Sunday, April 30, 2006

Thesis was, I thnk, advanced for its time...but no one was collaborating online much back then...

I just spent a few minutes updating links to my clients in the New PR Wiki, Constantine Basturea's great online directory of PR resources. I added my MBA thesis, "Bond Ratings in Cyberspace," in which I looked at the attitudes of bond analysts toward the use of collaborative computer technology. I did this research in 1994, way before anyone had heard of blogs and podcasts, and the leading edge of collaborative technology was this new thing called Lotus Notes. I went to several "groupware" conferences that year as part of the research. The thesis was helpful to an organizational change-meister at S&P, Henry Carrier, who used it to help implement some changes in corporate culture at S&P.

Anyway, I've put the executive summary of the thesis online as a PDF. I'd love to hear comments from people about what I learned 12 years ago, and how it's changed today.

Susan Werner - "My Strange Nation"

A friend of mine, Randy Alexander of Randex PR who works in the rarified field of music publicity has pointed me to an interesting client of his, Susan Werner.

Susan Werner, composer of a middle-ground protest song about the US, "My Strange Nation," has caused a little stir. A short video set to the song is now playing on the Huffington Post blog. It's got some funny twists in the lyrics, but is ultimately a love song to America. In a time of hyperventilating politics, that might be enough to kill it, and that would be unfortunate.

The song reminds me of Cashman & West's "American City Suite," from the 1970s.

Worth a listen, though. You can download the MP3 and lyrics for free at Susan's website.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lubetkin's Other Blog Podcast #19: PRSA Philadelphia Chapter Panel on Public Relations and Marketing for Not-for-Profit Organizations, 4/20/2006

In this edition of our podcast, we present a panel discussion conducted by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). This program was recorded April 20, 2006 at the Union League Club in Philadelphia.

From left: Steve Lubetkin; Hope Primas; Les Wolff; Janis Shields; and Peter Key. (Rick Alcantara photo)

The panelists are:

- Hope Primas, Principal, Hope Primas & Associates, an expert resource on nonprofit fund development and management in the Philadelphia region, will provide a brief presentation about planning and give an overview of the public relations tools you can employ to maintain public awareness of your programs and needs.
- Les Wolff, CEO of Philadelphia-based Smart Marketing Group, a 46 year veteran of the marketing arena who has worked with non-profits in a wide range of activities, will talk about how to manage a strong ROI using a celebrity (such as his client Smokin' Joe Frazier) and how to create strategies that achieve other key objectives.
- Steven L. Lubetkin, APR, Fellow, PRSA, managing partner of Lubetkin Communications LLC, a technology-savvy veteran of more than 25 years in corporate and financial communications and print and broadcast journalism, will provide guidance on how to leverage emerging technologies effectively to enhance outreach efforts.
- Janis D. Shields, Director of Media and Public Relations for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and an award-winning journalist, will provide solid ways to get the most out of your PR efforts on a shoestring budget.

Download the podcast here (119 mb stereo MP3 file, 1:24:59 duration).

Show Notes
00:00:00 Steve introduces the program
00:03:52 Michele Chierici, APR, president of the Philadelphia PRSA Chapter introduces the panel and makes opening announcements.
00:07:10 Hope Primas makes introductory remarks about nonprofit PR.
00:19:29 Peter Key, Philadelphia Business Journal
00:31:57 Janis Shields, American Friends Service Committee
00:52:24 Les Wolff, Smart Marketing Group
01:06:26 Steve Lubetkin, Lubetkin Communications LLC

Please take part in our podcast listener survey. Click on the icon or follow this link. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What they said...

I'm detecting a steadily building backlash against blogs from the MSM folks, and I don't think it's a bad thing at all.

In Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, Jonathan Last wrote "Blogs, humbug," and pointed out something I've been saying for months...

"Whether the person blogging is a pajama-clad lawyer or a Pulitzer-winning journalist," Last writes, "The medium is the message, and the message of blogging is: More! FASTER!"

Blogs ultimately want attention from the mainstream media, and the only way to rise above the noise of 36.4 million bloggers pecking away (that's the last number I saw on is to be shrill, outrageous, and controversial.

"Bloggers are forever telling us how easy journalism is, yet very few of them have ever really practiced it," Last complains. I agree. As a former journalist, I appreciate the fact that so much of what passes for commentary in the blogosphere is often unsupported by any facts. Even some of my esteemed colleagues in the "podcasting space" tend to engage in idle speculation about the motives or agendas of other people, without ever picking up the phone or writing an email to that person to ask first-hand what they were thinking.

Case in point: I've blogged about my continuing correction battles with a major New York newspaper. In my most recent encounter with the publication, I reported on its use of a widely circulated Internet joke in a column that purports to tell humorous, real, first-person stories. What I DIDN'T do -- and what it took a professional daily journalist blogger, Dan Rubin at the Inquirer to do -- was track down the woman whose name was attached to the item and actually INTERVIEW her. Only Rubin discovered that she never told the newspaper the incident had happened to her. She just thought it was a funny joke and sent it to them.

The "pernicious effects of blogs," according to Last: "They elevate analysis over news-gathering; they value speed over judiciousness; and they encourage the practice of journalism to turn in on itself, to tend ever more toward navel-gazing."

