Brian Keaney

Tag: Justin Beiber

Out of the mouths of kiddos

I do all the warm up drills with the kids except skipping. I refuse to skip.

This morning on the bus a little girl I’ve seen many times before got on, per usual, with her Justin Beiber backpack strapped on to her shoulders.  Normally this wouldn’t merit a second look, but her neon orange socks were matched by a t-shirt of the same color.  Even then, the only reason I cared was that I saw that shirt being distributed the night before but somehow never noticed her at the distribution site.

After the little snow New England saw this winter finally melted away, it seemed like my volunteering days with YES would be put on hold until next ski season.  They have a full lineup of summer activities, but all of them are during weekdays.  Or so I thought.  Turns out they have a track and field team that meets twice a week in the evening.  Even though I’ve never run track, I missed working with the kids and signed up.

The kids range in age from four to 14, and I think there are even a few three-year-olds thrown in there.  Had you asked me at the beginning of the season  which group I did not want, I would have told you the really little ones.  They are fun in short doses, but I thought I would get more out of it working with the older kids.  Turns out I was wrong, and that the four- and five-year-olds keep me both constantly smiling and forever trying to make sense of the senseless knock knock jokes they find so hilarious.  (I wasn’t wrong about the short doses thing, though.  By the time practice is over they are about ready to be done and I am about done trying to organize chaos.)

After practice last night they started handing out t-shirts to some of the kids, and it was one such shirt that I saw on the bus this morning.  Turns out that if your child attends enough of this absolutely free program where they get to make new friends, exercise, and learn the fundamentals of a sport that could bring them eternal high school glory (and who knows, maybe even a trip to the Olympics), they get a free t-shirt. How is that for an enticement to get them to make 10 practices or meets where they have everything to gain and nothing to lose?

They also had some embroidered polo shirts for the coaches.  It was a very nice gesture, and one that I should have been more appreciative of, but earlier events that evening made it all but impossible.  Several weeks ago the other coach who works regularly with the little ones told me that the kids “adored me.”  I didn’t believe her, but in fairness that didn’t stop me from bragging to my sisters that I was an object of adoration.  They, not unexpectedly, had a reaction that could be described as something short of adoring.

Last night I began to think that my fellow coach may have been on to something.  While keeping some sort of order as the kids jumped over hurdles that could be hidden by tall grass, one of the four-year-olds came up behind me and hugged my leg.  Initially taken a little aback, I looked down and smiled at her.  It was then that she looked those big blue eyes up at me and said, “You’re doing a great job, kiddo.”

Where she came up with a line like that I have no idea, but it sure meant a whole lot more to me than any polo shirt ever will.

A proud moment

A few weeks ago I was out with some friends, and met someone new.  Towards the end of the night she said that she would like to have me as a bar trivia partner since I seemed to know things about lots of different topics.  I was flattered, but cautioned her that I probably wouldn’t be a good partner as I always get hung up on the pop culture questions.

I don’t know, and nor do I care, which ball player is dating which movie star.  If it is possible to care even less, I care even less what they wore on the red carpet or where they went on vacation.  To prove my point, I explained to her that my grandmother had to explain to me who Kim Kardashian was and why she was famous, and I’m still not sure as to the latter.

What I do know about pop culture comes almost exclusively from Barstool Sports.  A few weeks ago a friend posted this video to her blog, and had effusive praise for it.

 

The song wasn’t bad, in a mindless teenybop sort of way, and the high school kids in the video were somewhat entertaining, but not enough for me to stick around for the entire three and a half minutes.  If I had, there’s a chance I might have noticed the credits scrolling at the end of the video, but I doubt it.  Then, today, this video appeared on the Stool, and just before I clicked away I saw the name Ashley Tisdale in the postscript. I still couldn’t tell you who Ashley Tisdale is, but I knew she was someone famous.

Making that connection was enough to pique my interest, however, and so I went to my standard first stop whenever I want to learn about a new topic, Wikipedia.  There I learned that a bunch of the biggest stars – well, Justin Beiber, his girlfriend, and a bunch of other people I’ve never heard of but who are apparently famous – all starred in the video.

I was pretty proud of myself for not recognizing any of them.  There is only so much room in my head, and the fact that it isn’t cluttered with trivial nonsense like who these kids are gives me hope that there is still some room for important information, like that the Planck length is the shortest possible distance that has any meaning.

Yep.  Good thing I still have those wisdom teeth.

Reports of the press release’s demise have been greatly exaggerated

Cross posted to the EZG blog.

The web has been all a-Twitter lately.  Jamie and Kyle have both written about it over the past few weeks, and around the bustling halls of EZG today we’ve had some insightful emails about the New Twitter and what it means for us, our clients, and our industry.  What really caught my attention, though, was a recent AdAge post that declares the tweet has killed the press release.

[I]ncreasingly, the news media has a nifty new way of “reporting” entertainment news: regurgitating celebrity tweets. It wasn’t that long ago that a celebrity with something “important” to put out there, like an apology, would automatically say it through a tightly controlled protocol, like a set of engineered sound bites delivered via a well-staged interview. Now 140 characters or fewer suffices.

Lest you think that this is only applicable to the latest B-lister to tweet her photo with Justin Beiber, author Simon Dumenco goes on to argue that “As the celebrity-industrial complex goes, so goes the rest of corporate America.”  Now I’m a big fan of Twitter, but just like video didn’t kill the radio star, I can’t accept his argument that “The long-suffering, much-maligned press release… finally died this summer” at the hands of the microblog.

Just because BP was made to look ridiculous when the fake @BPGlobalPR gushed black comedy gold and ended up with more than 10 times the number of followers the official @BP_America account did, it doesn’t mean that the public is going to turn to it for news.  All it means is that there is a greater appetite for gallows humor than there is for corporate spin.

More than that, the world is a complicated place.  Not everything, or even one thing, can be conveyed in a tweet.  While it’s possible to encapsulate all the germane details of some stories or events into a tweet (e.g. Tom Brady was in a car accident this morning. He’s OK, though.), for plenty of others it’s not only impossible, it’s also illegal.  Many professional and financial service providers are restricted from providing  commentary that can be construed as financial advice.  As a result, while they are increasingly using social media to get their message out, they are treading extremely carefully to avoid a slew of dangers that could  do great harm in both brand and legal terms.

Perhaps the best example of the continued vitality – and need – for press releases is Dumenco’s own post.  If everything that needs to be said can be said in a tweet, why bother writing an entire blog post?  He obviously felt the need to provide background and context necessary for readers to comprehend his post.  If he didn’t then the phrase “The tweet has killed the press release” would not only be sufficient, it is also well under 140 characters.

When the New York Times speculated that Mark Twain had been sent to Davy Jone’s locker, the great American novelist – who was alive and well – promised to “make an exhaustive investigation of this report that I have been lost at sea. If there is any foundation for the report, I will at once apprise the anxious public.”

Dumenco predicts that “press releases will probably continue to stumble along, zombie-like, for years to come, because too many PR folks are still heavily invested in grinding them out.”  A better guess is that PR folks worth their weight will continue to combine press releases with appropriate use of Twitter, blogs, social networks, and (gasp!) the telephone and actual face to face meetings… until any or all of these devices cease being helpful to journalists and other audiences.  If press releases are our only means of action, well, color me uncreative.

But in the spirit of Mr. Twain, I’ll make a similar inquiry into the brain eating status of the press release.  If I find it with arms outstretched and ambling forth in legions galore, I’ll be sure to let you know.  I’ll issue a press release.

The above photo by theogeo is used under this creative commons license.