Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Business to Blogs: the 411

Throughout this semester, we learned various strategies for success in the PR world. Combing what we have studied both in and outside of the classroom, I have come up with a condensed list of some of the ‘Best Practices’ for getting ahead in public relations.
- Stay current—by staying up to date on various materials, news, and human-interest topics, you will allow yourself to put your skills to the test. Learning does not stop in the classroom. Read books, magazines, blogs, etc. to immerse yourself in a whole new area of knowledge.
- Develop an aptitude for technology, fast! —Technological advances develop rather quickly; if you get too caught up on one craze, you will miss the newest fad. Always keep your eyes and ears open for the latest trends, and don’t be afraid to jump in.
- Seize the moment—embrace every opportunity to further your aspirations. From volunteer work to making copies, every networking occasion will both boost your resume and benefit your skill set. Remember, if you don’t take opportunity, someone else will.
- Separate emotions—don’t take things personally. If you make a mistake, fix it and move on. If you allow your emotions to get in the way, your work will suffer. Instead, learn from your mistakes and move forward.
- Presentation is everything—with one chance to make a first impression, you better give it your best. Do your research, ask good questions, and look the part. More importantly, have confidence in yourself. When it comes down to the wire, you ultimately write your own ticket. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? This is your chance to shine.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Can We Call It Stealing If We Pay the Asking Price?

On April 11, at around 9 a.m., cars flooded the Kangaroo Express gas station in Wilmington, NC to fill up on 35 cent/gallon gasoline. An employee entered .35 instead of $3.35 into the computer system. This human error cost the gas station over $1000 by the time the mix up was noticed. Customers crowded the pumps, taking advantage of the "cheapest gas in town" until 6 p.m., when the gas station realized the mistake.

Many bloggers are taking about this story; in today's economy, we know that it would be nearly impossible to pay a mere .35 for a gallon of gas. But hey, if you pay the asking price, why should you complain, right? Bloggers have commented on the ethics of this issue. What do you think? Can we call this stealing if pay the amount entered, but omit the fact that there may be a glitch in the system?

For more information, check out this link:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Whole Foods: Wholly On Board

How many plastic bags do you receive from the grocery on a given shopping trip? Are you aware of the fact that those bags are not biodegradable? So where do the millions upon millions of plastic grocery bags that Americans collect end up after we throw them in the trash? You guessed it….they don’t go anywhere. These plastic bags are aiding the destruction of our environment one bag at a time.

Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic food supermarket, has acknowledged this environmental issue. Their motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet” encompasses the company’s task in providing customer and employee satisfaction, as well as environmental improvement.

Taking responsibility, Whole Foods Market has ceased to offer plastic grocery bags at checkout isles in its headquartered city of Austin, Texas. Whole Foods says this marks the company’s first step in its plan of banning plastic bags companywide by next year. Instead, the store offers paper bags made of 100 percent recycled material.

Whole Foods Market has made further progress in this bag reformation. Customers can find what the company calls “A Better Bag”, a reusable bag made from 80 percent recycled materials, available for 99 cents at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. Besides saving the environment, shoppers will have another incentive for using their own reusable bags at checkout: a refund of 10 cents per bag.

“Let’s face it, plastic bags fill landfills, harm our water systems and wildlife, and litter our roadsides and communities,” said Seth Stutzman, Whole Foods Market’s Southwest regional vice president. “We are discontinuing the use of these bags in support of our Core Value of ‘caring for our Communities and our Environment,’ which includes adopting wise environmental practices.”
Whole Foods Market has taken a big step in saving our environment. Will you?

For more information on Whole Foods Market a their strive towards corporate social responsibility, check out these links:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Net Neutrality: Who Will Win the War of the Web?

The Internet is at risk. Network neutrality, also referred to as Net Neutrality or NN, has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion in Washington during the past months. The idea of NN is that information will not be blocked online…in other words, we as citizens will have the freedom to view uncensored information online. Why would this be an issue? Well, as you might have guessed, companies are trying to take away our freedom of the Internet. That’s right, your Internet world could become a whole lot smaller.

Here is a video that may help you to understand the issue:

Rights of NN have already been striped from people in China. But we are America, you say. This cannot happen to me. Right? Not so. It is happening!
According to the video posted above, “phone and cable companies want to become traffic controllers”. Such movements are underway; AT&T and Verizon, two of our countries largest Internet Providers, have recently won a large amount of Internet space. According to, “With news that AT&T and Verizon have just won the most significant chunks of available wireless spectrum, Americans face a future of more of the same: slower Internet speeds for prices that are far higher than what many people pay in Europe and Asia. And without action to restore Net Neutrality protections, the Web we get may be blinkered by phone and cable companies’ ability to restrict the content and applications we may want to use.”

Do you really want to pay for a service which is merely restricting you from equal treatment? If not, the take a stand! It is up to us to put a stop to this. As Americans, we have a voice that we must use. Speak up and express your opinions, because otherwise, sooner or later, we may not be able to communicate freely with one another online. For instance, you may even be censored from reading this blog. Do you want someone else telling you what you can and cannot see? Our ancestors already fought for our freedom, now we must fight to maintain it.

