PRception

June 8, 2008

If all PR Practitioners are Liars, all Lawyers are Murderers

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 10:14 am

On June 1, 2008, CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen wrote a scathing article about the public relations industry. Being that Cohen is a lawyer, I was surprised by the flimsy reasoning he used to make his case. Cohen argues that because one public relations practitioner (former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan) was dishonest, every other individual practicing public relations is dishonest as well. Apparently, the actions of one man are reflective of an entire profession.

For the sake of argument, let’s suppose Cohen’s argument stands up to reason. That would mean we could apply that same logic to judge other professions as well. I think everyone can see where I’m going with this. A quick Google search for “disbarred lawyers” yields thousands of examples of lawyers acting dishonestly. Wikipedia is considerate enough to provide a list of some of the U.S.’s most infamous disbarred lawyers, some who were even convicted of murder (gasp).

According to Cohen, these dishonest and criminal lawyers make it fair to conclude that not only are all lawyers dishonest, but they’re all dishonest murderers. In fact, Cohen is a lawyer himself, which means he too is a dishonest murderer! Does anybody think it’s a bit hypocritical for a dishonest murderer to condemn an entire profession because he thinks its deceitful?

Obviously, I’m being facetious. A statement like “all lawyers are dishonest murderers” is ridiculous and unfair, but you can see how applying Cohen’s style of logic can lead to such absurdity.

As far as I can tell, there are only three reasons why Cohen would write such an article. One, he has a personal agenda to discredit the public relations industry. Two, he’s using McClellan’s admitted dishonesty as an opportunity to be self-righteous. Or three, he’s an idiot. I personally think it’s a combination of all three.

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May 22, 2008

Using Credibility to Create a “Sticky” Message

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 12:42 pm

Earlier this week I listed the six principles of creating a “sticky” message as outlined by Chip and Dan Heath in their book, “Made to Stick.” Last post I discussed the principle of “concreteness,” and today I’ll examine how “credibility” can be utilized to craft a message that sticks.

Without credibility, new research, thoughts or ideas have a difficult time becoming recognized as true by the public. In fact, some of the world’s most universally accepted truths were discounted as false by the vast majority of the public at one time or another. For example, when the Greek mathematician Pythagoras first proposed the world was round instead of flat, the idea was largely ignored among the public because it was in stark contradiction with the “flat-disc” Mesopotamian maps of the era. Due to the pervasiveness of “flat-disc” Mesopotamian maps in ancient Greek culture, they carried more credibility than the radical opinions of one Greek philosopher. This story makes evident that a lack of credibility can trump a message or idea no matter how obvious it may become in hind-sight.

So when crafting a message, what are some strategies we can use to establish credibility? “Made to Stick” outlines several approaches. The first, and probably most difficult, is to receive the endorsement of an authority figure. Tiger Woods can more effectively convince people that Nike Golf makes the best drivers than I could. But for most of us, this tactic is fairly unrealistic because we’re not in contact with any major authorities.

Another way to establish credibility is by using what the Heath brothers call an “anti-authority.” An anti-authority is an individual who may lack any type of status or celebrity, but is perceived as honest and trustworthy. An example of an anti-authority used in “Made to Stick” was Pam Laffin, an emphysemic smoker who became the star of nationwide anti-smoking campaign. Because Laffin didn’t have any recognizable agenda, the public was more receptive to her anti-smoking message.

You could also try offering “testable credentials” to establish credibility. The Heath Brothers recount the 1984 Wendys ad campaign, “Where’s the Beef?” In the “Where’s the Beef?” campaign, fast food customers were challenged to compare the size of Wendys’ burger patties to McDonalds’ and Burger King’s. When people made the comparisons, they saw that Wendys did in fact offer the largest burger patties, and Wendys’ revenues began to soar. This is an excellent example illustrating how testable credentials can effectively create credibility. (Click here to see the “Where’s the Beef?” television ad.)

“Made to Stick” offers several other methods, such as adding extra details and humanizing numerical statistics, that can help make your message more credible. By employing any one of these strategies (or perhaps several of them) it is possible to develop a message that will “stick” out in the minds of your audiences.

