even read any of the suggested comments. We have the right to delete any suggestions that contain swear words, personal attacks, or the word "noodle." We will thoughfully and methodically choose the most salient and poignant suggestion in a joint effort of collaborative good will. A tie will result in a fierce game of "Battleship," winner takes all.