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 ‘Technology’ Category
- Twitter Facebook
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
- Twitter Facebook
AClinkman | 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
- Twitter Facebook
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.
- Twitter Facebook
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!
- Twitter Facebook
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
- Twitter Facebook
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
- Twitter Facebook
Alexis Eliopoulos | Thursday, September 29, 2011 1 Comment
From PR tools to celebrity obsessions: here are my top 5 accounts to follow!
As of today, my following count on Twitter is exactly 437 people. Some people have said to me, “you enjoy hitting the ‘follow’ button a little too much”. However, I like following different people, brands, celebrities, and news outlets. It allows me to get different information from all ends of the spectrum. At times, Twitter can get overwhelming, especially when you leave it open for five minutes and there are over 85 new Tweets! Since our culture is impacted by information overload, I wanted to break down my top five accounts to follow. Check it out:
@boston – For fellow Bostonians, this is a must. @boston has constant updates about news, traffic, and weather. For me, it is especially helpful for morning and evening commutes – I’m updated at all times!
@mediapost – MediaPost covers a wide variety of topics such as daily, media, online, and marketing news. The best part of following MediaPost is the constant news updates and the different blogs.
@nycprgirls – They have become my PR bible! These 20-something PR girls in NYC hit every point whether it is PR, fashion, even TV show reviews. They were my go-to guide during post-grad interviews and had some helpful tips while prepping for interviews.
@thoughtcatalog – There is a “follow must” for every age: Thought Catalog nails every real life situation. For example, “Lies Felicity Told Me About College,” 10 Life lessons Learned From Playing Minesweeper,” or my personal favorite, “Things I Want To Say To The People on The Subway.” If you’re looking for a mid-afternoon giggle, please follow them! Major props to my fellow colleague, @missjrf for pointing them out!
@kimkardashian – It’s okay, you can judge me but I don’t care. I have a Kardashian obsession. Let’s face it, she branded herself pretty well, even if it did come after a sex tape. She just hit 10 million followers, which puts her in fifth place on Twitter.
Who are some of your favorite accounts to follow?
- Twitter Facebook
redheadmeag | Thursday, September 1, 2011 4 Comments
Facebook announcing music streaming through facebook.com at F8
Madonna said it best – music makes the people come together.
I’m something of an early adopter of “online music”. Sean Fanning went to my High School (sure, he was a freshman when I graduated and is now a millionaire…sigh…) and my addiction to LimeWire crashed my family’s computer at least a dozen times. I was the type that updated the song on my MySpace profile with great frequency, even. All told, the rise of music streaming marks one of the most significant impacts the internet has had on my life.
A few years ago, Pandora was my jam. For the uninitiated, Pandora lets you create “stations” based on a specific artist/song. It will then serve up “similar” songs based on that selection. What a fantastic tool for discovering new music! (I owe my awareness of/love for the Black Keys to Pandora). It applied intelligence to these selections by enabling you to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the songs it played. I managed that ish like Joe Jackson – I was on it, and if any of my stations served up something I didn’t like, those songs were dealt with in the harshest way possible (that’s right, thumbs down to YOU Pussycat Dolls!) The problem is, when I gave a thumbs up to an artist, say, I don’t know, Justin Timberlake, those songs began to permeate my other channels. When you’re in the mood for Slipknot, JT mixing in just does not work.
Craving more control, I jumped on the GrooveShark bandwagon. Now, let me say this plainly – Grooveshark has changed my life. You have access to the music collections of the estimated 35,000,000 users!! I’ve yet to search for a song/artist and not get something back – even my beloved Josh Homme’s Dessert Sessions are on there, and you should hear the Chieftans/Dropkick/assorted bagpipe/12 versions of “toura loura” mix I made for Saint Patrick’s Day. You choose your songs, add them to a list, and that list lives forever. The only problem – no mobile app?! (Give that a big ol’ #WTF. Come on, Grooveshark.) Of course, this left me stranded at a party a few weekends ago that needed DJ RedHeadMeag’s touch.
Enter Spotify. Like the rest of the Twitterverse, I used Klout to gain access to this much buzzed about service. But I got there and….meh. Where was the selection? That’s a bandwagon with a personal best high bounce rate – 2 tries, and I was out. Did I walk away too quickly? (comments and thoughts are welcome!)
Now, I’m reading that Facebook is going to announce at F8 later this month that they’re partnering with Spotify (and others) to stream music through FB.com. Check out the Mashable story: http://mashable.com/2011/08/31/facebook-music-platform/
Adding reco’s based on what my friends like? Hmmm. I’m friends with a pretty musically diverse group of individuals – I’m not sure that this is really going to do it for me. Also – I like free.
Are you excited about this launch? What is your favorite music service?
