Study: At least 70% of Brits check Facebook before bed

The last thing that more than 70% of British adults do before they go to bed is check social network sites, the Press Association reports. Instead of curling up with a good book before nodding off, some 72% of adults check status updates on Facebook, a study conducted on behalf of Travelodge found.

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LivingSocial Boosting Business, Saving Consumers Money

LivingSocial (www.livingsocial.com), the online source for people to find handpicked experiences at a great value, today reports the impact its Daily Deals program has had on Washington D.C. small businesses. The company first launched its Daily Deals program in its hometown in July 2009, and local business owners have thrived, welcoming hundreds of thousands of LivingSocial subscribers through their doors. More than 400 DC-area merchants have marketed their establishments, experiences and services with LivingSocial’s Daily Deals program, saving shoppers more than $13 million to date.

“As a startup, we value LivingSocial’s inherent support of the small business community here in D.C. and now, around the world in more than 100 markets and five countries,” said Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO and Co-founder of LivingSocial. “By having experts on the ground working with small business owners we are better able to craft deals that appeal to the local consumer while delivering both immediate and long-lasting results to the merchant. It’s a win-win for local consumers and merchants.”

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The 12 Days of a Twitter Christmas

You’ve undoubetdly heard the famous Christmas song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” but here’s a new version of it I wrote to get into the spirit of the coming holiday season: The 12 Days of a Twitter Christmas.

I would sing it for you via recorded video, but I think Matt Lauer and Al Roker have proven that you shouldn’t record a music video if you can’t sing – regardless of auto-tuning and studio enhancing!

So sing along to the tune of the “12 Days of Christmas”

On the first day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
A Fail Whale on my screen.

On the second day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the third day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Five trackback pings,
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Six direct messages,
Five trackback pings,
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Seven swans-a-spamming,
Six direct messages,
Five trackback pings,
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Eight maids-a-mentioning,
Seven swans-a-spamming,
Six direct messages,
Five trackback pings,
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Nine ladies DM’ing,
Eight maids-a-mentioning,
Seven swans-a-spamming,
Six direct messages,
Five trackback pings,
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Ten lords a-listing,
Nine ladies DM’ing,
Eight maids-a-mentioning,
Seven swans-a-spamming,
Six direct messages,
Five trackback pings,
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Eleven pipers to follow,
Ten lords a-listing,
Nine ladies DM’ing,
Eight maids-a-mentioning,
Seven swans-a-spamming,
Six direct messages,
Five trackback pings,
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
Twitter gave to me
Twelve re-tweets,
Eleven pipers to follow,
Ten lords-a-listing,
Nine ladies DM’ing,
Eight maids-a-mentioning,
Seven swans-a-spamming,
Six direct messages,
Five trackback pings,
Four follow Fridays,
Three French followers,
Two turtle trends,
And a Fail Whale on my screen!

Friends Don’t Let Friends Get On Facebook Drunk

Have you ever posted to Facebook after a few too many at the bar, or typed a drunken post to Twitter? Social media hangovers can be awkward – having to apologize for, or explain those late night posts can be embarrassing.

Well now there’s a app for that (sort of). Introducing The Social Media Sobriety Test, a program where you specify a window of time where you don’t think you’d be on the internet while sober — let’s say 1 AM to 6 AM — and anytime you try to access the internet within that timeframe, you’ll have to prove that you are sober. No, you don’t blow into a device like those things they put in your car after a DUI… you must prove you are sober to your computer with your mouse.

The Social Media Sobriety Test is a browser plugin that will conduct sobriety tests on your computer — like seeing if you can make your cursor follow a moving finger for 30 seconds or trace a straight line. If you fail, the program automatically posts a status for you that says “[Your name here] is too intoxicated to post right now.” Once installed, you can set up a watershed period, during which any access to social media websites will be blocked until you pass… it’s a clever solution from web security company Webroot, who markets the product saying “Nothing good happens online after 1am. And since Webroot believes in protecting you in every aspect of your life, including you…”

My guess is though, that more Facebook posts and Tweets come from mobile devices – so maybe there will be an app for that soon – one that prevents drunken texting as well? Regardless, I know a few friends on Facebook who need The Social Media Sobriety Test. 

Have you ever posted something drunk? Share it in the comments section below – would love to hear some funny ones!

Check out this video for more on the Social Media Sobriety Test.

