Media Round-Up

Here are some interesting communications-related articles/info from the past few months. (yes, I said months … I’ve been slacking!)

Are You Interested?Life Hacker, 6/19/12

Google+ Wants to be Your New Flickr Venture Beat, 5/22/12

6 Mistakes That Can Sink Press Release Visibility — Prof Net, 4/24/12

Dear Gracie: When Clients Want to Distribute Non-News — Prof Net, 4/18/12

Reporters Increasingly Looking for More Than Story  — PeRceptions, 4/12/12

Google’s Richard Gingras: 8 Questions That Will Help Define the Future of Journalism — Nieman Journalism Lab, 4/12/12

How to Increase Traffic and Revenue by Writing to Fewer Readers — CopyBlogger, 4/11/12

Social Media Breeds PR Laziness — Spin Sucks, 4/9/12


Mea Culpa, Pinterest

I like to think that I’m an early adopter when it comes to innovation and technology in my field of communications. So it’s a hard pill to swallow that I’m THAT PERSON — the one who spent the last 10 months turning up her nose to the latest social media darling, Pinterest.

Introduced to me early on by different people as a site for sharing “hairstyle ideas” “arts and crafts” and “recipes,” I had myself convinced that it was not my scene before I ever used the tool. Months later, I broke down and created an account, only to have my prior belief reinforced. Why should I “pin” photos from outside websites to illustrate “My Style” to people I don’t know — or for that matter, to people I do know. After all, if they KNOW me they pretty much get my style; I wear it on my sleeve.

But, I AM a professional, so I persevered. I spent a weekend playing with the platform — replacing some of the template “boards” with my own topics:musicartbooksFlyers (!!!)movieswords, and yes, even “My Style” in a homage to vegan Doc Martins & Chucks.

And even though I connected with some friends on Pinterest, I lost interestpretty quickly. The writer and artist in me struggled to get my head around CURATING as opposed to CREATING content. I get the importance of content curation professionally, but the whole “me, me, me” aspect seemed a bit narcissistic (even for a compulsive Tweeter like me!).

A few weeks later at a professional communications conference, I worked the use of Pinterest into a conservation with my peers. The reactions varied from blank stares, to panic, to dismissal. None of them embraced the idea.

Yet, sites like Mashable are chock-full of articles about how some companies, like Whole Foods for example, are using Pinterest effectively — not only to promote their brands, but to engage in meaningful interactions with their customers.

And while I, at first, used my colleagues’ Pinterest reactions (or lack thereof) to validate my own opinions, I realized that the MILLIONS and growing number of Pinterest users must be on to something.

Determined to discover what that something is, I read everything I could find about Pinterest best practices for brands and created an account for my employer (a public higher ed institution). The key, it seems, is to strike a delicate balance between sharing relevant information and promoting one’s brand. When done correctly, the two are one in the same.

To my utter shock, in less than seven days, the account has an average of 50 followers on each of its 12 boards, and dozens of “re-pins” and “likes” — more interaction than we’ve seen on Google+ in close to a year.

In light of this success, it’s easy to say “mea culpa, Pinterest” without too much shame. In fact, it’s a humbling lesson I hope recall next time I start thinking I know best.

Media Round-Up

Here are some interesting communications-related articles/info from the past few weeks:

On Record with NPR Chief Gary Knell: ‘Radio Isn’t Going Away, It’s Going Everywhere’ — Nieman Journalism Lab, 3/4/12

I Was Going To Be a Copy Editor —, 2/16/12

Newsrooms, Not Newspapers, Are the Asset That Needs To Be Saved — WHYY Newsworks, 2/20/12

Agile Alt Media Adapting to Digital Challenges — NetNewsCheck, 1/31/12

Poetry Revisited

The announcement of an upcoming poetry project prompted me to dig out some of my old work. And by old work I mean OLD — as in the disturbing ramblings of a teenager and very young adult from 1991-1997.

A few initial observations:

1) Okay, I now get why everyone was so worried about me. I mean, this stuff was DARK. Lots of blood and death, which — although mostly metaphorical — must have been pretty upsetting to others.

2) Someone should have TAKEN THE THESAURUS from the younger me. Good lord, I don’t even know what half those words mean. Thank god I went on to learn that stringing together 10 big adjectives doesn’t a good writer make!

3) Some of this stuff — if polished — could be really good.

Let me expand on #3. I have spent the last decade+ telling people I’m not a creative writer. I can write facts or opinions, but not poetry or fiction. That the younger me had this spark of creative flair is a kind-of reality check. I mean, that doesn’t go away, right? I’m still creative in other ways, so maybe I should revisit my former passion.

Perhaps I could start small — rework some of my old stuff — make it better, and see what happens…

Before Hollywood, There Was Betzwood

Today, I had the opportunity to write about the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Betzwood Motion Picture Studio. It’s wild to think that one of the most influential studios of its day produced hundreds of films in our own backyards and that people are still discovering studio artifacts on their properties.

Betzwood was founded by Siegmund Lubin in 1912 and remained in operation through 1923 in what is now West Norriton Township, Montgomery County, Pa. Lubin is credited with making the first attempt to mass market movies. In 21st century terms, that’s like being the first business to employ Facebook as a marketing tool or engage customers with Twitter. Cutting edge stuff!

Of the hundreds made, only 30 films and film fragments survived the ravages of time. Copies of 25 of those films/fragments are archived locally and will soon be available to the general public online thanks to a digitization project underway.

Click here to learn more from Lubin biographer Joseph Eckhardt.

Media Round-Up

Here are some interesting communications-related articles/info from the past week!

What Will #PR Look Like as We Approach 2015?Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, 11/21/11

Penn State PR Majors Get a Crash Course in Crisis, Thanks to Scandal — Ad Age, 11/21/11

The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines — CopyBlogger, 11/21/11

Twitter, PLN, and Useful Education HashtagsMr. Shortreed’s Ed Tech Blog, 11/24/11

Playing with

A few months ago, a tweet from a colleague showed up in my Twitter feed. Of course, I immediately set up a account of my own, put all of the Twitter accounts I follow into lists, and linked every single list as a content source of my paper.

Much to my disappointment, the result was a mash-up of information I didn’t care about. I played with it for another day or two, and then lost interest for a while. Then recently, one of my tweets made it into a friend’s I checked it out again and liked the way she customized the paper to only a few topics. I drastically reduced the scope of my account, named the paper after this blog, and crossed my fingers.

Visit Communication Art

The results are a lot better than my first attempt — although I did go in and manually edit two of the top stories. And while most of the paper’s categories can be customized, I remain frustrated that I can’t delete the photo section (it seems the people I follow tweet odd and irrelevant photos).

It will be interesting to see how the tool will develop over time. The website itself notes that it’s still in its early stages of development. One of the criticisms about tools like is the lack of original content. However, I view it as another platform by which to distribute original content rather than as a means to dilute it.

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