Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Revenge of the Xmas Cards

Card #1 arrived in the usual fashion, a week or two before Christmas with the enclosed annual family letter. This year, John and I responded in a different way. We distributed our annual "Christmas Card" via the internet. We sent it to friends and family via Facebook and email.

It was a nice little experiment. It was by far the most eco-friendly card we could have produced, it had loads of pictures, and I enjoyed the interactivity of it as friends commented back about the content. Little did we know at the time, that we would call down the wrath of the Christmas Card Gods.

We arrived home one evening to a huge stack of Christmas cards in our box. As John started to sort through, he told me we got a card from Elaine Bryant. Yea, Aunt Elaine.

Um, wait. Another card from Elaine Bryant. And another, and another. John delicately asked, "How old is Aunt Elaine?"

Aunt Elaine is not old, so what the heck is going on? I begin opening cards. Here's an exact transcript of what we found. (messages placed in proper order for clarity. We did not open them in order which added to the confusion/hilarity)

Card #2 2009
Dear Bonnie and John,
You don't get away with the e-card! I'm sending you all my extra cards to keep your Aunt Anna employed and my mother's pensions intact. MWAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

Card 3-2009
Matt shares his mother's madness but won't commit in writing! MWAHAHA!

Card 4-2009
Elaine & Mike

Card 5-2009
Suitable for framing!
And More Christmas Cards for the mantle. That's why I save mine to make sure I cards to display!

Card 6-2009
Just saw the 1991 Keeping Up Appearances Christmas show. Hyacinth was up to 112 cards (most sent by Hyacinth to herself).
Cards Rule!
E & M

Card 7-2009
Elaine & Mike

Card 8-2009
E, M & M & M

Card 9-2009
Your card has been printed and hung from the mantle! Loved the Ireland pics.
E, M, M & M

Card 10-2009
Buy stamps & Burn them in the fireplace.
E, M, M & M

Card 11-2009
Megan's a smart woman - I know she will support me - she's the third M.
E & M
M & M

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

APR Flash Card: "Mutual Understanding" Era

Our industry trends began with the "Public Be Damned" era and the "Public Be Informed" era. As we enter the "Mutual Understanding" era, we start to see a shift to a two-way communication model.

Category: Trends
Front: "Mutual Understanding" Era

Back: post-WWI
  • WWI period, 1917-19: focused on promoting patriotism
  • Booming 20s, 1919-29: shift to promoting products, change, politics and charities
  • Roosevelt and WWII, 1930-45: dominated by Roosevelt and his counselor Louis McHenry House
Bonus: Louis McHenry Howe is an important figure in the history of PR. He was Roosevelt's adviser until 1936. He realized that mutually beneficial public relationships could be built only by coupling responsible performance with persuasive publicity.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

APR Flash Card: "Public Be Informed" Era

The APR Flash Cards continue with more history of the industry. I don't have a lot of explanation or commentary on this one. It was a relatively brief time frame in the history of PR, but the industry turned a corner here and began morphing into the more information-based industry we have today.

Category: Trends
Front: "Public Be Informed" Era

Back: a.k.a. "Seedbed Era"

This era is characterized by muckraking journalism countered by defensive publicity.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You Can Be a Microlender, Who Knew?

This week, John and I joined and made our first "microloan." I learned about Kiva from Stuff You Should Know.

Kiva is an online community that connects individuals willing to back small loans with entrepreneurs around the world (mostly in third-world countries). A Kiva Field Partner (the financial institution administering the loan) pre-distributes the money, then Kiva members backfill the loan. The entrepreneur pays back the loan, and the Field Partner pays back the Kiva members.

If that's not cool enough for you, you get to pick your businessperson. You can search by gender, industry and region of the world. You can see a short bio and description of the loan need. You can also see the other Kiva members financing the loan.

Loans start at $25. It doesn't seem like much, but a dozen or more members come together on each loan. John and I contributed $25 toward a $1200 loan to tailor in Lebanon who needs to buy a new sewing machine to meet the growing demand of her business. Her repayment starts in February, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Here, Josh and Chuck (my favorite Stuff podcasters) taunt the Cobert Report. Whose Kiva will make it to $100,000 in loans first?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

APR Flash Card: "Public Be Damned" Era

Part of understanding where PR is today requires understanding where we came from. Some of the industry's historic roots are the source of its not-so shiny reputation today.

Category: Trends
Front: "Public Be Damned" Era

Back: Post Civil War to 1900

This era is characterized by early attempts to manipulate public opinion.

