Welcome to the Ampersand Blog
The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.
Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category
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Julia Kacmarek | Friday, September 19, 2014 No Comments »
Life Moves Fast, But News Moves Faster: How To Read & Understand It In Less Than 5 Minutes
We’ve all heard it before – the phrase that makes media pros cringe at the faintest mumble…
“I don’t have time for the news.”
For those of us in PR, it’s hard to think of a response other than, “Bologna.”
Our jobs consist of following headlines hourly, so life without it is hard to imagine. But if you work elsewhere, understanding the news may seem like a tedious, waste of work hours. That’s where you’re wrong.
The news can seem intimidating, confusing and complicated, but if you incorporate it into your daily routine, it will eliminate the dread of having to read and comprehend it all at once. Plus, knowing something about what’s going on outside of your office will impress your co-workers, friends, and even possible business partners or clients.
Try some of these simple changes:
- Turn On The TV in the AM: Primp for the day and listen to the morning news. Even if you aren’t actively paying attention, you will consume some of what’s going on.
- Skip the Playlist on Your Commute: Instead of listening to the same 20 songs on your playlist tomorrow morning, try skimming the news on your bus or train ride. If you drive to work, put on NPR – it’s more interesting than the boring talk radio stereotype many associate it with.
- Pair Morning Coffee with Skimming: Make it a morning ritual to read the news as you drink your first cup of coffee every day. If you only have ten minutes, take in the top stories with quick lists like The Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet, which lists all the stories you need to know in condensed paragraphs.
- Set Up Push Notifications: The Associated Press and other apps have notifications that will alert you with a short one-liner when any big breaking news happens.
- Follow News Sites on Twitter: Follow whatever site strikes your fancy – sports, breaking news, politics, local news, etc. You name it, they have a Twitter account.
- Subscribe to E-Newsletters: Many top news sites have daily newsletters you can subscribe to by email that will give you a synopsis of the day’s top stories. TheSkimm is one choice, but there are plenty of others out there.
Whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, businessman or woman, or work somewhere in between, there’s simply no excuse not to be in the know.Read more
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Alyssa Taliaferro | Friday, February 14, 2014 14 Comments
Who Are You On Valentine’s Day?
So today is Valentine’s Day, or as some people out there like to call it, just a regular, good old Friday. This holiday has turned into a commercial overkill of a day that can largely be attributed to marketing, and most recently, the art of social media. With mixed messages streaming through your Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds from the Valentine’s Day lovers, haters, and those in between, let’s all take a moment and be honest with ourselves. The most successful and mutual relationship we’ve ever held onto long enough (though not always beneficial for us) has been between us and that jar of Nutella.
So are you a Valentine’s Day hater – or a lover? Well, let’s see here.
Will you be channeling your inner Jessica Biel tonight with a group of friends for an I Hate Valentine’s Day extravaganza? Or maybe you’ll join in the fun on Twitter while you include #LonelyHeartsClub to the end of each Tweet you send from now until whenever you feel less bitter about your current situation. If so, here is a list of the top anti-Valentine’s day hashtags through the years (pulled from both Twitter and Instagram):
- #Selfie #Me #I #Love #Myself #NoFilter #WithFilter
…Or just maybe, you need some full-on Tweets to inspire you:
- “This candy will probably last longer than any love you’ll share.”
- “Are you into divorced lobbyists?”
- “February: It’s the only month you can compensate for your bitter Valentine’s Day disappointment by binging on pancakes.”
…Or you could turn to one of these celebrities who have been named the “Most Retweeted Celebs” on this holiday alone.
- Justin Bieber (feel free to skip this one)
- Emma Watson (I’m sure guys and girls alike will opt for this one)
- 50Cent (Oh?)
- Harry Styles (no explanation necessary)
If all this talk of the anti-Valentine is getting you down, you can choose to be one of those overly happy people in love and use a most-mentioned hashtag to back it up:
If both of these options don’t seem to sit quite right with you, you could be like this woman who, on Valentine’s Day last year in Brooklyn, gave out hundreds of Hello Kitty Valentine’s to people she saw on her commute to work. This woman’s name is Erika Anderson, and she is a freelancer based in Brooklyn, NY. When asked why she started the project, her response was rather inspiring.
“I think it can be such a terrible day, whether you’re single or with someone.”
So what will it be? Will you be wallowing in self-pity while sitting at a table for one with a cake for 50, surrounded by pink and white balloons and a heart-shaped piñata with a kazoo hanging from your mouth in the Indian restaurant around the corner? Will you be spending it with a loved one? (This doesn’t just mean a significant other, you know!) Or will you see the grander picture and do something for others whose suffering might go just a bit deeper than having no Valentine today?
