Guy Vs. Guy: Twitter: Killer Marketing Tool or Pointless Waste of Time?

Last Updated Jun 18, 2009 1:19 PM EDT Welcome to Guy Vs. Guy! In this recurring feature, Rick and Dave square off on the business and technology issues of the day. This week's topic: Twitter. It's everywhere these days, but does it have any practical value? Can businesses (and business people) leverage it as a cheap, unique marketing tool, or does the dearth of active users make it much a-tweet about nothing? Rick: When a technology lands on the cover of Time Magazine, as Twitter did last week, you know it has officially "arrived." It took a couple years, but Twitter has definitely entered the mainstream consciousness. And herein lies an awesome opportunity for savvy business users. You can go ahead and call Twitter a "pointless waste of time," but remember: That's what people said in the early days of blogs and social networks, too. Dave: It's interesting that you are using Time, poster child of the Old Media, as some sort of yardstick for measuring tech relevance. The fact that Time is only covering it now, a year after Twitter "went mainstream," is ample evidence that the magazine is an out-of-touch dinosaur. This much is true: I'll never accuse your thought processes of having dangerous levels of clarity. Where was I? Oh, right: Twitter is a pointless waste of time. Rick: That's what people said in the early days of blogs and social networks, too. (Must I constantly repeat myself with you?) And just as savvy business users turned those technologies into fantastic marketing tools, so have they begun to leverage Twitter. Consider the Realtor who tweets about new properties or price reductions. Or the local pizza joint that tweets a buy-one-get-one-free coupon. Or the CEO who makes himself seem more accessible, more personable, by tweeting about company happenings. If you're smart, the possibilities are endless. And let's not forget: Using Twitter costs a business nothing (or next to it). So what exactly is your problem with it? Dave: I believe I summarized my Continue Reading

My Business Philosophy: I Won’t Help You Unless You Help Me

Last Updated Oct 14, 2010 5:43 PM EDT By Richard Laermer, CEO, RLM PR, New York City My PR agency, which creates and manages campaigns for technology firms and entrepreneurial ventures, has been around for 20 years. We've got 15 staff and about $2 million in annual revenue. I've also written 12 books and spend half my time doing speaking engagements, and so I've made influential connections. I'm guessing a lot of people view me as an authority in a bunch of fields, and so I get sought out a lot for plain old everyday advice. The trouble is the Internet has made it too easy to contact people and that ease translates to inherent laziness. Back when we sent messages through the U.S. mail, about a million years ago, we all needed to think through what we wanted to say. Now our written communication is disposable. We push buttons -- our thoughts appear and vanish like spit on a griddle -- and we rarely, if ever, consider how our messages are received. As a result, I lose half of my day dealing with emails from time-wasters who have nothing to offer to me or to my company. So I've made it my mission to reeducate the writers of crap email on the etiquette of basic communication. Feeling used and bemused Other times strangers will write me with the vaguest of requests. One guy sent me a message on Twitter the other day with: "I'm trying to move from real estate into the film PR industry, and someone [I don't even really like] said you could help me." How does one respond to that question? I attempted anyway, asking, "What do you mean I can help you? Do you want me to write your resumé and take you to Brooks Brothers for a fitting? How about an actual question that merits a realistic answer?" He unfollowed me. What about me? quid pro quo: "one thing in return for another." Sometimes I'll just send them to the fabulous site Let Me Google That for You. important they are. I've sent the same advice to CEOs who've asked me for help after ignoring me when I Continue Reading

