3 Ways to Win from Lon Safko

I am enrolled in a public relations social media class that uses The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko as our main textbook. It lives up to its name; it is an 800 page comprehensive book that goes into detail of the why behind social media and how to utilize social media platforms. Even though social media is constantly evolving, this book is a great resource for any public relations professional because the thought process behind the medium does not often change even when the platforms do.

Last week, our class had the unique opportunity to hear from the author Lon Safko, the author of The Social Media Bible, via Skype Even though we encountered some initial technical glitches, it was so incredible to be able to hear concepts we had been reading about come to life. Safko shared with us three ways to “win” in social media strategy.

I win because I listen.

First, Safko said that you win, when you listen. People are talking via social media you even if your organization is not online. Listening to their conversation and responding appropriating can build your brand’s trust and awareness incredibly.

I win because I have Google Juice.

Secondly, Safko says having Google Juice makes you a winner. Google Juice is essentially how easily you or your organization can be found via Google search. Safko explained that Google indexes blogs as most valuable right now because the natural of blogs is to be updated on a regular basis. Therefore, if an organization blog, it often improves their search engine optimization, or SEO. Also, he said it drives traffic to your website because Google gives preference to sites that have outside sites linking back to them.

He also said to our class that we are “the first generation for creating our own brands.” That is a heavy thought!

I win because I fuse social media into existing tactics.

Lastly, Safko said that the next trend in social media is integration. He previewed his new book FUSE!, which will delve into these strategies more. He emphasize social media is just a new way to communicate, like I mentioned in my previous post. The organizations that will succeed are the ones who truly understand this and are not afraid to put their Twitter handle on a brochure or business card.

It was an incredible to hear Safko’s written wit come to life and hear some of his concepts in his book explained by the author himself. My favorite quote he said was about MySpace saying it “attracted teenagers like a raccoon to a trashcan.” He is currently working on the third edition of The Social Media Bible, which should be available sometime in the spring.


Kohl’s Black Friday Commercial: Creative Brilliance or Epic Fail?

It’s that time again for Black Friday commercials to be at every channel click. One in particular is gaining a lot of negative attention on the web. Kohl’s created a parody of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” song that went viral earlier this year because people disliked it. It seems the same phenomenon is happening to Kohl’s commercial, which has received nearly 400,000 views, 2,000 dislikes and more than 1,100 comments in just five days.

Some of the top comments on this video include: “This video gave me cancer,” and “I will never shop at Kohl’s again!” Needless to say, the majority of people seem to strongly dislike this video, even though it is going viral.

Creative Risk-taking

I recently read a blog post by PRBreakfastClub called “Is Creativity Worth the Gamble?” The post discussed how in public relations we try to be more creative everyday, but sometimes when we are too creative it can back fire like New Coke or Kentucky Grilled Chicken.

The post left readers with five tips on being creative:

  1. Go for Clever, not Funny
  2. Start Small– Share you idea with a small group of people first.
  3. Necessity- Don’t rock the boat.
  4. Current Reputation– Don’t do anything to taint your current reputation.
  5. Ask for opinions

The article also said you never know if something will work, unless you try.

So Was it Worth the Gamble for Kohl’s?

So I am curious if you all think that Kohl’s creative risk, was worth the gamble? Is it worth going viral because you are hated? Personally, I think Kohl’s had a strike of brilliance, and people online can’t take a joke.

If we look at Rebecca Black since her negative viral video, we can see she is not a pop icon, who has been in Katy Perry’s hit video “Last Friday Night” and has released a new single “This is my Moment.” Her claim to fame may be due to cyber-bullying, but she has overcome. I suspect the same result for Kohl’s, in the end.


Was Kohl’s commercial creative brilliance or an epic fail?

Navigating the World of HTML

For my social media public relations class, we were given the assignment to learn something about any aspect of social media and present what we learned. Because this is my first time using WordPress, I wanted to learn more about WordPress and how to use HTML code to better my overall experience.

What is HTML?

HTML code stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. According to W3schools.com, HTML is, “a language for describing websites.” HTML code is a markup language, or a set of markup tags that structure the layout of the website. The tags come in pairs: one signifying the start and the other indicating the end of the command. For example, <b> and </b> make the letters between the two tags boldfaced.

Experiencing Overwhelm

HTML is an entirely different language; some of it makes sense, and some of it looks like complete gibberish. When I started to delve into the world of HTML, I became overwhelmed by the vast amount of information. It is impossible to digest everything about HTML in the amount of time to do this project, but I tried to learn the basics and the overall force behind it. This project has further sparked my interest, and I plan on trying to learn more because in today’s society, he who can build a website can conquer the world.

A Little History

HTML was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 when he created a simple language that allowed the linking of various documents together with customizable formatting. The WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group) began working on HTML5, and later XHTML merged with HTML5. It is not fully functioning, but for all intensive purposes, it is the latest version of HTML, which has these priorities:

  • The core language should be simple.
  • Markup is based on semantics.
  • CSS is used for style details.
  • Pages are often applications.
  • JavaScript is central.

WordPress and HTML

I found the more I researched that learning HTML does not fully equip you to creating your own WordPress blog. The free version of WordPress has many limitations including not having the ability to customize layouts extensively. Also, WordPress also incorporates CSS and PHP. CSS is the code responsible for the presentation of a webpage; whereas, HTML is the code that indicates the structure of a webpage. PHP goes within HTML to bring in plug-ins and applications. It is necessary to be well-versed in all of these three scripting styles to customize a WordPress blog.


HTML is complicated and organic in nature, always changing, so it is nearly impossible to work on understanding it on the side. I better appreciate outsourcing web designers to create webpages, because they are able to dedicate their time to learning this code. I did learn some basics:

  • How to italicize
  • How to create a heading
  • How to create a list
  • How to publish a picture

I wrote this blog post while trying to implement the basic tags I learned.