Archive for March 2009




are newspapers slowly being phased out?

newspaper

On February 27 Rocky Mountain News published its final edition of Denver’s leading newspaper for breaking news, sports, weather and entertainment.  The newspaper that has been providing people in Denver with their news since 1859 was forced to say goodbye and close up because it just wasn’t getting the funds it needed to stay open. Newspapers across the country are experiencing similar problems. Other newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle and Seattle Post-Intelligencer are being put up for sale or will be forced to close up because they don’t have the money to keep the newspapers running. These days it hardly seems worth it to continue printing newspapers when so many people get their news online anyway.

One of the main reasons why Rocky Mountain News was forced to close was due to declining circulation. People just aren’t reading print newspapers anymore. Most newspapers have an Internet version of its newspaper. The demand for print newspaper continues to decrease especially because the Internet has made news so readily available. In a survey done by The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in 2008, these days nearly everyone who wants to get news goes online for information (92%).

We are now in transition from traditional media to a new kind of media-social media. Blogs and online newspapers are a couple places that people are getting their news from. Blogs tend to be more interesting and conversational than traditional newspaper, which is written very matter-of-fact. Blogs are becoming increasingly popular for several reasons. People trust blogs. Personal bloggers have no hidden agenda; blogging is just a way for them to voice their opinions. Blogs give people insight and different angles on news and information.

Image from Flickr by LondonSLR

Add comment March 12, 2009

give the guy a break

jason-mes

I love Melissa. I love Molly. I love Melissa. No I love Molly. The outcome of ‘The Bachelor’ has caused quite an uproar with the show’s female fans. In the season finale of ‘The Bachelor’, Jason Mesnick proposed to Melissa, the beautiful brunette who was everyone’s favorite. Then weeks later Jason publicly dumped Melissa for Molly. Ouch. Fans, mostly women, were not happy. On Facebook, statuses read things like “Jason Mesnick- what a jerk” and “My heart just broke, poor Melissa.” YouTube was full of videos with girls giving Jason a piece of their mind as well. What he did upset a lot of people.

I agree that what Jason did to Melissa was humiliating and very sad, but in case you guys are forgetting ‘The Bachelor’ is a reality show. These people are being paid and coached by the director. Most of the girls on this show and others just want the spotlight and want to be on television. Honestly, I bet most of the girls on ‘The Bachelor’ didn’t even care about Jason. And that’s how it goes. Directors for reality shows pick attractive or people who they feel will bring drama to the show, because drama is what makes these shows entertaining. There is not much difference between reality shows and a show like Friends. The actors are paid in both, well not very well in reality shows, but they are still paid. Though the lines themselves might not be scripted, everything else that happens in the show is closely guided in whatever direction the director wants.

I think that Jason really cared about both girls in the end of the show, but his producers were urging him to choose Melissa, because it would make a better ending. Some people may say that Jason was messing with Melissa’s emotions by saying the things he said to her, but if Melissa was really searching for true love, the last place she should have gone is a reality show. Come on, what did you expect? These shows have direction, you aren’t necessarily able to do what you want, which is why I never understood why these shows are called reality shows because they far from reality. 

I think the fact that he dumped her on public television was what really got people riled up. But he didn’t really have a choice. He was forced to break up with Melissa publicly by his contract. That sucks but that’s reality show life. Please don’t find me heartless, I do feel bad for Melissa. I just think that Jason was genuinely confused and forced into decisions he didn’t really want to make by producers of the show. If these two people really wanted to find true love, they shouldn’t have gone looking for it on a show. It’s hard to sympathize because reality shows are for entertainment, and I don’t find them a lot different than a show like Friends.

 

Image from Flickr by ScandalousHousewife

Add comment March 12, 2009

is twitter really useful?

twitter-birdI was recently instructed to set up a Twitter account for a public relations class as a way to start building my social media footprint. When I first starting tweeting, or posting updates on twitter I wasn’t sure what the purpose of this social network was. Now I understand why Twitter is such a useful tool. However, I do think that Twitter is a bit noisy. Noisy meaning that there is a lot of pointless information being passed around Twitter, mainly personal updates. The idea of people being able to tweet every random thought and give an update each hour what you are doing is annoying and unnecessary. I mean, no offence but who cares what you ate for breakfast, or that you have a lot of homework or that you are stuck in traffic? I know that sounds insensitive, but there are probably few people who are actually interested in what you are doing each hour of the day. Having people constantly updating their status on Facebook is enough. If I really am dying to know what my friend is doing I will call them. I think Twitter would be a better tool without all of the extra useless chatter.

Aside from all the nonsense updating, I think that Twitter is a great tool that has a lot to offer everyone. Twitter is a great tool for networking and making new contacts within your field of interest. I think Twitter is also a great place to discover new information. People are constantly posting, or tweeting interesting links to all sorts of things like an article they found intriguing or a breaking news story. Twitter is a great tool for circulating information and ideas. Some people will post job and internship opportunities on Twitter, which is very helpful for students who are graduating soon.

