gamescom cover

gamescom 2015 – Observations on the Business of Gaming & Worldwide Fandom


My re-intro to video games after 12 years –

The computer and video gaming industry explosion on display for 345,000


Beanbag chilling gamers from around the world at games con 2015


The last time I got really excited about a video game was in college when I zoned out on HALO, only to emerge from my apartment three weeks later like a frail ghostly prisoner freed from a medieval dungeon. It was then that I realized my personality type was not a good fit for gaming and I haven’t been more than an occasional ‘user’ ever since.

That said, in early August I attended an event in Cologne (Köhn) Germany called gamescom. gamescom is a video game tradeshow and it’s the largest tradeshow I’ve ever attended. It also seemed to have the largest average booth budgets.

To help you picture the size of the event and numbers it attracted – 345,000 is more than the population of St. Louis, Missouri. At times, it felt like that whole population was crammed into one hall.


What was I doing there?



I was invited to assist at a booth run by my stepfather for his organization One Redmond, and their sub-organization called the Washington Interactive Network. The booth was shared with an economic development organization from neighboring Bellevue, and the booth hosted six indie gaming companies from the Bellevue/Redmond, Washington area that opened up their consoles to the hordes of kids (and adults) that passed by each day. One Redmond’s overarching goal was to attract European gaming companies to the city of Redmond by demonstrating its extensive local indie gaming industry, local talent and quality of life. Hosting businesses like Microsoft, Nintendo and SpaceX doesn’t hurt their cause either. I’ll vouch for the area.



Gaming revenue greater than Hollywood


games con fans cheer entertainers

Entertainers create excitement for a farming simulator and free t-shirts


gamescom opened my eyes to the size and extent of the industry – one that had somehow remained on the periphery of my day to day thought despite its commanding presence in the media. One insider casually mentioned to me that the gaming industry raked in more money in the first 8 months of this year than the film industry in all of last year. A quick internet search shows experts predict gaming to be a $100 billion dollar industry within three years.

I saw mammoth companies I’d never heard of – including, Bethesda Softworks, Ubisoft, crytek, Blizzard. My childhood self would have loved to happen upon a Sierra Entertainment booth. They were the makers of a mainstay of my adolescence – Kings Quest. Alas, I was unable to find them in the ten halls of the show and through the hordes of gamers.

Booths at gamescom were enormous and many featured stages occupied by their own tee shirt tossing MC’s. You may expect a popular and wildly interactive company like Rockstar Games to garner a cheering crowd, but I was surprised when even a farming simulator had throngs of kids cheering and screaming for projectiles tossed by a dirndl-clad German gal. also had a large stage flanked by screaming throngs of kids (and adults) as serious-looking synchronized dancers dressed in military garb moved their hips or twisted LED lit swords to inspired movements.

Many of the more violent games had completely enclosed booths with marketing-plastered walls stretching towards the ceiling and preventing younger kids from catching a glimpse of the more graphic content inside (or maybe just keeping the crowd moving along in an orderly fashion?).

Kids waited in line for hours to simply watch trailers for upcoming video game releases. Unfortunately, I did not partake in said activity, so I do not have a detailed report for you.



YouTube is the SportsCenter of gaming


Kids flocking to the YouTube gamescom booth

Kids flocking to the YouTube gamescom booth


A huge player in the gaming industry, YouTube’s booth at gamescom had taken on the vibe of a SportsCenter broadcasting booth.

Don’t believe me? Feast your eyes upon this link:

I got my first look at YouTube’s influence on gaming last summer when I noticed my 11-year-old cousin was spending much of his vacation time at Yellowstone National Park watching YouTube videos… of other kids… playing video games.

I had a surreal moment while standing at the YouTube booth when I realized I was watching an entire horde of kids (sprinkled with those wearing “free hug” signs – what is up with that trend???) whose eyes were transfixed on giant screens where they watched other kids playing video games.

