This is a guest post from Jessica Levco, a Ragan.com staff writer and the editor of HealthCare Marketing & Communications News.
Nobody likes a whiner.
That's what my Mom always said, at least.
But there's something I need to complain about. Since Oct. 23, I've had to change my password each time I log into Twitter.
Ugh! Why is my life soooooo unfair?! (That one's for you, Mom.)
After a thorough investigation (calling our IT department), I was told that I had a "known issue" that was listed on the Twitter support page. There were more than 19 pages of complaints from Twitter users with a similar issue.
For two weeks, I sent tweets to the message board and also directed a tweet to @Support to see if anybody heard me. After all, wasn't Twitter the company that invented the idea of companies "listening" to users?
@Support never got back to me directly.
But before I release my tirade, I'd like to say at least it acknowledged that it isn't getting back to anybody--no matter how many different ways I complained.
Here's a sampling:
First, I thought I'd stick to the facts.
Please fix: My password needs to be reset each time I log in. (Jan 6)
Maybe my complaints didn't have a "voice." I tried to be friendly.
Hi @Support! My password issue is still unresolved. Please fix! (Jan. 11)
@Support didn't respond to my exclamations. I quickly fell into a spiral of depression.
Woe is me. Dear @Support, I have to change my password each time I log in. (Jan. 17)
The least @Support could do is DM me and tell me that it's over.
Hello, @Support? Are you there? It's me, Jessica. Did you get my last message about my password? (Jan. 21)
I gave @Support the weekend to respond. But I kept checking my messages.
@Support Can we at least talk about my password issue? I think we can still work this out. DM, please. (Jan. 24)
Nothing. Well, now seemed like the perfect time to result to scare tactics.
@Support, do you really want to ignore a social media reporter? My password has to be changed each time I log in. Argh! (Jan.25)
Later on that day, I checked back to @Support. Here's what it said:
The ability to check existing help requests online at support.twitter.com is temporarily down for maintenance. It'll be back up soon! (Jan. 21)
Well, maybe this means I can stop complaining for a little while. But for now, I'm taking suggestions for password combinations. Let me know.
The big story in entertainment news this week is British comedian Ricky Gervais's supposedly controversial opening monologue at the Golden Globes awards.
On Monday morning, media outlets around the world--from Detroit to Australia--asked: Did Gervais go too far? In his monologue, Gervais cracked jokes about Charlie Sheen, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, Cher, Scientologists, Hugh Hefner, Mel Gibson, and the cast of Sex and the City 2.
The audience didn't seem to chafe at his jokes. Sure, there were groans and some uncomfortable laughter, but crowd shots--like those of Robert De Niro and Halle Berry--showed many stars chuckling at Gervais's jokes.
So, why all the anger toward Gervais? The culprit in this case seems to be Twitter.
After the comedian's 5-minute monologue, he didn't appear on the Golden Globes stage for about one hour. During that time, speculation among Twitter members was that Gervais had been pulled from the show.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Piers Morgan, the new CNN host in Larry King's former time slot, launched the Twitter speculation when he tweeted: "Gervais not seen for an hour now." Note that Morgan earned his stripes reporting for tabloids in the U.K. and that Gervais will be a guest on his brand-new show this Thursday,
Shortly after Morgan's tweet, other news outlets began speculating on Twitter.
For instance, The Boston Globe's Wesley Morris tweeted: "Where's Ricky Gervais? Has anyone seen him? Has he been sent home? Is he somewhere passed out on some suit's wife. What gives?"
And it was a PR pro who quit beating around the bush and said what many of the other tweets were suggesting: "Others have joked but I think it is getting to the point where it may be true...did HFPA fire Gervais midway through the show??" Hollywood publicist Lewis Kay tweeted.
HFPA is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the Golden Globes and was among Gervais targets during his monologue.
Ultimately, the speculation proved incorrect. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Gervais insisted there was nothing strange about his hour-long absence from the stage.
"I did every single introduction I was meant to," Gervais explained. "There just happened to be a long gap. This is because I was allowed to choose who I would introduce in advance. I obviously chose presenters who I had the best jokes for. (And who I knew had a good sense of humor)."
Gervais also denied any awkwardness backstage. "Everyone took it well and the atmosphere backstage and at the after show was great," he said.
Although the HFPA said in a statement that Gervais "occasionally went too far," the organization insisted the show "was among the best" it had staged.
Even Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who was the butt of a Gervais joke, tweeted about the Golden Globes, suggesting he wasn't offended by the cracks. "The Golden Globes was a blast," he tweeted. "They made fun of everyone, including ... me. A great night."
What did you think about the monologue? Do you think Gervais went over the line?
To put it delicately, I hate shopping for cologne with the feverous heat of a thousand blistering suns.
There are pushy salesmen who think they know the particular musk you're after far better than you, when really they're just inundating you with scented toxins because, hey, they work on commission - no, thank you.
