Friday, 24 July 2009

I am still here....EDF have given us power

Hello all....yes I am alive and well.
I have decided to keep this blog as I passed this module, and have linked it to my website ( I like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, so it seems right to have a blog going too.
The power situ? Yes, here in Kent over 100,000 homes and businesses had no power for 3 days from Monday (20th July) until very early hours yesterday morning (Thurs 23rd July). This was caused by vandals in Dartford cutting through a main cable to, allegedly steal lead or some other metal that was there. The police are still investigating, so we won't know for sure for a while, but ohmygoodness was it a pain?
It's amazing how we take electricity for granted..........................thanks to EDF for working so hard to get us back on track!

Speak soon! :-)

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Music Technology and it's effects in PR


Whilst leafing through the latest copy of Music Week I REALLY noticed how the technology used in music whether it be producing it or listening to it has changed over 20 years.
Now, I am using that time scale because 20 years ago I worked in an independent record shop (sadly, you don't see many around today)on Saturdays.In those days music chart positions were done by the Gallup system . Today singles are charted on digital downloads and airplay on all TV and radio. Did you know that a band/solo artist only needs 4000 downloads of their single to guarantee a chart entry at around 30? (The chart has a total of 100)20 years ago one had to buy the physical product of the 7inch vinyl single. We also had the good old tape cassette, flexi-disc (usually given away as a cover mount with a music mag) VHS and BETA video. Now the technology is of course the CD which can now have DVDs mixed in with it, the DVD itself, social networks, mobile phones, iPod, iPhone, Spotify,, iPlayer and YouTube, and this is to name but a few!
In my world as a music PR and a PR student this blows my mind, and has totally changed the publicity and promotion of my clients music. 20 years ago I would have been simply trying to get the vinyl sold, now I am here there and everywhere plugging their work and wares.
Downside of course is the illegal downloading of music.
The ability just to buy a clients single, or indeed album, from an online site, delivered and installed in seconds really is brilliant, and is constantly monitored and updated for one to read about in seconds keeps us up-to-the-minute and never missing out on a PR/publicity opportunity.
Here are some of my clients; Jake Shillingford, Zero Cipher and Jerry Markham, all who embrace new technology.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Out with the old in with the new?


I was pondering my first time working in PR, publicity and promotions after leaving art college in 1991. I was the PR Officer for the UKKW (United Kingdom Karate do Wado Kai Federation)
My tools were the following; pen, paper, typewriter, Dictaphone, cassette player and VHS video recorder. Pen and paper for notes at interviews and events, the Dictaphone to record interviews then make notes with pen and paper. The cassette player to play back anything I may have recorded that way and the same with the VHS camera.
Today I use a PC (with wireless keyboard, mouse and printer), laptop, mobile phone, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, digital land line phone, iPod, in-car CD system and pen and paper.
The new ICTs have cut my time spent working and researching by a huge margin. I can play and email clients music to the music media. Interviews and press releases are quickly typed and emailed. The spell check, grammar check and word count tools have saved time looking through dictionaries and thesauruses and physically counting word. My laptop and mobile phone allow me to be "at work" 24/7 365 from anywhere in the world. The social networking sites are great for business plugging and my in-car CD system allows me to hear demo's by clients and prospective clients whilst on the road. ICTs have been a boon and have integrated into my work perfectly.
However, I still use pen and paper, for initial note taking and my Uni work and I still like the physical product of the CD.... Old habits die hard!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

"Local services need to use social media" PRWeek 22/5/9

I would write out the whole article, but that would be too long and I guess most of you read PRWeek anyway!22/05/09
Last week saw an article from Ashley Wilcox, the chair of the CIPR local service group and Corp. manager at Camden Borough Council, London.

