Wednesday, December 23, 2009

U.S. Soldiers Die in Iraq of Suspicious Electrocution - Wife Wants Answers

I published an article on Huffington Post today about soldiers and civilians dying in Iraq of suspicious electrocutions. Please help spread the word about this article to everyone you see fit. Post it on Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo, Tweet it, Digg it, Bing it, Share it, Buzz it, etc. Help the world to know Adam and Janine’s story so we can help Adam’s family get answers and prevent these avoidable deaths from happening in the future.

U.S. Soldiers Die in Iraq of Suspicious Electrocution - Wife of Adam Hermanson Wants Answers

Gina Furia Rubel is a citizen journalist, attorney and publicist, a.k.a. The PR Lawyer
Posted: December 23, 2009 01:22 PM
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Social networking: Client, Facebook friend - or both?

In the Lawyers USA article, Social networking: Client, Facebook friend - or both?, Sylvia Hsieh, addresses the issues surrounding lawyers “friending” clients on Facebook. Hsieh provides prospective from Richard Vetstein, a real estate lawyer in Framingham, Mass., Traci Capistrant, a family law attorney at Capistrant & Wong in Minneapolis, Minn., David Barrett, a practicing litigator in Boston who also coaches lawyers on using social media, and me -- Gina Rubel, a former trial attorney and owner of Furia Rubel Communications.

I encourage you to read the article and pass it along to colleagues. One of the points made is that Facebook users should NOT have two profiles (one for personal use and one for professional use) under the Facebook terms of use. Many professionals have created more than one profile, but it is not necessary with the new privacy settings provided by Facebook.

Social media should play an important role in your public relations, reputation management, legal marketing and business development – but it does have to be managed and handled wisely.

Happy friending….

Monday, December 21, 2009

7 Ways Lawyers Can Capitalize on Media Coverage

Check out my latest post on The Legal Intelligencer Blog regarding 7 Ways Lawyers can Capitalize on Media Coverage. A must read for all legal marketers and attorneys alike.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Google’s Wave of the Future

Posted by Katie Noonan

Google made waves last May when the company announced the launch of Google Wave a revolutionary new personal communication and collaboration tool that combines e-mail, instant messaging, wikis and even social networking. Google initially released the platform to developers and in September they extended a preview of Google Wave to 100,000 of its users (a Google account was all that was needed to receive an invite). Those users were each given 25 invites that they could then share with friends and colleagues.

According to Google, “Wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.” What’s more, Google Wave occurs in real-time so participants can conduct conversations and make edits live.

If Google Wave takes off, it has the potential to be a great public relations tool. Multiple members of a firm can draft a press release or publicity plan in one Wave, communicate with clients, or record action items from a meeting. The opportunities that Google Wave could create are limitless.

Currently reviews from users suggest that Google Wave has a few bugs to work out, but that it is a streamlined, easy to use platform with potential. Google hasn’t announced when they will release Wave to the general public, but those interested in learning more about it can watch Google’s Dr. Wave intro here.

Law Firm Keeps Its Roots In Parsippany, N.J.

Here is more fantastic law firm news to share with our readers. Colleagues and clients of ours, the attorneys at Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard, P.C., recently committed to an 11 year lease with S.K. Realty – remaining in their current Parsippany, New Jersey headquarters.

In the last few years the law firm has grown from 130 employees to over 252 and the need for more space is essential. During the course of 2009, the law firm toured numerous office spaces in Parsippany and its neighboring communities while also considering architects’ proposals to renovate the present space to accommodate the firm’s continued growth.

According to the firm’s managing shareholder, James E. Shepard, “A key factor in our decision to renew the lease was to maintain a law office that was convenient for our clients and employees to commute to.” He said, “We also need to provide more space, more appealing surroundings, and additional amenities for the convenience of our staff and clients.”

In order to meet their objectives, the firm has hired architect Chris Albretch who will handle extensive renovations. The renovations are expected to be completed during the summer of 2010.

More about Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard, PC: The firm is located at 7 Century Drive, Suite 201, Parsippany, New Jersey. The firm is general practice law firm serving clients in New Jersey and New York. For more than 25 years the law firm has offered innovative solutions to business and individuals in the areas of business planning, civil litigation, creditor representation in the areas of foreclosure, bankruptcy and collections, elder law, family law, personal injury, tax, and trusts and estates. For more information, go to

U.S. Army Leading The Way In Social Media

Posted by Amanda Walsh

In past blog posts, I’ve written about the great strides the United States Army has taken to include social media in its public relations outreach. The Army continues to be a thought leader in blogging and social media despite its conservative reputation.

According to a article by Arik C. Hanson called, “Social media lessons from an unlikely source: the Army,” the military branch has 61 bloggers on board writing about their experiences. Most of the bloggers are soldiers who give firsthand insight into their daily lives. The Army has encouraged them to write about the good as well as the bad.

Blogging and other online forums connect soldiers with people who can ask questions. Now prospective soldiers can connect with those who are already serving and gain insight into their military lifestyle. Social media has become a valuable networking and outreach tool for recruiters who in the past only had the opportunity to meet with prospects face to face in a recruiting center. Now through the ease of the Internet, connections are being made. According to Hanson’s article, some of the Army’s projects include the Web site, Ask a Soldier forum, blog posts from real soldiers and videos on YouTube.

Some helpful points to take away from the Army’s hard work:

1. Power in Numbers.
The various authors and points of view that are being accounted for on the Army’s blog give readers a well-rounded view of experiences that soldiers deal with everyday. Consider featuring various writers on a company blog to show different perspectives. Also, responsibility for writing will not just fall on one employee. The PR Lawyer, for example, features many of Furia Rubel’s employees from different backgrounds and experience levels, each with their own perspective.

2. “Humanize” the story.
Yes, the main purpose of the Army is to support and protect the United States of America, but its bloggers are not writing about just that part of the job. The human stories of homecomings and community functions also keep readers interested and engaged.

The same is true for your company blogs. By only focusing on the company products and services, readers can quickly become disinterested. Instead, spotlight how your organization will work to better the lives of your clients.

3. Visuals, visuals, visuals!
The Army has many impressive photos that facilitate telling their stories. Often times a photo or video can say much more than a blog post or piece of writing could ever do. Hanson notes, “the Army’s blog uses photos liberally to tell the Army story you may not always hear—time with families, community involvement and life on the road.”

For your corporate blog or Web site remember the appeal of a good photo or an interesting news clip. Make use of multimedia and Web sites such as Picasa and YouTube. They can be invaluable tools to tell the story of your company.

To sum up, I think it is interesting how the Army has embraced social media to help bring soldiers closer to their families, share information, answer questions and dispel myths. I have many friends in the Army who are deployed in Afghanistan right now and we manage to keep in touch through Facebook despite the great distance between us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Congrats On Your Board Appointments

Congratulations to two of our clients and colleagues, Sheila Jacobs and Rhonda Hill Wilson, Esq., who have been appointed to Philadelphia-area boards!

