December 31, 2007

Laptop Pisser of the Year

Well, I have been traveling around and my HP Pavilion laptop's hard drive failed while in FL. I am somewhat bummed because I had drafted a few posts that were good and wanted to share them, but unfortunately saved all posts on my hard drive which failed.

What a pisser.

Anyways, I wanted to praise Staples for their excellent service offered while dealing with the hard drive failure, which happened on New Year's Eve. I was extreamly surprised by the fact that Staples (which carries my extended warrenty) had tech support available on New Years Eve, but they did and were able to help.

It sucks that my HP laptop's hard drive failed, but the fact that Staples (my extended warrenty carrier) was able to help on New Years makes me happy to be a valued customer.

With that said, once I get back to VT it will be a few days until I am able to blog again. So Happy New Year and see you in 2008 when my laptop is repaired.


JJ Ciempa

December 12, 2007

I am an ENFP

Over the last few weeks our office has been involved in discovering the type of work and communication styles each of the team members are as a way to learn more about how to effectively work together.  

We have been using the Myers-Briggs type indicator to deDolphintermine what each of our personality types are and interestingly enough my type has a natural draw toward begin a journalist (ENFP). This is a strong indication to why I chose public relations as my profession. I also learned that the dolphin is the animal that represents an ENFP.

To break it down for you, my letters stand for:

E = Extroverted; N = Intuition; F=Feeling; P = Perceiving 

After completing our team building I learned new ways to communicate with the other 15 different personality types. In addition, I gained an understanding that my profile is good for intuitively seeing underlying connections between relationships. This is particularly important since the "R" in PR is all about relationship building and maintaining.

An ENFP is also known for their role as the "inspirer." We are able to invest into a relationship with another individual and stir up some inspiration to get ideas started and goals accomplished.   

Our uncanny ability to intuitively understand people within a relatively short period of time proves that we are an asset for any "PR" position because we see important relations connections that others cannot.

Our decision making process is based on intuition and perception which for other types may come off as soft facts. However, we consider the impact of a decision on a personal level and try to accommodate everyone's interests.

As for the "limited" negatives that come with an ENFP. We can tend to fail with follow through on our duties if we do not feel excited about them and need to keep ourselves in check so that we do not jump to the wrong conclusions.

Aside from that we are born communicators, risk-taking, ingenious, people-focused, intuitive and energetic people with a wide range of abilities and possibilities to embrace and bring to the world around us.

Let me know what your type is and feel free to comment about mine...

December 4, 2007

Thoughts about pitching to bloggers

While reading the "Global Neighborhoods" blog titled, "Note to communicators: Join in, don't pitch" the following thoughts came to mind and compelled me to post the following comment.

Unfortunately, I think part of the problem is that many agencies push their publicists to pitch to influentials rather than contribute to the conversation. In a strict business sense it is viewed as a more cost effective way to disseminate information because it can reach a wider range of “influentials.”

That same release that was sent to you, most likely went to other bloggers with a similar beat. The tactic of pitching only requires a publicist to draft a generic news release that can then be sent to hundreds of editors, journalists, bloggers and key influencers with the hopes that at least 30% of the recipients run with the information.

What you are asking is for the publicist to join in many different conversations. This would require many tailored bits of information and a higher level of involvement that is not as cost effective. Imagine the amount of time that it would take to write 100 different releases of information, tailored to specific conversations of that day’s post.

I will ask my first question: What has a better return on investment when attempting to get a client into the blogosphere? Pitching a generic news release or building relationship by joining in on the conversation?

As summed up by Katie Paine in her new book “Measuring Public Relationships” ( many of us tend to forget that the “R” in “PR” stands for relations. Thus, many publicists do not focus on building relationships with the influentials that they rely on. Instead, they solicit them with news release emails, phone calls and negative attitude if the release is not picked up in the media outlet.

I will ask a second question: What's more valuable? Generating a many hits with a generic news release or building dialogue with bloggers?

Focusing on generating blog hits through shotgun pitching strategies is not a good way to show any client ROI. If successful all you accomplish is getting it through the gatekeeper at that moment in time, but eventually the backlash will be that the blogger you keep pitching too feels abused and eventually blacklists you severing the relationship building opportunities that could have blossomed by joining in on the conversation.

My third question is how do you make blogging more cost effective? As for solving the problem of how to join in many conversations, a publicist should not be the only person blogging for a client. They should build a blog list and offer higher level strategy and best practices advice to the client on how to appropriately blog. They should also encourage the client to get employees engaged in all blogging efforts. There is no one who can talk more about the company than its employees.

