Sunday, November 25, 2007

New isn't always better

I love meeting new people and expanding my network. Whether I am at a college football game or a party, I'm usually one of the more social personalities in the room.

But sometimes I get to thinking and I conclude that there is nothing like old friends.

The holidays are a great time to get together with old friends and reconnect. Whether you get together around a dinner table or around a bar, it is always nice to pick up where you left off with life long friends.

Because, you see, you don't have to tell those friends your life story like you do with new friends; they already know. And you don't have to defend your opinions with old friends because they saw how you were brought up.

You know all the old stories and share all the same laughs, you always will.

Maybe the best part about old friends is that they are connected to your family in a way that new friends aren't. I love knowing that I can go hang out with my friends' parents even when they aren't home and that I always have a seat at their dinner table.

As I near my cross-country move I am realizing more and more that I will miss those friends and connections. I am excited to meet new friends and live a new life, but it will definitely be a new experience.

You can't replace the people you grew up with and I would never want to.

Having the last word

It is safe to say that my mom has been telling me for years that I don't always need to have the last word in a discussion or argument.

Mike Manuel, author of Media Guerilla, apparently agrees with my mom in his post Online Response Tactics 101.

I happen to agree with most of what he has to say, but it is interesting to discuss whether or not it is necessary for companies to engage in online conversations.

For the most part, I think it is important to have a relationship with your audience that goes beyond a 30-second commercial spot, but there isn't any reason to become best friends either.

The gray area is deciding whether or not responding to a flame is necessary. In many cases, readers in the blogosphere can correctly identify a post as purely flame, but it is possible that a small flame can spread into a brand bashing fire.

Extinguishing the fire can be impossible so my advice is to be involved with bloggers so they feel valued. This dialogue can be mutually beneficial by building an understanding that could prevent bloggers from playing with matches.

It is similar to the principle of keeping your friends close, but your enemies closer. Companies need to know what they are up against and staying active in online conversations does that.

And that is my last word!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Music is my...

A great song can put you back at a special place in time. 

It can change your mood and get your body moving.

The songs that make up the soundtrack to my life are also finding their way into the heads of consumers.

The more I watch TV lately, the more i hear amazing songs that make me love a product and Apple is the main culprit.

The new iPhone commercial has a great song by CSS that really makes you move and peeks interest.

The newest iPod nano commercial has helped Feist gain some well deserved notoriety.

So with the emerging popularity of some of my favorite songs on the tube, I figured I'd link to some other artists that currently have me grooving.

Cold War Kids, a group of guys from Long Beach, California that just rocked the Crystal on Friday

Pitchfork Media is also a great site for indie music.

If you'd like more personal picks of mine, drop me a note and I'll pass something great along your way!

Wake me up when I'm being moved to the corner office

I'm getting a little worried that my generation might soon develop a bad rap. We aren't all spoiled brats who want to live off of our parents and slack our way to the top!

Although I do appreciate Penelope Trunk's vote of confidence for the soul searching twentysomething, I do think that enough can certainly be enough.

Penelope asks parents to give their kids a break and slow down with the life lectures, but when does the time come for these parents to quit giving their kids breaks? 

We have been babied and protected our entire lives and I think that security blanket it is holding us back. I mean, even birds push their babies out of the nest eventually!

And how do employers REALLY feel about our personalities and demands? Can we really be so ignorant to think that these hardworking career people will just bend over backwards for us?

I doubt it is going to be that simple, we are going to need to problem solve and think on our feet. The only hands we should be holding out should be filled with firm business handshakes, not with spending money for the weekend out at the bar.

Soul searching and self realization can be done on the job, it doesn't have to be reserved for the couches of our parents' living rooms. 

We need to prove that we will be good employees and that we aren't going to make demands and expect things to be handed to us. We are here to work hard, struggle, and prosper, and we will prove this potential stereotype wrong.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Forging Relationships

It's all about networking, I get that. But sometimes it feels like you have to kick, push, and fight your way into a network.

When reading this blog about PRs and their relationships with writers/editors, a thought popped into my head: How do I approach somebody I don't know about writing a story for me?

One of the tips is to at least put in the effort to insert the journalists name into the intro; i.e. Hi TOM. Otherwise your message presents itself as a junk email. But do you really want a random person sending you an email pitch if you don't know them?

I guess the false familiarity kind of turns me off.

So the question is, how can I get to know you?

I know journalists are busy, so would they have the time to read an email that I sent explaining who I am, what I do, and how I think we can have a mutually beneficial relationship?

In my opinion that is the most logical way to build a rapport with a journalist who is typing his stories in a Starbucks in some random city on the East coast, but i just don't know.

