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Does anybody see the irony in groups like “I WILL NEVER PAY ONE RED CENT TO USE FACEBOOK, NO MATTER HOW MUCH A PART OF MY LIFE IT HAS BECOME” and “ONE MILLION CLOSELY NETWORKED AGAINST FACEBOOK SHARING ONE IOTA OF INFORMATION.”
Yeah, it’s free and I accept that advertisers foot the bill by mining every word I write. This amazing infrastructure is expensive and they have to pay the bills somehow. Get a clue, people.
I’m not much of a joiner. Aside from Tweetups and occasional business networking meetings, I don’t join many professional or similar organizations. I know I should, but after working for clients, family, music and a bit of volunteering, I just don’t have the time.
Nevertheless, I think people should give back to their profession in some way. Lately, I have been having students shadow me for a few days, or spending a few hours allowing them to interview me about public relations work, mostly from Dr. Mary Frances Casper’s class but also from high schools. A couple of weeks ago, I made a presentation to the Boise State University Public Relations Student Society of America on general PR practice and how social media are radically changing communication work.
I’m very honored to have been selected as a presenter for Ignite Boise 2 . Thursday,July 16, 7 .m. at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise. The description on their Web site sums it up well:
“Ignite Boise is a 3 hour-ish idea feeding frenzy that brings together artists, geeks, entrepreneurs, academics, government officials and others to share their ideas in fast-paced, bite-sized presentations. It’s a great opportunity to meet smart, interesting people (if we do say so ourselves) and maybe even learn something. The Goal: Bringing together embers of big ideas to spark a blaze of creativity in Boise’s business and creative community –leaving attendees more educated and just as importantly, more inspired.
Presenters each get five minutes and 20 slides (automatically rotating every 15 seconds) to talk on a topic of their choice.
Looking through the synopses of the presentations, you can see they run the range of odd, deep, trippy and brilliant; humor is a big part of many presenttions. Most of the presentations are very much rooted in the history and culture of Idaho and Boise (see their Web site for Ignite Boise 1videos). Similar Ignite presentations are held in cities worldwide. Here are presentation summaries:
How being intentional alters ones reading experience (or what I learned when I read 200 books in one year)
by Amanda Patchin
I’ll talk about how reading the great books of history and literature changed me. How planning what I read for one year has completely altered my understanding of education, literature and leisure. And I’ll talk about the five books you HAVE to read.
Cosmic, Mechanistic and Organic Cities
by Martin Johncox
People have created three kinds of cities in history and their built form reflects their values. The Cosmic City (city as divine space), ancient and grandiose, sought to display power, maintain social hierarchy and reflect spiritual ideals; yet it obeyed natural topography – see Old Beijing. The Mechanistic City (city as machine) arose with the advent of plentiful steel and electricity and emphasized efficiency and commerce over human needs; it defied topography with a grid system – see San Francsico. The Organic City (city as life form) emphasizes quality of life, citizen control and is utterly dependent on personal mobility and communications technology; its built form is sprawling and dispersed, reflecting the democratic living choices of its inhabitants, yet it seeks to incorporate nature – see Boise.
Pick Boise- not your nose
by Diane Ayres
Like Paint Boise, lets Pick Boise. Several fruit trees go unpicked each year, letting the fruit just drop to the ground and make a mess. first step get the word out to owners of fruit trees that would like community volunteers to pick trees, schedule topick fruit as fruit matures, ask lds to use their cannery, can the fruit and distribute it to those that need, get sugar donated from our sugar plant in nampa-, great press for amalgamated sugar, lds church and wow no slipping on rotten plums, apples, peaches and pears- oh my!!!! oh course we won’t strip the trees naked, we will leave some for the wildlife, heck fire we could even stretch it to pick edible nut trees- yum yum fresh nuts from boise idaho, the english walnuts i harvest last year were wonderful.
The Juice of the Barley
by Wyatt Werner
We all know how to drink beer, but do we know what beer really is? How’s it made? What’s a hop? What does “malted” mean? Why does Heineken taste like a skunk? Why do some bitter beers taste like grapefruit and others like pine cones? What makes some beer yellow/orange/red/black (Guinness is actually red, by the way)? What’s a lager? ale? stout? IPA? lambic? marzen? porter? Why does Guinness suck in the US? Is there a wrong way to select, pour, or drink a beer? And what is hell is beachwood aging?