May 20, 2008

Avoiding the Abstract

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 1:45 pm

Why is it that people can remember obscure fairy tales from their childhoods, but have trouble remembering what they learned last month in their macro-economic textbook? According to behavioral researchers Chip and Dan Heath, it’s because some forms of communication lack the ability to “stick,” or to be retained. In an exploration of the retentive properties of communication, Chip and Dan co-authored the New York Times bestseller, “Made to Stick.”

In “Made to Stick,” the Heath brothers outline what they consider the six principles of “stickiness,” a term they use to describe messages that lend themselves to enhanced recollection. These six principles are simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotion, and story telling. Of these six principles, Chip and Dan assert that “concreteness” is the most important principle to developing a “sticky” message.

To explain concreteness conceptually, “Made to Stick” also explains its opposite, abstraction. According to the Heath brothers, abstraction can dilute messages by not providing people with syntax they can use to visualize or easily understand a message. For example, the book discusses the various ways in which an elementary school teacher can explain basic mathematics.

Attempting to explain the concepts of addition and subtraction in abstract terms is confusing. But if a teacher places three apples on her desk and asks, “How many apples will there be if I put two more on the table?” the concepts of addition and subtraction become much more understandable. By using tangible, concrete examples, mathematical concepts can be explained much easier. “Made to Stick” argues that this process of layering concrete examples with abstract information is essential to effective communication.

This is why you’d want to avoid phrases like Bud Light’s “superior drinkability,” and instead say “cold beer.” Of course, most of us don’t need a basic, concrete example to help us comprehend Bud Light’s message, but a person completely unfamiliar with Bud Light, or even with beer in general, would have a difficult time interpreting “superior drinkability.”

As communication professionals, it’s important to consider the disposition of our audience. We could be communicating a concept that is familiar to us, but completely foreign to someone else. In these instances, abstract language could lead to misunderstanding, or even total bewilderment.

May 19, 2008

Who Proofread McCain’s Web Site?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 3:37 pm

The race for the 2008 presidency is heating up and more and more people are starting to take sides. But for those of us who are still undecided, there is an endless amount of information available to help us make up our minds. When researching a presidential candidate, his or her official Web site would be an obvious place to start looking. These sites can be highly influential, and in many cases can give undecided voters a first impression of a candidate. I would expect the John McCain camp to be fully aware of this, which is why I was so surprised by the amount of grammatical errors on http://www.johnmccain.com.

There were a lot of well developed features on the site — including an interactive McCain “timeline” that tracks John McCain’s political and personal accomplishments over the years — but for the most part these positive features were overshadowed by glaring grammatical errors. Some of these errors were so obvious that I’m beginning to question whether or not the writing on the site was proofread at all.

For example, when discussing McCain’s proposed legislation to reduce carbon emissions, the text reads “… offering a powerful incentive to drive the deployment of new and better energy sources and ‘technologiesuilding’ into the economy …” First off, if I’d copied the entire sentence you’d recognize that it is in dire need of some commas, and should probably be broken up. But the spastic collection of letters “technologiesuilding” (it doesn’t even deserved to be called a word) makes the sentence completely unreadable. (To see the error go to McCain’s timeline and search near 2004.)

Another example of an egregious grammatical error can be found in the transcript of his most recent speech to the National Restaurant Association in Chicago, Illinois. When criticizing modern day politics, the transcript reads, “It’s the kind of politics that exploits problems instead of s olving them…” There is a space between the s and o in the word “solving.” (Click here to read the speech.)

I found many other grammatical errors on McCain’s Web site, and I only browsed a minor fraction of its content. This grammatical disaster that is John McCain’s Web site assuredly works against his efforts to win the presidency of the United States. He will most likely lose a degree of credibility with voters who place an emphasis on intellectualism. These errors may also lead potential voters to call his attention to detail into question.

Less obviously, these grammatical errors may liken John McCain to George W. Bush’s perceived lack of literal competency in the minds of voters. They could even contribute to a stereotype that all Republican’s are as inarticulate as Bush. Considering the toxic effect Bush can have on a candidate’s popularity, and the damage he’s already done to the reputation of the Republican party, he should be avoided by McCain at all costs.