There is no substitute for news-gathering and reporting. Don't assume that what you read in the blogs is accurate or even wants to be accurate. You don't respond to the requests for help smuggling money out of Liberia, Nigeria, Iraq, and (hopefully) you don't click on that link to the major bank that wants you to update the password on the account you don't have with them. Why in the world are we giving the blogosphere so much credibility and respect when only a few thousand reputable things (maybe) are going on there?

Why do we elevate certain bloggers -- even corporate ones -- to rock stardom when they act just like the companies they represent when the wagons need to be circled in a corporate crisis? Use a little common sense, folks.

Then, as I was cleaning out my library of unread newspapers from the past week (I'm a dinosaur, I read five dead-tree news delivery devices every day), I came across this Daniel Henninger "Wonder Land" column in the Wall Street Journal, "When Blogs Rule We Will All Talk Like ----" (Registration and/or subscription may be required.)

Henninger spells out the dark side of the blogosphere: "...[T]here is one more personality trait common to the blogosphere that, like crabgrass, may be spreading to touch and cover everything. It's called disinhibition. Briefly, disinhibition is what the world would look like if everyone behaved like Jerry Lewis or Paris Hilton or we all lived in South Park."

He compares the blogosphere to some scary indoor roller coasters, or "dark rides," and concludes that "This dark ride could be a very long one."


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Making blogs matter?

New York Times Technology Column on Monday (OK, I'm a little behind in my reading...) A Home Where Bloggers Can Plumb Those Obscure Passions describes how hopes to channel and aggregate the highly specialized expertise of individual bloggers. The premise is that the collective wisdom is highly useful and better than trying to find individual blogs on obscure topics. Maybe.

I just did a quick visit and it sure seems more like a Technorati, Google or Yahoo! than a completely new way of aggregating blog content.

So I'm going to experiment with creating a Squidoo "lens." I'll report back on the experience.

Sorry, as much as I don't care for the idea of corporate blogging, this is not a corporate blog...

The Wall Street Journal reports today in the Advertising column (registration required) that Starwood Hotels has launched a web log called But read further...they're not allowing their customers or other blog visitors to comment on the blog.

As much as I question the value of senior corporate executives spending their time blogging, I have to agree with corporate blogging evangelists that a one-way blog with no dialogue going on between the corporate bloggers and their audience just is NOT a blog at all.

It's nothing more than a website where the designers are using a publishing tool that lets non-techie corporate PR folks running the website post their press release information without having to cope with corporate IT people who want to control web posting.

It's ingenuous to post a "blog" with a bunch of super-solicitous, flattering (is that redundant?) links to bloggers their consultants must have identified as "A-List" bloggers that the company would want to be associated with -- but not even create the pretense of a conversation with the folks who really matter -- the ones that choose to stay with Starwood.

Companies that want to call their latest website a blog need to understand what that term implies, namely, give-and-take with the audience. Starwood could learn something useful about the travel needs and desires of its patrons, but they haven't taken that risk.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Another opening, another show...

Had a great time at NJIT yesterday...spending a lot of time on the road chatting people up about podcasting. More events coming up over the next several weeks, so if you happen to be in these neighborhoods, I would love to see you in "meat" space...

April 11, NJ Communications, Advertising and Marketing Association, Doral Forrestal Hotel, Princeton, NJ, luncheon speaker.

April 20, Philadelphia Chapter, Public Relations Society of America, panel speaker, "Non-Profit Public Relations Practitioners Forum," Union League, 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, 5:30 PM

April 24, National Chicken Council, Food Writers' Seminar, Philadelphia.

April 26, Introductory Seminar with Merle Margolese of Merle Margolese Presents..., Mt. Laurel, NJ.

May 2, Blogs and Podcasting in the Pharmaceutical Industry, speaker at South Jersey Pharmaceutical and Medical Technology Industry Alliance annual conference, The Enterprise Center at Burlington County College, Route 38, Mt. Laurel, NJ. Kindly RSVP by TUESDAY, APRIL 25 to Joyce Sico, phone-fax: 856-303-7632

May 17, Jewish Business Network of Southern New Jersey, breakfast speaker.

June 21, Introduction to Podcasting, New Jersey Institute of Technology Tech Expressions Series, 8am-3pm. See blog posts below for reports on the first session, and links to register for the June program.

June 27, PR Council of Greater Atlantic City, Angelo's Fairmont Tavern, Atlantic City, luncheon speaker.

July 11, Presenter on Public Relations Society of America teleseminar for PR Accreditation candidates on "Planning Terminology and Structure." For info, contact Kathy Mulvihill at (212) 460-1436.

July 27, 2006: American Association of Medical Society Executives Annual Conference, Montreal Canada. Contact: Kim Schardin, AAMSE Membership/Meetings Manager, (414) 221-9275.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Link to Ken Ronkowitz' blog entry

Here's the link to Ken's blog...

I was going to blog about this speaking appearance, but one of the other speakers beat me to it...

I'm in Newark participating in an NJIT seminar on new/social media like blogs, podcasts, and wikis. I thought I should mention it in a blog entry. I was hesitant to write a lenghty entry since I just have my Treo qnd not the external keyboard.

Fortunately, one of the other speakers had a laptop, was blogging during my talk on podcasts and beat me to it. You can read Ken Ronkowitz's blog entries here.

NJIT liked the program so much they booked all of us to repeat the program on June 21. More info at or on the website.

Note to online map users. Don't try to use MLK Blvd off of Route 280. Lots of construction and major traffic headaches.

Use Broad Street to Central Ave. Cross MLK Blvd and first left is Summit Place at NJIT.