Digital Detox Time

My Self Prescribed Digital Detox

Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. Instagram. Pinterest. Facebook. Snapchat… This is the endless cycle I find myself repeating for hours every day. At 24 I am CONSUMED by media. If I’m not on my phone looking something up then I’m on my laptop scrolling through endless content. I can’t escape cyberspace. More often than not social media is flooded with either horribly painful news that makes me question the state of humanity or doctored up photos that makes me question what I’m doing with my life and how I look. It’s exhausting and draining to be consumed by such a beast, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. I need a digital detox.

“To remove social media from my life would be like cutting off a appendage that is poisoning me, I know I should do it, but I can’t bring myself to.”

I grew up in the early 90’s, which means as I emerged into adolescence and adulthood so did the monster of the internet and the boom of social media. At this point for me and my generation, social media is an extension of us and our personal brands. To remove social media from my life would be like cutting off an appendage that is poisoning me, I know I should do it, but I can’t bring myself to.

So how do you not let the internet consume your life? Digital detox.

It would be foolish to tell you to completely cut yourself off from your phone. But detoxing can be another solution. Like we detox toxins from our bodies we also need to digitally detox and clear our minds from the constant stream of information. Why? The average person spends four hours a day on their phones. Along with that shocking statistic another is that the average American checks their phone over 150 TIMES A DAY unconsciously! As someone who works in media and loves to be in the know detoxing seems like a near impossible task for me. It led me to wonder, how do you start to consciously unwind yourself from the constant need to know what is going on while still maintaining your online presence?

Some ways I try to detox social media from my life:

  • Delete negative people. Like spring cleaning your house, cleaning out your social media gives you a chance to take into stock what you really want to see and eliminate accounts that cause negative feelings.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode. By doing this your phone is still on but the need to check your notification disappears by not allowing any notifications to pop-up until you turn this mode off. This takes away the sometimes constant nagging need people have to check their phones.
  • Turn your phone off for an hour a day. By turning off your phone it becomes more of a hassle to turn it back on and check social media than to just scroll through your notifications with it on. Try doing this a few times a week and see if it makes a difference for you.

By the end of your digital detox you should be feeling refreshed and a little more at ease!

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?

The other Buffett Rule: If Warren Buffett joins Twitter, you should too


warren buffett faceLast Week Warren Buffett joined Twitter.

This must come as a shock to many small business owners who’d gobble up his investment advice, but would just as soon do everything in their power to avoid using Twitter. (This must also come as a disappointment to self-proclaimed social media gurus who spend hundreds of hours trying to gain followers, whereas Warren Baby {as I call him} already has 390,000+.)


A late bloomer, perhaps, but when an investment tycoon joins up with a web platform that is currently overlooked from many in the small business community, maybe it’s time to give it another look?

warren buffett twitter

If you’re ready, here are 6 uses for Twitter (compliments of AM:PM PR) that may help you on your way:

1.  Demonstrating thought leadership. You’re an expert on your brand and in your field and your target audience is already looking for you.

2. Demonstrating your brand. You can demonstrate your brand image with tweets related to your expertise or related to your business or products. You can also share related industry news to show you are a source for news and related information.

3. Search Engine Optimization. We’re guessing that you established your other social media profiles because you recognize that different people use different technologies. Further, Twitter has its own search engine independent of Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Myspace, etc., etc., etc. Therefore, when people search for information using Twitter, they are potentially discovering information unique from those other search engines. How can you brand your Tweets so that your target audience can find you more easily on Twitter?

4. Research. We’ve worked with businesses and non-profits who’ve been “discovered” by journalists researching a given topic for a story. Conversely, you can use Twitter to research targeted bloggers, podcasts or publications that may not be so apparent when searching with Google.

5. Social Interaction. The “social” in social media insinuates that you use the media to interact with others, and not to simply trumpet your ego to the world. If you’re not interacting with others, you’re not doing it right. Find Twitter users who are sharing information relevant to your brand, and build rapport with them.

6. Promotion of your brand. I made this last, just because it should be your last priority. It’s cool to share exciting news, achievements or great interviews – but if you’re constantly sending off self-aggrandizing tweets, you’re doing it wrong.

In conclusion, you’ll notice that Warren has only posted two tweets since he joined up last Thursday. This is not a technique or strategy that we recommend, unless you are already incredibly famous. We’d recommend that you carve out a minimum of 15 minutes per day for regular social media upkeep.

Twitter puts it all out on the Vine

You may have heard of micro processors, micro blogging and micro machines – but have you heard of micro video? Well if Twitter has its way, their acquisition of a new company called Vine will help them branch out to the next big thing … an app that allows you to share 6-second video clips.

I can hear your eyes rolling from my office. In fact, you may be asking, “Cam, why should I pay attention to yet another app?”

Here’s why:

Debuting on January 24th, this product has already caused quite a stir in the social media world. In two weeks, online Vine users shared 113,897 videos on Twitter on over a single weekend. That’s over 2,000 videos every hour.

Major brands like Urban Outfitters, Lucky Magazine, GAP, Red Vines, Moose Tracks, Coke-a-Cola and Pepsi have already put up videos.

Brands are currently using this format to demonstrate how their products work, to hold contests and to share creative content that they hope will resonate and connect them with their target audience. Still skeptical? Check out three of my favorite videos, and perhaps I can change your mind.





4. BONUS – If you want to be endlessly entertained follow James Urbaniak


For more information:

Wired Magazine – “Why Vine’s Going to Grow Into Something Huge”

Entrepreneur Magazine – “The Pros and Cons of Using Video App ‘Vine’ for Marketing”


generic theater audience

Rising above the Dark Knight tragedy

 by Jake Ten Pas

colorado theater massacre

The scene of the shooting, which claimed 12 lives so far and resulted in the injury of more than 70.

As a kid, I wore a shirt that read, “I prefer to be called Batman.” I don’t remember all the things that made Bob Kane’s character resonate with me so completely at that age, but as I’ve grown older, it’s been the duality of the character that’s kept me immersed in his saga.

Batman is a wounded character, a man marred by violence in youth, who spends the rest of his life trying to come to terms with what he’s lost, what he’s become and what he wants his world to be. He commits acts of violence in defense of a society he sees as salvageable against others whose violent streaks have turned them against that society. He eschews guns and avoids killing whenever possible.

After midnight today in Colorado, a pathetic real-life example of that darkness turned sour, senseless and violent, walked into a theater and killed 12 people and injured more than 70. Watching the news this morning, I struggled to keep it together. Was it because my wife and I were sitting in a local theater at exactly that time last night, and could just have easily have been in Aurora, Colo.? Was it because I think movies are one of the great cultural products of our society, and to see something that can bring so much joy and meaning to people’s lives turned to sorrow and fear is a philosophical tragedy? Was it because a story of positive transformation was itself turned back to horror?

I’ve been watching CNN since I woke up, and it was incredibly moving to hear the last Tweets of Jessica Ghawi, a 24-year-old aspiring journalist, read aloud. The last was sent just moments before the shooting began. The shooter was the same age as Ghawi.

batman sleeping gear

Batman has been my favorite comic character since I was a child. This wasn’t the shirt that read, “I prefer to be called Batman,” but these Underoos-style pajamas show my love for the Dark Knight just as well.

Even now, reactions to this madness are spreading throughout social media. Some folks are trying to make sense of it in real time, while others are striking out at the media. Some are using it as an excuse to make political or religious points, and others are exploiting it to sell clothes. Fear, sadness, greed, anger, apathy and so many other human traits are flowing through the arteries of Twitter, Facebook and the other channels we use to communicate with each other right now.

The term “going viral” gets tossed around a lot. Usually, it’s to describe a video of a cute cat or a drunk guy falling over or something else that brings us joy or at least a cynical-yet-harmless laugh. But an act of brutal violence has the potential to truly go viral, spreading like a disease that paralyzes us into paranoia, inaction and depression.

A friend just called me out on Facebook for delivering Christopher Nolan’s talking points when I posted this status update: “Don’t let this madman change your weekend plans one bit. Feels gross to use the phrase ‘letting the terrorists win,’ but this was an act of terror, aimed right at the heart of what we do for entertainment as a culture. If you want to go to the movies, buy that ticket and don’t think for a second of one anomalous scumbag who used the only pathetic, overcompensating weapon in his arsenal – blind fear.”

Perhaps I should have voiced sympathy or compassion before anger and defiance. Perhaps it was me being a stereotypical man that drove me to transmute my feelings of sadness and helplessness to tough talk. There are bigger things at stake here than the movies, after all.

But if the movies represent for others what they represent for me – a mythology in which we can turn real-life pain and misery into something hopeful and worth living for, then maybe the movies aren’t such a small thing after all. While Nolan’s Batman films have certainly been theme park rides of action and visual dazzle, they also made up a story of redemption and personal transformation, of fighting to make the world a better place.

Batman and Bane

Batman squares off against villain Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises.” Reports have the gunman dressed similarly to Bane, wearing some sort of gas mask and body armor.

Another friend posted, “Batman could have stopped him. Ironic.” His sister responded, “Too. Soon.” Maybe so, but maybe he was trying to turn the tragedy, something he couldn’t control, into something he could control through clever language. In a deeper way, the ideas behind Batman, that we can change, that we can do something useful with the hurt we hold inside, just might be able to stop the waves of fear and uncertainty radiating out from Aurora right now across every means of communication we use.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, whoever you decide to do it with and however you choose to communicate about it, remember that it’s up to each and all of us how this story turns out.

Hate to sound trite, but my heart really does go out to every person in Colorado who lost somebody today. Nobody should have their childlike joy at sharing a movie with a theater full of fellow fans turned into a nightmare of lost hope. I’m going out tonight to be with my friends and watch live music in a crowded space, and I’m not going to worry that some sick, cowardly bastard might try to ruin that. Is that solidarity, revenge or just escapism?

I don’t know, but I prefer to be called Batman.


Buzzmaker – One Tweet is Never Enough

Nobody does it better than our buzzmaker. Well, mostly nobody. OK, so there are quite a few people who do it better. Octavius Wrathchilde might not be the greatest spy in the world, but fortunately for him, he’s well matched to his adversaries. Oh, and he mixes up a mean Facebook status update. Sit back, buckle the seatbelt on your ejector seat, and prepare for the most hair-raising fake spy film trailer in the history of YouTube. Or at least the last 15 minutes.

Gen Y - brand agnostics and savvy

Credit unions need to keep it real to woo Gen Y from banks

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) recently invited me to present tips on reaching Gen Y. Like most organizations, they want to know how to attract the largest consumer group in history. With Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day leading the news, there’s never been a better time for credit unions to be heard.

The first step in building relationships with this generation is knowing everything about who Gen Y’ers are and what drives them.

Meet the Gen Y’ers:

  • Believe they can be and do anything.
  • Believe miracles are possible.
  • Want to live first and work second.
  • Care about servicing their community.
  • Don’t like to be told what to do or what’s cool.
  • Want to experience the world for themselves to develop their own judgement.
  • Don’t want to be marketed to.

Gen Y respects authenticity. If you want to be listened to, be real. This generation can see through B.S.

Gen Y socialize on smart phones

Where are they? On their phones. They are more than half of mobile users in the US. Also nicknamed the Connecteds and Net Generation, they’re almost all socially networked. They do everything online, including research before buying.

When purchasing a product or service they look for:
  • Low cost
  • Good quality
  • Fast service
  • An “experience”

Living in an era when information is everywhere and everyone is constantly connected, how can NWCUA members and your organization reach Millennials? Relate to what’s important. Know that they listen to their friends. They care about their community and they care about living life well.

Give them what they want and:
  • Differentiate credit unions from banks. Seize the 99%.
  • Offer tools for living well that Gen Y will want to use. Financial literacy hasn’t been taught to them in schools. Make money management “an experience” with an app that helps them manage their money and reach their goals of buying a house or traveling the world.
  • Communicate credit unions’ community involvement. Offer an online program teaching financial literacy and curriculum for teachers.
  • Engage them on social networks. Let them lead on Facebook, and be a real resource for them on Twitter.

As evidenced by the 690,000 people who dumped their banks in a single month around Bank Transfer Day, Gen Y will like what credit unions offer. Be easy to find, easy to use and make their decision to switch easy.

am:pm pr tips

As for any other organization? Anticipate what members of Gen Y will want from you and what they’ll look for on your website. Don’t add fluff. Make sure to give them something that they can recommend to their friends without sacrificing their authenticity.

Twitter sliced

Twitter becoming critical tool for crisis communications

by Camrick Clark

As any firefighter will tell you, the best way to put out a fire is to prevent it. But when something does catch on fire, a quick first response can help keep things from going up in flames.

Using Twitter for crisis communications is fast becoming a critical component in any company’s strategy. Twitter is as much about preventing an isolated issue from becoming a full-blown crisis as it is about communicating quickly to key stakeholders and the public once a crisis has happened.

twitter image blue

Crisis communication is a public relations activity that, with careful planning, rarely needs to be implemented. Still, it’s very important to have a plan in place when an emergency rears its ugly head. When a product fails, an accident occurs, financial crisis arises or natural disasters happen, whatever the case may be, crisis communication plans keep the peace and give direction to chaos.

Social media has changed the landscape for the development of crises and offers a critical communications channel to address and abate a crisis. Social media can blow up a situation in a matter of minutes. When a story breaks, people are actively looking for answers, and more people than ever are turning to Twitter for those answers.

As in all business communications, Twitter needs to be part of a broader strategy, and one of a variety of channels you use to listen and share with your employees, customers, clients, and industry. This is true both when it comes to prevention and when it is time to react.

How to use twitter for crisis communications:

  1. Educate – Bring yourself and your staff up to speed on how Twitter works and the social norms of the platform.
  2. Plan – What will you do when something bad happens? Identify and plan for crises you can foresee, and those you’d never expect. Think about thinks that could happen to you – disasters, etc., and crises that are self-inflicted – product recalls, hazardous materials spills, etc. Who will be the one to speak on behalf of your company? Answer these questions and more by creating a crisis communications plan.
  3. Listen – Good communicators are always good listeners first. In other words, you won’t know what’s happening unless you’re actually listening. If you’re not on Twitter, then you won’t know who’s talking about your brand in that space, much less take part in that conversation. You shouldn’t join Twitter just to react to an issue. Creating a presence pre-crisis helps develop a network you know shares an interest in you and what you do.
  4. Be Active – Become part of the online community. Don’t wait for the building to be burning down around you to engage your public. Prevention is always better than reaction. There are also many great free tools for tracking what happens on Twitter. Use those to preemptively ease into the conversation before a crisis even hits.

Twitter, faster than earthquakes?


Building the Perfect Spokesthing

Mr Show pIt-pat Spokesthing

The “magical, pan-sexual spokesthing” Pit-Pat is introduced by David Cross’ character on “Mr. Show With Bob And David.” While the sketch lampooned business and marketing alike, it’s proven to be a great influence in the creation of several social media characters by yours truly.

By Jake Ten Pas

I don’t know who first coined the term spokesthing, but I initially heard it on a “Mr. Show With Bob And David” sketch about a decade ago. Being the irreverent sorts they are, Odenkirk and Cross used it to poke fun at marketing/advertising types, and they hit the nail on the head. I won’t link to the sketch in question here because it is full to bursting with foul language, but if you desire to seek it out, I certainly won’t try to stop you.Regardless, I just like the word spokesthing. It’s funny and gender-neutral and hints at the meta nature that marketing achieves at its most clever.

When I made the jump from journalism to public relations, one of my first tasks was managing the social media presence for Tillamook Cheese. One day, I thought it would be funny to tweet at people as if I WAS the Baby Loaf of Tillamook Cheese, and when a follower responded, “Is @Tillamook Cheese tweeting in first person? Brilliant!,” the character of Loafy was born.



Yes, that’s me dressed as Loafy. No, Tillamook didn’t let me keep the costume.

Notice I didn’t say that the character was born when I thought of him. The character was born when one of Tillamook’s fans responded to him. That’s the way social media works. People don’t want to be marketed to anymore. They want you to have a conversation WITH them. When I realized this was a concept with resonance, I set about fleshing out the character of Loafy, and an entire mythology of my new spokesthing was born.

Recently, when AM:PM PR was hired by The Original WOW! Burger, a new gourmet burger joint soon to be debuting in the Portland market, I again started thinking about what makes for a great spokesthing. Creating a good character that will resonate with your fans is important, but as Pat likes to say, we were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason. You can be the cleverest boy in all the land, but if you don’t listen to what your customers are saying and respond to them genuinely, it’s all for naught.

Dean Winters Allstate

The one and only Dean Winters plays Mayhem, Allstate’s imaginary reason to buy more insurance. Not sure if the Facebook account is written by the same folks that write the ad copy, but both are pretty choice.

One of my favorite spokesthings is Allstate’s Mayhem persona, who is played on TV by the killer character actor Dean Winters of “Oz,” “30 Rock,” “Rescue Me” and “Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles” fame. The commercials are short and humorous, and the Facebook posts carry that over well. Not sure why Allstate hasn’t brought this character to Twitter, where it would fit in well. My only complaint is the imbalance between the number of posts “likers” of Mayhem are leaving on the page and the number of responses Mayhem is offering. Clearly, the account is doing a great job of generating interest, but as a listening tool, it’s somewhat less effective.

Back when I was still managing the Tillamook account, I quite enjoyed posts by the Quiznos Toaster, more conceptually than consistently in practice. For some reason, I’m drawn to the notion of inanimate objects talking to me, which could explain part of my love for Tom Robbins’ “Skinny Legs and All.” Unfortunately, the Toaster got increasingly lewd as time went on, and it appears that Quiznos has now pulled the plug on him. I like to imagine a Hal 9000-esque scene playing out at the end there. The Kool-Aid Man had a funny Twitter account for a while, too, although whether it was ever connected to the brand remains a mystery to me. It no longer exists, which makes me doubtful.

Elsewhere, a slew of companies continue to try to convert their advertising spokesthings into social media spokesthings. From Bob’s Big Boy to Cheetos’ Chester Cheetah to M&M’s to the unholy insurance onslaught of Progressive, Aflac, Geico, etc., they achieve their objectives to varying degrees. The true measure of a spokesthing’s success in my eyes isn’t to transition the same old marketing messages over to social media. It’s to capture the imaginations of fans and inspire in them the desire to essentially create short bursts of fan fiction about you.

Even more, the goal of any spokesthing should be to disarm fans and followers and make them feel comfortable engaging in a conversation with you. If you can do that, and turn off your clever little marketer brain long enough to listen to what they have to say, then you’ve accomplished two invaluable goals at once – learning and creating. You’ve learned what your customers want and created a whole new legion of brand ambassadors in the process.


Facebook wakes Google’s sleeping beast – Google+

I just finished reading a great article by Steven Levey over at Wired on the back story of Google’s most recent push into social networking, Google+. It’s a lengthy piece, but I would definitely recommend the read.