In light of this, I need to know who proofread John McCain’s Web site. It certainly wasn’t a student from the UO’s J-School. Errors like these earn you an automatic “F” on papers submitted to Professor Duncan McDonald. Or they can qualify you for a one-on-one meeting with Professor Tiffany Derville. Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but shouldn’t the content of a presidential nominee’s Web site be held to at least the same, if not higher, grammatical standards as journalism classes at the University of Oregon? Or is that too much to ask?

I’m not trying to come off as an elitist in this piece, nor am I am trying to market myself as the grammar-god of the UO. But these were not isolated and understandable grammatical errors — they were undecipherable groupings of letters such as “technologiesuilding,” or unnecessary spaces in the middle of two-syllable words. This post isn’t intended to discredit John McCain, but to highlight a problem with a crucial element to his campaign that I feel needs to be immediately addressed.

P.S. Yes, I know this post probably has tons of grammatical errors too, but I’m not running for president…. yet.

May 14, 2008

Manny’s 500th Homerun!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 12:36 pm

Okay, so Boston Red Sox Outfielder Manny Ramirez hasn’t hit his monumental 500th home run yet, but I wanted to blog about it before the term ended. As you can probably guess, Manny Ramirez will in all likelihood hit 500 home runs in the next month. For those of you who aren’t aware of the significance of this achievement, let me put it into historical perspective.

Hitting 500 home runs is an elusive milestone for almost every professional baseball player. Since professional baseball was first introduced to America in 1877, only 23 players have ever hit 500 or more home runs. 15 of these 23 players have already been inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame, and seven of the remaining eight are virtually guaranteed admission. Some of Major League Baseball’s most celebrated athletes, such as “the iron man” Cal Ripken, or the “Yankee clipper” Joe Dimaggio, never even came close to reaching this milestone. So, this is why I’m so excited one of my boyhood idols is going to be the next member of what is affectionately known as the 500 home run club.

The Boston Red Sox organization recognizes the historical significance of Manny’s 500th home run, and has utilized it for a massive public relations effort to generate nationwide interest in the Red Sox franchise. For starters, the Boston Red Sox’s Web site has devoted an entire page to “the countdown to 500.” This page provides links to Manny Ramirez’s career statistics, numerous news articles concerning the event, the team’s upcoming schedule, and even expert predictions of when and where the 500th home run will be hit.

Another apparent tactic of the Red Sox’s promotion of the achievement is to increase the appeal of Manny Ramirez himself. Manny’s casual, laid back demeanor and his good sense of humor have always made him a target of public affection in the baseball world. Part of Manny’s charm is his ability to get away with shenanigans that get most players benched. People usually describe Manny’s lovably unprofessional high jinks as “Manny being Manny.” Well that phrase, “Manny being Manny,” is now being exploited by the Red Sox marketing machine to increase Manny’s celebrity. This tactic of expanding Manny’s appeal is a clever way to influence sports fans to follow the Boston Red Sox.

Personally, I couldn’t be happier with the amount of exposure Manny’s countdown to 500 home runs is receiving. It’s allowed me to follow Manny’s every move on and off the field for the past two months, and given me the chance to experience the excitement of his 500th home run.

May 11, 2008

A Review of Delta Airlines’ Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 4:45 pm

I’ve done a fair amount of flying for a person my age — much of which has been on Delta Airlines. To be perfectly honest, I prefer to avoid Delta whenever possible because of its incessant penny-pinching. Delta has charged me for headphones, extra snacks, and many other airplane amenities that were free before Delta declared bankruptcy several years ago. So when I decided to review Delta’s blog for PRception, I was expecting it be as sparse and utilitarian as a Delta coach cabin. Surprisingly, this was not the case, and I was actually very impressed with the quality of Delta’s blog. Using a blog-grading criteria developed by businessandblogging.com, I reviewed Delta’s blog in several key areas and then scored it out of 80.

On a scale of 1 – 10

Ease of Finding: 9 – Delta’s blog is highly accessible and can be found by simply typing “Delta blog” into a Google search engine. The Delta blog will be the first link that appears. You can also find a link to the blog at the bottom of Delta’s homepage. The only reason I didn’t give Delta a “10” for Ease of Finding is because the homepage link to its blog is small, making it harder to find.

Frequency: 8 – Delta posts a new entry on its blog daily. Although this is somewhat frequent, I think that Delta could post multiple entries a day considering the plethora of topics its blog could address. Still, an eight out of 10 isn’t bad.

