Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

See it! —– Believe it! —– Deal with it!   

October 5, 2012

updates in social media and pr for 5 october 2012

Everyone in our family teach, it is something we all do and love!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Members of the PR industry must be easing off their caffeine addictions. The third-annual Dunkin’ Donuts and CareerBuilder study found that public relations is now the fourth-most caffeinated profession. Last year, it was No. 2.
No. 1 is food preparation/service work, followed by scientist (No. 2) and sales representative (No. 3). Editors/writers/media workers ranked sixth. “

“So you’ve have a web and social media presence, your business is well known and you’re thinking of expanding your presence. A great way to further your company profile (and provides you with an invaluable way of networking) is to attend, or better yet, organise some events.

To do this properly, however, requires you to do some advanced preparation, especially if you’re the one organising. Thankfully, networking and meeting new people is easier than ever and the pressure of organising and promoting an event has lessened thanks to a number of free and paid options available. Whatever you’re creating an event or just attending, here are a list of things you should consider.”

InSites Consulting is publishing the third edition of its study “Social Media around the world” in collaboration with data and sampling partner SSI and translation agency No Problem!. More than 7,800 respondents from nineteen different countries took part in the new survey and this article presents the study’s ten most striking conclusions. The entire study can be downloaded free of charge via SlideShare.”

“Instagram is a free mobile photo-sharing app with 80 million users and counting. It has seen many changes lately . Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012, launched a redesign on iOS that includes a new “Explore” tab and is rumored to be developing a web presence (so that users can see photos online, not just on the mobile app).”

“Have you noticed how much Facebook has changed over the last couple of years, and has become a shadow of its previous self. While it used to be all about seeing what your friends and family were up to, the feed has changed into a massive stream of info, news content, ads and other content to the point where we wonder why we still use the service today.”


August 10, 2012

readings in social media for 10 august 2012 #aejmc12

AEJMC is celebrating 100 years and our panel on ‘social connectivity’ was designated one of the ‘highlights!’ We discussed social media, on-line education and we provided useful resources for both the practitioner and the academic. I was honored that we were so recognized!

Although my late Uncle Leroy (Sievers) was a journalist’s journalist, he saw the value of the new media in reaching a broader audience and in different ways. While executive producer at Nightline he wrote a widely read blog and he continued this for NPR writing daily for three years on his brave battle with cancer. If he was starting his career today, I know he would be right here with us!

Here is what I am reading today:

“London 2012 has been dubbed the first Social Media Games with the use of Twitter and Facebook exploding since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and allowing athletes to chat directly with their fans for the first time.

It has also been a testing ground for athletes, managers and sponsors to find out what does and does not work on social media, with two athletes expelled for racist tweets and a teenager arrested for abusing British diver Tom Daley.”

“Facebook, which generates the most traffic referrals among social networks, had no trouble getting customers to view products on other sites, but nearly half of those visitors would leave the site without visiting another page. The percent of customers who did buy something when they stayed? Less than half a percent.

By contrast, Google had a conversion rate (the measurement of actual sales from traffic) of 2.44 percent, and e-mail has a rate of 4.25 percent.”

“How do you build buzz in social media? What makes social media real-life marketing events successful? It is not one thing in particular, but many things: your vision, the people you involve, and the strategies you employ. Be action-oriented and true to the principles that make social media the dynamic, global platform that it is.”

“#NBCFail: Network’s Olympic disaster earns global social media mockery; NBC exec Schiller disses ‘whining’”

July 6, 2012

Progresso BPA #Crisis Challenges: Rising concerns reigning on social media

Progresso appears to be dealing with a crisis at the moment with regards of BPA, or other words the industrial chemical bisphenol A, which has been reported to be in their cans.  BPA has been linked to several different health issues such as infertility and cardiovascular disease. Here is some more information related to BPA from NIH in case you are interested.

For a brand that focuses on being one of quality foods, this is something you do not want to have attached to one of your food products.

