Archive for September, 2008

Print on Demand—and Eco-Friendly—Newspapers of the Future

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
Erasable PaperYoung people have been turning to the Internet as a main news source for years now, despite the fact that reading a printed page actually allows for a deeper understanding of content. But what if your "newspaper" offered the best of both worlds? What if it allowed you to self-select content from both mainstream media and blogs, then print it on demand to eco-friendly, reusable paper? Xerox recently unveiled a technology that may someday allow us to do just that. Xerox's erasable paper, revealed during Chicago's WIRED NextFest, "prints" through a reaction to light of a specific wavelength and then erases within 24 hours to be used again. This lends itself perfectly to an eco-friendly on demand print newspaper model—giving readers the ability to read their favorite content on the page, where it is easier to absorb. The Xerox representatives also hinted at the possibility of a more portable printer to be used with mobile phones. If this were to become common practice, how might it change the way we create content online?

Why Search Needs More Than Google

Monday, September 22nd, 2008
Straws It's natural to make Google a first stop for research, but using a specialized search engine for the right the right job will save you time. Think of it like a series of straws—Google goes to the bottom where it catches just about everything, but this also means it takes longer to get through it all. By using a more "limited straw"—such as a search engine that only returns results from blogs or message boards, you will jump directly to this content without wasting time with the rest of it. For example, if you are looking for a mix of timely, honest opinions on a specific product or service, it will likely be faster to search only blogs or only message boards to find relevant content from "real" people, rather than using Google, which usually starts with the company's own content. But don't take my word for it—try for yourself. Here's a list of search tools to get you started. Have more search tools to add? Share them here, and I'll add them to the list.

Specialized Search Tools

Blogs Message Boards Twitter Audio/Video
  • Everyzing (Search the text within the audio)

Not Ready For a Pet of Your Own Yet? Try Fostering

Saturday, September 20th, 2008
Beta Cat I'm sure many of you can relate to this situation—my family had a few cats growing up, and I've been considering getting one of my own for a long time (a little orange one), but always joked that I needed to learn how to take care of myself first. So last week, I decided to start volunteering at PAWS Chicago, a no-kill humane organization. I figured this was a nice way to work for a cause and hang out with some animals without the responsibility of ownership. I actually wish I would have found this organization last year when I moved to the city. It's a great way to get out, get involved and meet other volunteers. Beta Cat I was incredibly impressed with the organization from the start (Oprah recently featured it on her show), and so I decided to sign up to foster a cat for a few weeks—all the fun with none of the commitment. PAWS provides the initial food and takes on any veterinary responsibilities during the foster period. I didn't realized when I signed up that they would be calling so soon. I got the call three days after signing up. "Squirt," a 7-week-old kitten, needed a place to stay for two weeks. After agreeing to take him, I was shocked to find that he was a little orange kitten—exactly what I've always wanted. This has been my favorite volunteer experience to date. It's hard to imagine this energetic little guy hanging out in a cage—or meeting a fate worse than that. So if you're considering getting a cat or dog, but you're not sure that you're ready, I strongly encourage you to share some love and foster or adopt an animal. Squirt from Allie Osmar on Vimeo. I'll be adding more pictures to Flickr.

eMarketer Confirms What College Students Already Know – Students Are Digital

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
An eMarketer article published today states that College Students Lead the Way Online. While this won't come as a surprise to anyone who is actually in college, it does raise an interesting point.
"Marketers looking for the next big trend online can learn a lot from college students."
This is a good time to be a student, especially a student looking to go into marketing.

Finding Opportunities to Work Abroad

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
[display_podcast] I was inspired by this story from Justin Sikora, my colleague here at Edelman Chicago. Justin began working for Edelman two years ago knowing that he eventually wanted to gain international experience, and just one year later he was able to transfer to Hamburg, Germany for a year. Book Recommendations The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers Image Source: Zoagli

Company Names of the Future: Yotogee is the New Apple

Sunday, September 14th, 2008
Nonsensical company names are popping up left and right on the web—Yammer, Fotonauts and Tweegee, all recently featured as a part of the TechCrunch50, are just a few of the latest. With the scarcity of available domain names, along with the competition to show up first on Google, this trend may well become the new wave in company naming across the board—from software companies to burger joints. Hey, want to go grab a burger at Loafongy? But the benefits go beyond saving thousands on a unique URL—think about the time savings and accuracy these companies will enjoy when it comes to online monitoring. A search for "apple," for example, may return 197 new blogs posts that cover a range of topics—technology, orchards and pie recipes—but you better believe that 197 new results for "yotogee" will all be relevant to the one and only. This may even go one step further and change the way parents name their children. How do you think Canadian technical director Bill Gates and U.S. Army Captain Jon Stewart feel? These guys don't stand a chance on Google.

