Newsroom 2.0 Makeover Tips

March 4, 2010 2 comments

Do you need an eXtreme MarCom 2.0 makeover for your online news page(s)?  Well, below are some tips for strategic consideration.

Public relations and marketing is all about the conversation and engagement, these days. Right?

And, depending on which camp you are in; communications, marketing or both, you can more effectively enable the “conversation” by shaping opinion, and opening the door towards selling the products, services and information you offer through MarCom 2.0.

MarCom 2.0 offers new ways to do business.  An evolved and matured communications model is continuous communications, strategically integrated across multiple channels. Consider, that if you are not part of where and how the new conversation is taking place then you could be missing huge opportunities with the advent of Now PR and the changing social media landscape.

In putting the cards on the table, I preface this post with the following obvious statements. And, I will never discount or dismiss that:

  1. Face-to face communication and personal relationship building is still very important and relevant.
  2. Research is key to excellent communication, marketing and business success.
  3. Traditional PR ethics, and methods still have significant value.

But, the times and new technologies are forcing us to change how we converse. And, it is time to consider restrategizing how to make use of MarCom 2.0 tools, and Internet enabled audiences by going where the people are located.

Key to your strategic planning questions, “Who are Your 2.0 Influencers?”  (Here is a  semi-relevant article, GovTech’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of 2010).

I assume,  if you are a PR, MarCom, marketing or communication professional, that your goal is to help the media, your constituents and your key influencers to do their job more efficiently to achieve your overall communication and business goals.  More, to the point, drive traffic, shape opinion, create change, win more business and win more clients with consistent continuous integrated communications.

The Internet never sleeps and it transcends all business time zones and media deadlines, 24/7/365, no matter where you are.

Hence, the term Now PR.

An online corporate newsroom with stagnant content and a lack of adequate media “engagement” could be minimizing your ability to sway public opinion, increase awareness about your products and services or simply marginalizing your ability to win new business.

I provide the following analogies purely for contextual consideration (and for some fun):

  1.  Would you still use a scythe, hay rack, horse and a single fixed steel plow blade, harrowing disks to “cultivate and harvest” or would you use a modern combines and ???  Wait, let me make the analogy more relevant to communications.
  2. Would you use a Gutenberg press, telegraph/tele-type, the linotype machine, or the typewriter  to issue your Brand, messaging  or news to those “harvesting” information about your company these days?  My, my, my we sure have come a long way.  We have so many more channels to chose from.  Bull horns are still optional, as well.

If you use one antiquated method, tactic, tool or channel you could be missing the boat. You do not have to swallow the entire elephant at one time. But, I preface, if you are not strategically  instituting incremental changes in moving towards communication 2.0, then you could be presenting your brand, your corporation or your agency as an out dated Linotype machine that it operates at a slow technological pace versus current day new media and other MarCom professionals who require new media formats and newer interactive elements. And, if well planned your Internet newsrooms can serve to meet many MarCom needs.

If you’ve built your online newsroom, and realize that your corporation, small business, organization, agency and/or Brand needs a makeover then the following tips can help in moving you towards making use of some new tools, new standards and evolving new interactive communication best practices to attract media,

Journalists, editors, and new business prospects require the basic nuts and bolts about who you are, what you do and how you do it. Before beginning your strategic communication 2.0 makeover, please make sure that you have the core communication basics covered by incorporating:

  1.  Your public relations/media contacts (who is your key editorial/media voice for your CEO & Company?
  2. Company basic facts
  3. Perspective on the industry/Your target business sectors/events/issues
  4. High resolution images for downloading/use by media (executive images, salient other images)
  5. Updated financial information ( private companies would not do so, but may provide a one pager on percent of growth, general sales/revenues and growth goals and growth direction
  6. Archived news releases by date ( possibly by key words as well)

Here are a some next steps for strategic communication 2.0 planning consideration:

  1.  If you are operating on limited funds, you might consider using some free resources already widely in practice on the Internet and even free open source and multi-platform distribution tools to save money and time (YouTube, Yahoo! News, Google News, Topix.com, bit.ly, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Ping.fim, SlideShare, IM Tools, Tubemogul and many others).
  2. Give your news room “legs” by enabling it to be more virtual, more viral and more mobile.
  3. Plan to incorporate Really Simple Syndication (RSS), Multi-media Syndication (MMS), and ShareThis.
  4. Incorporate an advanced search tool for news release archive, executive bios, E-press kits, key words.
  5. Further consider arranging your contacts by your line of business verticals, capability, growth/industry sector. You may want to also provide executive social media bios, consider offering speeches, presentations, a relevant and timely short video snippet, quotes and sector remarks.
  6. Incorporate Technorati’s functionality, it searches, tracks and organizes top blogs by topic and records timely up-to-date links relative to your subject matter/sector (technorati.com/about)
  7. White papers and research findings, and real-time subject/industry buzz metric graphs.
  8. Product and Service information.
  9. Provide an e-2.0, email,  status update bar, media content update functionality or Twitter alert functionality for media, editors, constituents, and journalists.
  10. E-press kits ( for core lines of business, events, initiatives & issues).
  11. For enhanced SEO/SEM, VSEM/VSEO, strategically build, use and replicate key word meta tags/cloud tags, alt tags and meta descriptions across multiple channels, within your back-end newsroom source code, videos, E-press kits, graphics, speeches, events, blogs and pictures.
  12. Create a multimedia library (High resolution photo library, video library, B-roll library, MP3 files).
  13. Create external links/iconic image links to other key social networks where your business and executives maybe networking (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, LinkedIn).
  14. Seriously consider your Twitter strategy and it’s value to your business.
  15. Link or steam media past, current or related industry coverage by using Digg.com and del.icio.us.
  16. Implement a new press release template, a social media news release (Stay tuned for from my next blog post on this topic). This new press release format should enable your intended targets, constituents, and media garner the information, materials, and interactive media from within the news release itself to allow them to more easily create that earned media story more efficiently.

These are just a few thoughts for strategically planning a MarCom 2.0 makeover.

Let me know what you think?

Useful?

Relevant?

Video SEO Tips: Strategically Boost Your Search Engine Ranking

January 11, 2010 17 comments

Even with my recent posts on the social media landscape, said landscape continues to morph at warp speed, and we are seeing more and more videos everywhere; on business sites, corporate news pages, personal websites, video hosting sites, mobile devices, social networks, blogs, cell phones, email and postings to video portals, and posting for clients.  The Government even has its very own video channel on YouTube.   

I had to post a video very recently and immediately realized there needed to be a strategy for this MarCom element as well to maximize my external outreach efforts.  So, I went on a little “virtual research trip.” 

According to eMarketer, 63% of Americans currently watch online video, up from 32% in 2007. I am sure this number is much is higher now.  Three years hence, is a life time in the social media world.

My focus is always to look at how the changing landscape can benefit communication and marketing professionals with new media strategies and tools.  To do more with less and to do it cost effectively. Therefore, I am constantly scanning the social media landscape. 

Because many users do not have unlimited web space, either as a paid service, or through an ISP offering, video hosting services are becoming increasingly popular, especially with the explosion in popularity of blogs, forums, and other social media interactive pages.

When posting a video from a business,  public relations, marketing and communication perspective it is imperative to understand how to leverage your social presence through online videos by applying Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO) strategies. 

 You do not want to be the needle in the hay stack that nobody ever finds. You want your target audiences to find you!  With the rise of  our current “Moblution” and Internet hosted Video services, your goal is to ultimately rise to the very top in the top search engines and their respective ranking results.  Clearly, Google is giving preferential treatment to multimedia content in search results, and this is an important factor to know!  I can’t quantify this just yet, but it’s a personal haunch, which I will try to validate with a little more research (so stay tuned & I will update this blog).  But it is my personal opinion that online video is the fastest way to achieve top organic search listings.

Secondly, YouTube alone has more than 52,436,820 unique visitors a day and ranked as the third top Internet site in the US.          But it is also important to know that there are more than 30 other video notable video hosting sites.  And there are indeed many more!

I guestimate that what you/we/I want to accomplish is channel saturation and depth of penetration through syndication across as many video hosting sites as possible.  So, the question begs, how does one syndicate their videos out across various video sharing websites? And, how does one carry out VSEO? 

The end goal is to have your video “optimized” to appear highly ranked in Google’s search results.  Video Syndication Brings Higher Rankings and More Targeted Traffic. Therefore, the idea is to syndicate your video by sending it out across multiple video sharing websites simultaneously to obtain maximum exposure  using specific strategic key words for search term results.   Below are a few useful tips. There may be more, but this will get you started an out of the hay stack, so to speak.