Of course, with this particular crisis, people were gathering on the Progresso Facebook page voicing their concerns, comments, and feelings toward this issue with Progresso. Shel Holtz also wrote a post regarding this crisis on his blog and discussed how the company responded to these comments and reactions to the news of BPA in their cans.

What I liked about this post from Holtz was he went step by step into what were some of the issues and challenges in sharing these posts or URLs on Facebook related to this crisis.  This does bring in a new factor for crisis communicators working in social media have to be aware of since this may cause some additional challenges in sharing timely information and overcoming these barriers.

There are a few things that definitely caught my attention with this particular crisis.  First, when you are looking at a food safety crisis, you would expect bloggers or reporters to cite established and credible sources of information that have been traditionally referenced in this area.  So, for food safety – you would expect to hear insights or reports from the FDA, USADA, or CDC in the article.  However, the article that Holtz referenced in his blog post came from Mother Jones, who first reported the news about BPA in cans in an article that appeared in 2010.  This was extremely similar to what I found in my focus groups during my dissertation research at the University of Tennessee (it’s a big paper :)).

Second, I was surprised to see that Progresso (who is part of General Mills) was of course responding to the crisis on Facebook, but I was not able to find any statement or acknowledgement on their main corporate page OR corporate blog.  While these are considered to be traditional social media platforms, there should be a statement and link to additional resources for more information about BPA.

The other thing that appeared not to go over too well with audience members of the Facebook page is the prepared statements that were cut and pasted in the comment box to respond to the concerns being raised.  While it is good to have prepared statements, but companies and brands need to be authentic and respond to each personal concern with authenticity.  People not only want to have their voices being heard, but they also want to feel they can trust the source and are talking to someone real, not an automated robot.

What does this food and social media crisis tell us?  More work needs to be done in the area of credible sources in food safety crises as well as how to best prepare our communication professionals and brands to be authentic and help restore the trust as a source in a time of crisis.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,


June 30, 2012

Preparing the “MOH” Speech: My speech for Kristin and Scott’s Wedding

In my profession, I give a lot of presentations and speeches in my role as an assistant professor.  From teaching classes to presentations at international conferences, I am used to giving speeches in front of many people.  However, I had the opportunity to do one speech that took me a while to prepare for, and that was the MOH speech, or other words, the Maid of Honor toast.

Like research presentations and teaching lessons, I did my research and tried to figure out what are some of the best tips and practices for maid of honor toasts.  I wanted my speech to be personal and funny – but touching at the same time.  I wanted to share my story of how I saw Kristin and Scott go from friends to becoming husband and wife.

Good thing I had practiced and knew what I was going to say – because I actually forgot the copy of my speech in the hotel room!  Luckily, I did the abbreviated version at the reception (which got some laughs from the wedding guests) :), but I wanted to share with both Kristin and Scott what I had prepared before heading down to Orlando.  I wrote draft after draft – some times I laughed, sometimes I cried – but I felt that this was one view of Kristin and Scott’s story I could share with everyone.

So, without further ado, here is my official MOH speech:

Good Evening! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Karen, the very proud and little (well, not necessarily in size!) sister of our glamorous and fabulous Bride. I want to start by congratulating bride and groom and for allowing me to be part of their special day.  I would like to thank you all for coming here today. By the way, for those of you who are active on social media, the Twitter hashtag for the wedding is #kandssalingwedding.

Today, we are all in a place known for telling classic fairytales surrounding true love with classics like Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White (this for you, Mom, I didn’t forget!).  What did all of these stories have in common?  All of these stories had a beautiful Princess and a handsome Prince, who fall in love with each other while battling sea creatures, evil queens, and making friends with dwarfs. 

