On the other side of the table…

13 04 2009

I am greatly distraught over my lack of posts last week. April has really worked me. I am so blessed to have a full plate that is challenging me in new ways. (Un)fortunately I have been able to see lots of people and spend my weekends all over NC & SC, but the travel has quickly worn me down and I am completely exhausted. I am going to write mini-posts and try to catch up on last week. My sister complains, often, that I blog too long and she just gets so discouraged to read them and that words are not her friends.

Last Wednesday, April 8, I attended Clemson’s Communication Studies Career Launch. I was in a Clemson House ballroom with 4 other businesses seeking interns or new hires for the summer and fall. I have to say that it is really strange being on the other side of the table. I doubt my interviewing tactics were well planned, but I was glad to see friends and old classmates. It gave me great practice in speaking about my company succinctly. I met some great candidates and hope everyone finds what they are seeking. Out of the 10 resumes I was able to find 2 worthy candidates for our internship program. They will be having a phone interview on Wednesday and coming to the office on Friday. Business development seems to be growing at an rapid pace, so if you are seeking a great learning experience this summer send me your resume to christinalor@sensiblecity.com. Be sure to visit our freshly launched website at http://www.sensiblecity.com.

A drive to Clemson is one that I greatly anticipate. How can you not love driving on Hwy 25 through Travelers Rest and Easley? Especially on a day like this?



My lists have lists…

4 04 2009

desktopMust be spring because my lists have been getting it on for some days now! This week has uncovered workplace emotions that have I have not really felt until this week. It has been a great exercise for my brain, but at a certain point on Friday my brain just stopped. I was looking at these phone call notes and trying to work on “inbox zero” and I couldn’t make anymore productive decisions. I think the moment I committed to bring the maxi-load of laundry home and jump in the car to Charleston did my day end right there. On the 4 hour drive home I was re-thinking phone conversations, to-do lists, and course of action for Monday. Today I offered to take the kids out to Sullivan’s Island and I’m thinking my time is running out to prepare for the next week. But I owe it to them, on Spring Break, and to myself to turn the brain off and just soak in the sun. So that is what I am doing today. I left my phone charger at home with the Slumdog Millionaire disc I had intended on bringing home for my mom. I was glazing over a book in bed, this morning, did I overhear my mom say,”She left the the disc at home” and my brother say, “She always leaves something.” I better pack the movie case now so I can return it to Blockbuster. Oh and I better grab the jacket I left on my birthday weekend, while I’m at it…

Sticky note for this week’s Double Whammy.

27 03 2009

Earlier this week, I gave an example of an un-social company. Well I found Jennifer Van Grove’s article on Mashable and thought how interesting that companies, in Client X’s industry, have been embracing social media. I love the layout to how each company is using Twitter to their advantage. Cheers to the Top 40 Best Twitter Brands and thank you Jennifer for revealing the people behind them!


This is a big category and it’s growing every day. We’ve include airlines, hotels, a cruise ship, and even a rental car service under the travel umbrella. We admire these big brands for being bold on Twitter, and we hope that their ground-breaking efforts lead to better service for all of us who travel and know just how stressful it can be.

Jet Blue

jetblue twitter

Twitter Name: JetBlue

Jet Blue Official Tweeter: Meet Morgan Johnston, manager of corporate communications with Jet Blue. Morgan’s high flying Twitter philosophy is to tweet as the community sees fit saying, “our role on Twitter is driven by the requests of our followers. Twitter is a great way to talk to many, but even better for listening.”

Stats: 10,771 following/10,076 followers

So why is JetBlue tweeting?: “Our goal would be to make ourselves available, help whenever possible, and to show that our brand is built by real people who care about our customers.”

Most interesting Twitter discussion: “Probably being asked what our policy was on furries following an exchange http://is.gd/f1k8.” [I’m not sure what furries are, but I think it’s a Comic Con thing, and vaguely reminds me of something I saw on Entourage.]