Be Danger Ready
by Jesse DR Murphy
The danger ready presentation introduces what “danger ready” means and follows up with real life examples that show what it takes to live a danger-ready lifestyle. The slides go through a polarized set of scenarios, ranging from extremely serious to highly entertaining, and give clear examples of why some people are a little more prepared than others. These scenarios are separated out into four genres of danger readiness: Social – the art of dealing with danger in social situations. Includes but is not limited to: Friendships, Families, Fuc- er, special friends. Natural – the art of dealing with danger in the natural world, in forests, rivers, lakes and Target. Global – the art of dealing with the strange, baffling, and seemingly irrational cultures and peoples of the world – like Republicans. Workal – the art of dealing with the people who begrudgingly give you money in exchange for services you begrudgingly render, while both parties operate on the falsely preconceived notion that each is better than the other. (IE, the work place). In addition to examining each of these areas, the presentation will delve into the nuances of post-modern meta-synergistic overlaps.
If You Stick an Entrepreneur’s Head in an MRI…
by Norris Krueger
If You Stick an Entrepreneur’s Head in an MRI…What Would We See? Or, “What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Neuroscience… and Vice-Versa!” (Hint: Neuro-Entrepreneurship = How to REALLY look at entrepreneurial PASSION!!! Also: See how we make decisions *before* we know we’ve made them (& get at what’s going on before we decide)
by Kimmie Metez
This presentation seeks to ignite the community of Boise to take the biological phenomenon of mutualism to a social level. Let’s Barter Boise! Just as growing our own food has become a lost art over the past few generations so has the art of barter. As the economy continues to constrict we have become more selective about how we spend our dollars and more creative about how not to spend them. The age-old system of barter has been making a comeback, but in a very limited way. Bartering is a local experience harkening back to simpler times when we relied on each other, in community, instead of on outside sources for our goods and services (aka China and India). This presentation will cover: Recognizing your skills to reduce your bills; How to find the people who’ve got what you want and those who want what you’ve got. (Meow!); How to conduct a positive, mutualistic barter transaction.
The Last Covenant…and The First Car to the Moon
by Michael Boss
A retelling of the Genesis story through Popular Science…and an unveiling of the true meaning of Apple’s logo. My idiosyncratic take on man’s fall from grace is that in eating from the fruit of knowledge we introduced duality to the human condition, and in so doing we gradually formed a covenant with ourselves — one in which the computer ultimately becomes God, and Popular Science becomes the Book of Revelation in which we glimpse our great reward: the First Car to the Moon.
Studio Style – artist’s togs and tasks
by Jeremiah Robert Wierenga
There are books, websites and vh1 specials dedicated to street fashion, the bursts of color and eclecticism that individualize or homogenize the denizens of sidewalk culture. I’m interested in what the artist wears to work, the style choices and concessions made inside their space in order to create or enhance their art. Does a ballet dancer always wear a unitard to class? Do glass blowers bother to put on a belt? When does a painter decide it’s time to sacrifice a shirt to the drips and spatters of their medium? I want to photograph different artists in their studios with their chosen workwear, and share a little about their stories, what “inspired” their look (laundry, poverty, individualism), what project they’re working on and how they came to be involved in their artform. It’s a chance to introduce different working artists to the Boise audience in a fresh, funky way, via the clothing choices they made for that day.
How the Eagles Almost Ruined Rock and Roll and all of Civilization
by Jamie Cooper
All bad things that have happened to the peoples of the world can all be linked to the evilness that was dispersed from these evil musicians as they tried to brainwash civilization…and ALMOST succeeded.
Why we all don’t live on the Beach – How Social norms prohibit us from going on more adventures
by Rich Taylor
In early 2008 my wife told me that we need to go live on a beach somewhere for a while. We had just built a house in Meridian, I was in the middle of Graduate school and the start-up company I worked for had just been acquired by a Fortune 200 company. I am always up for a new adventure and who doesn’t want to live on a beach. So we started planning, found all we needed online and bought airline tickets. On Christmas Day 2008 we left our family, friends, brand new home and Idaho for the beaches of Rincón, Puerto Rico. In planning for this trip I discovered there are some Social norms that keep us from going on more adventures. When we would tell people we are moving to Puerto Rico we got a mixed bag of reactions. Some reactions were positive, many curious and some people seemed to think we were doing something wrong with our life. My wife and I had a most excellent adventure in Puerto Rico and I am now back in the Treasure Valley to reveal some of the Social norms that keep us buckled down in the day-to-day grind instead of going on more adventures.
It’s the Message, Stupid!
by John Foster
Everybody is talking about how the media has changed and will change more. Everybody is talking about the need to utilize new platforms. Everybody is talking about Twitter, Facebook, blogging and all the social media coming down the pipe. But damn few people are talking about how this changing media landscape has fundamentally flipped communications on its head: The medium is no longer more important than the message. In fact, the message is more important than the medium.