Smoking, boozing bum of a husband is sponging off me

DEAR DEIDRE: MY husband has not worked in months and seems happy to live off me. If I raise the subject of money or him finding work, he starts shouting then will ignore me for days. We’ve been married for five years. He says he loves me but his actions don’t match. I pay all the bills and I pay for his drinking and smoking. I’m also gradually paying back money he owes. He said he was depressed so I paid for him to see a counsellor. He went a couple of times and then told me the counsellor said it was OK for him to drink nine cans of Stella a day. His moods really stress me out, both at work and at home. We’re both 28. Is my marriage a sham? Popular Dear Deidre problemsfirst cut Caught my girl in bed with another man... then he did something I didn't expect SEX WITH SISTER I had sex with my sister and now we are having a full-on relationship HOTEL HELL My girl's wild step-sister seduced me in toilets and I'm disgusted with myself Little secret My brother-in-law is my daughter's real father... and my husband has no idea More, more, more! Hot romps with sex-on-legs housemate always leaves me wanting more FAMILY AFFAIR Family are furious over my hot sex with brother's sister in law Guilty sex I had hot sex with my 53-year-old mum-in-law while my wife was on life support Blackmailed I've been bedding my 'uncle' and now his son is blackmailing me into having sex anti-climax Love my girlfriend, but find I get more pleasure from porn than sex with her FESTI-FAIL I had hot sex at Glastonbury... but I was the 20th guy she'd bedded that weekend TOUGH CHOICE I'm having sex with my girlfriend's bestie... who's also dating my best mate DEIDRE SAYS: In a word, yes. This really isn’t how marriage should be. He’s a bully who drinks far too much, so stop giving him money for it and stop paying his debts. You know in your heart he’s not going to change so stop thinking of him and think about how to get Lewd Continue Reading

Reeva Steenkamp’s text messages read at Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial: ‘I’m scared of u sometimes and how u snap at me’

Reeva Steenkamp was less than a month from the grave when she fired off a text to jealous boyfriend Oscar Pistorius. “I’m scared of u sometimes and how u snap at me and of how you will react to me,” the doomed bikini model wrote after the South African sprinter embarrassed her at a friend’s engagement party. “I just want to love and be loved. Be happy and make someone SO happy. Maybe we can’t do that for each other.” Pistorius wrote back and apologized — but blamed her for his “tantrum.” “I was upset that you just left me after we got food to go talk to guy,” he wrote. “I was standing tight (sic) behind you watching you touch his arm and ignore me.” Eighteen days later, Steenkamp was dead and Pistorius was accused of gunning her down in his Pretoria pad. Sitting in the dock, Pistorius’s face reddened and he teared up at one point as the damning texts were read. But mostly he kept his nose in a book. “I can’t be attacked by outsiders for dating u AND be attacked by you, the one person I deserve protection from,” Steenkamp wrote in one text just a week before she was killed on Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius, 27, insists he accidentally killed Steenkamp when he fired four shots through a bathroom door believing an intruder was hiding there. Prosecutors said Pistorius — a double-amputee with a short fuse and a firearms fetish — chased Steenkamp to the bathroom and began blasting when she wouldn’t come out. The texts were among the 1,000 exchanges between Steenkamp and Pistorius that police found on their phones and computers. Capt. Francois Moller testified that most of them with typical and some he classified as “loving” exchanges. “You make me happy 90% of the time and I think we are amazing together,” Steenkamp, Continue Reading

Kevin Durant, alleged NBA villain, ignoring the noise: ‘I’m at peace’

OAKLAND – The noise that surrounds Kevin Durant is growing louder by the minute.But this isn’t the latest hot take about how the Golden State Warriors star is allegedly arrogant. Nor is this the chorus of nationwide boos relating to the lack of competition in the NBA playoffs, with Durant and his decision to leave Oklahoma City last summer being blamed by so many for this supposedly boring basketball.This is the sweet sound of joyful children, more than 200 of them spanned across Lincoln Square Park in downtown Oakland where Durant is unveiling four newly refurbished basketball courts on a recent off day. He towers over the youngsters who can’t stop looking at him, all of them giddy as Durant walks his 6-11 frame from hoop to hoop and takes a few casual shots.The iconic Oakland Tribune tower is in the background. Warriors legend Al Attles, the namesake of these very courts, is here too. A local columnist who grew up on these streets, Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group, received a personal request from Durant to host this event and give it a familiar feel. Durant may have come up in the tough neighborhood of Seat Pleasant, Md. that’s almost 3,000 miles away, but it feels like he’s one of them.If you didn’t know the back story, about all the millions of fans and even some media members who were so enraged when he decided to head this way to play hoops, it’d be hard to imagine anyone being mad at this man. And if you think Durant is going to try to control this narrative that has him pegged as a ring-chasing wrecker of all that is good in the NBA, you’re sorely mistaken.Ask anyone who truly knows Durant, and you hear the same message: The man is in as good a mental place as ever right now. And truth be told, he worries less about what you think with every passing day.“I'm just at peace with myself; I'm at peace with myself as a basketball player, most importantly,” Durant told USA TODAY Sports Continue Reading

