We Have Moved!

November 24, 2009

Visit us at our new address:

http://www.castercomm.com/blog

Thanks to Kriselle Laran of Bullfrog Media for the integration help – our blog now has a home on our website.

Update your bookmarks!

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Creating our own History

November 19, 2009

Are we blogging or are we creating our own social history?  When we learned about history it was from our grandparents or in history books, the library was the number one place to find all this information and for the more recent generations, Google was a great way to find some broad ideas on a topic.  Our grandchildren will know it all.  Every single detail because we have been writing it for them.  Historians who have come and gone and done extensive research to get even big details are rolling over in their graves. 

Our generation is allowing years of people to come to see what our interests are, our dreams, our pictures, and our individual taste in music.  We are engraving ourselves in the World Wide Web.  Twitter allows us to let a huge audience know what we are accomplishing that day, while Facebook allows us to keep in touch with people we may not have even met.  Our day to day interactions are being permanently recorded and formatted in easily organizable segments of information. 

 Historians in the future will have every detail, no need to leave anything up for question or giving them reason to guess.  Every single detail has the opportunity and in most cases is actually recorded in full detail.  Most of our friends know who we are with and what we did last night. 

Reality T.V. has become a real hit the past few years and why not, we all love to know what is going on in everyone else’s lives.  We want to know because of a mere interest but even to use it to compare our own lives.  It is so easy to interact with people now while they are doing things.  I can join a friend at a baseball game via Facebook or wish my cousin overseas a happy birthday via Skype. 

 Twitter, Facebook and MySpace are giving us the opportunity to make friends with people we may necessarily not have the opportunity to. We are also to keep in touch with our friends from college who moved two continents away.  We are able to learn about each other’s cultures and each other’s actions.  This gives us such a great opportunity to relate and understand one another.  History is starting to have a whole new meaning!

By Kate Ksielka.  Follow me on Twitter


A Year of Twitter

October 8, 2009

It occured to me the other day that October 1, 2009 marked a year since I began using Twitter.  I went back to my very first tweet, which was of course hopeful and abstract.  A lot has changed since that first tweet, both my perception on the concept of social media and its value and my preconceived notion that 140 characters was simply a useless amount of information.

I remember the first staff meeting when I brought up the idea of making our blog more dynamic, switching platforms (we were using a terrible self-hosted platform through our web server company) and setting up some additional accounts on social media networks….like, you know, Twitter or something.

The reaction, needless to say, was less than enthusiastic.  My boss seemed somewhat convinced but a week later after she began tweeting, she came back to the table uncertain of its value.

I didn’t know much, I will admit, about social media at that point.  But I had a gut feeling it was going to be important, more important than we were treating it at that time.  I knew it was foolish of us as an agency to present ourselves as cutting edge if we didn’t understand the current influencers in the new media space.  There was still a good 3-4 months of complaining and general cynicism around the table and I say this not to pat myself on the back for being right (though, I was…ahem) but more to point out that there are still people who don’t believe in the value or power of Twitter and social media in general.

Going through my Twitter feed last night, I was able to view my life, mostly professional but some personal milestones, connections I made and general growth I experienced.

For me, Twitter has:

  • Greatly expanded my contacts in the green and sustainable industry
  • Connected me to some influential editors, writers and analysts in my clients’ markets
  • Showed me some really fantastic stories I might have otherwise overlooked
  • Taught me brevity can be powerful and at times completely enough
  • Given me an outlet
  • Helped to gain expanded readership on both our blogs (here and Green Life Smart Life)

The list could go on and on.  I can look back on Twitter and see the first time I successfully pitched an NBC producer, the connection I made with a green editor at the New York Times, my acceptance to a PhD program, my first solo press event at Microsoft, the 3 (or 4) trade shows I attended in the past year, my triumphs and failures, the points where I had to make a big decision (and subsequently drink a lot of wine) – it’s all there.  140 characters or less, my work and life laid out in a nice little timeline.  1,590 tweets and 831 followers later – it turns out it’s not the numbers necessarily or the popularity.

Social media creates real connections.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

first tweet

Posted by: Ashley – who can be found on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ashleydano


FTC Guidelines: How They Relate To Your Blog

October 7, 2009

Earlier today, I was asked a question that threw me off guard a bit, vaguely formulated as follows:  “what do you know about social media as it relates to PR?”  I muttered a joke about seeing people create PR nightmares for themselves via Twitter and Facebook and then got down to business, stating that “it’s a cheap and effective way to get your message out to tons of people” – pretty standard, ay?  

I decided to do some digging and find out what the industry pros have to say about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media/networking sites that exist around the web and instead found an interesting article (10 Simple Things to Know About the FTC’s Rules for Blogs and Brands, by Augie Ray) about a document released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today outlining guidelines for advertising and branding via social media.  These guidelines are not laws, but rather suggestions for companies as to how to best situate themselves so that they are abiding by the existing laws in place regarding advertising.