On plans to promote the account to passengers: “Short answer: no, we want to grow naturally with the Twitter audience, long answer: We know we’re guests of the Twitter community. Inviting our own guests who might not understand how Twitter works, and only see it as a tool to talk to us is a bit presumptuous.”

A follow-up to the above question: “There are some rules and practices on Twitter that aren’t immediately obvious to new users. (following, DMs, replys) It’s hard to help when people sign up and simply say, ‘hey, when’s my flight?’ assuming we see an unaddressed tweet.”

Southwest Airlines

southwest airlines twitter

Twitter Name: SouthwestAir

Southwest Airlines Official Tweeter: Meet Christi Day, the emerging social media specialist at Southwest Airlines, and the gal behind the famously low fair offering and customer-friendly twittering airline. According to Christi, Southwest, an early Twitter adopter, “had been blogging for more than a year when we discovered and joined Twitter in July 2007. We were intrigued by its possibilities.”

Stats: 6,085 following/8,287 followers

On 2009 promotional opportunities via Twitter: “We will do announcements on Twitter from events…posting pics/vids. And whatever else unfolds, we’re open to ideas : )” [Twitterers take note – I think she’s hinting that they want good ideas from you]

On lessons learned: “Be honest, be real, be quick, be FUN”

When asked about internal awareness re:Twitter: “Hard to say for sure, but we promote our activity internally and encourage Employee participation.”

Double Whammy, my work post.

25 03 2009

last week's to-do listIt has taken me a week, but I’ve crossed off everything on my to-do list, with the exception of some new spreadsheets for future efficiency. I had sublists within the master list and it’s pretty much done. The highlighted part describes a new task that I am going to spend the afternoon working on. My load lightened significantly after a school district shut my event down. I am sad to have to abide by their wishes because it was going to be a very unique story about a music program in Music Appreciation Month! The teacher and music coordinator have been so enthusiastic to host the media and show off some of their new instructional tools. Needless to say, I had to honor their wishes and play by the rules. Hopefully we  will have all of the red tape clear for a prospective event next month, I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

There is so much red tape wrapped up policy and procedure. I wonder if and when people will ever address issues, head-on, and learn to communicate! In college, I imagined that crisis communication would be a hot business because there always seems to be negative media perpetuating stories to the masses. However, that is certainly not the case. Bad press continues to be bad press and companies and school districts alike do not always deter negative messaging. They are like my mom who would, sometimes, pretend I didn’t just tell her something bad that I did. Just because you (Mr. Big-Wig Whose-a-ma-call-it) did not issue a statement doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Today, I was told of a prospective client that did not want to work with us because we are based out of the US. My informant educated me on the recent bashing that has been circulated virally through online social networking. This group, we will call Client X, is overseas and fearful of the encompassing OSN. Excuse me, Lord Proprietor of Client X, I think it would be wise for you to act within the environment that throws your name around with such disdain. Why don’t you participate in the dialogue and throw some positive conversation into the mix. How do you expect to yield positive results if you fail to give positive experiences? I say, jump into the loop and stand up for yourself. Who are you, to deem us unworthy of your contract? Americans tweet better because it is a platform that was created in America! (Excuse the patriotic tone) Who would be better to fight your battles in the realm that you so passionately said you must be apart of? Just because Americans are not your target market?! American tourists tend to jet-set around the entire continent (country-to-country where you could be expanding your business) and your good name could encourage others to patron your business and spread your good business by word of mouth and viral marketing. Above all, online social media is a strength of our company and in this day and age we are not limited by our location. Most of our clients are not even within our own state!

Your hesitance makes me less likely to refer you to my European family and friends. Your backwards thinking is not very progressive in the current marketplace and I feel like you will only succumb to issuing press releases for all the days of your life! Discrimination is not right, it’s outdated!

(Stepping off of the soap box). I wasn’t trying to be dramatic, it was the Caramel Delight GSA cookies that I’ve been eating.