Strategic VSEO Tips:     

  • Place online video presentations on public sites and intranet portals
  • Remotely update videos on video portal websites
  • Enable viral video sharing
  • Integrate comment & rating capabilities
  • Allow for approval-based or automatic requests for video distribution
  • Capture statistics on syndication, viewership, Search Engine Ranking, redistribution performance

 VSEO TIPS:  

  1. Create Relevant, Unique, Informative Videos that speak to your target audiences 
  2. Consider Your Video thumbnails – A video thumbnail is what users see first when they make their decision as to whether or not to view your video or another. Video search engines and video sharing websites use different methods to grab and show the thumbnail for your video. Some engines use the first frame of the video while others, like YouTube, will often take the thumbnail from the exact middle of your video.
  3. Make Your Videos Less Than 5 min. Long – One of the worst things that you can do is to create a long-form video as most users watch videos 3 minutes or less. If you do have a video that is longer than 5 minutes in length, try to break it up into smaller videos and make sure to tag those accordingly.
  4. Sitemaps – For video that is hosted on your own website use of a video site map on your site will help to filter page rank as well as direct search engines where to index your content. Use relevant keywords within the anchor text of all links to the videos that are featured in your video sitemap.
  5. Surrounding HTML -In order to get your video to rank well, you clearly will need to provide the search engines with text based content that is relevant for them to index and rank you for. Ssurround your video content with relevant content (on-page) as well as related links.  Add a text transcript or external captions as text that you publish on the page with the video.
  6. Descriptive Meta Data – Use relevant keywords in your meta data to optimize your video.   Include a keyword rich description of the video within the meta descriptions.
  7. Title - Make sure that you use the relevant keywords in your title as this is likely the first thing that the search engines will use to identify your video. Also try using a catchy or unique title that will not only give attention to your video but convey your theme, product, or brand.
  8. Tags – tag your videos with key phrases that are reflective of the content.
  9. Keyword “video” - Eric Papczun pointed out at the Search Engine Strategies conference in NY this past April, that a lot of people add the word “video” to their search query keyword phrase. As a result, make sure that you add the word “video” to your title, description, meta data, etc.
  10. Optimize your video for Important Key Phrases – You might want to optimize your video for terms users are likely to be searching for. Tag your video with these terms, consider naming the file name of the video with these terms in mind.
  11. Optimize URLs - In the same way that you do this for other web pages, you will want to optimize your URLs so that they to contain information about the video. Also, make sure you only have one video per URL.
  12. Branding – Many of us have found that video marketing is a great tool to help generate brand awareness with your potential customers. Use a watermark throughout your video to help incorporate your brand.  This will help to drive users back to your main site if the video is hosted elsewhere.
  13. Inbound Linking – Link to videos using important keywords in anchor text.
  14. Upload to Video Sharing. Simultaniously upload to video portals (tubemogul & here as a paid service called Hey!Spread) and provide links back to related content and other videos on your Internet site. Here is a list of ways to get your Videos On Video Search & Sharing Sites
  • Miro – Miro converts any media RSS feed into a channel.
  • Video Upload Pro – Software to submit your videos to multiple video sites including Atom Films, Blip.tv, BoFunk, Bolt, ClipShack, EvideoShare, Flurl, Google Video, Guba, Jumpcut, Live Video, Myspace Video, PutFile, Veoh, Vimeo, Yahoo Video, Youtube, and more.
  • HeySpread – Free online tool to send videos to multiple sites
  • TubeMogul  TubeMogul is the hands down the best free tool to submit videos to multiple video sharing sites in one go. Currently supporting Metacafe, MySpace, Yahoo, Revver, AOL Video, DailyMotion, Blip, and BrightCove, TubeMogul does a great job at syndicating your videos out to these video sharing sites with full support for Titles, Tags, and Descriptions and provides analytics for you to track your video views across all of these websites. I highly recommend this free tool.   More about TubeMogel: TubeMogul’s free beta service has been live since November of 2006, and in January 2008, TubeMogul announced the launch of its Premium Products, which include a host of new professional features.  Through its acquisition of Illumenix in October 2008, TubeMogul is also able to offer rich engagement and performance metrics to video sharing sites, content creators and advertisers.  Brett Wilson, Co-founder and CEO, Brett leads the strategic direction for TubeMogul. He spent the first three years of his career as a consultant for Accenture. Next, he founded and led YouCanSave.com, a profitable e-commerce company that obtained over $69 million in revenue and was successfully acquired.

16. Allow Embed Code – Definitely enable sharing and allow users to embed your video code into their own blogs and websites. This will help to create backlinks to your video which can help increase the video search optimization as well as make your video go viral.

17. Encourage Ratings and Reviews - When you encourage users to rate your video, search engines will pay attention to videos that have higher ratings. In addition, videos which get high ratings from users tend to be the same videos that users often mark as favorites and share with other users.

18.  Submit each video sharing site destination URL to Onlywire for social bookmarking

19. Check for your video across listings within specific video search engines and video search sites.

20. Syndicate – Submit your video RSS or MRSS.  Here is a list of where to submit to Video RSS and MRSS Feeds

OTHER NOTES:

The Future: Mobile Video Hosting

A more recent application of the video hosting services is in the mobile web 2.0 arena, where video and other mobile content can be delivered to, and easily accessed by mobile devices. While Internet based video-hosting services such as YouTube ( and many others) have developed means by which video can be watched on mobile devices, mobile-oriented video hosting services is an evolving component of the new Mobilution to come, in rapid succession. So, if I had a crystal ball, I would suggest learning all I could about VSEO strategies inside and out, and then strategize how your futre video productions/hosting and distribution will fit into Mobile Video for Mobile Devices (MVMD) will be developed, deployed and optimized for VSEO…because…..

the future is not for the Internet viewership but with Mobile Devices, where we will be decoupled from the desktop.  A mobile live streaming software called Qik allows the users to upload videos from their cell phones to the internet. Currently videos are stored online and can be shared to various social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and others.  Videos will be stored on the servers and can be watched from both the mobile devices and the website.

I suggest that the future is in the mobile device.  Start strategizing now and begin formating your videos to meet those screen/size/distribution requirements. 

Also, a final note, please dont forget to continuoulsy build upon some of what I have previously posted in my other blog topics. For example, create a Bit.ly link of your video and submit it through Ping.fm and track it through both Bit.ly and strategically distribute through the Twitter Universe as well. Then send your bit.ly linked video through Mobile Marketing Services for distribution via cell phones.

Stay Tuned, as I will next talk about strategically Revamping Your Business Internet Press Rooms and Press Releases!  All the previous posts build upon the Changing Media Landscape, Social Media Landscape and Ultimately Web 2.0 enabling and maximizing your communication and marketing efforts into a creshendo of internal and external reciprocity with continuous communcations, or Now PR.

My Popularity (by popuri.us)

Now PR & Social Commerce

December 1, 2009 1 comment

What insights can we possibly draw from with the deluge of communication intelligence available with respect to the use of social media and social commerce?  We are seeing a new stage, yet again, in the evolution of communication, wherein social media is intersecting with the advent of the new social paradigm.  Determining how to aggregate and make the most of the social context from personal profiles, social media sites is worthy of discussion.

I propose to fellow PR professionals and academia that there is a need to fill the gap between our traditional media, journalism and public communication training and practices with an opportunity to strategically plan for the concept of Nowism or NOW PR.  The real key here is the sustainability of the strategic integrated communications across multiple mediums.

But, how will PR professionals strategically move PR forward in this new era of Now Communications?

What is the real value of real-time communications?

If you are still putting out a single print press release in newspapers, doing little to no content updates on your Website, placing a single print advertisement in a local real estate booklet targeting potential home owners or in a poultry magazine for local chicken farmers, then ask yourself if is this still your best most effective strategic communication medium for results?

Recently, Forrester published a report, “The Future of the Social Web” where they sketched a timeline of the development of the Social Web, dividing its evolution into five eras. And, according to that report, the first era of the development of the Social Web started to explode the social relationships among users. 

In the social functionality phase, social relationships resulted in a greater social functionality where several websites started to add social functionalities to help users interact with their peers and to make use of new applications and tools within the context of their own personal social networks.

We are now in the next era/phase, that of Social Colonization, whereby technology platforms like Facebook Connect or Google Friend Connect have standardized social functionalities among websites and a majority of websites now include many social functionalities.   More specifically, in  January 2009, Compete.com study ranked Facebook as the most used social network by global monthly active users, followed by MySpace (see more on Facebook statistics).

If not right now, then very soon these  globally grouped identities, profiles and networks will allow PR professionals, organizations, agencies, businesses and people  to usher in the next era as a result of the interplay between Social Media, Data Mining and Electronic Commerce.

The challenge will be…is… to figure out how to theoretically adjust to these near real-time communication developments as it pertains to PR and public affairs professionals, social commerce and social technologists.  How will communication planning fit within the changing dynamic of our Social Context at any given minute and right NOW.  

Hence, there is a need for beginning a dialog on the future of strategic communication planning, now. What is the value of communication relative to the time between publication, consumption and influence? Just having a blog, a Facebook account, or Twitter profile does not make a social media strategy.  I see blogs and tweets, but no comments, no real engagement.  And, understanding the value of  continuous content doesn’t stop there. There are two other factors:

  • Relevance to the target audience/consumer
  • Ability to take action/engage (therefore possibly adopting new behaviors)

The Internet provides users the opportunity to merge information as a result of social communications, social networks, financial data, healthcare information, insurance data, usernames and passwords, PINs, accounts, networks, emails and more.  Linear measurement is dead. 

As we look towards the future, the PR profession will undoubtedly change as we have known it and now know it.  Our collective thoughts on where and how to strategically plan for near continuous communications is multi dimensional and will largely depend on how well PR firms/media, MarCom and public affairs professionals will be able to successfully adapt and plan for and apply new information management and communication models which will be derived from near continuous aggregated Data Mining tools as a result of the many Social Networks.

The potential of the Internet, social media and social commerce is the ability to consolidate and manipulate information with new applications of real-time data aggregation with the ability to ultimately take or enact more  immediate action. But, you have to stand above the ground swell and take a look at all the chatter.

The reason being that a person or target audience’s ability to take any action used to take years, months, weeks, then it was moderated with at least a 24 hour lag time…  now there is nearly no lag time.  New communication models will require immediate analysis and immediate communication. The new models of analysis will be a result of some of the following concepts:

Novel aggregate media, social communication, social commerce algorithms
• Mining semi-structured disparate, fragmented communication mediums and data
• Classification and ranking of disparate, fragmented communication mediums and data
• Social clustering and analysis
• Aggregated media clustering and media analysis
• Aggregated SMS text Mining and analysis

• Privacy preserved data modeling
• Statistical methods of social media context
• Aggregated internal, parallel and external distributed data mining
• Interactive online media mining
• Contextual multimedia mining (audio/video)
• Aggregated Website, link mining
• Aggregated Real-time Graphical Mining

PR professionals will be required to formulate how to make use of new information management for advanced strategic communication planning and tactical approaches as a result of the evolving Nowism of communication from social networks and social commerce. Are you ready?

