Every city or town needs a simple Twitter hashtag (i.e. #MadisonCT, #BaltimoreMD)

A quick thought…

Some cities and towns have active visitor-focused and tourism-related organizations that market their hometown well and respond quickly to requests for information about what’s happening locally. There are also cities and towns that have a hashtag they’ve created and promoted, while some have one that has grown more organically.

Other locations have almost no coordinated Twitter presence at all, which leaves users with an interest in that place to search for various combinations of the city and state name to see what’s being tweeted from/about it. Opportunities to promote a place, its attractions and its businesses are being missed.

But there’s a simple solution for this: We can all agree on a uniform way to catalog city/town related tweets that will make it easy for anyone (residents, visitors, local businesses, government leaders, the media) to find them via a Twitter search.

I suggest we all use #CityStateAbbreviation. For example, my new hometown would be #MadisonCT and my birthplace would be #BaltimoreMD. This hashtag could be added to any tweet related to local news/events that people want easily found.

In some cases the state may seem unnecessary, but it can help avoid confusion. For example, if I just used #Madison, it might take some work for searchers to determine if those tweets are related to the one in Connecticut vs. the one in Wisconsin vs. the one in New Jersey vs. the one from wherever else there might be a Madison.

This may all sound simple, but finding tweets on local events and news often requires multiple searches or following several different hashtags. Hopefully an approach like this would make local tweeting more searchable and encourage even more people to tweet local information more frequently. And this can all be done while still including whatever local hashtags are already being used in tweets but that some people may be unaware of.

Connect with me on Twitter at @mikeholden

WordPress tells me that January 10 was my best day ever for follows of my blog. That was the same day I posted about my recent move to Madison, CT and the PR and marketing work I’m now trying to drum up near my new hometown or remotely.

With new followers on board, I thought now might be a good time to mention my Twitter account. If you’re on Twitter, let’s connect there as well. You can find me at @mikeholden. If you do start following me there after reading this, please send me a tweet and let me know that’s how you found me.

#hiremikeholden: Taking my job search viral and starting a PR/marketing firm


—Original Post—
As I take the next step forward in my career, I’m looking to do two things and I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to check this out and share it with people.

My goals with this blog post:

  1. Leverage my network to take my PR/Marketing job search viral
  2. Take on PR/Marketing clients and start my own firm

Leveraging my network for a viral job search
On the first item, whenever it has come time for me to take the next step in my career, I’ve almost always found that new opportunity through my network of business contacts, former colleagues, classmates, family and friends. My hope is that I can leverage my network to take my job search viral this time, putting my talents and resume in front of more people quicker. If you think others might benefit from working with me, either on a full-time or contract basis, please use the sharing options at the bottom of this post to pass it along to others.

For a look at some of my skills and accomplishments, please read on…

Taking on clients for PR/Marketing work
For over a dozen years I’ve worked in marketing and PR, compiling experience across a number of industries such as retail, education, the performing arts, non-profits, membership organizations, and more.

If you want to develop email campaigns that generate clicks to your website, I can take your objectives and turn them into marketing copy that excites people. If you want blog content that will enhance your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts and that your customers will want to share via their social networks, contact me so that we can discuss it. If creative, out-of-the-box PR ideas are what you’re looking for, I can develop campaigns that will get you press and word-of-mouth buzz. I’ve successfully pitched stories at the local and national level to outlets such as the New York Times, NBC Nightly News, Politico, Yahoo Sports, The Washington Post and hundreds of others.

Examples of my work…

  • As the media relations manager for Wolf Trap, I helped to launch the performing arts organization’s internet radio station and successfully pitched a story to The Washington Post about the way Wolf Trap and other venues were using this and other technologies such as podcasts: “Arts Groups Put on Their Own Shows.”
  • With D.C. area restaurant company Austin Grill, I launched a promotion with the NHL’s Washington Capitals that gave fans free wings anytime the team scored six goals or more at home. It received press from Deadspin.com, was mentioned by Alex Ovechkin in a post-game interview, made it onto team owner Ted Leonsis’ blog and was featured in this Washington Post article: “Caps Fans Devour Wings.” A similar version of the wings promotion lives on today with Glory Days Grill.
  • While with education non-profit ABCTE, the CEO and I brainstormed an idea to promote a free trial of our program through a call to action on the main page of our website, which ended up driving in 75-100 sales leads per week for the company.
  • In 2009, using this blog at mikeholden.com, I helped bring attention to how some D.C. area sports fans were frustrated about a ComcastSportsnet channel not being carried by Verizon FiOS. Verizon eventually added the channel (check out the comments here).
  • At the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA), I used a combination of paid ads along with online content and contests to grow the organization’s Facebook fans from 9,000 to over 17,000 in less than six months. I worked with the IT team to launch the Kickball Today blog, using it as landing page for emails and social media campaigns. I also oversaw development of a franchise section of WAKA website and a sports franchise microsite.