Engaging Writing: 9 – The writing on Delta’s blog is an enjoyable mix of company history, new corporate initiatives, and employee anecdotes that keeps the blog fresh and unpredictable. It also takes on a more casual writing style, rather than a professional tone, which helps humanize this multi-billion dollar corporation.

Relevant: 7 – Part of what makes reading this blog so enjoyable is that it doesn’t focus soley on Delta’s business policies and operational procedures. Instead, it discusses topics such as the most recent employee block party and Delta’s role in New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. These human interest stories make for a good read but aren’t necessarily relevant to a potential, or currrent Delta shareholder who is likely interested in more business-oriented blog content.

Focused: 7 – Like I mentioned above, the content of Delta’s blog varies and it’s difficult to expect what the following day’s post will address. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern in the content of Delta’s blog, and therefore it can’t be relied on to provide specific information a reader may be looking for.

Honest: 7 – This was the most difficult category to quantify. Delta’s blog focuses more on human interest stories and doesn’t address any sort of financial data. Because of this, there seems to be less of an incentive for the blog to be dishonest. But the decision to only discuss news that casts the corporation in a positive light may mislead readers into believing there are no problems at Delta.

Interactive: 7 – Delta’s blog allows readers to comment on posts, comment on RSS, and create a blog account. This makes the blog fairly interactive, but there are missing features, such as a discussion forum, that could make it even more interactive.

Responsive: 7 – I’m not sure how quickly the blog responds to posted comments or e-mails, but the fact that Delta’s blog has provided two-way communication channels for its readers suggests it is at least making an effort to address reader concerns.

Delta’s blog scored a 61 out of 80 according to businessandblogging.com’s blog-grading criteria. But I’d like to award the blog six bonus points for features that aren’t covered by these criteria. For example, an organized and easy to access archive of all of Delta’s blog entries was a nice feature. The layout and design was also well done, which earned it a few additional bonus points. Nice work, Delta. Now if only you could make flying in your planes as pleasant as reading your blog, you’d really be making some profits.

May 5, 2008

A Mishandled Album Release

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 8:01 pm

On Cinco De Mayo, Portland’s the Dandy Warhols were supposed to release their sixth studio album, “Earth to the Dandy Warhols.” But unfortunately, the post-modernist, psychedelic-rock the Dandy Warhols had promised me today was never delivered, and instead of writing this piece with an overwhelming ringing in my ears that surely indicates early symptoms of tenatis, I can hear every whisper, footstep and shuffle on the Knight Library’s first floor.

As a huge fan, or perhaps fanatic, I have been anxiously awaiting the release of “Earth to the Dandy Warhols” for literally three years. I was especially eager to hear this new album because of the corporate change the band had undergone in 2006. After waning sales of their most recent album, the Dandys’ record label, Capitol Records, decided it was time to part ways with the group who seemed to continue to commercially underperform in U.S. markets. This came as a shock to the band (and its fans), especially because they had been consistently earning Capitol Records huge dividens in European markets for the past decade. But the self-assured Dandys didn’t panic, and decided they had established themselves well enough to create their own independent record label. The way the band saw it, this was their opportunity to finally record music in the anti-corporate spirit they had always resembled without subjecting themselves poverty and obscurity.

The group fervently began working on a new record, and were coming out with some of their best material in years. (I’m qualified to say that, I’ve seen them 14 times.) But there’s more to a major record release than just producing good music, and I was skeptical of the group’s ability to handle the business aspect of the release. My skepticism was confirmed when Google searches couldn’t find any press on “Earth to the Dandy Warhols” — even weeks before the scheduled release date. The situation seemed even more dire when only days before the release, the band hadn’t even released a single to promote the album. Needless to say, I was worried.

Finally, Cinco De Mayo arrived, but I could have cared less about the holiday, I was only concerned with getting my hands on that new album. When I woke up, I was almost scared to open their Web site, because I was worried my worst fears of a delayed album release would be realized — and they were. For all my patience, anticipation, and even desperation, to the hear the new album, I was given a lousy single and a redesigned Web site……………………………. #@!$&@*$@!!!!!! (OK, the single wasn’t lousy, it was AWESOME. Check it out.)