University of South Carolina to Offer Course About Lady Gaga

The University of South Carolina will offer a course centered on the life of Lady Gaga next year. The course, titled The Sociology of Fame, introduces students to a sociological analysis of selected social issues related to the work of the pop icon. 

“Within the framework of the sociology of popular culture and music, this course specifically focuses on socially relevant elements in the rise of Lady Gaga’s popularity to her current status as a burgeoning pop music icon,” says Mathieu Deflem, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology who designed and will teach the course. According to the Deflem’s syllabus the central objective of this course is to “unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga with respect to her music, videos, fashion, and other artistic endeavors, with special attention for the role of: business and marketing strategies; the role of the old and new media; fans and live concerts; gay culture; religious and political themes; sex and sexuality; and the cities of New York and Hollywood.”

The course will start in 2011 and it will include a blog by Dr. Deflem, who says he has attended some 30 Lady Gaga concerts. The professor was born in Belgium and has completed extensive research projects including papers on international policing and internet technology.

LivingSocial Continues Rapid Expansion With Launch of 9 New Markets

Today, Leading social discovery network LivingSocial (www.livingsocial.com) announced the launch of 9 new markets in the U.S. and UK including St. Paul, MN; Mesa, AZ; Eugene, OR; West Chicago; Columbia, South Carolina; Liverpool, UK; Brighton, UK; Bristol, UK and Birmingham, UK. LivingSocial is now live in 111 markets in the U.S., Canada, UK and Ireland, with more than 10 million subscribers.

[Read more…]

The Gap to give away 10,000 pairs of jeans on Facebook

On the heels of its logo social media fiasco, The Gap is partnering with Facebook to give away free jeans. Facebook announced today at its mobile event in Palo Alto that The Gap would give away a pair of jeans to the first 10,000 people who “check in” as part of Facebook’s new “deals” program, similar to FourSquare deals. Checking into Facebook via your mobile phone will soon mean getting discounts at many of the shops you’re visiting much like deals and coupons on the popular FourSquare. A specific date for the free jeans launch was not provided, but I’ll keep an eye out and update this post when one is provided.

Local TV wins big in 2010 election

You’ve seen them. Those political ads on TV. You’ve seen them over…. and over… and over… and over. Perhaps you’ll join me in celebrating that the election is finally here and the torture is over? That’s right; it’s Election Day, so stop reading blogs and go vote if you haven’t done so!

While dedicated citizens head to the polls to decide the fate of political hopefuls, there is already a big winner in the 2010 midterm elections: local television stations… and at a time when most could really use it. Since 2008 revenue for local TV advertising has dramatically slowed, particularly in the lucrative automotive category.

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New Facebook Group for Local PR People Can Help Reporters Find Sources Quickly

The new Facebook Groups feature provides an excellent way to connect groups of people that you might not be friends with on Facebook (see my previous post on how Groups work for more info on setting them up). I’ve created a group for public relations, communications and marketing professionals in Phoenix who want to share information and ideas, participate in discussions about our industry and network with others in the field. We also welcome students and those who are just starting a career in PR for mentoring and advice.

Local reporters can take advantage of this group when looking for sources!

If you are a reporter or producer working on a tight deadline and you need a source quickly, simply send an email to PhoenixPR@groups.facebook.com. That will post your message to our group’s wall, instantly informing PR people what you are looking for. How easy is that?!? Our group continues to grow every day. If you are a PR or communications professional we invite you to join us!

The Fall TV season is in full swing; who’s winning the ratings in Phoenix?

The primetime TV wars are back with new shows on every network and returning favorites like Glee, Modern Family, NCIS and Dancing With The Stars.  Here’s a look at the top ten national ratings for last week (adults 18-49):

Rank Shows R=Repeat S=Special P=Premiere Net Rating
1 NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL   NBC 7.3
2 GLEE P FOX 5.6
3 GREY’S ANATOMY P ABC 5.4
4 SUNDAY NIGHT NFL PRE-KICK   NBC 5.2
5 MODERN FAMILY P ABC 5.1
6 DANCING WITH THE STARS P ABC 5.1
7 TWO AND A HALF MEN P CBS 4.9
8 BIG BANG THEORY, THE P CBS 4.9
9 FAMILY GUY P FOX 4.5
10 OFFICE P NBC 4.4

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How Facebook Saved A Dog’s Life

Meet Pavel, a two-year-old Pit Bull who somehow found his way into my back yard last week. He was covered in ticks and emaciated – it was obvious he was a stray who had been roaming in the extreme heat for some time. Being the dog lover I am, I took Pavel in, tended to some of his wounds, gave him fresh water and food. He is a very sweet and docile dog who was clearly a great pet, but there was no way to identify his owners – he had no collar and no microchip. I posted photos of him on Pets911 and put up a public posting on Facebook. I checked with neighbors to see if any of them recognize the dog, to no avail.

