A Blog About Blogs

An undergraduate thesis about blogging, public relations, marketing and social media

Shaq on Twitter November 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sheppard @ 10:14 pm

This is the best find all year. The Diesel is on Twitter. See his profile here.

Not only is it “cool” to be following a famous person, but his tweets made my roommate and I laugh so hard that we cried as we read them.

Recent gems include:

  • “My genius is 1 percent inspiration 99 percent perspiration Shaquille o’neal” (Apparently, he includes his name in tweets he thinks are colloquial.)
  • I called my main man figs son bcuz da xcellence of a gift lies n its approiateness ratha than its value” (Is this English?)
  • “Im wearing a jacket dat says 1946, a lady asked me wat it means, i replied, mam its the yr i was born. Lol” (Even Shaq uses the infamous “Lol.”)

But all this got me to wondering… how can you be sure it’s really “the real Shaq?” There isn’t a good way that I can think of to keep people from impersonating celebrities on the Internet. I have a sneaky suspicion that if it WERE the REAL Shaq, the Suns public relations staff would like to see what exactly he’s writing on Twitter.

But then again, maybe they do. Maybe there’s already some sort of code of conduct about what he can and cannot say. There should probably be a standard one for the entire NBA, because if players are saying bad things about coaches, other players, etc. it could build a bad image for the league. If there is already a code, apparently it doesn’t specific that they must use correct spelling and grammar.


Barnes and Nash suspended November 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sheppard @ 10:30 pm
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Basketball is pretty much the only thing on my mind today, especially since tonight is the season opener for ASU basketball – and it’s at home.

The other big basketball news today is that both Matt Barnes and Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns received suspensions today for a fight that took place Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. Barnes will sit out two games and Nash will be out tonight’s game. There was a lot of talk about it this morning and the office, and it got me to thinking about handling these types of situations from a PR standpoint.

This kind of thing happens frequently, so I’m sure there is a media and interview plan for every team. But so often it seems things go wrong. Journalists are eager for interviews and players get angry about the situation or the fines/suspensions and say something that puts the organization in a bad PR spot. (Anyone remember when Shaq misspelled period?)

I think in this case, the Suns are doing a good job of maintaining the situation. They’re not shutting out media interviews and Nash, Barnes and coach Terry Porter have voiced their disagreement with the actions taken in interviews – but not in an inappropriate way that will damage the Suns reputation.

I do, however, think the Suns are in a better position than some other teams because they’re not known for fighting or poor off-the-court conduct like some others are.


McDonalds and Wal-Mart See Success

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sheppard @ 3:35 am

Despite economic gloom and doom, MarketWatch is reporting positive third quarter results for Wal-mart and McDonald’s. Walmart’s sales rose 2.4%, including a 2.2% gain at Wal-Mart U.S. and a 3.6% increase at Sam’s Club while McDonald’s same-store sales rose 5.3% in October in the U.S.

So, what are they doing right? 

“Highly competitive pricing, especially on basics throughout the store, is driving these results,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart U.S. president and chief executive officer. “Customers see that we are broadening the price gap against our competitors.”

I don’t know if people never realized the price difference at Wal-Mart, or if they were just more willing to skip the lower prices in place of convenience when economic times were happier. Maybe now people are driving an extra mile or skipping the enticing aroma of Starbucks for home-made coffee bought from Wal-Mart.

I’m also willing to bet that the ever-popular recent Monopoly sweepstakes had something to do with the McDonald’s sales.

Many say the economic crisis isn’t that bad because most people have not dramatically changed their way of life. While I agree that most people haven’t yet – I think that’s because this is just the beginning. It’s only going to get worse before it gets better. I think the success of Wal-Mart and McDonald’s shows the slowly but surely, people are making SLIGHT adjustments. Instead of going to their favorite restaurants for dinner, people are buying groceries from Wal-Mart and settling for Big Macs as “going out to eat.”

I’m interested to see who else will benefit from the tough times when they get tougher. It can’t be all bad for everyone, right?


Nasty shopping carts November 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sheppard @ 6:35 am
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Right after watching the awesome CMAs tonight, I was disgusted to see an ABC News story about how many germs are on shopping carts. According to ABC News, “University of Arizona researchers tested shopping carts and found that their handles have more saliva, bacteria and fecal matter than public toilets.”

