Ice Bucket Challenge: Social Media Gold

How_Ice_Bucket_Challenge_Changes_Nonprofit_PRAs social media emerges from its infancy, we can look back at dozens of fads that it has produced. Remember when people were “planking”? At various times they’ve also been “owling,” “Batmanning,” “teapotting,” and “stocking.” There has been meme after meme, giving those who are in on the joke the opportunity to show how clever they are.

None of these have really meant anything, though, until the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Of all the viral sensations, the Ice Bucket Challenge, which urges people to challenge their friends to donate money to the ALS Association and/or dump a bucket of ice cold water on their heads, has been the most meaningful.

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Three Advanced AP Style Rules Worth Remembering

AP_Style_Rules_to_RememberConsistency in messaging is crucial in establishing a brand identity for your company. It’s not just in the words you use, either. The grammar and punctuation of your messages also has an impact.

The AP Stylebook is the holy grail of grammar and punctuation rules for journalists and media professionals, including PR pros. You’ll find a copy of the guide on everyone’s desk in our office, but it’s still common to hear someone call out, “What’s AP style for…” while in the middle of writing.

Here are a few of our most commonly used AP style rules:

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Jeff Jarvis: Unoriginal Sin

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 11.07.33 AMThe amazing Ethan Zuckerman argues at eloquent length in The Atlantic that advertising was the web’s original sin, which really is just a corollary to the contention that giving away content for free on the web (and supporting it with advertising) was newspapers’ and magazines’ original sin.

I’m going to disagree. What bothers Ethan, I think, is not advertising but mass media economics — which, I will agree, do not fit on the net. And the solution that preachers against this sin bless — consumer payment — brings with it a host of unintended and unfortunate consequences.

Ethan amusingly confesses his role as a serpent in the Garden when he was an early staffer at Tripod and not only introduced advertising support as a means of providing a free homepage service, and not only created the means to target ads to users but also — damn them! — invented the pop-up ad. (“I’m sorry. Our intentions were good.”)

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In the 1930s, a New Yorker Editor Wrote This Perfect Style Guide for Today’s Bloggers

imag0050Fans of James Thurber will hopefully be well familiar with his memoir about his time spent at the New Yorker, working with its founding editor, Harold Ross. ‘The Years With Ross‘ was first published in 1958 and is still in print.

Flipping back through an old (1959) copy of the Penguin paperback edition the other day, I landed on Thurber’s long extract from a memo by New Yorker copy editor Wolcott Gibbs, in which Gibbs shares with Ross some of his rules for editing the magazine’s fiction writers. (Journonerds will probably best know Gibbs for his famous ‘Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind‘ parody of Time magazine’s ‘Timespeak’.)

Although the memo was first written in the 1930s, twenty years before Thurber quoted from it, I was struck by how many of Gibbs’ principles are applicable to most of today’s bloggers who dabble in long-form, including those of us who work at Pando. I’ve quoted the relevant ones below, including Thurber’s introduction.

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