As much as I wanted to keep him around, we already have three dogs and Pavel needed medical attention, so I called Maricopa County Animal Control. Pavel was taken to the County shelter on 27th Avenue in Phoenix. That evening, my friend Jordan Sperko asked me what would happen to the dog. He saw my posting on Facebook and was interested in taking Pavel in; he wanted to adopt a dog and was specifically looking for a Pit Bull. 

Thrilled at this news, we contacted the shelter to see if anybody had claimed him. They said no, and we learned that he had been scheduled for euthanasia. Maricopa County takes in some 150 – 200 stray dogs every day and simply does not have the facilities to keep them all for adoption. In addition, Pavel’s physical condition would probably deter potential adopters. 

Jordan immediately went to the shelter to see Pavel and it was love at first sight. He pleaded with the shelter manager to release the dog to him for adoption. This morning, I joined Jordan as he “officially” adopted Pavel! After some minor medical procedures, Pavel will be going to his new forever home on Thursday afternoon. I am beyond thrilled that this story has a happy ending! Please join me in applauding Jordan Sperko for being a hero – he has saved Pavel’s life… all thanks to Facebook! We look forward to seeing Pavel for doggie play dates soon!

Jordan officially adopted Pavel today!

 

Lights…. Camera…. DISCO!

Hosting private media party at Disco Scottsdale on June 24

Disco ScottsdaleOne of the cool things about having a night club as a client? An awesome place to throw a huge party, of course!  The wonderful folks at Disco Scottsdale have graciously agreed to open their doors for a private media / industry party Thursday, June 24, 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (HOSTED BAR!).

So if you are a local media type or work in the hospitality industry, come and check out Scottsdale’s fabulous new night club and have a drink or two with Joe PR Guy!  Disco is a must-see venue that features a custom, interactive LED dance floor that responds to your feet when you dance.  We call it a post modern interpretation of the classic discothèque.  Did I mention there will be an open bar? 

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Dear U.S. Airways: WTF?!?! Epic PR fail

Whoever manages email marketing at U.S. Airways must have been asleep on the floor next to that air traffic controller.

I fly U.S. Airways almost exclusively because I like to support my “hometown” airline. For the past several years I’ve participated in the airline’s Dividend Miles, a frequent flyer rewards program. I was delighted to get this email from U.S. Airways on April 4 with the subject “They’re waiting in your account…”

 

YES! How cool, I thought. I do love reward travel. Sure 1,000 miles is not a lot, but it was a nice gesture that made me feel happy about supporting my hometown airline and participating in the program. I considered it an excellent customer relations strategy and I told several people about it. But much to surprise, confusion and utter disappointment, I got this email from U.S. Airways today with the subject line “Oops” (yes really, that was the subject line).  

REALLY, U.S. Airways? I mean REALLY?!?! Everyody makes mistakes – I get that. What’s the cost of this mistake and subsequent horrible mishandling? The cost of my business – and it would appear others feel the same way.

I’ve always been loyal, even with the escalation of various fees (and cuts to service) over the past few years – I’ve spent thousands of dollars on U.S. Airways. I have the U.S. Airways Visa card and use it frequently so I can earn miles. I now welcome suggestions for a new airline loyalty program.

U.S. Airways should have accepted the error and kept the miles in the accounts of those affected – especially considering it went to loyal customers (participants in Dividend Miles). It takes at least 12,500 miles to purchase a one-way ticket, so 1,000 bonus miles is no big deal; I find it hard to believe they would incur any significant financial losses by honoring the original email without any notification there had been an error. I called the airline asking for an explanation but customer service agents in the Dividend Miles departent didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about. I also contacted the PR department asking for an explanation but did not get a response.