Sheila Jacobs, Certified Financial Planner™, a personal finance expert and CEO of Life & Money Consulting of Bucks County, Pa., has been appointed treasurer of Urban Promise in Camden, N.J. As the treasurer of the non-profit organization, she chairs the board’s finance committee. Urban Promise helps to equips Camden’s children and young adults with the skills they need to succeed in Camden and beyond. To learn more, visit

Rhonda Hill Wilson, Philadelphia personal injury and nursing home negligence attorney, was recently appointed to serve on the governing board of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA). The 11-member board of regional business leaders is appointed by the Governor, the state legislature, the Mayor of Philadelphia, and the large counties surrounding the Port. To learn more, visit

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Retailers Look to Social Media for Holiday Marketing Than Ever Before

Posted by Katie Noonan

According to a recent article from Advertising Age, the 2009 holiday season has led more retailers than ever before to use social media in their marketing campaigns. In fact, more than half of retailers surveyed in a study conducted by BDO Seidman said they would use social media networks to market their products this season up from less than five percent in 2007. Of the retailers utilizing social media networks, 76% reported that they are using Facebook, 50% are using Twitter, 14% are using MySpace and 14% are using YouTube.

It’s not hard to see why retailers are looking to social media this year. In a comScore weekly holiday survey conducted December 4-7, 2009, twenty-eight percent of those who had started their holiday shopping reported that social media influenced their purchases. Thirteen percent of those surveyed reported that consumer product reviews (either positive or negative) most influenced their purchases, while 11% said that expert reviews of products influenced their decision. Interestingly, 7% of respondents said that they had followed a Facebook fan page to benefit from promotional offers or deals from retailers, and 6% said they were influenced by a Facebook friend’s status update that referred to a particular product.

With retailers looking to get the most bang for their advertising bucks this holiday season, social media campaigns can be an inexpensive and effective way to reach target audiences. In order to be successful though, retail social media campaigns need to be creative, offer some sort of incentive to join (after all, what shopper doesn’t love a holiday coupon or discount?), and responsive to consumers. For those looking for an example of brands with effective holiday social media campaigns, check out Best Buy’s and H&M’s Facebook pages.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Changes Coming to Facebook

An Open Letter from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

by Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 9:23pm

It has been a great year for making the world more open and connected. Thanks to your help, more than 350 million people around the world are using Facebook to share their lives online.To make this possible, we have focused on giving you the tools you need to share and control your information. Starting with the very first version of Facebook five years ago, we've built tools that help you control what you share with which individuals and groups of people. Our work to improve privacy continues today.Facebook's current privacy model revolves around "networks" — communities for your school, your company or your region. This worked well when Facebook was mostly used by students, since it made sense that a student might want to share content with their fellow students.Over time people also asked us to add networks for companies and regions as well. Today we even have networks for some entire countries, like India and China.However, as Facebook has grown, some of these regional networks now have millions of members and we've concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy. Almost 50 percent of all Facebook users are members of regional networks, so this is an important issue for us. If we can build a better system, then more than 100 million people will have even more control of their information.The plan we've come up with is to remove regional networks completely and create a simpler model for privacy control where you can set content to be available to only your friends, friends of your friends, or everyone.We're adding something that many of you have asked for — the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload. In addition, we'll also be fulfilling a request made by many of you to make the privacy settings page simpler by combining some settings. If you want to read more about this, we began discussing this plan back in July.Since this update will remove regional networks and create some new settings, in the next couple of weeks we'll ask you to review and update your privacy settings. You'll see a message that will explain the changes and take you to a page where you can update your settings. When you're finished, we'll show you a confirmation page so you can make sure you chose the right settings for you. As always, once you're done you'll still be able to change your settings whenever you want.We've worked hard to build controls that we think will be better for you, but we also understand that everyone's needs are different. We'll suggest settings for you based on your current level of privacy, but the best way for you to find the right settings is to read through all your options and customize them for yourself. I encourage you to do this and consider who you're sharing with online.Thanks for being a part of making Facebook what it is today, and for helping to make the world more open and connected.Mark Zuckerberg

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Qualities of Successful Women Part III

Judge Diane Welsh Details Qualities That Distinguish Successful Women—Part III #law #lawyers (The Legal Intelligencer)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Philadelphia-Area December Events for Lawyers, Judges, Accountants and Business Owners

Here are a few of the things happening in the Philadelphia region next month that are sure to have great attendance. These are all fabulous events for networking, business development, and relationship development. We hope to see you there.

The Philadelphia Bar Association will host “A Year in Review: Big Cases - What Was Hot, What Was Not. -- It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle” on December 1, 2009. This event is sponsored by the Bar-News Media Committee, which is chaired by The PR Lawyer (a.k.a. @ginarubel on Twitter) Gina Rubel. Emmy-award winning journalist Lynn Doyle, will lead a discussion with Bar Chancellor Sayde Ladov, Tariq El-Shabazz, Rhonda Hill Wilson and Chuck A. Peruto, Jr. from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm at the Bar Association. To register, go to

Also on December 1, 2009, is the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction Awards Banquet to be held from 5:15 pm - 8:15 pm at the Sheraton City Center Hotel 17 & Race Streets, Philadelphia. To register, go to

Banker’s Shootout™Kimberle Levin and The Philadelphia 100 Alumni Association bring us The Banker’s Shootout™ which will take place on December 4 from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM at the Philadelphia Country Club, 1601 Spring Mill Road, Gladwyne, PA. Five of the Philadelphia region’s bank CEOs will come together and answer questions about bank financing for businesses. Furia Rubel will be at this exclusive event on December 4, 2009 from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Speakers include: Bill Aichele, Chairman, President & CEO of Univest Corporation, Gerry Cuddy, President & CEO of Beneficial Bank, Ted Peters, Chairman & CEO of Bryn Mawr Trust, Tom Petro, President & CEO of Fox Chase Bank, Walt Tillman, Chairman & CEO of Vantage Point Bank, Pamela Strisofsky, Managing Director & CFO of TL Ventures, Moderator. Register at

The Justinian Society of Philadelphia, made up of Italian-American attorneys, judges and law students, will host their annual Christmas party on December 15, 2009 from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at The Grand Ballroom at The Ben Franklin, 9th & Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia. This is a fantastic event drawing several hundred attendees every year. To register, go to

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On Facebook? Help Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to fair and impartial judges and juries in Pennsylvania. Public confidence in our state’s courts is distressingly low, in large part because of the perception that money and special interests erode judicial independence. By working to change the judicial selection process, improve the jury system and court administration, and combat bias in the courts, PMC is fighting to make sure that our goal is not just an aspiration, but a reality for all Pennsylvanians.

We have the opportunity to help PMC win a significant grant through the Chase Community Giving challenge on Facebook. Facebook users who participate in the challenge by becoming fans of the Chase Community Giving site get to vote for small nonprofits they believe are worthy of philanthropic support. The top 100 vote getters will receive $25,000 grants and the opportunity to earn more through a second round of voting. First-round voting continues until December 11.

This is a great opportunity for PMC. Please join me in voting for Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. Check out

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Judge Diane Welsh Details Qualities That Distinguish Successful Women—Part II

Judge Diane Welsh Details Qualities That Distinguish Successful Women—Part II #law #lawyers (The Legal Intelligencer)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Employee Use of Facebook and Twitter, Social Media for Lawyers

What Have You Done About Employee Use of Facebook and Twitter? asks Eric B. Meyer in his Legal Intelligencer Blog. This is a must read article for all employers and employment lawyers.

I had the opportunity to meet Eric yesterday at a Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) CLE: “Facebook, Twitter & Blogging…Oh MySpace!” The six-credit CLE was offered simultaneously in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. I presented the introduction to Social Media and then discuss the ethics of social media, public relations and marketing with Kim Jessum, Esq., (@kimjessum on Twitter) an intellectual property attorney with Stradley Ronon and Kelly Phillips Erb, Esq. (@taxgirl on Twitter) who is a tech-savvy tax attorney in Philadelphia.

