Tag Archives: SHIFT Communications

“Make New Friends, But Keep The Old”

The last year has been a very exciting and amazing time in my life. Before working at SHIFT, I sat at my desk as an Assistant Account Executive pouring over media lists. Every day was dark and the firm I was at made me feel like I didn’t understand PR. Any mention of Todd or SHIFT evoked claims that PR-Squared and the social media news release were just publicity stunts. I felt really dumb.

You know the scene in “Shawshank Redemption” when Andy plays Canzonetta sull’aria from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro? I would experience similar moments of freedom reading Todd’s blog; for me, each post shined courageous innovation and breathed new life into a stale industry. His posts allowed me to dream of working at an agency where creativity was praised and not stifled. When I got the call from a recruiter looking to place AE’s at SHIFT, I couldn’t believe they were actually hiring.

During my tenure, the senior staff at SHIFT has coached and prepared me to take a stronger leadership role. They also gave me the support I needed to gain confidence in myself, helping me understand who I am and what motivates me. SHIFT truly is a talent agency, and I’ll be forever grateful for the support and guidance I received there. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to develop and grow.

My whole life I have considered myself an artist and teacher. I work with text, photography, video and audio-and I love helping other people learn how to create. With PR, I also fell in love with strategy as an art form.

As many of you may know, last Friday was my last day at SHIFT. I can’t tell you what I’m working on yet, but the opportunity plays to all my strengths and motivations. While I will miss all the friends I have made at SHIFT, the new role is an opportunity to face new challenges and new experiences that I can only find at a global firm.

There are a lot of people I want to thank:

  • Dan, Jess, Jenn, Melissa and Virginia for being a great team full of support and understanding
  • Cathy Summers for teaching me how to motivate people. Always full of analogies, she’s the mom that can make every situation better. I’ve learned more about life from her than from anyone besides my own mom and grandmother
  • Mandy Mladenoff for teaching me what motivates me
  • Julie and Carter for pushing me to be edgier while also helping refine how I present my ideas
  • Marie, Margaret, Jany, Amanda, Becky, Bob, Chris and Matt for being my social media/blogging buds
  • Danielle, Rachel and Emily for being my Boston girls
  • All of my other friends at SHIFT who put up with my social media idealism and supported my craziness
  • And of course, my bromance, Todd Defren. I will continue to read Todd’s blog and can’t wait to see the exciting things SHIFT has coming down the pike [UPDATE: See Todd’s post on my departure here.}

Also, thanks to all the SHIFTers and socialTNT readers who have sent me well wishes, support, wall posts or blog posts this week. Can’t wait to share the next chapter with all of y’all. Just know you will be seeing a lot more posts on socialTNT with some pretty slammin new features. 😉

Don’t miss out: Grab our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

[The above photo, “Goodbyes Are Timeless” by *PaysImaginaire* on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]



Filed under Personal

“Preview: NewComm Forum 2008”

If you’re a new media fanatic living in the SF Bay Area, this week is like Christmas. With all the new tools being shown off at the Web 2.0 Expo, and all the great minds talking at the NewComm Forum, it’s pretty easy feel over stimulated. socialTNT makes it easy by giving you our top picks at NewComm.

http://newcommforum.com/2008/?p=25Put together by the Society for New Communications Research, the NewComm Forum is now in its fourth year. After last year’s rocking event in Vegas, this year’s event in Sonoma County should offer a more relaxing–but equally stimulating–experience. Check out our top 5 “must sees” at the year’s event:

5. Opening Keynote with Joseph Jaffe

We’re big fans of Joseph’s Jaffe Juice and its fully-integrated approach to social media. By Looking at conversations with consumers through all media and across the marketing and advertising departments, Joseph helps us understand the true impact of our campaigns. We also like his sense of humor.

