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JPMR Communication has moved


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Quick post tonight about the importance of claiming you user name all over social media land.  Go do it!

Oh and the stars?  Yeah, that’s because finding all the social media sites in one place like this?  HEAVEN.  Now if only claiming personal brand could be done with less clicks…

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“There is no such thing as off the record.”

If you’ve ever worked with a PR person, sat near a PR person or know someone who knows a PR person, you’ve heard this message loud and clear.  Yet, throughout my career, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people utter the phrase, “This is off the record, but…”


So I was not at all surprised today to find out that approximately 10% of college admissions officers consider social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace when considering who makes the collegiate cut.  Check out the msnbc video that addresses the subject: Here.

Most adults participating in social networking communities probably won’t find it surprising that while a page from a social network won’t get you into college, its content could be a deciding factor in your rejection from the school of your choice.  Adults deal with this all the time when applying to jobs.  Most adults have learned to put their most professional face forward, leaving fun/inappropriate sites anonymous.

Shockingly, as savvy as most high school students are, many don’t know the repercussions their online lives can have on their real life.  Last month I spoke to a few High School classes.  I asked them two key questions:

  • Is there anything on your Facebook or Myspace page you wouldn’t want your parents/teachers to see?
  • Do you think that content could effect you in the future,  professionally or personally?

Nearly all of the students had something on their social networking pages they didn’t want seen, and none had thought through the repercussions of that content. 

I believe that part of our responsibility as members of social media communities is to educate the youth about how to use social media… and what content should be “off the record” and never posted.

Off the top of my head, important items for high school seniors to have on their social networking sites include:

  • Honors clubs and educational activities
  • Sports of interest
  • Listing of jobs, if applicable
  • Volunteer activities
  • Clean/appropriate photos with friends participating in educational/family/sports related activities
  • A blog, if well written, spell checked and grammar checked, focused on an application-safe passion.

High School seniors should be careful of the following social networking site mistakes:

  • Spelling errors
  • Inappropriate photos
  • Content demonstrating a passion for partying
  • Speaking negatively about anyone
  • Inappropriate comments from friends
  • Sending inappropriate comments to their friends

The way I see it, social networks are quickly becoming the “non-application.”  Whether we as a society like it or not, we have a responsibility to put our best face forward on our pages.  If you post it, expect it will be read.

And remember: There is no such thing- anywhere- as off the record.

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Day after day I am seeing tweets on my Twitter account from journalists that say things like:

  • PR Pro Tip: Do NOT pitch me on Facebook, or;
  • Pitching me on Facebook is an invasion of my privacy, don’t do it!

Is Facebook Private?
I am not surprised that many journalists aren’t appreciating this. I am surprised that PR professionals are slipping business pitches into a space that IMHO is “invite only” and private.

From my perspective, Facebook is a semi-private domain on the Internet. I decide who my friends are and I also decide how I utilize the tool once I’m in. Many people use Facebook as a social service, planting gardens and posting pictures to share with their friends. In my case, I utilize Facebook to catch up with old friends, share my thoughts on issues that are important to me via FriendFeed/Twitter, post my resume, share my blog, etc. For me, my Facebooking is a combination of social and business usage, and as a result, I don’t want everyone to have access.

Measuring Interest
At this point, any of the PR pros who have sent a Facebook pitch are probably thinking: Yeah, but I can send a pitch to a reporter without being their friend via the “Message Me” function. Yes, on Facebook you can pitch Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. But do you think he’ll appreciate it?

I went on Twitter to find out. Walt Mossberg has 902 followers. He is following zero people. NONE. I don’t think it’s a leap to guess that he likes sharing what he has written with the world, but might not be as interested to hear what PR pros have to say via a social media tool.

Even with bloggers, it’s much the same. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, for example has 25,000+ followers but only follows 480+ people.

How to Achieve Results
I understand, it’s hard to get your message out to these very influential folks. So what are PR pros to do? Follow the rules. Of each individual journalist, and pay attention to follow out what those rules are. Paying attention will lead to results.

You Decide
But nothing is definitive. I believe as much as some journalists dislike Facebook pitches, there MUST be some out there that love them, right? I have created two new groups on Facebook to find out.

Dude, don’t pitch me on Facebook!

Dude, I love being pitched on Facebook!

Journalists, bloggers, writers of all kind, please help us PR pros out! Please click on one of the pages and register. What do you think? Should Facebook pitches stay, or go away?

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