I’ve since learned there are professional video game players who pull in over a million dollars per year. For a good cry, check out this list of top earners.

For another good cry, check out this story from KING 5 News in Seattle about a guy named Bacon Donut (@bacondonutTV), working for a company called n3rdfusion who plays a game called Minecraft all day – FOR A LIVING!

And, here I thought Joey Chestnut had the best job in the world.

For a good laugh, check out this segment of Jimmy Kimmel being educated by kids on gaming.



Gaming trade delegations


Of the many halls at the event (I believe there were 10 total) one of the more interesting halls (due to interesting conversation) had trade delegations representing gaming regions, including: China, Britain, France, Iran, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Canada, South Korea, Italy, etc. I met people from Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. Oregon was not represented…



Interesting marketing campaigns


fallout marketing campaign

fallout marketing campaign


The organization representing Belgium were perhaps the most savvy marketers of their region. They combined information about their gaming industry while bribing people to linger using their other most popular export – beer (well, most popular after waffles, of course). It was hard to compete with free beer, and it might be a good idea to file away for future businesses representing the Pacific NW at trade shows, as Northwest IPA’s seem to have captured the imagination of the Euro pals I’d met.

One of my favorite marketing campaigns was for a game I’ve never played, nor ever even heard of – Fallout 4. The game is a violent post-apocalyptic romp around a world after a nuclear holocaust, but their logo is a smiling winking blonde-haired kid flashing a thumbs up hand sign. His little face was displayed on billboards all over the city of Cologne throughout the week I was there. At one Fallout booth fans could get their hair dyed yellow to mimic the cartoon kid. I saw many full-grown adult men have their head, beards and mustaches colored yellow – and they didn’t even seem to be embarrassed to walk around the town as such.



New avenues for revenue


While it was fun to see kids dressed in favorite costumes, it was equally fun exploring booths in the business hall. Supplemental supporting companies exist for every facet of production. For example, I met one man from China whose studio designed artwork for gaming companies.

An interesting challenge I learned of – the transfer of money isn’t as fluid in Europe as it is in the United States (as evidenced in the numerous businesses in Germany including restaurants and grocery stores that did not accept my Visa credit or debit cards).

Several European companies offer services to North American indie gaming companies who need help navigating European rules and regulations for commerce. These companies also find clients new revenue streams in different mediums (apps, websites, ads, etc) in each of the different European countries and on different online platforms.

As the week at gamescom wrapped up, I marveled at how fun it was getting a sneak peek into an industry with so much creative talent working together to create new and unique forms of entertainment – from the games on down to the booths that promote them.



I hope you enjoy the photos and videos!



Jerry Casey at AM:PM PR

Jerry Casey on The Oregonian and the State of the Newspaper Industry [PODCAST]


The Oregonian’s Breaking News Manager on the Evolving Newsroom

The Oregonian’s manager of breaking news, Jerry Casey (@jjeremiahcasey), was our latest featured guest at AM:PM PR’s Speakeasy. Jerry provided some interesting insights from inside today’s newsroom and The Oregonian’s historic transformation. He correlated the evolution of news consumption with the shift in staff needs and pace of story production. Jerry recognized the impacts on the public relations industry and offered tips for pitching journalists with the new newsroom in mind. Hear Jerry’s observations from inside the The Oregonian newsroom and his take on the state of news media today on our first-ever Speakeasy with AM:PM PR podcast

The Oregonian Today

Changes at the Oregonian have been a hot topic among journalists, ex-journalists and PR professionals over the past several years. Most recently, the paper announced the closure of  its printing plant and plan to outsource. Over the last five years hundreds of Oregonian staff have been laid off leading people to wonder, what’s going on around there?

Without much context the layoffs can seem quite callous, but are these changes simply the result of new technologies and how today’s reader consumes news? Understanding how readers consume the news is another way that technology has altered the newspaper business – and new technologies give greater insight than ever before.

