The most important things are not things.

Monday, March 16, 2009 5:08 PM

I caught a glimpse of the lid of this guy's MacBook while I was walking through the Austin Convention Center at SXSW this past weekend. Fewer truer words have been said.

The most important things are not things.

11:20 AM

Going F.I.S.H.'ing at My Alma Mater

Monday, February 02, 2009 6:51 PM

Late last week I had the opportunity to catch up with one of my favorite -- and most influential -- professors from Trenton State College (which is now named The College of New Jersey, but will forever be known to me as TSC). Her name is Kim Pearson (follow her on Twitter here).

As an undergrad, I took Kim's classes every chance I had. And, while I'm sure her classes were built on some level of formal curriculum, I never noticed it. How many professors turn their Professional Writing classes into full-scale PR agencies that help local non-profits? Yup, that's what I thought.

That's one of the reasons I was excited when she reached out to me on Facebook to talk about a project she's been working on. Funded by a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Broadening Participation in Computing Program, Kim and her colleagues are developing a pilot program intended to increase the participation of members of underrepresented groups in the computing sciences by exposing middle school-aged students to interactive journalism. The program is called the Interactive Journalism Institute for Middle Schoolers, a partnership between faculty and students of TCNJ and Fisher Middle School in Ewing, NJ.

One of the program's first projects is called F.I.S.H. -- Fisher's Interactive Stories Here. The stories on F.I.S.H. are conceived, reported and produced by middle school students. Not college students getting ready to enter the workforce. Middle school students.

This is an important program (so much so, that I recorded a video for Kim that she put on the site). Let me repeat: This is an important program. The lines between computing and writing (to really boil the disciplines down to their basics) are no longer blurring...they've blurred. Reporters at institutions such as The New York Times are now adding cameras and microphones to their standard-issue pens and pads. Software developers are now as cognizant of how their tech will be used as they are of the ones and zeros that make the products work. Teaching children early -- before they hit high school and college, where it is too late in the learning process -- is critical.

We hear often about the need for America to re-focus on teaching science and math. The Interactive Journalism Institute for Middle Schoolers does just that...and more.

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Off-Topic: My friend the ski model

5:09 PM

Picture 3.pngOK, maybe my friend Steve Keller isn't a professional ski model in the same vein as those who huck themselves off cliffs for the cameras, but he *is* the face of Steamboat on their web site, in ski mag ads and even in one of the world's greatest magazines.

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Sir, your reputation precedes you

Monday, January 26, 2009 7:46 AM

First, if you're an up-and-coming communications pro (or even a weathered old geezer), you'd do well to subscribe to Rafe Needleman's "Pro PR Tips." The C|NET vet has posted more than 100 rules from inside the head of one of the tech industry's most-read journalists.

Take, for example, this one from the other day:

Tip #103: Agency, Shmagency: "I don’t care that much what agency you work for. What I care about is the company you represent."

Now, you can argue that the calling cards of a small number of agencies will open otherwise hard-to-crack editorial doors (a reflection on consistently great hiring and training than on size and perceived power). However, even though the card might be able to open the door, it's the story and personal relationship that gets your foot inside.

I've heard a lot lately about the power of personal brands. It's a discussion good PR pros should heed. It doesn't matter whether you work for IBM or Joe's PR Shop, it's your personal brand that makes you stand out.
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Yeah, you. You talking about my brand?

Monday, January 05, 2009 6:50 AM

Ford Motor CompanyImage via WikipediaFor those who still think what happens on blogs, Twitter and other social media networks is nothing more than a marketing echo chamber, think again.

I posted an entry to this blog yesterday that included links to the great online video work Ford and GM are doing. I also included a line about "the ever-present knock of death" at the auto industry's door. While I'm no fan of the bailout -- and recognize that Ford didn't stick its hand out for public funds -- the work Scott Monty and Christopher Barger (and their respective teams) are doing is worth noting.

Now, I don't pretend that this blog gets a ton of traffic. Scoble I am not. However, no sooner did I hit post when a comment from Scott appeared to clarify Ford's position on my death-knell comment. Again, in the wide realm of blogs out there, I'm quite sure Maney|Digital is somewhat low on the totem pole of authority and impact for the automakers.

Which is why I wanted to highlight Scott's actions. Somewhere in his toolbox, Scott has a trigger to alert him to any time Ford is mentioned on the web. It doesn't matter whether it's a Scoble-sized mention or a lowly Maney|Digital-sized one. What matters is that Scott didn't let a potentially (and unintentional) negative comment about his company sit idle for others to see.

Companies which aren't monitoring what's being said about them online do so at their own peril. While the overall impact of a single negative post on a site the size of Maney|Digital probably won't make much of a difference, the cumulative effect of others seeing it, posting on it, linking to it, will.

Do you know what they are saying about your brand?

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Blog Graffiti: 2009 Kickoff Edition

Sunday, January 04, 2009 2:04 PM

Random thoughts to get 2009 off to a blogging good start:

Will this be the year RSS sees wide mainstream consumer adoption? Check out Louis Gray's post on the death of the bookmark for more.

Look for more widespread use of video in corporate communications efforts this year. Despite the ever-present knock of death at their door, GM's Christopher Barger and Ford's Scott Monty seem to be leading the way.

Talk about air cover: Dell's Andy Lark uncovers a flow chart of how the U.S. Air Force responds to posts and comments in the blogosphere.

According to The Peronsal Branding Blog's Dan Schwabel, who you know will be as -- if not more -- important than what you know in 2009.

Will our children know what a newspaper was? Not if the trends found in a recent study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press continue. According to the Pew study, 59% of Americans under the age of 30 say they get the majority of their news from the Internet, up from 34% in 2007.

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