Posted by: Patrick | August 26, 2010

SFGate.com: Turn Your Part-Time Gig Into A Full-Time Job

Bobbi Dempsey, provided by

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If you have a part-time or freelance job you wish was full-time, you are not alone. According to a recent Gallup poll, 9.2% of part-time workers want full-time work. Among Americans age 18 to 29 that figure jumps to 15.7%.

IN PICTURES: 8 Great Companies With Top-Notch Healthcare Benefits

But with the economy the way it is, many companies are downgrading a lot of their positions to part-time status – if not eliminating them completely. So how can you increase your chances of moving up to the full-time level? We’ll look at some tactics that might help.

Sum Up Your Track Record
If you can compile a bunch of impressive stats related to your performance, that can help you make your case.

“The beauty is that if you are already working part-time there, you can build that credibility and track your impact,” says Joanne Dennison, owner of The Guidance Counselor for Grown-Ups, a New York City company that does workplace training and coaching for companies and professionals. “Then when you propose going full time you can prove that it will have a positive impact on the company bottom line.”

Be Willing to Learn New Skills
The full-time version of your job may require added responsibilities and additional skills, and the boss needs to know you’ll broaden your skill set without complaint. This is especially true if your resume or background is thin in certain areas. (For more on bulking up your resume, check out Flip This Resume.)

“You need to show and articulate an ability to learn whatever needs to be learned to fill in any gaps in your knowledge or expertise that the employer may bring up,” says Rebecca “Kiki” Weingarten, president of DLC Executive Coaching and Consulting.

Emphasize Your In-House Experience
As someone who is already familiar with the job and the workplace, you eliminate the time and expense involved in a training period.

“You can hit the ground running, with no learning curve and no wasted productivity,” says Jim Joseph, president of Lippe Taylor and author of The Experience Effect. “For the employer, it’s like getting a senior person without having to hire a more senior person.”

Outdo the Competition
“Aim to out-perform full-time employees who are doing the same or similar jobs as you,” says Tim Schoonover, chairman of OI Partners, a global talent management firm. “Learn the criteria that are used to evaluate performance and strive to hit a home run.”

Act (and Look) the Part
You need to make an extra effort to appear professional.

“You need to treat your assignment like it’s a really long interview,” says Diane L. Samuels, president of LiveYourPlanA.com. “Dress for the part, or maybe a little better than the part. Show up a little early every day. Be accessible. Don’t slack off once you’ve been there for a while, you can’t afford to get too comfortable – you’re still an interviewee.”

Make Critical Connections
Even a part-timer or freelancer can establish important company contacts. (For more, see 4 Career Networking Tips That Work.)

“Network like crazy, without becoming an annoying stalker type,” advises Samuels. “If you aren’t working in an area of interest to you, you need to get yourself or your work in front of the people who make hiring decisions in your area of interest.”

Offer the Employee a No-Risk Trial
You might need to put in some of your own time, but Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think, says that investment can often pay off big.

“Volunteer to work the extra hours for free for two weeks,” Siebold suggests. “Outwork your coworkers during this time and let your boss/manager see just how productive you are and why hiring you full time would be a good decision.” Another option: “Offer to do some extra work on a commission basis. This way the company is only shelling out money if it works out.”

The Bottom Line
Employers are very choosy about who gets full-time positions these days, but by making yourself stand out in a good way, you can increase your odds of landing one of those opportunities. (For related reading, take a look at Freelance Careers: Look Before You Leap.)

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: A Diving Dow And Rotting Eggs.

Original story – Turn Your Part-Time Gig Into A Full-Time Job

Copyright (c) 2010 Investopedia ULC. All rights reserved. Investopedia.com is a Forbes Digital Company.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/08/24/investopedia46558.DTL

Get To The Point from MarketingProfs

Old Spice Guy’s Viral Coup: How He Did It

From July 13 to 14, “Old Spice Guy” (towel-clad spokesman Isaiah Mustafah) responded to users’ Old Spice references at YouTube. Short YouTube video clips featured OSG charming users with witty repartee. Links to the videos appeared on Twitter like that.The resulting user stats were impressive: Upload views at YouTube, over 83 million; subscribers to the YouTube channel. over 140,000; Twitter followers, 92,000; Facebook Likes, 686,000. Now, that’s a lot of listening fans!

