Thursday, August 30, 2007

Can “Friends” Catapult Next Presidential Election?

I am a huge advocate for social media and the potential impact it can have on everyday matters, but is it powerful enough to sway the votes of thousands of Young Americans?

It seems that music mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs thought so in 2004 when he created the “Vote Now or Die” campaign that encouraged young Americans ages 18-24 to vote.

P. Diddy’s campaign was smeared over all social outlets and encouraged people to don t-shirts with the catchy slogan. This message was not to be ignored. Roughly 3 million more young Americans voted in that 2004 election than 2000; was that just coincidence?

I do not believe so. I remember--I was a sophomore in college and fellow undergrads were donning the “Vote or Die” t-shirt. It was all over campus, the news, magazines, you name it.

When I came across a recent article, “Friends” in high places” on Reuters.com, by Andy Sullivan, I thought to myself that social media has yet again sparked another revolutionary campaign among young Americans; vote, be heard, and have fun doing it.

Young Americans spend countless hours a day on social media outlets like Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster. Presidential hopefuls, such as Illinois Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton jumped on the social media bandwagon to obtain “friends” that will support their cause and push them into victory. So far, they have been successful.

Barack Obama totaled 299,000 friends between MySpace and Facebook while Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, only has 169,000 friends. Obama even has his on social networking sight, my.barackobama.com in hopes of converting “friends” into volunteers and eventual votes. On the other hand, Former Republican NY mayor, Rudy Guiliani seems to be way behind the times, only boasting a mere 7,400 friends.

I am hoping that the increase in young voters was not a fluke and that Presidential campaigns are successful in turning “friends” into voters. What do you think?

If you bill it . . .

I’ve heard it said that “if you build it, they will come.” In this case, I think they meant, “If you bill it, they will come.” But the question is will they pay? I read Nathan Koppel’s Wall Street Journal article, Lawyers Gear Up Grand New Fees, in which Koppel details the new $1,000 per hour fees being charged by some large law firm litigators. I highly encourage all attorneys and legal marketers to read the article. My favorite analogies to high billing rates of attorneys are to that of the medical practitioner who saves lives and doesn’t make $1,000 per hour and to the baseball pro who makes $15,000 per hour. It’s the strange world of Mr. Mum. They say perception is nine-tenths of the truth, so if payers perceive such services to have a $1,000 per hour value, then they’re truth is that the attorney is worth just that. Let’s hope the counselors billing these rates will hit more home runs than Barry Bonds.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Consumer Technology: Office Winner or Woe?

Consumer technologies vamp up the daily lives of many people; from blackberries to iPhones, AOL Instant Messenger to Google chat. These products and applications provide a twist: an expeditious and more productive approach to modern communications.

Certain questions arise in my head: does the self-empowerment that these consumer products give to the average person create a longing to have those same amenities in the workplace and does this longing of technological tools make it acceptable to bring into the workplace?

Josh Holbrook, the author of a new study conducted by the research firm the Yankee Group, tells the Wall Street Journal that, “86% of corporate employees say that they use at least one consumer-oriented tech tool that isn’t supported by the IT department,” even when the, “IT groups at many companies try their hardest to keep these tools out of the office.”

Why are employees giving an unspoken voice to consumer tech products in the workplace? Holbrook believes that consumers are much more innovative than the business world and quite frankly, I agree. According to Holbrook’s study, so do more than half of the participants, stating that, “that they would be more productive at work if they had access to all the technology that they could use at home.”

Playing devil’s advocate now, I understand that the need for security is at an all time high in the 21st century. I applaud valiant efforts by businesses to protect their workers and believe policies and procedures should be upheld.

At the end of the day it is important for both sides to understand one major thing; to need to create and establish a win-win environment- where corporations maintain productivity and employees have access to their personal gadgets. With some creative and knowledgeable heads put together, I am sure a compromise on both ends can lead toward a more productive, efficient, and profitable end.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Saying Thank You

There are so many ways to say thank you. It is personal relations, not public relations. And today, we all seem to be so busy, that we forget how easy it is to give thanks.

This weekend, I spent time with a friend from my childhood who was preparing to compete in the SheRox Triathlon in Philadelphia. She is from out of state so we spent the night in my hometown, Philly. Her thoughtfulness is what I want to share: She gave me a wrapped gift and asked me not to open it until I was home. It is a book edited by Marlo Thomas titled, The Right Words at the Right Time, Vol. 2: Your Turn! And in the book was a thank you card placed in a chapter about friendship. This is something I will forever cherish. I started reading the book last night and it reminds me of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It’s excellent. As I was reading, I learned that all royalties go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which was founded by Marlo Thomas’ father. Yet another added bonus to this lovely thank you . . . .

It really is the small things in life that are important. Hand write a thank you card after someone gives of their time. Send something meaningful that shows them you care, and remember it is appropriate to say thank you even when you are thanking someone for a thank you gift.

So in the spirit of thank yous, thank you for reading ThePRLawyer blog.

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