Another rather unique way that Twitter is being used is to provide live updates of events that would otherwise be difficult to come by. The Baja 1000 off-road racing event is an example using Twitter to connect fans of off-road racing with live updates. Jason Falls tweeted from his mobile phone to provide coverage and communication about this event.  The Baja 1000 is a racing event that takes place in Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula and the race usually run 18-26 hours, so a televised report of this race would be rather difficult. The fact that people can send Twitter updates via a mobile phone makes Twitter a very convenient tool, especially for the Baja 1000 race.

Though many people have caught on to the many ways that Twitter can be used to their advantage and to the advantage of others, some people are still missing the point. Back in September a reporter, Berny Morson, used Twitter to provide coverage of a three-year-old child’s funeral. News organizations have been using Twitter to provide coverage of political conventions and sporting events, but a funeral? Come on have some respect. A funeral is a very private event and the reporter had no right publicizing it. In another case surgeons used Twitter to post live updates during an operation to remove a kidney tumor. Again, extremely unnecessary, and maybe illegal? Surgery is very personal and people have the right to expect that if they are having an operation that the details of that operation will remain confidential. You can’t just post updates on Twitter about a surgery. First, that is personal. And second, ewww. Who wants a play-by-play update of surgery anyway?

These examples illustrate the importance of knowing what is appropriate to post on Twitter and what is not. When in doubt, don’t tweet anything that wouldn’t be televised. 

 

Image from Google Images

1 comment March 4, 2009

how do organizations create a strong reputation?

CB043510Reputation is built by what people experience, hear and read. It is important that organizations work hard  to provide customers with a positive experience with their products, services and also their employees. It is equally important for an organization to be sure that all information about its organization is accurate and up to date. Organizations can create a strong reputation through their employees, their image and through social media.

 One of the most important ways for a company to create a positive reputation is through its employees. According to Managing Partner of Reputation Institute and Director of U.S. Operations, Kasper Neilson:

 “In order to achieve a favorable reputation, companies must first look to the inside- to their employees.”

 Employees are the ambassadors of the company. They are the ones who are interacting with stakeholders and customers each day. Their actions reflect on the company- in either a good or bad way. Employees can be thought of as the middleman between the company and customers. The employee will communicate information from the CEO to customers, and vice versa. For example, if customers have a concern or suggestion for the company, customers will tell the employee, and the employee will pass the information onto his or her CEO through the employee’s intermediate manager. Every company should have a set of values and guidelines to follow that are consistent throughout the organization. This helps keep everyone on the same page and up to date with company policies. Having consistency is important because it helps to build credibility for a company, which in turn helps to strengthen the company’s reputation.

 Image is also a very important part of building a company’s reputation. In a quote I found in an article discussing ways to build a reputation, George Ludwig states:

 “Visual credibility plays a huge role in building a great reputation.”

 I totally agree with this quote. Let’s say that a customer sees a messy office space or a cluttered store, or maybe even an employee dressed in ratty jeans and a t-shirt. The company is probably going to lose credibility and maybe even some respect from that customer. A great example of how poor image can ruin a company’s reputation is the devastation of a Kohl’s store in Dallas, Texas. A man was shopping at Kohl’s and the store literally looked as though a hurricane had just passed through. There were clothes all over the floor, and broken shelves buried under heaps of jeans. The store was a complete disaster. The man decided to take pictures of the store with his camera phone and post them on the internet. It doesn’t say much for the company if it is going to allow one of its stores to look like this. It is important for people to know that companies care about their  customers and take pride in their own company; Kohl’s clearly did not seem to care about its company or its customers. On the other side of the spectrum, if a customer interacts with an employee who is professionally dressed and is helpful and polite, the customer will place more trust in the company. It is easier to build a strong reputation for your company if the overall appearance of the company is professional (clean and organized office spaces and stores,  and well -dressed and polite employees).

 Social media is becoming a popular place for businesses to reach out to their customers. Using various social media outlets such as blogs or twitter is a great way for businesses to find out what customers wants and needs are. Companies who write an organizational blog or create an organizational twitter account can interact with customers and learn about potential problems or concerns with their company, and fix problems immediately by directly addressing the person or organization that expressed the concern. One thing to keep in mind when either blogging or twittering or using any number of social media outlets, is to be transparent. Transparency is so important. It helps to build credibility. It also shows customers that your company isn’t trying to hide anything. Being transparent helps customers to trust company, which builds a strong reputation. Also, an organizational blog can be an effective tool not only for informing customers about products or crises, but it would be a useful way for the CEO of a company to communicate with employees.Whether it be to inform employees of a crisis, and the company’s plan to deal with the crisis, or to provide employees with valuable information about the company to expand their knowledge about the company. 

 

Image from Corbis

 

Add comment March 4, 2009

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