Maybe the company name at the back end of the email address helps a lot too?

I'll keep doing what I think works and I'll let you know how it goes...

Facebook: The book EVERYBODY is reading...

(Circa 1992):
You finally finished your fort down in your basement. You and your friends are talking, laughing, and making plans for all the cool things you can do in your fort...then your older brother comes into the room and destroys the whole thing. Not a good feeling.

(Present day):
If you are like me, you are probably experiencing that same feeling right now about Facebook. Why is it that somebody always has to come in and change things and ruin the fun?

I know, i know. I've been told 25 times to monitor my Facebook account because it isn't just a place to post drunken college pictures anymore. But as far as I'm concerned it still is.

I've come to terms with the fact that employers and recruiters are trolling through Facebook, checking in on applicants and trying to decide if those candidates fit their cultures. But I'm not going to 'clean up' my Facebook page to make a good impression.

Here is my formal announcement to the world: I HAD FUN IN COLLEGE!

If that is a problem for you, then maybe I'm not who you are looking for.

College is a time to experience things, make mistakes, make those mistakes again, and then try and learn something from those experiences. And I think I have.

So when you come looking me, Mr. Employer Man, you are going to get me. Chris Schroeder. Fun, outgoing, willing to take risks, willing to laugh about mistakes, willing to be a REAL person.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Technoligical Fears

I try to be savvy and up to speed. I want to know what's current in the online world. But I am afraid!!!

Excuse the unnecessary melodrama, but I can't help it.

I am afraid of RSS feeds!

I know, I know. It doesn't make any sense to me either. It is a classic case of fearing the unknown. Surely, they can't be that hard to use and everybody I know who is up on the RSS feed vibe tells me that they are great.

Should I just sit down and figure the whole process out? Is it just laziness? I enjoy scouring the internet and hopping from page to page to find my desired content. Whatever happened to reaping the rewards of hard work?

What is clear to me is that I need to figure it out soon and keep up with the world. I don't want it to be another Gmail disaster where I am the 736,483,976th person to figure out how cool something is.

So it is at this moment (7:31pm PST Sunday night, fresh from an extra hour via Daylight Savings Time) that I pledge to learn how to use RSS feeds by the end of the week.

Rumor has it that I might be purchasing Leopard soon too! I'm a new man!


You are who you are. Or is it, you are what you wear, buy and use?

According to this blog, it is the latter. The blog contends that social objects are the future of marketing. As far as I'm concerned, it is the present!

I don't know about you, but when somebody walks by with an iPhone, I notice. If I see a kid stroll by me in some limited edition Nikes, that registers with me too.

And yes, there could be a decent MP3 alternative to the iPod, but I'd rather have people see me rocking those white ear buds, knowing that I am up to speed with the current trends of mobile listening.

So the question is, who isn't representing some form of a social object? If I really wanted to, I could identify about five social objects a day that I basically advertise to the people I interact with (and don't think I haven't made it be known that I FINALLY purchased a Mac laptop that I'm currently using to write this blog).

Like joining a club to be around like-minded people, these days we are 'socializing' via our clothes, MP3 players, and cups of Starbucks coffee and I think it is a good thing. Call it a nonverbal icebreaker.

If your company wants to succeed, it needs to have a social object marketing plan. Let your customers do the work for you. Cross your fingers and hope that you get the right people representing your stuff though.

And in the meantime, I'll be on the lookout for the cute girl listening to an iPod, wearing a Portland Trailblazers T-shirt while drinking a Starbucks coffee.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Brain vs Heart

Do our minds control our hearts, or is it our hearts controlling our minds?

Sometimes you just sit around and ponder the most ridiculous things, and now is one of those times.

It seems that now that I am becoming more of an adult, this debate is controlling a majority of my decisions and I'm really not sure how i feel about it.

I can't decide whether I should make sensible decisions, or if I should decide to do what makes me happy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy and lost at this point, but there are some things that could be easier to come to a conclusion on if I wasn't so responsibly logical.

Stay in Oregon and get a job, or move to Chicago and try to figure it out there? Cut back on spending and stay home more often, or go out and have a good time and worry about blowing money later?

(I realize these aren't exactly life's great paradoxes, but they are consistently on the top of my dome)

What makes it so difficult is that being fresh out of college is a great time to establish yourself as an adult and make focused, calculated decisions toward future success. But maybe it isn't really difficult at all.

Past examples would establish that I've always managed to have a ton of fun, while still being responsible enough to make good decisions that keep my life balanced and moving forward.

I think instead of stressing over it, I'll just follow my heart and let my mind catch up. Or decide in my mind to follow my heart. See how this is so confusing?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Making up new words/revolutions

Ok, maybe I got a little carried away with putting the word ‘revolution’ in my title but I got excited!