Clickbait, Quotas and Millennials

News site analytics show an increasing number of readers attracted by clickbait over hard-hitting reporting. This data effects the types of stories news organizations invest in.

How is The Oregonian adapting? Last year Willamette Week published a leaked email about new guidelines for Oregonian reporters that included rules for social media usage; how frequently they should be posting and how compensation will be related to readers.

That story fascinated us so we asked Jerry how it reflected changes in the newspaper business what the resulting cultural impact has had on older reporters in the newsroom. We also wondered how much the new guidelines were influenced by millennials joining the workforce.

Jerry differentiated between producing narratives and, simply, relaying information. In fact, he explained many stories “don’t need a narrative.” This is a useful point for those hoping to pitch stories to the media.

Pitching The Oregonian

Staff reductions, evolving reader interests and managements expectations of reporters have made pitching more difficult for public relations professionals. Jerry offered suggestions for pitching Oregonian staff, including starting with reporters you know, how to think about the story your pitching and what tactics to avoid.

About Jerry Casey

Jerry has worked as an editor in Portland since 1999. His diverse newspaper career includes stints in Virginia and Florida, in addition to Oregon. He’s been a copyeditor, business editor, city editor, bureau chief and The Oregonian‘s first online editor.


We hope you enjoy our inaugural Speakeasy with AM:PM PR podcast. In the future we hope to tap into our team of experts to discuss crisis communication, media relations, strategic communication and share more from our Speakeasy guests.


AMPMPR Speakeasy


To join our Speakeasy group, click on the following Facebook hyperlink.

KGW's Pat Dooris at AM:PM PR's Speakeasy

KGW’s Pat Dooris at AM:PM PR’s Speakeasy

Thanks for listening!


Mike Phillips - World Traveler

Mike’s Euro Travel Adventures


I spent the past month traveling around Europe on an extended vacation. In my blog series I’ll share some of the more interesting adventures and discoveries I had along the way. The discoveries relate to public relations, industries we work in, communication, and history, too. Scroll to the bottom now to check out some of my wild photos!

Stop 1: Frankfurt, Germany. 

I spent the first two days of my trip in Frankfurt, Germany –  though jet lag made it feel like a week. Still, I managed to cram tons of activities into those days.

I admit I didn’t have high expectations for Frankfurt, mostly because I didn’t know anything about the place. But I’m happy to have discovered that it’s a wonderful multi-cultural melting pot with people from all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa calling the city home. I don’t speak a lick of German but it didn’t seem to matter much as everyone spoke enough English to get me fed and to help me navigate the city.

Bizarrely, the layout and “feel” of the city is reminiscent of Portland in a way that was both similar and completely foreign at the same time. They don’t have the perfect north/south/east/west layout – but there are several streets crammed with places to imbibe and enjoy culinary adventures – much like our neighborhoods including Division, Alberta or Mississippi. The Main River flows through the center of town, dividing the city like the Willamette in Portland. Frankfurt is incredibly bike friendly too – and on my second day I explored a food cart festival and met a craft beer enthusiast named Max who was obsessed with IPA’s. Nearby a bike race and some kind of running competition meandered through the main platz. In the afternoon I caught an American Football game between the Munich Rangers and Frankfurt Galaxy.

The fans were wild and took their soccer-style noise-making antics to the football stands. They’d surely love a Timbers game. When I got back to my hotel in the evening, I had a conversation with the hotel bartender Stefan about infused liquors and he shared some of the šljivovica that his boss is making in small batches.

Does it get any more Portland?

I’ll admit that I spent some time later that evening Googling to see if Frankfurt has a sister city relationship in America. I discovered that in July 2015 they cemented this relationship with Philadelphia, the city of “brotherly” love. This could be unbridled enthusiasm speaking, but I am thinking our friends in Philly need to alter their pact to a “brother city” relationship and let PDX step in to create a much needed partnership between two cities that love bikes, beer, booze and the convenience of a direct international flight thanks to Condor Airlines.

