Communicating between Generations

October 20, 2010

In today’s blog, SPC Board member Diane Gaw offers her take on the CCIL (Coalition for Communication and Intercultural Leadership) seminar held October 14 at Clark University, with panelists John Chetro-Szivos of Fitchburg State University, Jose Ramirez of UmassMemorial Health Care, Azure Collier of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Alicja Januszewicz of Boston Scientific Labs.

In a room packed with communicators, business people, and academics, I listened to a fascinating discussion on intergenerational communication preferences. The organizers divided the generations differently than some I’ve seen (usually Boomers are 1945-1964), with “Traditionalist” 1925-1942, “Baby Boomer” 1943-1960, “Gen X” 1961-1981, and “Millennial” 1982-1998.

The panelists agreed that e-mail needs to remain written in “real” English, with full sentences and good spelling, especially as it’s used for work, but that reaching younger audiences means using all the social media tools at hand, too. Azure, from WPI, reminded us to be prepared to react quickly to any negative posts – which often simply means “pushing them down” in Facebook comments by adding new information f-a-s-t.

One of the most remarkable results of new technology noted: the ability to self-publish. With the numbers of newspapers going down, each of us now “owns” a publishing machine, and direction has changed — rather than the papers telling us what to think, customers now tell companies what’s up. John Chetro-Szivos, who moderated, reminded us that Marshall McLuhan’s point about communications being an extension of the body is even more true now than when McLuhan wrote it!

It was stressed that we need to know our audience before deciding which “tools” to use — perhaps printed and e-mail for Traditionalists, more of a mix for younger generations, and, for Millennials, all the current methods at our disposal except, possibly, print. So, for any one communication blast, we may need a variety of paths.

When I asked about how to attract younger members to our group and Web site, the answer, from Azure, was “talk to them.” Invite them to learn about etiquette for business writing, tips to navigate the business world, etc. Anybody up for founding a traveling program on “How to Write Like You Mean Business”?

And, a tip I try to take to heart: own your boundaries — just because you have a smart phone doesn’t mean you HAVE to be on call 24/7. Set your times to be “offline” — say, after 7 p.m. till you choose to check e-mail in the morning. Easier said than done, when there’s an anxious client on your case!

It certainly was a great beginning to a program of CCIL podcasts coming up for SPC members this year. I say: catch them, if you can!


The Forever Changing TV News Industry

September 15, 2010

In today’s blog post, SPC member Blair Gately, a public affairs specialist/reservist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, offers her observations on WCVB Anchor and Reporter Susan Wornick’s September 14 talk on “TV News in the Internet Age.”

Susan Wornick opened her talk by observing that “the TV news business is changing every single day.” When she first began her career 30 years ago, she noted, TV news crews operated out of huge trucks with microwave signals; “now with satellite equipment there is the ability to broadcast live from anywhere in the world in a few minutes.”

She said the changes in technology, while empowering, bring an “awesome responsibility” that she and the WCVB team take “very seriously.” She said they consider three elements in reporting a story: first, get the facts; second, get the story done fast; and, third, get the story on the air, but don’t be pressured to be the first station to run it.

Wornick also said “the advent of the Internet” has brought huge changes in how people receive information, and she finds it “scary” that people assume everything they find online is factual.

She said technology has also changed how people contact reporters and the TV station. They used to call, but now they use e-mail.

“WCVB sees reporting and investigating issues as its main responsibility,” she said. “Our job at Channel 5 is to advocate for people and explain their rights.”

As she concluded her address, which marked the kick-off to the SPC’s 2010-11 program year, Wornick said she is always looking for story ideas and welcomes suggestions.

Extreme Professional Makeover

March 15, 2010


Julieane Frost
Julieane Frost

In today’s blog post, SPC vice-president and freelance writer Julieane Frost offers her thoughts and insights on Margie Dana’s March 9 presentation on how to reinvent your job, your career, and yourself.

What happens when a woman gets married at age 40, has a baby at 42, and tries to balance a demanding career, a new marriage, and motherhood?  According to Margie Dana, “all hell broke loose” when it happened to her 15 years ago. In a lively presentation at the SPC meeting on March 9, Margie described how she “jumped off the corporate merry-go-round and landed on her feet in her own business.”

She began with an overview of her journey from college English major to proofreader, editor, print buyer, and, 12 years ago, to founder of Print Buyers International, a company that offers networking and educational opportunities to professionals who buy commercial printing.  Margie showed how she has evolved even further, by embracing social media, including Twitter and Linkedin to promote her business.  The cornerstone of her outreach is a weekly column, “Margie’s Print Tips,” which is distributed electronically to 4,500 subscribers every Monday morning.

Margie shared lots of tips on how to start your own business.  These included basics, such as how to set up a home office, be your own IT department, and let the world know what you do.  Her advice was sprinkled with memorable tidbits, including:  “Be nimble and flexible – adapt!” and “Be where the ‘eyeballs’ may be.”

Margie summed up her breathless “how to succeed on your own” story, with one final sound bite: “I wouldn’t change one minute or one day of it!”