As a new blogger I’m learning more and more every day. Learning that blogging isn’t just the best way to learn about your favorite sports team, hear the latest music, and read about your preferred drunken celebrity.

Apparently it is also a great way to vent your frustrations.

To me there is nothing wrong with venting frustrations, unless it becomes what I am now coining a “MobBlog”. You read it here first (Actually, chances are nobody is reading it here but if it ever gets big in the mainstream I called ‘DIBBS!’).

It seems that Spirit Airlines thinks it is above responding to blogs. Now, this is obviously a large mistake and now they are paying for it in the blogosphere. But I don’t really like how this whole situation is going down.

They are getting MobBlogged!

MobBlogging, it seems, is becoming a common practice where multiple bloggers get together and bash a company, product, or pundit until all credibility is lost for the aforementioned entity.

Personally, I think it is wrong that bloggers are ganging up in a negative fashion. Your experience might have been horrible, but can we give a company/blogger/product the benefit of the doubt? Maybe there were circumstances behind such issues and there aren’t future problems.

Perhaps I just have a problem or fear of bloggers gaining such control? I’m not really sure but either way it seems that the blogosphere could remain a positive place to exchange information and stories, not a place to gang up on somebody and pound them into the ground.

What do you think?

Please don’t MobBlog me now…

Sunday, October 21, 2007

'O' so good

You've got to feel sorry for Oprah...

Wait, I know what you are thinking: that sentence makes no sense, and why is a 22-yr-old male blogging about Oprah? Just hold steady for second and enjoy the ride of this post.

The one reason to feel sorry for Oprah is that she made the large mistake of titling her magazine 'O'. The reason that is such a mistake is that The University of Oregon, with the help of Nike and Wieden+Kennedy, did such an amazing job branding the 'O' for Oregon Athletics that soon it will be synonymous with cutting edge sports around the country.

After spending Saturday tailgating in Seattle and watching the Ducks obliterate the hated Huskies from the University of Washington, I realized the power of the Oregon O that is slapped on nearly every piece of apparel our school sells.

Instead of discussing game schemes and tough defenses with Husky fans, I spent a large portion of the festivities talking about our uniforms and ridiculous marketing schemes. It seems that most opposing fans aren't big fans of our flashy gear. Too bad we aren't recruiting them, or are we?

I've done a fair share of traveling around the country and I've also lived abroad in Spain, always discussing The University of Oregon with people I meet. It has been my experience that people usually know our beloved Ducks quite well and their familiarity with our jerseys is quite impressive too.

Love it or hate it, Oregon is a Nike school. We have more ridiculous outfits than Kanye West and it won't be slowing down anytime soon. We have been lucky enough to be branded by one of the best marketing/ad agencies in the world.

So go ahead and complain all you want about how ugly that lightning yellow is. OR just get over it and go buy a shirt for yourself. You might look pretty smart and stylish if/WHEN the Ducks win a BCS bowl game!

The theme of our generation

Just Do It, Built Ford Tough, The Freshmaker...does it really even matter anymore?

Well, according to Laura Ries and her blog The Origin of Brands, it does. Apparently the unpopular slogan for the city of Atlanta, 'Every day is an opening day', is finally getting pulled and she is happy about. The meaningless slogan seemed to under-sell Atlanta to those who were listening.

But the reality of the situation might be that there aren't that many people listening. I have no knowledge of the Atlanta slogan fiasco and I'm not coming down on Laura Ries' argument, but it seems to me that these days many slogans are falling on deaf ears.

As a 'Millenial' or 'Gen-Yer', I have to admit that I feel numbed by the amount of slogans and branding campaigns that have blown by my face, and flown in one ear and out the other. I really don't know if slogans are as relevant as some people think they are.

I have never purchased a product for the catchy slogan and I don't really know how the Built Ford Tough and Like a Rock slogans affect car-buyer decisions, but what would really make me look into a company and their new product would be something so quiet that it was loud.

So maybe next time a company wants to make a big bang in the lives of my generation, they should do something as simple as paying for a silent commercial. Music to my ears.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

PRty On!

Well it looks like I finally made it to the party that everybody has been talking about: Blogging. Although not an actual party, I am excited to finally be included and to hang with the 'cool kids' in the Blogosphere!

This new blog will grow with me as I find my way in the working world of Public Relations and all that comes with the new experiences. From time to time I'll be blogging about a wide range of topics that can all be related back to PR, and maybe I'll post a personal blog every once in a while too.

So come along, get excited and have your party hats ready for the PRty! Don't forget to RSVP!