CHOIR BOSS ‘IGNORED MY CRY FOR HELP ! ‘ Abuse victim asks why Harlem big has chorus of support

WHEN CITY HALL evicted the Boys Choir of Harlem from a public school, 150 supporters rallied around the legendary group's founder, Walter Turnbull, praising him as a visionary. But just blocks away, a 20-year-old choir alum watched the event on TV and saw a very different man. He knows Turnbull as the man who ruled over him and other singers with fear - and protected a pedophile who had molested the young man as a child. "They rally around him like he's some kind of saint," the former singer told the Daily News. "It makes no sense to me. . . . Why are you supporting this guy? Why are you leaving him in charge? Why are you letting him oversee your children? " Back in 2001, this broad-shouldered man with crisscrossed braids, a razor-fine beard and a deep voice was the 15-year-old singer who told Turnbull that a choir counselor had abused him for two years. After hearing the allegations, Turnbull suggested the teen get psychological counseling. And Turnbull, according to school investigators, let the pervert, Frank Jones, remain with the choir - and spend at least 60 nights in hotels with the singers - until Jones was arrested in April 2002. Jones eventually served two years in prison for preying on the boy. The day after Turnbull's sidewalk rally on Feb. 1, the victim sent this note to the Daily News: "I've kept my silence until now," he wrote. "I'm offended that Walter Turnbull has sustained his position as choir director. . . . He ignored my cry for help! He even punished me. Worst of all, he allowed a sex offender to continue traveling with the boys, leaving them vulnerable as he left me. He has covered up many things and many times has slipped through the loopholes. " The choir's refusal to replace Turnbull as its director after he mishandled the sex scandal was one of the reasons the city evicted the group's leaders from the public school where it was based. Drowning in roughly $5 million in debt, the choir also had run out of money to pay Continue Reading

THE SCORE. Scribes got it Hall wrong about Bonds and bad guys

Because I am a Marxist - as Groucho famously put it, I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member - I've never joined the Baseball Writers Association of America, the organization that chooses the players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. So when Barry Bonds becomes a candidate for Cooperstown in a few years, my opinion on whether Bonds should be enshrined won't matter. But unlike many journalists who have weighed in on Bonds and "Game of Shadows," the new book that exhaustively details Bonds' steroid use, I do have one qualification. I have read BBWAA's rules for election to the Hall of Fame. Rule 5 says "voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played." If the allegations in "Game of Shadows" are accurate, Bonds' integrity, sportsmanship and character are well below the Mendoza line, and the only way Bonds should get into Cooperstown is if he buys a ticket. Yet I'm amazed at how some Hall of Fame voters have twisted logic and reason to argue that Bonds still belongs in baseball's hall of immortals. Many apologists say it is not fair to bar Bonds because cheaters such as spitballer Gaylord Perry have already been inducted. That's like saying a lie about sex with a White House intern is the same as a lie about weapons of mass destruction: Although both are fibs, only one led to shattered lives and needless deaths. Don't the apologists have a sense of context? Perry's legacy was greasy catcher's mitts and a boost in Vaseline sales. Bonds' cheating, meanwhile, contributed to a fundamental shift in American culture - kids, after all, emulate sports heroes. Many young ballplayers now believe performance-enhancing drugs are necessary to reach the top of their game, even if it puts them at risk for liver disease, sexual dysfunction, 'roid rage and other health problems. Some kids who have experimented with steroids have committed Continue Reading

