New Era of Communication


My colleague Chris shared this interesting post.  Funny now – and it may even be funnier in 10 years.  Enjoy!  HAPPY FRIDAY!!

(via http://www.theawl.com)

‘New York Times’ Bans the Word ‘Tweet’

by Choire posted @8:42 AM

Phil Corbett, the latest standards editor at the Times (maybe the greatest job in the world?), has issued a proclamation! Yesterday, the following memo went out, asking writers to abstain from the invented past-tense and other weird iterations of the magical noun-verb “Twitter.” His case isn’t terrible, actually—and he offers this terrifying vision: “Someday, ‘tweet’ may be as common as ‘e-mail.'” Oh dear. Well, read for yourself and decide.

How About “Chirp”?

Some social-media fans may disagree, but outside of ornithological contexts, “tweet” has not yet achieved the status of standard English. And standard English is what we should use in news articles.

Except for special effect, we try to avoid colloquialisms, neologisms and jargon. And “tweet” — as a noun or a verb, referring to messages on Twitter — is all three. Yet it has appeared 18 times in articles in the past month, in a range of sections.

Of course, new technology terms sprout and spread faster than ever. And we don’t want to seem paleolithic. But we favor established usage and ordinary words over the latest jargon or buzzwords.

One test is to ask yourself whether people outside of a target group regularly employ the terms in question. Many people use Twitter, but many don’t; my guess is that few in the latter group routinely refer to “tweets” or “tweeting.” Someday, “tweet” may be as common as “e-mail.” Or another service may elbow Twitter aside next year, and “tweet” may fade into oblivion. (Of course, it doesn’t help that the word itself seems so inherently silly.)

“Tweet” may be acceptable occasionally for special effect. But let’s look for deft, English alternatives: use Twitter, post to or on Twitter, write on Twitter, a Twitter message, a Twitter update. Or, once you’ve established that Twitter is the medium, simply use “say” or “write.”

Make of it what you will. But, my quibble? I cannot believe he takes that horrible turn in the last sentence! No one “says” anything on Twitter! That’s pollution of the language. One either WRITES or one SAYS. I will never accept the argument that these words are interchangeable!

(nerd alert) These are so cool!

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Today was Michael Jackson’s funeral service. I had it on in the background during the day at the office (through CNN.com/Facebook, the next generation in monumental event live-viewing).

I wanted to watch because I felt like this was my generation’s Elvis or Marilyn . . . and what amazes me more than anything is the bond people are forming over the music.  Not over the scandals, the weird news stories about him over the past ten years, or the court allegations.  Yes, they are all valid and should be noted.  However, the most amazing thing that is lasting over everything else is the music.  And it’s incredible to watch how something as simple as music can bring people together.

Tonight, at my Zumba class at the gym, the instructor ended the class with an MJ tribute.  She put on “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” and instructed us all to move closer together.  Then, she led us in a simple routine to the classic dance song.  At first, there were a few smiles, grins, people slowly getting into it.  But by the end, there were wide grins, cheers, hoots, hollers, arms waving in the air, and people squealing and singing.

Here was a group of 50 women or so, of all races, colors, creeds, ages, and sizes, who normally don’t even make much room for each other during class, much less talk.  However, with this one song on such a monumental day, we were brought together into a group of women who just loved letting loose to some great music.

I know, it sounds cheesy and silly.  But honestly, even after watching the 2 hour ceremony today, even after hearing Michael’s choked up daughter speak about her father, the whole thing didn’t hit me until that class.  I was near tears watching the power of the song as it came over the group, and thinking about how much I treasured Michael when I was 3, 5, 7 and 12, but haven’t really appreciated him much as of late.

So I want to get back into his music, as cheesy and clichéd as that is to do now.  Because he is-was-an incredible dancer, singer and musician, and I don’t want to forget that.  I want my kids to know about it, and their kids.

As Rihanna sings in her classic song that samples one of Michael’s,
“Please don’t stop the music.”

[Or as my 2-year-old squeaky voiced self used to say, “Biwee Jean, snap my luhv, Biwee Jean, snap my luhv…can you heahw it?”]

I’m currently rocking out to “Say Say Say.” 

What Michael Jackson song are you currently digging?

Happy New Year!  Just wanted to put up a quick post for a little personal PR:

As a result of a HARO query (thanks @skydiver), which was pointed out to me by @aeropolowoman after a rousing weekly edition of #journchat, Mark and I were the featured Cyber Love Story of the Week on CyberDatingExpert.com!  I worked with Julie Spira to iron out the details and bam, there we were!

Did you meet your hub/wife/fiance on a dating site?  Got a story to tell?  Share it with Julie…maybe you’ll get to be featured, too!

WEDDING PLANNING UPDATE:

  • We survived the holidays! 😉

More updates to follow soon as we begin visiting potential locations…hey, got any south shore (Boston) hotels that you recommend for a May wedding?

1,000 people were surveyed in September.  And 69% could NOT remember a new product that was launched this year.  69%?!

When I first heard that number from the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey results, announced today and hosted by Schneider Associates (disclaimer: my company), Mintel and IRI, I was in shock.  That is a LOT of people.  I mean, lots of products get launched in a year, right?

Right?

And then I started thinking . . . could I remember any products launched?  Or, if I was surveyed, would I be destined to be one of the 69%?

