Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Roy Halladay: An Exception to the Rule

By Kate Korson

It is not a secret that Roy Halladay is arguably one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB). It is also not a secret that he worked hard to get there. Yes, as a life-long Phillies fan I will admit that I am partial to this story. But as a public relations professional, I could not resist sharing it.

Sports Illustrated awards Sportman of the Year annually each November. For the past few years Roy Halladay’s name was thrown into the mix for a variety of reasons. Not only is he a future Hall of Fame pitcher, but his work ethic is that of a rookie. Though unbeknownst to most is Halladay’s selfless and humble attitude, which was put on display last October when he was invited to make an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman.

As a PR professional, it is a dream that your client makes an appearance on a show of the caliber of Late Show. Also, as a PR professional it is a nightmare for your client to turn down such an opportunity. Late Show with David Letterman was not the only show Halladay turned down; add CNN and CBS Morning News to that list.

Halladay did not decline the appearances because he was too busy or nervous; Halladay declined because he did not want to overshadow his teammates.

That is the real essence of sportsmanship, the humble and selfless act of putting your team first. Halladay is a true role model. Not just for young children but for other professional athletes. Should all professional athletes start declining major media interviews? Absolutely not. But a small act of selflessness can go a long way. Generally it is frustrating for PR professionals to have a client who is unwilling to participate in interviews. However, Halladay proves an exception to the rule and I respect and admire his decision.

Kate Korson is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at

Monday, August 29, 2011

Facebook Places Checks Out

By Pete DeLuca

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog about Facebook’s latest innovation, “Places” – an online application that allows users to “check in” to various locations to show their online friends where they are. The plan, as President and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, was to take the virtual relationships created through Facebook and bring them into the physical world.

Well, the plan failed. With only 6% of Facebook users actively using the application, the company decided that it was time to pull the plug on Places last week.

Keep in mind, even though only 6% of Facebook’s audience used Places that still represents over 30 million people.

Take that number, as well as the amount of people using Foursquare, Gowalla, and other similar services, and you have an enormous amount of people interested in location-based apps. Removing the technology completely would be foolish; instead the geniuses at Facebook are making “checking in” even easier.

In a blog post on August 23, Facebook described the new process:
“Before: You could only "check in" to locations using the Places feature on a smart phone. Going Forward: Now you can add location to anything. Lots of people use Facebook to talk about where they are, have been or want to go. Now you can add location from anywhere, regardless of what device you are using, or whether it is a status update, photo or Wall post. Of course, you can always choose not to add location at all.”

It’s that simple. Instead of using your Smart Phone and the Places app to “check in”, now you can do it through a status update from anywhere. You can check in to where you were, where you are, or where you are going. When a waiter places down your delicious-looking dinner and you want to upload a picture of it, it comes with a “check in” of the restaurant you’re sitting at. And all you have to do… is the same thing you were doing in the first place. You’ll be “checking in” and you won’t even know it. Genius.

Do not misinterpret Facebook’s elimination of Places. They are not moving away from “checking in”, they are embracing it. It is ideas and innovations like this that make Facebook the most visited site in the world.

Pete DeLuca is Manager of Creative Services at Maroon PR. Contact him at

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Changing the World through Social Media

By Mitchell Schmale

The power of social media to change the world continues to amaze and inspire others to use the medium to make a difference in their own corner of the world.

From local community projects to global issues, creative thinkers and activists are finding ways to harness the power of social media to help find solutions and change the lives of others.

To showcase this month’s World Humanitarian Day, which celebrates those people worldwide who work to improve the lives of people in underserved communities, profiled 12 amazing Internet activists and how their work is changing the world. Their work inspires us all to think more creatively and develop philanthropic ways through social media to make a positive impact on our own part of the world. Congrats to these leaders and anyone daring enough to follow in their footsteps to make their own dreams a reality to help others in need.

Mitchell Schmale
is Vice President of Maroon PR. Contact him

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friends with Business Etiquette

By Katy Fincham

In a recent national study, The Creative Group found that nearly half of all advertising and marketing executives use Facebook for business purposes; and one out of five Facebook friends are work related.