Unfortunately, the low point of my day came when I went out of my way to try to do something work related after I stumbled across a sign that translated to “The Communication Museum.” I naively thought it would be an homage to the craft of public relations, strategic communication and crisis communication in Germany, but it was a large room devoid of visitors with a bunch of displays showing the evolution of phonographs, telephones, computers and other bits of technology.

communication museum

Click the image for an exclusive look at the communication museum!!!

Anyway – that concludes my first dispatch. Here’s what to expect from upcoming posts:

Stop 2: Gamescom. Cologne, Germany

Having a stepdad working in one of the Northwest’s hottest tech towns has its advantages. In July I was invited to join him for the Gamescom gaming conference in Cologne, Germany.

Gamescom is Germany’s biggest convention on digital games and also serves as an interface between the world of gaming and other cultural and creative industries, as well as the digital economy.

I’d hoped to pass my AM:PM PR business cards to communication-challenged gaming companies across Europe, thus legitimizing future travel adventures and hopefully clearing a path to bring my AM:PM PR colleagues with me next time – but I discovered a different reality altogether. To be continued!

Stop 3: Sarajevo International Film Festival. Sarajevo, Bosnia. 

Just 20 years ago the first Sarajevo Film Festival was held during the middle of the longest siege of a European city since WWII. Attendance projections were low as a result, but 15,000 risked sniper bullets and mortar attacks to see 37 films from 15 different countries.

I’m happy to say my experience was a bit less harrowing, and I had the pleasure of seeing the debut screening of a film from a local Portland duo titled, “Finding Bosnia.” I look forward to sharing more soon.

Stop 4: Exploring Lineage in Ireland. 

Blood lineage to my great-great-great uncle Sean Mac Diarmada is probably shared by thousands of other McMorrow’s, McDermott’s and Mac Diarmada’s across Ireland, Canada, Australia and the United States – but that doesn’t stop my family from laying a firm claim to this Irish hero from 1916.

Mac Diarmada will be getting his time under the spotlight as the Irish nation celebrates 100 years since the Easter Rising of 1916, an event he helped orchestrate with Thomas Clarke and that eventually led to the creation of the Irish Republic (and gulp, a bloody civil war).

I visited his statue in his hometown with my grandfather and father – three generations! I never thought I’d see the day. I spent some time with my grandmother in her ancestral village in County Mayo where I was able to reconnect with distant relations. We also had interesting experiences exploring mystical Celtic wells and catching jam sessions and visiting renowned pubs.

That is a quick overview of the trip – more blogs to come.

badger and boar razors

Badger & Boar: A New Barber Shop in SE Portland

“Everybody has the perfect haircut and it’s my mission to find it.”

I first met Sean Gronich several years ago when he worked at a popular local barber chain and we bonded over a supernatural horror novel by local Portland author Todd Grimson. After losing touch for awhile, I ran into him again several months later at the Alberta Street Pub where he was hanging out with some mutual pals. We realized our friend circle overlapped with a Port Townsend connection, and he’s been my “stylist” ever since (I put that word in quotes because I’m not sure if you can categorize the lack of attention I put to my head as style-anything).

Just a little over 9 months ago Sean started his own business, run from his home, and now he’s finally got a location on one of Portland’s hottest avenues. He said the opening came about randomly, but he leapt at the opportunity.

Named after the animal hairs that make up the finest shaving brushes, and harkening back to his British roots, the Badger & Boar barbershop is now open for business at SE 33rd and Division. Just follow the stairs between St. Honoré and Salt & Straw and take a right when you get to the top. Gronich says Badger & Boar will have a casual, friendly feel and that he’s trying to avoid the trendiness of other local barber shops, if only to suit his own personal style.

