Sponsor @ianpinnell

ianpinnellmicWe all know him as my faithful radio companion on Not Wireless Radio, the voice-over artist from the shire, the radio production student from @uniofglos and now he is dipping his toes into the water of charitable work.

On the 28th March @ianpinnell will be abseiling 100ft down the Women’s Centre at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. In doing so Ian will be raising money for the Silver Star Society.

The Silver Star Society provides special medical care to pregnant mothers and their unborn babies who have serious or difficult problems. If it wasn’t for the Silver Star Society then Ian wouldn’t be with us today.

Ian aims to raise £100 for this worthy cause and every little bit helps. Please consider supporting Ian. Whilst abseiling for some might be considered a “walk in the park” I can reveal that Ian isn’t a great fan of heights. Have you seen the size of that building? Sheesh!

To donate visit Ian’s JustGiving page. Donating doesn’t take very long and will help the lives of many mothers and families.

If you are feeling especially kind and you are on Twitter then please retweet this post.

Thanks x

Would you work for a Tobacco Company?

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This question is a cliché for anybody introduced to Public Relations and ethics. On a couple of occasions I have been asked but I have never had a defiant response. Let me explain why…

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A couple of weeks ago for my birthday a friend of mine bought me the film, ‘Thank You for Smoking’. Originally a novel by Christopher Buckley which follows a lobbyist, called Nick Naylor, who works for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. If you haven’t watched the film then I definitely recommend it. As for me, I’m going to try and find the time to read the book.

Potentially this could be a very simple question to answer. It is the cognitive processes through which offers the difficulty. We have to understand that there will always be a demand for tobacco, people need to make their own choices but that smoking seriously damages your health. Perhaps the only people who can justify working for tobacco companies are smokers. Yet, I smoke (admittedly not nearly as much) but still find my conscience battling against my habit.

Do tobacco companies offer a positive service for society or are they fuelling a product which the majority would chose to abandon?

Currently I am undecided and this question is for you. Would you work for a tobacco company?

Advertising Online is Dead

It is in my strictest, sternest and possibly controversial view that advertising online is dead.

Once upon a time it did flourish and at the same time the internet was known as a commercial trap for users. I remember in the early 1990s it was almost impossible to visit a website without a pop-up advert greeting you. Sometimes you would be unfortunate enough to stumble upon a hoard of multi-pop-up adverts which would force your browser to take you to all sorts of corners of the internet.

I can hardly say that advertising isn’t used on the internet. This would be untrue and in the past I have had deals with companies to host their advertising on my blog for a fee. It just so happens that such companies are growing in numbers on the internet. Ideally a website owner would want to avoid banner ads and these new online advertising companies are offering text links.

Why though? Why would a company ask for text links to be placed at the bottom of each page of another’s website? It would be very unlikely for a user to actually click on them, especially if the site in question featured a mass of content. There is only one possible answer and that would be search engine optimisation. If your company’s hyperlink can be found on the bottom of many website pages then searches would yield a crop of hyperlinks directed to the advertised site. There is something sly and accidental about such influence on individual’s searches though.

Advertising relies upon a passive audience. This is an audience that is subjected to a message which they are to take as granted. Hypodermic Needle theory explains this well as there is only a single line of communication. It is this single line of communication that does not exist on the internet anymore. Social media shows how internet users are engaging with each other on a two way communication model.

A few days ago I heard an Ex-Journalist talk about the difference between marketing and public relations. The difference is simple:

–          Marketing deals with Product

–          PR deals with People

The subliminal nature of advertising makes it totally focused on ‘product’ and not ‘people’. If we are to view social media as we see it today then we have to say that social media is about people. It has been said that the best social media websites are those which take into account psychology and sociology. If advertising online was about people then it would have to use the same tactics as ePR.

Fair enough, advertising exists on YouTube. Notably the annoying pop-ups on the bottom of videos and the annoying delays before your video can begin. How about the annoying adverts on Facebook? Everyday Facebook adverts provide me links to find potential girlfriends online and to pursue gym memberships. Heck, people even try advertising on Twitter by sending me direct messages with irrelevant details.

The medium of communication dictates the sort of message you can send. Social media should only deal in messages of interaction and openness. Every corner of the internet so far has shown me that when advertising is used, it is annoying and not as effective as ePR.

PS. Of course one aspect of online advertising I have missed within this article is that it can be blocked. My browser blocks pop-ups automatically and if I wanted to I could easily block banner ads as well.

20th Birthday Blog Bash

Goodbye teenage years. It was nice meeting you but I could have done without the spots, grease, tantrums, fluff on the upper lip and identity confusion.