Five Must Listen Podcast Episodes on Public Relations

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
If you've been reading my blog, you probably know that I'm a huge fan of using podcasts to keep up on what's new in technology and PR during my unusable time—while walking to work, traveling or working out. I've been keeping track of some of my favorite shows over time, so if you're in PR or hope to enter the field in the future and you haven't gotten into listening to podcasts, these are sure to get you hooked. Five Podcast Episodes to Get You Started 1. For Immediate Release Episode #350 FIR has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I started listening in 2006 when I was still in college, and it has truly changed my career path. Because I love it so much, it gets two highlights on my list. Episode 350 is a little older, but if you jump to about 24 minutes in, there's a discussion about "PR Spammers" that is still very relevant today. 2. For Immediate Release Episode #378 There is a terrific conversation during the "news that fits" about twelve minutes in discussing Michael S. Hyatt's blog post, Defending Your Brand Online. 3. Inside PR Episode #127 This show is always both informative and entertaining. I particularly liked this episode on best practices for setting up a corporate blog. 4. On the Record Online—May 7, 2008 This episode with Josh Bernoff, co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies provides a thoughtful look into the impact social technologies have on public relations. 5. Market Voices—7/28 Forrester's Jeremiah Owyang discusses social media—what mistakes are brands making? Who is getting it right, and what are they doing? Although I'm not sure I like the tag line, "May all the voices you hear be marketing voices," this podcast is definitely chock-full of great interviews on technology and marketing. Has Potential, But No There Yet I see a lot of potential in the PR Week Podcast, but I couldn't get over the distractions of poor production and consistent lip smacking in these podcasts. I'm hoping that these little issues will be smoothed out over time. I'll definitely be checking back.

An Interview with Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman PR

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
[display_podcast] This interview was originally posted to the Edelman Digital blog, but I wanted to make it accessible for download as well. Amanda Mooney, Libby Pigg and I were able to catch Richard Edelman for an  interview about the evolution of public relations since he started with Edelman PR as an account executive. Thanks to Mary Metcalf for providing the introduction.

Sunday Night Gut Check – Know When to Quit Poor Leadership

Saturday, September 6th, 2008
During the first year of my career, Sunday evening often left me with a feeling of dread, knowing that Monday was just around the corner. In theory, I liked my job—I was working for the digital department of a global PR agency, gaining valuable experience, working for a respected company and I had plenty of opportunities for advancement—but in reality, I was miserable, largely because I didn't have the leadership I needed from my boss. One week into my new job, he stopped by my desk in the middle of the afternoon to let me know that he was heading home, offering no explanation. I asked if he might give me some direction on the project I was working on before taking off, since I was just getting started with things. He agreed, and then proceeded to walk away and ignore my request, leaving me to fend for myself. This was the first of many occasions that left me wondering whether the position I was in was right for me. More incidents soon followed. He went on to require that I run all of my work and ideas through him before moving forward, and then disappeared for days or weeks at a time, letting our projects slip behind schedule. As a new grad, this terrified me. Had I make the wrong decision? Did anyone else feel this way? Should I look for another job, even though all of the career advice I could find find told me to stick it out for at least a year? I certainly wasn't the first to experience feelings of doubt, nor will I be the last (there are currently 463,000 results for "hate my job" in Google)—but there's no reason to let poor leadership lead you into hopelessness. Here are a few lessons I've learned that may help you deal with an unsatisfactory job as a result of poor leadership. 1. Talk to Others in Your Field It's hard to evaluate your current situation if it's your first "real" job and you have nothing to compare it to. My gut told me that what I was experiencing wasn't right, but it wasn't until I talked to friends who worked for other agencies, or even other roles within my own agency, that I realized something might actually be off—that I had been left to fend for myself a few too many times. 2. See if You Can Redefine Your Current Role In today's economy, it's not always easy to find another job. In most cases, it's worth talking to another manager or someone in human resources about how to improve your current situation before jumping ship. When I put in my two weeks notice, everyone in HR expressed regret that they didn't have the chance to make things better for me. The trouble was, I never thought to go to them, and I kept these issues to myself until it was too late. 3. If It's Still Not Right, Don't Be Afraid to Leave If things aren't improving after talking with a manager or HR, it may be time to move on. I don't care if the general rule says that you have to stay on your first job for at least a year—your sanity and personal growth are more important. Disliking your job can be downright depressing and unhealthy. It's ok to admit that things just aren't getting better and move on to something new. Your career is a huge part of your life, so feeling doubt about your job or manager can be difficult to go through. If you have gone through a similar experiences, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you handled it.

UConn Journalism Blog – Lessons From Blogging in the Classroom

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
When I was a student at Michigan State University, I took an interactive design class that opened my eyes to the fact that once you post a message online, it has nowhere to hide. As a part of a class assignment, we were told to post a short critique to the class blog on one website design per week. One of the assigned sites was that of web designer Jason Santa Maria (who will, no doubt, have alerts in place to find this mention as well). Some students in the class proceeded to rip the site design apart—unaware that these comments were out in the open for anyone to find, including Jason Santa Maria himself. We were all quite surprised to find that he had, in fact, found our posts—and gone on to leave his own remarks on the matter. I mention this because I recently found a post on the UConn Journalism 3098 blog based on a recent post I wrote about five gadgets for the new communicator. I thought I would pay forward the favor from Jason Santa Maria and leave a comment to let the class know that I had found the post, that I was listening—but the comments were only open to those in the class, and I was unable to find any contact information. So to the unknown author of the post, I just want you to know that I am listening, that your comments are, indeed, out in the open for all to read and remark on—and I agree with your point that it would be wonderful if all five of these gadgets could be rolled into one. I think we'll get there soon enough.