Posts Tagged 'Boston'

SHIFTers Show Their Wonder Women Status at #WWBos

Last Thursday, I attended the Wonder Women of Boston event with some wonderful SHIFT ladies; Jena Rossi, Kim Diesel, Kristina Scuoteguazza and Liz Segran. Taking place at the Back Bay Social Club, the event brought together Boston women of all ages, in an array of industries.  It was a great turnout, and event attendees were able to mingle and network with other impressive women from around the area.

Main topic/purpose of event:

The purpose of this event was to meet amazing business women from the Boston area and make connections within various industries and fields.

One key takeaway:

Women in Boston are impressive. Every woman we spoke to was ambitious, successful and driven. There are some truly amazing people and organizations in Boston, and who knows, they might even be looking for PR support some day.

One turnoff:

Lack of food! This event started at 6:00p.m. and the few appetizers that were served were devoured almost immediately by us hungry working women.

Audience makeup:

Women of all ages were in attendance at this event – from students, to young professionals, to well-established business women.

Location (bar, restaurant etc):

Back Bay Social Club is a restaurant located on Boylston Street in Boston. The event took place in its lower level function room.

Follow ups/contacts:

The SHIFT team met several interesting women at the event last night and looks forward to connecting with them again soon. Maybe even scope out a few future SHIFT interns from the collection of students that were in attendance!

Would you attend this event again?

Yes, we would attend this event again.

Hashtag of event:

#WWBos

 

The Great Poke Off: Use Your Networks to Help, Not Just to Complain

By @Trochman

Working at an Agency provides you the ability to work with a number of great brands and experiment with social media tools in a variety of ways in order to help them reach their target audience.  Sometimes this gives you an awe inspiring look at creativity and human interaction. Sometimes it gives you a sad look at how nasty people can be to one another, or witness how a simple communication tool can be warped into a funnel for complaints.

However, what touched me recently was not the act of a large company or marketing team but the creativity of two friends looking to make a small difference in their own personal networks. This weekend I was given another affirmation to the true power of social media.  How with a simple act, people can engage with their networks – not for fame or attention – but to help one another.

As I was scrolling through Facebook I came across a competition between my cousin Dan Andersen and his friend John Clinton. The two were participating in a poke-a-thon on Facebook. The concept had been John’s brainchild the year before and I vaguely remembered them participating… but this year was different.  This year there was clearly an emphasis by both men to take a playful competition and use it to make a difference.

Here is what caught my eye, a new timeline cover and invitation via status update:

Friends, Countrymen, People Who I haven’t talk to since high school or EVER: It’s that solitary time of year when I call you to action for charity, but wait, I don’t want your money! All I want is that long-lost Facebook function that (hardly) anyone ever uses anymore….the poke. Last year, we raised $234 for This American Life and $158 for Heifer International. This year I hope to accomplish the following:

1) Raise more $$ for This American Life
2) Beat John Clinton again

Here’s how it works – every time one of you pokes me (on FB), I give $1 to This American Life (up to a later specified amount)…plus I get to brag about it to John in the Internet locker room.

If you’ve never poked anyone before, you are probably not alone AND good ol’ Mark Zuckerburg has been moving stuff around lately – FB timeline has actually hidden the poke option in the drop-down widget menu just below the right-hand corner of my cover photo.

So please, take 2 seconds out of your FB surfing and poke-a-bro. I promise to return the favor when this is all over. Thanks!

Here is John’s timeline graphic:

As the competition picked up steam and both men started receiving pokes, The Chicago Booth Follies was also added to the mix for donations. (Their graduate school’s annual variety show –which they had learned its funding was dramatically slashed this year.)

This challenge was issued in late March with a deadline of 4/8/12. (Ok so he can get mad at me for taking this long to notice…) Through humorous Facebook updates, offers to give gifts and challenging Meme shots (see Harry Potter here); Dan and John both received pokes from friends, family, coworkers – and the networks of each group.  Some of my friends here at SHIFT have even found themselves poking these gents.