This story has received a lot of media coverage, and was obviously a result of some successful public relations pitching. The ABC News article talks about PureCart Systems, a mini car wash for your cart, that is being installed in grocery stores to calm shopper worries about germs. The ABC story contains a photo of the system courtesy of PureCart. PureCart Systems

I just wanted to point out the smart PR efforts and this nasty find. Happy grocery shopping! 😉


Youth voters make history November 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sheppard @ 6:44 am
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I’ve been so emotional today. Last night as I watched the presidential candidates give their respective speeches, I couldn’t help but be thankful that I’m witnessing this part of history. America has elected the first black president and has called for change. More importantly, young voters have called for change. This was the first presidential election that I was able to vote in, and all I have to say is that I’m one for one. I’m sure the candidates will be fighting over my individual vote next election with this kind of record.

I hoped that no matter what the outcome, young voters would prove themselves as a crucial demographic in this presidential election. For so long our generation has been criticized as lazy and uninterested in important issues, but this election showed young voters taking a stand and making a difference. A difference that will bring change to America. A difference that is making history.

Rock the Vote reported that “approximately 24 million 18 to 29 year-olds cast ballots in this historic election, a turnout rate of 55%, up 6 percentage points from 2004.” Young voters made up 18 percent of all voters this election. “In Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, and other states, young people propelled Barack Obama to victory. Nationwide, 66% of 18-29 year olds voted for the President-Elect; state-by-state, this strong support made the difference in a number of contests.”

The youth turnout makes a statement. We’ve demanded and affected change.


Northeast papers trying to ditch AP October 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sheppard @ 12:19 am
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According to this post on Daily Kos(a well-known political blog), some major newspapers in the Northeast are considering ditching the Associated Press in favor of creating their own content exchange system. Daily Kos sites Editor and Publisher’s article:

“Top executives and editors from several major dailies in the Northeast, dissatisfied with The Associated Press, met recently to discuss the formation of a content-sharing agreement that in several cases would serve in place of their AP agreements, E&P has learned from top executives at three of the papers.

A “Northeast Consortium” of newspapers, which will include New York’s Daily News and — at least at the present time — is said to include Newsday, The Buffalo News, the Times-Union of Albany, N.Y., and the Star Ledger of Newark, N.J., among others, is weeks away from announcing a content-sharing arrangement that will include both stories and photos […]

One executive who spoke on condition of anonymity and who attended the “summit” of New York-area papers, held in Manhattan within the past two weeks, cited cost savings, more timely exchange of content, and what that executive called “a new spirit of cooperation” as the primary motivations for such an undertaking. This source referred to the “Draconian terms” of the AP, which last Thursday responded to newspapers’ concerns by announcing further rate cuts and restructuring.”

Since content sharing has been made virtually instantaneous and become much easier since the beginning on AP, I’m wondering if more people will get in on this idea. If they do, there could be a major impact on the media industry. On the other hand, as newspaper revenues and staffs continue to dwindle, is this something journalists can realistically take on in addition to writing quality stories? I’m interested to find out. I suppose it could mean that pitching journalists at these publications provides the opportunity to reach a much larger audience.


Agency vs. In-house: An aspect to consider October 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie Sheppard @ 11:07 pm

As I grow closer and closer to graduation, I’m continually trying to decide whether I’d like an in-house PR position or to work at an agency. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages of both.

Charlotte Risch’s recent post on Valley PR Blog gave me another thing to add to the list of pros and cons. She discussed how your client’s sense of urgency and availability is essential to securing coverage. Because media have tight deadlines and may decide to go with your story last minute, you often don’t have a whole lot of time to secure an interviewee and get them to the interview destination. If you’re at an agency and your client is not responding to your phone calls or e-mails, this can result in a missed opportunity and sometimes a damaged relationship between you and the reporter.

A situation like this seems to be less likely in an in-house environment. For example, at Allstate we recently pitched a story promoting motorcycle safety as more people take to two wheels to save gas. When the media called asking for an interviewee in less than a few hours, all we had to do was walk down the hall and check the availability of sales leaders in the office who ride motorcycles. If one wasn’t available, we rode the elevator to check with another. Although not everyone is in the office at all times, it seems that in an in-house position, getting a hold of your client and securing interviewees is much easier.

By the way, the segment never ended up airing. (Boo!)


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