How did Old Spice (and agency Wieden + Kennedy) score this multimedia coup? Here are the key ingredients that made this campaign a mega-winner:

A brave, playful strategy. Old Spice hails back to the 1930s. Observing the ironic attitude of modern man, it inversed its persona, creating a Manly Man so impossibly smug (yet so self-deprecating) that he was lovable.

Relinquishing of content. Appropriations (and imitations) of its “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad appeared in droves (case in point). Users were inspired, having fun. Old Spice let them be—allowing word about its content to spread.

Acknowledging users while staying true to the original ad. Its decision to have Mustafa answer questions worked because people love acknowledgement. The material was also thoughtful and well-written without breaking the universe created around OSG; there he was, in the bathroom!

Clever use of media (Twitter, YouTube). Inspired media morphs made the content a medium in itself. Observe: a marriage proposal via OSG. (We’d totally say yes!)

Continuing the discussion. The effort couldn’t last forever, but the goodbye was epic and well-timed. To ease separation anxiety, Old Spice launched a second TV ad featuring Mustafa. And users who still want to play with OSG can do so on Facebook and Twitter.

The Po!nt: You, too, can enjoy the sweet smell of success. Brands still have the power to create beloved icons and spark crowd love. The key these days is to give folks the chance to build it with you.

Looking for great social media marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Social Media Marketing Factbook (May 2010). With 140 pages and 102 charts, it is full of relevant social media marketing stats and trends. The Social Media Marketing Factbook is Part 5 of the complete Digital Marketing Factbook (our 296-page full report).

Posted by: Patrick | August 17, 2010

Forbes.com: The Industries Where Jobs Are Growing Most

Forbes.com

Careers
The Industries Where Jobs Are Growing Most
Seth Cline, 07.08.10, 4:13 PM ET

As the nation’s economic recovery repeatedly jerks forward and then stumbles, here’s some good news: 11 of 12 major industries are posting more jobs online than a year ago, according to data gathered by Indeed.com. Indeed.com, which aggregates online job postings, found that the transportation, hospitality and retail industries are posting the largest increases in job listings over last year. Each had at least 40% more job listings in June 2010 than in June 2009, despite the weak improvement in overall employment numbers recently.

Transportation industry job postings are up 73% from a year ago, including 20,000 new ones since April, making the industry by far the fastest growing of the 12. The top transportation job titles: driver, stocker and similar shipping- and freight-related positions.

In Pictures: The Industries Where Jobs Are Growing Most

The U.S. Department of Labor considers transportation a high-growth industry. It has benefited from new technology that allows cargo to be tracked and delivery times to be more precise, but also it is cyclical and often mirrors trends in the national economy. In fact, transportation job postings have increased substantially since January, coinciding with modest improvements in unemployment.

Hospitality has also experienced a jump in online job postings over the last year, specifically in the food service sector. The old saying that people will always need to eat is backed up by Indeed.com’s findings.

“The industry’s recent job growth was driven by an uptick in restaurant sales in recent months. Eating and drinking place sales rose each month from February to May,” according to Bruce Grindy, chief economist at the National Restaurant Association, writing in an e-mail. “Restaurant industry job growth generally coincides with industry sales growth, so when sales pick up as a result of pent-up demand, the jobs will typically follow.”

Another winner in Indeed.com’s survey is the retail industry, whose already numerous job postings increased 41% in the last year. Customer service positions are by far the most posted jobs in retail, because of the importance to businesses of cost-efficiency and loyalty, says Bill Gessert, president of the International Customer Service Association. “There’s always been growth in our industry, but it is accelerating in a down economy,” he adds. “It is less expensive to keep the customers you have than to try to go out and win new customers.”

The one industry that failed to report employment growth over the past year is real estate, which saw its job postings decline by 4%. Real estate also has the fewest postings of any industry, a full 15,000 less than the next-lowest industry, media and newspapers.

In Pictures: The Industries Where Jobs Are Growing Most


Apple And Google Set To Capitalize (And Compete) On Internet TV
Laurie Sullivan, Aug 16, 2010 06:01 PM
Piper Jaffray/set top-internet tv

Connected TVs and set-top devices enabling consumers to view video from across the Internet on TVs could ultimately drive online video ads and marketing content budgets. The online video ad segment should grow at a 39% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) during the next five years, becoming a more than $5 billion market by 2014, estimates analyst firm Piper Jaffray, which released a series of reports Monday related to IPTV.