No matter what your feelings are towards today or your hashtag preferences, reclaim Valentine’s Day as your own, and decide what you are going to do – or are not going to do, for that matter – to enjoy this day to celebrate you, and the love you have for yourself.Read more
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Caitlin Gribbons | Monday, December 2, 2013 19 Comments
Giving Back: The Reason for the Season
With the holiday season in full-swing, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of shopping, decorating, and party planning. Don’t lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays, an opportunity to give back to those less fortunate in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »Read more
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redheadmeag | Wednesday, August 28, 2013 No Comments »
Heyo! Facebook announces major changes to how contests can run on YOUR Facebook page
Our social media Peeps could barely sleep last night. We know you’re asking “why?” In the “new changes announced every minute” world of social media, it takes a lot to get us THIS excited. But this is pretty huge!
Late last night, Heyo broke some EPIC news: Facebook announced a loosing of restrictions on how contests can be administered on the site. We’d like to take a moment to give solid props to Heyo on this one. When we received the late-night email blast, we checked our fav in-the-know media sites (Mashable, TechCrunch, Business Insider) and couldn’t find the news anywhere else. But a quick check of Facebook’s Page Guidelines confirms the news, and our world will never be the same.
So, what’s changed, and what’s the big deal?
Historically, in order to host a contest on Facebook, page managers were required to utilize a third-party platform. With a bevvy of affordable and easy-to-use tools out there, this one wasn’t hard to manage (unless you weren’t familiar with the rules and were penalized for hosting a contest without this important step – yikes!). By opening up this restriction, Facebook is enabling the less “socially savvy” business owners to engage with their fans in a new and exciting way on Facebook, and eliminating the need for well-designed tabs to host a cool giveaway.
The biggest change is that no longer are page managers’ hands tied in using “Facebook functionality” as a method of contest entry. Want people to “like” a post to enter to win? Now you can! Want people to comment with feedback in order to enter your giveaway? Do it to it! And want to announce your winner on Facebook so all of your fans can see that you do in fact choose winners? THE FACEBOOK WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER!
While you cannot use “timeline activities” for contest entry (such as ”share this post to enter”), Facebook has given page admins a great new tool in providing meaningful, engaging content to your fans.
We’ve already got our wheels turning on how we’ll roll out contests for clients with these new changes in place. What do the changes mean to you?Read more
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kandpeeps | Friday, June 1, 2012 13 Comments
Can you imagine a world without Facebook?
My eyes were glued to the TV as I watched Mark Zuckerberg ring the NASDAQ opening bell and expose his company to further public scrutiny. For many looking to make a quick buck off of the IPO, Facebook has thus far looked like a dud. With stocks plummeting, critics of Facebook are proclaiming “I told you so” and quickly writing off this American success story. I can’t wait to tell the speculators “I told you so.”
See, I’m a child of the social generation. I’m not a financial advisor, nor am I an expert on everything tech. However, when Google went public in 2004, I could have told you it would be a great investment. When Apple was on the brink of collapse, I could have mentioned that they had the capability of really kicking butt. And with Facebook going public now, I’m telling you that Facebook will be around for the next 50 years.
The main critique of Facebook is that it’s just a social networking platform that won’t be able to deliver real value. It’s an understandable stance. After GM ended its agreement with Facebook for paid ads, the very prospect of Facebook ads being worthwhile for businesses came into question. If a large company can’t profit off of its advertisements, how can a small business?
With 85% of Facebook’s revenues coming from advertisements, weakness in the system is undoubtedly a bit scary. The roughly 1 billion unique users inhabiting the Facebook-world are still hard to monetize.
With news of Facebook’s overvaluation, investors are reasonably skeptical towards Facebook’s exact worth. But should they bet against the 800-pound gorilla?
The Future (my fearless forecast)
If we take a moment to remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” then we appreciate that Facebook is still gaining its legs. Facebook has already shifted the world.
After all, it was Facebook that piqued my interest in Public Relations and later Social Media. It was Facebook that filled my college days with event invitations to parties. It was Facebook that started revolutions and unified people against tyrannical governments. When a government completely forbids their populace from using a social networking site, there is definitely something special.
It is Facebook that is working to determine presidential elections. It is Facebook that connects family members worldwide. It is Facebook that allows users to actively participate in conversations around the World Wide Web. It is Facebook that will continue to change the social landscape for years to come. And it is Facebook that does not yet know its own potential.
And how will Facebook do it?
The potential of f-commerce (Facebook Commerce) to track data and optimize it for individual users is mind-blowing. Businesses will be able to reach ~1B users and sell merchandise directly through Facebook. Slowly, users are accepting that Facebook caters advertisements to interest and search history. Once Facebook finds a way to remove the taboo of being a social media site and harnesses its mobile potential, it will explode financially.
With all the comparisons to Myspace’s gigantic fall from grace, there is one big reason that Facebook won’t fail. It has time.
