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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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The Value of my BA just plummeted

My hometown paper printed what I find to be a rather depressing article this week. Not only is it depressing, but in my eyes it devalues my college education worse than a college president caught doing blow and hookers on his lunch break.

Sharon Stone was just awarded an honorary degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. A second article notes:

Sharon Stone — the flamboyant Hollywood actress, globally-recognized humanitarian, Crawford County native and former Edinboro University of Pennsylvania student — received an honorary EUP doctor of philosophy in public service degree Wednesday at the university’s eighth annual Frank G. Pogue Honors Scholarship Luncheon.

Ms. Stone grew up in a town not far from Meadville (my hometown) and some of the stories I’ve heard about her as a child and teenager make me cringe. I’m sure they’re blown out of proportion and sensationalized, but there are guaranteed to be a few that are true, especially the stupid ones. I’m certain that Ms. Stone has done great good for causes around the world and donated more money than I’ll ever even make. Still doesn’t counter the irrational judgments I have bouncing about in my head.

But that’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it. Good thing I’ve got an MA or my self-esteem would be decreasing at a 1:1 ratio with the value of my undergraduate degree.

A PR blog-year in review…

calendarWow. I totally missed my anniversary of blogging. I posted my first PR blog post on December 9th, 2005. So much has happened since then. The PR blogosphere has been very kind to me, educating, engaging, conversing. It’s been a great ride. I look forward to continuing the discussion for as long as I’ve got something to say, share, and report. The online community has been a great place to meet people and share ideas. I’ve yet to meet anyone from my PR blogosphere life face-to-face, but I’m hoping to meet a few soon.

I’m not sure where to start my year-in-review, so I think I skip that part and go right to the closing. I’m looking forward to seeing how the social aspect of the web shrinks our world even more. I’m looking to see how technology takes the social aspects of our human nature and evolves it. I’m really looking toward the future to see how networks via the Internet become even more real as we jump geography to find people with similar interests and thoughts. And what I’m really looking forward to is seeing how this affects the public relations field and communicators around the globe.

It’s a great time to be in the communication space if you’ve got the right temperment. I do, but I’d be really interested in helping others find it as well.

Blog on.

Progging was easier when I was a student

preach.jpgWhen I was a student I found it easy to preach blog prog. So, maybe progging won’t be a new word in 2006. But, not only did I have a little more flexibility in my schedule, but I was full of grounded theory, hypothetical situations, and self-righteous indignency. However, 5.5 months into my professional agency career and I’m a little more hesitant to jump up on my soapbox.

Maybe it has something to do with fewer minutes in the day to write about what’s on my mind. Maybe it has something to do with fewer minutes in the day to read up on the blogosphere that used to get me all charged up. Maybe it has something to do with fewer things to say without giving too much away. For instance, I’m super keen on transparency, but I also don’t need to be dragging my clients or co-workers into the blogofray. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m not as pompous about public relations as I used to be. It’s that ivory tower syndrome, where it’s easy to sit and pass judgements on the folks out in the trenches doing the work. Not that I think I was ever that harsh about the flacks in the field, it was just easier to see black and white from my academic point of view.

And as much as I don’t want to quote CC, he’s got a very good point about “managing the gray,” because there are no black-and-white lines in this business and you do have to learn to manage the subtleties therein.

So blogging is harder. I’m not angry about anything, so that eliminates that.

I guess the wind has been taken out of my sails. So just give me time to get all riled up again about something.

Besides, it won’t be long before Youngie is in the neighborhood and all hell breaks loose.

BizWire Breakfast

Headed to Cleveland tomorrow for an early breakfast sponsored by BusinessWire entitled 100 years in the making: Public Relations Past, Present and Future —The Changing Face of Journalism and PR

Should be fun, one of the speakers is blogger Chris Thompson (Vice President, Edward Howard) from the Transparency Works blog. I’ll be reporting on that sometime later this week.

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!

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.

Beth

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.

Month One

Well, I completely flew by my one-month anniversary of agency life. Taking a deep breath, I thought I’d provide a little bit of a retrospective of that month.