The slow shift of consumers spending more time with online video has already begun. The report explains some private video advertising networks admit to securing at least seven-figure budgets from major TV advertisers. Ad networks like Tremor, and those producing proprietary content like Adconion or BBE, could benefit from the transition. The bottom line, according to Piper Jaffray analysts, points to numerous Internet companies like Apple, Google and Yahoo, as well as Rovi, also capitalizing on this move.

Expect Google TV to comprise about 15% of the connected TVs by 2013, rising to 18% by 2014, according to Piper Jaffray. Intel’s CE4100 SoC and Google’s Android operating system is the technology platform that Sony and Logitech will build into products and release in the fall. Other set-top boxes, media players and TV makers have Google TV products slated for the first quarter in 2011.

Google’s share of connected TV devices will contribute to about 32 million units in 2010, reaching 180 million units in four years, but Piper Jaffray analyst believe the Mountain View, Calif., tech company will have competition from Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple.

Apple tried to launch Apple TV in March 2007, but the box failed to catch on. A Piper Jaffray white paper describes a data center in Maiden, NC that the company’s analysts believe could serve as the main control room for a cloud-based service for iTunes video. A growing family of connected Apple devices it makes sense Apple would deliver a cloud-based media service to leverage the lineup of connected devices, from iPhone to iPad to iPod Touch to Apple TV to Macs.

As part of this move, analysts at Piper Jaffray expect Apple to update Apple TV with limited storage, lower price, and focus on accessing content from the Internet and on a local network. It then becomes a stepping-stone to an all-in-one connected television. The move could position Apple to enter the television market with a connected-HDTV in the next two to four years, along with full content services.

Piper Jaffray estimates of the 220 million flat panel TVs that will sell in 2012, about 65%, or 143 million units, will become Internet-connected. Of those, Apple could sell 1.4 million units, contributing 3% to revenue in 2012.

The white paper hypothesizes about solutions to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ challenges related to Apple TV. Create an all-in-one, connected TV that does not require an extra box, for starters. Then launch an Internet-based iTunes TV Pass at $50-$90 per month. These products could replace a consumer’s monthly $85 cable bill and offer access to a variety of select shows on premium channels. Additionally, this hurdle could be solved with the addition of an App Store for the TV, offering apps like Hulu Plus available today for consumers with an iPhone or an iPad, and TV content through Hulu for $10 per month.

The ad-based Internet video will likely become the choice model to generate revenue because consumers view it as being close to the traditional TV viewing experience, according to the report. Piper Jaffray analysts expect ad -based services will capture margins between 20% and 25%. Hulu, for example, commands a significant premium cost per thousand ad views (CPM) vs. traditional broadcast TV. While these rates vary, depending on content and time of broadcast, the analysts firm estimates the average broadcast TV CPM is approximately $15, while Hulu’s average CPM is more than $25.

Recently launched Hulu Plus, a $9.99 per month subscription service for additional ad-based content on Hulu, represents a hybrid subscription or ad-based model that could also provide on-the-go mobile or TV-based access to online video content.

Similar to Piper Jaffray, analyst at Parks Associates believe advertising, including delivery and analytics, provides Google with enormous potential. But in a white paper released in June, Park Associates analysts point to troubled television manufacturers trying to determine how big their share of potential revenue for online content will become.

To date, the business models between television manufacturers and content providers or aggregators have been revenue sharing based on online video orders. As a result, the TV manufacturer may get a few pennies per video on demand orders. Online video revenues on connected CE devices other than the game console could reach $180 million in 2010, reaching $800 million by 2014.

Other concerns Park Associates highlights includes the ability to search and discover, and how much high-quality content Google can actually contribute through YouTube.

chart

Posted by: Patrick | August 16, 2010

SmartMoney.com: Video Résumés Reveal Too Much, Too Soon

SmartMoney Magazine by Anne Kadet (Author Archive)

If you want a little entertainment, you could check out a movie or head to the bookstore. But you might have better luck firing up YouTube to watch the latest crop of video résumés. Since the start of the recession, thousands of unemployed hopefuls have posted clips of themselves wooing imaginary recruiters, and many seem to have gone mad in their quest for a job. They look tired, they look bored, they look angry. They talk about themselves in the third person. And they don’t mind making their private ambitions public. As one candidate told the camera, “I just want to commit my life to, you know, a job that, you know, my life can be committed to.”