 These classic stories are magical and inspiring for all of us to take away key lessons – and allows us to know what true love is.  I would like to add to the wealth of these classic stories by sharing another one.  This one is set in modern day times, with our version of the hero and heroine, overcoming long distance and falling in love with each other.  I have witnessed this story unfold in person and virtually.  This is the fairytale story of Kristin and Scott.  So, in like all of the classic tales coming from Disney, it seems they all begin the common phrase:  Once upon a time. So, let’s begin by turning the first page on this particular story of Kristin and Scott. 

 Once upon a time, a young beautiful combat Army engineer/skydiver/real life inspiration of Laura Croft /travel and culinary adventurer named Kristin joined the land of Facebook in Hawaii back in 2008.  Coming from a social media family herself, Kristin naturally established herself proactively online with managing her relationships with family and friends, professional contacts, and establishing her own personal reputation as a social media guru and systems engineer extraordinar.  She posted updates, shared pictures of her latest adventures around the world from China, Iraq, Greece, and Italy while broadcasting her thoughts, well wishes and opinions of the day ranging from skydiving adventures to the growing need of coffee (I can completely understand this one – it is a major food group).  Her smile would light up the social media sphere with Facebook likes and positive comments among her friends.  Kristin was indeed the Belle of Facebook and reigned gracefully.

 One day, her friends and family noticed an interesting notification appearing on Kristin’s Facebook wall.  A public notification came up stating the following “Kristin Graham is now friends with Scott Saling.” Interesting developments followed.  Scott liked all of Kristin’s updates, commented on her pictures, shared encouraging words of support on momentous occasions and adventures with her fabulous sister (aka Maid of Honor and fellow IBWM).  And it was consistently positive – yet Scott was always present and definitely persistent.  One of our family favorite movies is called “Romancing the Stone,” and one of the classic lines from the movie during a chase scene goes “This man who is following you – he is very persistent.”  We definitely thought about this line when we saw the virtual interaction between Scott and Kristin on Facebook. 

 Little did I know that what I was witnessing virtually on the world’s largest social networking site was an event that would evolve from friendship to true love – starting at the very beginning as “friends” and transform into “in a relationship” to happily “engaged.”  Now, it will updated to “married” – and as they say, once it is on Facebook, it is official!

 Scott definitely made quite an impression on the family and got the family approval quickly.  This was apparent in February 2011 where my friends, Monica and Sabrina, and I headed for a girl’s weekend visit to Charlottesville to see Kristin during Valentine’s Day, also known as “Singles Awareness Weekend.” While toasting to cheese fondue with friends and learning how to make chocolate molten cake in a chocolate cooking class, Scott – the clever genius and strategic thinker he is – sent Kristin a gift for Valentine’s Day.  Was it flowers?  No – too predictable.  Was it chocolates?  Nope, it wasn’t that either.  So, what was it – can you guess?  Well, Scott actually sent Kristin a case of her favorite beer for Valentine’s Day.  Yes, beer.  At that moment when we found out about this, the girls and I responded to Kristin with a typical and totally normal Californian expression  – DUDE!!! Scott really knew Kristin – he was good, he was really good!

 In the last 29 years I have known Kristin, I have never seen her so happy.  Scott, you bring the light and glow to Kristin unlike anyone I have ever seen.  And you have the gift – no talent – in calming her down in a matter of mere few seconds (where were you when I was a kid? J) I got to first meet Scott virtually through Google+ (social media of course!) and then went up to NY to visit Kristin and Scott not only for a visit, but also for “the sister test.”  As soon as I met Scott in person, I knew that he was the one for my sister.  Before I left NY, Scott and I had coffee at Dunkin Donuts in Sleepy Hollow – and I proudly gave him the lil’ sis approval and blessing.

Anyway, got to get back on track – Kristin and Scott, you are two special, remarkable people, but together you are complete. As you sit side by side through this roller coaster of life, remember to scream from the peaks with joy (even if it is from top of Mt. Everest or Machu Pechu), hold hands through the dips, laugh through the loop the loops, and enjoy every twist and turn in your adventure.  Enjoy seeing and experiencing the world together – Kristin has been my travel buddy for the last couple of years walking all over Beijing to the Great Wall, climbing  Greek temples in Athens, and in Rio de Janeiro where she said by our hotel in Copacabana Beach – “Oh look – Sugar Loaf Mountain is just over there, we can walk there!”  Little did I know at that time how FAR it was. 

