Bulwark Against Barbarianism?

I support the Oxford Comma. Some of you are giving me a virtual fist-bump. Others are rolling their eyes. Some of you are shrugging your shoulders and going back to web-surfing.

I’m not alone in my appreciation for the “serial comma.” The New Yorker’s celebrated copy editor, Mary Norris, wrote just last week that “it is a copy editor’s duty to deploy the serial comma, along with lots of other lip-smacking bits of punctuation, as a bulwark against barbarianism.”

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The “Terrible Balancing Act” of PR Professionals

On Meet The Press, President George W. Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleisher pointed out that the White House press secretary’s desk “literally sits equidistance between the front door of the Oval Office and the podium in the briefing room on the other side of you. And the press secretary is paid to represent the president. But you also have to work with and represent the press corps. And it’s a terrible balancing act.”

While the White House press secretary is a very visible example, this is the balancing act all public affairs and public relations professionals perform every day.

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4 PR Lessons from Donald Trump

No, I’m not going to pontificate about whether Trump’s feud with the media is a brilliant strategy (he did make his mark on reality TV by knowing that “controversy sells”) or just a personal thing (who wouldn’t feel “demoralized” by negative media coverage, as his press secretary says Trump is?).

But watching all this as a PR professional, the constant discussions about the role of the media bring up important reminders of the current media landscape we should be keeping in mind.

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Saying Yes

Productivity experts will tell you that to avoid burnout and focus on what’s important at work, you have to say No.

That’s easy to do for those experts, who mostly work for themselves, but hard for anyone with bosses or demanding clients. I felt like I was too often saying Yes to work and No to my family and my own health and interests. Since leaving behind my FT downtown job and daily 2 hour commute, I’ve said Yes to my family, and Yes to the type of work that uses my skills to the fullest.

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How to Make Your Social Media Posts Snackable

“You now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish” reads the Time Magazine headline. The average attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds. Other research has shown that on average people spend 2.8 seconds reading most content, about the time it takes to read a 140-character tweet. So how do you get your messages heard? You make your social media content “snackable.”

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The Answers are in the Questions

Do you spend enough time asking questions?

World-renowned thinkers Carl Jung and Albert Einstein knew that clearly identifying and defining a problem is the first step toward solving it. Often, just by asking the right questions the solution reveals itself. And questioning isn’t just important in psychiatry and physics. The latest issue of the Harvard Business Review has a terrific article that asks, “Are You Solving the Right Problems?”

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