Bills beat Dolphins, shoot to top of U.S. Twitter trends

For my twitter event, I chose the Thursday night NFL football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.  The game took place on November 15 in Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson stadium, and the Bills won the game 19-14.  It was an exciting game to watch, and to tweet about.

The first thing I noticed about tweeting this event is that there was so much more activity online than our previous Twitter assignments.  For the in-class Twitter chat, and especially the out of class Twitter chat, I was disappointed with the amount of activity (number of tweets on the subject).  It makes it harder to interact with others online.  With this event though, there were hundreds of tweets pouring in every minute.  In fact, the hashtag #MIAvsBUF was listed under the top U.S. trends on Twitter last night during the game.

I am not a fan of either team that played last night, and I think that made the entire event more fun for me.  It was cool to see perspectives from fans of both teams as big plays occurred.  Only minutes into the game, the Bills scored a touchdown on an impressive punt return by Leodis McKelvin.  Twitter almost blew up.  Angry fans, ecstatic fans – they all filled the Tweetchat feed, and reading their reactions was almost as entertaining as the game itself.

Overall, I was pleased with this assignment. I have participated lightly in event chats before, but not to the extent that I did last night.  It is probably something I will do more often now that I am more familiar.  The Tweetchat website is an incredibly useful tool when you want to partipate, and see everyone’s tweets as they come in.

To see highlights from last night’s game, Click Here!

“What’s the purpose of an iPhone?”

Several days ago, someone actually said this to me:

“What’s the purpose of an iPhone?  I don’t understand why people act like they are so great.”

Needless to say, I was a little put off – enough so that I decided to make my next blog all about why I “act like my iPhone is so great.”

So in response to that person, who I am sure will probably never see this post, I decided to let everyone know what I used my iPhone for today.

1. I woke up the morning and checked the weather.  The weather channel app told me it would be cold; 33 degrees on my way to class to be exact, and 45 degrees later when I’d be changing buildings.  I could have checked this on my computer, but that would have taken about 3 or 4 extra minutes… minutes I could (and did) spend sleeping.

2. On the way to class, I checked my e-mail.  I happened to receive an email notifying me that the group meeting I needed to attend had changed locations.  Had I waited until class to use my computer, I would have been sitting in a classroom by myself looking like a fool.

3. While at lunch, I set my Fantasy Football lineup.  Reggie Bush’s status had recently been changed from ‘questionable’ to ‘probable’ for the Thursday night game against the Bills. This was good news, because my other running backs are all hurt.  If I get the victory this weak, the game ball goes to my iPhone.

4. I used the camera to scan a QR code. While in the library’s café, I saw a flyer for a particularly interesting club at Ohio State.  I scanned the QR code on the flyer, and was looking over their website as I walked out of the library.  Again, information on the go is important, especially if you stay as busy as me.

5. I figured out what 35% of 1.75 million was.  It’s 612,500, and I didn’t know that because I’m a math wizard.  I knew it because the calculator on my phone told me, and I was able to give a more accurate cost estimate to my boss over the phone (yes, I was on the phone when I used the calculator).  He is planning a large newspaper ad placement, and needed the figures quick.  iPhone delivered.

6. At the end of the night, I set my alarm clock. I know you probably have an alarm clock too, and you don’t need an iPhone to wake you up… But does your alarm clock play the Rocky theme song at 8:30 a.m. everyday? Mine does.

So you see, an iPhone isn’t a necessity.  I could probably replace many of the features with similar alternatives.  But nothing is as efficient or convenient.  That is the purpose of my iPhone, and why I think it’s so great.

“Let’s Talk Politics!”

If you just cringed at the title of this blog post, fear not.  I am not here to preach to you about Mitt Romney’s taxes or Barack Obama’s birth certificate.  Facebook and Twitter have that covered.

As we near the upcoming general election, you will hear a lot of opinions.  You’ll hear informed opinions, uninformed opinions, and opinions that you don’t even understand.  If one thing is certain, it remains that everyone (even you) has an opinion.

But why do so many people feel like they need to voice their opinion over social media?  In the last few months, Facebook and Twitter have exploded with political ads, groups, events and posts about why one candidate couldn’t possibly run our country.

Does this bother me?  No.  Our forefathers fought wars to give us the right to speak freely, and I support the freedom of speech by all means.  What disappoints me is that even with all the political rants on social media, our country’s voter turnout is still about 60%.  This year, the number of eligible voters that will turn out to the polls on Election Day is projected to be lower than in 2004 and 2008.

