April 2008


Typo per typolover.comMy friend Abby and I were recently discussing the fact that so far, neither of us have received friend requests from people we don’t know on FacebookMyspace is notorious for strangers adding “friends” to increase their friend count or have more people they can send spam to.  However, Facebook still has maintained its innocence as a way to add friends and colleagues from the past and present, rather than to randomly search out new friends.

That night, I got home and checked my Facebook account as part of my nightly ritual.  Lo and behold, there in my inbox is a message from “Becky Smith” (name changed to protect the sender).  I don’t know a Becky Smith, but I read the message anyway.  Maybe it’s a friend of someone I do know, or a fellow UMASS graduate whose name I don’t recognize.

And then I laughed.

Basically, Becky is writing to tell me about a contest for assistants working in the Boston area.  I can nominate myself for this contest by writing in to a website to tell them why I am the best assistant in the Boston area, and if I win, there’s a whole package of “pampering” prizes. 

Oh the irony – I’ve been pitched!

Becky, it becomes clear, works for the PR firm that represents company running the contest.  She probably did a search on the social networking site for all members with “Boston” and “assistant” in their profile.  Since my Facebook account states my job as the assistant at our office, and I work in Boston, my profile must’ve popped up.  

What’s funny is that as a PR professional, I know the drill all too well.  In fact, lately I have spending a good chunk of my workday pitching to bloggers and other social media writers.  So I cut Becky some slack and decide to check out the client site.  Who knows, maybe it will actually be worthwhile for me.

The client is a local limo company.  They have a link to the contest page on their homepage, so I go to the page to read the details of the contest.  Unfortunately, here’s where they lose me:

  • To prove that I’m the best assistant in town, I simply have to send in a short essay to explain why.  First of all, this is such a tired and dreary method of contest entry.  What about a video clip showing me at my finest?  Or some kind of photo op?  An essay contest is so stale and tired.  Second, there’s the glaringly obvious point that if I am such a fantastic assistant, I am going to be way too busy supporting my boss to have time to sit down and write a paper.
  • The prizes include a free limo ride to a spa in Boston’s Back Bay, plus a free stay at the Langham Hotel in Boston.  Well, I work in Boston, and I’m there on the weekends, so it’s not really a getaway destination.  Plus, what building is located directly across the street from my office?  Oh yeah, the Langham Hotel.  Nothing says take a break from your crazy workday with a stay at a hotel where you can see your office from your room.
  • But this one was the killer: according to the prize list, you get to enjoy the sights of “Boton.”  That’s right, Boton.  Unless Mumbles Menino recently enacted a city name change that I didn’t catch in the Globe, the last time I checked, the city was called Boston.

So all of the factors above, combined with the fact that it was pitched to me from someone that I don’t know on Facebook (such a no-no according to social media etiquette), made the entire contest and company lose all credibility.

What hurts the most is the typo on the client website.  From my experience at our office, at least 5 people proof everything before it even gets sent to the client, never mind posted on the web for the world to see.  Please, Becky Smith’s firm, run spellcheck!  Any Word program would instantly red flag that typo, especially there is no other similar word it would confuse with it.  Affect and effect is one thing.  Boton and Boston is a whole ‘nother.

This is not the first time I’ve seen such a glaring typo.  I recently was invited to a webinar by a well-known and highly credible organization in the PR world.   The subject was simply “Your invited!”  I was probably one of oh, I don’t know, at least a thousand recipients.  I actually had to share the priceless email with my coworkers as a “hey, let’s never do this” suggestion.  (For those of you who are not as nerdy about grammar as I am, the form of “your” that they used is possessive, so it’s showing that “invited” belongs to me.  The correct word would be “you’re,” which is the contraction of “you are.”)

Bad Pitch Blog is a great source of typos and other blatant errors that journalists and bloggers receive from various PR pitches.  My favorite was one that wrote “public relations” and forgot the “L” in the first word.  Yum, hairy interaction!

So what’s the point of all this? 

  • First, know your audience.  Hip and fantastic assistants in a trendy city like Boston don’t have the interest or time to write a contest about why they’re awesome from the suggestion of someone they don’t know on Facebook. 
  • Second, check your spelling!  In this day and age of texting and Tweeting, shorthand is becoming increasingly accepted in more places than ever.  However, if you’re trying to make a client look good, the classic rules of spelling and grammar still apply.  No wha I’m sayin?  😉

 

 *NOTE: I apologize if this post contains any typos. 🙂  Photo credit: http://www.typolover.com

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I updated the format to a brighter, cleaner look for spring.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?

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And thanks to everyone for reading, following, and commenting!  It means a lot to me and I hope this continues to be an exciting and entertaining resource (or midday distraction!) for you. 

🙂

It’s April, and that means spring is here.  That also means the weather is getting warmer, the snow is finally going away, and the world is coming out of winter hibernation.  It’s a great time to spring clean our houses, closets, and bodies (have you noticed how popular the gym is again suddenly?).  Makeover specials are popping up all over reality shows and magazine covers, encouraging us to go out and remake ourselves into a fresh person for the new season.