Session Mood: Let’s give ’em something to blog about…

4. Detour Ahead: Closing the Road to PR 3.0 featuring Darren Barefoot, Constantin Basturea and Brian Solis.

Always ahead of the curve, Constantin’s New PR Wiki has been a staple since 2004. We hear he’s also doing some pretty cool things at Converseon. If you don’t know, Brian Solis is on the forefront of fighting for “2.0.’ His man-on-the-scene bub.blicio.us blog, combined with PR 2.0, might make you think he spends all his time at his computer, but somehow he manages to be EVERYWHERE.

Session Mood: Futurama

3. A Conversation With Jim Long, Tom Foremski, and Shel Isreal

Brilliant. New media. Line-up. Mad props to Jenn McClure and crew for getting NBC to let go of Jim (aka newmediajim) long enough to appear on stage with these two pioneers of the new media space. Tom gave us some valuable insight last fall when he appeared on socialTNT’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” and Shel is such an icon, he has people lampooning him with puppets. Expect nothing but an interesting discussion on the state of the media.

Session Mood: Eureka in the Tweet

2. Building Your Brand With Conversational Media featuring Kami Watson Huyse and Geoff Livingston

Kami Huyse and Geoff Livingston are some of the top feeds in our Google Readers. Check out Kami’s recent case study examining the ROI on social media and the launch of a new roller coaster at Sea World. She’s a stickler for tracking and measurement, and is therefore an important voice in the progression of social media PR and marketing. Geoff’s Buzz Bin is like a workbook for new media marketers and PR peeps–and don’t forget his book!

Session Mood: Energized

1. Perspectives on the Social Media Release featuring Todd Defren and Maggie Fox

This, to us, is without a doubt, the social media PR Thilla in Manila of 2008. That makes Jenn McClure into Don King, and we’ll let you decide who is Muhammad Ali. Todd Defren is the inventor of the social media news release. He’s also our colleague at SHIFT. Maggie Fox from Social Media Group has worked on Multimedia Releases for Ford Motors (See our analysis of one of her campaigns here). It will be interesting to see what Maggie thinks of Todd’s SMR version 1.5, just released last week.

Session Mood: CATFIGHT!

These are just a sampling of the amazing sessions in store in Sonoma. We also hear there will be some great research released this year, with topics including new media influencers and implications for PR, customer care and brand reputation in the social media age, and how to measure progress in communities.

Sadly, socialTNT will not be able to make it this year. Due to client work, we will both be at Web 2.0 Expo. You can, however, catch us at the Social Media Club Tweet-up tonight at Adobe. Geoff Livingston and Brian Solis will be there to talk about their book. Hope to see you there!

Don’t miss a post: Drop socialTNT into your RSS reader [what’s that?]. Better yet, subscribe to socialTNT by email!


Filed under Citizen Reporter, Future of Media, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Chris Heuer, The Conversation Group”

Like the cold winter wind, today’s biting “3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min” will chill your bones!

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

This week, socialTNT met up with Chris Heuer, partner at social media communications firm The Conversation Group. He’s also an executive and cofounder of the Social Media Club. In today’s episode, Chris tells us his definition of social media and proclaims that PR is dead.

When Chris and I met, we started talking about his book, a discussion of social media tools for internal communications. He enjoyes bouncing ideas off of people to spawn creativity. He also prefers working in collaborative, Socratic environments, so it’s not surprising that Chris cofounded the Social Media Club as a venue to share ideas about emerging media. This manifested itself throughout out our conversation; every time one of us would say something clever, he’d jot down notes in a a Moleskine notebook, potential ideas for the book. After a few minutes, our chat diverged away from his book and into a discussion of social networking, disposable attention, and brands.

As Brand managers everywhere try to stifle social media and maintain a uniform brand image, Chris promotes opening up. Instead of silencing employees, companies have to let go. To maintain, companies have to trust and educate their employees. To support his theory, Chris broke out a power point slide with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but
people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not
to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.”