I feel that censorship is wrong. The government of ISP’s should not be allowed to tell us what we capable of doing. We are not a country of dictatorship. NN has become an important topic in this coming election as well, particularly for the young generation of voters. The Internet is really our invention; vote to protect it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Requirements of Blogging...Do We Need an Upgrade?

I happened to come across this blog, Blog Herald, earlier today and stumbled accross an article that seems fitting for my communications class:

This article contains great tips for how to improve blog writing. If we are concerned that blogs do not stack up to professional work, perhaps a few of these suggestions could help make a difference. For instance, blogs should contain credible sources, make readers think about new ideas, and earn a credible reputation. With the increasing number of blogs out there, many don't resemble professional work-- perhaps this is why people are complaining. Instead of feeding the problem, let's change the way the system works. By understanding that our work is influential, we owe it to ourselves, and to the world really, to make sure what we publish is factual, well written, and interesting.
I believe that as future communication relies more heavily on the blogoshere, better blogging will be necessary. What do you think? Is it ok to blog casually, or should we raise our standards?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why Watch E! When You Can Read A Blog?

Imagine you are a movie star, living in a large mansion in the Hollywood Hills. It’s lunchtime and you make plans to meet your producer/friend at The Ivy. What should you wear? What should you order? These thoughts will no doubt run through your mind; you will inevitably be photographed by at least a dozen paparazzi, and within three hours, your distant cousin who lives in Oklahoma will know that you had a bad hair day when you went on your lunch date.

Welcome to the world of celebrity blogging. Media blogs have taken Hollywood by storm. There has clearly been a shift in the way entertainment news is distributed: we no longer must tune into Access Hollywood at 7:00; we can receive instant celebrity gossip via blogs. Does this mean that there is a shift from traditional news forms to more technological ones? I think yes.

According to Melissa Gerry, author of Celebrity Blogs: the Impact of New Media(, the marketplace has changed: older media outlets are seeing the change that blogs have created. Blogs have the ability to deliver information and generate buzz 24/7. In essence, traditional entertainment programs are actually looking to blogs for the latest stories to report on. Some of these well known blogs include JustJared (, TMZ (, and Perez Hilton (

While these celebrity blogs pose as entertainment for the general public and aid television and magazines in finding stories, I cannot help but think of what it does to those working in the industry. Can these individuals really keep up with the relentless attention that these blogs are creating? For instance, pull up any one of these entertainment sites and you will most defiantly see a recent post about Britney Spears: What did she wear to court? How many hours has it been since she has seen her children? Did she wear shoes when she went into the gas station? While Spears may be one example, there are plenty more. Have you ever stopped to think of how you would react if someone snapped photos of you while you left the gym or video taped you driving to work? Perhaps these blogs have crossed a personal boundary. While these sites are entertaining and informative, they also are invasive. I mean, should we really care that Angelina took Maddox to see a movie Tuesday night?

10 years ago, this was not an issue. Today, it is more like a daily routine. Celebrities know to expect it, and us…well…we have these blog sites on our list of favorites. Do you think this is simply becoming an accepted downside to the business, or has this type of blogging gone too far?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Technology: Are You Hot or Not?

How many times have you checked your email today? What about your Facebook account? I’ll take a guess and say that you’ve definitely checked each at least once. Or perhaps you have one of the hip, new cell phones that will automatically notify with any updates, saving you both the time and effort all together.

Technology is taking over our communications world. Stop and take a look around, because what is in today will be out tomorrow. There are bigger, better, and dare I say faster means of communicating with one another emerging as you are reading this blog entry. Can you keep up with the pace? Hold on, because the ride is fast and, trust me, you do not want to get left behind!

In the past, it was inconceivable to image where the Internet would lead us to today; the world is a click away. Hopefully you are embracing these technological advances, as such emerging tools has proven that we cannot foresee where future communication technology will lead us in the future.

Since you are reading this blog, you are probably pretty Internet savvy, and already recognize the importance of various media outlets that can be found online; through interactive Web sites, you can easily find tips, viewpoints, thoughts, and perspectives on any number of relevant issues. For example, is an interactive Web site that allows viewers to “shout out” or “bash” stories or articles that have been posted on the site. Sites like this are informative in collecting the viewpoint of your target audience. For instance, say you were the President of a new up and coming company that was about to launch its first product: by posting an article on a site like ShoutWire, you could easily gather information on how your audience will gravitate towards your product. Likewise, imagine you were the head of your company’s crisis management team, and you just found out that the media got hold of a company problem that must be addressed; a site like ShoutWire can help you organize your thoughts and “must air” topics that your stakeholders are interesting in hearing.

Another innovative site that we checked out in class was it out, I think it has a lot to offer to those interested in social media technology. And keep looking for more sites like this, because there are plenty out there-- you just have to find them!

In essence, emerging technology and interactive media is a way of connecting with millions of people that are no longer worlds apart. Are you using these interactive sites, or are you waiting for the next technological advancement to come along before you jump on board? Remember, don't wait too might not be able to catch up!