David Wright ignores critics, says Mets have reason to be confident

PORT ST. LUCIE — Mainly because it has been so long since anything has gone right for the Mets, you’re tempted to think they are begging for trouble with all this talk already about being a playoff team in 2015. But I would argue that embracing higher expectations is an important step for a team that simply became too accepting of losing in recent years, leaning on excuses about everything from the size of the ballpark to “negativity" from their broadcasters. So why not set a tone that will demand more accountability. With that in mind, it’s probably a good sign that David Wright was a bit feisty on Sunday when I asked about all the playoff talk. Apparently he has heard some less-than-positive feedback on it already. “It’s the dumbest thing ever,” Wright said. “Somebody asks you if you expect to win this year. What are you supposed to say? It’s not cockiness. There’s a difference between confident and cocky. I haven’t seen anybody being cocky. “People are saying ‘you guys are talking a big game.’ We’re not talking a big game. But if you’re asking a group of competitive people who are confident in the guys in here if we’re going to be a good team — the answer is yes." In other words: too bad if people don’t like it. At the same time, Wright was quick to point out that the talk means nothing until the Mets back it up on the ballfield. “At some point," he said, “and to me that point is now, it’s not enough sitting here saying it. Now we’ve got a chance to do something about it. “It’s been a long time since we’ve won. There’s excitement because of the names we can put on paper. But there have been a lot of teams that look good on paper and haven’t done anything. I’m looking forward to seeing how the names on paper translate to the 2015 Mets." No one is predicting Continue Reading

Amy Schumer, feminist hero? Don’t make me laugh

The reason Amy Schumer has become a feminist icon is because she’s so damn funny. It’s not the other way around. Lately, though, it seems people are confused. Do what I did the other day and start reading all the academic treatises and elitist tracts that have been written about Schumer recently. It’s all about how she pushes boundaries by poking fun the objectification of the female body or how she makes powerful statements about gender inequality. Blah, blah, blah. Last week, Schumer was further anointed as An Important American Thinker by winning a Peabody Award and landing on Time's list of the world's 100 most influential people, alongside President Obama and Apple CEO Tim Cook. President Obama, Tim Cook and Amy Schumer?! Please. Let’s not confuse this issue: Schumer is great because she’s flat-out great. She’s funny. About everything. If that makes her a feminist leader to some, fine. But that says more about people needing some kind of hero than it does about the hero herself. Schumer is one of the most powerful voices in comedy because of her talent, not her treatises. So, by all means, tune into the start of the third season of “Inside Amy Schumer” on Comedy Central on Tuesday night because you want more of her brutal takedowns of sociological blah-blahs about equality and whatever. But stay because she makes you laugh. As a preview for the season, Schumer dropped a hysterical rap video last week: “Milk, Milk, Lemonade.” Yes, this takedown of the male obsession with big booties fueled some of the Ivy League pontificating, but really, it was nothing more than a dead-on parody and classic hilarious male-bashing. The booty, Schumer raps, is really just a “fudge machine.” She makes the punchline, “This is where my poop comes out,” funny and disgusting at the same time. Since it dropped on YouTube, the video has been seen more than 2.5 million Continue Reading

Can networks ignore Alex Rodriguez if he shines for the Yankees?

Rob Manfred thinks baseball must do a better job marketing its young stars, guys such as Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Harvey, Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper and others. His concern runs so deep he’s enlisting MLB’s national TV partners in the cause. The commish needs the TV suits because when players are “playing 162 games in 180 days” there’s not much time to do commercials or photoshoots. “So what we want to do is work closely with our TV partners, Fox and ESPN, to develop storylines with our players throughout the year to use on the national broadcasts,” Manfred said Tuesday at Marlins camp in Jupiter, Fla. The importance of marketing young stars should never be under estimated. When the NBA wasn’t what it is now, David Stern made it a huge priority. It was a springboard to the league’s success. Pardon our obsession, but along with its young guns there is this grizzled veteran cowboy, Alex Rodriguez. Arguably, if the stars align for him, A-Rod could become one of the biggest stories in baseball this season. How will MLB go about marketing that tale? How will Manfred’s TV partners handle it? Will they promote it? Go low key? Let nature take its course? Or will they feed A-Rod, sleazy past and all, back into their star-making machinery? For us, these questions have been top shelf. Judging by what took place on Twitter Wednesday after Rodriguez hit his first homer since returning from a season-long suspension, they should also concern Manfred and his TV partners. The Yankees’ official Twitter account made no mention of the home run. The oversight/slight drew an angry reaction. Turns out A-Rod had not been cited in a Yankee official tweet all spring. Upon further review, the Bombers account is run by MLB Advanced Media, which led MLB spokesman Pat Courtney to say that Manfred “has made it clear from his perspective that A-Rod should be treated like any other player.” Continue Reading