The Secret Life of Everybody
by Stephanie Worrell
Description: It’s true. . .everybody has a dark side or a secret life. The trick to succeeding in your personal-professional-everyday life is figuring how to use this rarely discussed fact to your advantage. Whether it be your own dark side or that of your boss, the journey to the mysterious unknown can take you to a different level—both spiritually and intellectually. Go deep. Learn about the secret life of everybody.
The Owls are Not What They Seem
by Brian Bothwell
The Universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we *can* imagine. In my presentation I seek to relay just how weird the universe we live in really is. I’m still noodling on the details, but in a nutshell I plan to discuss some or all of the following: Information doubling throughout history (aka the “Jumping Jesus” phenomenon); Quantum mechanics: Wave/Particle duality, Bell’s Theorem & Non-locality; The relation between alien abductions & psychedelic drugs; Bizarre parasites: Zombie ants, tongue-eating worms, toxoplasmosis. That’s just stuff I came up with in 10 minutes of thinking about it. I’ll refine the idea more before I “go live” of course!
Don’t look now, but I think you might be a feminist…
Few words in the English language will strike fear into the hearts of men faster than the word “feminist.” It springs to mind images of angry, bra-burning women whose only hope is their gender solely rule the earth. But what does it really mean to be a feminist?!? In the words of a bumper sticker: “Feminism is the shocking philosophy that the sexes are equal.” I assert that the feminist movement is multi-faceted and multi-purposeful and has adapted with each generation of women. I will illustrate the gender contradictions in society through a multiple of examples from magazine covers to comments on the Howard Stern Show. But don’t think the women are off the hook! There are also numerous examples of men being unfairly judged by their gender. This presentation will not only show women that they probably are feminists and always have been, but will surprise the boys in the house that they are too! Feminists should no longer identify themselves in a whisper, but be loud and proud!!
Why Geoscience Should Be One of Boise’s Targeted Industries
by Tim Merrick
Economic development groups in the Treasure Valley have identified target industries that play to Boise’s existing strengths and future potential. Missing from those lists is geosciences, the study of our earth, its resources, and our stewardship of those resources. Geoscience research and technology transfer are essential to sustaining the quality of life that makes Boise such an attractive place to live and do business. Without clean water, clean air, and stable ecosystems, Boise could become another blighted urban landscape. Our community already has an amazing collection of talent working on environmental issues in our academic, governmental, and commercial institutions. Geoscience is also essential to some of our other targeted industries, such as agribusiness and alternative energy. Boise can become a knowledge hub for geoscience research, technology transfer, and economic development. All we lack is the decision, the will, and the plan.
I spent today in Glenns Ferry doing community organizing (take that, Barack Obama!). One of my clients is Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., which has proposed a large nuclear reactor near Glenns Ferry in Elmore County, about 65 miles southwest of Boise.
I drove to Glenns Ferry eager to meet with residents, particularly local small business owners who are suffering since the loss of a potato processing plant and other local employers. My head was filled with facts and figures and enthusiasm for working to bring the stable, well-paying jobs that come with a power plant. The owner of a local gourmet foods store said if I really wanted to find lots of supportive people, I should go to the local VFW hall, where volunteers were distributing food baskets.
The desperation of many of the town’s residents really started to sink in at the VFW hall. My first action was to hold the door open so an elderly lady could cart out boxes of donated food. Inside, people formed a line and passed by tables of volunteers to receive food. Yes, I got many people to sign a petition in support of the plant, but I felt empty. These were people of all ages, many abilities, with families and skills and great contributions yet to be made. What kinds of skills would be needed at the plant? several asked. As I ran down the list of typical jobs, I never wanted our plant to be up and running as much as I did then. Each one of these people deserves a good job and I kept them foremost in my mind as a continued meeting with other business owners throughout the day.
I also attended a Glenns Ferry City Council meeting today. Local officials in Glenns Ferry, from what I have been able to tell, strongly support our project and they realize the need for economic development. The meeting began with Liz Woodruff, a Snake River Alliance representative, briefly apologizing for her behavior at a meeting two weeks ago (I did not attend that meeting). At that meeting, AEHI CEO Don Gillispie updated the city council on our proposal and, from what a number Glenns Ferry residents have told me, her behavior included rolling her eyes, giggling, smirking and generally acting rude during Don’s presentation to the council. I’ve seen her act that way at other public meetings, so it’s a pattern.
Woodruff’s behavior two weeks ago made an impression on a number of Glenns Ferry residents, so it is understandable she felt the need to apologize today for being “visibly upset” and acting “unprofessionally” (her words today to the council). She said today her “upset came from misinformation being spread” about our proposed reactor (in other words, her behavior was Don Gillispie’s fault). I am pleased to report the audience accorded Woodruff the respect she should have given Don Gillispie. Glenns Ferry people – even those who disagree with our plans to build a plant – have at all times been polite to me.
