Phone Etiquette

It used to be rude whenever someone whipped out their phone and was texting during a conversation, but now it seems that it’s almost commonplace for people to be having multiple conversations via texting/tweeting as well as a face-to-face conversation. A recent New York Times article, posted by columnist David Carr, titled Keep Your Thumbs Still When I\’m Talking to You, elaborates on how it’s normal to have a person whom you are talking to be engaged in a texting conversation with someone else. Carr says, “Here’s the funny part: If she is looking over your shoulder at a room full of potentially more interesting people, she is ill-mannered. If, however, she is not looking over your shoulder, but into a smartphone in her hand, she is not only well within modern social norms, but is also a wired, well-put-together person.”

Now, everyone is wired in one form or another. Carr adds, “When I go out to dinner with my peers these days, it’s not considered weird at all to pull out your phone. In fact, the situation has sort of reversed itself: You feel awkward if everyone else is using their phones and you’re not. It happens. A lot.”

I completely agree with this article. It’s almost weird to not have a phone out and your awareness buried in technology. However, there are certain situations in which it is against proper etiquette to be texting or tweeting.

In Ragain\’s PR Daily‘s article titled  “Emily Post explains texting and tweeting etiquette,” Emily Post is quoted saying, “The guideline [to texting and tweeting etiquette] is that you do not text-message when you are involved in any type of social interaction—conversation, listening, in class, at a meeting, or, especially, at the dinner table.”


Twitter: a go or a no?

Kami Huyse, a 16-year PR veteran and co-founder of Zoetica, has her own blog called Communication Overtones. In her most recent post, BlogHer Study Shows the Continued Slide of Twitter Influence, Facebook Makes Gains, she evaluates Twitter usage compared to other social media networks.

As the title of her blog post states, a BlogHer study proves that most people say blogs and Facebook are their preferred network of social media.

Although there are pros with Twitter (immediate updates on thoughts and whereabouts–of yourself, your friends, and celebrities), it’s downfall according to Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of BlogHer, is that it doesn’t serve a compelling purpose and that it doesn’t help regular people how to use it well because it only suggests to follow celebrities.

Twitter’s popularity rose because of “its ease of access and the ability for marketers, and anyone else, to bend the service to almost any purpose. It is the democratized social network.”

Elisa mentions an article by Fortune Magazine, in which they pointed out the following: “This is one area in which [Twitter] has the upper hand over Facebook. Facebook communications are private unless a user chooses to make them public; all tweets are public, which gives marketers a potentially richer pool of content for targeted ads.”

Out of curiosity, I polled some people myself, of which it seemed to be split down the middle: half were dedicated to Facebook, the other half enjoyed Twitter more. The Facebook followers said that the reason they were more apt to use Facebook over Twitter was because they felt that they could stay in touch with a more vast array of friends and family, as well as the entertainment of the pictures. The Twitter followers said that their reasoning behind their answer was because they liked the freedom to post whatever they are thinking, feeling, and/or doing as well as seeing what others were thinking, feeling, and doing.

One of Elisa’s point to the predicted Twitter fallout was that it used to be a site in which people could post questions and they would receive answers. However, she says, “Today, if you ask a question, it is likely to get ReTweeted, but less likely to get answered. It has increasingly become a broadcast channel vs. a relational one.”

Tips for Landing a J.O.B.

We all love the freedom of not having deadlines and nagging bosses, but sometimes college can be just as bad (or good) as what a job can be. However, for myself, and for many others out there, college is coming to an end and we have to start thinking about the  next chapter of our lives. These economic times have proven difficult to find employment, especially for recent graduates with little-to-no experience. Luckily, Ragan\’s PR Daily has provided three lovely tips on how to further the chances of scoring a decent job–or maybe even that “dream job”.

In Meg Carroll’s article, 3 tips for landing a PR job in the Big Apple, she discusses exactly what the title alludes to: tips for landing a PR job in NYC. These tips can suffice for any job in any city, and she clarifies that these are simply boosters and not ensurers.