At the time of the competition’s close at midnight on 4/8/12, Dan had received 274 pokes and John received 205.  This means $479 was donated to This American Life and $479 to Booth Follies.

This is the true power of social media. People from various backgrounds staying connected, communicating about goals and helping each other.  This isn’t a complaint campaign to change some trivial policy or product feature, it isn’t the RT of some celebrity – it is just two friends looking to raise money for an organization they feel passionately about.

Can you imagine if we all just stopped every now and again and thought along these lines?  I know I tend to use my own social media tools for sarcastic thoughts and movie quotes.  I think the problem is we all imagine that in order to make a difference we need to think of the next million dollar charitable campaign. No. You don’t. Even the smallest donation can make a difference to someone so long as it is to an organization, group or movement you believe in.

Consider yourself poked.  Now what are you going to do with it….

Why the Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl

First up, Mike Fearon’s concrete logic for why the Pats are winning the Super Bowl this year…

In the Game of Bowls, you partake in Metaphorical Cannibalism or you die (apologies to George R.R. Martin).

While NY is happy paying for overpriced gastropub fare and SF is downing garlic fries on the bandwagon, the more cerebral, cunning, ruthless New England fan is devouring their opponents’ souls. Through black magic or the dark arts you ask? No, the Patriots will win through cooking a game day menu based on their opponent’s location and culture.

For example, the Denver Broncos didn’t stand a chance after I prepared and consumed Rocky Mountain Oysters and [The] Lamb [of God]. This combination represented the Colorado area’s hunger for prairie oysters while honing into their much ballyhooed QB’s belief system. The result: 45-10. Indeed the only miracle last Saturday was making Denver’s favorite fried snack edible.

To some, that might be a bit extreme. But how can I ask the Pats to try hard if I fail to put forth the same effort? This level of dedication is usually reserved for the Night’s Watch. Unfortunately, the sweet summer children in SF and NY are blissfully unaware of the long night, when the sunny victories hide for years, and children are born and live and die all in runner-up darkness. February 5 is time for fear, my little lords, when Wes Welkers move through the woods…

Oh you wanted real football reasons – here’s a simple formula:

Belichick + Brady + Gronkowski = BOOM!

Send a raven to the Inner Harbor. The pats are coming.

If that wasn’t scientific enough for you, I’ll turn it over to Annie Perkins who gives you Vegas’ take on the Patriots…

If the Las Vegas oddsmakers are correct, the New England Patriots will win Super Bowl XLVI. As of today, the Pats are 11/10 favorites to win it all! They are so sure of a Pats victory, that a bet of $100 on the Pats would only return $110. Contrast that with their opponent for this weekend: if the Ravens win the Super Bowl, a $100 bet pays $600!

Las Vegas and their bettors know that the Patriots are the number one seed in the AFC for a reason. They are a 9 point favorite to win at home this Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. As good a defensive team as the Ravens are, the Patriots have one of the best offensive alignments in the history of the game and the most playoff experience. If they make the Super Bowl this time, it will be the Patriots 5th in 11 years.

Patriots 35-14 in the AFC Championship and 30-21 in the Super Bowl.

(Personal side bar:  My husband has been a season ticket holder for almost 20 years.  I have been to 4 games in our 15 years of marriage…. My choice. He may have contributed to the content in this post.)

Airplanes and Beyonce – The Things SHIFT is Thankful for

By Puneet Sandhu (@puneet86)

Ladies and gentlemen, SHIFT Communications’ favorite time of the year – the holiday season – has officially arrived! In celebration, all three SHIFT offices held their annual Halloween/SHIFTgiving feasts last week (get a taste of them here, no pun intended) wherein everyone managed to defeat their seemingly bottomless appetites with indecent amounts of food. (And when I say “indecent,” I mean INDECENT.)

Since then, we’ve also emerged victorious from the resulting food coma, and are now preparing for round #2 of unabashed gluttony with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day. But before we pack up for the week and head home, we wanted to pause and reflect on the things that have our hearts aflutter with gratitude this holiday season. Below are some of the things on SHIFTers’ minds this Thanksgiving.