I recently interviewed Sean for my Podcast and asked him about his passion for cutting hair. Strangely, his passion began when he was actually working on the set of a popular TV show on the Discovery Channel called Worst Case Scenario. He said sometimes he’d work 85 hours per week, not including LA traffic, and to relax he’d cut hair. 

“[Cutting hair] put me into Zen, I liked the conversation, I got to relax. And when I’d see my work on the street, I just loved it.”

We welcome him to the neighborhood and wish him nothing but success in the future. Congrats, Sean!

To hear more about his philosophy, career and experience cutting hair, please click on the image to enjoy a recent interview:

sean gronich badger and boar

marijuana industry connections

Cannabis – A Primer for Oregon Business

Our work with the International Cannabis Business Conference and Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference gave us a good look into the culture and complexity of the Oregon Cannabis Industry. In the following blog we’re happily sharing some of what we’ve learned with our local business partners, friends and loyal readers.

The 411 on Oregon Legalization

Possession of marijuana is now legal in Oregon. Purchasing marijuana? That’s a different matter. The Oregon legislature has been discussing a plan allowing dispensaries to sell to adults who are 21 and over, beginning October 1st, but the legislature has until next year to create more permanent rules for the retail sale and purchase of cannabis products. So, while it’s currently still illegal to buy and sell the stuff, if a stork delivers a baggie on your doorstep, or a stash appears via immaculate conception on your coffee table – you’re totally in the clear!

Legal possession has its limits, too. Adults are allowed up to 8-ounces of cannabis in their homes and up to one ounce away from home without fear of criminal prosecution. Oregon residents 21 and over may have up to four plants in their home.

It’s also still illegal to consume cannabis substances in public places, but oddly enough, at the  “giveaway and smoke out” event celebrating an end to prohibition – participants were granted the right to LEGALLY trade, test and posses up to seven grams of cannabis.

Confused yet?

The Cannabis Industry 

The cannabis industry culture is unique, but members are as serious as any member of Oregon business community. Conversations with cannabis entrepreneurs are nothing like the ones you may have had with your best friends’ older brother back in high school. For example, any references to “grass” should be saved for conversations about Linn County horticulture.

ARC View Cannabis Industry Numbers

Business Opportunities

With the successful legalization of cannabis in Oregon, Washington Alaska, Colorado and, likely, California  in 2016 – the “Cannabis Country” of the West Coast will be a multi-billion dollar industry. Growth of the cannabis industry will have a broader impact on the economy by increasing demand for innovation, supporting technologies and professional services. Examples include:

  • Commercial Real Estate Brokers – More than 300 dispensaries have already been approved in Oregon. Growers, wholesalers, processors and retailers all need space and brokers have the expertise to find the best options and negotiate the best deals.
  • Lawyers – Any business owner should have an attorney to help set up their entity, but cannabis industry entrepreneurs are blazing trails and all the laws have yet to be settled and defined. Lawyers with cannabis industry knowledge and expertise will be in demand to help business owners ensure compliance, protect their intellectual property, guide the licensing process and negotiate contracts.
  • Investment Brokers – All the big investment groups are offering cannabis portfolios, but now some firms specialize solely on the industry. Smart investors are seeing a cash crop potential and the number of interested parties will continue growing. 
  • Public Relations/Marketing – As stores become established across the state retailers and related product manufacturers will need to differentiate themselves to stand out and compete for customers. Cannabis growers will discover they face education barriers that create communication challenges similar to other agricultural and natural resource industries. Likewise, they’ll need to educate consumers – much in the same way that vineyards discuss terroir, palate, nose and qualities unique to different grape varietals and growing techniques. Entrepreneurs will benefit by thinking about branding, communications planning, social media strategy and media relations early in the game.
  • Security Firms – Dispensaries and growth operations will be wise to protect their premises and hire guards. These properties are at risk for break-ins and theft like liquor stores and distilleries – likely greater risk. Just as with investment brokerages, specialized security firms have already spawned.
  • Insurance Agents – All businesses need insurance and the cannabis industry has its own unique needs and requirements. Specialty insurance agencies have cropped up to serve the industry and this area of the insurance sector will continue to grow.
  • Tourism & Hospitality Stakeholders – 420-friendly hotels have popped up in Colorado (Bud & Breakfast) and there’s no reason to think they won’t in Oregon. While most hotels, B&B’s and new economy rental businesses like VRBO, Vacasa or AirBnB are smoke-free, many may decide to make an exception to attract cannatourists. Additionally, who’s to say that taxis and Uber and Lyft drivers won’t benefit from a surge in ridership with an influx of these tourists, many of whom will look to enjoy the best of Portland’s dining experiences.