This main overarching focus of this blog is communication, so I ask:  What better way is there to communicate your political views than to go and vote?  Voting is not convenient, and it’s not the most fun thing you could do on a Tuesday afternoon; but neither was fighting the British.  Suck it up and be a man (or woman) of your country.

As we wrap up this election process, I want to remind everyone to take a step back and examine what we did here. We sometimes fail to remember that the privilege of free election is something that has been gained only through struggles, suffering, sacrifice, blood and tears. There is something to be said about the democratic form of government to make it last so many years, particularly while so many others change frequently. We are blessed with having the finest and most enduring type of government in the world.  It’s time we started acting like it.

Reddit: Upvotes and Downvotes

For those of you looking for new ways to waste hours and hours of your time, let me introduce you to my friend, Reddit.

Reddit is a social news website that depends solely on the content posted by its users.  At first glance, Reddit is simple, even though the underworkings are actually quite complex.  Subreddits are pages on specific topics, and there are hundreds of them.  You can subscribe to subreddits, tailoring the site to fit your interests.  The whole website works on a system of ‘upvotes’ and ‘downvotes.’  Users choose what they like and don’t like by clicking up or down arrows to the left of the headlines, and the most popular posts climb their way to the coveted ‘front page.’

Here is a list of a couple pros and cons of Reddit.

Cons

1. You will waste hours.  Even if you think you have the self-control to keep yourself focused on your homework, that all goes out the window once you introduce Reddit to the equation.  “I’ll just check out the front page,” will inevitably evolve into at least thirty minutes worth of aimless browsing.

2. You will see things you’ll wish you never saw.  Trust me on this one.  For some unknown reason, every once in a while you see something that has no business being on the internet.  Pay close attention to NSFW (Not Safe For Work) tags, as they often indicate content disturbing enough to make you cringe.  Do your best not to throw up, and move along – you will find at least ten posts your love for every post you hate.

Pros

1. You will learn something new, and useful, every single day.  When an incredibly interesting, useful post makes it to the front page, it’s not by coincidence.  Your peers voted it there because it’s awesome, and you will probably find it awesome too.  Explore, and learn!

2. You will read stories that genuinely move you.  Luckily, Reddit is more than a tub of information.  The users are real people, and they share real stories – stories encouraging enough to restore some of my faith in humanity.  Here’s one for example.

If I just peaked your interest, go check it out.  You can visit them online at www.reddit.com.  Enjoy!

The Rise and Fall of the Newspaper

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Newsboys preparing to hit the streets in the early 1900s.

In the early 1900s, it was common to hear this proclamation through the streets of America’s newly developing cities.  In fact, this cry put people to work in one of the many booming trades of that time.  This was the cry of the newspaper industry.

In this era, it wasn’t unusual for an entire family to work and contribute financially to make ends meet – including the children.  Many young boys found work as street soldiers for the newspaper companies.  They would pick up a stack from the local press in the morning, and hit the streets with enthusiasm, selling them to making a couple bucks. News then was sold, and to many people’s surprise, ten-year-old boys could be some of the best salesmen this country had to offer.

The newspaper has come a long way since that time, but many of us overlook the significance the daily paper really had to our country.  The newspaper was the most prominent of all forms of media, and it was the main way in which people got their news.  This era read through headlines about things such as the sinking of the Titanic, the opening of the New York City subway, and the San Francisco earthquake.  The paper kept everyone up date, and buying one from the newsboy on the corner seemed exciting.

Flash forward to today.  There are no more newsboys in the streets.  Instead, you have to wrestle with a big metal box just to read the day’s headlines on print.  Places like Starbucks make it a little easier, offering a wire rack instead, but good luck finding it in the back corner of the store.  The newspapers sit there day after day, lonely, forgotten and unread.

The newspaper isn’t so hot economically anymore either.  Readership drives revenue, and when readership is down, revenue suffers.  Who would want to advertise in a newspaper that no one is going to see?  You wouldn’t.  The newspaper companies are continuously struggling to keep their head above water while their advertisers move their accounts to television, magazine, and now digital, or online, platforms.

In a way, I feel sorry for the newspaper industry because I know it won’t be around much longer.  I find myself buying more newspapers for this reason as well.  As our world transforms into a digital network of constant news, it’s easy to get lost in the headlines.  We have no choice but to keep up.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t slow things down every once in a while…  Sometimes, a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper is just what we need.

Thanks, as always, for the time.

Out of Class Tweet Chat – #u30pro

The tweet chat in which I decided to participate for our assignment was #u30pro.  #U30pro is a weekly tweet chat occuring on Thursday nights at 8 where young PR professionals gather to discuss industry trends and ideas.  Although I expected there to be more people participating in the chat, I found that the people who were participating actually had some very valuable information.  So valuable that I thought some of it was worth sharing.