Video résumés aren’t new, but as high unemployment drags on, they’re increasingly pitched to job hunters looking to stand out. Colleen Aylward, CEO of video service InterviewStudio.com, says she sees a new competitor launch just about every week. The services are popular with career counselors as well. Todd Lempicke, founder of OptimalResume.com, says more than 260 colleges, libraries and job centers will be offering his video services to their constituents, double the number in 2009.

A video résumé can run you anywhere from $7,000 (for “executive Web portfolio” packages) to $50 (for guided tutorials that have candidates recording presentations with a webcam). And, of course, many folks take the DIY route. When done right, the results can be impressive: It’s a chance to flaunt engaging qualities that a paper CV can’t capture. But more often, the effort goes horribly wrong.

It starts with the titles. Some job hunters name their production “Hire Me,” as if they were inanimate objects in a Lewis Carroll novel. The dramatic opening follows: Candidates introduce themselves with thundering music and space-age graphics. My favorite: the job hopeful who sits in a dark room posing as Rodin’s The Thinker, as the words determination, motivation and desire float overhead. And few can resist an evocative backdrop. Candidates shout from windy rooftops, lounge in libraries or pose against a backdrop of shooting stars.

It’s interesting to see what folks think will impress a hiring manager. Suppose you really are a “Southern belle with an international mind-set” or that you recently “filled in as host for an open mike in Santa Ana.” Does that put you ahead of the youthful candidate who proves his multitasking skills by patting his head and rubbing his belly?

Discreet job hunters post their creations on walled-off recruiting sites, but too many go straight to YouTube, where the whole world can see you in a performance that, much like what goes on in the bedroom, is best witnessed only by the relevant participants. No one looks good trying to sell themselves, and it’s hard to avoid coming off as a narcissistic self-promoter. Case in point: the man who rattles on for seven minutes about his skills as an artist, technician, filmmaker, actor, business manager, marketing director, Web developer, graphic designer and, yes, video maker.

Adding insult to injury, some of these spots may never be seen by a recruiter. Headhunters and hiring managers say they avoid the videos, and not just because they don’t have time to watch them. Marvin Smith, a recruiter at Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, says they present all kinds of compliance issues with federal antidiscrimination guidelines. Plus, they have no place in a standard applicant-tracking system.

Maybe that’s for the best. Jane Howze, managing director at executive-search firm The Alexander Group, says she has yet to watch a video résumé, but if she did, she’d likely use it to screen a candidate out. Everyone with a good paper CV gets an interview, she says. Adding video just introduces the potential for her to say, “Oh, wow! What a dorky-looking mustache!” Play it safe and no one sees your bad mustache until it’s too late to say no.

Illustration by Chris Lyons.

Posted by: Patrick | August 10, 2010

Politico.com: GOP cash woes threaten fall gains

GOP cash woes threaten fall gains

By: Jonathan Martin
August 6, 2010 06:46 PM EDT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Republican National Committee is entering the fall election season with dire financial problems and, to an unprecedented degree, will be forced to rely upon outside groups to fund activities traditionally paid for by the national party.While embattled RNC Chairman Michael Steele and a top aide sought to use the party’s summer meeting here to publicly put the best face on the cash shortage, behind the scenes senior Republicans expressed grave concern that their fundraising deficiencies may be the difference between a good election year and a great one.

With $11 million on hand as of the end of June—and about $2 million in reported debt—the RNC’s paid get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort will be limited to just targeted House races, POLITICO has learned.

And the committee is only going to be able to spend money on those relatively inexpensive House races thanks to a $10 million line of credit that was approved at the meeting here. Until then, said one incredulous Republican, there was no money available for paid GOTV activities like mailers and automated phone calls.

Even with the line of credit, though, the party can’t afford to assist their many gubernatorial and Senate candidates with any dollars for paid voter contact and will have to effectively outsource that operation.