Time will tell what the cannabis industry will bring to Oregon’s businesses and economy, but getting in early will offer the most opportunity for those who want to capitalize.

For more on the industry, the current status of laws and potential opportunities, check out these sources:

International Cannabis Business Conference:

Marijuana Politics:

The Northwest Leaf:

Oregon Cannabis Connection:

Dope Magazine:

The Cannabist : for a wonderful glossary for cannabis industry lexicon


jerry casey header

Next Speakeasy: Adapting to a 21st Century Newsroom

What is it like to be a breaking news reporter in today’s fast-paced 24/7 news cycle? What draws their attention? Join us July 15th at 4 p.m. at AM:PM PR to get these questions answered by our next Speakeasy host — Jerry Casey — breaking news manager for The OregonianChanges to The Oregonian’s newsroom have been widely discussed. These major shifts have changed how Jerry reports and he’ll share what that means for those who work with media.

Jerry has worked as an editor in Portland since 1999. His diverse newspaper career includes stints in Virginia and Florida, in addition to Oregon. Jerry says that in his 25 year career as a journalist he’s been unable to hold one job without coveting another. He’s been a copyeditor, business editor, city editor, bureau chief and The Oregonian‘s first online editor — a role that shapes how stories are produced and consumed.

Most importantly, Jerry is the husband of another journalist and the father of two kids: Rosencrantz from the Jesuit High School production of “Hamlet” and the only left-handed pitcher/first baseman playing for the Padres in the Cedar Mill Little League.

We hope to see you for what will be a compelling and enjoyable Speakeasy featuring a remarkable journalist. Please RSVP with Mike if you plan to attend.

jerry casey speakeasy canva


get the interview, get the job

Get the Interview, Get the Job

Student Portfolio Reviews Reveal Successful Tools & Tactics

For several years I’ve volunteered to review hardcopy portfolios from graduating University of Oregon public relations students. As part of the U of O program, each student presents their portfolio to a panel of three PR/marketing/communication professionals who rate their demeanor, presentation skills and mastery of career-related projects and assignments.

This experience, in addition to reviewing the daily emails and resumes sent to AM:PM PR by new hire hopefuls, has given me a good idea as to what makes a job candidate stand out. I’ve come to appreciate the value of a portfolio – it may be the best and most underused tool by jobseekers. While not always necessary, a portfolio can bolster the information found on a resume by demonstrating an expanded understanding of communication challenges and solutions.

Your portfolio should be easy to follow and easy to share. For the in-person interview, bring a hardcopy, or a tablet to walk through your work with a little digital pizzazz. Either way, make sure you bring extra printed copies of your best work to leave behind with your interviewer, who may want to share it with other decision makers.

Assembling the Standout Portfolio

Great portfolios for PR job candidates include:

  • an up-to-date resume with skills and experience highlighting abilities related the the job you are interviewing for.
  • a compilation of writing samples, i.e. pitch emails, press releases, blog posts and college assignments.
  • before/after analytical data, such as website or social platform analytics from projects that you worked on.
  • graphic, presentation or information design assignments. If you’re using printed pieces within a hardcopy portfolio, make sure you use high quality images. Pixelated images give the impression you don’t really understand the tools or you won’t go the extra mile on the job.
  • materials or case studies from previous work or school experience that demonstrate strategy and results or challenges and solutions.
Leave a lasting impression

If time allows, offer to walk through your portfolio during the interview. Explain each item you’ve included as a case study – the assignment, how you thought through it, how it was executed and what the results were. The students who stood out most in the portfolio reviews I’ve experienced identified PR-related challenges and demonstrated their solutions and results.