- Twitter Facebook
Jenna Finn | Tuesday, August 30, 2011 3 Comments
And she’s off…
I am not the kind of person that sits back and waits for opportunities to come to her. I go out and get them… full force. When I started my first job out of college (a mere three months ago), I was ready to kick ass. I had experience from past internships and knowledge from previous classes. I was willing to do whatever I needed to do and I was not about to wait around. Since I’m “proactive by nature”, I’m sharing my list of tools that a proactive PR girl cannot live without:
The Five Things an Entry Level PR Girl Cannot Live Without
- Cision- The Bible of media contacts. Whenever I need to stalk someone to find their email address or create a list of all the BLANK beat reporters in the BLANK area, Cision is my go-to. It cuts my research time down significantly and has my favorite, handy export feature.
- HARO/ProfNet- Who’s writing what. I love looking at all the different stories that people are writing and being able to connect clients with hits. Although some stories are weird (why does someone need figurine dragons for a giveaway?), there are always some great fits, which make our job so much easier.
- Twitter- I am MissJRF and I am a Twitter-holic. I monitor Twitter for story ideas, relevant news, and to see what is going on in the world. Twitter lets me know what the people I am interested in are doing. Not only is it a source of entertainment but also, research has shown that Twitter is now becoming a front-runner in the quickest dissemination of news.
- Google Alerts- What is being written. Alerts are a great way to see what is being written about a topic that you are interested in. Set up these babies, sit back, and wait for alerts to come in. It is a much easier way to “search” for the news you are looking for.
- Wi-Fi- Always connected. In today’s super high-tech, connected world, a place without Wi-Fi is a PR girl’s worst nightmare. Any place where I cannot get online to check my emails or research a story might also be known as hell. And I can’t check Twitter… just kill me now.
What else do you think is a PR must have?Read more
- Twitter Facebook
Ginny Pitcher | Thursday, July 28, 2011 14 Comments
Martini or another Facebook friend?
Tell me to purge my life of sugar, caffeine, um…alcohol, and I’ll start listing reasons why these vices are so very critical to my every day life, and I may even throw in that they are very much part of my every day charm. I mean I know they are bad for me. They don’t care whether I’m up or down, happy or sad, funny or dull, but I’m okay with that. They give me something and for that I am eternally grateful and they willingly have a friend for life.
The funny thing is that there are very few things that I would tolerate in my life that treat me with such disregard. After all, who needs apathy? And, yet, for years I have carried the burden and weight of a very draining vice that I truly can no longer tolerate – the passive Facebook friend.
You know whom I’m talking about. We’ve all got them. You get a friend request from an old high school friend. Yeah, maybe you weren’t that close, but she always seemed cool and didn’t she date that really hot football player? Or, maybe it’s an old co-worker whom you always thought was going to go places and now he’s friending you! Or, maybe it’s just a random friending. You know the kind that you would never do: the spouse of a current friend, a friend of a friend, a non-friend of a friend.
But, for years, I didn’t care. I accepted friend requests like I might accept a Grey Goose very dry martini, straight up with a twist (I’m just saying, in case you were thinking of buying me a drink sometime). Anyway, I accepted these friends and never looked back. Never noticing if they ever shared something with me on my wall, commented on my posts, LOL’d at a picture, whatever.
And then, a few weeks ago, I thought to myself. Why am I doing this? I get tremendous joy from Facebook. I have reconnected with old friends, sparking new conversations and moments to share. I have been able to lament about my bad days and rejoice in my great days, and have found true friends who care about my state – happy or sad. So, why would I open my world to someone who had absolutely no interest in it…other than stalking?
For some, I suppose, the number of Facebook friends you have legitimizes your very being. We are often judged by what others perceive as success – the car you drive, the house you own, the job you hold, the number of connections you have. Facebook lets everyone see this, especially that elusive “number of connections” you have. And so I’m sure for some that’s a good thing. But, for me at least, I like to get something in return. If you’re going to see a picture of my latest feast at my favorite summer haunt or read a “he said what?” quote from my sometimes funny and often cringe-worthy 9-year-old son, I’m going to want to hear from you. Facebook is my conversation with my world, a two-way conversation. And, if you’re going to be my friend I would expect the occasional thumbs up, “eww…gross” comment, a shared ridiculous video, or some other touch base. Isn’t that what friends do?
So, I did the unthinkable. I took my almost 750 friends (I might be embellishing here) and purged them down to 300. And let me tell you…it felt great. I looked at each person and asked myself: When was the last time he or she reached out? Has he or she ever written on my wall after friending me? Honestly, if you really cared about staying connected to me why not check in now and again? Say hello, comment on a post, “like” my photo.
For some, it may have been a bit of shock when they couldn’t see my wall or follow my conversations, but my guess is that for most, they didn’t even notice. And, with that, I raise my martini in one hand, Tangy Taffy in another and bid adieu to one vice that I can happily quit.
How about you? Have you ever thought about purging your friends on Facebook?Read more