“That’s not even really news…” -Tom Tucker

24 10 2007

I read a post this past week on Seth Godin’s Blog about cumulative advantage.  To grossly summarize it, it’s basically the idea that people tend to pick what’s most popular instead of the best product.  He cites a great Times article if you want to read more about it.  I’m really not too interested in the marketing aspect of this theory though.

The post got me thinking more about how the concept of cumulative advantage carries over into mainstream society and mass media. I was on cnn.com the other day and one of their headline articles was about JK Rowlings announcement that Albus Dumpledore was gay.  What bothered me about this was that it made no other mention in the article about the things Rowling said about the other characters lives.  In their opinion, this was the only news worthy story.

Later on, in Newsweek I read an article by Lisa Miller about the CEO of Focus on the Family Jim Daly.  It’s a decent article, showing the growing movement in evangelical society to understand that you can love others, as the bible calls for us to do, without agreeing with their decisions and lifestyle.  This article (surprisingly) focuses on homosexuality.

My problem with this article comes from some inside information I have (aka my girlfriend at the Focus Institute) that Miller got the interview by telling Daly that she wanted to discuss his book, but when she got their basically said “So how bout them gays,” and went on from there.  Besides the amazingly unprofessional tactic that Miller used to be able to talk to Daly, why is it impossible to read an article about a Christian leader without talking about homosexuality.  Yes, as a christian I have my beliefs, but in the big scheme of what it means to be a christian, my stance on homosexuality is a minuscule portion.

To bring the point I’m trying to make full circle, cumulative advantage is an effective and useful marketing strategy, but the media has gotten their hands on this powerful tactic and have abused it beyond belief.  Homosexuality is a popular issue, but that DOES NOT mean it’s the big story or the most news worthy issue.

This happens all the time, a few months ago when the kid at U of Florida got tasered, we began seeing stories left and right about taserings.  They even showed (again on cnn.com) some drunk chick from my home town get arrested.  Meanwhile in Athens, Ohio a professor was stabbed 40 some times, by his son no less, and this was barely covered!

It’s a vicious circle because stories like the one’s I cited get a lot of bang for their buck in the media (which is a problem itself).  However, it’s insulting that as a part of the American society, we’re thought to only be able to handle these socially popular issues.  Give us some credit!  I have faith that if we were presented with what is most relevant, we would tune in and care about what’s really truly going on in the world.

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Hello world

20 10 2007

Hello world… this is the default title that wordpress assigns for your first post, but I think it is fitting. I’m stepping out of my usual “comfort zone”, which is something I try to do from time to time, and am joining the vast world of bloggers. I read somewhere about the ridiculous amount of blogs that get started each day and figured I would catch the wave. I wonder what the stat is about how many actually get maintained. That’s the group I’m interested in being in.

Well before I get into the important matters at hand that I will shed some of my light on (which for all I know may be similar to a 5 watt light bulb) I’ll let you know a little about myself. I am a junior Public Relations student at THE Ohio University. Not to be confused with THE Ohio State University. In my opinion, if we’re in the business of emphasizing articles in state schools, why should OSU be so special and have the market on that in Ohio?

Anywho, I am currently the Public Relations intern at Bob Evans Farms Inc. I can actually attribute the start of this blog to my position there because of my amazing supervisor, Jamie Chabra, who has “enlighten” me to the ways and glories of new media outlets (by putting her name in my blog, she will undoubtably find this post, and it’s never to late to score some brownie points with the boss.)

As for what I plan to write about, my spectrum is pretty broad at this point. The focus of it all will be communications and trying to put all aspects of that vast world into prospective. I realize though that I’m only on the fringes at this point… More on this to come though

Now that we’ve gotten the appetizer out of the way, here’s the real meat of the blog…

One of the pages that Jamie suggested for me to check out was Steve Crescenzo’s “Corporate Hallucinations.” Funny, interesting guy. I came in right in the middle of a 2 part post he was writing about how you can tell when an employee is “engaged” at a company. He first cited a Southwest Airlines employee who defended their company when Crescenzo made a comment about not flying if you don’t have to. I would agree that this employee was definitely engaged, or maybe invested is a good word, in their company.

However, he next brought up another employee who I believe is the prototype for how I think a lot of good employees are in their company. He mention a young man who worked at a bagel shop that was getting slammed with business and was ridiculously understaffed. Under all this pressure the guy kept his cool, even though he was put in a bad situation. He said this employee was also engaged or invested in their company. This is where I would disagree. I’ve been in that guys shoes before, or rather I find myself there quite often still at the privately owned Athens, Ohio restaurant I work at (I qualify it so much so people who know the area can instantly get a picture of the shadiness we’re dealing with here) and can say I want nothing more than to tell my boss a big “screw you” and walk out the door.

In my eyes though, the fact of the matter isn’t that we’re engaged in the company, it’s that we’re engaged in ourselves. I know this sounds terribly selfish, but it’s not. We’re self motivated people. When put in situations like the ones the bagel employee and I find ourselves in, we’re not caring for the company itself, because odds are the company doesn’t care much about us. But we recognize that one, we’d be reflecting bad upon ourselves if we were to be rude to customers, and two, everyone deserves to be respected, and to being pissy towards others isn’t going to make anyone’s day better.

Is the corporate world like this? I don’t know, maybe someone can shed some light on that for me, I’d imagine there’s shades of it though… besides, these are just the fringes…





Hello world!

20 10 2007

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!