The expectation – and it’s only that because the party is barred from coordinating with third-party groups – is that the new organizations that have sprung up amid the RNC’s woes will step in to pay for such GOTV efforts in statewide contests.

Senior Republicans are particularly hopeful that the group American Crossroads, founded in part by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, is planning to fill the void in turnout funding.

“You’re not going to spend $200,000 on micro-targeting if all you’re doing is TV ads,” said one top GOP operative, alluding to the money American Crossroads has spent so far to identify voters.

POLITICO reported last month that the third-party group has hired veteran Republican strategist Carl Forti to run a micro-targeting effort and, according to a “concept paper,” would spend $15 million on “targeted grassroots advocacy” – paid voter contact.

The RNC will, though, be able to pay for volunteer GOTV activities for the final three months, such as the costs associated with housing and enabling phone banks, and they already have 285 “Victory” offices to carry out such tasks.

Because of laws against coordination, spokesmen for both the RNC and American Crossroads were cagey in describing their efforts.

“We are thrilled they have joined the fight,” said RNC spokesman Doug Heye of the new groups, noting that Democrats have had effective outside groups in previous cycles while Republicans paid a price for not having any such outfits.

“American Crossroads has said from the get-go that we’ll be active in get-out-the-vote,” said spokesman Jonathan Collegio, promising “in-depth voter contact programs in our targeted states and races.”

But the RNC’s cash-flow problems will impact far more than just turnout operations. The RNC has given the two congressional campaign committees, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, only $2 million each so far this election cycle and top GOP officials tell POLITICO that there isn’t any more available to be transferred.

So as Republicans try to regain control of the House and Senate, they’ll do so with only $4 million of already-spent dollars from the national committee. By contrast, in the 2006 election cycle the RNC transferred a total of over $57 million to the two campaign committees and independent expenditure efforts to help congressional candidates.

The NRCC alone received $17 million from the RNC then. The lack of resources could especially hamper the House Republican effort this year as they are badly trailing their Democratic counterparts financially.

At the state level, the impact of the RNC’s cash shortage is just as acute.

Consider Ohio and Missouri. Both states had hard-fought Senate races in 2006 and will again this election. But the two state parties and their candidates will get significantly less help than they did four years ago, GOP officials tell POLITICO. Ohio got over $5 million from the RNC in 2006—the last midterm election—but is slated to get just over $1 million this year. It’ll be just as bad for Missouri, which will also get just a slice of the $5 million the state received in 2006.

“If our ground game is not funded, it will really be tough,” said Ann Wagner, campaign chair for Senate hopeful Rep. Roy Blunt and a former Missouri GOP state chair and RNC co-chair.

Wagner said that while she was “hopeful” that the RNC would come up with the cash, she was also counting on assistance from other groups outside the party structure.

“It’s going to be a problem if it doesn’t come from somewhere,” she said.

An Ohio Republican said it would have a significant impact on the party’s field operation if they got a fifth of the money they received four years ago.

“I’m hoping that they’ll raise their commitment,” said the Republican.

Asked about concerns from the states about the disparity between what they’re getting this year compared to previous years, Steele declined to answer the question.

“Let’s stop that, it’s not true,” he insisted to reporters here. “Were you watching the presentation?”

Steele was alluding to RNC Chief of Staff Mike Leavitt’s PowerPoint-equipped speech to committee members here Friday morning in which he stressed what they had raised, not had currently available, and repeatedly noted that the party didn’t have a president to help them raise money this year.

Yet as Republicans privately gripe about the committee’s fiscal straits and blame it partly on the rocky stewardship of Steele, there was little appetite here to take after the already-embattled chairman.

Even critics of the gaffe-prone Steele said the final months before such a promising election was not the time to litigate his tenure.

John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor and the state’s current GOP chair, stood up at a private breakfast on Thursday morning here with Steele present and said that with about 90 days until the election Republicans ought not be trying to hurt the chairman.

That’s because, Sununu said, according to multiple sources in the room, Steele does a pretty good job of hurting himself.

The comment was said somewhat light-heartedly, but it reflects the consensus among high-level GOP officials: avoid criticizing Steele between now and Election Day and make the best of a difficult situation.

Financially, that means turning to alternate entities to boost Republican candidates.