There has been a rumour going around that today is actually my 50th birthday. This is but a mere proposed mental age though. I have gone through life with people commenting that I act much older than I am. Not entirely sure if it is a ‘maturity thing’, more a side-effect caused by my introverted character that extravagantly extraverts itself online as if trying to find some plausible reason to why-I-think-the-way-I-do.

So far my life has stretched beyond several decades and after each year passes the next is to be presumed. For I am at that age when the body is young, mind remains sharp and it is easy to mistake yourself as invincible. Everything always moves too slowly. The moments in life take millennia to pass but should be savoured as a vintage wine.

It is the speed of youth that misses the colours of moments. Some people spend their whole lives missing the casual reasons and spend their life just as content as me who desires to know why life dealt a particular card.

At the turn of the millennium I honestly looked ahead 10 years I doubted I would make it. I was only 10 years old at the time but to live another 10 years, another lifetime, seemed utterly impossible. Yet, I have made it. Presuming no accident or illness occurs I can expect at least another 50 years. How scared that makes me feel. To think that my dreams must be accomplished before it is too late. That I have already lived 20 years and how I have changed during that time.

Whilst I think it is a giant leap to escape the teens and enter the eeeeees, at University I am one of the younger ones. People were forever bursting out in laughter when they learnt that I was a mere 19 year old. I don’t think it sounds young at all. Some girls at University would plainly refuse to go out with anybody that young. Peculiar in a way since age gaps are something which never used to be a particular barrier. Strange how one day passes, your age attains another digit which then is meant to reflect an inner maturity of some sort.

Look what happens when I am left in front of a blank word document. A stream of useless musings! In the last 24 hours I haven’t magically become wiser, or really that much older. The digits have shifted again but yet I feel different. Special in a way, that finally my observations might hold some sort of validity.

The Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards are a worldwide effort to engage hundreds of thousands of Twitter users to identify the best people and organizations on Twitter.”shorty-awards-logo

I am currently trying to get some votes in The Shorty Awards in the unofficial category of #publicrelations. Although feel free to nominate me for anything as The Shorty Awards are partly about how people view you on Twitter. Even getting one vote in The Shorty Awards would brighten up my day!

You can vote for me here

Or by posting on Twitter: I nominate @michaelwhite1 for a Shorty Award in #publicrelations because… (you need to provide a reason otherwise the vote won’t be counted.)

Any unofficial #categories you make will still be included and have the possibility of becoming official if there are enough votes.

If you don’t want to vote for me then you can always vote for me in the #egocentric category… which means I still get a vote!

A Question of Scrabble

I am really good at Scrabble. Seriously, I’m not joking. I even roughly know how many points each of the letters are worth. Instead of instinctively typing I can look at the keyboard and even within ‘qwerty’ can spot words such as; type, try, wet, re, et, ye. I don’t even need any human interaction. I can just sit with my iPhone and play… constantly.scrabble3datamancer

Why? Why on Earth?! Why word fence with myself like this. It isn’t doing me any good. I keep confusing reality with the virtual reality and look for points in all the words I write. This mental break down makes perfect sense though. It does!

Since trying to give up smoking this is what has happened to me. Strange thing is I am absolutely helpless in the wake of this habit. It is so very strong, giving up recently has equated to a four day streak. Just four days? Just useless Michael, how useless you really are. The primary reason for my lack of will-power is that I LOVE smoking.

Oh yes, the smooth smell of tobacco. Even the fresh smell of cigarettes in the morning. Perhaps with a cup of coffee just before lectures. Nothing beats it. I would much rather be a smoker than an alcoholic. Let’s face it. With my addictive personality I could swing both ways (this is a joke…).

Scrabble offers me the protection from my busy head that demands to light up. Consequently trying to relax is hellish. One of the peculiar factors about smoking is that cigarette just before bed. Almost all smokers have it. A stimulant just as you are about to sleep. Curiously it is this last cigarette of the day which is hardest to beat. It demands attention and without it you can be guaranteed a night just thinking about it.

What is this utter nonsense which I am typing about though? Surely the cravings of this leaf show how pathetic I have become as a human. To demand this juicy nicotine is perfectly acceptable. It is the tar of the cigarette, all those 9000 other chemicals, which are the damaging ones.

Strange thing about stopping smoking, even for a few days, is that you do feel better. Breathing instantly eases up, although it is difficult to notice at first. Smell comes back and at times you do feel very relaxed. It shudders me to think that for the past 2 years every hour of the day has been spent worrying about the next cigarette. It is a topic that runs around my mind.

So this is the part of the blog post where I proudly proclaim,

“No More! Enough with this filthy habit.”

I’m afraid not. Instead I am just going to keep playing Scrabble and see what happens. Who knows? I might even beat my score of 299 points.