Are you considering tbe Nowism of communications and planning for it? “The boundaries” of what the web is  or has to offer has become much more blurred.  It is very deep. It does go beyond Google’s link popularity ranking.   Is Twitter part of the web or part of something else?   Now the web, in a sense, is just everything, all the time.

In 1998, the NEC laboratory at Princeton published a paper on the size of the internet. Who could get something like that published now? You can’t talk about how big the internet is.  What is the circulation of total readers? Or, AQH? Because what is the metric? Social commerce isn’t like traditional media or “Web 1.0”. You don’t pay for eyeballs, average quarter hour listeners or clicks.

Possible future PR, media and communication applications providing a sort of “Visual Digital Sky” of aggregated communications might include: 

Aggregated Real-time Social Commerce statistics
• Aggregated Social Media Context
• Aggregated Real-time Blog Communication Trends/ Context
• Aggregated Community Trends
• Aggregated User Content Recommenders
• Real-time Communication Trends Discovery
• Real-time Blogs/Social Networks Community Dynamics
• Aggregated Near Real-time User Reviews Ranking on Brands, Products & Services
• Blogs/Social Networks Summations
• Real-time Abuse/Fraud Detection
• Immediate or near real-time User Profile Modelling
• Near Real-time Event Detection & Tracking of Social Media communications (see Twittermap.tv or Twittermap.us & aggregate it)
• As a result, instantaneous Online communications/Advertising/News ( see Topix.com)
• Aggregated Information Retrieval
• Aggregated Sentiment Analysis
• Aggregated Language Processing of Global Communications
• Aggregated Semantic Tagging/Cloud SEO/SEM

  • Aggregated Social Networking Search (see 123people.com)
    • Aggregated social network analysis with near real-time graphical analysis of complex global communications

We are seeing some of the above mentioned already, for example:

1) Consider Omgili. Omgili is the best way to find out what people are saying about anything and everything. Omgili is a way to find “subjective information”. As opposed to traditional search engines, which search for sites and pages, Omgili finds consumer opinions, debates, discussions, personal experiences, answers and solutions. Let’s say you want to see the buzz now about healthcare now. Omgili also allows on to create chatter graphs such as the one I added to my website for demonstration purposes.

2) MicroBlogging Relevance and Influence aggregators like Twitalyzer to evaluate the activity of any Twitter user and report on dozens of useful measures of success in social media, and the top real-time influencers on Twitter.

2) Individual reverse social media tracking such as 123people.com

3) Reverse Image Mining like TinEye:  http://www.tineye.com/faq#what

4) Twittermap.us or Twittermap.tv allows you see the aggregated live buzz on the street anywhere in the US or World and all twitter accounts from in a zoomed in locality

Audiences demographics, social context for a social commerce is near real time.

Are you prepared for Now PR?

If you would like strategic advisement or help please contact me via email at alicemfisher58@yahoo.com

Pandemic Flu Communication Plan?

October 20, 2009 Comments off

Got an H1N1 Com Plan?

The current social dynamic is ripe for further discussion for small business owners regarding your internal  communications on this specific topic  about the H1N1 flu.  If you are a small business owner who is only relying on the CDC updates, other news media outlets, the television or the World Health Organization for your sole source of communications and information, then I encourage you to consider leading an internal pandemic communication planning session or two. 

Are you communicating regular useful information to your staff?   Small business owners need to be on notice: first, there are a few reasons why, the pandemic flu is unlike the regular seasonal flu, as the severity of the illness in the pandemic flu is higher, which increases the rate of fatality, and second, all age groups are at risk, including otherwise healthy adults under 40—in other words, the majority of your workforce may be significantly impacted.

Without an employee communication crisis plan or pandemic flu action plan in place your business operations could come to a literal halting stand still.   Whether the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A virus (Swine Flu) situation impacts larger numbers of the human population this fall and winter or not, your small business lessons learned today can help small business owners prepare for improved  internal and external communications tomorrow.

The entire U.S. public health “structure” has been in over drive this season with keeping government leaders, health professionals and the public informed in trying to mitigate the potential spread of the disease, as well as misinformation and panic. 

However, many have found that their agencies or organizations are not adequately prepared to communicate and regularly.  They are learning that their crisis plans need updating in light of evolving larger organization successes and failures to adequately meet public information demands. What is your small business doing? What do you have in place to communicate with your employees and the customers you come in contact with? What is your external message to the public at large?     

You may wish to consider holding a strategic communication planning meeting to discuss some of the following discussion topics and planning suggestions.

  • Examine what are other organizations are doing to keep the public informed about the current pandemic.
  • What are the challenges and strategies for addressing large scale, fast moving and ongoing situations?
  • How will you balance precautions while avoiding panic and over reaction?
  • How will communicate quickly and correctly in a world dominated by tweets, social media, and blogs?
  • Will you communicate across all channels or just email? How will you do it simultaniously?
  • How will you collaborate between different agencies & organizations critical to an effective response at your level?
  • How will you keep an information flow of updates if websites crash under the load & if IT restrictions slow your efforts?
  • How will you watch and plan for rumors, misinformation and what willl be your course of action/response?
  • How does this pandemic level 6 crisis differ from other types and what does it means for communication team as front line responders?
  • If required or ordered, how do you plan to continue to work while maintaining social distance and communications with your staff virtually to maintain business operations? Have you communicated this to your employees and regularly with updates?

I would be interested to hear more from others about what plans small business owners have created or are creating?  And, if you have not created any internal employee pandemic communication plans, then will you be doing so and then move directly from planning to an implementation phase in the next 30 days? And, why or why not?

I am providing a basic overview from an article I read that is a tad dated, but it offers some additional reading on Pandemic employee communication planning suggestions. For real time reporting, I am providing a map tracking the H1N1 Flue cases noted in the World.  You may zoom into your local geographic area and click on the red diamond for your state to obtain a visual of the  number of H1N1 cases.

Integration in a Fragmented Media World

October 12, 2009 3 comments

Like many, we all have our profiles set up in more than a few social networking sites. It could become a time consuming and complex task to keep up and in touch with all your friends and contacts from all these different networks. In my last post, I hinted at how fragmented communications has become. There are now tools that allow you to either post or connect across all the popular networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, GovLoop, Flickr, Friendster, Twitter, AIM, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger,  just to name a few.

Are you a media, marketing, social marketing, public affairs or communications strategist looking for ways to streamline your external communications outreach and increase the depth of your Internet penetration? You can accomplish a more mature communications model that mirrors near “continuous communications”  out to your target audiences.  And, you can do it across multiple online media channels. There are a few ways in which you can carry out this multi-tasking function.

You can either do it one by one with each individual channel with a single cut and peck-peck-peck method (no please don’t do that)  or you can do it simultaneously across all of your media channels posting from anywhere to everywhere.  

So, tonight, I want to mention a few tools which I personally like using, from an external communications perspective.   These do not require any IT investment except your time in learning how to use them. Really, it’s quiet simple.  They all are free.  Yep, no cost. Nada. I am sure there are similar tools out there and others are sprouting up through the Internet perma-frost even as I am typing this up (copycats, are a nice complement in adding to an already good thing).

I also personally believe these tools can help with more consistency in an organizations external messaging and driving increased awareness in a tough and highly competitive economy. 

The first tool I mention is for pushing/micro-blogging your messages out simultaneously. The second is for shortening your URL links (and making them trackable)  to save space  pointing people where you want to drive your target audience in a 140 character world. And, finally, the third  tool is for generally zooming down to a geographic area and “listening” to the buzz on the street, real-time. Remember, we have to listen to know what to say in order to resonate with our target audiences ( this is just one tool).

1) Ping.fm. Often it’s the (seemingly) simple applications that turn out to be the most powerful, and the most popular. Simplicity is beautiful.  Ping.fm is a service that allows you to easily update a host of social networking and social media profiles all at once, seeks to resolve the headache of needing to log into multiple accounts to send the same message to different groups of friends and contacts all over the Internet. Ping.fm also has a decent help Wiki for more information. 

Additionally, I like the fact that I can Ping right from my browser toolbar so simply that it makes my just giddy.  While for some, Ping.fm may just be a nice little time-saving utility, for social media and communication professionals, this service may well be THE killer app of our time.   Over the last few years communication patterns have shifted primarily from face-to-face communication to more online communication in email, IM, and other tools.    As more collaboration is being done remotely through technology, there are relatively fewer opportunities for face to face informal conversations. In addition to time constraints or human resource limitations at work due to employee downsizing, drilled down efficiencies can be useful.    To learn a bit more about Ping.fm read what’s on Wikipedia for some general information.