  • Zach Servideo (@zachservideo) in Boston: I’m thankful for all of the good people in my life, especially my best friends (who just so happen to be my roommates). I’ve needed to call on them a lot this year to help out my family with a big move, and they step it up every time I need them – no questions asked. I’m lucky to live with four of these friends, all of whom I’ve known since I was 3 years old. They are an extension of my family.
  • Annie Perkins in Boston: I am thankful that my son is out of harm’s way and will be home safe with his family for the holidays. (Readers: Annie’s son, Ben, who was serving in Somalia, has just made it home to Jacksonville, FL!)
  •  Nicole Kruse (@NKruseNYC) in New York: I’m most thankful for airplanes because they make it possible for me to spend the holidays with my friends and family in California that I love and miss!
  •  Amanda Grinavich (@AGrinavich) in Boston: I am thankful for my family, friends and a job that I love. They all equal stability, and that’s something I’m certainly blessed to have at this time. I am also thankful for Beyonce because she’s fierce, and inspires the hell out of me. (Fun fact: Amanda has a “Fierce Wall” up on her cube, featuring Beyonce and others who help remind her to channel her inner fierceness)
  •  Berenise Solorio (@Bsolorio) in San Francisco: Aside from being thankful for the obvious—turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, oh and time with family (of course! ;])—I am beyond thankful for getting hired on as an Account Coordinator at SHIFT’s SF office. I’m honored to start my career at a firm with incredibly talented people!
  •  Alexandra Brooks (@abrooksshiftcomm) in New York: J.CREW. Kidding! I am thankful that my father is in better health than ever four years after his heart transplant.
  •  Justine Routhier (@JMassRouthier) in Boston: I’m thankful for 100-calorie snacks! Why? Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to fit into my wedding dress. (FYI, readers – Justine is SHIFT’s newest newly-wed, having been married only a month ago!)
  •  Catherine Goerz in San Francisco: I am thankful for beautiful November weather in San Francisco. It might be cold and foggy in summer, but the fall is gorgeous and warm (ish). (Goes without saying Cathy, the NY and Boston peeps are JEALOUS.)
  • Jennifer Eastman (@eastmanj) in New York: I am thankful for all the SHIFT bakers, chefs and mixologists. My pants, on the other hand, are not as thankful.
  • Kristen Zukowski in Boston: I am thankful that with tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes and even snow in October, my friends and family are all well. It really makes you think about how the world, in particular your own world, can change in a moment’s time!
  •  Cathy Summers (@csumm) in San Francisco: I get to work with some of my favorite people in the world, which makes work seem a little less like, well, you know, work. 🙂

And our personal favorite…

  •  Danielle Mancano (@dmancano) – Padded bras and Crest White Strips.

Why Social Media Will Save Us From Information Overload

By Amanda Guisbond (@agbond)

There’s no dearth of news these days.  Let’s take the most recent earthquake (ahem, aftershock to Boston and NYC) on the East Coast as an example of a “news event” that was sliced, diced and spun 100+ ways in a matter of 24 hours, including:

And my favorite:

The point here is, there have been many different perspectives on the news, whether brief or in-depth, and much, much more beyond what I’m sharing via links.  I’ve curated the news based on what leapt out to me from a simple Google News search, and now you get a more digestible sample of some of the “kookier” takes.

Really, to me, the earthquake was a small experience that I felt for a matter of seconds while at my desk at work, and my Facebook commentary was something along the lines of… “Now I have no excuse not to move to California.” (Engagement: 5 likes, 8 comments)

There I did it again, “curating” the news for my Facebook friends, who by the by, are sometimes my GO-TO source for a major event.  After the “shaking,” I jumped on Facebook, only to discover status updates from several friends from all over the East Coast assuring me that either a) they were being evacuated OR b) it was just aftershocks, and they were at a food truck stand when it happened.

