Wait! What? 6/12: Non-Sportsball News of the Week

"Let's take a break from this to discuss the latest technology trends." (Thinkstock)
“Let’s take a break from this to discuss the latest technology trends.” (Thinkstock)

While you were all busy cheering on the Warriors this past week (Cleveland fans, please see yourselves out immediately) and contemplating whether anyone actually looks good in Golden State yellow (the answer is no), we generously took some time out of our rigorous viewing schedules and compiled some top tech newsbites for you:

  • Somewhere, a Target PR intern scheduled their first press release this week. We’re going to assume it was also their last. Whoops.
  • In news that really rocked the tech world this week, Blackberry and Android are contemplating what could potentially be the least consequential business partnership ever.
  • A little blue bird told us that Dick Costolo stepped down as Twitter’s CEO this week, but we’re not really sure since we were too busy checking our Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds to care.
  • Whoever called Mayweather v. Pacquiao the fight of the decade definitely did not anticipate Apple Music v. Spotify. In one corner, Taylor Swift and Drake. In the other, everyone who’s been listening to music since iTunes stopped being a thing in 2011.
  • And in what was legitimately the coolest tech development of the week, Facebook and Microsoft announced that the Xbox One will be in virtual reality thanks to Oculus Rift starting in 2016. We’re brushing up on our Super Smash Bros skills this very moment.

Now, back to sports.

Wait! What? 5/8: Storytelling enters the C-Suite, Yelp prepares to exit? Plus: The Emoji Graveyard

A vast abyss of :(. 30,000 of them, to be exact.
A vast abyss of :(. 30,000 of them, to be exact.

Whether you missed the news this week while nursing your tequila-induced hangover, post-#Maypac wallet or a new baby (HAYY royal family), no worries: we mixed up a tasty batch of headlines on the rocks for you:

  • They say compatibility can be measured by affinity for scary movies, but we’d like to propose a new question: is the McDonald’s revamped Hamburglar hot, creepy or actually a blue and black dress?
  • Carly Fiorina officially entered the 2016 presidential race, and so emerged a new PR attack tactic: the “Emoji Graveyard.”
  • To all of the wannabe bloggers out there afraid of taking the plunge who instead use Yelp to post self-indulgent, quixotic passages about every manicure and latte they purchase: get a Tumblr. The end may be nigh.
  • English majors everywhere, rejoice: we could be entering the era of the CSO – Chief Storytelling Officer.
  • Meanwhile, as corporations get cozy with English literature, the peasants have moved on to a new lingua franca, and it looks something like kissy face-frog-eggplant-flying money.

While those were the headlines we were particularly partial to this week, let us know if there’s a story we missed via Twitter, or carrier pigeon-note crafted in all Emoji (a startup idea we’d invest in).

#PRmyths – The Right Way to Pitch and Follow Up

The first rule of how to pitch: there are no rules. There are suggestions for a course of action, but observing them as a sort of public relations 10 commandments and ignoring both direct signals and the advent of modern technology is a surefire way to fail. Some sweet, blessed times, all it really takes is a simple email out of the blue. Frequently, it does not.

After that, the suggested course of action in this PR-choose-your-own-adventure is “call-down” to “follow-up” (yay, prepositions!). “Follow-up” is really just an extremely abstract, loose concept defined more by its outcome then its action (in other words, the act of following up means little to anyone compared to the outcome of getting a result). Sure, sometimes a call to a reporter is a quick, efficient way to get their attention and hook them with your angle. Other times, you’ll take a cursory glance at a reporter’s Twitter before said call and find something like this:

tweet1

tweet2

tweet3

tweet4

tweet5

tweet11

Then it is time to stop and think before dialing, my friends. What is our goal? Results and happy media contacts, and the above are pretty clear indicators that this is not the way to get them.

That does not, however, mean to give up. Poke around, do your research and go with your gut.

For example, we’ve found the best way to get many reporters’ attention these days is a DM:

tweet6

And Snapchat is no longer just for selfies with your roommates:

tweet7

Sometimes, they even give you your own hotline:

tweet8

One reporter even mentioned that his favorite pitch of all time was texted to him in verse. (Note: we don’t personally recommend this unless you’re feeling particularly confident in your rhyming chops and the receiving reporter’s appreciation for you artistic efforts.)

Moral of the story? Media relations is not ‘one channel fits all.’ Remember that you’re trying to reach a fellow human being. Do your research, think, and be creative.

Check back tomorrow as we examine another PR industry myth. Screenshot credit: Twitter, obviously

Wait? What! 2/13: Happy Valentine’s, Galentine’s and/or “Blood-soaked Conspiracy”

I don't know, we just thought this was cute. Stock photos are hard. (Thinkstock)
I don’t know, we just thought this was cute. Stock photos are hard. (Thinkstock)

Whether you’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or just boycotting the occasion entirely, we’ve collected the best news for you to digest along with all of those sugar heart candies and chocolates.

On a more serious note, the media world lost some true greats this week. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to get out there and show some love this weekend.

Publishing and Social Media: Could This [Finally] Be Love?

Unsplash

Let’s take it back to a magical time when newspapers were newspapers and social media was MySpace. It was 2005, and people spent their Sundays poring over a dense print edition of their local newspaper, section by section, before later turning to their enormous desktop computer screen and carefully curating their Top 8.

