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 ‘social networking’ Category
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Jenna Finn | Wednesday, February 26, 2014 No Comments »
The Past, the Present, and the Future Walked Into a Bar. It Was Tense
Welcome to 2014 – the year of the Horse, Radiant Orchid, and constant communication. Although we are talking to others all the time, they way we are communicating has drastically changed. Why write letters when you can send an email, a tweet, or a text? Why take the time to write words out when you can abbreviate them as LOL, BRB, or WTF? Will grammar and punctuation stay relevant or will commas be replaced by hashtags and emojis?
In public relations, grammar and punctuation are more important than ever. In the PR field, our job is to communicate effectively and efficiently – and that’s hard to do with spelling errors, misplaced punctuation, and incorrect grammar. A pitch filled with glaring mistakes is also a fast way to land your e-mail right into a reporter’s trash folder. In 2014, let’s all channel our inner “grammar nerd” and remember some very important rules that every PR practitioner should know:
- There, they’re, and there are not interchangeable. Not now, not ever.
- An apostrophe does not make something plural. Rather, it makes something possessive.
- There are set rules for comma usage. For 13 rules for using commas without looking like an idiot, check out this great Business Insider article – and remember, commas save lives…
If you’re ever in need of a quick grammar check, here are some great resources I often use as a guide:
I’ll confess, I’m a big grammar nerd. Are you? Feel free to share your grammar pet peeves, your favorite grammar rules, and your go-to grammar resources here.
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Alexis Eliopoulos | Friday, February 21, 2014 No Comments »
Beyoncé Changing The Way of Music?
Each morning I stroll through my emails and check social media for any overnight excitement. One particular Friday morning while strolling through Instagram, I saw Beyoncé’s name in pink with the caption, “Surprise” and proceeded to watch the video announcing her latest album including 14 songs and 17 videos. I’m sorry – is this real?
It was real, and Queen B decided to launch her album on social media without any advance warning. According to Mashable, the surprise album generated 5,300 tweets per minute and spiked more than 1,300% mentions on Facebook. As a PR professional, my immediate thought was, “Beyonce just took traditional PR and Social promotion to the next level…and killed it. Typically before an album release, artists drop their single on the radio and begin media tours for at least 2-3 months prior to the release. They hit the national TV circuit, appear on magazine covers, and try to maximize publicity for their upcoming album with tactics including highly-visible PR stunts. For example, Miley Cyrus gave a memorable VMA performance in preparation for her “Bangerz” album release. However, Beyoncé wanted to do something different.
In the only press release issued after the album went on sale, Beyoncé said the following, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it, I am bored with that.” Beyoncé – and her genius team – took control of the power of social media and made a direct connection with her audience. The album sold 80,000 copies in the first three hours and continues to dominate sales. While the initial shock of this “surprise” release has subsided, it has earned its spot in history. It will not be soon forgotten, and should serve to inspire others brands to “kick it up” when it comes to how they approach product promotions and leverage social media as much as possible.
Do you think social media will change the entertainment industry?Read more
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Ginny Pitcher | Friday, January 3, 2014 4 Comments
Social Media’s Next Generation: Disappearing
Allowing Trey, my 11-year-old son, to create a Facebook profile at the age of nine seemed like a smart, savvy move. As someone who preaches the benefits of a connected, socially enabled world, I had no fears about prematurely turning over the keys to the largest social network on the planet. I figured that I would be able to monitor what he posted, gain insight into his relationships, and truly see – through his interactions – what type of man he was becoming.
Yeah, well, that was a short-lived experiment. The only one who posts to Trey’s Facebook page is me. Every picture, sappy testament on how proud I am as a mother (completely self serving), or forced-family-fun event where Trey is tagged, litters his Newsfeed. There are no girls popping on asking if he likes them. There’s no picture, where he tags all his bros and waxes poetic about their friendship. Good luck finding a statement about his beautiful, supporting and funny mother. It just ain’t happening.
@TroubleBrown isn’t interested in chronicling his life through Facebook or even shooting out snippets through Twitter (oh yeah, I already pushed that on him when he was eight, http://ampersandblog.com/2011/03/28/is-tweeting-at-8-years-old-too-young-one-mothers-confession/). Trey and his comrades have chosen to become the disappearing generation – where content isn’t captured for a lifetime in a newsfeed or content stream. Trey and his friends skew toward platforms like Snapchat (snapchat.com), where content fades once viewed, and ask.fm (www.ask.fm), where users hurl anonymous questions at one another.