Finally, does pitching have a place in PR? For much of traditional media, pitching will never go away. For example, the only way to get into the Wall Street Journal print edition is to pitch your story to a key reporter or buy advertising. However, I agree with you and many other bloggers (myself being new to the game) that a publicist should not try to infuse old communication techniques, such as pitching a story, to new media outlets, such as blogs.

Bloggers start blogs to create a forum for open discussion on a topic of interest that the blogger enjoys facilitating and is knowledgeable about. People go to blogs to participate in conversation and share ideas and opinions, while they go to traditional news outlets to consume vetted information.

As a side note, I want to point out that I am not affiliated with Katie Paine or her new book. Rather, I’m in the process of reading the first pages and felt compelled to share some thoughts from reading her book in my comment. I also recommend it to anyone looking for solid information about measuring their public relations.

Feel free to comment on my latest thoughts.

November 25, 2007

Belated thoughts about Anderson's actions on "The Long Tail" blog

I was asked by our intern at the office my thoughts about Chris Anderson's actions in regards to posting 329 publicists emails on his blog. Below is what I thought of the entire incident.

Having followed Chris Anderson’s blog prior to his actions of posting roughly 329 PR professional’s emails my opinion is a bit mixed. The unfortunate thing about Chris’ actions is that it has brought about negative reactions from other journalists toward fellow PR practitioners.

Shortly after Anderson posted the emails, Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Tim Page of the Washington Post responded to an unsolicited news release that he received about D.C. Council member Marion Barry's views on a community hospital issue with a jocular note back to the publicist stating:

“Must we hear about it every time this crack addict attempts to rehabilitate himself with some new--and typically half-witted--political grandstanding? I'd be grateful if you would take me off your mailing list. I cannot think of anything the useless Marion Barry could do that would interest me in the slightest, up to and including overdose.” Source of above information came from George Simpson of Media Post.

I agree with fellow publicists that it was unprofessional for Anderson to post a list of emails and to call them “lazy flacks,” since we are supposed to work together. As for Tim Page’s reply to the unsolicited press release it too was inappropriate, and agree with Washington Post Management’s decision to have Page publicly apologize

However, both of these responses to those press releases raise a bigger ethical issue about how we as publicists distribute releases to journalists. They both point to a lack of due diligence on the part of the publicist who should determine if the email they have for a editor/ journalist is the right person to send a particular press release too. Simply relying on media contact information from purchased databases, such as Cision or online editorial information is not an end all resource for smart media/ blogger outreach and media relations.

There are no excuses for why a publicist should not be able to take the time to call the publication to ensure your press release reaches the right person and is not seen as spam or lazy behavior. As a member of the PR industry we are responsible to ensure the industry’s image is not seen in a negative way.

October 9, 2007

Web 2.ooh am I exhausted

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - In studying and/or promoting web-technology, the phrase 'Web 2.0 refers to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users. The term spread following the first O'Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004.

I pulled the above definition of Web 2.0 so that anyone reading this post could have a quick understanding of the term. But more importantly, it is included to give understanding to the efforts needed to be a Web 2.0 player or "social networker" in our new generation of web communities.

While sitting in my townhouse and setting up the many social-networking site accounts that I belong to (Facebook, Myspace, Vermont PR, PRSA,, Technorati, MyRagan) and the list goes on, the realization that in order to be a web 2.0 player much effort is needed to build profiles and create content on each of my social-networking sites. More importantly, once I have all these accounts set up, continual time will need to be invested in each of the accounts so that information is managed and updated on a regular basis. "Talk about a second or third job all by itself."

One neat idea that came to mind while building a database on my computer to keep track of all my social network accounts was that it would be really nice if someone developed a social-networking site content management program that allowed us to manage all our sites from one program. (If this already exists could anyone in the know recommend and comment about it so that I can begin using it for social-networking site management). The premise of the program should be similar to an offline blog editor (my favorite being Windows Live Writer) where many blog accounts can be managed from a single program.     

October 6, 2007

How do bloggers communicate

As a new blogger and communications consultant I am trained to communicate flawlessly with precise execution of spoken language.

However, as a member of society that is not how we communicate with each other. Flaws are everywhere. Sentences do not make sense, and use of words may even be incorrect.

One of my biggest concerns about blogging is that readers will see my writing flaws and discredit my thoughts. Errors in punctuation, mis-spelled words and maybe even non-complete sentences will happen from time to time. Should the reader expect perfection or look beyond the written text to the messages being published.

Do we as bloggers communicate our written posts according to a set of style rules similar to that of the newspapers? AP Style. Or Do we as bloggers communicate our written posts according to how we speak them?

Many fellow bloggers feel that we should communicate through our blog according to how we would communicate in person. On one of my favorite podcasts, "For Immediate Release" a brief discussion took place about how bloggers communicate when blogging and both Shel and Neville agreed that when they blog they write their posts as if speaking them to the reader.

