Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2014

It’s that time of year again.

Time when every media outlet known to man puts together their year-end lists:

“Best of…” and “Worst of…”

“Top 10…” and “Top 100..”

“Things we want to remember…” and “Things we’d rather forget…”

They all make the rounds, competing for your attention, your likes and shares, your retweets and plus-ones.

And while my favorite kind of list – “Words for the New Year” – is nothing new, I’ve never made one of my own.

So to get my desire to do new things in 2014 kicked off right, I’m going to start today. Here’s my first ever “Three Words for the New Year:”

Community & Kindness – OK, so my first word is actually two, but that’s only because I think they’re inseparable. 2013 was a divisive year, with sides taken on almost everything. Anger, hostility, and a general incivility seemed to be everywhere we looked. In 2014, we need to be better at working together to achieve common goals and not just give lip service to “getting along” when all that is doing is providing yet another way to point a finger at someone. If you can’t start a conversation with a compliment of some kind, then you probably shouldn’t talk.

Economy – With so many resources, so much technology and so many things to do in a day, we could each make a full time job out of just managing what’s coming over our transom. In 2014, we need to slim our intake in order to make our output more productive. That doesn’t mean do less – it means eliminate the noise. Stay on course. Keep checking items off your to-do lists and adding new ones. Get to the finish line as fast as you can, and then go find a new one.

Creativity – Perhaps a perennial word, but one that should be repeated anyway. New years mean new starts, new things to discover and new records to smash. It means bending your brain in ways you haven’t yet – or haven’t in a while – to achieve that thing that’s been on your to-do list for so long it’s starting to collect dust. Creativity is the leaf-blower of your life, so plug that sucker in and go all Carl Spangler on it.

There are other words that came close to making the cut, but for now I’ll stick to these. A year from now, we’ll look back and see how these words – and the ideas behind them – held up.

What are your words for 2014?

Happy New Year!

Find Me On.. Where?!?!

Social Networks

Maybe we have too many social networks.

I mean, think about it. Facebook and twitter. Instagram and Vine. Quora and Google+. Yelp and Foodspotting. And on and on and on.

You need a scorecard just to keep up, and an entire afternoon just to be remotely relevant on any more than one on two.

I’ve read more than one article this week about younger people rejecting Facebook.

And Peter Shankman this week opened up a storm of controversy when he predicted Yelp! would be out of business in two years.*

I think it’s just a matter of time before more people are migrating to something else. Who knows what that is. But if I’m feeling that way, I can promise you, it’s already happening.

I must have more than 100 apps on my iPhone. Truth is, I don’t think I use half of them. And I have no plans to.

So I’m opening this up for discussion, because I am really interested in what you think: which social networks/apps are becoming less relevant? Which should I close out or delete, and which should I keep? Which do you use on a regular basis and why?

I don’t want to hear any brand-bashing. This is not meant to take jabs at anyone. I’m just really interested in what others are thinking.

Leave a comment below!

*This post has been amended to accurately reflect Shankman’s prediction on Yelp. Thanks Peter!

“So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star…”


I find myself engaged in a lot of SEO work recently, and it’s pretty interesting.

Watching how what you do online changes how search engines find you is fascinating to me. And I think it’s legitimate for us PR folks – along with marketers, managers and personal assistants – to want to engage in a sincere degree of positive online postings and placements to help boost someone’s reputation, including online. After all, we are paid to promote people.

Of course, there’s a dark side to this, as there can be to just about anything in life. And I’m not endorsing anything that’s disingenuous or an outright lie. But honest, positive promotion is what any of us who live in the public sphere (and who work with others who want the same) are after.

So it’s serendipitous that I ran across this from our friends at Social Media Examiner, about “Three Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader in Your Industry” and thought it would be perfect for this Friday ShareDay.

Happy Weekend!

It’s a Jungle Out There (Trying to Get an iPhone5)

Waiting In Line For an iPhone

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Unless you were living under a rock (or you’re just a hater) you know that Apple announced the iPhone5 yesterday. The response was mixed, with some even harping that Apple has stopped innovating.

Of course, that didn’t stop pre-orders from going off the charts. One article even noted that iPhone4S sales raked in more money than Google made in all of 2011.