Rockin’ Worcester

February 10, 2010

Cynthia Wright

In today’s blog post, SPC co-president Cynthia Wright, principal of CJW Associates, offers her thoughts and insights on Andrea Ajemian’s February 9 presentation on how AA Films is using film and video to promote Worcester and Central Mass.

Andrea Ajemian’s presentation to SPC Feb. 9 was highly entertaining—and an illustration of creativity, business resiliency and dogged determination. Her feature flicks (including BoyBand, Freedom Park, Rutland USA) and internet show (Worcester Love) help promote Worcester and Central Mass while employing locals who may or may not have been looking to break into the business. Andrea described her work with young Worcester-area actors as an opportunity for kids’ positive reinforcement and a great chance to see their involvement in her work as something that can change their lives. Andrea and music producer Kaz Gamble are amazing local talents who have found a way to turn Worcester into film inspiration, keeping their production company moving forward—a great local success story sure to get bigger.

Boyband Trailer

January 27, 2010

Andrea Ajemian, a local film producer for AA Films, will be our featured speaker on February 9. 

Her recent feature length film, Boyband: Breakin’ Through in ’82 was shot entirely in Worcester County during the summer of 2008. The film is currently completing post-production. It is set at the fictional Worcester High School, and over 20 local actors became eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild due to their roles in the film. Check out the trailer below!

Thought Bubbles and Web 2.0

December 9, 2009

Cynthia Wright

In today’s blog post, SPC co-president Cynthia Wright, principal of CJW Associates, offers her thoughts and insights on Kel Kelly’s December 8 presentation on how Web 2.0 is changing the public relations world.

Kel Kelly’s dynamic presentation to SPC yesterday was an impassioned tutorial for those who still may be keeping a distance from the tide of energy that Web 2.0 carries with it. If you’re not ready to surf the waves now, you and  your clients are losing out on a great gift from the tech world to the world populated by individuals who love words and the power of communication but aren’t sure how to keep up with the wired and wireless among us.

If you’re any sort of freelancer, no matter what you so name yourself—solopreneur, consultant, independent communicator, or simply a fabulous freelancer—Web 2.0 opens the door to the easiest self-promotion imaginable.  Comment on blogs? Start a Facebook group? Tweets? This is insanely perfect for one-man bands, like many SPC members. Those blog comments and tweets are thought bubbles, according to Kel. Don’t let your thoughts float away! Make them work for you and your clients!

Kel gave us the inside track on sites that are specific to PR specialists (as well as broad and specific strategies for client placement).  Be sure to check out to take advantage of stories in process, to leverage releases, and to jumpstart and/or focus your Twitter experience.

Thanks again to Kel Kelly of Kel & Partners for such a lively presentation to SPC and for donating her stipend to the Worcester County Food Bank. If you missed out on the chance to contribute to SPC’s annual food drive, please consider making a monetary donation today!

What is Google Wave?

December 8, 2009

Has anyone been using or experimenting with Google Wave?

“Google Wave is an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more,” according to the Google Wave site. You can check out a video on that page that explains exactly what Google Wave is and what is is designed for (be advised: video is 80 minutes long). Basically, Google’s goal was to examine what e-mail would look like if it was created today.

For a much shorter and more entertaining overview of Google Wave, check out the following video from Epipheo Studios.

Is Facebook Losing its Coveted Demographic?

December 3, 2009

Check out what Brian Solis has to say about Facebook losing its coveted demographic (18-24 yr. olds) on his PR 2.0 blog. Interesting stuff. Be sure to check out Brian’s other postings as well. Lots of great material.

Solis is Principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley. Solis blogs at PR2.0,, and regularly contributes marketing and tech insight to industry publications.

Upcoming speakers

November 29, 2009

Mark your calendars for our list of upcoming SPC speakers:

*Tuesday, December 8: Kel Kelly, Founder and CEO Kel & Partners

  • Topic: How Web 2.0 is Changing Public Relations

Kel Kelly

Tuesday, January 12: Susan Westcott Alessandri, Ph.D., assistant professor, communication and journalism, Suffolk University

  • Topic: Visual Identity and Branding

Susan Westcott Alessandri

Tuesday, February 9: Andrea Ajemian, producer AA Films

  • Topic: Promoting Worcester County through Film and Video

Andrea Ajemian

Tuesday, March 9: Margie Dana, Founder of Print Buyers International
  • Topic: A Professional Makeover for the 21st Century

Margie Dana

Tuesday, April 13: Rod Lee, Founder & Editor, Inside Worcester

  • Topic: Launching and Growing a Print Publication in the Age of New Media

Rod Lee

These meetings will all be lunch meetings (11:30-1:15 p.m.) held at Coral Seafood, 225 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA. Cost: $17 SPC members; $22 non-members and guests. To register, visit the SPC Web site.

*For the December 8 meeting, registration will begin at 11:15 a.m. SPC’s Annual Food Drive for the Worcester County Food Bank will take place at this meeting. Please bring canned and dried food.

Retailers use social media to entice shoppers

November 27, 2009

Check out how some retailers are using social media to get the word out on their deals to holiday shoppers this Black Friday.