Bonus points

Create a professional portfolio website. Think of it as your own personal branding tool. An attractive website demonstrates you value good design. Share links to your successes i.e. social sites, earned media, guest posts. Draft engaging and relevant blog posts. It doesn’t hurt to write fan posts about professionals you admire either. Like this interview with our very own Pat McComick

Think about how you appear everywhere online. Include as much as possible on your LinkedIn profile and any other digital platform you use professionally, including your personal website. At 33-years-old, and only 7 years removed from a fledgling rock’n’roll career, I’m not a curmudgeon, per se – but even I recognize the importance of a clean social media profile. Consider the professional reputation you are building and what potential employers could take away from the messages you type or the information you share. You don’t have to stop having fun, but you do need to demonstrate you understand privacy settings.

Now, go get ‘em.

james joyce portrait

Irish Event Explores 20th Century’s Most Controversial Novel

James Joyce has been dead for nearly 75 years but he still reigns as one of Ireland’s leading literary ambassadors, thanks in part to the annual commemoration of Bloomsday, an event celebrating his masterwork “Ulysses.” Arguably more controversial than “Tropic of Cancer” – and making “50 Shades of Grey” appear tame in comparison – “Ulysses” was the subject of bans and censorship – at one point the postal service even refused to transport a magazine that had printed sections of it. The novel was banned in the United States until 1933.

The local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) will celebrate the 111th anniversary of Bloomsday at Kells Irish Pub (112 SW 2nd Ave) on Tuesday, June 16th at 7 p.m. The free event is AOH’s 18th annual Bloomsday event and will feature discussions and readings exploring Joyce’s work, Irish culture and Hibernian Unity.

When: Tuesday, June 16th at 7 p.m.
Where: Kells, 112 SW 2nd Ave.

Interestingly, the AOH is a Catholic-based organization, and Portland’s chapter has been active celebrating Irish culture, including hosting politicians from Sinn Fein and (living) Irish authors too. Here’s a link to learn more about the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

james joyce

Biography has an excellent piece on Joyce, click for more

“The thing with Bloomsday is that there really aren’t many commemorations or celebrations in America, but in Ireland it’s a big deal,” said Bill Gallagher, a charter member of AOH’s Portland chapter and its current president. “We feel Bloomsday provides a fun opportunity to emphasize the cultural as well as the social and political aspects of our shared Irish heritage.”

Portland’s Bloomsday event has been hosted by the AOH since the 1980s and has ranged from involved productions, to simple gatherings of members and friends sharing their favorite works of James Joyce. This year’s event will fall somewhere between the two.

About the AOH.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians Portland had a chapter in the early part of the last century which was disbanded during the Depression. David O’Longaigh and Chuck Duffy saw to its revitalization in the mid-seventies and now the organization meets about nine times a year on a variety of topics ranging from contemporary Irish politics to classic literature and an annual St. Patrick’s Day banquet.

“I resent violence or intolerance in any shape or form. It never reaches anything or stops anything. A revolution must come on the due installments plans. It’s a patent absurdity on the face of it to hate people because they live round the corner and speak a different vernacular, so to speak.” James Joyce, “Ulysses”

For More About James Joyce.
Biography Feature on Joyce
Feature on Joyce and his Publisher
An analysis on “Ulysses” and Bloomsday

Nuvi comment bubbles

Bullies in the Sandbox – the underbelly of online media

For the past six months I’ve been using NUVI a real-time social media-monitoring tool – to track mentions and conversations about a crisis communication-related topic. NUVI allows me to view and track fresh blogs, Facebook posts, tweets and even comments posted on media websites.

