Diapering social media

About a month ago, I became a dad for the second time. Our daughter has gone through so many diapers in the last weeks that I’m seriously thinking about investing in the diaper business.
Since I’ve been changing multiple diaper pails full of diapers, I found this story from Mashable interesting.
I think it’s great that Huggies is targeting Moms who are into social media. It is a great way to connect with an emerging target public. However, I would hope that Huggies incorporated one minority group into their social media marketing strategies–Dads.
I believe there is a growing number of Dads out there who are taking a larger role in the baby decisions families are making. It may not be huge, but it is growing. Hopefully, these companies are taking notice. If not, they’ll be doing the potty dance alone while we go out with our kids.

Journalism isn’t dead yet

Part of the issue many people have with the media is the bias (real or perceived) that accompanies any story broadcast through the particular channel–be it radio, TV, newspaper-and increasingly-blogs and social networking sites.

Such “spin” can really impact a story and leave the person viewing, hearing, or reading it with an impression that the information presented was just that, a story and not something of consequence.

prTini author Heather Whaling wrote about this topic in a very well-written post. She commented that journalism of the highest order takes time, and in the wake of the coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, the news coverage by some of the trusted “old media” outlets was lacking.

She higlights a comment made on Twitter that argues “Information does not equal journalism.” That’s right. Reporting information and the art of crafting a story are two different things. But done well, journalism and reporting work together to produce inspired work.

Jackson’s death has news value because of the impact his music had on people and pop culture. My point, however, is that there were other news items that day (Cap and Trade bill, for instance) that got pushed from the prime news spot as a result of what could be characterized as tabloid news.

 So, I agree with Heather. The search for high-caliber journalism, not just mere reporting, takes time. We know that there are myriad tools people can use to be reporters, but it is the people that use those tools in an artistic manner to craft a story from the reports that will garner attention and trust. That is the goal of journalism, and if it takes a little time to reach that goal, so be it.

In other words, the tabloid reporter says Michael Jackson is dead. The journalist will take that report and tell us how and why in an interesting to read manner using story crafting techniques.

It only takes one

One voice. One vote.

Four words. One simple, yet very powerful message.

Some people would argue that there is no reason to vote because it doesn’t matter. I would argue differently. I would argue strongly that one vote really does matter.

At my party’s caucus on June 23, I won the nomination for town councilman by one vote. It was so close and could have gone the other way because of one vote.

Every elected official, from those on the town council all the way up to President Obama, should take a step back and understand that the people that voted for them matter. They deserve to be listened to, to be heard. They made a conscious decision to speak up and cast their vote in support of you. That is absolutely awesome. This is because one vote makes a difference.

Without that one vote, there is one less voice heard. Without that vote, one person’s issues and concerns go unanswered. Without that one vote, there is no communication between the people and those doing the people’s business.

One vote is powerful. And I’m thankful for every single vote that was cast in support of me at the caucus. I know what they mean. I know how much each vote matters.  And if elected in November, I will make sure that each vote does not go unheard.

Why 10 percent is heroic

Ninety percent. That’s a pretty big number where percentages are concerned. That’s almost 100 percent. 

In almost any situation, 90 percent is a good goal to shoot for. Any situation, that is, except in the case when the 90 percent is the number of women who decide not to carry a pregnancy to term when they are informed of the potential diagnosis of a baby with Down’s syndrome.

Bob Lonsberry first brought this statistic to my attention in this post. It caught my eye because my sister has Down’s and, admittedly, I’m sensitive to people’s perceptions of her as well as the historical misconceptions about people with this genetic makeup.

I like Bob’s points and agree with him that people with Down’s syndrome are special. I know my sister is.

I just can’t get that statistic out of my head. It’s mindblowing. Ninety percent of anything is huge. If that was the only number we heard, we might be moved to side with the 90 percent. Usually, it’s easier to side with the majority opinion.

However, 10 percent of the population, when put in the situation to make the decision to continue with the pregnancy or terminate it, decide to continue. These women persevere. And they are rewarded with a miraculous child.

These are the stories we need to hear and see more of. We need to hear that women are not shying away from the difficutlies that come with raising a child with Down’s. We need to hear it more than 10 percent of the time, that’s for sure.

The reason is simple. These stories are stories of humanity overcoming; of what is possible when people believe. And believing is a powerful thing, even if only a small percentage do it.

Caucus day

At some time after 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23, I’ll know more about my political future. Specifically, I’ll know if I have a future in politics.

I’m throwing my hat in the ring for my party’s nomination to run for an open seat on the town council for the Western New York town I live in. The caucus is taking place on the evening of June 23 in the fire hall.

I’ve called as many of the people in the town that I know, who are also registered members of my party. I’ve even called a few people that I don’t know, but who are supporters of the the other candidates who are also supporting me.

As a first-time candidate, I’m anxious about the vote tomorrow night. However, if the majority of people’s reactions are any indication, they are happy a “young” person is getting involved. In a town that is steeped in long-standing political traditions, they say a fresh face is exactly what’s needed. I hope I’m that face.