As I sat through Woodruff’s presentation, though, I kept thinking what she would have told the people picking up food at the VFW – if she would even care to go there – and what she is doing in her own community organizing work to bring more jobs to Elmore County.
It’s easier to obstruct than construct, to tear down rather than build up, to lash out rather than listen respectfully. But that’s not the kind of community organizing that’s going bring people jobs, opportunity and industry.
Public relations people get so wrapped up in promoting our clients that we sometimes forget we can use your skills to help friends.
Last week, I got an email from David MacNeill, who recorded me last fall for a musical project. Our families have hung out together a few times and become friends.
David said he, his wife and daughter were being evicted from their BSU-area home and they were asking for any work or barter opportunities. A few days later, he sent another email to his social network asking for “micro-loans” from people to help buy a mobile home, an affordable alternative to living in a traditional home (I gave David $50 a few days later).
I forwarded the email to Dave Staats, a Statesman editor, asking if The Statesman could somehow help this family and suggesting there could be a larger story in the issue of people making a run on mobile homes in the current economy. I have asked Staats for coverage of my clients many times in the past and, as always, it all boils down to what extent my story idea serves the public interest.
Later that day, I got a call and some Tweets from reporter Brad Talbutt, saying he had already interviewed David MacNeill and was researching the larger trend.On Sunday, The Statesman published a well-researched story about how “The Valley’s RV parks are being filled up with working-age people who can’t afford to live in a house.”
I like to see my “clients” make the front page of the paper, but the stressful situation of this family just makes me wish the coverage leads to more micro-loans, donations and sales of David’s CDs. Whatever your profession – law, medicine, sales, construction, development, Web design – consider how you can use your skills to help a friend who needs you.
The story also underscores the importance of newspapers and their ability to judge and define important trends. Without a daily newspaper or other large media, this family’s situation, and the larger trend they represent, would have a much harder time getting notice.
My creative passion is music. I’m a percussionist and drummer and I’ve played in many bands, primiarly original music, since moving to Boise in 1990.
On Friday, Feb. 6, I was privileged to play at the Discovery Center of Idaho annual Chocolate and Diamonds fundraiser, one of the great black-tie events in Boise. I’ve played this event since 2004 with various groups, this year with the the Fleet Street Klezmer Band alongside Beth Scherfee (piano), Shlomo Kostenko (bass, oud) and Victoria Kostekno (violin).
To any of you unfamiliar with klezmer, it’s a cry-your-eyes-out-and-party-your-butt-off musical genre in the Jewish tradition. The FleetStreet band usually plays at bat- and bar mitzvahs at Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, but the Discovery Center was gracious enough to book our band for this year’s fundraiser.
The audience was very pleased. It’s unfamiliiar in this area, with exotic scales and arrangements, but it’s played with traditional Western instrumentation, so it sounds accessible. The music is at once racous and elegant, a wonderful replacement for the the jazz standards groups that typically play upscale venues. DCI development director Jane Ahl, as well as many audience members, told us klezmer went over well, especially in front of the urbane audience the DCI tends to attract. We look forward to the opportunity to play there again.
As a shameless plug, please keep the Fleet Street Klezmer band in mind for any events you may have and our rates are very reasonable.
Last August, Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley went on Channel 7 and called one of my clients (and myself by extension) “scammers.” My client, Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., which is seeking to build a nuclear power plant in Elmore County, sued for defamation.
The SRA moved to dismiss the suit and we didn’t contest the dismissal, because the SRA admitted in court documents their assertions were “opinions,” not “facts,” and therefore protected by the First Amendment.
In the Channel 7 story, Shipley offered her “scammers” remarks in the context of our finances and investors. But in court documents, she says her comments were really meant to say we were misleading the public about the broad issue of nuclear power, donchya know! As a PR professional, I have to say that’s a pretty good spin, especially if it gets you out of lawsuit.
In court documents, the SRA makes it really clear they didn’t know what they were talking about: “…her statements do not imply private first-hand knowledge which would assist viewers in making an independent judgment of the plaintiff … the critiques … generally represent the highly subjective opinions of the [speaker] rather than assertions of verifiable, objective fact.”
Also, it is odd SRA attorney David Knotts said AEHI was ordered to pay court costs. As far as I know, there is nothing in the court documents to show that.
In any case, I’m pleased to hear Shipley clarify she had no factual basis for calling me a criminal. I’ve never been arrested or gotten anything more than a traffic ticket, so I bask in the Snake River Alliance’s stamp of approval.