So, without further ado… here are the top 2 things I learned, and found most interesting and important.

1. No one is invulnerable to the devastating effects of bad PR.  Do you remember the Tiger Woods scandal?  Sports fans around the world all seemed to gasp in sync as we found out that one of the world’s cleanest images had finally been soiled. I watched my favorite athlete as he confessed in a near public shaming, and again as he subsequentally let the pieces of his career fall apart.  Tiger Woods, a public icon with a sparkling clean image, had fallen victim to bad PR.  During tonight’s tweet chat, Pure Performance Communications tweeted a link to an ESPN article about the fall of another athlete/public icon – Lance Armstrong.  I didn’t think a guy with the history Tiger Woods had could ever be negatively effected by bad PR, but I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that a figure as prevalant as Armstrong would take a blow this crushing.  Nike, Armstrong’s main sponsor, dropped him just days after publicly affirming their support.  The man, considered a saint by many, was proven to be a cheater, and Nike could no longer stand by and be a party to it.  The moral of the story here: Nobody is above the effects of a bad PR scandal. Nobody.

2. Generation Y is slowly taking over.  Another interesting post from Pure Performance (solid contributors to the chat’s content) shared ways in which you can try to convince your boss to implement more social media into your external communications.  The fact that there is even an article for this is somewhat surprising.  It seems the general concensus regarding social media and business is that it helps.  So why are we still trying to convince our bosses? This is a sure sign to me that these bosses may not be our bosses much longer.  The industry is changing, and with it comes Generation Y – a digitally focused, creative group that I’m sure will revolutionize the way PR practice is conducted.

Overall, I was pleased with my first out of class tweet chat, and I’d be happy to try it again sometime.

 

Love/Hate Facebook

While sitting on my couch earlier, staring at a blank WordPress screen, I was having trouble thinking of something to write.  I typed a few sentences, then deleted them. I did that several times.  Every so often though, I would wander away from my WordPress tab (whether it was for inspiration or procrastination, I still don’t know). Can anybody guess where I ended up?

My faith in the intelligence of this class leads me to believe most of you would have said Facebook. Most of you were right.

It’s the ultimate procrastinators tool, but if you think deeper about Facebook, it’s probably much more than that.  The website changed the world, whether you want to believe it or not. The amount of communication confined within the Facebook servers is nearly unfathomable.

It was about a year ago when I first threatened to delete my Facebook page; not to any person in particular, but just as a general declaration. “I’m going to delete my Facebook, I swear.”  I’ve had the thought several times since then as well.  The difference is the problem I have now, that I didn’t have a year ago… I feel like I can’t.

Everything happens on Facebook now. When was it decided that you can’t be good friends with someone without being friends on Facebook. When did we decided that Facebook chooses who was invited to a party? Deleting my profile seemed like a good idea a year ago, a revolutionary idea. Maybe its because of my career path and my desire to make money within the field of communication, but today, deleting my Facebook seems almost irresponsible.

We’ve all heard the term “social suicide,” but what does that really mean? If taking yourself off the largest social media platform on the planet isn’t social suicide, I don’t know what is.  At the same time, I hate feeling so obligated to check the site to find out what’s going on in others’ lives.  Worse yet, I hate checking it to find out whats going on in my own.

Either way, my Facebook stays activated. I keep posting, keep commenting, keep “liking.” I use chat to talk to friends, and my cell phone vibrates when I get new notifications and friend requests.

All the while, I am stuck with an awkward and uncomfortable sense of digital-being. Should I be here? Shouldn’t I?

Hold on, I’ll finish this post in a second. I just got a notification…

Meet Dave and Dan.

The name of this class is Strategic Message Design.  For a while, I treated strategic as a synonym for complicated.  It’s not surprising, if you think about it.  When I think of strategy, I picture hours of planning and thought, working hard to come up with the best possible answer.

It wasn’t until just recently that I realized a strategic message doesn’t have to be long and complex.  It can be as simple as you make it, and maybe even more effective.

David Kennedy (left) and Dan Wieden

Meet David and Dan.

David Kennedy and Dan Wieden are the founders of Wieden + Kennedy, one of the most successful independently owned advertising agencies in the world.  These two gentlemen are masters in their field, and the inspiration behind this blog post.  Creators of possibly the most simple and effective slogan ever written.

That’s right, they were the creators of Nike’s Just Do It campaign — one of the most successful communication campaigns ever conducted.