The most difficult aspect of this time has been pairing my education and experience with the realities of what faces me as I sit in my office on a day-to-day basis. There shouldn’t be a disconnect, but somehow there is. People hand me things or ask me to fulfill requests and I have hesitated. Looking back on it, I can clearly see that I have been properly trained, I was just apprehensive about performing a task for which I’m getting paid as opposed to graded. So, what, I can pay to make mistakes, but don’t want to make them when I’m getting paid? Sounds about right.

But it’s more than that. My reputation is on the line. I have a sincere desire to please my employers and supervisors with my work. I have a vested interest in not getting fired. In case you didn’t know, Ohio is one of those at-will states. So they can fire me at will. Ever hear a movie line where the captain of a vessel (boat, submarine, space ship) yells, “fire at will!”? They weren’t talking about a guy named Will; they were campaigning for easier ways to fire people.

And since I now spend so much time in the car, I can really dive deep into the podcasting world and continue to learn more from the loquacious of our field. These individuals take the time to share their knowledge with anyone who wants to listen. Social media is a beautiful thing, not sure exactly what the benefit to some of the podcasters and bloggers is, but for me it’s invaluable. I have really grown to enjoy the chats with the Better Desirable Roasted Communications team of Jenkins and Hopkins. Lee, best of luck to you in your new venture, by the way. I’m wishing you the best.

And am still completely addicted to the dynamic duo at For Immediate Release, of course. But as agency life progresses, I find myself gaining more and more value from Inside PR. Even though they’re a couple of Canucks, I really find their discussions on life on the agency side fascinating and hugely relevant to my life. So thanks Terry and David for the excellent work. Thanks, also, for addressing my insecurities about hockey and the Habs. I wasn’t upset that you used the word, I was upset because you assumed no one listening would know what it meant. I mean, I know you have a huge following in Indonesia, but people in the States know a thing or two about puck. Well, the cool ones.
So if you haven’t gotten into podcasts yet, you must. My only regret is that I only have so much time in the car a week. I have to limit what I can listen to. New people keep podcasting and I’m having trouble fitting it in. However, if Shel and Neville get the FIR podcast down from 90 minutes to 60 or so – I might be able to squeeze a few more in there. Paull and Donna , I’m listening, I really am. Brian, Mitch, you’re on deck. Oh the agony of it.

Happy belated one month to me, I’m looking to so many more. PR rocks.

Sorry, been busy

First of all I just wanted to apologize for my extended absence. After graduation, life was just a whirlwind of activity. So much to do. First there was going on the obligatory "yippee, I just graduated" road trip followed by the continued job search followed by getting a job followed by going to a really great weekend adult hockey camp followed by starting a new job followed by watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs and right into shopping for a new house. So, yeah, been busy, sorry about that. Beth? Uh, can't tell you what's her excuse. So there will be some changes as I fit all of these things together. Thanks for hanging with me here. I now return you back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Todd Defren Wins! (sort of)

A while back we posted that we'd be having a contest to change the name of our blog. We received a few comments and suggestions, but none so thoughtful and encouraging as those of Todd Defren who authors the PR Squared blog and The Good Pitch blog. Now, we didn't actually use any of Todd Defren's suggestions, but we liked his style, his creativity, and his willingness to give it a shot. We did like nearly all of Todd Defren's suggestions, but googling some of them showed us the competition.

Not wanting to water down our strong, fierce brand, we've decided to go with something very similar to our original name. We spent hours pouring through academic PR books and combining the suggestions with obscure literary references. We finally decided that we really liked our original name, but just felt the one word was no longer relevant. So we dropped it. I tried to change "Graduate" to something like "Super Awesome" or "Two-Way Symmetrical and Excellent," but Beth thought it was a little wordy. So there we have it. We observe and report. That's what we do, that's who we are.

Thanks to all those who contributed and tracked back to us. It was fun getting comments, silly or serious. Congratulations, Todd Defren, for sort-of winning our contest. Now if only we'd posted some sort of prize…I guess having "Todd Defren" splashed about on our blog will just have to be reward enough. Right, Todd Defren?