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Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

I have a few posts swirling in my head that I’d like to get to this weekend, especially since I’ll be sitting in an airport terminal on Sunday. I’ll be flying to South Jersey to visit my folks for the Thanksgiving holiday. Expect a post with my mom’s pumpkin pie recipe once I have it in my hands. It is so simple, yet divine.

For now, I’ll just share this story about the teen who killed himself in front of his webcam. It’s truly a sad state of affairs that he was partially egged on to do it. I am outraged that some people find depression to be funny. It’s no laughing matter and I can’t begin to imagine how his parents must feel.

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UPDATE 10:47 P.M. – Looks like the folks behind Motrin are taking notice of the outrage.

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While watching the Penguins win over the Buffalo Sabres last night, I checked my phone to tweet and see what everyone else was yakking about. I noticed that there happened to be a huge uproar concerning Motrin and there was little I could do to find out due to a) not having an awesome iPhone or Blackberry/smartphone in general and b) I was at a house party, so … you know. When I got back this afternoon, I could see that there was much outrage by many moms on Twitter about a new advertisement on the product’s official site.

After monitoring the Twitter steam for a while at Motrin and #motrinmoms, I finally decided to watch the video to see what all the hubbub was about. Honestly, after watching it, I can say that I’m not wholly offended. I’ve watched it numerous times since then as a way to continue analyzing it, but nope … still nothing. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children that I tend not to take any real meaning out of it. I think I’m in the minority here, but maybe not.

You can watch it and form your own opinion, but whereas many see the tone as condescending, I’m more convinced it’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. Additionally, I can’t help but think I could relate and might secretly have the same thoughts whenever I’m a first-time mom, too. Am I wrong for thinking that?

There’s strong focus on buzzwords such as “supposedly”, “things”, “official mom,” and so on. While we can argue over the context of those words, it is my humble opinion that “things” refers to the swaddles, swings or whatever you want to call them and NOT babies as some seem to think.

Many are calling it a PR nightmare. At this point, we don’t even know who is on the team that formulated this concept. I’d be interested to see if some of the team members are moms who may/may not have had experience with babywearing and thought that they could share their own experiences in a semi-humorous fashion. How would the perception change if this comes to light? A focus group may have helped, but again, we don’t know if they put it through the proverbial wringer before making it public.

It could have been helpful for Motrin to have a Twitter presence right now to deal with the backlash, but how can one person (or a few people) possibly engage on a personal level with hundreds of angry parents at once? How would you do it? I’m unsure that having a social media presence at this particular moment would have really helped the situation.

You can argue with me that then I don’t get it. I do, but this whole wave of social media platforms is still very new and companies are slowly starting to catch on. While we can bitch and moan that it would be so much easier if every company utilized social media, I think it’s imperative that they monitor and understand what’s happening “now” before taking the plunge. Having a presence just to have a presence isn’t always the best thing if your company has no clue and is more or less utilizing these platforms as the opportunity to spam or quite simply broadcast and nothing more.* Now, this situation might show the company (which is part of the Johnson & Johnson family) that social media engagement could be helpful in the future and I’m sure they will be paying more attention to it.

In the short term, I see an official statement being issued in response to the backlash and the ad will go *poof*. I don’t think a boycott will have any detrimental effect on the brand. Those who haven’t bought the product in the first place, probably won’t anyway and that’s more than likely due to the cost or loyalty to another brand.

While I do agree that the ad is a bit tasteless tacky (again, I don’t see it as offensive), I don’t believe they intended to piss off an entire market. They tried to reach moms in a way that they thought they’d be able to relate, but obviously it backfired – back to the drawing board. I’m looking past the controversy on a personal level because at the end of the day, the product works and to me, as a consumer, that’s what matters.

*I know this might sound pretty contradictory to several posts I made previously about businesses utilizing social media, but I don’t believe every company will find value in all social media tools. Participation ultimately needs to be structured according to what type of conversation they’re looking to have – hence, I just throw out suggestions.