Eric Meyer (@Eric_B_Meyer on Twitter) is a member of the Labor and Employment Group at Dilworth Paxson LLP. In an one-on-one conversation, he and I shared thoughts about the implications of social media in the workplace. In fact, he writes social media policies for clients -- which -- judging by the informal survey of raised hands yesterday of more than 150 attendees, most law firms are in desperate need of implementing.

When I arrived, I met Melissa Sachs, Esq., who immediately set up a hashtag on Twitter: #pbism - so some of us were reporting and sharing information and thoughts with an even larger audience. If you are not yet on Twitter and just want to see how a hashtag is used and some of the valuable information that came out of the session, go to and type in #pbism (even folks from PBI were tweeting).

There were many excellent tips shared by the Philadelphia program participants some of which included Nicole D. Galli, Esq. and Peter Wakiyama, Esq. from Pepper Hamilton LLP, Stephanie "Tess" Blair, Esq., from Morgan Lewis, J. Christopher Erb, Esq., from the Erb Law Firm , PC, Abbe Fletman, Esq., from Flaster Greenberg, Harold Goldner, Esq., (@humanracehorses on Twitter) an employment attorney who blogs at and Alexander Plache, Esq. who is Sr. Intellectual Property Counsel with Saint-Gobain Corporation.

From what I heard yesterday, PBI's goal is to offer an encore presentation in a few months so if you couldn't make it yesterday, there will be another opportunity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Philadelphia-Area CLE Programs to Check Out

Here are just a few great CLE programs happening in the Philadelphia-area between now and the end of the year. If you are looking to fulfill some CLE credits, feel free to check out the following events:

• The Pennsylvania Association for Justice will host a continuing legal education seminar on Nov. 20, 2009. The program, “Insurance Bad Faith Litigation” is slated for 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Top of the Tower on Arch Street in Philadelphia. Attorney Mark W. Tanner of the Philadelphia personal injury law firm Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock & Dodig will serve as a faculty member. Those attending the CLE will receive four substantive CLE credits. Visit to learn more about the event.

• The Pennsylvania Bar Institute will host a continuing legal education event titled, “Practical Aspects of Personal Injury Depositions” on December 8, 2009. Attorney John M. Dodig of Feldman Shepherd will serve as faculty for the event. Course participants will learn new techniques and best practices from Dodig and others to test and improve their deposition skills. The event will take place at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building, Suite 1010, in Philadelphia from 12:45pm – 5pm. Go to for more information.

• The Pennsylvania Bar Institute will offer a six-credit CLE, “Trial of a Medical Malpractice Case” on December 9, 2009. Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock & Dodig attorney’s Carol Nelson Shepherd and Evan Y. Liu, M.D., J.D. will participate in the event as educators. The course will be held at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) Conference Center, on 10th Floor of the Wanamaker Building, Suite 1010, in Philadelphia from 9am – 4:45pm.

• Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association (PTLA) will host a continuing legal education seminar titled, “Ethics: Doing the Right Thing” on December 16, 2009. The program, which will be held at the Radisson Plaza – Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia from 12:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., is part of PTLA’s Anniversary Luncheon Lecture Series. The lecture series celebrates 50 years of PTLA legal education. Attorney Mark W. Tanner of Feldman Shepherd will serve as a faculty member. Go to to learn more.

Google Users Now Able to View Stored Data in One Place

Posted by Amanda Walsh

After being here in Spain for nearly two months, it has been quite a change from my experiences last year. I want to update our PR Lawyer blog readers on some interesting happenings here in Spain.

Today, I read a post written by Miguel Helft on the Technology blog titled, “Bits” on about a European privacy conference that was held last week in Spain. I found the post to be very interesting as it talks about a new service from Google, Google Dashboard. This new service brings together privacy information that Google holds for each user and puts it into one space.

User information was available before the release of Dashboard, but now Dashboard brings all of the information together in one easy-to-use place. Dashboard only holds information about services that require a log-in from users. For example, Google’s free email service, Gmail, account users can view the number of conversations in their inbox and see archived conversations. According to Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for trust and safety for Google, he notes that this service brings “more transparency and control” to its users.

Some praise the new service, siting it as a large step for Google, who may be following in the footsteps of Facebook in an effort to be more transparent with user information.

Others are not so convinced of the benefits of Dashboard. John Simpson, of Consumer Watchdog, a frequent critic of Google said, “Dashboard gives users the appearance of control over privacy, but does not really prevent Google from tracking users across the Web.”

I viewed my personal account just a few minutes ago and I thought it was pretty neat to see all my accounts in one spot. However, I can understand the security risks this does present. If a hacker were to get their hands on someone’s account password they would automatically have access to their YouTube, their Picasa and Google Reader account information as well.

Let me explain a little about YouTube, Picasa and Google Reader. According to the Web site, “Picasa is free photo editing software from Google that makes your pictures look great.” You can post photos and share them with friends and family through the site. Another well-known Google subsidiary is YouTube. YouTube allows users to post and view videos for free. It’s a helpful video resource for just about anything from watching music videos to viewing how-to guides. Google Reader “is a tool for gathering, reading, and sharing all the interesting blogs and Web sites you read on the Web,” according to the page. After you sign up, you are able to subscribe to an RSS feed or “Really Simple Syndication” feed on your favorite blogs. These feeds are the way Web sites and blogs are able to issue new content. The updated posts are sent to your Google Reader where they are kept all together in one space. Sometimes sites like this are called aggregators. It is a convenient and easy place to view all of the most up-to-date posts on your favorite blogs. I prefer the blog aggregator, Bloglines.
All of the services I described above and more will now be accessible by inputting your personal log-in information through Google Dashboard. After reading some comments on the post I can understand why people may be worried or unhappy about the new service.

On the other hand, I believe that anything that you put on the Internet can and will be viewed by others. From a PR standpoint, your public image shared on the Internet should always be maintained and presented in the utmost professional light.

I do not see Dashboard as a huge change from any other service Google offers. After all, the same information was available to be viewed online before and now the only difference is that it is all kept in one place for users. What are some of your opinions about this new service from Google?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Facebook, Twitter & Blogging…Oh MySpace! 6-Credit CLE in PA

The ethics of social media for lawyers and judges is a hot topic and continues to evolve. On November 10, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute will host, “Facebook, Twitter & Blogging…Oh MySpace!” The six-credit CLE is being offered in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Gina Rubel will set the stage with an introduction to Social Media and will discuss social media marketing with Kim Jessum, Esq., and Kelly Phillips Erb, Esq. To register, visit

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Free Legal Clinic for Small Businesses in Philly

Philadelphia VIP Sponsors Free Legal Clinic for Small Businesses Provided by Volunteer Corporate Counsel:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

20 Must-Read Articles on Social Media Ethics for Lawyers and Judges - The Legal Intelligencer Blog

In my latest post for The Legal Intelligencer Blog, I share 20 Must-Read Articles on Social Media Ethics for Lawyers and Judges. I encourage reading all of them. They are well worth the time.

