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This is slightly off-topic for this blog, but I just got married. It’s been all-consuming for the past eight months, and then now it’s all over. I haven’t got that completely crushing feeling of loss just yet – I suppose that will come as soon as I get back to work on Monday. In the meantime I’m still just basking in all the amazing memories from the past week.

Apart from the obvious similarities of putting on a wedding and a large-scale corporate event – bookings; suppliers; muchos coordination etc etc – I feel like there are other things I must have learned along the way that I can take back to work with me.

Having said that though, planning a wedding was a hugely personal and emotional investment that I don’t think I could ever give to a single corporate event. While I’m sure I’ve shed tears over work many times, not quite with the same intensity as I did over my own wedding!

I wonder whether wedding planners get to the point where they have no emotional response to the events they help to create. Or whether they get the same rush every time. I was talking to our waitress at our honeymoon hotel who had previously worked for an events company planning weddings. She said it was a hugely-responsible job – arranging the most important day of someone’s life was an exteremely stressful occupation. But while that may certainly be true, I wonder what it must be like to work with people who are so very very happy. I’d love to know.

Wordle: mithums' twitter

Do I REALLY say ‘really’ all that much? oh dear. Check it on twitter.com/mithum

Make your own twitter wordle

There seems to have been a sudden splurge of online collaboration tools, both within publishing and the wider academic community. After my forage a few weeks ago into the world of ning, I do currently intend to try out some of these others and do some detailed comparisons. But for the time being, here’s some highlights…

First up, the new fresh author talent site from Harper Collins: authonomy. Aiming to bring together new authors along with potential readers and publishers, the site offers a community approach to rating new content. Attractive, nice welcoming tone, lots of user interaction, this site has been well planned and the community has well and truly bought into the concept. It had a good publicity launch followed by a period of BETA testing. It’s a really neat concept and a strong business opportunity – both for the authors getting the profile and the publishers growing a fan base. What is even more interesting is that HC is getting lots of great profile and loyalty, yet the site is open to other agents and publishers to do business too.

Next up is Penguin’s new partnership with match.com. Not so much a social network, rather an online chance to bring together individuals with a shared interest, even though there is membership and the chance to interact. I didn’t want to create a profile so can’t tell you much about its merits, other than to say it’s another great example of how the Penguin brand gets a big profile boost, without this being directly tied to the main Penguin business, or restricting it to being only about Penguin. My only criticism was it was really not easy to find this thing – search results were not great, so I had to search via the Penguin blog to find an entry point. Might just be my incompetence, but SEO needs to be next on the agenda…

Same goes for the new Facebook app from Pan Macmillan, who have launched the ‘Love letters of Great men‘ app to accompany the new book release of the same title. I have to say it took me quite some time to actually locate the app. The fan base is currently quite small, but I haven’t done my homework on what the average uptake of a new app is, or what the likely growth of new apps might be. I decided against downloading this one, but I wanted to include it to show again the kinds of things happening in networks.

I don’t intend to go into detail on some of the following – you can read more about them in Paula J Hane’s article on Information Today, but I will certainly be spending some time getting to know Research1; the American Chemical Society (ACS); the Canadian Medical Association (CMA);  and Indiana University School of Medicine Informatics’ Laboratree, along with the more established 2collab and labmeeting. So much fun to be had…!

Another great post from Brian Solis on using social media for relationship building as a key part of PR. Social media has got to become core to the overall PR strategy of any organization worth its salt. ‘Nuff said. Off the soapbox and back to work.

I write this with great difficulty – not because the subject is hard, but rather because the instrument I am using was clearly not designed with a woman in mind.

The iPhone may be my boyfriend’s new favourite toy(so much so that it is now an unwelcome guest in our bedroom each night) but it certainly isn’t high on my list of must-haves.

What clever Apple emloyee decided it was a good idea to put in a tiny touch sensitive key pad? I can guarantee you that they were male. How do I know this? Because they certainly didn’t factor in for nails!!

On such a tiny device, sentences which should take only seconds to form take agonizingly long minutes. And I am constantly overshooting the letter I want. And I have normal-sized fingers-not exceptionally large!!

Ok so I am sure the apple lovers out there will claim how clever the phone is that it recognizes what word you’re writing and auto corrects… And how you can get faster and more accurate with practice…

But seriously- I am exhausted! My arm hurts! I do not have the iPhone love!

Let the backlash commence. I am off to enjoy the pleasures of a more traditional keyboard. And the joys of typing with more than one finger at a time…

Once again I would like to point out a rather clever advert I clocked on the underground, only I can’t find it anywhere online.