Dave and Dan are important because they embody the philosophy of brutal simplicity, a strategy proving to be incredibly effective in winning over an audience. How effective, you ask?

The Just Do It campaign was launched in 1988, and named one of the top five advertising slogans of the 20th century by Advertising Age. It was later enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. Yes, the Smithsonian.  So what do we have to learn from Wieden + Kennedy?

In a world cluttered with “too much advertising,” short and powerful messages usually have a much larger effect on our target audience.  The concept of Just Do It could have easily been explained in a sentence, maybe even a paragraph.  That wasn’t strong enough for Nike though, or Dave and Dan for that matter.  Instead, they got the point across in three words.  The approach was short, meaningful, and strong. It was effective.  It was strategic.  

To learn more about the inspiration and thought-process behind the Just Do It campaign, as well as the tremendous impact it had on America’s society, feel free to watch the video below.

Once again, thanks for the time.

The Refs are Back: NFL and Bad PR

The NFL referee lockout has finally ended according to ESPN, and NFL fans across the country couldn’t be more relieved.  We suffered as fans for three weeks as our favorite game was decided by unqualified officials.  If you don’t follow the NFL, feel free to take a look at the “Hail Mary heard ’round the world.”

But many fans are wondering what took so long. How could a PR crisis creating this much public outcry continue to go on with no obvious action on the part of the NFL league office? Well, Jerry Jones, the well-known and often candid owner of the Dallas Cowboys, voiced his opinion on the subject.

“Any publicity is good publicity, as long as they spell your name right,” Jones reinforced. And he is probably right.  During the three weeks that the NFL used replacement officials, ratings increased (thats right, increased), fans bought tickets and merchandise, and fantasy team owners lost slept over who to start at running back. The NFL world kept spinning, and the money kept coming in.

But you can’t let your fans stay upset for long, as seen by the decline in viewership for leagues such as the NBA and NHL. Scandals get old, like anything else. Even if the NFL didn’t want to meet the officials financial demands, this price is pocket change in comparison to what a damaging PR crisis could cost the league if left unsolved.

This just goes to show the power of public opinion.  Especially when it comes to big business (and the NFL is a posterchild for big business), organizations enjoy much less “wiggle room” when it comes to their behavior and the way it affects fan loyalty.

Drew Brees, quarterback and captain of the New Orleans Saints, voiced his opinion as well.

Now that the “real” officials have returned (to a standing ovation at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore), I’m sure Roger Goodell can breathe a little easier. The fans can sleep more soundly. The NFL Public Relations department can hang their hats on the fact that they most likely saved this sport from permanent damage.

Take that, Jerry Jones.

Thanks for the time.

Advertising in a world that hates you.

Last night, I watched a documentary that got me thinking…

This is the trailer for Art & Copy, a film directed by Doug Pray that examines the ideas and processes behind some of the greatest ad campaigns to ever run, and the masterminds behind the work.  The general concensus among the featured creatives in this documentary was this: There are hundreds of advertisers, but only a select few are really, really good at it.

But why is this? One theory hinges on the idea that advertising has become too abundant.  We see ads everywhere we go. A recent study cited in the film claims that American adults are exposed to, on average, 60 minutes of advertising a day (from commercials, print ads, online ads, billboards).  We may not realize it, but for one hour of every day, we are consciously or subconsciously viewing and interpreting ads around us.

So its really no wonder why people are so against it. So much of advertising today seems forced, and the modern-day consumer wants no part of it. But this just leads me to my next question.

If people hate advertising so much, how have some agencies made millions, or even billions, in “the most whorish industry on the planet?” (Words of George Lois, a creative art director most known for his work designing the cover of Esquire magazine.)

According to Lois, advertising isn’t marketing.  It’s not about big business, and crunching numbers and ratings. Advertising is a poisonous gas. Now, thats not to say you should expect to be knocked-on-your-ass unconcious next time you see an interesting Nike billboard.  Lois uses the term poisonous gas to symbolize the fact that advertising changes people’s moods.  It changes their perceptions, their attitudes, and it makes them fantasize about a life they wish they had, much like a mind altering drug. Putting together the right message may not be about forcing the consumer to look at your product during a commercial.  Just ask Apple and Chiat/Day.

All in all, advertising is a tricky business. You may only have a few seconds to grab your target audience, sometimes even less. To be successful, advertisers must display creativity widdled down to brutal simplicity. According to Chapman/Chapman, to be successful, we must fail harder.

I know the majority of you reading this are communication students. If any of you have an interest in making advertising your career, I would highly recommend this documentary.

Thanks for the time.