The articles come from the ABA Journal, Staten Island Live, The Wall Street Journal,,, MediaPost News, New York Law Journal, Phoenix Business Journal, New York Times,, New Jersey Law Journal,, Robert J. Ambrogi Legal Blog Watch, MSNBC,, Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania – Attorney Newsletter, and

I added #21 as a comment after speaking with Kelly Phillips Erb (a.k.a. Tax Girl Want to Update Your Avvo Listing? If So, Start Policing Client Comments, Opinion Says by Debra Cassens Weiss.

Please let us know if you know of any articles that should be added to the list.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Cooking Up Justice: Philly Lawyers Share Their Favorite Recipes

Carol Nelson Shepherd of the Philadelphia personal injury law firm, Feldman Shepherd, is not only a great attorney - but she's a winner in The Legal Intelligencer's Cooking Up Justice Best Chef's Competition. For the slideshow, go to

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Overused Business Clichés Need to Go

Posted by Leah Rice

In the recent issue of Philly Ad Club’s Ad News, Jack Paolin wrote an article titled, “Cliches: They’re all around us” and I thought we could all benefit from a little refresher on the cliché terms that are used way too often.

Paolin originally got the idea to write this article based on a September 2009 column by The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, Mike Armstrong, who criticized the use of business clichés. Here are some of the cliché terms that Paolin brought to light in his article:
  • win-win situation
  • thinking outside of the box
  • best practices
  • at the end of the day
  • going forward
  • Web 2.0
  • low hanging fruit
  • giving 100%
  • hitting the ground running
  • raising the bar

Paolin said that, “The Encyclopedia of Business Clichés points out that the worst offenders use them to hide. ‘By obfuscating, lying, confusing or just planning avoiding the issue, business people can avoid communicating.’”

The real reason behind these cliché terms is that they help business people succinctly describe a concept. Paolin wrote that The Encyclopedia of Business Clichés states that clichés “are actually quite useful, because they give you precise words to describe things that would be difficult to communicate otherwise.” I agree that these terms often sum up business topics, ideas and efforts so easily and just tend to roll off the tongue nicely.

Are you an offender? I cannot say that I have not been a cliché delinquent in my day, but let’s all work to be more original and to get to the point with our everyday business language. Going forward… I mean… In the future, I am going to make a consorted effort to avoid the use of these terms in my everyday business verbiage and I propose that you do as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How Corporations Succeed with Social Media

Posted by Leah Rice

Amy Mengel of covered the October Inbound Marketing Summit led by social media gurus Chris Brogan and Justin Levy. During the summit Mengel picked up five key reasons why corporations are struggling with their social media efforts. But instead of focusing on negative examples of companies doing it wrong – Mengel highlighted a few of the companies that just get it. Below see the tips she mentions in her article titled, “Five reasons corporations are failing at social media.”

1. They can’t talk about anything broader than their own products. Mengel highlighted Kodak’s photography blog that Chief Blogger Jenny Cisney mentioned during the summit. Cisney spoke about how the Kodak blog is about photography and creativity in general, not about Kodak cameras. And I couldn’t agree more with Mengel when she says, “If a company is only talking online about its specific products and not looking for ways to connect to the bigger picture, it’s pretty difficult for people to be engaged.”

2. They listen to customers but don’t take any action. Corporations that are willing and able to make the plunge into the social media realm and ask for customer feedback need to be ready for public responses and to do something about it. Afterall what is the point of asking for someone’s opinion if you really don’t want to hear it.

Mengel uses an example involving Southwest Airlines. In her article she shares that, “Paula Berg from Southwest Airlines discussed how a simple blog post stating the airline was considering assigned seating amassed tons of customer comments showing a lack of support for the idea. This feedback changed the direction of their internal debate and led to a new boarding procedure that maintained the open seating arrangement.”

3. They aren’t calibrated internally with the technology. According to Mengel, a few of the summit speakers rebuked corporate Web sites for being glorified online brochures and that customers expect interaction. Similar to what Furia Rubel preaches to our clients and colleagues, summit speakers pushed the fact that content creation is key to social media success and every company should have a Web site with a content management system that allows for quick, easy content creation.

4. They’re not framing risk accurately. She also mentioned how, “NBC cameraman Jim Long said that often a company’s entry into social media is a clumsy, shotgun blast and that there’s an equal chance of looking foolish by having a ham-fisted marketing department launch a social media presence as there is if a rogue employee ‘goes off’ on Twitter. The risk of social media is not abated by not participating and social media has yet to be the undoing of any company.”

5. Their internal culture isn’t aligned for social media success. Zappos and Southwest Airlines were cited by Mengel as some of the corporations doing it right with a great social media corporate culture. Because these companies have corporate cultures reflective of their core customer service missions, they succeed with building trust and advocacy for their brand through social media outlets.

So here it is – participating in social media is not a life or death choice for corporations. Have a plan; be honest, trustworthy and transparent with your social media efforts; provide interaction with your customers; and be ready to do something about the feedback that you receive.

Thank you, Amy, for providing us with these easy-to-follow tips on bettering all of our corporate social media efforts.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gina Rubel Seeks Twitter Followers - PR & Marketing

On Twitter @GinaRubel needs 225 followers to be able to follow >2000. If you're interested in PR & marketing - please follow and RT (TX!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Furia Rubel PR eNewsletter

We finished our 2nd PR e-newsletter to be issued in the early AM (10/13). Want to sign up? Go to

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Drexel Law Shows Great Results on First Bar Exam

As an alumna of Drexel University – I’m thrilled to learn that they had a nearly 90% pass rate on their first class to take the bar exam. Gina Passarella of The Legal Intelligencer reported today in a story titled Drexel Students Make Strong Showing in Inaugural Bar Exam.

Passarella said, “When looking at the average pass rate for all other local universities — which would include those taking the test for the second, third and fourth time — Drexel [University’s Earle Mack School of Law]’s pass rate was bested only by Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and University of Pennsylvania Law School.”

According to James B. Dougherty, Jr., Esquire, Chair of the Drexel University Alumni Association Board of Governors, and sole proprietor of Dougherty Law Offices, “These results validate the dedication and energy given to the creation of the law school at Drexel University. Starting with our late President Constantine Papadakis and continuing with Dean Roger J. Dennis, the law school initiative has filled a unique gap in legal education. The Alumni Association looks forward to supporting our new alumni from the law school.”

I can image our dear friend, Taki, looking down from a much higher post, smiling and toasting this wonderful accomplishment. Hats off to his vision and guidance and kudos to the leadership, administration and hard-working law students. Welcome to the profession.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

FTC Legitimizes Blogging as a Form of Media

Posted by Leah Rice

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, “U.S. Seeks to Restrict Gift Giving to Bloggers,” writers Amy Schatz and Miguel Bustillo report on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) newly released guidelines for bloggers. The guideline requires that “bloggers must disclose any money or freebies they receive in exchange for writing product reviews, a fast-growing and loosely regulated way for companies to market everything from diapers to movies.” Similar rules apply to traditional media outlets like TV, radio, newspaper and magazines.

The FTC’s guideline validates that blogging is now a form of mainstream media. It is wild to see how the blogging industry has taken off in such a short period of time and where researchers expect it to be in a few years. eMarketer estimates that as of 2009 there are approximately 27 million U.S. bloggers and by 2013 there will be approximately 37 million U.S. bloggers.

As the blogging industry continues to grow, big companies are increasingly using these forums to build buzz, sending bloggers products to review or even helping them host parties to encourage others to try their wares. Schatz and Bustillo write that the FTC is taking a stand to “protect consumers from deceptive trade and anti-competitive business practices.”