 For the most part, these guidelines address whether or not it should be considered advertising if a blogger writes a positive review of a product.  It seems that the general idea of the guidelines is as follows:  if you are a blogger on the receiving end of a benefit from a company for favorably reviewing or using their product, then you are – in fact – an advertisement.  If I were to run out to the corner store and buy myself a pack of gum that I truly enjoyed, and I came home to blog about it – that would not be considered advertising.  However, if the gum company were sending me free packs of gum on a regular basis – or any other product that their company manufactures – and I took to my blog to spout the wonders of this product, then that would in fact be considered a sponsored endorsement, since I am regularly receiving treats. 

Most relevant to the PR world is the fact that many workplaces are now looking into adopting Social Media policies, and if they are not – according to the FTC and Augie Ray – they should be.  It is important that in a time where it seems everyone has a Twitter account, which could lead to easy and free advertising for your company for 140 characters or less, you are monitoring and managing these networks.  If an employee of a company logs into their personal Facebook account and reveals to the public their employer’s product is their all-time favorite, without disclosing that they are an employee of that company, they are opening the company up to legal ramifications and they may not even realize it.

Courtney Danielson (candidate for a Caster job)


Become a Fan of Paradigm on Facebook, Win a Cinema CT System

September 29, 2009

Paradigm Electronics, an international leader in speaker design wants YOU to be their friend on Facebook.

If you are on Facebook click here to find Paradigm’s page. Sign up as a friend of Paradigm and every thirty days, starting October 15th, they will choose a random “Friend” to win one of 6 Paradigm Cinema CT systems. If you are already a friend of Paradigm, you’re already in the draw!  You have six chances to win – and all you have to do is become a fan.

The Cinema CT systems are Paradigm’s most affordable complete and compact speaker systems to date and feature the company’s award-winning Monitor Series technology (the company’s affordable high-end line of speakers). With the Cinema™ CT line, Paradigm delivers real audiophile quality sound – at modest prices.

Cinema110CTWhile you’re there, why not become a fan of Caster Communications on Facebook as well?  We have less than 30 fans people.  This is a sad state.  Help us!


Hats off to Hughes

August 7, 2009

Today, I tip my hat to John Hughes. Upon reading that the writer/director/producer died yesterday morning from a heart attack at the unripe age of 59, I was stunned both at his untimely death and in the long list of credits for which he is responsible. Hughes, who I recognized as the brains behind some of my favorite Ringwald 80’s films – I still watch Pretty in Pink every time it is on! – and the pop culture classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that was revered and (too) often imitated by my older brother, was also the mastermind behind National Lampoon’s Vacation, Home Alone, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. His range and humor was nothing short of astounding.

Hughes was a talented writer gifted in character development and examining the inner workings of the minds of teenagers and adults, alike. He left behind a string of relatable characters, clever dialogue, and memorable images (Ferris’ parade shenanigans beneath his father’s office window) to a generation that will not easily forget them. 

R.I.P.


Poor Implentations of Haptic Technology

July 22, 2009

A technologicial tidal wave recently hit shores in the form of Universal Remote Control’s MX-5000 remote, the world’s FIRST remote with haptic (or tactile) feedback, and the one esteemed Gizmodo technology pundit John Herman described with the statement:

For every five products that claim some kind of haptic feedback support, maybe one actually puts it to good use—like the URC MX-5000 touchscreen remote, which uses the technology to guide your fingers while they guide your TV.” 

In case you didn’t know, haptic is defined by all-knowing Wikipedia as, “technology that interfaces with the user through the sense of touch.” From Slashgear to Ubergizmo, Engadget, CNET, Crunchgear and of course the originator, CE Pro, everyone seems to be happy about haptic and  its potential.

Given the love, I thought we’d look at products where haptic technology fails and bask in the sensory awkwardness since none can hold a tactile candle to the MX-5000. To my knowledge, no company has had the lack of foresight to develop any of these products, but then again, someone did invent this:

Appeared in June 1936 Popular Mechanics

Appeared in June 1936 Popular Mechanics

Worst Haptic Products

Haptic Coasters – Violent vibrations let you know your drink is not leaving sweat rings on the table

Haptic Bandages- Healing quickly is a thing of the past, haptic bandages make sure your wounds stay fresh and open for days

Haptic Hair-cutting Shears – For a TRULY original look

I think we found our spokesperson.

I think we found our spokesperson.

 

 

 

 

 

Haptic Lipstick – For that “putting make-up in the car” experience everywhere you go

Haptic Fryin Pan – A shaking motion sloshes oil on you to advise when the pan is hot enough

Haptic Chess Board – Ok, this might be kind of cool, kind of like the old Stratomatic football games

Haptic Undergarments – Don’t like where this is going…or do I?

Haptic Syringes – For hospital use only of course, patients will know their skin has been penetrated with a discomforting buzz

Posted by: Nick B.

@PRnick 

Full Disclosure: Universal Remote Control is a client of Caster Communications