I had been duped by the Dandy Warhols. What made it even worse was they didn’t even acknowledge the major frustration and disappointment they had caused me. Instead, what they did was announce that today (May 5) was the beginning of “Phase One” of their record release, and that the full album would be available on May 19 when “Phase Two” begins. What garbage. At least admit that something went wrong with the release and that this whole debacle isn’t part of some “plan.”

I hate to admit it, but this is a point in time where the Dandys could have greatly benefited from from the corporate interests of Capitol Records. But even without the presence of Capitol, this situation could have been mostly avoided with a competent team of public relations practitioners.

To begin with, the complete lack of press coverage for “Earth to the Dandy Warhols” is clearly symptomatic of ineffective and insufficient public relations initiatives. Obscurity in the U.S. media is nothing new to the Dandy Warhols and has always been a problem for the band. In fact, in an article on billboard.com the Dandy Warhols’ staunchest criticism of Capitol Records was that they did not appropriately promote the band.

If the band is suffering from a lack of commercial success, the remedy is not an ambiguous and unseen album release after being dropped from its major label. It is a highly publicized album release that is a triumph of artistic independence for the band. This, as well as the myriad of other potential story lines that could have surrounded this album release, coupled with the band’s established notoriety is more than enough material for a successful public relations effort.

Second of all, in my junior opinion, once the group knew they were behind schedule, the decision to not postpone the official release date of “Earth to the Dandy Warhols” was a mistake. Although doing so may have upset some fans, a well-managed crisis communications plan could have assuaged the majority of fan dissatisfaction with the decision. Once again, strong public relations could have helped the album release. But at this point, this is all speculation, and in light of things, these examples are only minor public communications infractions committed by the Dandy Warhols.

When the band needed to practice good public relations most was today, when they disappointed thousands of fans who were expecting a new Dandy Warhols album. According to an article written by James Grunig and Linda Childers Hon, the Dandy Warhols may have greatly damaged their relationship with their fans. One concept the article discusses is trust, which is composed of integrity, dependability and competence. By misleading their fans about the date of the album release, the Dandy Warhols may not be viewed as either dependable or competent by their fans. The obvious and apparent “cover up” of the mishandled album release may also lead fans to call the integrity of the band into question. Another key component to maintaining healthy relationships according to the article is satisfaction. Fans of the Dandy Warhols are clearly unsatisfied in this circumstance. The potentially damaged relationship between the Dandy Warhols and their fans is another compelling reason why they should adopt better public relations practices.

As a fan, not only do I feel that I’m owed some sort of an explanation by the Dandy Warhols, but I’m also confused as to what’s happening with the release. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to buy the album at mainstream record stores, or where I’ll be able to download it off the Internet. These types of questions beg for clear communication between the band and its bewildered fans.

I don’t blame the Dandy Warhols for this mishandled album release because they’re artists, not businessmen or communications professionals. But I do blame the band’s manager and supposed “press contact” Lee A. Cohen, who has a responsibility to the band to handle these types of issues — especially if he has assumed the role of press contact.

I’m sure the Dandy Warhols are immensely more loyal to their friend, manager, and press contact Lee A. Cohen, than they are to some un-credentialed college student critiquing the album release from his ivory tower. They might even denounce me, ban from attending their concerts, and then give me a million reasons why I’m wrong and how misinformed I really am. But if that’s the case, the simple fact that I am misinformed (and I’m much less likely to be misinformed than most casual fans considering the amount of time I spend researching this band) is reflective of an ill-conceived and ineffective public relations campaign, and supports my argument that the Dandy Warhols would have been greatly benefited by proper handling of their public relations duties.

May 1, 2008

Winners at the 2008 Payne Awards

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 8:50 am

Since 1999, the UO’s SOJC has honored journalistic integrity by hosting the annual Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism. The awards ceremony was created by the late Ancil Payne, an established Seattle Broadcaster and former CEO of KING Broadcasting who was renowned for his dedication to journalistic ethics. The awards’ panel of judges is made up of a collection of professional journalists and academics, a number of which are faculty here at the UO. Each year this panel reviews numerous instances of fearless commitments to journalistic principles to determine which individual or organization is most deserving of recognition.