While social media continues to evolve, I find myself wondering how to best use my own personal networking sites, i.e. Facebook and Twitter. When I first joined Facebook, I used it as a way to simply keep in touch with former classmates and family members. While I still use Facebook to socialize and Twitter to keep up on the latest sporting news and celebrity gossip, I’ve found that I have increasingly started to add “friends” and follow more work related, industry professionals to my list.

The Creative Group offers five simple tips for Facebook business etiquette:

1. Divide and conquer. Not everyone in your social network needs to know about your Friday dinner plans or musings on the latest blockbuster movie. Segment your friend lists so professional contacts aren't inundated with updates they wouldn't want to -- or shouldn't -- see. Also check your privacy settings to control who has access to what information.

2. Be a guru. Share nuggets of useful information with your business contacts, and offer advice when they ask for recommendations or ideas.

3. Give and you shall receive. Be generous with your contacts by offering to make introductions or sharing useful information they post with your own network.

4. Use photo features. Even if you maintain a personal website or digital portfolio, you can provide your online contacts with a snapshot of your latest professional project or even your entire body of work. Creating albums on Flickr or Facebook, or using Twitpic or similar photo-sharing tools, is an easy way to visually show potential clients or employers your career accomplishments and showcase new skills.

5. Resist the urge to rant. Never say anything disparaging about your current or former company, coworkers, clients or other business contacts. You never know who might see your comments and forward them on.

It still amazes me how much a site like Facebook evolved over the past five years, from being an exclusive network for college students, to becoming a world-wide leader in business networking and industry advancement. How many of your friends are work-related?? The answer might surprise you…

Katy Fincham is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fruit Ninja—Karate Chopping New Media Barriers

By Kate Korson

The iPhone application sensation, Fruit Ninja will soon move to the “big screen” as an interactive video game on X-Box Kinect. If you’re not familiar with Fruit Ninja, the concept is simple — slice as much flying fruit as possible in a given amount of time. It seems trivial, but from personal experience I can tell that something about karate chopping fruit leaves you wanting more.

What happened to the days when hit movies and comics were the inspiration for video games? Within the last decade, the flow of new media often moved from television and movies to video games, and then potentially to phones. For example, in 2006 after the release of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" fans could text ‘Hermoine’ to 9983 to receive a graphic on their phones of their favorite character.

Today, Fruit Ninja is moving in the opposite direction. The game was originally created as an app for the iPhone, but after the unbelievable increase in demand creators are developing new ways to play Fruit Ninja on popular home video game consoles.

Could this 'reverse trend' go even further? In the future, is it possible that iPhone games could be the inspiration for movies? Could we see Brad Pitt cast as the Fruit Ninja Warrior?! It seems silly, but as the popularity of iPhone apps continue - it could become a very realistic scenario. Until then, I'll stick to slicing watermelons and grape fruits.

Kate Korson is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at

Monday, August 1, 2011

Snapshot of a New Social Media App

By Eve Hemsley

Most popular social media sites focus on either words or pictures. There are obviously crossovers, such as posting pictures to Facebook and posting Twitpic links via Twitter, but the creators of the newly popular app Instagram took the combination one step further. Instagram is essentially a mobile-based blend of photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and the ever-popular Twitter.

Founded in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, their company of 4 employees aimed to create a product reminiscent of the days of Polaroids, which marketed themselves as ‘instant.’ The group wanted to make sharing your life as instant and magical as those first Polaroid pictures – thus creating Instagram.

Currently restricted to iPhone owners, Instagram users can take pictures with their iPhones and automatically add effects and share it through the app or across other platforms. Users can then enjoy familiar features, such as following others and being followed, liking and commenting on others’ photos, and browsing popular photo tags/users. There are also select website that will allow you to view your Instagram pictures on the web.

In May of 2011 Instagram boasted over 4.25 million users with the goal of continuing to grow. Added search features such as username autocomplete and a news tab which alerts users to new Twitter friends that have joined the app are predicted to boost user numbers and the connections between them.

The formula seems simple, integrate popular traits from already popular social media tools - such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, FourSquare and Tumblr - but Instagram has seemed to do it a way people are getting excited about. Used for fun or professional purposes this visually based social media platform seems to be the up and coming app.

Eve Hemsley
is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at