According to the Wall Street Journal article and the FTC, “Bloggers and others who are paid or give freebies to promote products online will be required to offer some sort of written disclosure for readers or face possible fines of as much as $11,000 per violation.”

Schatz and Bustillo provide an example of why the FTC is requiring these guidelines, “The FTC regulations target such bloggers as Christine Young of California, who parlayed a personal Web site detailing her experiences home-schooling her six children into a significant commercial enterprise. She is one of the Elevenmoms, a cadre of bloggers organized by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which receives free merchandise from the retailer's suppliers, and has been flown to special events by Frito Lay, Johnson & Johnson and other companies.”

The article stirred some lively debate with commenters saying the following about the new regulations:

  • “Should they? Yes. Should they be required by law? Not a chance. If anyone is stupid enough to take at face value anything they read online, in any newspaper, or hear on radio, they deserve what they get.”

  • “Perhaps the best argument against any government regulation of the blogosphere is the problem of enforcing a U.S. regulation across the World Wide Web and against a blogger whose real name and location is often not known or knowable.”

  • “The good bloggers like Chris Brogan and Christopher Penn already do this. Chris Brogan would say that it's part of being a ‘trust agent.’”

And according to the Wall Street Journal’s online vote titled, “Should bloggers disclose gifts or payments they receive for product reviews?” – 85.8% of the voters (309 in total) agree that bloggers should disclose information on gifts and payments that they receive.

What do you think? Should bloggers be required to disclose gifts or payments they receive from product reviews?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It Takes a Man: Honoring Judge Mirarchi

“It takes a man with the utmost self confidence to focus on other people besides himself. It takes a man who truly knows himself who can be completely genuine and unpretentious with everyone, whether they are a judge, a file clerk, or anyone in between. And it takes a man of great character who will let other people shine. Judge Mirarchi, is that man.” - Annette Ferrara, former law clerk to The Honorable Charles P. Mirarchi

One of the things I love about being an Italian-American and a member of the legal community is the honor to serve The Justinian Society as Chancellor. The Justinian Society is an organization of Italian-American lawyers, judges and law students that was founded in 1935 in Philadelphia. On September 21, 2009, I had the honor to participate in a portrait unveiling for the Honorable Charles P. Mirarchi – who is not only a trailblazer in the legal and judicial communities – but who was a family friend long before I was born.

Dan Cirucci did a great job reporting on the evening in his blog. And Annette Ferrara summed it up in her words just perfectly – yes – it takes a man of great character. And I add: it takes a man of great principle to always lead by example, to provide selfless counsel, and to be loved by most everyone he has ever come in contact with. Thank you, Judge Mirarchi, for always being that man.

Here are some photos from our official photographer, Mike Mountain.

The State of Today’s News Stories

Posted by Leah Rice

Jack Loechner of the Center for Media Research recently wrote an interesting brief titled, Just The Facts, But Get 'em Right, featuring Pew Research Center surveys on the accuracy of news stories and the media. According to the surveys, the public's assessment of the accuracy of news stories is now at its lowest level in more than two decades.

Loechner and the surveys reported that just 29% of Americans say that news organizations get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate. Back in 1985 this survey data was collected and 55% of those surveyed said news stories were accurate while 34% said they were inaccurate.

As usual, the poll that Loechner reported on found that television remains the dominant news source for the public, with 71% of those surveyed say they get most of their national and international news from television. More than four out of ten say they get most of their news on these subjects from the internet, compared with 33% who cite newspapers.

Surprisingly, four out of ten people get their local news fix from newspapers despite declines in newspaper readership during the last few years – which is more than twice the number that go to the internet for local news.

After working in the PR field for close to four years, I have my own opinions about the accuracy of reporting and the media – both good and bad. But outside of that, I find it so interesting to see how the everyday person, who uses these outlets as their main source for daily information, views these media outlet and their credibility. To read Loechner’s full recap on the state of today’s media and news stories, click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gina Rubel Tapped for PR Career Tips in Culpwrit Blog

Ron Culp, Partner and Managing Director of Ketchum and head of the PR agency’s Corporate Practice in North America, recently interviewed Gina Rubel and tapped some of her legal PR expertise for his PR career-focused blog, Culpwrit. To read more about Gina's career and resume tips, reading habits and her thoughts on the importance of a first job, click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Philadelphia CLE Event News - Second Women in the Profession Summit

If you are looking for CLE credits and are in the Philadelphia area tomorrow, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) and the Women in the Profession Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association will be hosting the Second Women in the Profession Summit, "Women in the Profession: Then, Now and Where Do We Go from Here?" The event will take place at the PBI CLE Conference Center on the 10th Floor of the Wanamaker Building in Philadelphia.

Registration for the event will begin at 11:30AM and lunch will be served shortly after. Chancellor Ladov and Summit Planner, Kimberly Ruch-Alegant, Esq., will welcome guests and the keynote address will be delivered by JoAnne A. Epps, Esq., Dean of Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law. An impressive list of faculty from the Philadelphia-area will address the following topics: Removing Gender Bias from Attorney Evaluations; Hot Topics for Women; and A Woman's Voice on the Bench. This event will offer participants four total CLE credits (2 SUB and 2 Ethics) and a cocktail reception will follow at 5PM. To learn more, visit or call 800-932-4637.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Philadelphia's Own ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education Hosts Groundbreaking Legal Industry Event - Oct. 15-17

Posted by Leah Rice

Here is some news on a groundbreaking continuing legal education event hosted by Philadelphia's own ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education and the Association for Continuing Legal Education. The two organizations have teamed up to host a high-level summit on lawyer education and development in the 21st century. The summit will be held October 15-17, 2009, at the Fairmont Scottsdale in Arizona.

The invitational conference, "Equipping Our Lawyers: Law School Education, Continuing Legal Education, and Legal Practice in the 21st Century," will call together selected continuing legal education (CLE) professionals, practitioners, bar leaders, judges, law school professors and representatives, mandatory CLE administrators, law firm educators, and other experts on lawyer professional education and development. Over the course of two-and-a-half days, these 150 thought leaders will debate and discuss critical issues facing law schools, continuing legal education providers, and the legal profession in equipping today's lawyers for practice, and will develop specific goals and recommendations for improvement and change.

The summit will open on October 15 with two panels of experts discussing “The Future of the Legal Profession” and “The Role of Technology in Legal Training and Practice.” These panels will also be webcast live. The core of the conference will be six participatory breakout sessions, featuring in-depth discussions of trends, best practices, and goals for law school education, bar admissions, CLE, mandatory CLE, in-house professional development, and generational issues. Recommendations emerging from these sessions will be debated by the conferees as a whole, who will craft consensus recommendations for modernizing and improving lawyer education and professional development to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

A detailed agenda for the summit can be found at

Media who wish to cover the full conference live on-site or the two plenary sessions on October 15 via live webcast can download a Media Credential package online at

The summit’s planning committee includes honorary co-chairs JoAnne A. Epps, Dean, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, and Thomas Z. Hayward, Jr., Of Counsel, K&L Gates LLP; executive chair Patrick A. Nester, Director, TexasBarCLE; and reporter and secretary Charles C. Bingaman, Charles C. Bingaman Consulting.