Facebook has what all businesses seek: a user base that is incredibly loyal. As much as people dislike the changes that Facebook makes to its platform, they always stay. The prospect of a gigantic user-base and technological advancements prepare Facebook for future progress.
This preparation for the future will work well as Facebook emerges as much more than a website. Think once again of the two tech companies that come to mind first, Apple and Google. Apple is now much more than a computer company (iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac) and Google is much more than a search engine (Android operating system, Google+, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Glasses).
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, told investors that ‘the one company closest to being like Apple is Facebook. And just today, Apple announced a partnership to build Facebook into their iOS 6 software.
So why are we betting against Facebook?
If you are a business owner, you probably would love the ability to do these things at a fraction of the cost
- Cater ads by interest and location
- Sell items to interested parties
- Create promotions
- Find new customers
- Interact with happy and disgruntled users
- Send messages to followers
However, Facebook does not just help businesses; it also educates the user on new products and allows for feedback that traditional media do not allow. After all, we trust our peers much more than we trust advertisements.
In the end
I’m putting my eggs in the Facebook basket. I’m no financial advisor, but I do see the potential of Facebook to continue to drastically change the worldwide business environment. Does this mean that Facebook will transfer into immediate justification of the $38.00 per share? Absolutely not, but I’ll leave it at this: I’m not betting against the social giant.
It may be a hunch, but can you see a world without Facebook?Read more
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Jenna Finn | Thursday, February 9, 2012 11 Comments
Stay classy, New England
This past week has been hard – not just for me, but for all New England sports fans. Sunday’s Super Bowl loss was a hard hit to take – and it was to NY, which only makes it hurt more. But we have to take it in stride. It’s all part of being a true Boston sports fan. You win some, you lose some. You win big, you lose bigger.
To make matters worse, a company (who will not be named) decided to pull a PR stunt making fun of Wes Welker. On Tuesday, a mere two days after the event, 900 pounds of Butterfinger candy bars were dumped in Copley Square. A women standing next to the candy was holding a sign. The sign read: “Thank you Wes Welker”.
Now, here is my problem with this whole thing. That is just too mean. It wasn’t only Wes Welker’s fault that the Pats lost. Isn’t the motto “you win as a team and lose as a team?” Also, there is no way that is funny. Maybe I’m taking it personally because I am still getting over the loss (yes, a week later!), but I don’t see how this PR stunt can be seen positively.
Also not funny- “Bradying”. Don’t do it. It won’t make you look cool.
If I were from New York I would think differently about this whole situation, but since I am from the great city of Boston, I say back off and let us grieve in peace – no more not funny PR stunts please.
What do you think? Do you think the Butterfingers stunt was appropriate?Read more
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Alosha O'Brien | Thursday, January 5, 2012 88 Comments
This Is going To Be The Best year Aver.
Hi My friend’s This Is Alosha I Work Ate Kel&partners. I Came to Work here thru Best Buddies. I Want To Shear My Axperians Ate New years. My faverit Is The fiyear Works I Like To play game’s With My family New year’s Is very dafrient Holiday It Is Wear We Look for Wood To The New year & We Hope It Is going To Be The Best One & It Is All way’s Is The Best I Hope We geat Some More Of The Nice Weather Sow Far It Been The Best Winter Aver With out Snow & I Like That My favorit Is Summer Wear I go Swimming & going On My friend’s Bowt & going fishing With My friend’s from NEPVA. I Love going To Plasis & going out To Danner It Is The Best Time I Like To Se Band’s That Come To The Cape It Is Sow Mach fun. New year’s Is The Best Time To Make New Rasalushions On What you Want To Do In your Life & What your Dreame’s Are Like geating A New Job That Is Rite To you & What you Love To Do. I Love Music & I AM going To Se if I Cane Take Music Lasing’s Ate The Shcool I Weant Wear I Took Band Clasiss. I Love Music It Is My faverit I Payd Drume’s Wean I Was In The Band I Love’d going To Plasis I Naver Been. I Did go To Orlando florida A capole of Time’s With Avery One That I AM friend’s With. This New year Is going To Be The Best One Aver I AM going To Play My Music & going In To Work Wear I Love To Be Avery day I AM So very Lucky To Have This Job Thank’s To Best Buddi’s & Kel. This Is going To Be The Best year Aver.
Alosha O’BrienRead more
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Jayne Seward | Tuesday, December 27, 2011 19 Comments
A fun reminder of the clothes I ill never afford/fit into, the home décor I will never afford/fit into our small home, the recipes and crafts I am too lazy to ever make, the saying I wasn’t clever enough to think of on my own, the photos I wish I had taken but didn’t.
If you haven’t yet heard of Pinterest, the virtual bulletin board phenomenon taking the Internet by storm, you soon will. The food… the party planning… the crafts… Pinterest is slowly taking over my life (but I love it). And I’m not alone in my obsession.