2) I am sure many of you have heard of or used Tinyurl.com. I believe it has the longest shelf life and was the first, dating back to about 2001/2002.  URL shortening is a technique where an individual can  make a web page available under a very short URL  in addition to the original address.   Since the launch of Tinyurl.com about 100 or similar sorts of URL shorteners have been born.  As of Spring 2009, Bit.ly over took Tinyurl’s usage on Twitter.   So I think it is safe to say, it has leading edge staying power.  I personally like Bit.ly because it also allows me to quasi track the results of  my link click through rates in real-time. It has some other good features as well. I came across an article that talks about some of the others, of course each one has its pros anc cons.  For example, tr.im is another one which uses your Twitter account as your login, making it a sure-fire hit if it keeps up the rest of its services as well.  A great one to try, it might surprise you.  And then you have U.nu which creates the smallest URLs of any shortener, with only about 8 characters for each new URL  created(not including the “http://”).  That’s mighty tiny.  The point is, that you have some choices with regards to shortening your long Webpage URLs for all your external communications so you can drive people exactly where you want them to go with a compelling message and then track that link’s click results.   Anyone still hand typing paper press releases anymore and faxing them?  Really, you can do it all with in the blink or wink of an eye, well almost. Now, that’s affordable and near continuous communications.

3)  Visual Trends Map on Twitter topics being discussed or micro-blogged about in real-time. You really can get a pulse of what’s hot and what’s being talked about in specific geographic areas. Just incredible. And, then you can formulate and message and respond using the tools mentioned.

If one thing communications has taught me is that it is a constantly evolving medium. Never static, either in the evolution of the language we use or the medium in which we communicate through.  We started with fire and smoke signals, sticks drawing in the dirt, painting on cave walls, pen and ink, the Gutenberg Press, newspapers,  the telegraph, the LinoType, telephone, Radio, TV, Internet, Cellphones and so on to name just a few media landmarks (not necessarily in exact chrono order). 

Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type in 1452, was deemed “the most influential man of the millennium.” The first book printed in the colonies was in 1640. The first publisher was Lipincott.   And, Thomas Jefferson was a radical for his defense of Free Speech.  That old press release written in AP style? And, Ivy Lee, a PR genius.  It was created to fit into the evolution of communication by using a new tool with the advent of electronic transmissions across telegraph wires, dating back to the early 1900′s.  And, YES indeedy here we are in 2009  and we are still formatting our press releases the very same way we did 103 years ago.  Why?  Much has changed. Some things have not.

Your organization’s lead news ‘graph of 21 words or less in a 350 word press release should be considered a historical dinosaur (forgive me, being a PR professional, I should know better than to even whisper such).   It begs a few content related communication and distribution upgrades.  No, an extreme makeover.

Is that press release formatted for continuous instant consumption to fit in a 140 character Tweet?  Is it formatted for today’s “telegraph wire” in 2009? And, is that press release just sitting on your Website with a hyperlink to it sitting there percolating on your server going no where, with scads and scads of other press releases from years and years and years  ago?

There are, of course, still some resonating repeating themes from the original press release objective.  And, I encourage you to read the article to see if you can pick out a few?  I will wait, go check that link right there just above this line.

Open, transparent communication?  Hmmmm.   As this post draws to a close highlighting three useful online tools,  it leads me to yet another area for exploration.  Web 2.o enabled social media press rooms and social media press releases, can they still accomplish the Who, What, When, Where and Why in an inverted pyramid format?    Should we?   We we are to achieve open and transparent communications, we may well need to recraft out media relations is formatted, tactically accomplished and transmitted.  

Stay tuned for more.  Are you ready? Are your Website media “rooms” Web 2.0 enabled? Are  your press releases Web 2.0 enabled?

Have we come full circle?  Are we not still saying and wanting the very same things today that were echoed in 1906?  

What is your idea of the best Social Media Press Release for a main stream best practice?  There are some samples out there already floating around and being test driven, talked about and even used.  What do you think? 

Well, until Web 2.0 enabled press releases become mainstream, I hope you will see the potential value at least in the three tools I mentioned tonight to help with some of your organization’s external communication efforts. We may not be able to physically integrate all the media channels, but we can closer to streamlining our external communication efforts using these tools.

Have a good day everyone!

Alice M. Fisher

If you would like strategic advisement or help please contact me via email at alicemfisher58@yahoo.com                       Follow @Unlimitedpr  Twitter                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Resume & Profile: http://bit.ly/3kuiuV

Media Landscape Part II

October 10, 2009 3 comments

Well, yesterday  I wrote about the fact that PEW’s 2009 State of the Media Report findings indicated that in the U.S. only about 34% of the population is reading newspapers (personally, I think that is a bit high) and of that number, the readership population is predominantly an older generation, with a few younger audiences  scattered throughout.  Newspaper ad revenues have fallen 23% in the last two years. Some papers are in bankruptcy, and others have lost three-quarters of their value.

By recent calculations, nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009? Well, that remains to be seen.

And, today, I read AP news and a few others want to charge money for online news content.  “AP, News Corp bosses tell search engines and bloggers that it is time to pay up” Would you pay for online news?  I am not as versed on the international media landscape, but I am sure changes are being felt or noticed overseas as well. I did find a traditional media landscape for Europe for anyone who wants to dig into that area a bit deeper.  But, I digress.

OK, so, does AP and the top News Corp bosses sound a bit panicked here? are they mad?  Is this an attempt to recover from their own dismal landslide in revenues, as previously noted in the Pew 2009 State of the Media Report? I welcome opinions.

Long story short, print media, i.e. newspapers are struggling.  And, if you are unaware of the social media landscape, then developing your strategic public affairs or media relations plan for your organization could render results less than spectacular- you could be in a print newspaper black hole and not even know it.  But, who is reading print these days anyway?  As I mentioned in my previous blog, only about 34% of the people are doing so. And, what predominant age group? 65+ years old. Is this the circle of influencers or your target audience that you want to reach?  I beg, please dig deeper.

When I stumble across companies jumping into the waters of social media unaware “because everyone is doing it or  because it’s the hottest thing out there”, or because public relations agencies are pushing social media practices as a “must have” for their clients as part of their new tool box of capabilities-I become just a little nervous.  But, contrary to what many may say, social media is not a silver bullet, nor is it ideal for every company. It’s a strategy that should be carefully and strategically researched and considered and its subsequent tools which are designed to take companies to where their target audiences are already conversing.

So, today I want to look at what that “new landscape” might look like with a bit more depth. Ultimately, our goal should be to prepare to advance from the basic direct one-way communication strategy, using those basic media tools of yesterday to a more aligned two-way continuous communications model/strategy where there is true engagement.  How, might you ask?

Before you start touting social media, please make sure your own site, your own news room, and press releases are Web 2.0 enabled. Are your own senior executives embracing and using the new media landscape?

Well, first off you need to know what the new media landscape looks like.  With a little research I came across a great little visual source which I just have to share which is a little farther below. After taking a look at it, I image you may be saying…”How can you achieve continuous communications across so many channels, simultaneously?  Believe me, there is a way to do this with a couple strategies. But, stay tuned, as I will get to that on my next blog post.  Now back to our landscape work.

Like I said, being aware of the media landscape is important.  The traditional media sources should not be completely ignored nor forgotten but part of your entire media mix.  Therefore, I am providing a couple of links to the top 100 US newspapers , the top 100 international newspapers, top radio stations by state and DMA as well as TV networks. We will now take into consideration the “other new” channels.

There is no question that social media is responsible for a dramatic shift in the relationship between those who produce news and those who consume it.  And, both traditional and new media are very fragmented.  But, consider it another step in the evolution of a more mature continuous communications model.  YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, to name just a few, are all incorporating innovative uses of the Internet.  Who are the top dogs (Websites) in the US?

News subscribers are no longer defined as simple recipients of news, getting information by only reading newspapers, watching television or listening to reports on the radio.  Today, consumers of news are also gatherers and distributors of news: they take part in creating it, capturing it, re shaping and disseminating it.

In fact, in a survey of 50 radio newsrooms in the top 50-markets, News Generation uncovered the impact that social media is having in the newsroom.  The survey found that nearly half of the newsrooms (45%) use Twitter and Facebook, to offer their technologically savvy audiences an extension to conventional radio to provide another broadcast platform.  But, there are so many other channels within the social media construct. Therefore, I would like to introduce the social media prism, a lense through which each petal represents a social media channel.

social_media_landscape

Source: Strategically, as a communications professional or agency professional, you should want to find yourself at the center of the prism – whether you’re observing, listening or participating. So, with this conversation landscape noted above, how does one manage all the channels?  How can you be “one with a channel” or even begin to strategize and garner results with this much fragmentation?  Does it make you dizzy just thinking about it?  But, to resonate, to be heard, to listen, to be in the mix, you do have to have some idea of what it all looks like and who is out there.

From my observations, there seems to be four main Web 2.o usages that have evolved.  And, the various topical usage tools and services displayed in this landscape are listed below.

1. Expressing tools allow users to express themselves, discuss and  their social life:

2. Sharing tools allow users to publish and share content:

3. Networking tools allow users to search, connect and interact with each other’s:

4. Playing services that now integrate strong social features:

But, for the communication professional, public affairs, media relations professional do you have to be on top and up to speed on all of them and have uptine # of channel masters working each one? I can hear someone saying in the background now, “I am going to have a media meltdown. How can I keep up?”

Is media still top down? Is it direct one-way communications any more?  Or, is it top down and bottom up simultaneously? Anyone have other thoughts on this evolving social media landscape?  Hurry, it will change yet again! :)

Next, we will look at how to distribute through and connect across multiple media channels after you have strategically performed your target audience research.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Sincerely, Alice M. Fisher


Tips For A Changing Media Landscape (Part I)

October 9, 2009 2 comments

The press and traditional media landscape has and is changing rapidly.

I read a nice blog titled 10 Tips to Go from Nobody to Front Page News.

It was a great little read and provided an overview or a review of the basics.  I question, are these the right tips for a changing media landscape?  What is your opinion?

The blog did not cover the realities of the changing news landscape, nor how we need to be aware of the lay of the land. We need to be very targeted in our outreach and know how to access a variety of media channels for greater Internet penetration and not just a single media placement in hardcopy newspapers.