The summit would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors. Platinum sponsors include the ABA Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education/ABA-CLE, American Law Institute, Association for Continuing Legal Education, LexisNexis, and West LegalEdcenter. Gold sponsors include Continuing Education of the Bar – California, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., NALP-The Association for Legal Career Professionals™, National Business Institute, Inc., Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Practising Law Institute, and State Bar of Texas. For a complete list of sponsors, go to

About ALI-ABA: Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and founded more than 60 years ago as a joint undertaking of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association, ALI-ABA provides post-admission education for the legal profession. ALI-ABA is dedicated to keeping the legal community abreast of current developments and providing practitioners with the resources necessary to enhance their practice. ALI-ABA offers a national curriculum of continuing legal education featuring traditional substantive CLE courses, litigation and transactional skills programs, distance learning courses, published books and periodicals, online materials, customized solutions for institutions, and in-house services for lawyers at every stage of their careers. Visit the ALI-ABA website at

About ACLEA: ACLEA, the Association for Continuing Legal Education, is a dynamic organization devoted to improving the performance of CLE professionals. Established in 1964, ACLEA is an international association. Members are primarily from the United States and Canada, but also hail from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Mexico. Administrators, trainers, managers, educators, publishers, programmers and meeting professionals are all members of ACLEA. This diversity in background and outlook makes ACLEA the best source for information on CLE today. Visit the ACLEA website at

Why Not to Use Terms of Endearment in Business

I’ve often heard women complain about the use of “terms of endearment” in business, educational and social settings. In fact, just yesterday, a more senior colleague called me “kiddo” at an event where I addressed state Supreme Court justices, heads of courts, US attorneys, colleagues and friends. Suffice it to say that I’ve know this colleague (or he me) all of my life. However, there is something quite unbecoming about being called kiddo in public.

I interviewed several women who had this to say about terms of endearment – they are: condescending, frustrating, obnoxious, patronizing, and uncomfortable.

Although, some do not take offense, they do agree that the tone with which the monikers are delivered makes all the difference.

So today, I have prepared a list of lovely terms of endearment that should be kept in the arsenal and used at more socially appropriate times than at work, at school, at business functions, in social media, etc.

Top Five Words Not To Use to Address Women in Business

-Kiddo or Kid
-Hon or Honey
-Sweetie or Sweetheart

Even though these terms of endearment are usually not meant to be harmful or degrading, they have the opposite affect on many women and should be avoided.

Attorneys say companies can monitor employee use of sites, but they may face repercussions - Phoenix Business Journal:

Great article from the Phoenix Business Journal: Attorneys say companies can monitor employee use of sites, but they may face repercussions. Mike Sunnucks says:

"Social networking sites have opened a whole new world of communications for employees and their employers, but they’ve also created unchartered territory for many companies looking to monitor and restrict what’s said about them online."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Egregious Lawyer Misuses of Social Media - Legal Intelligencer Blog

As a regular guest blogger for The Legal Intelligencer Blog, I often explore issues regarding social media and attorneys. In my latest blog titled Egregious Lawyer Misuses of Social Media, I share John Schwartz's article in The New York Times : Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar along with several of my own tips regarding social media. I encourage you to read both articles. Schwartz shares some great stories about ridiculous uses of social media by attorneys that have landed them in hot water while I remind readers of a few tips they should employ to safeguard their communications.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lawyers in Public Relations

Post Written by Amanda Walsh

There was an interesting Q&A posted on the culpwrit blog by Ron Culp, Partner and Managing Director of Ketchum. Ron serves as the head of the agency’s corporate practice in North America. His culpwrit blog serves as a public relations career guide for those looking to break into the industry. Interestingly, he shared some points that I’ve overheard Gina Rubel preach in our office over and over again.

In fact, Gina Rubel, who is the CEO of Furia Rubel Communications and the founder of The PR Lawyer blog, successfully combines being a lawyer with running a public relations agency. One of her favorite things to say is, “Public relations and marketing are no different than practicing law. You’re addressing issues, determining what you want to accomplish, targeting your audience, and sharing your message in order to effectuate a particular and measurable result. The only differences are how and where you do business.”

With the change in economy and current slow-down in the hiring of lawyers, Gina sees a lot of opportunity for communications-trained attorneys to get into the fray. She receives calls and emails regularly from people wanting to make that transition.

Gina also agrees with many of the points Culp makes in Shifting Gears from Law Career to PR. Here are some things to consider:
  • Think about what drew you to law school. Why did you pursue a legal career in the first place?
  • Consider compensation. Although a PR/marketing career can provide its own set of rewards and achievements, there is a difference in the compensation of the two fields.
  • Think about other aspects of the transition - your lifestyle, skills, goals, and the type of work you enjoy.
  • If you are looking to make the career change, prepare to start out in an entry level position. Culp warns that success in public relations is largely due to amount of experience you have.
When I asked Gina what she loves most about having combined her J.D. with her bachelor’s degree in corporate communications, she said, “I love being a lawyer and working with lawyers and I love the proactive nature of public relations and marketing. When the two are combined, I am energized, creative and strategic – much like a trial lawyer delivering closing remarks.” Gina says, “What’s most important is that you do what you love and love what you do – regardless of you’re industry. That’s what defines success.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Furia Rubel E-Newsletter to Launch

Furia Rubel is pleased to announce the launch of our new PR e-newsletter. We plan to share exciting agency, industry and client news, upcoming events that may be of interest to our readers and a whole lot more on the public relations scene.

If you would like to be added to the distribution list for the electronic newsletter, go to Please include your name, e-mail address and in the inquiry line, write: subscribe to e-newsletter.

(Image by Pat Achilles and trademarked by Furia Rubel).

Twitter - New Terms of Service

I recieved an email from Twittter's Biz Stone (Co-founder) this morning regarding their new Terms of Service. It said, "As Twitter has evolved, we've gained a better understanding of how folks use the service. As a result, we've updated the Terms and we're notifying account holders."

They have posted a brief overview on the Twitter blog.


They are seeking comments which can be posted using the"feedback" link on the Terms of Service page. Let us know what you think.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tapping into Brands College Students Trust Most

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Want to know what brands college students trust the most? I came across this article on Media Daily News by Erik Sass that references the 2009 Alloy Media + Marketing's College Explorer survey.

The survey gives a snapshot into the college-age demographic’s most trusted brands. During the month of April, 1,521 college students were polled by Harris Interactive.

According to the survey, Johnson & Johnson, Apple and Sony are among the ‘trusted’ brands. However, when students were asked about brands they associated with ‘happy’ the only brand that came up again was Apple. So I gather a ‘trusted’ brand may not necessarily be thought of as a ‘happy’ brand? I’m not even sure what it means to be a ‘happy’ brand but I’m assuming that was the point of these questions – for students to form their own opinions and rate brands accordingly.

Sass reports the study findings, “Following Apple on the list of "happy" brand associations were -- in order -- McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Target, Wrigley and Sony (tied), Walmart, Dove and Hershey. On the "trusted" list, Apple was followed by Colgate, Microsoft and Coca-Cola (tied), Toyota, Nike and Bank of America (tied), and Target and Dell (tied).”

In my opinion, Apple does a great job of advertising and marketing. I think many of us can still remember the fun Ipod commercials featuring the black silhouette people grooving to their jams. It’s also interesting to note that Bank of America is on the ‘trusted’ brands list despite the economic times we are facing. The brands chosen are diverse but seem to make sense considering the demographic group.