HSBC have released an advert promoting their sponsorship of the Wimbledon Championships 2008. According to the official website,

HSBC– becomes the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, providing banking facilities at the HSBC Bank on site by the Museum Building.  HSBC has also agreed to donate to charity a sum equal to the total amount generated via the HSBC branded red ticket resale boxes, in 2007 the amount donated to charity was in excess of £85,000.  In addition, HSBC will be working with the All England Club to expand the Road to Wimbledon junior event, henceforth to be known as The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge.

The advert is really pretty cool. It actually took me until the second time I saw it, standing waiting for my tube home this evening, to actually figure it out, but once I did I was impressed with the subtleties they have applied, and found the whole ensemble really rather engaging.

I don’t want to give the whole thing away as it really is quite inventive and fun to look for all the little touches, but they have set up the inside of an HSBC branch as a tennis court. It’s very very subtle…! Ten points if you spot more than ten tennis-themes – if you’re desperate to know what the ten I saw were skip to the end and I’ll add these in…

Being responsible for SAGE’s sponsorship I was also pleased by the simplicity of the messaging. The whole piece gave lots of food for thought. It’s strongly branded, simple, and clever. Just what a sponsorship ad should be. Lovely. Good work HSBC. Just put the ad online somewhere so I can link to it?? Thanks.

The eight references…Tim Henman at the desk on the front left; strawberries and cream on his desk; the two female tennis players (handbags as rackets), the umpire, the net, the runner, the green watercooler, the wimbledon mug, the Cliff cd’s, SW19 on the ladder.

Dan’s told me I have to put my musicals and other non-PR or publishing stuff elsewhere. Ok then. So here you are.

Interesting that the highlights from Carol Lewis’ Meet the Editor Session are mirrored in the PRWeek 2008 Media Survey.

They highlight the integration of journalists working on print and online. They also highlight the move towards constant activity and increased workload due to blogging becoming core to their daily lives. It’s not surprising really: just for the same reason PRs are advocating increased use of blogs to maintain two-way relationships with stakeholders, journalists now have a better chance than ever to find out what their readers think and interact with them as soon as their stories are published. They’re also contributing with their comments and additional content.

Some of the other interesting highlights: company websites rated highest on journalists’ ways of finding out more about a business, so it’s about time these were prioritized if you want people to know what you’re up to. Email (unsurprisingly) is medium of choice for contact.

I downloaded this a while ago (it’s been a busy few months) but the details of the survey are dated March 31 2008 if you want to look it up.

CIPR are running a series of ‘Meet the Editor’ sessions over 2008. This one took place on May 19.

Carol Lewis gave a brief yet informative talk on her role as Editor of Career, The Times and Times Online. These sessions have been designed as an opportunity to brief PRs on how to work better with the press, and it was certainly very well attended and I hope these sessions extend beyond the CIPR’s anniversary celebrations.

Carol’s overview was straightforward and to the point: know who/what you’re pitching to. Read it, know what they will be interested in. Don’t send them something they won’t want, or something they’ve just written about already.

Nothing new there of course, but there were some interesting insights. One thing for example is that the Times and Times Online are now fully integrated. This is the second time I’ve heard of the broadsheets doing this in recent months (the first time being with the Telegraph). Interesting, since it suggests that there’s more than one opportunity to get a story heard, and suggests that a story may get a better chance to be expanded as an online story as well as getting into print. The Careers section is not the only example of a paper that also has some content exclusively online, which again widens opportunities when pitching.

Another interesting point: while the print paper has a majority UK-focus, stories with a wider EU/international appeal do have a better chance of getting used online, where the audience is more like 1/3 UK, 1/3 EU and 1/3 ROW.

Third very useful point. It’s not something as a single-handed PR office I get much of an opportunity to do anyway, but it’s definitely worth bearing in mind: ringing to meet over coffee? good. Meeting for lunch? bad. No time, not interested. I’d be interested in knowing whether this stands true for the smaller B2B and niche media as well as the mainstream. I’m guessing yes: particularly as multitasking print and online and the 24hr news and blogging cycle are now the norm.

Overall it was a useful session, and I’m looking forward to hearing about the next one.

May was one of those work-social life balance nightmares – out every night, back to back meetings every day.

Can’t complain as it was lots of fun and I had a blast along the way, but it’s pretty plain that the blogging suffered as a result. So there’ll be some post-dated reviews of a very busy month over the next few posts…

Hope they were worth the wait…?!