Those are a few examples of my work. Please check out my LinkedIn profile for more on my experience.

But what I really want to talk about is how I can help you
I thought it was important that I list some of what I’ve done in PR and marketing, but I’m really more interested in discussing how I can leverage this experience to help you and others.

If you know someone who might be interested in working with me, please take a minute to share this via email, Facebook , Twitter, etc. using the links below. I can also be reached via email at blog AT mikeholden.com, on Twitter at @mikeholden (I’m also going to use the hashtag #hiremikeholden there to help spread the word about this blog post), or just call me at 703-606-8398.

Thanks in advance to all of you who help spread the word!

Website to identify Vancouver rioters

Smoke Over Vancouver

Image by Matthew Grapengieser via Flickr

A reason not to riot (just in case the resulting injuries and damage aren’t enough):

People have camera phones which they use to take pictures of you and then they post them to the web and ask for help identifying you so they can pass the information along to the Vancouver police: http://www.identifyrioters.com

Let’s hope that makes people think twice next time.

Viral Kickball Video

The video below went online last Friday and now has over 13,000 views, thanks to mentions by D Magazine and Deadspin, as well as a lot of shares on Twitter and Facebook along with views by WAKA Kickball players all over the country.

Filming for the show “Cheaters” spilled over onto a WAKA Kickball field. WAKA players weren’t actually the focus of the show — “Cheaters” just films in the area and they somehow ended up near, and then on, a field where our Thursday night Dallas kickball league plays. Check it out below and, just to warn you, it has some unsafe for work language in it.

Flashmobs at the polls

Like with every election, it’s been written that some mid-term 2010 races are already over, hours (or even days) before the voting is over.

Polls predicting various winners will likely be correct in many cases. But more than ever before, I have a hard time believing anything is over until the last ballot has been cast. And it’s due in part to the fact that we are now so connected via technology and social media that things can change quickly.

At the top of the Facebook homepage today is a counter, telling everyone how many of their friends and how many users overall have voted. As I write this, over 6 million of them have already clicked on the button.

Facebook's election day widget

Facebook's election day widget

On Twitter, many of the trending topics are election related, included a “Promoted” tag of #election at the top of the trends. Foursquare has an “I Voted” badge for those who check in from a polling place. And bloggers and mainstream media are cranking out election related content, much of which can now be viewed from almost anywhere via a mobile device and easily passed along to others.

While some races are no doubt over, I also think it’s safe to say that somewhere a person who was not going to vote will vote because of what they’re seeing on one of their social media applications. And somewhere there may be a sudden flourish of people who do this. Flashmobs can form in minutes–there’s no reason an organized swarm of voters can not show up at polling locations.

It’s always been the case that any race can end up going right or left or elsewhere in the final hours and minutes. But it feels like technology makes it even more possible now.

The Mike Wise Issue in One Tweet

Twitter logo initial

Twitter logo image via Wikipedia

Regarding Washington Post columnist Mike Wise and his experiment on Twitter—where he sent out tweets containing made-up information to basically test a theory and see if people would pass it on without verifying its accuracy—this tweet by John Ourand with Sports Business Journal says it all: “@MikeWiseguy You aen’t right about “nobody checking facts” on Twitter. People trust you and WaPo and figure your “news” is accurate.”

Ourand then followed that with a tweet to say: “@mikewiseguy A better test would be to set up an anonymous account and see how many follow fake news then. My guess is not many.”

When someone sees something reported by a Washington Post reporter—on Twitter or elsewhere—they assume it’s already been verified. And I think it’s completely understandable that someone would make that assumption. Outlets often say “so and so is reporting that such and such will…”  They’re covering for themselves in case the info ends up being inaccurate and giving credit to the source at the same time. Retweeting accomplishes these things as well.

I agree with Ourand, if Wise really wanted to test out whether people would pass along news without fact checking it, he should have tried using an anonymous account. But a tweet from Wise, or someone else who has built a reputation in the sports journalism business, is going to be taken as the truth or at the very least, worth forwarding along and credited to the source so that everyone’s clear on where it came from.

Whether we’re talking about Twitter or everyday offline interactions, when some people see someone say something newsworthy, or that they find interesting, they tend to tell others about it. If it were a stranger reporting NFL news, people might not repeat that news to others or they might investigate first. But when it’s Wise sending the tweet, people assume he’s already done his fact checking and, if he hasn’t, it’s his name that’s on the line more than theirs. It’d be different if a fairly unknown individual’s reporting had been retweeted and passed on by news outlets and others—then I’d put the blame more on those who put trust in someone who maybe had not earned it yet.

I thought Wise’s apology on his radio show (which I only read and did not hear) was well done and particularly nice to see in an age when many public figures issue apologies that aren’t really apologies.  But I still don’t agree with Wise’s tweet that came prior to that, in which he said he was sorry but also said that he “was right about nobody checking facts or sourcing.” Ourand hit the nail on the head with his tweet back to Wise. Trusted news sources are considered exactly that, trusted.