Other survey questions focused on spending decisions in an attempt to pinpoint changes brought on by the economy. Interestingly enough, “the group's discretionary spending power has actually increased, jumping 37% from four years ago, and 5% from last year to $56 billion.” But only 35% had optimistic outlooks on the economy improving during the next year.

I wrote this blog to give a different insight on my own age demographic group. I thought this survey revealed some interesting facts about corporate brands and served as an interesting follow up to my recent blog post about corporate reputations and brand management.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Handling a Crisis and Coming Out on Top

Posted by Amanda Walsh

There is a great article by Jackie Kolek featured in the Public Relations Society of America’s publication, The Public Relations Strategist. The summer 2009 issue of the publication focuses on different types of crises and explores various industry case studies.

Kolek is the senior director at Peppercom and the head of Peppercom’s digital offering, PeppercomDigital. The article titled, "Managing a Crisis - and Becoming a Stronger Organization" provides some great tips.

Kolek notes that with the downturn in the global economy many organizations’ reputations have suffered. She helps to outline some important guidelines for corporate image improvement. She pulls some facts from the Reputation Institute’s Global Reputation Pulse Study released in May such as, “from 2008 to 2009, 75 percent of companies saw their reputations holding relatively steady, with changes of only plus or minus Reputation Pulse points.” This may indicate that many negative news reports were company specific and other large corporations may not have been effected as deeply as many financial institutions.

-“Run to the Crisis” When many companies were cutting staff toward the end of 2008 one company, Tesla Motors, decided to put layoff news out through the CEO, Elon Musk’s blog. The blog was a venue for honest, direct communication and allowed a specific message to be conveyed. Through the blog posts the company was hoping to cut back on false information and rumors both internally and from the media. The result was balanced news coverage and many comments were posted on the blog offering thanks for the honesty during hard times.

- “Be Transparent and AuthenticKolek uses the sport of cycling as an example. The sport has been under fire with numerous news stories about cyclists and their steroid use. One American cyclist, Jonathan Vaughters, along with Team Garmin – Slipstream came up with an idea to combat this negative reputation. In 2008, a reporter from Outside Magazine was invited to travel with the team members. A positive feature story came from the experience, changing critics’ opinions about the sport.

-“Ingrain Change into the CultureTyco International was a company in dire need of reputation management. After an accounting scandal in 2002, new company CEO, Ed Breen was determined to rescue the company. Restoring confidence back into the company was first on Breen’s To Do list. He made big changes in the accounting department by reviewing existing practices and implementing new guidelines. A new culture of responsible decision-making was created. Breen made it a point to communicate core values to all employees of every level. Just three years later, Breen was named one of Businessweek’s Best Managers of the Year!

- “Build a Strong Reputation” Some of the tips listed above will help lead you to the final result- a strong reputation. A solid foundation comes in handy if a crisis occurs.

There is a proven correlation between a strong reputation and word-of-mouth recommendations according to The Reputation Institute Global Reputation Pulse Study. The Study’s findings state that “54 percent of consumers would give the most reputable U.S. companies the benefit of the doubt in a time of crisis.” This statistic is encouraging news, especially in these economic times.

In conclusion, not only did I enjoy reading this article, but the entire PRSA publication on Crisis Communications was very interesting and thought-provoking. I wanted to pass along some of these helpful facts and tips to our readers as we are all working to make progress and enhance our businesses.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Skype - Valuable, Up and Coming Business Tool

Posted by Amanda Walsh

As I prepare for my second year of ESL teaching in Madrid, I recently downloaded the Internet-calling software, Skype. Skype is a free program that can be used to chat, make phone or video calls via your computer with anyone around the world. I have heard of Skype through travel friends who have used it as a fast, free way to keep in touch with friends and family across the world.

I’m just starting to get used to the program and appreciate all of the features it offers. Anyone who is familiar with AOL Instant Messenger or MSN Messenger will find Skype’s ‘buddy list’ feature easy to navigate. You can search for contacts by first name, last name and/or country. You can then add them to your ‘buddy list’ and see when they are online and available to chat or take a call. Skype to Skype calling and chatting is free and for additional small fees other features can be accessed.

It just dawned on me the endless possibilities that Skype can provide any business, especially one with international ties. Even within a country, Skype’s ‘video calling’ feature can be a free tool for business partners to access in order to host conference calls. On there are case studies of businesses that have found video calling useful. For example, instead of lengthy e-mail correspondence back and forth, a client can see the finished product on a free or low-cost video call!

Some neat, new features I also discovered include a business directory, text messaging feature, call forwarding and a Skype number feature which allows contacts to call from their phones to your computer no matter where in the world you are.

Does your business have international clients? Have you used Skype or other services to hold conference calls or video chats? I’m interested in hearing from readers who have found new and different ways to keep in contact when long distance is a factor.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

No Need to Measure Social Media ROI

Here’s a question that all PR practitioners and their clients are asking and no one has yet to find the solution – how do you measure social media return on investment?

Nick O’Neill of Social Times recently wrote an article titled, “How to Measure Your Social Media ROI: Don’t.” In the article, he tackles the topic and gives his feedback on why PR practitioners and their clients shouldn’t force the issue of measuring social media ROI. He highlights the following three points.

 Traditional Digital Marketing is Measurable – O’Neill said, “If you want to start selling something, turning to social media is not the first channel to turn to.” In his article, O’Neill acknowledged that, “large companies have no option but to embrace social media to engage their audience.” One of his suggestions to drive people to a particular social media site is to launch a Facebook advertising campaign (ultimately the ROI for this type of campaign would be measured by using traditional conversion metrics even though the communications model is different). When all is said and done, all traditional digital marketing models have standard metrics.

 The Value of Social Media is Priceless – “With social media, the model is completely skewed. Can you say that a $500 investment will result in 1,000 visitors to your site? Also what percentage of those will convert in comparison to traditional sources? It’s difficult to track that information and while it is possible, the complete value of social media cannot be measured,” said O’Neill.

As a PR practitioner, demonstrating the value of social media is always a challenge, especially if you are proposing the integrated communications tactic to individuals without social media know-how. As O’Neill said in his article, “The value however is not tangible and just like any other intangible asset; social media strategy can not be given an assessed value.”

 Make a Minimal Investment and Determine the Results – “The reality is that social media marketing is not expensive,” said O’Neill. “Even if you are a small business and don’t have a large budget to invest in social media, making a minor investment is well worth it.”

I completely agree with O’Neill – you will never know if social media can work for you and your company if you don’t give it a try. Starting small and dipping your toes in the waters of the social media sphere is the perfect way to take your first step in understanding how to harness social media and put it to work for you. And like O’Neill said, “The result is a community of brand advocates and a more effective way to reach those that are being critical of your company.” Like utilizing public relations services, social media engagement is an investment in your company’s long-term growth.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wikipedia Battens the Hatches – Social Media and the Law

As a regular blog contributor to The Legal Intelligencer Blog - I contribute articles regarding "media and the law." This could mean media relations, social media, high profile cases, trial publicity or how changes in communication and public relations are affected by the law. My latest post is about Wikipedia and their soon-to-be-launched editorial review for people profiles.

After the article appeared, I received a link from my father, Richard Furia, who is an attorney in Philadelphia. Dad shared this: Click here: John F. Street - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia regarding false information about the city's former mayor as Bozo the Clown. A follow up article was posted on titled "Some Ass Clown Punks Da Mayor On Wikipedia ." A fine example of how wikis can be misused and abused. Thanks Dad!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Facebook Changes Privacy Policy

The BBC reported today that "Facebook has agreed to make worldwide changes to its privacy policy as a result of negotiations with Canada's privacy commissioner." To read the full story, click here.