It says that "local public services i.e, councils, community groups and the like should use and embrace the tool of social media. Tools such as Flickr and Twitter (as used by Lichfield District Council). The CIPRs excellence awards last year showcased great examples such as Hackney Council's online citizens' panel. It looks as though Facebook too will be used".
The article begs the question "how many local public services are treating social media as an extension to their comms channels and not just as a gimmick?" My example here is a 50/50 share. The regional newspaper The Surrey Advertiser have an online "Book of Condolence"/"Guest book". This is open and free to anyone wishing to leave an obituary, message and sympathies. I stumbled upon this as I was needing a memorial message to be printed in that newspaper, the physical product. I felt that the online book of condolence was inappropriate for me and "gimmicky", cold even (especially its referral as a "Guest book" which is really for weddings and other celebrations. I did not like it. HOWEVER, I do see its plus side. Should someone die young, there will be more mourners usually, and the need to bring themselves together at their sad time.Facebook plays a huge part in this too (example Ben Kinsella, brother of actress Brooke Kinsella, who was murdered) It can also save a lot of money on the printed words that you see in the paper, so in this current climate, a free service where you can leave your message is ideal. Therefore, this is bringing the community together certainly, AND the rest of the world too. Here is where the better use of social media is coming in very quickly and being embraced.
However, there is the problem of the local public services staff not having access to social media because the organisation believes staff would spend days on Facebook. I agree with Mr Wilcox that it is laughable that there is a ban on social media. They need to trust staff and stop missing massive opportunities to speak to their users. It is not a gimmick.
Conclusion? Don't miss these massive comms opportunities, they are ideal for good PR and goodness knows our Councils need it!

Friday, 22 May 2009

"The Week" 16/5/9...You HAVE to read this to see how ICTs are being used!

"Jason's message for "smokin' hot" Julie" by Michelle Cottle for "The New Republic"
The Week 16/5/9 "Best of the American columnists"

"It's hard at the best of times for humble members of Congress to get themselves noticed, says Michelle Cottle. But now that The White House is occupied by the "hippest, hottest star on the world stage", it's all but impossible. "What's an ambitious but unglamorous lawmaker to do?" The answer, it appears, is to do what every other fame-hungry American does: "become a reality star". Forget about being a TV pundit or publishing "starchy" articles in The New York Times; today's savvy legislator is getting "up close and personal" with voters through the use of tools such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Some members now maintain their own YouTube channels; others have set up live cameras in their offices. Even Senator John McCain, who admitted last year that he didn't know how to use a computer, has begun Twittering. The most extreme example, however, is Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz. Not content with deploying Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and being the star of his own fly-on-the-wall CNN show, he also posts nightly video blogs on his website. These take the form of "cot-side chats" from the folding bed in his office, where he sleeps to save money so that he can send every penny back to his "smokin'hot" wife Julie. The way things are going, "even the staunchest fans of transparency in government might soon have had enough"

Article from "The Week" magazine 16/5/09

Monday, 18 May 2009

Twitter ye not!

Well actually, I do. I am selling my business online. Why? Who cares? Who looks at this ? Only time will tell the success of that tool for me, I have already had two queries for promotion.
But be careful what you DO write. Who see's it then? Example, Katie Price/ Peter Andre split (yawn!)...Ms Price is updating her status on Twitter with woeful words about the break down of her marriage, even being rude to her estranged husband. Does any one care? YES...the fans and the press....from the press comes coverage...and so it goes on.
If we didn't have social networking, what would they do? Yes, there would be good old taped phone calls "AndreGate" "PriceGate" saga's
There's the expenses claims row within our Government, getting caught out by engaging fingers to type before brain goes in gear!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

"Virtual Insanity" The Stage, 30/4/09

Being in the music PR business, I am intrigues by programs such as The X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent, and how the winners, and sometimes losers, are spun into untold fame.

I speak of Susan Boyle who wowed us all with her amazing voice 2 (or perhaps 3, I have been away) weeks ago. I won't go into immense detail, but for my fellow students who are international, and do not see our terrestrial TV channels do visit YouTube and type her name in.

Now, ICT's have played a HUGE part in Susan's fame, and she hasn't even reached the heats for the finals! How?? Why?? Well, precisely the way I just mentioned, by YouTube. Her performance has been viewed more than 48 million times (as up to 27th April '09). It is also on MySpace. It's talked about by everyone including A-list celebrities on Twitter and Facebook. "Viewers have reached over the 82.5 million. By comparison, President Obama's victory speech night had generated 18.5 million."

What I am trying to say is, that without the technology we have today, artists in my industry would not have even a quarter (a rough estimate by me) of the publicity say, 5 years ago. What would happen then?

Extracts taken from The Stage 30/04/09
Screen shot taken from 'Britain's Got Talent'