I think that when we communicate via blogging spelling and grammar are important, but should not be the focus when determining if what the blogger communicates is valuable.

As more blogging happens the written word becomes better formulated with less errors, but the purpose of a blog is to communicate ideas, generate conversation and provide a publication outlet for everyone. Not just journalists, writers and professionals.

If this is true, then as a blogger will my written errors decrease the validity of my thoughts, messages and information being relayed thus discrediting my ideas within the posts?

I would love to have a comment on this thought to see what fellow bloggers feel about blog writing style.

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September 29, 2007

Microsoft Virtual Earth Plugin

Map image

It is Saturday night and I am just about to go out with my crew, but first wanted to share this neat plugin offered with WL Writer. It allows you to attach a virtual earth and or map to a post. this would come in really handy for discussion with the need to show where the location is for an event, construction site, event and any other need for displaying a location. The above "Birds Eye" shot is of my house and you can see my vehicle parked in the driveway. The below is a map of Burlington's New North End.

I have to say this is a very neat plugin that adds value to many types of blog posts.

Map image

September 28, 2007


This was a test to see how Windows Live Mail works with the blog live writer. It's a neat program that allows you to post emails to your blog for further discussion. The whole Windows Live family has impressed me so far, and the Windows Live Mail is like Outlook, but with Web 2.0 applications built into the program such as (said above) blogging, RSS feeds brought to your inbox and much more. 


September 25, 2007

Test Post Using Windows Live Writer

DSC00095I am writing today utilizing Windows Live Writer to see what type of options are available with this powerful blog content editing software.

So far, set up was very simple. After downloading Microsoft NET 2.0, the downloading of Windows Live Writer Beta was a breeze. I am in the process of now setting up my blog configuration and testing the features of Live Writer.

More posts will come shortly after I get used to using this interesting and easily adaptable software.

Cheers! And as always, more new media observations to come.


P.S: Enjoy the photo from my vacation in the Gulf of Mexico from two weeks ago.

July 10, 2007

"Podcasting" for all the right reasons

Podcasting is a powerful tool. The verbal translation of our words is much stronger than written text.

Point in case: I was having a discussion over IM the other day with an old friend and we were trying to have a deep, opinion based conversation. Through text, my words came off as harsh and pessimistic. All meaning was lost because the person on the receiving end had to rely on their interpretation of how I would say what I was typing. Translation was skewed, and the text was read and processed differently than how it would have been conveyed if spoken.

Keep in mind that this was a friend that I was speaking too who got it wrong. Just imagine if I was having a similar conversation with someone I barely knew, let us say through email or by responding to a comment on a favorite blog. They would not have only got it wrong, but they would have probably ended the conversation and not spoken to me again.

The above personal case study helps illustrate how podcasting can be applied to business communication for better management of the "whole" message. I use the word "whole" because you can better convey the meaning of your message when it's spoken. Text allows for the message to read, but not necessarily translated the way it is intended to be interpreted.

The power of podcasting breaks down that barrier of miscommunication that can happen if your reader misinterprets what they have read.

In business communications organizations can utilize podcasting for customer relations, employee communications, and shareholder relations (to name a few) for types of communications that would have traditionally used the written word in the form of a report or memo.

Our busy lives inhibit us from being able to read through the many memos and reports we may have emailed to us on a daily or weekly basis. If those same messages came in the form of a podcast, we would then (as information consumers) have the ability to listen and consume key information while in our car, at the gym or during our lunch break. Listening to a podcast is less time consuming and offers greater flexibility in consumption of messages delivered.

It just makes sense in many business communication situations. It will also help develop loyal customers, employees and shareholders by providing them with the information they need to feel informed, respected and valued.

That’s it for now, if you have a comment about this posting feel free to offer your observations and thoughtful comments about podcasting and its use in business communications. Check back soon to see what other observations I will have on podcasting.


- John

June 21, 2007

"Social Networking" at its' best

While listening to an "Across the Sound (ATS)” pod cast from my iTunes library, Joseph Jaffe mentions that in order to truly understand new media one needs to immerse oneself into social networking sites, blogging, podcasting and the many facets of this new communications industry.

Step one for me was to begin understanding online social networks. Prior to today, Facebook was my only social site, and in keeping with good advice from “ATS” I am in the process of signing up for and setting up LinkedIn, Myspace, and Audience Buzz. All of which are quite time consuming.

As always, observations about each social network site to come.

If you have comments or want to share your experience with each social network site, please comment on this post.



June 18, 2007

Welcome to "New Media" Observations

Welcome to "New Media" Observations,

The goal of this blog is to provide open and endless dialog for those interested in learning about "new media" and where it fits into public relations and socially responsible marketing communications.

More content to come.