1) Being aware of the annual Pew State of the Media Report from 2009. It is a valuable read for anyone planning or needing to plan for strategic media outreach.

The average age/readership of newspaper consumption is way down. (I quote in part below from PEW) see directly below.

“Among readers of all ages, readership declined between 2007 and 2008. Young people in the age groups of 18 to 24, and 25 to 34 continue to have the lowest readership levels of daily newspapers.”

“Among readers 18 to 24 years of age, 31% say they read a newspaper yesterday, according to data from Scarborough Research. This represents a drop of two percentage points from the prior year. Those in the 25-to-34 age group do not demonstrate much better numbers. Readership of daily newspapers was down to 32%, also down two percentage points from 2007.”

“Those aged 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 also showed declines in readership in 2008. Readership of daily newspapers was down to 41% and 51%, respectively, among the age groups.”

“And, even the most faithful readers of newspapers, older people, or those ages 55 – to 64 and 65 and above have shown sharp drops in readership since 2000. In 2008, readership was down to 57% among 55-to-64-year-olds, a drop of nine percentage points since 2000. Those 65 and older showed an even greater drop.”

“Although 64% say they picked up a newspaper yesterday, this number has declined from 72% in 2000, an eight percentage point difference.”

The study, released in August, found that those who said they had read a newspaper yesterday 34%, compared to 40% two years earlier. Wow. Are we not even reading print anymore?

At best, only 34% are reading a newspaper?! Really? That low? And, predominantly 50 and older?

So, that tells me you need to know where the people are, how and what they are reading/viewing and target to very specific niches by doing your research in advance to create your media strategy.

2) Knowing how and where to reach traditional journalists, J-bloggers, hard print news distribution sources, e-news and commenting on virtualized news aggregate sites are all important tactics to the whole strategic element of nurturing a communications strategy.

Over all, the total number of daily newspapers continued to significantly decline. In 2007, the most recent year for which data are available, daily newspapers were down to 1,422 in that year from 1,437 in 2006. Of the total number of daily newspapers, evening papers continued to decline, while those in the morning continued a trend of growth. In 2007, the number of evening papers declined by 49. This compares with a drop of 31 evening papers from 2005 to 2006.

Although those newspaper numbers are changing with declining there is still value in getting earned or paid “Ink.”

Some of the players of the paid media distribution arena are PRNewswire, Businesswire, Cision, AP News, UPI, XpressPress, Reuters, VocusPR and each has their strengths in the distribution arena. There are others. And, there are sources you can use that are free.

There is more to the press release and pitch today than meets the eye. There are public relations software tools and resources including media research, media lists, press clipping services, media monitoring services and evaluation of media coverage.

But, more importantly, most companies, organizations, agencies and people are not building evolved news pages, evolved press releases or evolved media sites to accomodate and integrate the new media landscape across multiple channels.

Ask yourself, are you still writing and posting press releases the way they were developed in the early 1900′s, which were originally formatted for the telegraph wire for transmission? And, if your answer is “because that’s the way it’s always been done?”  Then, I believe this single issue is ripe for greater discussion to evolve the press release format.

I suggest, learn how social media has challenged and changed traditional communication structures and prepare for that part of your entire integrated communication and news strategy.

Sound, informed media intelligence and media insight helps improve your communication performance, build your reputation and maximize the results of your integrated communication and marketing efforts.

I welcome questions and any additional comments.

When was the last time you read a newspaper cover to cover? Is it important to you? Why or Why not?

Please stay tuned, as my next blog on this topic will cover an overview of the communication landscape, according to the available channel choices, and how to link across multiple channels for continuous communications.

Most Sincerely,

Alice M. Fisher

Long Term Unemployment Ends!

December 31, 2013 Comments off

I’m a Veteran and  just got hired by the new CarMax that will be opening in Frederick, Maryland.

Maybe this post will help someone for a great 2014! CarMax is hiring sales staff and more!

CarMax Press Release: bit.ly/1ch3vdN

CarMax APPLICATION PAGE: bit.ly/1dr9pFw

Share this post with others looking for job opportunities. CarMax, a member of the FORTUNE 500 and the S&P 500, and one of the FORTUNE 2013 “100 Best Companies to Work For,” is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars.

To Write or Not too Right?

March 16, 2013 Comments off

imageI am afraid that the end of more than 300 years of Cursive writing is at an end in education, and that bothers me.

We are raising future generations who may not be able to write, period. I guess I would be considered a cursive loyalist.

Does it bother anyone else? Are you concerned that your kids or the very next generation of children won’t even know what it is? If I were choosing a school for my children, I would seek out the ones that still teach the basics. And, then add in technology. I love modern technology, but at the expense of it, we should not give up teaching written communication-more importantly, cursive writing.

Thoughts anyone?

Cursive handwriting has been taught for more than 300 years in U.S. schools and was once the principle way of communicating. It was used for all public documents, such as land deeds, legal paperwork, and business records, and for personal letters and even generals’ orders in battle. The quality of cursive writing was an indicator of social status and educational level (Mehegan, 2009; Supon, 2009; Wolfe, 2009; Wallace & Schomer, 1994).

For decades, American students spent 45 minutes every day learning and practicing cursive writing.

Until the 1970s, penmanship was a separate daily lesson from first through sixth grade and a separate grade on report cards. Since that time, however, its importance in the elementary school curriculum has declined steadily (New American Cursive Penmanship Program, 2009; Carpenter, 2007; Pressler, 2006; Francis, 2000).

Fro more reading, here is a very recent article on the cursive debate:

  • Common Core State Standards for what students are expected to learn have been picked up by most of the states in the union. Those standards don’t require cursive. Keyboarding skills, however, are featured in the writing standards. That means most states no longer have a mandate for teaching cursive.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, the Zaner-Bloser Company, which has been publishing a penmanship curriculum since 1904, recommended 40 minutes of handwriting instruction per day. By the 1980s, it suggested just 15 minutes. Zaner-Bloser offers course work through eighth grade but admits that schools rarely purchase materials beyond the third grade.
  • In Zaner-Bloser’s 2005 national survey, a majority of elementary school teachers reported spending one hour or less on handwriting per week(Suddath, 2009; Kelley, 2007).
  • According to a 2007 nationwide survey on handwriting instruction by researchers at Vanderbilt University (Graham et al., 2007), cursive handwriting is still widely taught in U.S. public and private schools. The researchers surveyed a random sample of approximately 200 teachers in grades 1-3 in all 50 states. Ninety percent of the responding teachers stated that their schools required instruction in handwriting. In schools that taught handwriting, 50 percent of second grade teachers and 90 percent of third grade teachers offered instruction in cursive handwriting.
  • Teachers reported that they spent about 60 minutes per week, or 12-15 minutes per day, teaching cursive. Graham and colleagues (2007) cautioned that survey results were based on self-reported numbers and that a separate study with direct observation of 22 teachers in one school district found that far less time was devoted to cursive handwriting.
  • Graham and colleagues (2007) also reported that school districts varied significantly in the amount of handwriting instruction they provided to students. For example, the researchers visited second and third grade classrooms that offered virtually no instruction in cursive handwriting.
  • In general, their observations of U.S. classrooms found that the emphasis in U.S. schools have shifted from the formation of letters to the ability to write legibly and efficiently. Other researchers have noted that cursive writing’s declining importance in the curriculum is reflected by a lessening of the standards used to evaluate it. Over the years, the goal of teaching penmanship has shifted from “high quality” to “legibility” (Pressler, 2006; Wallace & Schomer, 1994).

Share this post if you support cursive writing as core curriculum in schools and across education.

Holiday Shopping| E-tailers | FB Apps & More

December 2, 2012 3 comments

Save GreenThe initial purpose of this post is to help you save some “green”, be greener during the holidays, help save you some time, and save the environment by cutting down on your use of gasoline and emissions by driving all over the place for your holiday shopping. Consider making your own homemade holiday gifts as well.  I would love to hear from others who have made their own unique gifts.   I have sprinkled in some other social news  below for additional holiday cheer.

By far, my favorite shopping App is Redlaser!  It is a “Top 10 Must Have App for your IPhone” ―says  The New York Times ,  “If you only have one shopping app on your cell Phone, this is the one to have.”― Digital Trends.               I have used it for ALL of my holiday shopping both online and locally and have saved several hundred dollars already.

A Selection of Useful Holiday Shopping Tidbits:   

It’s Official: Facebook Apps Have a Share Button (AllFacebook). Users asked for it, and Facebook responded. The social network announced Thursday that its native applications for iOS and Android devices now include a share button. That means that folks using either app can now pass on their witty musings, puppy pictures or daddy daughter dance pictures to their online friends with a simple tap in their news feeds [Engadget]

There is now a BandPage Connect Plugs Bands Into Promoters, Fans, Facebook [AllFacebook}]

TechCrunch Facebook’s iOS users have long been able to tag friends in posts, but had to append them to the end of the update as “with [Drew Olanoff].” That made for some funky grammar, or redundancy if you needed to refer to a specific friend in the text of your update. Now you can tag friends in-line so your prose flows.

LA Times / Tech Now Additionally, Apple device users can now send each other Facebook messages with smileys and other icons from the emoji keyboard. The keyboard can be enabled in the iOS Settings app.

When Colleges Woo Students Through Social Media: Less Viewbooks, More Facebook (Time)
When Ashley Romero found out she had been accepted to the University of Georgia, it wasn’t through a letter in the mail. It wasn’t even by logging onto her computer and visiting Georgia’s admissions website. It was on her iPhone, as she and a friend were driving down the highway toward summer camp.