That said, about once every year, after I've rallied every last milliliter of my cologne, I muster the strength to yet again face the fragrance counter.
Though it doesn't decongest my perfumed-clogged nasal passages, it does make me feel better knowing that I did not shop alone in 2010.
But which fragrances cast an intoxicating spell on consumers in the year that was?
Sadly for me, it was not my scent of yesteryear, Story by David Beckham; I was directed toward a nice Michigan Avenue Walgreens in search of my second-tier eau de designer of choice. I wish I was kidding.
While 2010 didn't smell like Posh Spice's favorite footballer, when you look at the marketing data, celebrity touted fragrances weren't among the perfumes and colognes that most tickled customers' olfactories.
And when examined even further, other industries aren't having the same luck they once marshaled with the allure of Hollywood glam either. Although it used to be enough to add a celebrity name or endorsement to a particular scent, those days are gone - sorry, Kim K.
With former marketing superstars like Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong losing their luster - the prior for reasons more self-inflicted than the latter - a study published by Advertising Age that looked at every televised ad over the first 11 months of 2010 found that less than 12 percent of ads using celebrities to hawk their products garnered more than a 10 percent lift when it came to a spot or campaign's effectiveness. Twenty percent even saw a negative reaction from audiences.
Ad Age sums it up quite well, not just expressing that good advertising stands on its own, but saying: "Adding a celebrity to an ad with an already poor creative message is like rubbing salt in the wound. Instead of serving as a Band-Aid to bad creative, using a celebrity on top of bad creative usually makes the ad even less effective and confusing to viewers."
We couldn't agree more - though if anyone does find my Beckham touted Story, please send it to our offices. Thanks in advance.
That's a good tip for pitching any journalist, blogger, or consumer. It's clear PitchPoint Public Relations understands this.
On Tuesday afternoon, the company--which consists of Chicago-based PR pro Mitch Delaplane, an Apple computer, and his dog Sally--issued a press release titled, "The most amazing press release ever written." And it purported to be--that's right--the best press release ever written. How meta.
If you work in the business press and cover PR and marketing--like me--this press release will catch your eye. If you're a company looking for a stunning example of a press release, and you enter "amazing press release" into Google, guess what, Delaplane's prose appears on the first page.
Like I said, he knows his audience.
Here's a copy of the press release. What do you think?
The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written
PR Professional Distributes Groundbreaking Press Release
CHICAGO, Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mitch Delaplane of PitchPoint Public Relations has issued the most amazing press release ever written. While hundreds of press releases are distributed daily, Delaplane feels this particular release will go down in history as the most amazing press release that has ever been written.
"I've been in the business for over ten years and have to say, I'm speechless," claims Delaplane. "The title alone grabs you and demands that it be read. Then there's this quote that completely takes things to an entirely new level. I'm proud of this press release. In fact, I think it is [really] amazing."
Typically reserved for company news announcements and other public relations communications, the press release has long been the favored default for informing media about exciting, groundbreaking news. Then this news release comes along and changes everything people thought they knew about press releases.
"I'm quoting myself again because the first quote didn't do it justice," says Delaplane. "If you're still reading this news release, then you know what I'm talking about when I say it's something special. In fact, it's 483 words of pure awesomeness. When it crosses the wires, I believe history will have been made."
The science behind this Earth-shattering news release lies in its simplicity - no science, just pure old press release craftsmanship. It started with an incredible brainstorming session that asked a very simple question: "what makes a press release amazing?" Elaborate notes from that brainstorm were then formulated into mesmerizing sentences, paragraphs and pages...all expertly designed to make you pause and reflect at the brilliance of this press release.
Every single word of this news release was track changed, stetted, then track changed again to its original draft. Upon final approval, it was spell checked, fact checked and printed for posterity. The result is a two-page, 1.5-spaced news release that is like no other news release in existence.
According to PitchPoint Public Relations you have just read the most amazing press release ever written. If you agree, tell Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at Lifeisamitch.
If you disagree, issue your own press release and prepare for war.
That's the slogan from Slim-Fast as we kickoff 2011; it's part of the iconic weight-loss brand's first-quarter marketing campaign, timely coupling its advertising efforts with a world of New Year's resolutions.
Well, I can't tell you who has time to slim slowly, Slim-Fast. But I can tell you which of my former schoolmates had time to balloon-up rapidly. Lucky for you, Cynthia Bostwick, I won't name names.
Kidding. (Sort of.)
All joking aside, with all the New Year's resolutions on the table, we thought it'd be nice to suggest a few vows that our professional friends might carry with them into the workplace over the next 360 or so days.
Start drinking. The creative juices, that is. Guess what. Digital media isn't going anywhere. To get the most from your online campaigns and viral efforts, you better spike that morning coffee with some inspiring liquids because clients are asking for it. But please, don't mistake creative juices with management Kool-Aid. Best to stay away from that.
Loosen that belt. People continually battle their ever-expanding waistlines, starting fitness regimens that will fizzle in a week, but when it comes to work, you should work on loosening the belt--particularly the tool belt. You should always be learning new skills to make you more valuable to your clients and your company.
