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 March, 2011

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    Ginny Pitcher | Monday, March 28, 2011 28 Comments

    Is An 8-year-old Tweeting Too Young? One Mother’s Confession.

    A recent exchange between my eight-year-old son, Trey, and me went something like this:

    Trey: “Can I get a cell phone?”
    Me: “No.”

    Trey: “Can I take the money from my bank account to buy a Nerf gun?”
    Me: “No.”

    Trey: “Can I watch Dawn of the Waking Dead?”
    Me: “No.”

    Trey:  “Can I Tweet?”
    Me: “Yes!”

    For better or worse, Trey has grown up in a social media-obsessed household. We’ve spent countless hours pouring over Facebook friends’ photo albums, as I exhaustively explain who each person is and how I know them. I’ve heard him gasp in horror as I take one hand off the wheel to check in on Foursquare at the I-90/Weston tolls (of which I proudly can claim Mayorship). And, I’ve been on the receiving end of several lectures from Trey on what I can or can’t share on Twitter about his quirky “take on life” or jaw-dropping, and sometimes just plain wrong, quotes and phrases.

    So, naturally, I should have expected Trey to eventually want to jump in the social media pool. More importantly, his argument to be on Twitter was pretty sound. He wanted to follow and Tweet at his favorite athletes so he could learn how to become a better football player.

    The first step was to secure a handle. After trying every incarnation of his name only to find it was taken, we settled on a name I called him anyway: @troublebrown. With that, we set up his bio and picked his picture. We talked long and hard about making sure that he clearly presented himself as a kid. First of all, as a marketer, I knew that if he was going to be reaching out to athletes, he would be more likely to get responses if he identified himself as a young fan. And, as a parent, I wanted to make sure that any communication to and from his account was age appropriate.

    The next step was letting Trey follow his heroes. Thankfully, this bought me a whole afternoon of “me” time as he scoured Twitter. While he mostly picked football players, like Troy Polamalu (@tpolamalu) and Patrick Willis (@PatrickWillis52), he also picked some interesting ones. Who knew he liked Pink (@Pink)? And, proving that he really was paying attention in school, he patriotically followed President Obama (@BarackObama).

    With his follows in order, it was time for Trey to drop his first Tweet.

    “@PatrickWillis52 How does it feel when you get an interception or a fumble recovery?”

    With a few more Tweets sent, he headed off to bed that night — obsessing on all things Twitter.

    And then around 1 a.m. that night, a little chirp went out that would make one boy a Twitterholic for life.

    “@troublebrown awesome man”

    And so it goes. Patrick Willis, linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, lived up to one boy’s dream and found a fan for life in me. Amazingly enough, they actually exchanged a few Tweets back and forth the next day. Patrick even gave Trey some sage advice about Pop Warner, “…just keep it fun lil man. That’s one of the most important things u can do.”

    Allowing Trey to go on Twitter was a gamble. Having sat in the stands of countless sporting events listening to mothers and fathers gripe about the dangers of social media, I knew I might be setting myself up for criticism. But when it comes down to it, I really can’t think of a more accessible or content-rich platform than Twitter. In one steady stream he can follow and interact with things that interest him – sports, music, friends, whatever.

    And, quite frankly, it’s not such a bad thing for Trey to understand and harness the power of social media at such a young age. If anything, he’s learning to say it succinctly and thoughtfully in 140 characters or less.

    What do you think? Is eight too young to be on Twitter?

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    redheadmeag | Thursday, March 17, 2011 34 Comments

    Twitter’s Turning 5 – A Twitterholic’s Musings on Why Twitter Matters

    In early celebration of Twitter’s 5th birthday, I’m ready to admit it – my name is RedHeadMeag, and I am a Twitterholic. I cannot imagine a day without it. Twitter is, for me, an essential part of my existence – a part of my morning routine, my every day work here at Kel & Partners, and even the last thing I do before washing up for bedtime. I view Twitter as a media outlet that I customize to my widely varied interests – from recipes to Boston sports to literature, music, gossip and more. Twitter lets me stay on top of a huge amount of information that is relevant to all of the many hats I wear in my life as a woman, a wife, a puppy mommy, a marketer and a human being.

    In PR and Marketing, we’re tasked with staying on top of all of the news in our clients’ industries. I can remember the early days of my career, when I read at least 4 newspapers a day and 35+ magazines each month – all cover to cover (imagine that, younglings). Now, I pop over to TweetDeck a couple of times an hour and scan the columns I have set up for each client. I monitor analysts, reporters, media and bloggers in my clients’ industries – and even their competitors – in small doses 7 days a week. How did I get it all done before Twitter?

    When I come across breaking news, I head to Twitter before anywhere else. Last week’s incredibly tragic #tsunami in Japan is a fantastic example of why – news from hundreds of sources is at my finger tips, resources of perspective and how to help – Twitter pulls in all aspects of a story in an instantaneous format that leaves me the room to digest what is going on at my own speed, while giving me a platform for sharing my own thoughts and feelings. At times like these, it is amazingly comforting to be able to connect with my fellow humans and see the outpouring of care and concern being felt across the world.

    For all of these reasons and more, I am continuously amazed at the slow to no adoption of the platform by the Millennial generation. With stats on Twitter usage showing that less than 7% of the American public is actively using the service, and that only 22% of us are responsible for 90% of the content on the site, I’m left scratching my head. As a Twitter evangelist, I’ve heard all of the “Twatter” jokes (ok, ok – it is funny) and the “I don’t need to let people know what I had for breakfast” lines – how is it that these people and so many others don’t see what I see?

    So why are you – or why are you NOT – on Twitter?

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    Kendyll Messina | Tuesday, March 8, 2011 9 Comments

    My Kindle is My New Best Friend

    Don’t get me wrong: I have real friends, but can they offer me over 810,000 instant books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, AND built in Wi-Fi? For the purpose of this post, the answer is simple: no. I received this life-changing piece of technology for Christmas and have not been able to put it down since. I’ll be honest, even as an English Communications major, I have never been easy to please when it comes to reading. So when I first heard about the Kindle I did not think much of it, and was not that impressed. Oh how naive I was…

    I started seeing the sleek design of the Kindle more and more on my daily commute. The Kindle owners were always so enthralled in whatever it was they were reading, and didn’t even seem to notice they were on a crowded, moving train. They were in their Kindle worlds, happy as can be. I wanted to be a part of that world.

    Life just hasn’t been the same since I became the proud owner of an Amazon Kindle 3. Let me explain a few of my favorite features. The device weighs in at only 8.5 ounces, which is considerably less than some paperback novels, making it incredibly easy to travel with. The font is so crisp and clear on the perfectly-sized screen – you’re free to read anywhere (even in bright sunlight, glare is no issue) – and a fully charged battery will last you up to one month- AMAZING.

    The Wi-Fi connection is stellar and the book selection in the Amazon Kindle store is far from limited. You can buy a book almost anywhere, at anytime, and it will download in seconds. You don’t necessarily have to buy books either, as there are thousands of free eBooks that are easy to download.

    Now, I realize some people are not pro-Kindle as they believe their iPad, Nook, or old-fashioned books are better. I am completely up for this debate, but in the end all that matters is that we are having a great read.

    (Especially if you are reading on a Kindle!)

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