Who Mapped It Best During Election 2012? (CJR / Between the Spreadsheets).  As CJR‘s Meta Newsroom showed, a glut of media outlets incorporated digital innovation into their reporting during the recent election. One resurfaced over and again: the map. For the outlets just dipping their toes into the data journalism sea, maps presented a relatively easy opportunity to make interactive. For the heavyweights, it was a chance to wade in much deeper.

Upcoming Events: 

Inside Social Apps  - Developing & Monetizing on Social & Mobile Platforms, December 3 | New York City
Inside Social Apps brings together today’s leading developers of social and mobile apps and games for an intensive summit on the future of app and game growth and monetization on social and mobile platforms. Register now.

Online Production for Writers and Editors - starts November 20 | ONLINE
Create multi-dimensional content for digital mediums. Learn more.

My Sources Today Came From: Morning Media Newsfeed & Mashable

Morning Media Newsfeed Say they needs you! Send them your story tips, job changes, insider gossip, and all that other good stuff: tips@mediabistro.com. More than 160,000 people in the media business read this email every day. To learn about advertising or other creative partnerships, contact Dave Arganbright at   (212) 547-7931  or via email.

A Perspective on The Economy

November 3, 2012 Comments off

A PERSONAL COMMUNICATION and COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE:

We are an impatient people.  And, no matter who becomes the next president, one can not microwave (systemic) change.

It took a full ten+ years to pull us out of the great depression. We complain about our national debt but change begins at the individual level as well. Who of you in four years has paid down All of your OWN debt or have you just continued to go farther into debt (possibly some, but not All)                     How many of you have hired just one extra person for a job to keep a family from going under, (split a higher paying job budget between two workers)?

How many of you have fed or invited an unemployed family down the street from you in foreclosure for dinner?

It starts with us, from the bottom up and not from the top down in all our efforts.

What ever similarities are drawn from the Great Depression and what we see today. Can we really immediate change in under 4 years?

1) I believe that there are two major differences in the economic circumstances of 1933 and 2008 which transcend other issues and have literally save us in some respects comparatively speaking.  First, thousands of banks “failed” between 1929 and 1933, wiping out the savings of millions of “hard-working, playing by the rules” middle-class Americans. Since fall 2008, not a single depositor in a U.S. bank has lost a dime of savings due to FDR’s Banking Act of 1933, which created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

While the stock market and housing prices tanked, the fact that bank accounts were intact was of immense psychological value to savers at all income levels. Undoubtedly, this depositor sense of security had a positive effect on the stock market rebounding quickly so now it is more than double what it was in February 2009.

2) Secondly, and just as importantly, because of Social Security, started in 1935, the purchasing power of today’s seniors has been greatly, although not entirely, protected. Social Security payments, combined with the unemployment insurance benefits (also initiated in 1935) paid to the millions laid off due to the downturn, have kept consumer purchases much more stable than they otherwise would have been. This is in contrast to the complete removal by 1933 of the purchasing power of nearly 25 percent of the workforce that became suddenly unemployed. The economy just shriveled up.

1. Stock Market Crash of 1929

Many believe erroneously that the stock market crash that occurred on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 is one and the same with the Great Depression. In fact, it was one of the major causes that led to the Great Depression. Two months after the original crash in October, stockholders had lost more than $40 billion dollars. Even though the stock market began to regain some of its losses, by the end of 1930, it just was not enough and America truly entered what is called the Great Depression.

2. Bank Failures
Throughout the 1930s over 9,000 banks failed. Bank deposits were uninsured and thus as banks failed people simply lost their savings. Surviving banks, unsure of the economic situation and concerned for their own survival, stopped being as willing to create new loans. This exacerbated the situation leading to less and less expenditures.

3. Reduction in Purchasing Across the Board

With the stock market crash and the fears of further economic woes, individuals from all classes stopped purchasing items. This then led to a reduction in the number of items produced and thus a reduction in the workforce. As people lost their jobs, they were unable to keep up with paying for items they had bought through installment plans and their items were repossessed. More and more inventory began to accumulate. The unemployment rate rose above 25% which meant, of course, even less spending to help alleviate the economic situation.

4. American Economic Policy with Europe

As businesses began failing, the government created the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930 to help protect American companies. This charged a high tax for imports thereby leading to less trade between America and foreign countries along with some economic retaliation.

5. Drought Conditions

While not a direct cause of the Great Depression, the drought that occurred in the Mississippi Valley in 1930 was of such proportions that many could not even pay their taxes or other debts and had to sell their farms for no profit to themselves. The area was nicknamed “The Dust Bowl.” This was the topic of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

6. Unemployment to continue to purchase good and services within the economy

Throughout the Great Depression, there was little information on the extent of unemployment in the country. More important, there was no good way to assess whether the situation was getting better or worse. The wealth of timely statistical information on the labor market that we now take for granted simply didn’t exist. Throughout the 1930s, researchers grappled with the issue of how to measure unemployment. To begin with, there wasn’t agreement on how to conceptualize or define the condition. Simply asking those out of work if they “wanted” work or if they were “able” or “willing” to work proved to be too subjective to serve as unemployment criteria. At the same time, attempts to gauge the number of jobless by looking at declines in employment or counting the registrations at public employment offices were found to be incomplete. By the way, the second dip during the Depression was in 1937 and came as a result of austerity measures.

The whole unemployment schema today is a numbers game and  it all depends on which lens one is looking through to sell those numbers. Systemically, we have more people, more kids, more families to feed no ifs and or butts about it today than in 1930.

One unemployment perspective today is about the actual current civilian workforce vs 208 against the total US population. Another is all of those not being counted who have dropped off the employment labor roster and workforce grid all together, and another is DOL’s BLS  reporting which has significantly changed on how we look at number vs. how we looked at unemployment in the 1930′s.

Newsweek Magazine to End an Era of Print

October 19, 2012 3 comments

Newsweek CoverNewsweek is closing down it’s print edition at the end of 2012.  As a result of this news, I bought a copy of Newsweek for my archives last night.   In 2003, Newsweek’s worldwide circulation was more than 4 million, including 2.7 million in the U.S; by 2010 it was down to 1.5 million (with newsstand sales declining to just over 40 thousand copies per week). Newsweek publishes editions in Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Rioplatense SpanishArabic, and Turkish, as well as an English language Newsweek InternationalRussian Newsweek, published since 2004, was shut in October 2010.  The Bulletin (an Australian weekly until 2008) incorporated an international news section from Newsweek.  Based in New York City, the magazine has 22 bureaus: nine in the U.S.: New York City, Los Angeles,  Chicago/Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Washington, D.C., Boston and San Francisco, as well as overseas in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, JerusalemBaghdad, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, South AsiaCape Town, Mexico City and Buenos Aires.

 

I come from an era where reading a real newspaper or weekly news magazine ( see top US magazines by circulation) was a regular event for me.  Sadly, it’s been probably about a year or more since I’ve read a full newspaper from front page to the back.  And now, it may actually become a lost “art” of sorts, sooner than one might think.  I believe our newspaper journalists are an endangered species.

In fact, I am starting to collect a few newspapers. Just a few here and there that are news worthy or interesting to me, like my earlier post about my late 1800 Penny Press Newspaper from France, Newsweek, Time, the election of President Obama, and the death’s of Princess Diana and Micheal Jackson.

Here are some examples of newspapers that closed during 2012: 

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, a fixture in the Big Easy since 1837, will slash its staff and production schedule, going from 7 to 3 days a week beginning this fall. The body count isn’t known yet, but estimates are that at least a third of the staff will be fired. Those who stay are expected to take pay cuts.

The Times-Picayune, which is owned by Newhouse Newspapers, is apparently taking a page from the Ann Arbor News, another Newhouse paper that cut its frequency to twice-weekly more than three years ago.

The Detroit Media Partnership was the first to eliminate daily frequency in late 2008. Many smaller papers have since quietly cu

Newspaper dispenser, Newspaperst money-losing Monday, Tuesday and Saturday editions.

Additionally, The Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and Huntsville Times will also reduce frequency to three days a week. They’ll become part of a “new digitally focused media company” called the Alabama Media Group.  Read more on Al.com.

According to Newspaper Layoffs  for 2012, there have been more than 1850 layoffs and buyouts have occurred thus far at U.S. newspapers.  Here is a list by the same source of closed print newspapers.

Tracing the decline and death of each newspapers is tough.  But, a report from the FCC.gov in 2010 on page 41 shows a list of about 212 closed newspapers from 2007-2010 [ it also offers some excellent historical insights as well].

Newspapers across the country have experienced severe cutbacks during the past decade, which has undermined their ability to perform their role as the nation’s watchdog.

Ad revenue dropped nearly 48 percent between 2005 and 2010, and with it the industry’s annual spending on reporting and editing capacity dropped by $1.6 billion, from 2006 to 2009, a reduction of more than 25 percent, according to the Pew Research Center’s

Project for Excellence in Journalism and Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute. The number of full-time journalists at daily newspapers fell from a peak of about 56,900 in 1989 to 41,600 in 2010, a level not seen since before the Watergate era.

Below is more information about are some of those newspapers which died in 2009.   As you may have noticed, newspapers had a very rough year.  But you may not quite appreciate the magnitude of the collapse, just from 2009 alone. “Today is the end of an era,” said Cynthia Cather Burton, editor of the 104-year-old Clarke Courier.