Personally, I don’t think I will be upgrading, and in fact I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a deal replacing my iPhone4S with the cracked screen.

Will you be buying iPhone5? And do you think Apple is tapped out when it comes to innovation? Let me know in the comments below.

Speaking of things that may have lost their lustre, are you still using Google+? The youngest of the big social networks (I’m not counting Pinterest, for reasons I may write about next week) just doesn’t seem to have caught sustained fire the way facebook and twitter did.

So for Friday ShareDay, let’s check in with our buddy Michael Stelzner for a great podcast “Why Marketers Should Not Overlook Google+”

A (well intended) “I Told You So” Friday ShareDay

Apple Vs Competitors

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It wasn’t that far back that I waxed philosophic about which companies do their core business better – focusing on Google and Microsoft.

Since then, what has fascinated me more is the way technology has finally come into its own for our living rooms, and the ongoing battle between Microsoft and Apple for control of our big screen TVs.

So for this Friday ShareDay, here’s a post that updates those thoughts, with news that the XBox360 seems to be making some amazing content available through strategic partnerships and innovation with the Kinect system.

What will the future bring? Stay tuned. But either way, I win.

Happy Weekend!

Days That Will Live In Infamy

Pearl Harbor Day

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Today, December 8, is both the anniversary of the US entering World War II (after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7) in 1941 and the day John Lennon was murdered here in New York in 1980.

Watching this Associated Press video and seeing the two events – 39 years apart – represented side by side is somewhat eerie to me. And it also makes me realize there’s a whole generation of adult Americans out there who weren’t alive for either event and so have a limited appreciation for what each piece of history did to shape our consciousness as Americans.

THAT gets me thinking about how we communicate important messages to others – and how our words translate into emotions that have the ability to inform, educate and change the course of history in so many ways.

So as PR people, we face the same challenges as we work for our clients. While it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day “hit swarm,” we have to take a step back once in a while to see the aggregate effect of our messages and how they are altering the public consciousness:

Are we crafting and sending the right messages? And how are those messages being recieved? Are we educating people to the facts about the people we represent? Because at the end of the day, our work piles up into this big lump of information that’s catalogued and saved for eternity in a far off data center, waiting for someone to access later.

And one day, 40 years from now, someone will search for your client’s name online and come up with that article you placed. Or that video you uploaded. And they will base their opinions on what they read, see and hear. It will shape their understanding of their past – which is our present – and affect their world in unpredictable ways.

So what will you leave behind?

Rainy Friday ShareDay (Netflix, Facebook and Google+)

Rain in NYC

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It’s raining here in New York (not just water, but lots and lots of work projects) so I have to keep this Friday ShareDay post brief.

The big news this week (other than the Netflix debacle, which the NYT’s David Pogue brilliantly dissected) was facebook’s “improvements” – not only the changes to the current UI but the planned unveiling of “Timeline” and more. Clearly it’s a strong play.. but will it work>? We’ll put a pin in all that and come back to it when we’ve all had a chance to play with it.

Meantime, here’s a great post about Google+, via our friends at WordHampton PR. Thanks guys!

Thanks to you as well for continuing to subscribe (and if you haven’t, please do)!

Happy Weekend!

Google’s Gamble on Motorola’s Mobile Patents

Google Loves Motorola

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There’s nothing new in saying that the future of social media, communication and sales is in mobile.

And so it should come as no surprise to see any major technology company invest significantly in the ideas, products or technology that advance mobile marketing, as Google has done with the Motorola Mobility acquisition. (I’d call $12.5 billion a significant investment, wouldn’t you?)

But I don’t think Google is out to create an iPhone killer. Or wants to create a new Google phone. Or any piece of hardware, specifically. Yet.

What Google has gone after in this deal is Motorola’s intellectual capital: the ideas and patented technology that run all those little gadgets we’re so fond of, especially the booming tablet market.

An Ad Age article that came out as I was writing this post outlines this well. It also talks about the future of the Android market – one that has an astonishing nearly 33% market share – better than I ever could.

What will be interesting to watch from here on out is what Google does with this intellectual capital.

For sure, they can just sit back and charge millions in licensing fees.

