Saturday, November 29, 2008


On any given day (the full 24 hours) there can be, in a span of minutes or hours, a host of events in your backyard, in your country, or halfway around the world that can turn a smile into a frown, can turn happiness into despair, can make you throw your hands up and give up.

Then, just when the last few straws are falling onto the camel's back, we see the tiny flicker of goodness and hope. A story that warms the heart. Like Brendan Foster's story.

Perhaps the amount of bad news is overwhelming us. Perhaps we don't know how to balance the bad with the good, or find enough positives to overwhelm the disappointing. Before the information age, before the telegraph started a wave of faster and instant communication, we probably balanced the bad news of what we read in the weekly newspaper with the letters from family and loved ones, or the simple face-to-face gatherings at the fencepost or the corner market.

The world won't slow down to savor the good moments. So, what I propose is greater use of YouTube videos to remind us to count our blessings. To remind us tremendous power and impact that random acts of kindness can have on all of use, and on the world.

Remember the video clip of a lone Chinese man standing in the way of a tank during a short-lived revolt in China? It gave us hope and inspiration that all it takes is one of us to stand up to repression.

So, while many of us will curse the age of blogs, You Tube and MySpace, I say we should adapt and learn to use these tools to the greater good. To help us count our blessings and send out the reminders that basically, we all want to do the right thing.

As public relations professionals, we must first make sure we are effectively and ethically communicating with our audiences on behalf of our employers or clients. Let's be realistic - we need a paycheck. These tasks will take up most of our waking hours.

But, we also hold powerful skills, experience and tools at our fingertips to communicate on behalf of ourselves, our fellow human beings.

How will I count my blessings or offer a blessing? I count my blessings that I have healthy, wonderful children and a new love in my life. How will I offer a blessing? By using the Internet and the art of writing whenever and wherever I can to make positive change.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, Jon Stewart and David Frost

Wow. In one day. I thought I would never see Snoop Dogg on the Martha Stewart show. Have the ice caps completely melted?

Even better, Snoop was giving "hood" slang advice to the audience - five phrases that I'm sure Martha will never use. Talk about extending your brand. Snoop is one heckuva marketeer.

My faith in the world was quickly restored when I caught the replay of last night's Daily Show, when Jon Stewart had Sir David Frost as a guest. One former talk show host who gave us the most amazing interview with a disgraced president, and the current TV talk show king who is close to doing the same.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gay Marriage

From a public relations standpoint, the conclusion seems clear that Prop. 8 passed only because of two things. The yes crowd used a lot of money to spread fear and lies. The no team simply did not conduct a good campaign. It ran what many observers say was an old, conservative campaign. No emotional rage was sparked through viral messages and calls to action. Now, there is.

While I was extremely proud to the point of tears that my country was able to elect an African American as president, I was in equal amounts shamed by what my state did to ban gay marriage. We came so far on one issue, retreated so far on another.

I have followed Keith Olbermann since he was a two-bit TV sports reporter in Los Angeles. But, like many sports writers I know, he has a gift. And, he delivered in this commentary on Prop 8

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank a vet

Make sure you thank at least one veteran today. No matter your feelings about the two wars we are in, or past wars, the men and women who currently serve and who have served deserve our gratitude for their sacrifice.

Chances are that you know someone. A widow who lost a husband or wife. A wheel-chair bound Vietnam vet. A grandfather who lost a lot of friends in WWII or the Korean War.

And, my fellow public relations pros, please avoid using this holiday to promote something. Today, I received the worst email from a real estate agent who asked us to remember vets, and then reminded folks he can help you with mortgage and real estate needs. Yuck. This person certainly won't get my business.

By the way, if you really want to get an idea of sacrifice, watch the HBO special "Section 13."