Totally NSA, I know.

Here’s the thing. I’m also observing cadres of mouth-breathing trolls who spend their entire days professing their, supposedly, informed interpretation of issues. While I support enthusiasm for expressing opinions, the tragic reality is that most are basing their opinions on incorrect information and false rumors. A little research, say simply reading the article they’re posting a comment beneath or having a basic understanding of the judicial process, would abate their sharpest criticisms. Unfortunately, these people live in a universe unbound by reasoned thought and discourse. That universe is the comment section of online media.

Comments from a recent Willamette Week article.

Comments from a recent Willamette Week article.

If you’ve read the comment section of any online news story you’ve likely seen the mutterings of these befuddled dunderheads – or others who intentionally propagate false information for whatever distorted aims they have.

Sit back and ponder the negative consequences of these ‘communities.’ You’ll soon find yourself outraged that media sites are, seemingly, pandering to the bullies in the sandbox. To what end? Increased web traffic? Beefy analytics reports? Is there research showing that trolls are more likely to buy subscriptions or purchase products promoted by online advertisements?

I don’t think all web visitors are worth the same value to a marketer, and I’m gonna sound like a blowhard here – but I believe comment sections are bad for society and likely drive ineffective data for marketers. A direct result is that toxic misinformation and uneducated conjecture is spread like a communicable disease to ends of the earth. I have seen it with my own eyes, and it isn’t pretty.

Jimmy modeling the new AM:PM-brand anti-troll 3000

Jimmy modeling the new AM:PM PR-brand anti-troll 3000

Now, I am not arguing for the abolishment of the comment section. There are some threads where interesting, smart, thoughtful people chime in and contribute to an article. Unfortunately, these instances are far too rare.

What I want is for news organizations to take a stand against enabling the overflow of idiocy cascading from comment sections like the frothy foam forming from the mouths of their most racist and bigoted supporters. These sites have nothing to lose, but our society has a lot to gain.

keep calm don't feed trolls

For More:
Russian internet “troll” sues former employer
Comment sections are poison: handle with care or remove them
How Comments Shape Perceptions of Sites’ Quality—and Affect Traffic

marcus harvey at AM:PM PR speakeasy

Beyond Pavlovian Behaviors: Social media Owns You

What if you spent hours, days, weeks, months curating a perfectly branded social media profile, and one day it just disappeared with no explanation?

That was an intriguing story shared earlier this month at our Speakeasy event with Portland entrepreneur Marcus Harvey.

You may recognize Harvey as the successful entrepreneur behind Portland Gear and Creative|35 and curator of the @Portland Instagram handle. His fascinating story was first reported in detail at The Oregonian and the article inspired us to invite him in for the Speakeasy event.

marcus harvey at AM:PM PR's Speakeasy

Weeks after the event our team found we were still discussing the one story he shared that wasn’t an example of his remarkable success – his acquisition of the @LasVegas Instagram handle.

Harvey said that he followed the same strategy curating the Las Vegas account that he did in growing the @Portland handle (now with 102k followers). Once he identified and acquired @LasVegas, he began a regimented effort populating the account with carefully curated, branded content – exactly as he’d done with the Portland account.

Then one day he woke up and the @LasVegas account was gone.

He tried contacting customer service at Instagram, of which there is none. After various creative attempts to reclaim the account, including the use of an attorney, he gave up and resigned himself to the reality that @LasVegas was gone. He still doesn’t know exactly what happened, but surmised that it may have resulted from his effort to operate the account from a Portland IP address.

Regardless, it was a startling reminder that when it comes to social media, as professional content curators, we own nothing.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – all of them. They brought our social profiles into this world, and they can take us out of it.

Have you, dear reader, had any similar experiences with social media?