Just in 2009:

  • 105 newspapers have been shuttered.
  • more than 10,000 newspaper jobs were lost.
  • Print ad sales fell 30% in Q1 ’09.
  • 23 of the top 25 newspapers reported circulation declines between 7% and 20%

Here is a list of the dead Newspapers from 2009:

West Bloomfield Eccentric
Troy Eccentric
Rochester Eccentric
Southfield Eccentric
The Carson Times
Douglas Times
Fallon Star Presss
The Daily Reporter
Dennis Pennysaver
Yarmouth Pennysaver
East Bridgewater Star
West Bridgewater Times
Whitman Times
Hanson Town Crier
Plymouth Bulletin
Algonquin Countryside
Cary-Grove Countryside
Wauconda Courier
Arlington Heights Post
Elk Grove Times
Hoffman Estates Review
Palatine Countryside
Rolling Meadows Review
Schaumburg Review Bloomfield Journal
Windsor Journal
Windsor Locks Journal
Coatesville Ledger
Donegal Ledger
Downingtown Ledger
Doylestown Patriot 
East Hartford Gazette
Elizabethtown Chronicle 
Gazette Advertiser
Germantown Courier
Mount Airy Times Express
Harlem Valley Times
Millbrook Round Table
Voice Ledger
Hyde Park Townsman
The Independent
New Hope Gazette
Northern Star
Oxford Tribune
Parkesburg Post Ledger
Solanco Sun Ledger 
Pawling News Chronicle
Petoskey Citizen-Journal
Putnam County Courier 
Quakertown Free Press
Register Herald
The Town Meeting
American Fork Citizen
Lehi Free Press
Lone Peak Press
Orem Times
Pleasant Grove Review
Baltimore Examiner
The Bethel Beacon
The Brookfield Journal
The Kent Good Times Dispatch
The Litchfield Enquirer
Big Sky Sun
The Bulletin
The City Star
Dakota Journal
The Democrat
East Iowa Herald
Fort Collins Now
Grapevine Sun
Hardee Sun
The Hershey Chronicle
Hill Country View
Iraan News
Jeanerette Enterprise
The Journal-Messenger
LA City Beat
Lake Elmo Leader
Lake Norman Times
Lakota Journal
Los Gatos Weekender
West San Jose Resident
Maricopa Tribune
McCamey News
The Milford Observer
Ming Pao New York
Ming Pao San Francisco
The Newton Record
Oak Cliff Tribune
The Rockingham News
Rocky Mountain News
Stillwater Courier
Vail Sun
Valley Journal
The Weekly Almanac
Wheeling Countryside
Des Plaines Times
Mount Prospect Times

So what are we to do? Where will the local obituary postings go? Newspapers also supplied huge amounts of revenue to the postal system for shipping. Is it also somewhat linked to the decline of the US Post Office as well? It is indeed having a ripple effect, I am sure. But, I digress.

Is you newspaper dead?  What do you do for your news now?  I am particularly interested in the older age groups who may not use social media and the Internet so profusely.

Feel free to tell me about your dead newspaper, provide it’s  name in the comments section, and what you miss most about print news.

The following state of our media, trends and information comes directly from PEW’s  recent 2012 State of the Media Report which also show significant changes in how people get their news.

PEW indicates that 70% of Facebook news consumers get most of their story links from friends and family.

And, only 13% say most links that they follow come from news organizations. On Twitter, however, the mix is more even: 36% say most of the links they follow come from friends and family, 27% say most come from news organizations, and 18% mostly follow links from non-news entities such as think tanks.

By 2015, roughly one out of every five display ad dollars is expected to go to Facebook, according to the same source. So who is still putting advertising in newspapers?   Well here are some more interesting facts.

As many as 100 newspapers are expected in coming months to join the roughly 150 dailies that have already moved to some kind of digital subscription model.

In part, newspapers are making this move after witnessing the success of The New York Times, which now has roughly 390,000 online subscribers.  The move is also driven by steep drops in ad revenue. Newspaper industry revenue — circulation and advertising combined — has shrunk 43% since 2000.

In 2011, newspapers overall lost roughly $10 in print ad revenue for every new $1 gained online. (That suggests no improvement from what a separate PEJ study of 38 papers found regarding 2010, when the print losses to digital gains in the sample were a $7-to-$1 ratio.)

Furthermore, newsrooms continued to shrink as companies, to remain in the black, felt the need for more rounds of cost reductions. The contemporary newsroom has fewer articles to produce after trims in the physical size of paper and reduction of the space devoted to news. But the remaining editors and reporters are also being stretched further by the need to generate content suitable for smartphones and tablets as well as establishing a social media presence.

This is all in addition to putting out the print paper daily and feeding breaking news to websites. In company management, the shift to outsiders with backgrounds in digital, especially at major companies, was striking.

The CEOs of Gannett (Craig Dubow) and the industry’s largest private company, Media News (William Dean Singleton), stepped aside for health reasons.

New York Times chief executive Janet Robinson retired under pressure late in the year. Associated Press president and chief executive Tom Curley announced early in 2012 that he would be retiring, too. During the course of the year, the top editor’s job turned over at The New York Times, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times and a host of metros.

Newspapers began changing hands again in late 2011. The trend of private equity owners gaining control through bankruptcy proceedings continues to grow and they tend to take an aggressive approach to digital transition. The most high-profile example is John Paton, the chief executive backed by Alden Global Capital, who is pursuing a “digital-first” strategy at the Journal Register and MediaNews Group papers.The biggest of the private equity takeovers will come when Tribune Company bankruptcy proceedings, now in their fourth year, conclude.

Probably the biggest transaction in 2011 was the $143 million sale of The New York Times’ 16-paper region group to Halifax Media, a company formed two years ago to buy The Daytona Beach News-Journal. The Times had assembled the papers and run them at high profit margins in the 1970s and 1980s to balance out business ups and downs at its flagship paper. Lately, the regional group was shedding revenue faster than The New York Times itself, so the company chose to sell the papers and invest the proceeds in digital development.

Important footnotes to read more about this overall topic.

  1. comScore. “Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices Are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits.” Subscriber-access only at www.comscore.com. October 2011.
  2. eMarketer. “Facebook’s US User Growth Slows but Twitter Sees Double-Digit Gains.” March 5, 2012.
  3. Olmstead, Kenny; Mitchell, Amy, and Rosenstiel, Tom. “Navigating News Online: Where People Go, How They Get There and What Lures Them Away.” Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. May 9, 2011.
  4. Search Engine Use 2012.” Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. March 9, 2012.
  5. The Facebook Fascination on Social Media.” Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Feb. 2, 2012.

I for one, will miss print news both from a sniff and scratch standpoint but also because three generations in my family have been associated with news and journalism in one way or another. First with my grandmother who was a published philatelic journalist,  my father wrote for his school newspaper, and I have written and published news both locally and nationally.

Thanks for reading!

Types of Blogs, Blog Resources, List of 200 Blogging Sites & Platforms

September 4, 2012 1 comment

blogs in the cloud, blog cloudThere are SO many types of blogs these days.  They range from free public blogs to paid blog enterprise platforms as well as personal blogs, corporate and organizational blogs, and even blogs by genre or topic. For example, there are blogs by topic such as environmental blogs.

Blogging is a broad topic, especially if one is trying to wade through the forest to get to trees and it could be daunting. I hope this post sheds some light on the subject. With so many choices, I would love to hear from you, please tell me about your favorite blog and why?

The following list provided by Greenedia provide links to popular environmental subtopics:

All Blogs | Alternative Energy | Batteries | Biodiesel | Biofuels | Carbon |Cleantech | Conservation | Electric Vehicles | Energy Efficiency | Energy Policy | Energy Prices | Environmental Economics | Environmentalism | Ethanol | Fuel Cells | Geothermal Energy | Global Warming & Climate Change | Green Asia | Green Building | Green Business | Green Canada | Green Europe | Green Politics | Green Venture Capital | Hybrid Cars & Trucks | Hydro Energy | Incentives & Rebates | LEED Building | Nuclear Energy | Peak Oil |Renewable Energy | Research and Studies | Solar Energy | Stocks & Investing |Sustainable Development | Wave and Tidal Power | Wind Energy.

My Green LogoI am providing a link to a cool environmental blog and website which are combined as an initiative of the Montgomery County, MD, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  This blog is supported by several County departments and agencies. The website and blog help County residents find local programs, services, resources and answers to en environmental questions in one place. It is written by Maryland’s Montgomery County Government.

The following list below provides other worthy blogs which cover a broad range of select environmental topics  (I am sure there are more, please let me know if you have some you like):

  1.  HuffPost Green,  has  bolstered its editorial staff and original content
  2. Time’sEcocentric, does a good job covering business and energy
  3. RealClimate’s commentary, a blog written by working climate scientists
  4. Civil Eats, if food is your thing
  5. Streetsblog, which covers transportation and planning
  6.  Grist
  7. Treehugger
  8. OnEarth Blog
  9. The Guardian: Environment Blog
  10. Discovery News: Earth
  11. High Country News: The Goat
  12. The Cleanest Line
  13. The New York Times: Dot Earth
  14. Mother Jones: Blue Marble
  15. Yale Environment 360
  16. The New York Times: Green

There are also blogs by media type and even blogs comprised of videos which are called vlogs.  And, blogs comprising of just links is called a linklog, a site containing a portfolio of sketches is called a sketchblog or one comprising photos is called a photoblog.  There are blogs with shorter posts and mixed media types are called tumblelogs.  And least but not last, there are blogs which are written on typewriters and then scanned which are called typecast or typecast blogs; see typecasting (blogging).

There is also a rare type of blog hosted on the Gopher Protocol is known as a Phlog.

Blogs can also be defined by which type of device is used to compose it.  For example, a blog written by a mobile device like a mobile phone or PDA or moblog.  One early blog was a Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online shared diary of a person’s personal life combining text, video, and pictures transmitted live from a wearable computer and EyeTap device to a web site. This practice of semi-automated blogging with live video together with text was referred to as sousveillance.  Such journals have been used as evidence in legal matters.