But what about remaking ourselves on the inside?  Spring should also be a time to clean out our hearts of grime and gunk and fill them with the warmth of the season.  They say beauty comes from the inside, and the most beautiful people are the ones who are filled with goodness.

Looking for an easy way to start?  Try doing something kind for someone else, once a day.  It doesn’t have to be a major life change – even little things like letting someone merge in front of you in rush hour traffic, holding the door the person behind you, smiling at your usual Starbucks barista, or saying hi to a coworker who looks like they could use a distraction. 

Still stuck?  Try donating.  Four of my friends are involved with three very important fundraising drives.  With a few clicks of the mouse, you can help them, as well as the causes they are supporting.  Check out their efforts below:

1. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Team in Training
My friends Dan and Katie have BOTH been training for months to run a full marathon in Alaska (!) this summer.  Talk about sacrifice to help out others.
See Dan’s full story and donate here.
See Katie’s full story and donate
here.
Or take your support one step further and head out to the Greyhound Pub in Worcester on May 16th.  For a small cover charge, you can check out a cool band, participate in drawings for great prizes (including Red Sox tickets), and hang out with some awesome people.  Both the cover charge and drawing cash goes to their cause.  Details can be found here.

2. Project Bread/Walk for Hunger
On May 4th, my friend Abby will be covering quite some ground across Boston on foot when she participates in the Walk for Hunger.  This is a great cause that she is a long-time supporter of.  Help Abby out with her walk by donating here.

3. National Multiple Sclerosis Society – MS Bike Tour
From Damien Gaudet:
“I will be riding 150 miles on a bicycle over two days in June of this year, from Quincy to Provincetown, to support the MS Society, but even more important to me is supporting my mother. She was diagnosed with MS over ten years ago and has gone through some very tough times, but always manages to come out the other side staying positive and looking ahead.”
Help out Damien and his cause by clicking here.

So the next time you hit up the mall for a cute new pair of wedge sandals or a new pair of khaki shorts, make sure to put some cash aside first for a great foundation like one of the few mentioned above.  Your adorable new top may last you until the fall season, but a dollar towards a cause can last a lot longer.

 

Inspired by the March Madness frenzy currently going on, I thought it would be fun to think about some of the top four items in my life.  So, in no particular order, here is a little peek into what’s making me laugh, cry, ponder, dance, and smile. 

My Top Four:

Magazines I’m Currently Reading:

  1. US Weekly
  2. Boston Magazine
  3. Architecture Boston
  4. Self

Exciting Upcoming Events:

  1. The Carnival cruise/Harris-MacMillan wedding in May
  2. Our company spring outing (trivia night!)
  3. Unexpected day off on Patriots’ Day
  4. Chelsea Handler reading from her new book at Borders, Downtown Crossing

Negative Things About Taking the Commuter Rail:

  1. The people that walk so slow they’re going backwards on the platform when we arrive at South Station (seriously, people, some of us have places to be!)
  2. The ever-unpredictable schedule, and I use the term “schedule” lightly
  3. The insanely high cost of the monthly ticket
  4. The fact that the trains never pull full into South Station so you have to walk a mile to get to or from the train.  It’s not like there’s not enough track . . .

Books I’m Reading:

  1. New Product Launch, by Joan Schneider [disclaimer: yes, she is my boss, but it’s a really interesting book regardless of that fact]
  2. Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync?, by Seth Godin
  3. Savannah Blues, Mary Kay Andrews (ok, I actually just finished it today, but I loved it so much I had to share!)
  4. The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova (taking me forever; I just can’t get attached to it)

Shows I’m Loving:

  1. Unhitched
  2. The Biggest Loser (only because it is incredibly inspiring to watch while on the treadmill at the gym!)
  3. The Soup
  4. Bones

Things That Made Me Laugh Recently:

  1. Jeff Pulver’s inspiring speech about socializing at the Pulver/Person Social Media Breakfast this morning
  2. Friday’s episode of The Soup
  3. Me and Mark’s attempt to de-smoke-ify our apartment after I attempted to make turkey burgers (*note – I didn’t burn it, as that may suggest; we just found out the hard way that there is not much ventilation for the kitchen in our condo)
  4. Abby trying to sit in the rocking chair at Melyssa’s house this weekend

Albums I Can’t Wait to Get:

  1. Madonna’s Hard Candy
  2. Gavin DeGraw’s self titled new album
  3. Moby’s Last Night
  4. Ashlee Simpson’s Bittersweet World

New Favorite Sites:

  1. www.twitter.com
  2. www.allthatanda.com
  3. www.markdownmom.com
  4. http://www.freewebs.com/dancingjenny/ (not necessarily new, but man, if you ever watched The Brendan Leonard show on ABC Family, you will appreciate how long it took me to find the silly Top 10 lists)

What I’m Looking Forward to On the Cruise:

  1. Reading a book by the pool
  2. “Going to Miami . . .”
  3. Aerobics classes on the boat
  4. Witnessing Jennie and Tim tie the knot, especially so soon after Jo and Darrell

What are some of your Top Four right now?