Fun Facts About Chris

  • Once taught Interactive Advertising at the Miami Ad School
  • Has a Virtual Assistant outside the country
  • Does not have or use an RSS reader
  • Is a hit-and-run Twitterer
  • In July 2007, married Kristie Wells, VP of Customer Advocacy at Joyent, the company that used to host Twitter
  • Prefers in-person, real world communication over its online counterparts, but you can still find him on Facebook and LinkedIn

Ever wonder exactly what social media is? Chris’s succinct definition is not to be messed. He also explains what changes Public Relations and Marketing will need to make in order to stay alive. Check it out:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wow. A lot to chew on. Is PR dead? Has social media killed it? What do you think PR will need to do to evolve? Is Schizophrenic Branding a problem? How do marketers deal with multiple voices coming out of their company? Let us know in the comments.

Quick Note: Today marks the first day socialTNT’s “3Q’s in 3Min” is available for download on iTunes. Yup, that’s right: Now you can view our video interviews with today’s top reporters and social media experts anywhere you want. Watch us on the train, at the gym or even at the break room of your stodgy PR or marketing firm. The last seven episodes are currently available in high-quality video, with the full library coming soon. Oh, and it’s all available to you for FREE! 🙂
Christopher Lynn - socialTNT - socialTNT

Also, don’t miss a post: Please add socialTNT to your RSS reader [what’s that?]. Better yet, subscribe to socialTNT by email!

[The above photo, “Utterz Meetup House of Shields – Chris Heuer” by Brian Solis, is used under Creative Commons]


Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Enterprise Public Relations, Internal Public Relations, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“Brand of Brothers: A Social Media Chorus”

“No. 59″ by racatumba on flickrOver the last couple of days, many people are asking the question: Can brands be social? The vision of social media relations, to me, sees consumers interacting and conversing with a brand. So the question becomes, what is a brand?

Way back in the day, a brand was a symbol burnt into the hide of an animal to symbolize ownership. Modern day branding burns a stream of messages into consumers’ minds to reinforce the image or idea a company wants. A brand can also be identified by its logo or trademark, but traditionally a brand symbolizes a promise or experience a company aligns with a product or service through consolidated messaging.

Over the last couple of years, the notion of “brand” itself has been changing. With social media, consumers now have the ability to publish and spread their own messages about a brand through forums, blogs, Facebook groups, etc. This can create a sort of schizophrenic branding: Corporate messaging vs Consumer perception/messaging–also known as “reality”–clashing for the loudest voice. As Dell proved, modern brands have to step up to the plate and accept, interact and engage with the consumer, or they come across as being abstract and aloof from reality.

But consumer voices aren’t the only ones vying to be heard in the modern brand. In many companies, you have employees who blog. The new media tools allow all the voices within the company to have a chance to be heard, unseating the talking-head spouting corporate values/messaging from the ivory tower. As the blogosphere grows, I think these voices will become more splintered, but still add to the discussion and image of the brand. For example: Not that I would consider Todd Defren the ivory tower, but his blog combined with my blog, the SHIFT employee blog Unspun and Marie Williams’ Flackette blog help shape the brand image at SHIFT Communications. People looking for our services can find these voices and get a sense of what we are about as a firm.

The Twitterverse will be progressing more like the blogosphere. Since Twitter requires less effort than blogging, pretty soon you will have several people from a company Tweeting. For example, there are several of us that use Twitter at SHIFT. We engage with each other and our followers in a series of small conversations. As more tools come into play to harness the power, people will be able to follow our team (a micro-community), creating another extension of SHIFT Communications’ brand.

Since the new brand, to me, is the conversation that the corporation, its employees and its consumers are having, the new, evolved brand will need to get social, embrace social media or get passed by.

What do you think the modern brand is? Which came first, social media or the splintered/schizophrenic brand?

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[Above photo, “No. 59” by racatumba on flickr, used under Creative Commons]


Filed under Future of Media, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Social Media, Social Networking

“From socialTNT To You With Love: A Personal Post”

“Heart no. 2″ by bymanu on flickrIf you’ve read my blog long enough, you know two of my tenets for social media marketing and PR campaigns are: “Sharing is Caring” and “It’s A Conversation.” Since so many of you shared very personal stories with me through email and Twitter for “Stick It To The Man” week, I wanted to share a little bit more about myself than you can get from facebook, LinkedIn, or my “About Me.”