This year, three equally deserving nominees received Payne Awards – The Phoenix New-Times and The Spokesman-Review in the News Organization category, and Ashley Gough in the Collegiate Media category. Each of these recipients committed clear acts of journalistic conviction that embody the exact ideals Ancil Payne was trying to honor when he established the awards.

The Phoenix New-Times was honored after some of its journalists were arrested when they refused to divulge information to a grand jury regarding their coverage of an underhanded Phoenix sheriff. After the paper published a cover story that exposed this story, public support for the arrested New-Times reporters influenced the state to drop all charges.

The Spokesman-Review was honored with a Payne Award after it initiated an audit of itself by the Washington News Council. The paper instigated the audit after it (and perhaps more importantly, the public) recognized a major conflict of interest between its coverage of a controversial civic redevelopment program and the paper’s publisher and president. Although this act of self-policing was potentially detrimental to the paper, The Spokesman-Review proceeded with it anyway.

Ashely Gough, the editor of the Mount Observer at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Mass., received a Payne Award for boldly standing up to her college president. After a massive dissapearance of editions of a Mount Observer that contained a critical article on the college’s president, Gough authored an article that (correctly) implicated the president in the missing papers, and then founded a First Amendment forum at the school.

All of these instances are examples of how a journalist should conduct his or herself professionally. Hopefully, the Payne Awards will inspire future journalists, whether they be editors, reporters or public relations practitioners, to act with the same diligence and conviction when morally confronted.

April 29, 2008

My First Podcast

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 12:40 pm

This weekend I produced a podcast for the very first time. I can’t say that I’m completely satisfied with the final result, but I thought it was pretty good for a first attempt. The topic of my podcast was the “core and satellite system,” which is a method for speechwriting that was first introduced to me last term by Professor Tom Hagley.

The system was developed by Anett D. Grant, who specializes in teaching public communication skills as the president of the Minnesota based Executive Speaking, Inc.. Basically, the system states that a speech can be written entirely with a “core statement,” “satellites” and “links.” The core statement is a central theme or message that helps streamline the content of your speech. The satellites are subtopics of the speech that address certain features of your core statement. And links are questions that connect (or link) your satellites to your core statement. Ms Grant has supplied the UO’s SOJC with an introductory slide show that explains the basic principles of the core and satellite system. I used this slide show, as well as my notes from Professor Hagley’s class to create the content of my podcast.

I used a free online recording program called Audacity to create my podcast. Recording the podcast was relatively easy but editing it was a near catastrophe. During the original recording of my podcast I stuttered, slurred or said “uh” a number of times. Unfortunately, the only way to remove these miscues was by replaying the recording, identifying the exact moment where I misspoke, and then deleting it. Like I said, I made a lot of mistakes while recording my podcast, so it took me about three hours to edit the entire recording.

After several hours of working on my podcast, I was finally done with the recording. All that was left was to transfer it to iTunes, burn it onto a CD, and create a label for the CD at mediaface.com. I was only able to complete two of these three remaining tasks (I couldn’t access the templates at mediaface.com), but I’m still very happy with my podcast.

April 23, 2008

My New Online Social Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — jameslutes @ 11:38 am

Aside from using AOL Instant Messenger in middle school, I typically have shied away from online socializing. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I began regularly using e-mail (I didn’t even have an email address in high school), and it took me even longer to create a Facebook account. As far as I knew, MySpace was the only other social networking site aside from Facebook.

I’m finding out that I have been sorely mistaken. Facebook and MySpace accounts don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the realm of online socialization. I’m quickly learning in my advanced PR writing class there are innumerable ways for associates to keep track of one another of the Web. In the past week I’ve created a PR Open Mic account, a Twitter account, a del.icio.us account, a LinkedIn account, a Google Reader account, and this blog. If I didn’t already have a Facebook account, I would have had to create one of those too.

I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of this online socialization, but I’m beginning to see the benefit of it. Just this past Monday, I received advice from Les Potter on developing a PR plan that has already proven to be very useful in my PR planning and problems class. And by tracking nearly 30 PR-related blogs at once with Google Reader, I’m getting a sense of what type of problems and issues will arise in my future as a PR practitioner. I’m still skeptical of LinkedIn, and especially Twitter, but I’m willing to give them a fair shot and continue using them.

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