public relations


Months ago, I heard the story about how someone’s Twitter network rescued him. He was about to go into a meeting in LA and had left some techno gadget¬† back at his New York office. Sure enough, someone in an office just around the corner from his hotel was able to help him out. Someone who only new him as a Twitter follower.

I remember thinking: No way!

But now I’m a believer, because it happened to me.

A few weeks ago, I was working on a news release about a client who is now selling compressed natural gas to the public. Their first customer is a professor from The University of Michigan. I had a last name, but couldn’t find him listed anywhere with the University.

As a member of Linkedin’s University of Michigan Alumni group, I sent out a call for help.

The next day, a woman in Ann Arbor sent me an email saying that she remembers the professor, who’s now retired. There had been a story back in 2003 (honestly, I’m not making this up) about him and his CNG vehicle. She looked up his address and phone number in the local white pages and… you guessed it… I was able to connect and interview him.

Turns out, he’s a self-proclaimed “cng evangelist” with a wealth of information about alternative fuels and their use (or lack of) in Michigan.

Thank you, Linkedin… and the group member who helped me out! The power of Social Media knows no end.

It was my turn to nominate a “word for the day” for my Hi-Noon Toastmaster’s Club and I selected the word counterintuitive.

For those of you not familiar with Toastmaster protocol, we try to work one new word into our everyday vocabulary during each meeting.

For those of you also not familiar with the word counterintuitive, it means something that is true, but contrary to what you would intuitively expect. I know, because I looked it up after hearing it for the first time this summer. Since then, I have heard it used over and over and over again. Either the word is becoming more popular, or I’m becoming more aware of it.

It’s a great word for describing Social Media.

I would never have predicted the level of opportunity to publish my own words online, nor the transparent sharing that has developed within what one writer so aptly describes as the “global network of digital campfires.”

(Don’t you just love the imagery? The author, by the way, is Sonia Simone, senior editor of Copyblogger and founder of Remarkable Communication. Both are resources worth watching.)

Now that I find myself sitting at those campfires every day and night, I’ve grown to embrace the candor of the culture and enjoy the opportunity to create and publish content all over the place.

Which is why a recent Advertising Age article surprised me by making big news out of PR professionals bypassing reporters to pitch directly to consumers in today’s shrinking media market. As one reader who agrees with me commented, these are strategies that have been reported for years…¬† “Good to see AdAge picking up on the trend.”

Some say this trend will rob reporters of their power and influence. I disagree.

When it all shakes out, I believe the working relationships with reporters will continue to be vital within the world of news — even though that world is swiftly switching from print to digital. The process of working with reporters will continue, along with new social media roles.

Like many places in today’s world, the playing field has been leveled. And as counterintuitive as that initially seemed, I’m now really comfortable with new opportunities to hit a few of my own home runs.