When the Cow Hits the Fan

10 03 2009

When is being too protective or too out there too much?

I was recently reading a blog post written by my good friend and fellow activist, Martha Jean Schindler at her blog.

She recently wrote an article about a cow having violently attacked a biker – which show she’s a good writer, because as an animal activist she didn’t jump the biker for biking, she basically said “wow. kinda almost funny. but bad. very bad.” Everyone got the point and took it in due course.

Well, most people did.

Some didn’t.

She used a photo from the article to repost to her site and gave due credit through hyperlink for the news source and picture. Then the madness ensued. Instead of appreciating that they were linked back to, the photographer complained that “proper” citation was not followed. So she talked with him and then replaced the photo, and a new photographer got on to complain about her using the photo the new commenter had taken.

Now there’s an argument on this side-note article and the point of the original story has been lost.

Now, as I understand it… the internet is a big place. And as I pointed out:

  • If I can Google it, you aren’t trying hard enough to protect it.
  • She’s not pulling down any money from this, so who cares?
  • They are getting free attention… the way most people want it given.

Also, as Martha Jean points out:

The CC license draft (a link to it is embedded within this page – http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/5447) says:

“If you distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or publicly digitally perform the Work or any Derivative Works or Collective Works, You must keep intact all copyright notices for the Work and give credit, <strong>reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing</strong>, to the: (i) Original Author (his, her or its name or pseudonym if applicable) if supplied; and/or (ii) if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or parties (e.g., a sponsor institution, publishing entity, journal) for attribution in Licensor’s copyright notice or terms of service or by other reasonable means […]”

I interpret this to mean (and could not find a reliable source that directly contradicted this interpretation) that as long as I credit the photographer in a way that is reasonable to the medium I am using, I will not be in violation of the CC license. The medium I am using is the internet – a web of interactive, interconnected pages of information.  In my opinion, the most reasonable way to credit someone on the internet is by linking back to them (think about the innumerable times you’ve seen credit given to someone through a link to their homepage or blog post on the internet – in fact, think about the results of Google’s image search, which lists only the web page hosting the image, not the author of the image).  If I were using this image in a printed document or any other medium that did not allow me to direct viewers directly to you, I would credit you by listing your name, because then that would be the most reasonable form of credit.

I honestly believe that a direct link benefits you and other photographers much more than listing your name or Flickr name.  If someone sees your photo and likes it, he or she can click on it and be directed to your photo, your name, a way to contact you, and links to your other works on Flickr.  I’ve even had some photographers express appreciation for my attempt to share their work with a wider audience in this manner. However, I am also aware that the attribution license says, “[I] must attribute the work in the manner <strong>specified</strong> by the author or licensor.”  That is why I remove and replace the photos as quickly as possible if a photographer lets me know that he or she does not think I am attributing it in the way he or she specified.  I am doing what I believe is best for both parties with the time and tools we have at hand.

I am now in the process of consulting with a lawyer to ensure that my interpretation of the CC license is valid.  If I learn that my interpretation is wrong, I will immediately change my approach.  For now, I am going to continue attributing the images on my site via direct links and replace the images upon learning that a photographer disapproves of this technique.

I hope that no ill will arises from this discussion.  🙂

I see Ms. Schindler as being in the clear. In the future, boys, protect your  creative rights, and don’t complain when a talented individual tries to help you spread your work.



The Bold and the… OK, I’m a Little Overwhelmed

19 02 2009

Normally, I would never admit to having anything less than nerves of steel.

After all, I presented a PR campaign to an international client this summer with no fear and he bought it. Before I was 22. Before I had finished my senior year of PR.

But now, now… I’m a little bit timid and my nerves are pulsing with more malleability than that board room meeting over the summer in N.C.


Because now I am telling fellow professionals in my field what to do. Not an authoritative thing, mind you. I’m not their boss. Technically, I haven’t even entered the workforce yet – I interact with it on a daily basis, but I am still a senior who is not FULLy in the workforce yet.


Meet PR(evolution): the pet project of me and Jessica Ayers.


PR(evolution) is a new idea here at the University of Alabama – students teaching students (I know, this has happened before… wait for it) AND staff (even more) AND practitioners. One might say:

“But Platform Online Magazine does this already.”

To which I would have to say that Platform, an online publication targeting students, teachers and practioners in the field of PR does in fact do this. But what does it teach them? PR? Sure… we do that, too.  But  we also teach Social Media. Think of us as the brainchild of Platform. Continue to read them. They’re great. Betsy Plank even recommends the publication and its blog and Twitter. But if you want to understand how Platform and other PR professionals use Social Media, you might want to take a peek at PR(evolution).

Now past its first and second sessions, PR(evolution) is well on its way to being succesful – we now have commitments to speak at public institutions and to present to the local libraries.