They will undoubtedly also develop new software that uses the patents. One area ripe for development is the connection between your TV and mobile device, which Motorola Mobility already has the lead on. Even though the days of cable TV set-top boxes may be numbered with the growing use of smart TVs, there’s still plenty of room for enhanced functionality there, making your smartphone (and your tablet, for that matter) both a remote control and a content provider.

Your move, Apple!

Do you have Klout?

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We all have influence on others. Perhaps not on the scale of Ming the Merciless, but influence, nonetheless.

Nowhere is that influence more on display than in social media, where we are encouraged to share information, experiences and unsolicited opinions on everything from restaurants and music to the news of the day. And those opinions often result in real actions taken by the people who hear our words.

They go to the movies. Buy a pair of jeans. Maybe even book a vacation or enroll their child in a school. In short, they spend money. (Here’s an earlier post where I talked about making your social media messages actionable.)

And so all my marketing friends sit up and go “We should be able to track this! Put it on a graph and analyze it! Make it work better!”

Enter Klout, which claims to measure your social media influence by analyzing with whom you interact with on facebook, twitter and other social media sites and gives you a grade, your “Klout score.”

Scientific? Hardly.

And being the skeptic, I asked some of my twitter followers (and people whose opinions are far more insightful than mine) to share their perceptions of Klout:

Dave Peck: “@klout is one of the best tools put there to measure influence. Has room for improvement though. For example, I didn’t tweet while on vacation and my score dropped. So I take 48 hrs off and my influence and reach drop? I don’t think so. Oh and @klout rocks they helped me out yesterday really fast ;)” [Dave didn’t elaborate on this last point.]

Monica Guzman: “Checking @klout is like Googling yourself, but a bit more socially acceptable.” [Love it, Monica!]

Amanda Marsh: “Even at 74, the only perk I was able to pick up was the Spotify account.” [Agreed! But I am waiting for those nifty achievement badges, AM!]

Gina LaGuardia: “I do like the freebies. Seriously, though, I’ve had editors of sites to which I f/l content ask me for writers’ scores… [Gina is a terrific writer who works in the higher education” and senior living spaces]

Nathan King: “For some people, their Klout score will be dead-on accurate, for others, not so much. I check it out of curiosity, but don’t change what I do online to try to raise the score. I’d much rather have people judge me on how I conduct myself online and the content I publish, not a score determined by Klout’s algorithm.” [Terrific insight, NK!]

Louise DiCarlo: You’re influential as long as someone doesn’t die – I lost 3 pts dealing w/real life (dad died). [So sorry for your loss, Lu.]

From my perspective, Klout strikes me more like a game than a resource, especially the feature that allows you to dole out +Klout points daily to people to whom you’re connected. And the range of social media networks that can be paired (ie, where Klout draws your score from) are currently limited to facebook, twitter and linkedin. They just recently added foursquare and YouTube, but other sites like Tumblr, Instagram, Gowalla and the new kid on the block, Google+, are no where to be found (yet).

I’d love to see Klout incorporate some kind of point system that earns me things of value, whether in the social media or real world. The next step in social media is getting people to spend real dollars, after all.

What’s YOUR experience with Klout? Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Non-plussed by Google+ and Friday ShareDay

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One week into my tinkering with Google+, and I have to say this is not the improved social network we were all hoping for.

Sure the facebook boys (and girls) drive us nuts, but we tend to trade on that for a robust collection of people we can meet, get to know and interact with.

Now maybe it’s because I only have four other people in my Google+ circles. But let’s be honest, a social network only works as well as the people who are on it. And I talk to those four folks just fine on facebook and twitter already.

I’m not going to give up on Google+ just yet, but they’re gonna have to open the gates a little wider to get me to stay and become a regular participant.

In a segue to Friday ShareDay, here’s a post from Social Media Today that articulates exactly what I’m thinking.

Also, in a brief shoutout to my geek side (like that’s never on display here), let’s take a moment to tip our hats to NASA on the occasion of the last shuttle liftoff today, #STS-135 Atantis.

What we can often take for granted (and did, until Challenger) is an amazing feat, made of equal parts technology and bravery. Their achievements have paved the way for where the next generation of space explorers will take us. I’m excited to see what direction the space program goes in after the manned missions are gone.

Happy Weekend!