The first tip is accessibility: “Out-of-state addresses do not scare potential employers as much as inaccessibility.” Being accessible via phone or e-mail is a must, but Carroll also includes accessibility as it pertains to face time. “Let them know that you are willing to travel for an interview if necessary,” she says. “You must make yourself available for an in-person interview if you are looking to land a job.”

The second tip is making connections. While this may seem like a somewhat obvious requirement, Carroll explains that any and all attendance to events somewhat related to the desired field of employment is necessary. At the event, it’s crucial to engage with everyone there. Carroll jokingly says, “Even if you don’t get a chance to speak to the host of the event, you may be sitting next to the young woman who just passed up an internship with Michael Kors because she couldn’t pass up the vacation to Italy with her boyfriend.” She then encourages to, “Always send a thank-you note to the host or special guest with your contact information (but don’t send unsolicited résumés). Very few people actually take time to thank the host, and it is always appreciated.”

The last tip is the often forgotten follow-up. Sending a resume is one thing, but showing potential employers that you are serious about this potential job and interested can be the deciding factor to put your resume at the top of the list or in the trash. Carroll refers to @KristinMiller‘s tweet, “Dear Interns I’ve interviewed lately: If you haven’t followed up with me, why should I think you would follow up with a reporter?” Make yourself known!

All of these tips, as stated before, can only boost possible job opportunities…not ensure future employment. But by using and acting upon these, it may just land you that dream job in your dream city!

15 Minute Press Releases

Going into the PR field (hopefully, that is), if I’m not specifically a PR representative, I will be doing something pertaining to my major (again, hopefully). Any PR representative, or something of the like, will need to write press releases. An article in Ragan\’s PR Daily discusses the very things that any future PR employee would have to know. Appropriately named How to write a killer press release in 15 minutes, we will discover and become professionals at doing just that.

Without having to sacrifice quality of the press release, Mickie Kennedy has come up with six tips on “How to write a killer press release in 15 minutes”. The first tip is to keep a list of ideas. This will save a lot of time when I sit down to finally write about something, so that I don’t have to wonder and waste time figuring out what to write about.

The second tip is to stay on point. Press releases are exactly that, releasing to the press vital information. The press doesn’t care about the intimate details of the situation, primarily the highlights. If they would like to know more elaboration on the topic, that is why every press release ends with contact information.

The third tip is to outline your press release. By creating something like bullet-point formation of what I want to write about, this will help keep me focused on what to include and write next.

The fourth tip is write when you’re inspired. This could be cautionary if someone were to only be inspired once in a blue moon; however, I would hope that anyone in the creative field would be more inspired than average. And as we all know, when we are inspired to write something we are passionate about, everything comes much easier and more smooth.

The fifth tip is to recycle old information when possible. Kennedy encourages to reuse the basic information about the company and products/services. There is clear time shaving with this step.

And the last tip is edit later. By editing while writing, it kills the flow–and undoubtedly kills the inspiration that was hard to work for in the first place. Edit once everything is written and completed. That way, there won’t be any disrupt in the flow.

By following these steps, Kennedy promises 15-minute press release knock out time. Good luck to your future press release writing days!

Songs from the Grave (because marketers killed them)

Music adds so much to everything and it has the ability to swing moods based on the tune. For commercials, music is often the key element, having the power to relay the story to its viewers. However, for a handful of songs marketers more or less murdered these blindly–or knowingly. Ragan\’s PR Daily discusses this in the article 5 songs marketers tried to murder–and 2 that they did.

The first song on the list is Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” which was featured in a Burger King and an Applebee’s commercial. This musical tune has become a classic in American hearts, but TV goers are ready to disown the Man in Black’s song.

The second song is the third single from the American Indie-Rock band, Vampire Weekend’s second album. This NYC band’s music has resonated in between the ears of many thanks to their corkiness and creativity; however, for “Holiday” being deemed into two commercials, Tommy Hilfiger and Honda. Although it provided more recognition for the band, and I’m all for that, after the holiday’s I think we all need a vampire-free weekend.

I’m all in favor of Apple and everything that has to do with that lovely Steven Jobs creation; however, the third song on this list makes me slightly re-think my full-out devotion to the company. “New Soul” by Yael Naim was played over and over for Apple\’s MacBook Air commercial, which only made me wish that I myself had a new soul along with new ears. 