Scrounging through his profiles on both platforms, here is the fun stuff I can tell you:
- Sixth graders are obsessed with dating
- Words like “swag,” “idk,” and “baller” are used a lot
- Even though Trey couldn’t articulate what an adjective is, he can describe most kids with five
- Every so often someone from another country will post a question and they are always thoughtful, like: “what historical figure do you most despise?” or “what would you grow in your imaginary garden?” (Trey’s honest answer: money trees)
- Trey likes a lot of girls and uses the adjective “funny” as one of his top favorite traits in liking a girl
And here is the not-so-fun stuff I can tell you:
- Anonymity gives people balls and let’s them say unkind things
- Photos that disappear means that sometimes you do stupid things and don’t worry about the repercussions
- There’s just the slightest veil of secrecy with all of the anonymous, disappearing content that makes me uneasy, a little scared
- For the most part, I have no idea what Trey communicates or says about his friends, his life, me
So, where does this leave me? While I probably thought I was being progressive by letting Trey establish his social profile early on, I’m find myself at the same crossroads as every parent (even those more conservative than me…shutter). Just because you turn over the keys to the social kingdom, there is no guarantee that your kid will take the same path. New technology, sometimes driven by the faults of old technology, will be developed, adopted and appropriated by different generations. And sometimes, that means that you just won’t be part of it. Ultimately, if I did my job right, Trey will respect the boundaries of what is good and suitable content. It will mean that if he were to save every photo he shared, every comment he posted, every interaction he had, his story would be that of a kind, fun and loving boy. So, I’m not holding my breath on this one…but I’m pretty sure I got most of it right.Read more
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Jennifer Brogan | Friday, November 22, 2013 No Comments »
A Cool, Crowdfunded Disruptor
As an agency that represents low-to-no awareness, consumer-facing brands, the Kel & Partners PR team works with a number of startups who are taking on CPG industry giants and internet behemoths in order to change the status quo in their respective industries with products that are more affordable for consumers, more convenient for us, or perhaps healthier for us. They’re attempting to shake up old school industries that are ripe for change. They are “Davids” going up against “Goliaths” – the latter obviously with much deeper pockets.
As a result, in my personal/non-work life, I like to support these types of brands – casting a vote for change with my dollar. One company that I spotted recently is a startup by the name of Soma. They’re taking BRITA head-on with a water filter pitcher with a sleek glass design and a convenient subscription model that delivers filters to your door every 60 days.
Keeping the planet in mind, Soma filters are made from Malaysian coconut shells and are 100% compostable. And, they’ve effectively eliminated all the things that drive me crazy about BRITA – those little black carbon particles, the cheap plastic design with a detachable lid that often results in epic spills – and remembering to schlep to the drugstore to buy filters on time.
The coolest part? Soma did it with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter – raising over $100,000 in just 10 days. Public backers enabled the founders to bring this idea to market, pledging from just $5 to over $5,000. Pretty amazing that we live in a world where someone with a smart idea for change can go head-to-head with a 40+year-old global company (BRITA) with a revenue approaching half a billion dollars. We’re no longer subject to stagnancy with the products we consume. For just 5 bucks, we can actually be agents for change and can help plant the seed to create better-for-us products with potential to transform industries.
In fact, TIME’s “25 Best Inventions of the Year 2013” published just last week featured three inventions that were crowdfunded on Kickstarter – including a pen that actually writes in 3D. The company was hoping for $30,000 on the platform. They’ve raised over $2 million. Pretty incredible.
Have you spotted any cool, crowdfunded disruptors in your shopping travels lately?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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Andy Clinkman | Friday, June 1, 2012 3 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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Deirdre Carey | Monday, February 6, 2012 5 Comments
YMNKM, but I am a SWF, and mom of 2.
Both my children have cellphones, both text and my teenage son is on FB constantly.
I consider myself pretty hip. I mean, I own an iPhone, post on FB and wear skinny jeans with UGGS. Yes, I text too. However, as a writer, it is hard for me not to use proper sentence structure, grammar even when communicating through mobile devices. I know my lengthy, full sentences (okay, paragraphs), grammatically correct, properly punctuated texts drive people nuts, especially my kids, who I know take one look at a text (novel) from me and actually read it in its entirety. But all these text & chatting acronyms drive me crazy.
I have no issue with the ones I’ve known and used since my youth: BBQ, BYOB, MYOB, FYI, PDQ, TGIF, ASAP, ETC., XOXO (which, BTW, I believe I coined back in the 8th grade as a way to sign all the letters I wrote and passed to my BFF’s in class, and am now wishing I trademarked because everyone uses it today!) And of course, my three favorites: PYT & TLC (thanks to endless hours of listening to my Michael Jackson Thriller album). And NKOTB (If you don’t know who I’m referring to, then you might not be cool enough to be texting anyway. I’m just sayin’).
So, in an effort to up my texting etiquette, and have the ability to decode what my kids are saying when I spy on their phones & FB posts, I did what every red blooded American would do, I turned to Google to find the top most popular text & chat acronyms.
Here’s my .02.
YMAK a lot of acronyms, but BM&Y, IDK many!
KYFC I use acronyms correctly when chatting with BFF’s.
U may think TPS
Here are my top 11 (it doesn’t always have 2B 10) new favorites I will use often:
1) TNSTAAFL – There’s no such thing as a free lunch
2) RUOMCUMHD – Are you on medication because you may have missed a dose
3) FCOL – for crying out loud! (An expression my mom used on a daily basis when I was a kid. That and “I’m going to brain you! WT* does that even mean? IDK)
4) GOYHH <insert name> – get off your high horse
5) ^5 – High-five (how did I NOT know that one?)
6) BISFLATM – But I still feel like a turquoise monkey
7) LMKITWFY – let me know if that works for you
8) HFAC – Holy flipping animal crackers
9) YYSSW – Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, whatever
10) RME – rolling my eyes (I will use this one the most!)
11) SWAK – Sealed with a kiss (since everyone stole my xoxox!)
And here is one I’m going making up myself that I hope catches on:
TSWCOT! – The sun will come out tomorrow! Y? Because it’s positive, it’s upbeat, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Annie the musical TYVM!
What a GR8 learning experience!
10Q 4 reading my post!
Have 2 GBTW now
PS: Ne1 want 2 add?
FF to comment.
No TMI PLS.
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Jayne Seward | Tuesday, December 27, 2011 1 Comment
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