Reverse blogs

A Reverse Blog is composed by its users rather than a single blogger. This system has the characteristics of a blog, and the writing of several authors. These can be written by several contributing authors on a topic, or opened up for anyone to write.

If you are looking for more information and resources try some of the links below?

  1. More about the history of blogging in greater detail on Wikipedia.
  2. Check out the opensource resources at wikimatrix.org
  3. Technorati’s Top 100 blogs to keep up
  4. Blog Search Engines:

Directly below are 13 free blog sites to checkout if you are thinking about starting your own blog. And finally, below the list of the 13 free blogs,  is a much longer list of about 200 blog sites and blogging platforms. I have left out the URL links to these, so you will need to just copy and paste any that interest you into your Internet browser.

1) LiveJournal
2) Busy Thumbs
3) WordPress
4) Tublr
5) Blogger
6) Edublogs
7) Open Diary
8) TravelPod
9) Posterous
10) Weebly
11) On sugar
12) Text Pattern
13) Serendipity

And, finally here is a list of some 220+ Blogging Platforms:

  1. Typepad.com
  2. Blog.com
  3. Yahoo 360 // Service Discontinued
  4. Freevlog.org
  5. Multiply.com
  6. Windows Live Spaces // Service Discontinued
  7. Xanga.com
  8. Netcipia.com
  9. Weebly.com
  10. Soulcast.com
  11. Journalfen.net
  12. Blogabond.com
  13. Blogs.bigadda.com // Indian Service
  14. Blog.co.in // Indian Service
  15. Perfspot.com // Indian Service
  16. Blogs.rediff.com
  17. Hubpages.com
  18. Opera Community
  19. vox.com
  20. 9rules.com
  21. newsisfree.com
  22. peopleconnection.aol.com
  23. members.freewebs.com
  24. bravenet.com
  25. angelfire.lycos.com
  26. boingboing.net
  27. snap.com
  28. squarespace.com
  29. diaryland.com
  30. blog-city.com
  31. zefrank.com
  32. antville.org
  33. blogher.org
  34. blogrankings.com
  35. textamerica.com
  36. weblogs.us
  37. bloghub.com
  38. portal.eatonweb.com
  39. blogsearchengine.com
  40. blogowogo.com
  41. bloghi.comweblogger.com
  42. blogrox.com
  43. inknoise.com
  44. bloggar.cjb.net
  45. blogsome.com
  46. salon.com/blog
  47. fotopages.com
  48. blogdrive.com
  49. twoday.net
  50. blogspirit.com/en
  51. jaiku.com
  52. blogs.botw.org
  53. weebly.com
  54. ziki.com
  55. alivedirectory.com
  56. blogger.de
  57. pitas.com
  58. blog.co.uk
  59. insanejournal.com
  60. blogharbor.com
  61. terapad.com
  62. motime.com
  63. easyjournal.com
  64. findory.com
  65. 20six.co.uk
  66. myblogvoice.com
  67. weblogalot.com
  68. viddyou.com
  69. deadjournal.com
  70. lsblogs.com
  71. blog.ca
  72. danchan.com/weblog
  73. ourstory.com
  74. supersized.org
  75. etribes.com
  76. 21publish.com
  77. thespoke.net
  78. iseekblog.com
  79. blogates.com
  80. loudblog.com
  81. upsaid.com
  82. writetomyblog.com
  83. openserving.com
  84. beanrocket.com
  85. blogslive.net
  86. bloki.com
  87. botablog.com
  88. thumblogger.com
  89. zorpia.com
  90. maktoobblog.com
  91. zoomshare.com
  92. memebot.com
  93. tabulas.com
  94. snapvine.com/blog
  95. weblog.ro
  96. blogster.com
  97. tblog.com
  98. blurty.com
  99. ebloggy.com
  100. today.com
  101. clearblogs.com
  102. aeonity.com
  103. blognow.com.au
  104. bloghoster.net
  105. weblog.com
  106. thoughts.com
  107. blogr.com
  108. alkablog.com
  109. shoutpost.com
  110. 2pt.net
  111. blogeasy.com
  112. mydeardiary.com
  113. blogstudio.com
  114. okayblog.net
  115. deardiary.net
  116. seo-blog.org
  117. blogupper.com
  118. phlog.net
  119. blogdog.com
  120. wikyblog.com
  121. globenotes.com
  122. my-journal.com
  123. blogladder.com
  124. livelyblog.com
  125. blogs.xanco.com
  126. atom5.com
  127. blogtastic.com
  128. johndoe.org
  129. journalfiend.com
  130. jeeran.com/blogs
  131. avblog.userplane.com
  132. blogtv.com
  133. blogs.skaffe.com
  134. getjealous.com
  135. blogsavy.com
  136. blogit.com/Blogs
  137. journalhome.com
  138. conservablogs.com
  139. hosting365.com
  140. my-diary.org
  141. blogetery.com
  142. newblog.com
  143. bloxster.net
  144. blogyx.com
  145. manhattanservice.com
  146. dakotablogs.com
  147. blogtext.org
  148. blogmyway.org
  149. dragid.com
  150. blogadr.com
  151. outblogger.com
  152. blogbeee.com
  153. iuplog.com
  154. blogiversity.org
  155. blogthing.com
  156. blogomonster.com
  157. egoweblog.com
  158. myblog.net
  159. inube.com
  160. journalhub.com
  161. blogcheese.com
  162. wordcountjournal.com
  163. livelogcity.com
  164. blogbud.com
  165. blogcityusa.com
  166. theblog.cc
  167. reger.com
  168. blogpod.com
  169. planet-travels.com
  170. talkingforest.com
  171. crablog.com
  172. tooum.com
  173. bahraichblogs.com
  174. rememory.com
  175. monkee.biz
  176. blog-dir.blogspot.com
  177. myitblog.com
  178. xlogz.com
  179. shoutpost.com
  180. hyperblogs.net
  181. blogsarena.com
  182. blogsboom.com
  183. nowblogging.net
  184. zeroblogs.com
  185. eblogger.com
  186. bloty.com
  187. theblogs.net
  188. www2.globbo.org
  189. blogspex.com
  190. blogisme.com
  191. pagebuildr.com
  192. blogmole.com
  193. shinyblogs.com
  194. myhappyblog.com
  195. webcamfreeblog.com
  196. speedytown.com
  197. tennerblog.com
  198. avatale.com
  199. lonelymind.com
  200. knowwizard.com
  201. blogonfly.com
  202. blogema.org
  203. ebzzo.com
  204. jaoblogs.com
  205. blog.allyouwant.cn
  206. perfectfreewebhosting.com
  207. free-blog-site.com
  208. greatestjournal.com
  209. mytypes.com
  210. buddypress.org
  211. mindsay.com
  212. freewebs.com
  213. pagebuildr.com

The Power of Good News; One Person at a Time.

July 8, 2012 Comments off

Today, our news is filled with accounts of sensationalized news, recent horrible storms, a terrible record-setting heat wave with temperatures reaching 105 degrees, and other bad news; such as the economy, unemployment, murder, crime, war and the like. There has indeed been a substantive amount of news lately, and even more complaining about certain local electric company’s inability to fixing things fast enough.

Well, yesterday I heard a story by word of mouth from a friend (about 15 miles away in Germantown, Maryland) where an 86 a year old woman had walked to the big box food store in the 100 degree heat to buy some food and ice as she was out of her small ration of food which she had kept on ice in a little cooler which contained bologna and cheese for sandwiches.

More critically, no one, not a single person had checked in on her and she had no family in the area. She mentioned to the deli worker that there were a lot of elderly in her neighborhood.  She did not have any AC. She did not own a car anymore.  She did not have a cell phone. She did not have the Internet.  And, she had survived the intense 100 degree weather by sitting in her doorway step to catch a little breeze when it came through.

I was shocked, no I was mad actually to hear about this.   No one had checked on her or the other elderly in her neighbor.  But, she assured my friend that she was fine, just a little hot.My friend could not leave her job with 35 people in line buying food in the aftermath of the storms and electrical outages, but she gave her personal phone number-just encase she needed anything-at any time. The elderly woman then walked back home, in the 100 plus degree weather.

It is my hope that you will take the time to go take some food and ice with you to the house bound, and the elderly who are possibly shut ins, check on them and offer to take them to nearby cooling centers or a local mall.

The heat has indeed been daunting (and winter time is also another tough time for specific at risk populations. Please go early and check on your neighbors, go door-to-door if need be. It will only take about a 1/2 hour of your time.

And, lest we forget the power of good and how just one single person can make a difference in the lives of others, I would like to share the following story I came across this morning.  I would like to encourage those of you reading to take a look at the short video clip directly below.

If you have not ever seen this before, it is a moving experience recently annotated (2008-1009) more than some 70 years later about Sir Nicholas Winton’s impact.

I hope we all can take to heart the quiet example of this one person and apply it to our lives today, without a lot of fan fare and news coverage.  In 2009, Sir Nicholas Winton turned 100 years old and he is now 103 years old. 
His advice from a long life: “Don’t be content in your life to just do no wrong, be ready everyday to do something good”

For more information here are a few other links:

Sir Nicholas Winton

A short news documentary by Joe Schlesinger:

A short student documentary about students’ experiences during the Bratislava History Project included meeting Sir Nicholas Winton and HM Queen Elizabeth II. It is a student film produced by 12th grade IB Film students at the British International School of Bratislava.

May each of us remember the potential impact for good we each have in our own lives to touch others.

We do not need modern technology to do some thing genuinely good for others, but because of modern technology we are able to learn of the selfless deeds of one man some 70 years earlier.

 

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