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A former co-worker showed this to me one Saturday when we were both in the office working. Whether we’re exposed to 300 or 3,000+ ads per day, (I guess that’s really up for debate) I thought this was pretty interesting.

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Part of the great thing about using today’s social media platforms is that we can develop relationships online, but convert them to offline social circles, meet-ups, tweet-ups – anything we desire. I think many can vouch that they’ve made some great friends through social media.

What is alarming, however, is when people take things a little too far and fail to separate reality from fantasy. We need to realize that while some people try to be as transparent as possible, not all do so and it could end up hurting others in a big way.

While this article wasn’t TOTALLY shocking, it is a sad telling of what could happen for people in real relationships who are becoming too immersed in the digital world.

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Mario “Le Magnifique” Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins hockey legend and the team’s current owner, is often quoted as saying, “It’s a great day for hockey.” But it was actually former coach “Badger” Bob Johnson who coined the phrase. Either way you slice it, for Pittsburgh, it truly is. In just three years, the Penguins (or Pens to the typical fan) have managed to turn around from a dying hockey club into a champion, almost tasting champagne from Lord Stanley’s Cup last year for the first time since 1992.

There are many tangibles that have factored into the Pens’ good fortune as of late and it all started with drafting Sidney Crosby, first line center and the youngest captain in the NHL, with the 1st-overall pick in the 2005 Entry Draft. He was hailed as “The Next One,” joining the likes of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (1st overall, 2003 Entry Draft) and forward Evgeni Malkin (2nd overall, 2004 Entry Draft), who jumped ship in 2006 from his Russian team to play for the Pens. Forward Jordan Staal (2nd overall, 2006 Entry Draft) made the big league last season in his first year turned pro and hasn’t looked back. Add some veteran grit to a talented, young roster and a strict disciplinarian coach in Michel Therrien, and you have the makings of a winning hockey club.

This year’s campaign, “A Great Day for Hockey,” is fitting when considering the past of the Pens and the immediate future during which Pittsburgh will say goodbye to its beloved Igloo (Mellon Arena) and welcome a new, yet-to-be-named facility currently under construction – a move that ensures the Pens presence in Pittsburgh for years to come. What I love most about the commercial is that it not only highlights what the Pens do on the ice, but also what they do off it and the thousands of dedicated fans who cramp into the Igloo or brave the cold to see their beloved Pens play (and hopefully win). Pittsburgh-based rock band, The Clarks, provide the vocals behind the action with their rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” in a fitting homage to all things Pittsburgh.

Here’s the official link to the video: A Great Day for Hockey

You can also follow the Pens on Twitter @pghpenguins.

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Whether you’re a senior in college looking beyond graduation or a more seasoned professional looking to re-enter the workforce, I won’t be the first to tell you just how hard job searching is given both the economy and potential uncertain times ahead. Nearly 1.2 million people have been laid off so far this year and we can expect that number will climb through December.

Once you center your focus on finding a position in our profession, things become even harder. Although it is expected that openings will grow by 18% through 2016, we know the field is still highly competitive as new talent emerges and journalists (and other professionals) find themselves wanting (or needing with the recent job and production cuts made by newspapers) to making the jump over.