In preparation for the caucus (and the general election) I wrote up a list of three things I’m running on. It’s a pretty simple list, but is consistent with my beliefs and my experiences.

Here it is:

I’m running for Town Council because I care very deeply about this community and want to see it prosper and grow.

If elected to the Town Council, I pledge:

To ensure that the quality of life that makes this town a unique and great place to call home will never be endangered.

To listen and work with the residents of the town to provide the services they desire at a price we, as taxpayers, can afford.

To develop a strategic plan that markets the town properly and ensures that the town government is using technology efficiently and effectively.

Plain, simple, and to the point.

Online vs. the hard line

It is impossible to turn on any news broadcast, read any newspaper, or browse any news Web site today and not see or hear news about the protests taking place in Iran.

Despite all of the efforts of the ruling government, the people of Iran are still utilizing Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to update the world regarding the protests and the ruling class reaction to them.

It is in a crisis like this, or for that matter any crisis where there is a need for real time information, that the truly awesome power of these tools comes to light.

By uploading photos and videos of the protests and the subsequent hard line responses of the institutional factions trying to squash the protests, the Iranian people are putting the powers that be on notice that their collective voice will be heard.

Just as the media was amazed with the prowess of the Obama campaign to harness the social Web to cultivate supporters and spread the campaign’s messages, so too are they now marveling at the ability of the Iranian people to share what is happening on the streets of their capital city with the rest of the world.

And where it used to be that a reporter would broadcast a story from the scene of the protests, a majority of those same reporters are now just like the rest of us because of state-sanctioned media embargoes. They’re on the outside looking in. They have to depend on the Twittering, Facebooking, texting, blogging, photo and video sharing savvy of the Iranian people for the story, just like we do. And truth be told, watching, reading, and hearing the real-time unfolding of these events from an authentic, unfiltered voice is why the stories are so compelling.

Journalists worth their salt have always been able to tell a good story and communicate powerful messages. But in this instance, because of the tools they now have, citizens are filling the void and doing surprisingly well.

Underscoring every Tweet, text, blog, or Facebook update is the core message of the protesters to the hard line government: We’re not afraid of you any more. Your power over us is just a mirage.

It’s online vs. the hard line. From my vantage point, online may just come out on top.

Officially APR!

I received word on June 4, but with the birth of our daughter the next day, didn’t have an opportunity to post anything.

I am officially Accredited in Public Relations. Now, after my name I can add three letters: APR. So cool!

The studying paid off and it was certainly worth it. I learned a great deal in my preparation to go through first the Readiness Review and then sit for the Examination.

If you’re in Public Relations, I would highly recommend undertaking the Accreditation in Public Relations challenge. You won’t regret it.

Here is the news release announcing that I earned the APR:


Hillside staff member earns Accreditation in Public Relations

New York-June 17, 2009-Todd Pipitone, Hillside Family of Agencies marketing coordinator, has successfully completed the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, entitling him to use the APR professional designation. The announcement was made by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of nine professional communication organizations that directs this competency certification program.

The Accreditation program aims to improve the practice of public relations by assessing competence in 60 areas of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) associated with the profession. The Examination is designed for public relations professionals with five to seven years of job experience and/or a bachelor’s degree in a communication field. Candidates who successfully complete the rigorous process, including presenting his portfolio to a Readiness Review panel of three peers and sitting for a computer-based Examination, are granted the APR.

“Earning the APR reflects a mastery of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to succeed in our increasingly complex profession,” said Felicia Blow, APR, 2009 chair of the Universal Accreditation Board. “Practitioners who achieve the designation are demonstrating their commitment not only to our profession, but also to a strong code of ethics and to the betterment of their organization and clients.”

The computer-based portion of the Examination is administered throughout the year at more than 300 Prometric Testing Centers. The Readiness Review is conducted prior to the computer-based portion of the Examination by a panel of three Accredited members of one or more of the nine organizations participating in the UAB. Professionals earning the APR must maintain their credential through continuing professional development, providing leadership to the profession, and serving their local communities.

About Hillside Family of Agencies
Hillside Family of Agencies is a family and children services organization that provides child welfare, mental health, youth development, juvenile justice, special education, and developmental disabilities services across central and western New York. Hillside Family of Agencies is comprised of affiliates Crestwood Children’s Center, Crestwood Children’s Foundation, Hillside Children’s Center, Hillside Children’s Foundation, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, and Snell Farm Children’s Center.

About the Universal Accreditation Board
The UAB was established in 1998 by a coalition of public relations professional organizations that today includes the Agricultural Relations Council, Asociación de Relacionistas Profesionales de Puerto Rico, Florida Public Relations Association, Maine Public Relations Council, National School Public Relations Association, Public Relations Society of America, Religion Communicators Council, Southern Public Relations Federation, and Texas Public Relations Association. Each organization contributes resources and senior-level volunteer members who represent all segments of the public relations profession. For more information about the UAB and the APR designation, visit www.praccreditation.org.