We have high-ranking professional coming in to tell us that our program is being used to help evaluate what SM they should use. (See DCH – The Hospital)

And all this has me wondering – is it all about to fall out the bottom? Because this could really lead places. Recently, in private talk, Damien Basile, a man who knows his way around PR, social media and brilliant dialogue, asked why I was afraid to embrace the success. After long thought… its because I am afraid it will fall out all at once and I will be left holding pieces.

After all, in order to embrace this, I have to make it my whole focus… I can have other background focuses, but they will only serve as a minor support net.

So my question to you (as I love to encourage dialogue) is: when you began to hit your own brand of success, what continue to motivate you and keep you from being scared to death that it would all fall through?

This blog, of course, falls more into my “Taking What’s Mine” mantra and less of “Giving Something New” because this time, I need some assurance.

Confession, My Runners: Days Two and Three of the Long Stretch

19 02 2009

I have not run yesterday, and I will not run today for my portion of Crimson for a Cure. I have a stomach virus and am taking it easy today. I will, however, attempt to run this Saturday morning whilst I am in Mobile.

That is all.


First Run of the Stretch

18 02 2009

Welcome, my runners… to your icebreaker run. I hope it was good. And if it wasn’t, sorry… it will get better. Just believe that you can finish and you will. Yesterday you had to run 2 miles. Today you run 3. To let you in on a little info and show you just how hard it can be to get running, I will post my runnings each day – and hopefully it can encourage you by seeing how sometimes your runs are great and sometimes they’re not… but you just have to push through.


The Rules of the Game: Cyber Ethics, Part I

17 02 2009

Get online and post a profile picture. I dare you.

No, really, go ahead.

Just make sure I’d like it…

We all know that what we put online stays online. It can never really be deleted. But what if you knew that the sites sponsoring said info were not only not protecting the raw data, but were also actively selling it to others?

It has come to my attention over and over again that this is the case – I even interviewed for a company last spring that was able to put a mini bio together about me from information they had “collected.” Now, as a company, I don’t blame them. If they have a way of buying info about me… so be it. Do what you need to. But I do blame the company leaking my info in the first place. Employers should have to work to get my information – either in form of interview, resume, application and/or actually setting up a profile on social networking sites in order to talk with me.

After all, do I get to know about the secret lives of my immediate boss (I would use CEO… but I am sure I would get comments telling me that I do in fact read news stories about their scandals)? No. I don’t get to know the secret inner workings. And they do post things online – I would just have to know where to look.

Facebook disagrees.

This especially bothers me, since, as part of my PR Campaigns class my last semester… we are working for a client that teaches cyber ethics. I didn’t take it seriously at first – the idea, not the project. I didn’t take it seriously, because most of the time my mantra is that if you haven’t protected your information, it wasn’t important enough to copyright.

But now, after reading this article, this breaks even my rules.

Basically, Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, has said that he can change the Terms of Service  (TOS) at any given time without alerting users. See, here, users believe they have protected their information… but to no avail. In fact, Zuckerberg has gone on to say:

We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change or delete portions of these terms at any time without further notice. Your continued use of the Facebook service after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new terms.

Does this annoy you? I am sure it does. And I don’t mind my information being out there. But I do mind a contractual evil.

So my questions to users are as follows:

  • Does this bother you?
  • Where do you draw the line?
  • Why?

Based on that, I will introduce Part II of this.



5 02 2009

Ok, so I will have a longer post soon, I promise. Just been busy getting PR(evolution) going. This is a workshop where a fellow senior and I will teach PR staff and students here at UA about the Social Media.

But I digress…

My good friend (only know him online, but I have SO much respect for the man), Danny Brown, wrote a blog about TwitterSheep. So I plugged in my username. Tell me if you think it’s me.


Twitter Your Hearts Out… The Senate Is!

21 01 2009

The Senate Floor. The House Floor. The U.S. Supreme Court.

Do any of these seem familiar to you?

If so, thank you for having a brain.

If not, no worries, Twitter has made them accesible and welcome to U.S. Policy, Law and Government structure.

“How do I access such quality information,” one might ask. Good question. Tweet these usernames:

@senatefloor @housefloor @ussupremecourt

“What’s a Tweet” one might also ask. At this point, I would normally tell you to take a hike in true “gritty Jacob’s proving himself” mode – because I write for professionals with some understanding of Social Media. But, in light of our government reaching out, I will reach out, too.

1. Direct your browser to http://www.twitter.com and sign up.

2. Upload a nice face shot.

3. Post your personal site (please no MySpace).

4. Change the them to one of the premade layouts.

5. Write a small 140 character bio.

6. Then Tweet. All tweeting is, is updating your status. Simple? For now. Later, you learn to quality Tweet.

7. Then find the names I just mentioned: @housefloor @senatefloor @ussupremecourt.

8. Click on “follow” underneath their picture.

That is all. There is nothing complicated about this, but if you have questions, comment on this blog and I will try to help you. Why are these usernames important? Because now, thanks to our wonderful new President, his campaign manager and his new staff, we ae being given access to floor updates, new policies, proposal, etc. that were not nearly as accesible before.

For the first time ever, I have to say… Go Obama!