The Chronicles of Dollywood, Episode 1

I arrived in Pigeon Forge, TN last evening, intent on riding as many coasters as possible today. I hate coasters, but my friend, Chrissy, loves them. She usually gets me to go to Cedar Fair parks with the promise of seeing Snoopy (Cedar Fair parks’ mascot). I collect all things Snoopy (but I won’t get in to that here, as I’ll save that for a future post).

Well, I tried. I got most of the coasters, there was only one I couldn’t do. I got locked in to one coaster with an overhead restraint, and it freaked me out. The overhead restraints tend to close in tight when the coaster is moving and when it stops, you can’t move at all. Sends me in to panic mode.

But that’s ok, because I’m here and accomplished my goal!!

Anyone out there like coasters?

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Filed under life, road trips

States, consumer groups sue DeVos over delay of student loan protections

An interesting article about an interesting turn of events…

via 18 states, consumer groups sue DeVos over delay of student loan protections – POLITICO

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LIT Conference

While my professional passion lies in communications and marketing, I am also fascinated by the science of learning. For me, the learning sciences tie together nicely with communications. Communications professionals look for unique ways to reach their targeted audiences much like educators do with their efforts to engage students. Communicators are “teaching” people, while teachers are “communicating” with their students. So how do people learn about specific products and topics? The possibilities are almost endless.

Toward that end, I’m attending the learning with innovative technology conference in Saratoga Springs, NY today. Here’s a link to the conference program, which includes a great list of expert presenters. I encourage anyone interested in learning and communications to check out the details and contact anyone on the list.

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Filed under communications, education, social media

The Rise and Fall of the Mall

Here’s an interesting story about the rise and fall of the American Mall from PBS News Hour. This short video shows how things have changed for retail in this country. Many malls are reinventing themselves, but will this trend continue? Could this type of creativety save Sears, JCPenney, and others, or will in force them in to a deeper, downward spiral?

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My Interpretation

Here is my interpretation of the poem “Dreams” by Langston Hughes. I created this video for a digital video course using a collection of photos of the Old First Ward in Buffalo, NY. Many of the photos are mine, but others were taken from various sources around the web.

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March 28, 2013 · 2:35 pm

Washington Post: Facebook Hockey Sticks, MySpace Languishes

Interesting choice of terms for this article: Facebook Hockey Sticks, MySpace Languishes.

Ultimately, this suggests that MySpace is a “novel concept” and that Facebook is the next generation in the ongoing evolution of  social media. I agree.


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Filed under LinkedIn, social media

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…Using Social Media in PR

Imagine for a moment that you are a Public Relations Manager and are looking to distribute your company’s story about a new product or initiative. Newswire services allow you to reach large groups of traditional media — newspapers, radio and television stations. Email and telephone help you to contact your favorite reporters directly. And of course, you post your information to your website. You hustle to get your message out there, but still wonder: how do you push your story with something new, something unique, something different that will allow you to catch the attention of a new population?

Enter social media.

What is social media?

Wikipedia defines social as “information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies that is intended to facilitate communications, influence and interaction with peers and with public audiences.” In short, social media builds communities, fosters social interaction and enhances communication efforts, all within a technological playing field.

These days, social media is the hottest tool in public relations and marketing. LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and many more are no longer exclusive to high schoolers; increasingly, older adults are turning to these networking outlets, particularly as the economy worsens. As a result of these new techniques, participants are able to reach others around the world, enhancing their personal and professional networks in the process.

The waters are uncharted when it comes to social media, but why would you ever consider using something so new when it comes to distributing your message? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the reasons for using this emerging technology (we’ll consider the arguments against in the next posting).

Why use social media?

There are a number of theories out there, but there are a core group of reasons to implement a social media marketing effort:

Social media enhances relationships. Social media is by design is a networking instrument. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter simply would not exist if not for the fact that developing relationships is central to human nature. By developing and working through these relationships, the message can reach a whole new audience.

Social media establishes “the face” of the organization. Social media fosters a transparent, collaborative, and innovative corporate culture, especially if your CEO or another top leader uses it to send personal messages. Those who follow your organization “get to know” the hierarchy, which in turn encourages customers to provide feedback and builds a sense of community. Ultimately, an organization that communicates authentically has an opportunity to learn from customer interaction, developing strategies that boost productivity and facilitate research and development in the process.

Social media helps to manage reputation and establish credibility. Reputation and credibility are important to any business, and these informal, conversational institutions provide an opportunity to educate the public about your company and your culture.

Social media tools help company leaders enhance their own credibility (and by extension, the organization’s reputation as a whole) through direct and genuine conversations with key stakeholders, ultimately portraying them as experts in their field. A credible source combined with accurate information leads increases media coverage and can impact organizational revenue.

Social media “gets the message out.” A key to success is maintaining a consistently solid message in the public forum. Social media sites enhance the distribution of that message, providing a new vehicle for distribution of your story in a meaningful way.

“Re-tweeting”, or RT for short, is a prime example of an innovative way to disseminate information. RT is a Twitter term used when a message, or tweet, is forwarded with appropriate attributions. If the message is interesting, Tweeters will implement an electronic “word-of-mouth” marketing effort by resending the tweet over and over. Including links to the information can also drive traffic to your website and/or bring additional visibility to your blog.

These are just a few of the reasons to use social media in your efforts. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it can’t be ignored (until the next technological advance comes along anyway). Coming up…when you might not want to use social media to spread the word.

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Filed under internet, LinkedIn, public relations, social media, writing