Last week, the New York Times told the world my age, so I don’t mind telling you guys that yesterday, I turned 31. Moving in to my 30’s has caused me to examine where I’ve been, where I’m at now, and where I’m going.

Two years ago, I moved to San Francisco from Berlin, Germany, with nothing but a suitcase of clothes and a box of books. My younger brother, Mike, was going through a lot of rough times after doing a very courageous thing and needed some emotional support. He offered me a computer and a roof if I moved out to live with him. In tough times, all we have is family; I couldn’t refuse, plus I was having my own patch of bad luck.

Berlin is an amazing city. Besides Barcelona, there is no other city in the world, to me, that has such an amazing art and music scene. As a musician/performance artist/graphic designer/photographer/writer, I was knee-deep in the scene. I had a great job at an Entertainment and Event firm, some musical partners, and a monthly party.

In the winter of 2005, everything changed when I returned from vacation to find everything in my life gone. Someone I’d been helping get back on their feet took everything I owned. In addition to clothes and everything else normally found in an apartment, other things stolen include: DVDs, four years of journals, my laptop, recording equipment, backups/originals of my digital photography and writings. Even though I had a nice job, there would have been no way for me to save money and buy replacements for any of those things. I didn’t have means to create my art. And, worse than anything else, it felt like all my children had been kidnapped. After six months of sinking ever deeper into depression, I accepted my brother’s offer, packed my bag and moved to SF the week before Halloween 2005.

Two years later, I’m happy and healthy. My brother is engaged to an amazing woman. We no longer live together, but I do live with an incredible group of people. I also work at one of the most kick-a firms in the healthiest work environment I’ve ever experienced.

It’s been such an amazing ride over the last two years. Every day feels like a blessing, and some thanks are in order:

  • My parents for raising me and kicking my butt.
  • My grandparents for instilling a work ethic and sense of spirituality. Also for making me realize I can “create my own world.”
  • My brother for his support. He’s my sounding board.
  • My aunts, uncles and super-star cousins for making me smile.
  • My BFF’s around the world. You know who you are. You know what you do.
  • My housemates for creating a peaceful living space and for putting up with my silliness.
  • SHIFT and all the SHIFTers, especially my team plus Todd Defren and my mentor, Parry Headrick, for embracing and bolstering my creativity.
  • Mad props to Lindsay Olson at Paradigm Staffing for pairing me with the right firm. She seriously is the most amazing PR recruiter I have met. Also, I’ve gotta thank all my references 🙂
  • TO ALL THE “3Q’s in 3 Min” GUESTS: You guys are awesome! Thanks for the pleasure of an interview.
  • TO EVERYONE ON MY BLOGROLL: Thanks for bringing me a social media utopia when I was working at a place where I couldn’t experiment.
  • TO ALL MY READERS: Thank you SOOO much. You make socialTNT possible. You inspire me daily. You are the reason I do this. (And if you haven’t done so, please subscribe to my feed. ;-))

I can’t wait to see what this next year will offer. Hopefully, you will stick around and experience it with me.

Happy Friday, everyone!

[Photo above, “Heart no. 2” by bymanu on flickr, used under Creative Commons]


Filed under Just For Fun

“Arachnophilia: Reformed Canabalistic Spiders Teach PR Pros Altruism”


Lake Tawokoni State Park rangers Mike McCord, left, and Freddie Gowin check out a giant spider web at the park.

Texas had one helluva rainy season this past summer and the spiders are LUVIN it. Instead of their usual solitary orbs, the spiders are spinning one giant, all-encompassing web. Various species of arachnids have come together to form communities, catch some buzz and then share files flies. Entomologists are rushing to be the first to dub this new era “Web 2.0.”

Sound familiar? Continue reading


Filed under New Media Masters., Public Relations 2.0, Rants, Sharing is Caring