Advertisements

5 Reasons Why Social Media Won’t Kill PR

Image Courtesy of Fourthsource.com

I’ve often heard it said that social media and public relations are merging and becoming synonymous. “The New PR” if you will.  I typically hear this either from college students or professionals speaking out of context.

Indeed, social media has become integral to public relations, and for the better, improved it. One-way-communication by means of the press release and press conference is no longer the norm. We’ve found it easier to create and sustain relationships with our constituents by means of effective control over social media outlets.

That’s the danger, though, isn’t it? Classic PR seems to be fading into irrelevancy these days, at least in the eyes of those who operate outside of the profession, especially those in advertising in marketing. Peers of mine have often regarded PR as a shell of what it used to be, and public relations professionals becoming social media managers rather than directors.

Sure, I’m a social media manager, so I get that point to a degree, but the concept of public relations being overwhelmed by social media is nonsense, and here are 5 reasons why.

5. Social Media Managers are not Publicists

Facilitating online communities is completely different from so many other aspects of PR, especially publicizing  Yes, publicists get a bad rep, but that doesn’t change how good they can be at their jobs. They are just as essential as agents, and you can’t maintain the image of a prominent businessman, politician, or celebrity without a publicist.

4. Social Media only Addresses Consumers (for the most part)

There are some exceptions to the above statement, but for the most part, social media is focused on the interests of consumers and the general public. Social media does little to foster the relationships an entity may have with  the government, investors, employees, and especially the press. For many PR pros, this is a “duh” moment, for they constantly fixate on more than just social communication.

3. Social Media can be Difficult to Measure

In many cases, social media is not as easy to prove effective to the powers that be. When it comes to ROI and actually driving sales, social media can be difficult to build a foundation on because it is reactionary communication. It functions in the same way that word-of-mouth does for advertisers. We create the message and pick the channels, but we can’t always see the fruits.

There are ways around this, and I’m not saying that social media is not beneficial (quite the opposite actually). I’m saying that we are not yet at a place where social media can be dissected comprehensibly on a chart, and most PR pros don’t want to take the risk of building their ROI around social media impressions alone.

2. The World is Bigger than Social Media (Right Now)

So many of us live in cities and towns, so we forget that it’s a big world out there. Even within the states, we have to constantly remind ourselves that not everyone flocks to the internet as their source of reference. People still read newspapers and respond better to billboards than sponsored stories. It’s how the world works.

In time, millennials like myself will rely on “outdated” concepts such as (who knows?) cell phones and commercials. Social Media won’t kill PR because not everyone in your audience is using social media. Simple right?

1. Good Social Media Needs Good PR

Ideally, social media is about transparency, effective communication, and relationship-building. For PR pros, that sounds pretty familiar to what is essential about PR. Social Media is more than just a tool of PR, it is a product of it. The idea of instant, transparent communication being out there for the whole world to see is working for many people because many people rely on good PR.

It’s not just about the product. It’s the image and how the image is presented. Without the fundamentals and structure of high quality public relations, social media is just another bulletin board at your local coffee shop. With the right tools, however, it can affect more than just a handful of coffee drinkers.

The two subjects need each other. Be sure to watch how social media evolves in the coming years, and we’ll see just how the profession of PR changes with it. I am confident that both have a bright future.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

Advertisements

Review: ‘Les Miserables’

Image Courtesy of aceshowbiz.com

People have been waiting a long time for Les Miserables to hit the big screen. Constantly regarded as one of the greatest musicals to ever hit broadway, this piece of work has, until now, been an undertaking some would call “unfilmable.” Well, I’m here to let you know that, yes, this movie works, and it just might be the best movie you’ll see this year. Maybe.

BIAS

I have no bias with this work. I had never seen the play, read the book, or known any crucial plot points before seeing this film (not for lack of wanting. I had tickets to the broadway play in 2008 but the show was canceled due to the writers’ strike. I’ve been charred ever since.)

So this review is coming from the words of someone completely unfamiliar with the source material, so take my opinion for what it is. I won’t be in the business of trying to compare the movie to the book or play, since I simply can’t.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Image Courtesy of projectqatlanta.comIf you don’t know much about the story or backdrop, know that you will be entering a biopic of sorts centering around the character of Jean Valjean played by Hugh Jackman, with his story taking place over a period of about 20 years (40 if you count the unseen prologue) in 17th century France.