In conclusion, most fairytales end with the phrase “And they lived happily ever after.” We are all here today to witness a union of two people who are in love and are beginning the wonderful life journey together as one.  Congratulations Kristin – you truly found your Prince Charming, your Mickey, your Han Solo, and the classic romantic hero in the movie Romancing the Stone “Jesse.”  Scott – I always wanted a brother – yet I always felt Dad was both a father and a brother to my sisters and I growing up.  Now, I have a brother who is the world to my sister  – so I welcome you proudly to the family.

Please raise your glasses while I toast my sister and her husband.

Friends, Family, & Social Media Wedding: Congrats to Kristin & Scott Saling!

This past week has been SUPER busy and fabulous!  I had a chance to go down to Orlando to be part of my older sister’s wedding.  Kristin and Scott got married on Thursday at the Wedding Pravillion at the Floridian Resort.  It was truly amazing!

We all got into Orlando on Monday – Kristin and Scott picked the bridesmaids and the MOH (or otherwise known as “Maid of Honor”).  Tuesday was the Bachelorette Party, or what we call the Segway Tour day around Epcot!  We have to thank Mom for this great idea to see the park in a unique and fabulous way.  The tour was before the park opened and we had to battle some weather from Tropical Storm Debby – but it was a lot of fun!  Kristin, Monica, Sabrina, Shannon (Scott’s sister and fellow bridesmaid), Jessi, and I were part of the tour.  Super fabulous!

Bridesmaids off to a Segway Tour around Epcot!

Wednesday was the Rehearsal Dinner.  Kristin got her makeup and hair finalized and had a trial run. Disney has a partnership with a FABULOUS makeup and hair team!  We all got our hair and makeup done for the wedding by Jackie and her team.  This was my gift to Kristin for the wedding – we all went with a 1940’s hairstyle that really worked for all of us.  We looked amazing!

Bridesmaids, the MOH, and Bride before the ceremony

The wedding ceremony was absolutely sweet and amazing.  Kristin did not tell Scott about her dress, so it was a surprise for him when she walked into the room absolutely fabulously.  The ceremony was filled with joy and two special people sharing their love with each other and making the lifelong commitment of marriage.  The food at the reception was beyond amazing – we had five courses that were all absolutely yummy beyond reason. The highlight for me was definitely the desert where we had a white chocolate Cinderella shoe filled with mousse and raspberries.  YUM!

The wedding cake!!!

And, since we are a social media family, we did have social media platforms for this wedding.  Billy (the best man) set up a group on Facebook to share updates and pictures from the event and festivities.  I set up a hashtag (#kandssalingwedding) for Twitter for others to share pictures and updates for the wedding.  We also had a YouTube channel for people to share their well wishes for the happy couple.  Fabulous! :)

Overall, this wedding was probably the best I have ever gone to. We had dancing – and several guests like Mickey Mouse come and join us at the event!  We had so many friends and family coming to Florida to share this glorious event – it was very special and I felt very horned to be part of it.  We had fun at the parks during our trip along with fun eating adventures like taking Sabrina and Monica to get their first Butter Beer at the Harry Potter amusement park – so many great memories! :)

I have to thank both Kristin and Scott for allowing me to be part of their special day.  Special thanks to George and Ann Saling for their hospitality and for the rehearsal dinner / send off breakfast!  Thank you Mom and Dad for your support with helping the bridesmaids and I spend our time at the Grand Floridian Hotel – which was fab!  Sabrina, Monica, and Shannon – you all were amazing bridesmaids and thank you for sharing this special event with me!

Congratulations to the newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Saling! :)

Best Wishes,



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