A conference that was too good to tweet #YouToo2014

YouTooLogo2Yesterday I attended the 7th Annual YouToo Social Media Conference at Kent State — right down the hall from my office. The organizers, as always, did A+ work in attracting great presenters who focused on important and timely topics. I won’t offer individual shout-outs here, as I would surely leave someone out. I will offer a special thanks to our two keynoters, Andrea Weckerle and Danny Brown.

Messages tagged #YouToo2014 were all over Twitter. The organizers used one of three large screens to display those tweets in real time. You also will find YouToo2014 messages on Facebook, Instagram, et. al. The popular selfies were those taken with Brimfield (Ohio) Police Chief David Oliver, the most famous cop on the Internet.

I decided several year ago that I wouldn’t contribute to the online conversation about YouToo — or any other conference — in real time. And since I’m an early adopter of social media, I feel a need to explain why I don’t tweet at conferences.

You see, I suck at multitasking, which means I can’t tweet and learn at the same time. I’m not wired for it. When I live-tweet an event (and I have in the past), I spend most of my time capturing nifty little sound bites of 140 or less. And when I craft those Twitter tidbits, I stop listening to the speakers and often miss key message points.

Though I don’t contribute to the chatter, I do enjoy the back channel conversations that live tweeting brings to a conference. Sure, most tweets are predictable and don’t tell you boba whole lot. But they do add excitement and participation while also contributing to the reputation of the conference itself.

I’m looking forward to YouToo2105 where, once again, I’ll be playing the role of “Silent Bill.”

The Secret Society of Kent State


Update 4/13/14: Latest news story reveals a tale that’s turning downright Nixonian, including shredding of documents that belong in the public domain. I’m embarrassed that so few within the KSU community are going public with their outrage and just as troubled that I must.

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At Kent State, we kinda wish the last few weeks were an April Fool’s Day joke. Four times since March 12, our university has been in the headlines, each time owing to the administration’s failure to comply with public-records law.

Why all the secrecy? That’s what reporters from the Akron Beacon Journal have been asking for months. After all, Kent State is state-supported institution, which means we’re not exempt from sunshine laws. Like it or not, our business is the public’s business. Continue reading

Will Elk Creek spill trigger change? Color me skeptical

In a world where justice truly mattered, the Elk Creek chemical spill last week would be labeled a “triggering event.” It would first trigger indignation — and it has. But after the WVWelcomeindignation, it would lead to much-needed change to a system that is ineffective and corrupt. Continue reading

Thank you, Mrs. McJunkin

I don’t remember much about Wilma McJunkin, my fifth-grade teach at Eisenhower Elementary. But I do know is that she changed my life with one simple decision.

Eisenhower Elementary, Indiana, Pa. (Photo from indianacountyceo.com)

Eisenhower Elementary, Indiana, Pa. (Photo from indianacountyceo.com)

Fifty years ago this month, Mrs. McJunkin volunteered her class to perform a radio play that would be recorded for broadcast on our local station, WDAD. It was a play about America’s founding fathers — a story laced with all sorts of patriotic themes, like most grade-school lessons of the era. Continue reading

University issues ‘cease and desist’ to student body

Students can always find a way to piss off university administration. It’s part of their raison d’etre. If they aren’t getting drunk and turning over cars, they’re burning couches or peeing in their neighbors’ shrubs. But hey, we were all kids once, right?

logoThe students’ latest scheme to irritate administrators is — well — it’s downright diabolical. Students at my school apparently are making unauthorized use of the university logo on their social media sites. How dare they share their school affiliation with their online community :-) Continue reading

Killing Bambi: It still brings PR problems


Cover story about PR challenges with deer management, from PR Tactics, March 1997.

Here we go again…

For some 20 years, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was been trying to kill Bambi. But public consensus over the deer problem in this urban national park has eluded administrators and remains a significant PR challenge for parks throughout the country.

This week, CVNP announced another plan to control the population of white-tailed deer. Unfortunately, the new approach is pretty much the same as the old one. It involves a controlled kill that targets adult females of the species. Continue reading