As the saying goes, “it’s not just about what you know, it’s about who you know.” In fact, about 70% of people find their jobs through traditional and social networks. I’ve found that networking doesn’t have to be a complicated process. In fact, it can be a pretty fun and enlightening experience. Keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find a job right away, but it will help you sharpen your focus on what you really want in a career.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Create your own business cards – Make a lasting impression with other professionals by creating a business card that represents your personal brand. Make sure you include all pertinent contact information and anything else you think would be helpful. Even if you’re utilizing an online service (such as VistaPrint), try to be as creative as possible, even if you have to spend a little extra money. The key is to stand out and encourage people to remember you.
  • Come up with a game plan – Think about exactly where you want to be in your career. Once you narrow things down by industry, it’s much easier to devise your route. Compile a list of professionals within those industries that you’d like to reach out to whether it’s over coffee or lunch. Make sure you have all pertinent contact information before you call or email. Personally, I like to email because it’s a lot easier to reach people, but I also advocate calling. Don’t be afraid of picking up the phone.
  • Don’t take rejection personally – If you don’t hear a response right away, don’t fret. Schedules are always packed and it just may be a matter of time before you hear a response. Some professionals just don’t have the time or desire to meet. Don’t take it personally. If you’re still playing the waiting game, however, continue to do so and just move on down your list. Following up on an inquiry is OK, but don’t be annoying.
  • Attend networking events – Whether you belong to a professional association or not, there are many events that are of little to no cost to attend. Find events relevant to your career interests. You don’t have to attend every event to make a few good contacts.
  • Do your homework – Do a little research and devise a list of questions that you might have about the industry or a specific job. Just like a job interview, this illustrates that you are serious about learning all you can.
  • Be open-minded – As you’re meeting or speaking with professionals, try to remain open-minded and receptive to their advice. There may be ideas that you’ve never thought of before. It’s always likely that they’ll refer you to their colleagues as well, so make sure that you take notes.
  • Don’t burn those bridges – There’s nothing worse than slighting a professional with influence. Do make sure to show up if you’re scheduled to meet with someone. Deciding at the last minute that you don’t feel like going shows a lack of respect for that professional’s time and that you are unreliable. In addition, if you had a bad experience with a previous employer, never blog about it. The PR community is small and word will definitely get around.
  • Don’t forget to say “Thank You” – Maybe you’re not used to writing “thank you” notes or emails, but you should get in the habit. As I’m appreciative of a professional’s time and advice, I always make it a point to express that sentiment with a written note or email (depending on the circumstances).
  • Appreciate your existing networks – You might run in a few circles through social media and have an established base of colleagues offline. Make sure that you grow and maintain those relationships. I think we all make the mistake of trying to count on networks only when we find ourselves in want of a job. Networks are definitely beneficial in that sense, but there are many opportunities for a deeper connection beyond that. Take the time to find out what’s going on in their worlds and offer your help, even if it’s just an open ear.

By-the-by, if you consider yourself introverted and get nervous at the thought of networking, here’s a GREAT article with some tips to help you. Trust me, you’re not alone. One part of networking is about taking risks. It’s really empowering when you step out of your normal comfort zone and have your first successful networking experience.

Again, you might get lucky, as some folks do, but don’t expect an opportunity to come up right away. Just keep at it and great things can come your way. The best reward of all? You’ll be able to meet some incredibly smart, talented people.

This list is only a small piece of the art of networking. What are your tried-and-true methods?

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Nearly a month ago, this is how things were looking for Tina Fey

During the recent election, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live enjoyed a ratings boost from its clever political spoofs. There were the typical portrayals, as you’d expect, of both candidates. Yet, it was the introduction of a hockey mom from a small town in Alaska that proved to be a ratings gold mine. Tina Fey practically knocked it out of the park with her portrayal of Sarah Palin, for who she was a dead ringer.

Every week, millions of people laughed along at the sheer absurdity of each sketch with the real Palin even making a cameo in an effort to poke fun at herself. Fey, the show’s former head writer (the show’s first-ever female head writer at that), inferred that someone needed to make sure Palin didn’t get into office because she was tired of playing the role. Well, she got her wish when the nation decided to elect Barack Obama on Tuesday as President.

Interestingly enough, Fey’s Palin impression for the last month or so helped boost SNL’s ratings well over 70% from the previous year. Now that it’s over, where will SNL go from here? The NY Daily News gave a few suggestions as to how the show might continue the ratings drive.

Either way, the staff is going to have to come up with some hard-hitting sketches. Aside from the occasional funny sketch or two and the political humor, the show’s content has been rather lackluster in recent years. I’m curious to see how the show comes out of the gate post-election. That race begins tonight next week.

Watch the SNL Palin videos here.

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