Today has been a day of post scripting. I am aware of the powers that be’s need for control. I understand the concept of controlling a message. I respect the decisions you have to make, but dissonance of fears must come from some creative Googling and research. We researched you and are equipped with the ability to approach you with a gameplan. Rather than being a stick in the mud, how about being a leaf in the wind? Let the wave of viral marketing set you free to embrace others who are being blown my social network tools. Together we can strategize for positive communication and spread the joyous news of you being amiable and service-oriented. I am going to have a pull a card from my mom, though, if you fail to seek out means of positive communication, for your own benefit, then I will have to believe you aren’t doing anything to improve your uncheerful disposition and that your quality of service for your customers will continue to create pandemonium for the rest of us chatting it up on Twitter!

Hump Day

18 03 2009

3.18 | 24 hours until my 24th year.  I am walking into it with a head held low, and shoulders slightly a kilter.

Today, I am working on crafting my pitch for the Memphis event next week. A look at Music Appreciation Month in Ken Greene’s classroom with an interactive demonstration of instructional technology in the music program. Then I must must must build a master list and mock-up for America’s Promise on March 30th!

STS9 is playing at The Orange Peel tonight and I have had my ticket since 12.17.2008! Talk about blast from the past! I’d be willing to sell it to Marisa if she can manage to sub her yoga class and drive up from Charleston. Otherwise, I wonder if it is worth it to go to a show when you aren’t in the festive mood? Perhaps, it’s better to not know what you are missing and build some anticipation for a stellar performance when my skies are clearer. Or maybe this will be the thing to snap me out of the funk.

I hate to close abruptly, but my thoughts are robbed by my to-do list and time-sensitive tasks that are flooding my head.

The most disappointing day of work, everrr.

5 03 2009
I feel small, and on the verge of tears.

I feel small, and on the verge of tears.

Today, I let myself down. Down so hard I feel like I let everyone else down.

The situation: I was coordinating a media event yesterday at the Rayburn Building in Washington DC. Students and teachers made up a delegation that were presenting to legislators on The Hill with instructional classroom technology. Exciting tools for the 21st Century classroom that are supported in the education stimulus. Hosted by Congressman Jack Kingston’s office, these students had ongoing presentation in 5 stations in the lobby of the Rayburn. I had invited education publications, major print news outlets, local broadcast news stations, all the way up to Fox News and CNN.

The problem: Nobody could confirm because if you have not noticed there is a shortage of staffing everywhere. Journalists are up to their noses in assignments and news tips that breeze by their desk daily. There is no relief and thus a really great story was sidelined by whatever headlines are on the stands today. Apparently, I was informed that a Prime Minister was in attendance.

In hindsight: I felt like I performed to the best of my ability given the timeliness that this event was presented to my inbox. I had 1 week to pitch this story and it takes me a 1/2 day to scouring the internet for relevant contacts that would best cover the beat of this story. I usually have 3-4 wks to prepare for an event, but I rolled with the punches. I am more aware to develop more creative ways to garner attention around the stories I pitch for our clients and explore unconventional outlets when I feel like my story is not being well-received.

I will admit; however, that I was riding on a high from pitching a regional event in Nashville from the day before. I managed to snag two news stations and The Tennessean. My tactics tend to work for a smaller media market, now I need to manifest those skills into the larger playing field. DC is a hot bed for information. I need to hone my skills to capture the attention of the district. I thought personalized pitches would be well-received. I obviously have more learning to do. I would love to hear any advice of comments about breaking into a major media market. Today I will work on follow-up stories in Georgia and I hope I can put something together on AP newswire in Atlanta. I will also try to force my hand for post-event interviews with the delegation that travelled to DC. I have my work cut out for me if I am going to earn redemption, just in my own eyes.

I am so thankful for good friends who promptly checked in on my and the tweet-love from my colleagues. I am even more thankful that I am harder on myself than anyone else I work with because I don’t think I could take the scrutiny. I’ll let you know how it goes at the end of the month, I have an event in Memphis and an America’s Promise event– I am just praying I don’t screw up for Colin Powell!