For a while, traditional media scoffed at social as a source of real news, smacking it down as merely reactive to the hard stuff – not the core of anything concrete but instead a cacophony of regurgitated opinions against a backdrop of cat memes and brunch Instagrams. But as social media has matured, it has evolved two specific functions: publishing and messaging.

Enter 2015. To the untrained eye, it’s almost like both spaces are currently in the midst of an identity crisis. Is LinkedIn a professional networking site or a professional publishing site? Is Facebook a social media network or a media company? And is Snapchat just indulging millenials’ selfie obsession, or is it surreptitiously converting the Internet generation into news junkies?

What we’re seeing is the beginning of the tech and media industries collapsing into one another. It makes sense – every other industry has been disrupted and reshaped by tech. Publishing was just late to the party after some internal identity struggles. The rules are also different here – these two spaces have grown into each other through a natural evolution in reporting, storytelling and information sharing rather than a single disruptive blow from one to the other. Lines haven’t been drawn; they’ve been blurred.

Some are dubbing it a journalistic “third way”: a marriage of old news norms and standards with the transparency and openness of social media. What will the hybrid children look like? Think Quartz, the digitally native offspring of old-media stalwart The Atlantic, which categorizes articles under “Obsessions” – topics of current interest that have more in common with trending hashtags than traditional news sections. Or Medium, publishing’s love child with Twitter that elevates citizen journalists into something that actually resembles real journalists. Or even the infant Reported.ly, fresh out of a “baptism by fire” after putting its social-first reporting and publishing model to the test by jumping into real-time coverage of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy a mere 48 hours after launching.

Whether you’re for this shift or against it, one thing is certain: there are more stories being told by a larger range of voices and in a greater number of ways than ever before. I don’t know about you, PR colleagues, but that sounds an awful lot like opportunity to me.

Wait! What? 11/14: Out-of-this-world news that’s not about Kim Kardashian

Space: Tech's Final Frontier, We Guess. (Thinkstock)
Space: Tech’s Final Frontier, We Guess. (Thinkstock)

Were you one of the sheeple too busy taking marching orders from a magazine cover this week to actually pay attention to the news? Please, allow us to divert your attention from another redundant article about Kim K’s best assets (we promise, it’ll be there when you get back) to check out some cool things that actually went down in real life this week:

  • WE LANDED ON A COMET. (Well, not us, but the Euros did.) Who cares that comets are basically just dirty snowballs – this could finally prove our Interstellar-inspired interpretation of relativity is better than everyone else’s!
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma is officially the richest of them all over in China. His reaction to receiving this title? Le sigh. Honestly, he says, being richer than God is just “a great pain.” We sympathize so, so deeply with his plight.
  • Instagram now allows users to edit their photo captions after posting. Self-important grammarians everywhere rejoiced at the news as they plotted their no-holds-barred attack on people guilty of mistakenly posting captions with a their/there/they’re confusion.
  • Big shocker: those Facebook ads promising unbelievable prices on random plastic surgery procedures you never knew you wanted are too good to be true! Basically, clicking on about a quarter of Facebook ads is the digital equivalent of going to a second location with some dude in Chinatown who promised you a $20 Louis Vuitton.
  • And finally, we’d like to thank the New England Patriots for confirming that our careers will be safe as long as people are people and robots are things that can’t understand why tweeting out racial slurs to a million followers is probably not a great marketing tactic.

Did you catch us slacking on some unbelievably juicy story? Be a pal and let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

Wait! What? 9/26: Bendgate, brain-to-brain messaging, and another big security shock

Credit: "Ello-logo" by Berger & Föhr; Ello, Inc. https://ello.co/wtf/post/ello-logo. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ello-logo.png#mediaviewer/File:Ello-logo.png
Credit: “Ello-logo” by Berger & Föhr, Ello Inc.

Too busy gearing up for Oracle OpenWorld to check out this week’s tech headlines? Here’s what you missed:

Did you find something better to bend this week? Or did we miss something particularly juicy? Shoot us a tweet @BlancandOtus.

Wait! What? 7/25: Christmas in July: giant hamster wheels and space balloons

Hot-air space balloons? Yes please. (Credit: World View Enterprises, Inc.)
Hot-air space balloons? Yes please. (Credit: World View Enterprises, Inc.)

It’s the heart of summer vacation season, and on your travels you may very well be feeling disconnected from what’s going on. Well, time to check what the really hard-hitting tech news was this week:

Did we miss something really juicy? We’d love to hear about it in the comments, or @BlancandOtus!

Wait! What? 5/2: NYC plays to win in the battle for Internet supremacy, Silicon Valley becomes its own joke

Credit: Wesley Fryer
Credit: Wesley Fryer

They say jealousy’s an ugly game, but did that stop Microsoft from aspiring to be Google (again)? New York from taunting San Francisco with free public wifi? Or broke undergrads from casting green eyes on MIT students? Of course not! And let’s not intervene, as spectators we’ll probably just end up getting free smartphones or something.

What you may have missed this week:

What stories tickled your fancy this week? Tweet us @BlancandOtus or leave a comment below!