Yes, the movie has plenty of supporting characters, but the story really revolves a long chase scene between Jean Von Jean, a convict who broke parole but is seeking spiritual redemption, and Javert, the ruthless policeman who hunts him played by Russel Crowe.

The movie carries many themes, with one of the most prominent being freedom. Halfway in, the story coincides with the second French Revolution that took shape in the 1830s. The story coincides beautifully with these events, making it a fitting period piece.

This movie is truly a musical, with characters constantly singing and very, very rarely speaking out of song. I don’t have to have seen the broadway play to know that the music is one of the world’s most celebrated scores, constantly pulling at your heartstrings throughout the movie’s long 2.5 hours.

Oh yeah, the movie is long. If you don’t have the RunPee app (an app that shows you when the best times are to take a bathroom break) GET IT. I did and benefitted greatly, since the movie is constantly introducing new characters and jumping forward in time, though there are plenty of long song sequences you can cut short.

Back to the music, you may have already heard that the movie has pioneered a new method of recording the music. Rather than produce all of the singing in a studio months before production, most of the singing recorded is actually being sung on camera, and it shows. The raw emotion in the sound this creates is extremely noticeable and provoked many in the audience to tears, literally.

WHAT WORKS

Pretty much every scene with Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, who plays Fantine, is pure gold. Their performances overshadow most everything else about the film, and awards will most likely be handed out. The music is phenonemnal, though the only songs that really did it for me were “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Red and Black,” and “Do You Hear the People Sing?” Everything else was fine, but there was just so much singing that many of the others songs were cluttered and forgettable. Something I’m sure purchasing the soundtrack would cure.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK
I’m not going to say that Russell Crowe did a poor job. He really didn’t. I’m just burdened with having to compare him to Hugh Jackman. The performances were far apart in my opinion, mainly because of Crowe’s lack of emotion, though perhaps that’s what the character of Javert calls for.

The sets are hit or miss. They ranged from epic in scale, especially towards the beginning, but then meander to looking like something out of a Lemony Snicket novel. It was too noticeable for me to forgive.

I know British accents are all the range, but do we really lack the capacity for pulling off French accents in America? It’s annoying to watch a French Revolution movie where the 8 year old is leading one of the most epic battle songs sounding like Kelly from Misfits. 

On a more serious note, I hesitate to judge the story, which I frankly found rushed. Yes, this is a different medium. Movies can’t do what books do. I just wish that more explanations between time skips could have occurred. You absolutely have to pay close attention, or you will be yearning for more.

I also wish they could have done more with Cosette, played by Amanda Seyfried, though I’m appreciative that they took full advantage of Sacha Baron Cohen, who played Thenardier the Innkeeper.

IS IT WORTH WATCHING?

For most people, definitely yes. It’s pure drama with some action, so don’t expect much humor. If you want to get truly involved in a long, gripping, and performance-rich musical, you will get what you paid for with Les Miserables. Almost everyone can appreciate the beauty behind the music, but the movie is definitely not for everyone. If you couldn’t even handle the music breaks in Phantom of the Opera, for example, then this is definitely not the movie for you.

For fans of the source material, I can say with confidence that every person I know that has seen both the play and the movie have greatly enjoyed this. I’ve yet to hear of disappointment from the fans. There was a standing ovation at the very end, which turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever witnessed. Not a dry eye in the house.

I highly recommend that you see this in theaters! I can’t imagine the sound being better in your living room. On a final note, here is my favorite quote from the movie that gave me chills: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

 

What Public Relations Should Boil Down To

Image Courtesy of etsy.com

This is a crazy, roller-coaster of a profession. Though I’ve only just begun my career in the last year, I’ve delved into corporate communications, agency work, freelance, the world of publicity, and now nonprofit PR.

The job of public relations is definitely fascinating, and continues to grow as more and more people are choosing it for their career path. College students all over the world are seeing the benefits of choosing this profession, though some are honestly in it just to jump on the social media bandwagon, but let’s be real. PR is about so much more than just social media.

What is Public Relations? This is a question I hear often, though I’m confident most people who ask me already know. We are in the business of creating and maintaining good relationships with the publics of whatever organization we are working for. It’s advocacy but with a clear focus.