Light up. Where there's smoke, there's fire. PR agencies need to keep things hot. Once the heat cools down, it's hard to sustain momentum and word-of-mouth about anything. Knowing when and how to keep the fire going will save you in the end.
Spend. Spend as much time as necessary to make sure you finish strong. It's always better to do things right the first time than backtrack when things go wrong. Ask BP.
Yeah, I don't remember that verse of the song either, but in the age of social media, happiness in the U.S. can be more easily measured via Twitter than it can listening for a retort of some 300 million-plus hand-claps.
According to a joint study by Harvard and Northeastern, which tracked the nation's tweets minute-by-minute over the last three years, people on the East Coast are happier before their West Coast counterparts.
In fairness, that's only because of the time difference. But still.
The research revealed that the American public is happiest in the morning and late evening, with our red and white stars and stripes feeling their absolute bluest on Thursday afternoon, when people are most depressed.
Americans are happiest on Sunday mornings, the study found.
Three years worth of tweets seem like a lot to review to conclude people are most gleeful on the weekends, but if you're interested in learning more, here's a video that breaks down the research.
Color key for the video: red is grumpy, while green is happy. I thought green was envy. Perhaps the research team was colorblind, eh.
If you thought you were the only one getting flat-lined by Shonda Rhimes-produced medical dramas, you're not alone. And thankfully, ABC might agree.
Ordering the network's first new pilot of its next development season, ABC has tapped Rhimes, the creator of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice," for a show revolving around something other than promiscuous doctors.
The new show focuses on the real-life adventures of African-American PR professional and crisis management consultant Judy Smith. (As a side note: Smith had her own stint as a senior VP of corporate communication at NBC.)
Thus far, the new drama remains untitled.
While Rhimes is probably leaning toward something like "Spin Docters," we'd like to extend ABC our own suggestions. If used, we only ask a reasonable 10 percent cut of the deal. You're welcome.
2. Spun & Pressed
4. Off the Record
5. In Between the Coverage
6. Pitch & Release
7. PRetty & PRimal
The holidays are a great time to get everyone together, toss back a glass or 12 of celebratory eggnog, warm your chestnuts by the fire--not too close, mind you--and exchange the perfect gift that lets your loved ones know how much you appreciate them.
Too bad with only four shopping days left until Christmas, you don't have time to appreciate them. You've got last minute gifts to buy. And among those left on the list are the friends you learn more about via Facebook status updates than actual face-to-face.
If this is the hidden-pickle on the Christmas tree you're in, don't fret; we've put together a list of five easy gifts you can get them, and all without leaving the house. Just finish your shopping online, and even ship it their way--probably like they're going to do.
YouTube tube socks. If the irony of these "Tube" socks is wasted on them, it's probably best to unfriend them.
'@' cufflinks. For all those red-carpet premieres they'll be watching on their laptops and then live tweeting.
eHarmony subscription. You can't put a price on love, but if your friend won't step away from the computer, he or she will never find it.
FarmVille Mousepad. Virtual farming isn't something that should be encouraged, but hey, it's the holidays.
And since no Christmas present would be complete without the whole package, how fitting is this personalized Twitter wrapping paper from Samsung to help promote its RF510 laptop? Tweet wrap is a site where you can add just the right personal touch to your gifts, customizing your very own wrapping paper with your very own tweets.
Hearing that your parents are still socially active must seem like a nightmare. We only hope someone taught them how to use protection--at least a tutorial on how to change their partial profile-view security-settings on Facebook.
A recent study by Child's Play Communications shows that moms might not be as inexperienced with social media as their naïve sons and daughters may think.
Of the 2,000 U.S. mothers surveyed, 79 percent with kids younger than 18 are active on social networking sites, such as Facebook, with 43 percent of these moms using it on a daily basis.
What does that mean for marketers?
Almost one in four moms (23 percent) considered active on social media say they've purchased a children's product based on a networking site or blog recommendation. Broken down even further:
• Moms purchasing kids items based on Web recommendation do so, on average, five times a year.
• 40 percent of these moms made their purchase(s) based on personal review blogs.
• An additional 40 percent made their product buys based on Facebook recommendations.
Worried your honey is souring on that relationship? Facebook might know the ax is coming before you do.
A must-read GQ story ("Viral Me") about the spread of social media, written by a social media luddite, includes this nugget:
FB [Facebook] knows a lot about you. Like, more than you tell it. ... One of the founders of a ... company called 1000Memories.com (it's FB for dead people, only more interesting) says he heard FB can already tell when you're about to break up with someone: certain communication patterns emerge.
Like what? Poking other people? Sending virtual flowers to someone else? The silent treatment?
Tell us how you manage unrealistic expectations, meet reporter needs, churn out news when there is none, deal with a client you can't stand, and what you say to people that slam PR. Or anything else that's on your mind.