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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.

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  • September 2006
    S M T W T F S
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Are you proud of PR?

Here ye, here ye. If you’re proud of PR, we want you to shout about it!

Well, maybe shouting is a bit harsh, but my good friend Paull Young wants to hear why you’re proud of PR. And I mean “hear” you. Paull’s seeking audio comments for an October release of the Forward Podcast. Read his post here for more information. Deadline is October 5th.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro, new hire, recent graduate, or freshman in college. There’s got to be a reason why you choose PR as your career. Even if it was a terrible mistake and you’re miserable, send Paull a comment so we can save other almost-PR-pros. Seriously, be proud of our field, stand up and tell someone. So fire up your Waxmail, your Audacity, your lame Windows Sound Recorder, your GarageBand, your Skype, or audio recorder of choice and send him an mp3 today!


Second Life: It doesn’t matter if you like it

I’ve been trying to avoid Second Life as much as possible, both in writing about it and getting involved in it. Mostly because of the contention between some of the folks in the PR blogosphere. I have my own thoughts on Second Life and they’re not much to write home about. I haven’t tried it, I’m not planning to for a while, and I’m not sure what the draw is. However, one thing I am doing is paying attention to it. And I’m doubly glad there are communicators out there who are paying attention to it and reporting it so I don’t have to. The fellas at For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report are doing just that.

And they’re getting bashed for it by some folks who I believe have little right to criticize. Students and young PR professionals, still wet behind the ears, are giving these two highly seasoned verterans a hard time? Ridiculous. I see where they’re coming from, but to voice one’s opinion with such arrogance to people who were practicing communication professionals before some of them were born is distasteful. What really kicks me in the pants is FIR is Shel and Neville‘s podcast, they could talk exclusively about edible underwear if they wanted to, it’s their show. Don’t like it, don’t listen. They welcome comments, so make your point and leave it. Don’t harangue them, am I right here?

But like I said, I’m not a huge fan of Second Life, because I personally think it’s pretty stupid. That really doesn’t matter, does it? I think eating fruits and vegetables is stupid, too, but the truth is you can’t avoid it. If you don’t like SL and think it’s a waste of time, that’s okay, so do I. But to blindly ignore or refuse to talk about anything that affects the communication field – that’s a mistake.

I think Second Life is an odd time drain, but there are many, many people who don’t. And that’s what matters. How many people thought the owning a car was stupid? How many people thought reading was stupid? How many people thought the Internet was stupid? FIR Show 170, Shel Holtz says it very well.

For more information, read about Kami’s PR meetup in SL and Lee Hopkins’ rather humorous take on it. Also, Shel points to Text 100’s YouTube Video explaining the connection between SL and PR. The video is a must watch for beginners. It doesn’t make me want to sign up, yet, but at least I have a few answers if a client asks me about it…

Friday Frivolity

The art of email is not dead. And, well, I never have this problem, of course. But Ze Frank gives us a great way to feel better about writing emails to clients, superiors, and colleagues that you should be writing rather than ones you wanted to be writing. It’s a secret punctuation code. Shhh, it’s a secret.

Goodbye From Beth

Well, I have decided to depart from my adventures on Observations of Public Relations. I have had a great time and learned a tremendous amount. Currently, I am not sure where I am off to. I am looking for nonprofit work outside of Ohio and taking some other non-PR related paths.

As one last hoorah, I have posted excerpts from my Master’s Project, The Nonprofit Factor: Using Weblogs A Case Study and Guide to a blog. If you would like a copy e-mailed to you please feel free to contact me at bethfarrell17@gmail.com.

Thank you all for being a part of my experience at Observations of PR and allowing me to share my voice.

Peace and Happiness to All.


Forward Frivolity

It’s a little twist on the ever-popular Friday Frivolity we’ve all come to know and love. Well, know, anyway. I’d like to take this time to plug my Forward family and some of the excellent work that they do.

Forward is an online springboard for young and up and coming PR pros. Although, I think it’s great for pros of all ages. Humbly, I admit that I am a contributor, but my thoughts pale in comparison to some of the excellent seasoned pros and educators who donate time and energy to the site. I do what I do amongst them, as a jester to a court, as Laverne to Shirley, as “that oddly hairy 40-something former-frat boy who never grew up” at his annual company party.

A few things happened recently that I want to drive attention to. First of all the Forward Podcast is really growing into its own. With Master Paull Young in control, the podcast has really gotten interesting and matured. Something young Paull has altogether failed to do (even though he’ll be the ripe old age of 23 this Monday – a pup, I tell you).

I thoroughly enjoyed the last podcast, Forward Podcast #9 with Matthew Stibb from the Bad Language Blog. A new favorite of mine, I’m subscribed. Matthew’s no-nonsense attitude and dry humor make the podcast worth a listen. His writing vocation and open frustration with PR people makes his blog worth the read. Good lessons for PR folk, there. Besides, in that podcast he used such great words that I think have really fallen by the wayside in the English language; words like “dismal,” “lexicon,” and “turgid.” Real ear candy.

I’m also excited about Forward Podcast #10 which should be out soon. The interviewee on that podcast will be Ohio’s own Kevin Dugan of Strategic Public Relations and the Bad Pitch Blog. Both excellent reads. He was also recently featured in a suprisingly not-overly-sensationalistic article on blogs in PRSA’s The PR Strategist magazine. I’m looking forward to that immensely as well.

In other news, Aussie blogger Paull Young (didn’t I just mention him above?), after months of lonely blogging in Australia is headed on a World Blog Tour. To honor his courage and daring bravado, I have taken it upon myself to ridicule his dream in public on the Forward site. I think you should check it out, it could be some of my finest heckling. Hey, what are friends for?

So check out Forward, smarter people than I write some great stuff on it. But when you’re ready for some less mature reading, come back to me. I’ll be here, keeping the whoopie cushion warm.

Friday Frivolity

This is a great work safe diversion. It took the artist (Alan Becker) three months to complete, but both he and I think it was worth it. One of the greatest uses of Flash I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a lot, but rarely find it worthy of the work. This has a very similar point (as in, maybe no point), but it’s entertaining and it’s Flash worth seeing…unlike many websites these days.

Worth a look. Make sure your sound is turned on as it really completes the animation. From the website:

“An animator faces his own animation in deadly combat. The battlefield? The Flash interface itself.
A stick figure is created by an animator with the intent to torture. The stick figure drawn by the animator will be using everything he can find – the brush tool, the eraser tool – to get back at his tormentor. It’s resourcefulness versus power. Who will win? You can find out yourself.”

I’m reminded of a rather unfortunate PR analogy. Agency vs Client or PR Dept vs C-Suite. At times, whether you’re in-house or an agency, PR is selected and then promptly ignored. I understand that PR offers advice and counsel and it’s the client or CEO’s decision whether to act on it. But so many times we take the brunt for bad decisions.

Case in point, my last post demonstrates a horrible management decision that will ultimately look like a bad PR move. But was it a PR decision? No. Who takes the hit? The company, sure, but the PR department specifically, no doubt. In fact, here’s a blog post that actually refers to it as a PR fiasco. This will result in bad publicity, yes, it will result in bad press, yes, it will look like a foolish maneuver, yes, but it is not PR’s fault.

Sorry for the rant.

UPDATE: Author John Booth of the previously aforementioned blog post wrote back and said:

We’re in agreement. I probably could have phrased it better. I didn’t
mean “PR fiasco” as in “this is a mess the PR department/agency
created,” but rather “what a fiasco for Radio Shack’s PR to have to deal

Thanks, John, for clarifying.