Yes, people confuse it with advertising and marketing all of the time, though the three are actually more integrated than you might realize. Still, there is one thing that definitely separates the profession from so many others, including it’s “cousins” of advertising and marketing. It’s the one thing that PR should always boil down to.

Love.

PR is about showing love and reacting to how it is reciprocated. We craft relationships and images out of love for our constituents: the government, investors, our own employees, and of course, the consumers of our brand.

“But Jon,” my internal conscious says as I write this, “PR really boils down to making your company look good no matter what. It’s about saving a company money and creating good press, not love!”

This is my internal reaction to the idea that PR should boil down to love. Being in the business for a short while, I’ve seen the bad side of how PR is used just as much as I’ve seen the good. That said, I’ve seen the success of PR versus the failure of PR and that leads me to the conclusion that PR needs to boil down to love.

I believe this not based on how the profession has been judged and seen by others in the past. I believe this not based on what I want out of the profession.

I believe that PR is about love based on everything I have experienced up to this point in my career. 

Yes, we write press releases, measure ROI, pester journalists and do whatever we can to increase the bottom-line for our organization. That’s the reality of our lives in PR. Everything we do, whether we do it in love or not, has to be sustainable.

All of these things, however, are just goals. They’re what’s necessary to achieve the vision of whatever organization we are a part of.

To truly find success in PR, the message has to be sent in love. It has to respond to the needs of whomever is affected. Sure, a PR professional can’t please everyone. What may be good for consumers is not necessarily good for stockholders. Not every consumer is going to like a new policy change or maybe something as simple as a new logo.

It’s the PR pro’s job to maintain balance between these opinions and concerns, constantly using two-way communication, that yes, social media has allowed us to foster better than ever before.

Is there dishonesty in the profession? Absolutely, but that’s because there are dishonest people. The good PR pros know that shortcuts and coverups are the most impractical options for how to deal with crises. This is why you will often see companies owning up to their mistakes and making them right. You know that a good PR team is behind those decisions.

PR goes by a set of rules very similar to how we operate as people. You have to show love. To your customers, to your employees, and to your partners. When an organization operates by this creed, they will find success in PR.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Featured Image

We’ve all been there. Even the most emphatic writing lovers I know get to a point where they stop updating their website as often. The frequency of your posts slow down and may even halt.

It doesn’t mean you have lost your love for writing. It may not even mean you have writer’s block. I’ve sent out plenty of above-average posts born out of lack of desire to write them.

It’s human nature for us to get bored. Ideas stop coming in as naturally. That euphoric feeling of posting something people like and that craving you have to constantly check your site’s stats doesn’t last forever.

At the risk of saying something that will make you roll your eyes, I’ll say that it’s almost like a relationship. Once the honeymoon phase of your website or blog wears off, it’s natural to not be as excited about keeping up with it.

So what do you do? Here are some solutions to this problem depending on your situation:

Go back to basics.

Identify the true reason for why you put the time and effort into creating your platform. Reconnect with your old self who motivated you to get this started.

If you made goals at the beginning of this writing adventure, revisit them and conclude on whether or not they are worth upholding. It’s this soul searching at a critical time that will determine whether or not you’re cut out to be an online writer.

If you find yourself constantly creating new blogs every few months in order to hold onto that euphoric new car smell, chances are you will never find a meaningful relationship with an online audience.

Take a break.

Of course, taking a break is always a good thing, and going a few weeks every once in a while is actually one of the best things you can do for your creative mind, especially during the busy holidays. These breaks contribute to a rhythm that we as human beings thrive on. Work. Rest. Work.

Tread carefully, however, because more often that not, it is incredibly difficult to come back home after a vacation. For some writers, you may need to post less frequently, which would prevent long breaks. If you’re posting 7 days a week, then you are likely to burn out fast, making it hard to recover.

Instead, figure out what your rhythm is. Establish a vision and make it happen as my boss would say.

Shake things up.

Spice up the relationship. It’s very possible that you’re sick of writing because you are using a format that isn’t inherently exciting. Use change to your advantage by writing about something completely out of the ordinary, or take on a new project, like an interview, or a video review.