Collaborative Wiki Manuals in the Army

Posted by Amanda

I recently blogged about the news of the United States Marine Corps banning social media sites from their network. In sharp contrast from this decree, the Army has been successfully embracing social media networks. Recently on the Web site for the New York Times newspaper, I read an article that I wanted to share with The PR Lawyer audience.

In the article, “Care to Write Army Doctrine? With ID, Log On,” Noam Cohen writes about another interesting initiative by the Army – Wiki-edited military instruction manuals.

If you’re not familiar with the term, Wiki or the Web site, Wikipedia, check out the link here. In short, a Wiki is a collaborative Web site where viewers can edit, remove or add information they see.

Through the pilot program, Cohen writes that, “The Army began encouraging its personnel — from the privates to the generals — to go online and collaboratively rewrite seven of the field manuals that give instructions on all aspects of Army life.” Basically, the Army is making an effort to update field manuals and training doctrines through the use of Wikis.

Cohen describes, “Not surprisingly, top-down, centralized institutions have resisted such tools,” like Wikis and other collaborative Internet efforts. Within an institution based around authority and command, there is a feeling of loss of control through the use of these collaborative tools. Sadly, within the first six weeks of the pilot program, it is noted that very little editing was done by soldiers.

Wow, what a concept though! I think the Army has made leaps and bounds to harness social media for all soldiers and their organization. It will certainly be interesting see how the Army tackles this social media challenge. If successful, this collaborative effort will enable Army leaders and soldiers of all ranks, jobs, specialties and corners of the United States to connect through the eyes and ears of those on the ground and the analysts behind desks in Washington, D.C.

I understand that change comes slowly, but I definitely think this is a step in the right direction in keeping everyone in the military effectively up-to-date with the ever-changing playing field and happenings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Women Want...from Social Media Sites

As a female business professional working for a woman-owned PR firm, blog topics and research on female motivation in the business and social media realms always seems to catch my eye. A very interesting article was published last week by and it analyzed what women want from social media sites.

What do you think women want from social media sites? Everything, dependability – all depending on their mood that day…I can freely make these comments as a member of the gender.

Well, here is what found. “Women who are core social network users expect a lot, according to ‘The Power of Social Networking For Women Research Study’ from female-oriented social networking site ShesConnected. Survey participants were recruited through several social networks and were encouraged to share it with friends. ShesConnected respondents were heavy users of social networks: 59% reported visiting such sites multiple times per day.”

The study found that Facebook was the most popular site with 83% of the survey participants having profiles on the site. Nearly three-quarters (73%) were members of LinkedIn and 55% were on Twitter. Almost one-half of respondents (48%) reported belonging to four or more social networks which was the most common response.

Professional networking and staying up-to-date with friends were found to be the most compelling reasons to visit social networks for females. Other motivators for using social media sites were researching products and services (79%) and finding deals and discounts (64%).

However, the group of surveyed female social network users expressed concern about privacy issues of these social media sites. 93% of respondents said control over privacy settings is very important to them. The ability to block specific users from contacting them is a major factor to 96% of the users.

This feedback was also reflective when the topic of social media marketing was brought to the table. A majority of the survey participants were fine with social networks displaying advertising, but the prospect of the sites selling data to advertisers was another story. More than four in 10 respondents said they would not be comfortable with the idea, and 36% of the survey participants said they would refuse to use a site that sold their data.

I find it so interesting to understand the dynamics between different genders and their needs and demands in regards to everyday personal and professional resources. Check out the full article by clicking here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

NewsGator Goes Google Reader for RSS

I received the following from NewsGator (if you're a user - you will want to read this):

"You spoke and we listened: in response to customer demand, NewsGator's best-of-breed consumer RSS applications now work with Google Reader. Google Reader will become the online companion to and the synchronization platform for our award-winning RSS reader applications – FeedDemon and NetNewsWire.

In conjunction with this announcement, NewsGator is making changes to several of its consumer RSS Readers. NewsGator will continue to support all its individual end-user applications for enterprise customers. However, NewsGator will continue to develop and support only a sub-set of these applications for free consumer use. FeedDemon and NetNewsWire have new versions for consumers that we encourage you to download as soon as possible. NewsGator’s other individual end-user applications will not continue to be supported for free consumer users after August 31, 2009. Again, all of NewsGator’s individual end-user applications will continue to be supported for paying Enterprise customers.

As part of this transition, NewsGator Online users will need to migrate to Google Reader by August 31, 2009. In addition, NewsGator will no longer support the free versions of NewsGator Inbox, NewsGator Go!, and NewsGator’s RSS features (Shared Clipping Feed, Blogroll, Ratings, Headlines, Browser Toolbar, and Desktop Notifier). NewsGator will also continue to support FeedDemon (for Windows) and NetNewsWire (for Mac and iPhone) for all customers – free or paid. If you have questions as to whether or not you qualify as a paying enterprise customer, please contact your account manager.

With these product changes, we recommend that you take the following actions (to assist you, we have a list of recommendations, step-by-step transition instructions, and informative FAQs on our website):

FeedDemon – you may continue to use your current version (synchronization won’t be supported after August 31, 2009). However, we recommend that you download the latest version of FeedDemon and sign-up for a Google Reader account for synchronization. Please refer to our transition instructions for assistance.

NetNewsWire for Mac – you may continue to use your current version (synchronization won’t be supported after August 31, 2009). However, we recommend that you download the latest version of NetNewsWire and sign-up for a Google Reader account for synchronization. Please refer to our transition instructions for assistance.

NetNewsWire for iPhone Customers – a mobile RSS Reader requires synchronization and a new version of NetNewsWire for iPhone that supports synchronization with Google Reader will be available soon. We will notify you when it is available so that you can download the latest version of NetNewsWire and sign-up for a Google Reader account prior to August 31, 2009.
NewsGator Inbox – we will no longer support NewsGator Inbox nor release new versions of the product. You may, however, continue to use your current version (synchronization won’t be supported after August 31, 2009). Please refer to our transition instructions for assistance.
NewsGator Online – NewsGator Online will not be available after August 31, 2009. Please transition to Google Reader by August 31, 2009. Please refer to our transition instructions for assistance.

NewsGator Go! – NewsGator Go! will not be available after August 31, 2009. Please transition to a new mobile RSS Reader by August 31, 2009. We have included alternate RSS Reader recommendations in the transition instructions on our website.

NewsGator’s Shared Clipping Feed – this feature will not be available after August 31, 2009. Google Reader will now provide you with this capability. Please see our FAQs for more information.

Blogroll, Ratings and/or Headlines – these services will not be available after August 31, 2009. Please remove these components from any blog or web site. Please see our FAQs for more information.

Browser Toolbar or the Desktop Notifier – these features will not work after August 31, 2009, nor will we offer new versions of these features. Please see our FAQs for more information.
Bottom line for you: We keep improving our FeedDemon and NetNewsWire applications, and you now can sync with and use the web based RSS reader you've been asking for. We've been working with the Google team to make these changes as smooth as possible, and they are thrilled to welcome all NewsGator users to the Reader family.

For more information, check out our blog or Google’s blog."