I’ve decided to end my participation in the program and choose another airline for all future travel because apparently, U.S. Airways doesn’t want to see me happy (as they lead me to believe in the first email). This is an epic FAIL and example of bad P.R. in today’s social media age.

You lost me at “oops” – some advice for U.S. Airways
Lesson 1: Have a system of pre-release reviews in place if you are sending correspondence to thousands of customers. Anything going out en mass over email should be given as much importance as the CEO being quoted in the New York Times.

Lesson 2: If somebody screws up big time, eat it internally and don’t broadcast to the world that somebody in your marketing department has sh*%t for brains.

Lesson 3: When sending an email en mass to soon-to-be-pissed-off loyal customers, don’t try to be cute in the email subject line. “Oops” made me believe you didn’t really care that you screwed up.

Lesson 4: Hire people with competence in customer perceptions.

U.S. Airways 1000 mile screwup

LivingSocial’s ‘Pick Your Five’ Surges On Facebook

 LivingSocial, the social discovery tool for reviewing, sharing and organizing favorite things, today announced its new “Pick Your Five” feature, a viral phenomenon that has soared at a rate of up to 150,000 new users per hour, with more than 6 million new users creating 9 million lists in the first week since launching on Facebook.

[Read more…]

ABC News partners with UNL journalism college to open bureau on campus

ABC News is coming — to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

The college will open the newest ABC News On Campus bureau this month, offering students the opportunity to work with and learn from professionals at a national broadcast news network. The On Campus program is a partnership between the ABC television network’s news division and seven leading journalism schools.

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Northwestern University President Announces Retirement

Northwestern University President Henry S. Bienen will retire from his position effective August 31, 2009 and will become Vice Chairman of the Rasmussen College, Inc. Board of Directors effective September 1, 2009. Bienen has been a member of the Rasmussen Board of Directors for five years.

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NV Regents Appoint new UNLV President

The Nevada Board of Regents today approved the appointment of Dr. Neal J. Smatresk as the ninth president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Smatresk received a two-year contract (August 1, 2009-June 30, 2011) with an annual base salary of $289,120 in the first fiscal year and $246,426.84 in the second fiscal year. He will also receive the following annual perquisites: $8,000 automobile allowance, $18,000 housing allowance, and a $5,000 host account. In addition, the UNLV Foundation will supplement the president’s compensation by $58,880 in the first fiscal year and $101,573.16 in the second fiscal year.

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Brand YOU: It’s Time To Get Personal

Brand YOU: It’s Time To Get Personal

Whether you are one of the many communications professionals looking for a job in today’s economy or you are happily employed, you need to take advantage of the many online tools available to build your personal brand. You already have an online reputation if you are using any social media or networking websites- what are you doing to manage it? Have you developed a strategy to increase your professional network?

Building a personal brand starts with your digital identity, but it’s more than using Twitter and LinkedIn- you have to be a presence in your industry both online and in the community. I’d like to invite you to join us for the IABC Phoenix luncheon on August 20, where I’ll be discussing personal branding strategies, both online and in-person.

Some of the things I’ll discuss you already know, but you’ll learn some tips and techniques you might not have thought about. It’s a fun and informative presentation you won’t want to miss!

IABC Phoenix Luncheon
August 20, 2009
Joe PR Guy:  Brand YOU: It’s Time to Get Personal!
Register:  www.iabcphoenix.com

Thanks to Kevin Horton, tvkevin productions, for sponsoring the event with this video.

My Happy Dance for Peter Shankman: “Twiller”

We did this all in one day- we had 12 hours, from 9AM to 9PM to learn as much of the Zombie March from “Thriller” as possible and then go to First Studio in Phoenix to shoot the video. Trust me, every muscle in my body hurt for two days and I have newfound respect for professional dancers.

I’d like to thank all of my social media friends who helped make this happen:

  • Jeremiah Cohick (@JeremiahLee) and Arthur Nicholls (@arthurnicholls) who drove all the way from Los Angeles! I met Jeremiah on Twitter a few months ago and we had only met once in person, yet they were willing to drive across the desert to come and help.
  • Jose Gonzalez (@Jose602) from the Torch Theatre, who graciously provided rehearsal space at Space 55 for us during the day.
  • Kevin Horton (@tvkevin) who I met a few months ago on Facebook. Kevin owns tvkevin productions and is one of the most talented video producers in the area. A veteran news and entertainment photographer with an eye for details that will make your project shine, I recommend you hire him for your video needs!
  • Phoenix dance instructors Andrew Balderrama and Cullen Daniel, who both responded to a posting on Facebook for choreography help- we had never met in person, only knew each other through mutual friends on Facebook. And hey, we are geeks with no rhythm… this wasn’t easy for any dance instructor!
  • Ken and Laurie Easley saved us from the extreme heat advisory (we were orginially going to shoot Thriller outside in a spooky alley downtown). Ken Easley is a commercial photographer in Phoenix and owns First Studio, the very first TV station built in Phoenix in 1949. It has been converted into a unique space for video production and photography. The space is available for rent!
  • Mike Chesworth, a Phoenix-based freelance film producer and editor helped us immensely with costume preparation, studio direction during the Thriller shoot, and editing.
  • And last, but certainly not least, Paul Hanavan (@phanavan) and Kennelle Clark: my two dearest friends and consummate supporters. Thank you for all you do… Paul became a backup dancer when somebody didn’t show up and Kennelle managed logistics and the ever-important food for the day.


Are you a former journalist with a new career? I want to interview you

It’s official. I’ve started writing my first book. The idea came from a surprising media response when I founded “I Should Be In The News” or ISBITN, a modern nonprofit organization that seeks to provide a voice to communities (see http://isbitn.org).

When I launched ISBITN and began promoting it, I talked to reporters all over the country. While I was trying to reach media to help spread the word about ISBITN, reporters started contacting me for “off the record” help. In the press release announcing ISBITN and on the website, I mention that I’m a journalist-turned-PR-pro; a number of reporters who saw that contacted me because they were preparing to transition out of media and didn’t know where to begin. [Read more…]

Eastern Michigan University names Kraft vice president for communications

Eastern Michigan University has named Walter Kraft as its new vice president for communications, his appointment effective August 10, 2009.

“I’m pleased that Walter will be joining Eastern Michigan,” said Susan Martin, president of EMU.  “His knowledge of the media landscape locally and nationally, and his background as a leading communications executive in the region will help us tell the stories of Eastern’s impact in Michigan.  He brings energy and passion to the position and will help us to effectively communicate the excellent education, accessibility and programs Eastern Michigan University provides.”

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UNLV segment among Leno’s “Greatest Jaywalking Moments” and other Higher Ed news

A recap of higher ed news stories I Tweeted this week (follow me @joePRguy):

Japan university gives away iPhones to students (it’s really a ploy to track them!) http://budurl.com/bpgu

George Mason University Innovates To Boost Enrollment http://budurl.com/y9lg

University Sues Porn Website Over Name http://budurl.com/2u69

Down economy means better dorms for these college students http://budurl.com/n5cu

University of Illinois admits it bowed to clout on admissions http://budurl.com/u8l8

And, finally… watching the last episode of Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show, I was tickled to see UNLV students in the “Greatest Moments in Jaywalking” segment- which I coordinated when I worked in UNLV public affairs under chief Hilaire Grey and former president Carol Harter. Jay Leno came to the 2006 commencement and filmed a “Jaywalking” segment with fresh UNLV graduates (in cap-and-gown) after the ceremony. The typical Jaywalking segment tends to make people look rather silly; I didn’t want UNLV students to look stupid, so I worked with his producers and writers to make it a unique segment: who’s smarter-men or women? Rather than asking questions of individuals like the typical Jaywalking, we had pairs of men and women. They stood in cap and gown, holding bells in thier hands to answer when Jay asked a question. We kept a tally of correct answers for both. The UNLV grad who made the “Greatest Moments” segment was a guy who answered: what are the first words of the Bible? His response was “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” [Read more…]

Using Social Media to Build a Healthy Brand

More and more Americans are turning to the Internet as their sole source of information about everything in their lives- for many, that information comes directly from other people through social media. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 73% of Americans use the Internet on a daily basis; of those online, some 60% of Americans engage in social media- using websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn. The phenomenon of social media is still in its infancy, and to what extent it will continue to grow is uncertain. However, I doubt Facebook will shrivel to irrelevancy like Friendster.com did (does anybody even remember that site?) The statistics are undeniable. Social media is dominating web use: according to Neilson Media Research (the same folks who publish TV ratings), Facebook is now one of the most frequently visited websites in the United States (fourth behind Google, Yahoo!, and YouTube).

[Read more…]