Write anyways.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is power through. It takes a lot of discipline to stick to a structured timeline and set of goals, but it is tremendously rewarding.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

Instagram Doesn’t Deserve The Hate

Taken From My Instagram

Recently, Instagram updated its privacy policy much to the displeasure of its users.

Basically, a photo you upload, while you still have ownership, can be used by Instagram for advertisements without any compensation to the owner of the photo.

Thousands of users are vitriolic over this change, mostly because it is symbolic of Instagram’s newfound relationship with Facebook, who bought them earlier this year. You think Facebook, you think privacy issues.

I, for one, will not be deleting my account anytime soon, and for one simple reason: Instagram is free.

Honestly, why should I get paid for Instagram using my photo to acquire more users? I didn’t set the service up. I didn’t put the man hours and engineering smarts into providing a totally free space for users to upload photos quickly on a popular platform.

Instagram owes me nothing. I downloaded the app for free and enjoy it daily. The least we users can do is allow Instagram to share our public photos with other people to let them know how great the service is.

Obviously, many people disagree with me on this, and that’s fine. Legally, Instagram will be fine because this policy change is transparent and you agree to terms and conditions. Those upset with the service are at least responding correctly by shutting down their accounts.

In other words, they are taking to heart the old idiom, “If you don’t like it, don’t use it.”

On the flipside, this is bound to create some negative publicity, resulting in Instagram losing more accounts than they would have gained from the advertising. So, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they apologized and rescinded this practice. If they don’t, I won’t lose any sleep.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

Let’s Talk About Gun Control For a Minute

Arguing about Gun Control

I promised that I would comment on the politics of the recent Newton shooting after giving it a few days, mostly out of respect, but also out of necessity. It takes time to really think about these matters and form an intellectually honest opinion. Well here it is:

People really don’t understand gun control.

Before I get into this, however, let me just say that I don’t really think gun control is the grandiose solution to all of these mass killings. I really don’t. When we have people willing to go to such extremes to fuel their hatred for whatever is going on in their heads, I don’t think trying to keep the weapon out of their hands will solve the problem. It may only just prolong it.

I am so sick of this debate, mainly because it really isn’t that complicated. People on both sides absolutely refuse to have a conversation about this, and the only people really making sense right now are the left of center (of which there’s not many).

I scoured the opinions of my friends and colleagues relating to this, and there is a pretty solid consensus:

Those opposed to gun control are so because they are afraid guns are going to be completely banned.

Those for gun control think that we should just ban guns altogether.

Those actually willing to talk about this are saying we should, gee I don’t know, make it harder to get guns.

Admittedly, most liberals I’ve talked to about this say we should just ban guns outright. No handguns, rifles, you name it. This is nonsense. Not only does it violate an inherent freedom (whether you like it or not), it makes people unable to defend themselves during an emergency in their own home. Also, banning guns would be about as effective as banning marijuana. These all-purpose bans do nothing but create a violent, criminal underground and the problem only continues to get worse.

Most conservatives seem to think that guns should be carried by everybody. No laws. What??? How is that a reasonable solution? That would incite panic, and realistically, no one would do it because most people are not comfortable with owning guns, especially parents.

The conversation needs to be about banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines (just like we do certain military weapons) and require background checks for owning a gun and maybe even requiring the NRA to charge people for safety courses in order to purchase a weapon.

The NRA doesn’t want this, even though they would benefit from selling these courses, mainly because they are petrified of losing their market, but let’s be honest. There will always be a market for guns, and regulation is necessary in order for us to permit having such dangerous tools available to the general public.

Can we please have a conversation about that?

Most people on the left and the right won’t. We don’t understand each other. We only care about being right and making the other person feel wrong.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

 

Top 10 Ben Folds Songs

Yes, this is almost impossible to do. Almost every Ben Folds song deserves to be honored, so narrowing it down to 10 can be emotionally destructive. But let’s do it!

Quick disclaimer: these songs are based on my own preferences, not necessarily cultural impact or anything like that. If you want a list like that, there are plenty of others!

