What Were They Thinking?





Our AHA blog is listed in Cision, a media database. It’s pretty clear, even if you only read a couple of our posts, that we write about communications: brand journalism, public relations, media relations, social media, positioning and messaging. It’s all related to strategic communication.



It seems pretty straightforward to me what to pitch to us. Which makes us shake our heads in wonder when we get pitches from random PR agencies and independent PR practitioners that have nothing to do with what we write about here. It looks to me like some people just grab any email they can find and send out a news release or pitch, whether it is relevant or not. We suspect they might then go to their clients and say, “We developed a database of 10,000 journalists and bloggers and have reached out to them.” What the client isn’t hearing is that if they are sending useless (and sometimes annoying) information to journalists and bloggers. It’s not good for the organization’s reputation or the agency’s.



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I am on location at a video shoot for a client today and as I took the early ferry into Vancouver (a short 40-minute commute from my home on the Sunshine Coast), I heard a report on News 1130, a local radio station, that grabbed my attention.



It seems that a local politician used the images of two children in campaign brochures without getting permission from their parents. As a communicator, when I see issues like this, I wonder how it happened. In this day and age, taking photos of children without the written consent of their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) isn’t a smart move. Using those photos without written consent is a big deal.


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I recently received an email from an organization in the communications field asking for my input. The email offered me the chance to win an iPod Shuffle. I found it surprising that an organization in this field would reach out to communicators and offer that as the prize. The communicators I know either have iPhones or smart phones that hold music or they already have a music player. And a Shuffle is pretty far down the food chain. An iPad would have been a better prize; only about half of the communicators I know have a tablet of some type.



It was clear to me that this organization either didn’t think about the audience for this request or didn’t care. Trying to better understand the “what’s in it for me,” I went through their request. (There always has to be something in it for the person you are asking to take action.) They wanted to know about social media and how it has impacted what I do, but nowhere did it say that it would share the results. An oversight perhaps… But then I realized I have received emails from this organization before – emails trying to sell me reports. I didn’t take the survey and I asked to be removed from their mailing list.



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I saw something on Facebook this morning that really made me sit back and think. I have quite a few “friendly acquaintances” on Facebook. For the purpose of this blog, I will call them “pals.” These are people I have met and like, but that I don’t connect with very much in the real world. Some I met through work, others from my personal life. Many of them I met while travelling.



I don’t hold the same political views as some of them. I have to admit, I have found some of the discussions and ideas put forward by a some of my “pals” a little worrisome. Especially when it comes to politics – specifically in the U.S. There are some very personal attacks on politicians happening these days – on both the Democratic and Republican sides. We’re seeing a little of it here in Canada but not to the degree that it happens in the U.S.



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