This next song was at least masked by the informative words of the Cadillac speaker, but France’s band Phoenix is now known for their overplayed, 30-second spot in conjunction with the luxury crossover. Not a bad combination, but Cadillac\’s SRX commercial can drive away for a while.

The last song that marketers tried to murder, according to Alan Pearcy, did not need murdering by the media. I think that the song itself did just fine with its own suicide. However, just to be sure that people were aware of the song Kia incorporated it into their Soul commercial. I think it’s safe to say that no one will be purchasing any Kia’s for a while thanks to the ridiculous hamsters and their “du-da-dippity” jingle.

As if anyone wouldn’t have guessed the two songs that Pearcy deemed as the horses in the ground, he shares with us those songs again. Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” in Samsung\’s 3D LED TV commercial and Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” in Animal Cruelty Awareness commercial are better left buried and never to be resurrected.

How do marketers ensure that they aren’t annoying their viewers by their music choice? Is there a way to guarantee that one song is limited to one company? I guess for the particular musician’s it’s great publicity for their band name and song, but for the sake of potential fans, please keep us sane.

Food Photography Not So Appetizing

Marketers scheme up different ways to get people to purchase anything and everything. Most of the time when it comes to food, we don’t have to be enticed too much into eating something; however, the market has a way to make items on the menu look more appealing. Dane Cook said it best when referring to the fast food pictures, “I don’t know who the photographer is who does the french fry shots. He’s fantastic. He’s the best. Just the way the fries are shooting up out of there. They’re dancing up out of that box like they’ve been freed from some kind of purgatory. Those fries look like a glamour shot. They’re just fantastic.” 

Granted, if you are not a fry consumer then they might not make your taste buds salivate, but all food is picked, placed, and designed to look finger-lickin’ good. Ragan\’s PR Daily covers the behind-the-scenes information about how photographers make all food look fantastic in the article 8 tricks of the food photography trade.

Tricks including motor oil, shoe polish, and glycerin are among the top resources in making consumers consume even more. Obviously we don’t consume those particular items, but the very thing that interests us on the menu does not translate to what is in front of us on our plates. However, interesting as it may be, when photographing ice cream, brands are not allowed to use “fake” ice cream in an advertisement, but any topping–whipped cream, hot fudge, savory fruit–can be as fake as my grandmother’s hair.

Rule of the day: don’t judge food by its picture. Next time we are torn between the 900 calorie, deep-fried, coconut-covered shrimp, and the mouth-watering, gooey-filling, cholesterol-packed peanut butter brownie, we should be reminded of the non-edible ways of the conniving marketers for the various well-known restaurants.

Super Bowl Ad Gone Wrong

In my previous post, I concluded by stating that people will quickly forget the current mishap and move on to the next. Well mark my words because just three tiny days later anger was transported from the Kenneth Cole tweet mistake onto the Super Bowl Ad fail.

As we all know, the Super Bowl is known for more than just great football. The roughly five hour prime-time television is home to some of the greatest–and most expensive–commercials of the year. Every year nearly one billion viewers turn their televisions and cue their critical caps toward the best, and worst, commercials. Fan favorites has always been Doritos and Bud Light; however, people not only look for the funny commercials, but also the distasteful ones.

Among this year’s winner of most controversial commercial is Groupon. The New York Times article, Did Groupon Cross the Line in Super Bowl Ad Debut?, discusses the Groupon commercials and how they all collectively remained offensive: “There is Cuba Gooding Jr. lamenting the fate of whales, while touting a 43 percent discount on a whale-watching boat ride. And there is Elizabeth Hurley, intoning about the rapid deforestation of the Brazilian rain forest…followed by a not that ‘not all deforestation is bad,’ like a 50 percent discount on a Brazilian wax in New York City.” To viewers, although discounts to high-priced services would be a good thing, the delivery seemed insensitive to the real-life issues.

During their Super Bowl commercials, Groupon seemed unaware of viewers upheaval as their Twitter revealed. But again, just as people squatted on the Kenneth Cole issue, these Groupon squatters will soon squat somewhere else in PR chaos.