Many of the Top 5 products – Nintendo Wii Fit, iPod Touch, Bud Light Lime, McDonald’s Chicken Biscuit, Kraft Mac & Cheese Crackers – I thought launched the previous year.  Others in the top 10, like Yoplait Fiber One and Rock Band, I thought came out more than a year ago.

Want another scary number?  Out of the Top 50 products offered as new products launched in 2008, 96% of those surveyed could not remember any.  50 products!  Wow.

And yet another surprising result of the MMNPL Survey – purchasing decisions by males are more influenced by social media than females.

At first, I’m shocked by this.  I almost think it would be reverse.  Women are incredible reliant on word-of-mouth and other’s opinions, whether in person or through blogs and Tweets.  If another woman reviews a product and says, “this made my day!”, it seems like more women would listen to that and go buy it than a guy.  We’re women – we like to go to each other for opinions and support.  I mean, look at all the mommy blogs out there.  And look at their power, which can influence other females to buy – or not buy.  The latter is clear from the recent reaction over Johnson & Johnson’s “hip” (used lightly) and condescending Motrin ad; it released such a fury that J&J finally pulled the ad.  And I doubt any woman is going to go out to buy the product now, especially after hearing all of her peers online encourage her not to support a brand that doesn’t seem to understand the female market.

But then I started thinking about what social media IS.  Is it mommy blogs, TheKnot.com forums, deal sites heavily dominated by females, and grrl power groups on Facebook?  Or is it those little annoying ads on the top of your Google search results page and the banners that hover so devilishly over your Gmail inbox, winking with the sinister eye of advertising aiming directly at you?  If so, then I could see men, who seem to be drawn more to interactive flashy things than long, drawn out forum conversations like women, would definitely be more influenced and notice product placement more than women. 

Plus, I think a lot of the brands that made the MMNPL, such as Bud Light, Apple, Rock Band, Kraft, Burger King & McDonald’s, tend to focus their online outreach more towards male and male-dominated sites.  And they use interactive programs, such as microsites with games, to entice potential buyers for their new products.  (Rock Band is made by EA Games, famous for their Sims game that my boyfriend is so addicted to; I would rather email with a long distance friend than play it.)  So I can see why, after playing a branded game on a web site, males would be like, “Yes, this is cool, I want to own it!”

Now, a lot of feminists will attack me for this post, I’m sure (good time to flaunt my love for Bitch magazine?).  BUT, go to the Rock Band web site, just as an example.  If you know me, whether personally or just from reading my blog, you know I am a HUGE music fan.  Huge.  I spent years playing many instruments and I love being on stage performing, whether I’m dancing, acting or playing an instrument.  HOWEVER, when their page launches, it’s all black and dark green and there’s a large leaping tiger (grrrr!) and an angry eagle, rargh.  Hmm.  I may be looking at this with a biased eye, but it’s kind of male-centric to me.  If I wasn’t interested in rock music, I would turn away from this immediately as a female.  But I search the site a little further…

I look at the zine – ooh, interview with Paul Westerberg, woot!  Hmmm…all the articles are written by guys.  Well, then of course they know how to reach men through social media – they’re the ones behind the content!

So where can men and women find common ground?  Well, maybe it is online, but through efforts focused on gender-free initiatives – not just directed at one sex over the other (i.e. Rock Band vs Motrin).  Then we would be united in our discovery of these new products and they would stick better with us, whether we’re male or female. 

Or, maybe it’s in person.  #6 on the list is KY’s Yours + Mine Couples lubricant.  Ahh.  Now that’s something we can all certainly interact with together.  And most definitely remember. 😉

What do you think?  Do you agree?  And what products do YOU remember launching in 2008?

Full list:
Ten Most Memorable New Products of 2008 (Aided Recall)
1. Nintendo Wii Fit (recalled by 22% of respondents in aided recall*)
2. iPod Touch (16%)
3. Bud Light Lime (15%)
4. McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken Biscuit & Sandwich (14%)
5. Kraft Mac & Cheese Crackers (13%)
6. KY Yours + Mine Couples Lubricant (12%)
7. Gatorade G2, Yoplait Fiber One (11%, two-way tie)
8. MacBook Air, Rock Band, Burger King Apple Fries, Neosporin Neo To Go!, Kraft Bagel-fuls (8%, five-way tie)

Alex Beam of the Boston Globe published an article in yesterday’s paper about the uselessness of Twitter.  I don’t know the backstory behind that assignment.  I wish I did.  As an avid Twitter user, it would help me understand better where he was coming from so I could react appropriately.

However, without that background, I was saddened by his quick brush-off of a medium that is pushing consumer journalism into a new era at a rapid pace.  (Or maybe that was his goal – to maintain print journalism’s relevancy by brushing off Twitter as a fad for teens.) 

I was also highly amused by his reflection that only teens use the site – at 27, I feel like one of the youngest users on the social network!

Sooz had a great post summing up the article on her blog – be sure to check it out.

See what Twitterverse has to say about it.  What’s your reaction to the article?

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

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

Thoughts?  Suggestions?

Also, I added subscription links to the right hand side of the blog so you can subscribe via Google Reader, My Yahoo, or any other RSS subscriptions service that you may use.  You can also click the orange button next to the blog name on the right side to add it to your web browser favorites.

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. 

🙂

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