Words, Phrases & Other Stuff I Hope Get Put Into a Time Capsule

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka the PRDude)

Lots of web sites and blogs, including many in the public relations arena, publish posts that offer advice by the numbers:  “Ten PR Myths Your Mother Never Told You” or “167 Reasons Why Reporters Hate Public Relations and the People Who Work in the Industry.”

This post falls into that category, but I’m not going to take the easy route and quantify it.  Everyone does that.  Besides, it’s my intention to get you kind readers and supporters of The PRDude to share your thoughts.

Here — in no particular order — are a “couple of things” from life in this great decade and probably beyond that I wholeheartedly hope go the way of the hula hoop, the Edsel and perhaps disco.

  • A “Gazillion” Dollars.  You’ve read this word in articles pertaining to the federal deficit and future earnings for the next tech wizard.  Why is it used? We have perfectly good words that denote lots of money, like “billions” and “trillions.” What idiot came up with this word?  Probably the same guy who popularized the phrase in the next bullet.
  • “It’s Not Uncommon…”  This one doesn’t need much elaboration: If it’s “not uncommon” then it’s “common!” Stop the use of this double negative!  My college English 101 instructor, Professor Brosnahan would back me on this. I’m an English major, you know.
  • “Freebird!”  It’s always late in the third set.  A cover band just wants to play a few more songs they didn’t write and get the hell off the stage.  Then, some guy — it’s always a guy — yells, “Freebird!” Do you really want to hear a tired cover band try to make sense of a 9-minute song with a 5-minute guitar solo played by three different guys? Leave the guys in Lynyrd Skynyrd in peace.  Recommend something else, like a nice number by the Captain and Tennile.
  • “Da Bears” Gotta Go.  As a proud son of the great City of Chicago, I, too laughed at the “Saturday Night Live” routines featuring George Wendt (also a real Chicago guy) and other Chicago Bears super fans.  Let me set the record straight: It aint’ funny anymore. Ditka owns a restaruant and — not kidding — hawks his own brand of wine.   Yous guys should know dis: We don’t all talk like dat here, in Chicaga.
  • Whiny, Sing-Songy Female Voice Over Actors.  Some retailers and manufacturers seek celebrities to handle voice over duties for TV and radio commercials. Others opt for an actor with a distinguished or memorable voice.  And, still others hire women who must be in their 40s but sound like they’re still a few months short of qualifying for a driver’s permit.  You’ve heard them: An affectation much akin to the famous Valley Girl that reportedly hung out at some regional mall in or around Reseda.

I could go on and bash the hacks who claim to be “public relations professionals” but don’t do much more than blow up balloons at the “publicity stunts” they orchestrate.  But, I’ll save that subject for another post.

What would you like to put into a time capsule?  Share your thoughts.

Reflections on 100-Plus Posts as The PRDude

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Never been one to really follow all the rules, this post will be a retrospective on a milestone reached back in September, when I published my 100th post as The PRDude.   The subject of that post was what I learned from some public relations agency leaders at a luncheon my friends and colleagues at PRSA Chicago held.

So why did I hold back on this “looking back” commentary until now, my 102nd post?  Because I can, and as noted above, why live life (or publish a blog, for that matter) according to a formula.

But on to some thoughts on what I learned these past several months, some favorite posts and where I plan to take The PRDude in the future.

This Blogging Stuff is Work. Throughout my career — from journalism, to marketing, to public relations — I have taken great pride in my ability to craft effective communications using the 26 letters of the alphabet.  I try to adhere to established rules of grammar, syntax and punctuation; I strive to craft messages geared to a specific audience.  And, try to say it all in my own voice.

This realization is pretty clear: Blogging — at least producing one that’s informative, offers opinions and encourages dialogue — is challenging and takes a lot of work and dedication.  Even drafting this post, mainly a stream-of-consciousness reflection, is taking a lot of thought and time.  (For the record, it’s Sunday afternoon and I could be outside raking leaves or inside watching football.)

I’ve read that new blogs are created literally every couple of minutes.  Wonder how many are published beyond that debut post?  I hope to publish with more regularity, especially on issues pertaining to public relations and marketing.  (This is the PRDude’s blog, after all.)  The work I get paid for, and other stuff, get in the way.  A remedy: Shorter posts.

What I’d Enter In a Blogging Competition.  Last week, I read an article from the nice folks at ComPro.biz, an online resource for public relations and marketing professionals.  The focus was their “10 Best” PR blogs.  This one wasn’t on the list.  (Perhaps it ranked 11th?)  Anyway, I’m not sure if there’s any true c0mpetition for blogs, like the Academy Awards or Grammys.  If there is, here’s what I’d enter:

  1. The series in June of 2010 related to the botched communications efforts by BP following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Hopefully, this horrible environmental tragedy and the related fallout has prompted the need for crisis communications preparation.
  2. Ever google your name?  Come on, everyone has. Google “Edward Bury” and you’ll find lots of stuff related to me, as well as “another” Edward Bury.  I enjoyed this post about a man with my name who helped bring in the Industrial Revolution.
  3. Before they became cultural icons, the cast from the MTV show “Jersey Shore” were just a bunch of kids who made a nice living having their exploits — getting drunk, fighting, and having gratuitous sex with strangers — filmed and broadcast.  When I read of producers planning a similar type of program here in my beloved Chicago, I urged the PR community to rise up against it.
  4. I continue to maintain that true public relations — the kind based on research, strategies and ethics — is critical to modern society and the American way of life.  This post, inspired after a visit to IHOP with my Mom, embodies that theme.

What’s Next From the PRDude? Frankly, I’m going to focus a lot more on public relations, and here’s how: When I read or hear about a so-called “public relations nightmare” that’s really a policy, political or financial issue, I’ll blog about it. For example, read the first item in this post published in the wake of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

The goal here is to set the record straight.  Public relations has transcended the publicity/press agentry model long ago; it’s up to those of us to know better to identify these errors and correct them. The profession and practice will continue to be hindered if those of us in the industry fail to correct misconceptions that appear very often in the mainstream media and elsewhere.

So, to those reading this:  What instances have you read about where “public relations” is referenced inaccurately and/or unfairly?  Let’s start a dialogue.  Let’s work together.  I’ll identify some kind of tag line for this initiative.

Finally: Thanks to all who have read these words.