Examples: Samuel Adams, the Federalist Papers, B.T. Barnum "There is a sucker born every minute."

Bonus: Samuel Adams is an excellent example of early American PR. In the late-1700s, he used variety of tools to manipulate public opinion. His organizations included Sons of Liberty and the Committees of Correspondence. He excelled at employing symbols, slogans and staged events.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pros & Cons of Being a Lifer

At the Library, I'm considered a "lifer." It's not that I plan to work here the rest of my, it just seems (to me and to everyone else) that I've already been here a lifetime.

I've been at the Library for more than 14 years. Most of my friends have worked several places by now, so it's a little strange to have such a track record at my age. Sticking with the same organization for this long has its benefits and its drawbacks.

3 Benefits of Being a Long Term Employee
  1. People Trust You.
    It can be difficult to earn widespread trust in an organization. If you stick it out, you'll find often your internal years of service count for more than the same amount of experience somewhere else.

  2. You Can Work the System.
    It can take years to figure out the corporate culture at a new place. Once you have it down, you can really get things done. You know exactly who to talk to, when to ask for things, and who you need on board to push through new ideas.

  3. You're More Insightful.
    When you really know a place, it gives so much context to the way you think about your job. Intimate knowledge of the organizational history means your ideas are developed within the landscape they will be executed.
3 Drawbacks of Being a Long Term Employee
  1. You Get Comfortable in the Box.
    When you are new, it's easy to "think outside the box" because you don't know where that box is yet. After a decade of nos, it's easy to start pitching yes ideas instead of the best ideas.

  2. You Become One of Them.
    How quickly you go from one of us to one of them. If you stay long enough, eventually you will realize you've become "the man" whatever that means for your organization. It's kind of creepy at first. You get over it, or you leave.

  3. One Word: Burnout.
    I've suffered more than one bout of burnout in my 14-year career. The outcome is not always a bad thing (burnout has pushed me to earn my APR, be involved in my professional organization, give presentations and ask for a promotion), but it makes for a sucky couple months while you work through it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

One Christmas Down Four to Go

Today was our first official Christmas dinner of the year. I'm blogging this from a very foggy Turnpike in southern Oklahoma.

This year, John and I have four family Christmas dinners to attend. Some folks might think this sounds horrible, but I love it. Of all the stressors the holidays bring, I don't count the actual family gatherings among them.

Family dinner is the best part, and this year, I get four times the fun.

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Friday, December 11, 2009

Planning, Planning, Planning, Regional Conference Planning, Rawhide!

In the midst of my Christmas prep day off I swung by OKC for the 2010 PRSA-SW Conference planning committee. I have to admit, I'm getting a bit excited about this conference. Too bad I'll be missing half of it for a Library fundraiser, but you should mark your calendar for April 15-17.

The conference is going to be jam-packed with content. We had so many speaker proposals that we added another time slot for break out sessions, and we still won't be able to fit in all the great speakers. It'll be fun, too. We're kicking off with a dine around town, and there are some pretty great sounding receptions in the works.

I can't wait to see the website (thanks Sam) and the blog (ala Valerie) launch in January.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This Week I Heart: Mittens

If you are living in Oklahoma then you too have been subjected to some ridiculously cold weather lately. That is why, this week, I heart Mittens!

I am probably the only person over the age of 7 who regularly wears mittens, but I assure you they are far superior to gloves. I'm sure someone has scientifically proven this; I pretty sure I read that somewhere.

I'm cold on a regular day. What most people consider room temperature, I consider chilly. If I had my way, no office building, restaurant or movie theater would be set below 78'. So you can imagine how I have suffered this week when every morning tops out around 9'. I mean, seriously! The wind chill yesterday was zero! It just isn't right.

While, my tushy may have froze on the 5 minute walk from the car, my fingers were snug as bug, encapsulated in their thinsulate mittens. In fact, my hands were actually sweaty by the time I got into the office. At least one little part of me was warm.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

From the APR Flash Cards: 8 Types of Crisis

While I was studying for the Accreditation in Public Relations exam, I made extensive and detailed flash cards for key concepts, definitions, theories, trends etc. Here's your APR study tip of the day.

Category: Crisis
Front: 8 Types of Crisis

  1. Natural-Acts of god, fire, flood, earthquake, etc.

  2. Technological-Can range from breakdowns to technological attacks

  3. Confrontational-Based in discontent, examples include picketing, boycotts, sit-ins

  4. Malevolence-Criminal or extreme methods are used to express anger, such as product tampering, kidnapping, or terrorism

  5. Skewed Management Values-Most often, this means management get greedy and stakeholders suffer

  6. Deception-Information is concealed or misrepresented

  7. Management Misconduct-The illegal or unethical behavior of management impacts the organization, examples are sexual harassment or embezzlement.