The reason I went immediately to Facebook and not to Google News is because lately, Google News terrifies me with its overwhelming choices of publications, blogs and “in-depth” repurposed sub-pieces about major news events.  I just don’t know where to click and so I revert to my friends, who I know and trust.

There continues to be a major opportunity for brands to curate world news and events that are relevant to their industry, community and customers, via platforms like Twitter, Facebook and now… Google+!  So, as brands look to build out their own platforms – corporate blogs, branded communities – they should continue to identify opportunities like the “earthquake” to engage their audience and have a relevant, real-time conversation with them.

My favorite recent example?  Cape Cod’s Wellfleet Beachcomber (a beach bar with live music) took to Facebook with the following update this week – regarding the next weather disaster – honest, humble and totally upfront.  It’s not good news but… you can’t help but love ‘em.

Wellfleet Beachcomber:  Sucky News Alert Number One: Gene Ween and Dave Dreiwitz has been cancelled. There is no way we could talk Gene into driving 8 hours in a hurricane, even for the ‘Comber. Tickets (300 of ’em sold) will be refunded over the next 48 hours. Cold blows the wind…………

SHIFT and Media Bistro: The Conversation Continues

Media Bistro is the go-to source for jobs and recruiting for media professionals in journalism, on-line content, book publishing, TV, radio, PR, graphic design, photography, and advertising.

Media Bistro also throws kick-ass networking events.

August’s Media Bistro “Cocktails in Boston” event at Middlesex Lounge in Central Square (Cambridge, MA) was no different. It was filled with all sorts of media industry pros — PR veterans (young and old), social media junkies, novelists, freelance writers, journalists, photojournalists, creative designers, etc. The best way to summarize this event is to provide a quick rundown of just a few of the relationships I established there…

Melissa Pocek, “The Ring Leader” (@MelissaPocek) — Melissa Pocek hosted the event. Event attendees were clearly a dynamic mix of long-time Media Bistro members, first-time attendees and, of course, “friends of Melissa.” Melissa is a regular contributor to Boston media. Her journalism has covered national issues, local events, and professional profiles. For those unfamiliar with Melissa’s work, she’s a freelance writer focusing on topics ranging from health/wellness and fashion/lifestyle to budget/cheap living and food/wine. Learn more about Melissa by visiting her website — Melissa Pocek: A Collection of Writings.

Matthew Sandel, “The Novelist” — I had to throw this guy in here. He’s one of those mysterious novelists you’d only find at a Media Bistro event. He has been working on a comic novel for 5+ years and readily admits to suffering from what we all can relate to — frequent writer’s block. Cool take away from this conversation came when we were discussing climate change, renewables, etc. and Matthew informed me that President Reagan decided to remove the solar panels that President Carter had installed. Looking up the incident today, apparently Regan’s “people” thought that solar was a forward-thinking joke. Surprised I haven’t read more about this given the renewed focus on solar in recent years (or perhaps the documentation is out there and I’m just the jerk who didn’t take notice until now). For a full history lesson on the matter, check out The Forgotten History Blog. One last note on Matthew: he didn’t have a business card and promised to email me — at which point he made me promise I’d email him back (apparently he had his networking heart broken in the past). I’m happy to report we have since exchanges emails and plan to grab coffee next month. Matthew, if you’re listening, I hope this experience has restored your faith in Boston’s networking subculture that I so love… 🙂

Manya Chylinski, “The Freelancer” — Manya is the president and founder of Alley424 Communications. She is an experienced corporate communications writer focusing on a variety of topics including high tech, higher education and financial services, among others. If your clients are looking to hire a freelancer, Manya is a great option. For more information on her work, including her portfolio, visit http://www.alley424.com. On a side note, Manya and I are a photogenic pair as you can see in the picture accompanying this blog post (courtesy of @lauraimkamp, who we’ll get to later on).

Manya “The Freelancer” with Zach "The Conversation"

Georgy Cohen, “The Other Freelancer” — (@radiofreegeorgy) – A Somerville resident like myself, Georgy is an accomplished freelancer. She also serves as the manager of web content and strategy at Tufts University. Georgy is also the founder of Meet Content, a startup focused on helping higher education institutions create and sustain web content that engages and retains audiences. Check out Georgy’s personal website.