The site, which launched in March 2010, is still invite-only and yet has managed to rack up over 4 million active users according to its Facebook page. If that’s not proof of an emerging social network, I don’t know what is.
For those of you who have yet to discover the addictive power of Pinterest, here’s the 411:
- Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize and share all the inspriational things you find on the web.
- You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
- People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.
- A pin is an image added to Pinterest.
- A pin can be added from a website using the Pin It button, or you can upload images from your computer.
- Each pin added using the Pin It button links back to the site it came from.
- A board is a set of pins.
- A board can be created on any topic, such as My Style, Recipes For Dinner, or Wishlist.
- You can add as many pins to a board as you want.
My personal Pinterest repertoire ranges from places/countries I want to visit, sassy manicure designs, and even a board of inspiration for my future tattoo (if I’m ever ballsy enough to get one).
So whether you want to create a board on crafty DIY projects you find online, or you want to plan your imaginary wedding, I highly recommend checking out Pinterest and requesting an invite ASAP…. Or ask me for an invite! I’m more than happy to help out a future pin-oholic!
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Kendyll Messina | Thursday, December 15, 2011 No Comments »
Santa Has Elves, You Have Social Media
With the holiday season upon us, it is crunch time for most when it comes to holiday shopping. When you consider the amount of time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, and foursquare why not use your favorite social media sites to help cross everyone off your holiday shopping list?
It can be as easy as following the brand names you know your best friend likes on Twitter to see what is hot and new for the holiday season, to get some “giftspiration”, or getting a gift card to the bar your brother is the mayor of on foursquare. A lot of stores are also giving great coupons and discounts once you “like”,” follow”, or “check in” at a particular spot!
It’s super easy to “like” a page on Facebook, but did you know that a lot of pages give exclusive savings and giveaways to their Facebook fans? Check the home pages of your favorite stores /brands and look for a link to their Facebook page. “Like” them, and you could get your brand name gifts for less!
Not sure how to find the best deals on Twitter? A quick search on popular hashtags such as #deals and #coupons will show you what discounts other people are sharing and talking about. For more, just follow the professional deal seekers! A few of my favorites are @CouponTweet, @retailmenot, and @FabulousSavings.
When it comes to foursquare, all you have to do is look up the specials near your location, check in, and reap the rewards! You will find anything from a discount off your purchase to freebies!
By using these social media sites you can save time and money (which we all know is the goal throughout the holiday season!). With the help of social media there is no need to get involved with the masses of people doing their last minute holiday shopping, you can get everything done right from home ( you are more than likely going to be on these sites throughout the day anyway, right? )
When it is time to open gifts you can sit back and relax while everyone receives exactly what they wanted! Santa may have elves, but you have social media ☺Read more
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redheadmeag | Monday, December 12, 2011 6 Comments
In the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of negative backlash directed at Klout, based on an algorithm change that caused a lot of people’s scores to plummet. As for me, I’ve been a skeptic since I got my first Klout score. Now, I’m no Ashton Kutcher (gratefully) but I’ve been on Twitter for nearly 4 years and consider myself something of a Twitterholic. Imagine my surprise when I got my Klout score -– a meager 30- – and learned that I’m considered “influential” about…real estate?
Real estate? A happy renter that’s never even been to an open-house, I can’t imagine in what universe I’d be considered knowledgeable on the subject, let alone influential. (Editorial side note – a recent check of my Klout score now has me influential about PR, family and Massachusetts…perhaps thanks to those recent algorithm changes? More info in this article from Adweek: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/klout-faces-foes-136721)
As our collective consciousness has evolved past the “my follower/friend count defines my SM self worth” stage of evolution (see posts from Ginny Pitcher and Chris Brogan for more on that), I think we all look for some metrics that will define our status as “rock star.” (I’ve always been a fan of HubSpot’s continuously evolving Twitter Grader –- perhaps because it gives me an A+?) Tools like Klout can either be validation, or useful for those starting out to figure out if they’re “doing it right.” I’m not so sure that Klout is an effective tool for either of those situations.
A recent post by Hollis Tibbetts on SocialMediaToday has a nice little case study on “gaming” Klout that I think is a pretty clear illustration of what (IMO) is wrong with the service: http://socialmediatoday.com/softwarehollis/385964/exposed-klout-scores-still-garbage-after-all-these-days.
Maybe my 30 isn’t so bad? Some interesting insights in this piece: “Why I deleted my Klout profile,” (check out the insights under #6), http://socialmediatoday.com/pammoore/389381/why-i-deleted-my-klout-profile
With the advent of +Ks, I think there’s a chance that Klout’s “influencer” metrics may be improved by some user-generated control. While the site is still technically in beta, I’ll look to see continued improvement that makes what they’re measuring more meaningful. I wonder if by the time they get there, though, anyone will consider it so.
What’s your Klout score? Are you a fan of the service?Read more