Folds

10. Zak and Sara

One of the most contested songs out there when it comes to what it actually means is this classic from Rockin’ The Suburbs.  Though I’ve never found an official explanation from Ben Folds himself, it’s been said that he wrote the song about a girl he was dating in the 80’s who went crazy from being bored while listening to him play guitar. Sounds about right if you listen to the lyrics closely. This upbeat, fun, and catchy song is also credited with having my second favorite opening instrumental from Folds. And when Zak finished Sara’s song, Sara clapped. 

9. Sleazy

Yes, Ben Folds covered a Ke$ha song because he’s, well Ben Folds. Best part? It’s 10 times better. You can imagine the immensity of the **** I’m not giving. 

8. In Between Days

Another cover, but less obvious to younger fans who’ve never listened to The Cure, this song from Supersunnyspeedgraphic is a great example of how Ben can take someone else’s song and make it seem like his own. Yesterday I got so old I felt like I could die. Yesterday I got so old it made me want to cry.

7. The Luckiest

Just so you know, Rockin’ The Suburbs is my favorite Folds album, so it’s all over this list. Hence, “The Luckiest” made the cut pretty easily. Many people credit this song as his best, mainly because it is one of his most introspective and emotional songs, really capturing his love for his then-wife and mother of his children. I love this song, but the sadness that comes from the hindsight of this song prevents me from really enjoying it. I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you. 

6. Brick 

I am not much of a Ben Folds Five fan, but this is definitely one of his best songs. Slower than most on the album Whatever and Ever Amen, “Brick” is about what Ben went through when his girlfriend in high school got pregnant and eventually received an abortion. The song’s power mostly comes from the conflict and turmoil the couple went through, though Ben has publicly stated he doesn’t want to make an political statements about the matter. She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly.

5. Gone

Fun fact: this is actually the first Folds song I ever heard, and thankfully so. Another Rockin The Suburbs song, “Gone,” is very different from other Folds songs. It’s not too fast, not too slow, and has a very unique and catchy melody, making it one of the more recognizable Folds songs. The song itself seems to be about the aftermath of a breakup, or at least two people who have been estranged for a year. Some of have said that Folds explanation is a little silly, with the song actually being based on a couple he saw on a talk show. And I think that you should spend some time alone. But if you won’t. Then you won’t. And I will. Then I will consider you gone.

4. Not The Same

Yes, this is another Rockin’ The Suburbs song (I warned you.) This makes the top of the list because of how misunderstood it is. Most believe it is the singular story of a guy who climbed a tree at a party and came back completely different. That’s part of it, but Ben himself has said that the story is more generally about how people, after something happens in their life, are not the same after that. Yes, the song is centered around a guy in Ben’s life who climbed a tree while on an acid trip and came down a born-again Christian. The rest of the song is composed of parallels and examples of people in your life who change. You gave your life to Jesus Christ, and after all your friends went home, you came down. You looked around, and you were not the same after that.

3. You Don’t Know Me (feat. Regina Spektor)

One of the standouts from Way to Normal, this one is a sad song brilliantly disguised as happy thanks to its unbelievably catchy tune. The song focuses on a couple that don’t understand each other at all and ultimately resent each other. Why the **** would you want me back? Maybe it’s because…you don’t know me at all.

2. Annie Waits

This is the last Rockin’ The Suburbs song (I promise!) but absolutely had to be included. The song is beautifully simple, referring to a girl waiting on a guy who’s not good for her to finally commit to her. Meanwhile, her friend (the guy who is good for her but stuck in the friend zone) waits for her as well, hence “And he waits” compared to “Annie waits.” Ben is trying to stress that everyone tends to be on someone’s “hook.” Annie waits for the last time. Just the same as the last time. Annie says “You see this is why I’d rather be alone.”

1. Cologne (Piano Orchestra Version)

And the top of my list, which was the easiest pick for me, is this knockout from Way to Normal. Oddly enough, I came across this song long after the rest of this list and past albums, somehow missing it when Way to Normal came out in 2008. I’m glad I did, since a friend introduced me to the Piano Orchestra Version, which is vastly superior to the album version. Why is this my #1? For me, it has everything. The brilliant piano, the irreverent humor, the emotional intensity, and of course the best opening period for any of his works to-date. This is also my favorite because it was done completely improv at a performance. It really doesn’t have a meaning aside from being a spectacular piece of work.

I will let go. If you will let go. 

Honorable Mentions:

Every other Ben Folds song.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

%d bloggers like this: