Monthly Archives: May 2008

Get the &*@$ out of my way

This last month I have taken the challenge of riding my bike to work everyday. This is a challenge because my bike is a piece of crap that was handed down to my by my boyfriend’s mother, I have never been a big bike rider before, and my physical condition I’d say is only so-so. Here is what I have discovered: I love to ride! I live in the King and Bathurst area and work at Bloor and Church. I did the appropriate mapquest calculations and found it is about a 5km ride – not too bad if you ask me.

Biking is great in a city like Toronto because it is relatively flat, some streets have bike lanes and biking is encourage as the city attempts to be “green”. I’ve noticed that as the weather gets warmers the streets become more and more populated with riders (who are usually zooming past me) who share a common bond.

In my month of bike riding I have almost been hit twice (one really close call) and I’ve seen a bike accident once. The girl was not very hurt and it appeared the mirror of the car smacked her elbow, but still!!!

Yes, it can be dangerous, but no more then driving in a car. Many people use that excuse but it’s probably one of the safer ways to travel. . I may be bias but I don’t think there are bad bike riders, just bad car drivers. Thank God for that little bell on my bike because I swear, some drivers just don’t see me.

On one occasion, a driver flew by me so fast and so close I could feel his van braise my arm. I speed up and caught up to him just to tell him to slow down and watch out. My tone was a little harsher then it could have been, but then when I was riding away he honked at me and gave me a dirty look. WTF!

I may not be the most experienced rider, but here are a few pointers to drivers looking to make a biker’s life a little easier.

1. Please look before opening your door when parked on the side of the road.

2. Please do not hug the curb when driving, waiting for a light to change or making a right-hand turn. Please leave room for me and my bike.

3. Please don’t make me ride over potholes (Bloor Street is a disaster). They hurt.

4. Play your music loud enough so I can hear. I like to jam when I ride but find putting headphones on is pretty dangerous.

5. Please do not give me a dirty look if I cut you off you am moving too slow. I’m on a bike – cut me some slack!

Thanks and happy riding.

 

No one likes me anymore :(

Well, that’s not exactly true, but traffic to my blog has seriously declined. This may be in part due to the fact that I rarely post anymore (compared to my pervious attempt to post twice a week), but I also don’t comment on blogs anymore. Commenting on other blogs is like free advertising. If I comment on your post, you are likely going to check out my site to see what kind of person I am, especially if my comment provides insight (which it rarely does).

During school it was easy to post as my 30 or 40 school chums were also posting and writing about things that I directly related with. Since we have been out of school for eight weeks, I say a maximum of five people from my PR class still blog. I debated giving it up too as I figured there was no point to blog now that I had entered the workforce and am working at my ideal agency. The truth is, I like posting even if no one reads it. It is fun to get my random thoughts out and just write about whatever I want. In school we had a mandate to write and comment on six PR based posts by the end of the term. It was easy and fun as I hosted one of the most popular sites. The challenge now is to continue what we started.

I hope to start posting more frequently writing about anything and everything. Will that populate my site? Probably not. Like I said, it is rare for someone to come across your site by mistake. I once made a comment on the Inside PR podcast and instantly my blog was a happening place. Now I no longer do any blog promoting and my audience (aka classmates) no longer blog, making my site one lonely place.

I still read blogs and check my bloglines at least once a week, but just don’t invest the time in it to really make it work. To be a successful blogger required commitment and dedication and time I just don’t have.

So the point of this blog is:

If you want others to read and comment on your blog, you have to read and comment on other blogs.

My Dad and Grandparents still read my blog – I guess that counts for something. Thanks, Guys!

 

PR Myths

Now that I have spent a solid seven weeks working at a PR agency I have the experience required to write a post about something I have wanted to write about for a while: PR myths.

Let me first explain to what I am referring to. The world has a lot of misconceptions about what public relations is, mainly due to the media and TV shows. Being in PR and having gone to school for it and having done plenty of research beforehand, I had the general idea of what I was getting in to. The general public on the other hand, not so much. I just want to set the record straight.

1. Being in PR is not like being Samantha Jones from Sex and the City (I wish it was….).
Most movies and TV programs take the best out of every job and make it look so fantastic just to jazz up the characters. Now that I actually have a job in PR, I get so mad when I see movies where people have these glamourous jobs and they claim to work PR. I recently saw some stupid Lindsey Lohan movie called Just my luck and she was like in some junior position at a PR agency and when her boss got stuck in an elevator, she had to make a pitch to this big shot celebrity all by herself. She of course, made up some totally innovative ideas and got the client. NOT LIKE REAL LIFE AT ALL!!!

2. It’s not all about celebrities.
Every campaign does not involve a celebrity, in fact, most don’t. If you want to work in PR because you think you will get to meet Brittney Spears, think again.

3. It’s not all about free stuff.
Now even I was expecting something. A little promotional stuff, some perks. I know a girl who got a free phone, that’s about it. Clients aren’t handing out free stuff to their consultants, they’re already paying you! If you want free stuff, PR may not be for you. I am not getting designer handbags, and neither will you.

4. Drinks with clients rarely happens.
Again, another media misconception, but I was under the impression I would get to go to fancy restaurants and have martinis with clients after work. As an intern, this of course would never happen, but even the highly skilled employees don’t have drinks. First, you shouldn’t really mix business with alcohol…it’s a recipe for disaster. Second, who wants to go out after business hours. After 5 p.m. I want to go home, watch America’s Next Top Model, not do more work. Third, business meetings take place in conferences rooms, not at bars.

5. I do not compromise my integrity at work.
A lot of people think of PR and think of lobbying. Now I can’t speak for every person and every agency, but I am not doing unethical work. Most people wouldn’t stand for it these days with new social media technologies and the whole trend of transparencies. I’m not lying either, or stretching the truth to sell a story. The media are too smart for that. I’m not withholding information or doing anything sketchy. I am simply a relayer of information.

6. The media hate PR people
In my six weeks here I have made a lot of media calls, and never have I met anyone rude. There are some people who are writing to deadline so they do not have time to talk to me, but no one is mean. I’ve heard horror stories but if you are polite and courteous, then you’re fine.

7. All PR people do is push releases over the wire.
My god I wish that was true. I do MUCH more than that; news releases are just a part of it – a very small part. PR campaigns are complex and require a lot of work and a lot of planning.

I’m sure there are many more myths to explore, these are only some I could think of while sitting at my desk, taking a much needed break from my media list.

The point is, PR is not what you think it is. It’s not glamourous, not even a little. It’s not about media relations or brand management or event planning or crisis communications. It’s about all of it. It’s hard work and it’s not always fun. Some of it is tedious and boring, but what job isn’t. It is challenging, it is never the same and it is a job that required dedication.

Now it’s almost 5 and I have to get going. If you are considering PR, let me know what you think it is If you are in PR, share with me some of the myths you have encountered either through personal experience, or the public’s misconceptions.