“The Emerson Grads” — Toward the end of the event, I met a charming group of Emerson College graduates who all have been working with great success in the journalism field since graduating in 2010. Finding myself caught up in this college reunion of sorts was my good fortune as these young women invited me in to their engaging conversation about digital media, the evolving online media landscape and the growing backlash against the overwhelmingly transparent nature of social sharing. The latter is not intended to suggest transparency is a bad thing, but more an acknowledgment that there is an increasing need for closed, privately-controlled online social communities. Here’s a quick rundown of my new Emerson alum friends:

  • @lauraimkamp – This girl does it all: photographer, writer, freelance multimedia journalist. In fact, she was the official photographer for this week’s event. The photo accompanying this blog post is courtesy of Laura. For a better understanding of all that this girl brings to the table, check out her personal website.
  • @kalannigan – Like myself, Katie is a true Somerville die-hard. She formerly wrote for the Somerville Patch and is currently an editorial secretary at PBS.org’s Frontline. Check out her blog.
  • @MeenaGanesan – Another jack-of-all-trades in the media world, Meena is a weekend web producer at WHDH-TV.
  • @Nicolette_O – An impressive multimedia journalist, Nicolette is an insurance reporter at The Standard in Boston, which is New England’s leading weekly insurance publication.
  • @kailanikm – Kailani, an all-purpose journalist, was hired by the Boston Globe to help anchor the new editorial staff at BostonGlobe.com. Check out her personal website.

Let that last bullet serve as a reminder to everyone that this fall the Boston Globe will be divided into two parts, the free Boston.com and the subscriber-focused BostonGlobe.com. In fact, for a better understanding of the reasoning behind the Boston.com/BostonGlobe.com split, check out the recent Nieman Journalism Lab blog post — “Boston Globe creates a Twitter board for the newsroom.”

Last, I would like to give a shout out to a couple long-time industry friends I ran into at the event — social media branding guru @JeffCutler and my former Schwartz Communications colleague @ctanowitz. If you’re not familiar with Jeff, check out his website: jeffcutler.com. Also, check out all the cool things Chuck is working on at his PR and social media shop — Fresh Ground.

So many more friends (new and old) to call out, but I’ll save that for my next networking event recap. Thanks for allowing me to steal the Slice stage for a bit. Have a wonderful day!

All the best,

Zach “The Conversation” Servideo (@ZachServideo)

Inside the Bell Ringer’s Studio

By Derek Lyons (@dwlyons)


After much encouragement from my esteemed colleague Catherine Allen (@catherineallen) I had the opportunity to take part in this year’s judging for the Bell Ringer awards.  For the uninitiated, the Bell Ringers are organized by the Publicity Club of New England and since 1969 has been geared to “recognize and honor excellence and achievement in the communications and public relations professions.”

The categories are as numerous as the opportunities robust for recognition amongst your peers.  I served as a judge for the national broadcast category and the graphics category, and came away impressed with the results.  I wish everyone luck as the winners are announced on June 7th at the Westin Hotel in Watch City, USA (aka Waltham.)

Here’s my take-aways when considering submitting for either the Bell Ringers or any other awards, lessons I humbly submit will also help in your everyday PR lives as well:

  • Keep your writing simple – Reading through multiple submissions (think multiple pitches, speaking ops, etc.), the ones that stood avoided having the best nuggets lost in a fog of “classic” marketing/PR language.
  • Use relevant details – Pertinent details made the best pieces come to life.  Be careful not to overload your submissions with meaningless statistics that will take away from the story you’re trying to tell.  Speaking of which…
  • Tell a story – The outstanding submissions I read were actually on the shorter side, but told a very compelling story that cleanly progressed from situation to challenge to results.  They didn’t attempt to recreate the wheel, rather excelled at painting a clear picture.

Anyone have other tips they’d like to share when pulling together award submissions?  We’d love to hear them!