  8. Business and Economic-Financial or business factors damage the organization's reputation, such as bankruptcy, layoffs, product shortages, etc.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby Elephant Recipe: One Trip to T-Town, Bake for 22 Months

Holy cow, how cute is that?!

Two of the lady-elephants from the OKC Zoo have been on an extended date in Tulsa, and it appears love is in the air because Asha is now pregnant.

The OKC Zoo is using the time Asha and her sister Chandra are spending up north to renovate their elephant digs for the new arrival. The girls will return to their new home in August 2010, and baby should be here the following spring.

Yes, that's right, spring 2011. Evidently, elephants need to bake for 22 months before they are ready to be born. Geeze. I suppose that gives the PR crew at the OKC Zoo plenty of time to plan a birthday bash. I'm looking forward to it already.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Go to Bed, Annual Report

Once again, the OSU Library's fiscal year 2009 annual report reared its head and ate a small portion of my day.

This report is a project that refuses to be put to bed. I've tucked it in, sung it a lullaby, brought it a cookie, and read it a story. The dern thing won't hush up and leave me alone.

Today, I prepped a report of all the ways we are telling people to go read our awesome annual report about how awesome we've been in the last year. You should go read, skim, at least click on the link too, because my team and I spent 100s of hours on it. When you see it, you'll know why it took so long.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas is in the Bag

In the shopping bag that is.

Today's mission: Christmas shopping. It was a complete success. Not that we have all our presents for everyone, but we took a serious chunk out of the shopping list. As a shopping team, John and I only have 4 more gifts to buy.

I'm feeling pretty good about it because typically I'm a last minute Christmas shopper. In fact, one year I did all my shopping on Christmas Eve. In my defense, I had all four impacted wisdom teeth removed on the first day of break. So, I spent most of the week and a half leading up to Christmas in a pain killer stupor.

Surprisingly, if you hit the mall first thing on Christmas Eve, it is dead. I guess if you wait that long to do your shopping, you're likely not a hop out bed and hit the ground running type.

But there will be none of that for me this year. Out of town gifts are shipped, online orders are placed, John's "big present" is tucked away. Preen.

Friday, December 4, 2009

APR Flash Card: Benefits of PR

It's been a while since I've posted an APR flash card. I decided it was time to bring them back.

Category: Trends
Front: Benefits of PR

To Management
  • develop and maintain relationships with audience
  • anticipate and respond to shifts in public perceptions and opinions

To Society
  • make information available
  • mediate conflict and build consensus
  • help complex society make decisions

I think often we focus too much on the value of PR to management. As I point out in some of my posts on ethics, PR at its root is a public service. The public is just as much a client as the organization paying us, and we have benefits to both parties.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ancient Pictures of Aliens Carved in Rocks

Last week I posted a pretty undescriptive post about how I was on my way to Petroglyth National Monument. John and I stopped on our way to AZ and spent an hour or so on one of the dog-friendly hiking trails through the monument. Here are the pics.

Rocks are everywhere, we're on the lookout for petroglyths. What will they look like?

Boogie loved hiking through the desert. She especially liked to smell the sage.

Some of the carvings were just geometric patterns. I wondered what they were meant to be.

But then there were faces too. You can totally tell what that is!

Um, yeah. And then there were the aliens. I mean seriously! That is totally an alien. Awesome.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

PRSA-OKC Looks to the Future

Today I joined 20 other local PR professionals as we gathered to plan for the future of PRSA-OKC.

It's an exciting time for our organization. Our chapter is growing. With just 10 more members, we'll receive another assembly delegate and OKC-area professionals will have a little more say in how our industry is run on the national level. We spent a lot of time discussing how we will recruit those 10 new members.

If you are a PR professional or in a related field, here are a few reasons you should consider being one of our new members in 2010.
  1. Professional Education. The foundation of every chapter meeting is professional development and your membership provides discounts on the great workshops and teleseminars offered by nationals.
  2. Commitment to Ethics. Each member commits to abide by the code of ethics, but it doesn't stop there. By regularly interacting with other professionals who work to embrace ethical practice, you learn to not only apply the code to your day to day work, but also how to discuss our code of ethics with others.
  3. Camaraderie. Many people will say "networking," but I find a lot of value in simply meeting people who have jobs like mine and understand the rewards and the challenges I'm faced with.