“You’ve got to look at the complete picture,” said Mississippi GOP Committeeman Henry Barbour, citing the strong fundraising from groups such as American Crossroads, the Norm Coleman-and-Fred Malek-led American Action Network and the Republican Governors Association. “They’ll help make up any gap that may be there.”

Plus, Barbour noted the more favorable terrain on which the GOP is running this year.

“You always want more money but I’ll take momentum and the climate over more money any time,” agreed Massachusetts GOP Committeeman Ron Kaufman.

But if the GOP comes close but falls just short of recapturing control of the House—widely seen as the more likely of the two chambers to flip—it’ll be in part because they didn’t have the cash.

“Those last 10 or 15 seats [that would hand Republicans the House majority] come down to cash,” said a senior GOP operative. “And the way we’re going now we could be two-point losers instead of one-point winners.”

© 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC

The best thing that could happen to the GOP is to have someone like Paul Ryan become the face and voice of the party.  The GOP is in desperate need of “re-branding” and the current house leadership, particularly Boehner doesn’t have a clue.  Ryan has plenty of intellectual firepower and the ability to communicate in plain speak about very complex fiscal and budget problems.  Plus he’s driven to do the real work of how to restrain the size and influence of the Federal government  rather than just falling back on old tired GOP platitudes of smaller government, less spending, yada yada yada.  Check out Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future“.

I would even go so far as to say that if the GOP wins a House majority this November, that Ryan should shake up the leadership and run for Speaker of the House.

In short:  DUMP JOHN BOEHNER!!

A Young Republican with a Sweeping Agenda

Darren Hauck for The New York Times

Representative Paul D. Ryan, a 12-year veteran at 40, meeting with a women’s group in June in Burlington, part of his southeastern Wisconsin district.

By MONICA DAVEY
Published: August 2, 2010

ELKHORN, Wis. — Still early on a recent weekday morning, the mostly elderly crowd that half-filled a hall in this small town looked like it might be thinking about another cup of coffee. But Representative Paul D. Ryan, the rangy Republican who represents this southeastern Wisconsin district, was in full PowerPoint roll, gesturing and barking out, in staccato tones, why the nation must make major changes to Social Security and Medicare.

Darren Hauck for The New York Times
Representative Paul D. Ryan listening to a constituent in June at a gathering in Burlington, Wis.

“The question is, Could this happen here?” Mr. Ryan said, as an image of a burning street from the recent riots in Greece flashed on a screen behind him.

“Do you want this welfare state, which puts us down this tipping point, advances this culture of dependency, moves us away from the America idea toward more of a Western European social democracy welfare state? Do you want that which invites a debt crisis? Or the alternative party is offering you an opportunity society on top of a safety net where we reclaim these ideals and principles that founded this country. That’s what we owe you. And if we get back in office and we shrink from that challenge, shame on us.”

In this highly charged election season with both houses of Congress at stake, not a lot of politicians are lining up publicly behind Mr. Ryan. He is, nonetheless, suddenly a rising star in some corners. And like many other politicians whose ideas were once considered extreme, only to later be mainstream — like Ronald Reagan — Mr. Ryan is seen as on the leading edge of something.

Why? His “Roadmap for America’s Future,” an elaborate (critics say drastic) plan that aims to erase the federal debt by 2063, simplify the tax code and significantly alter (his critics say eviscerate) Medicare and Social Security. When asked to handicap the 2012 Republican presidential field, Sarah Palin called Mr. Ryan “sharp.” Newt Gingrich dubbed him “extraordinarily formidable.” And, in a column, George Will imagined him as vice president to a President Mitch Daniels (now the Republican governor of Indiana).

Mr. Ryan, 40 and the ranking Republican on the House budget committee, has been in Congress 12 years, but it may have been President Obama who gave him and his Roadmap the broadest attention yet. This year, Mr. Obama alluded to the plan as a “serious proposal,” though the White House promptly made it clear that it had problems with its details.

Mr. Ryan’s Roadmap served as an answer to those who have accused Republicans of saying no, while having no ideas of their own. It has taken fierce criticism from Democrats, who seem content to have something to hate, but it is drawing a far more awkward, unwanted dividing line for Republicans over the sensitive politics of entitlement programs.

Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, the minority leader, has praised Mr. Ryan but said the Roadmap would not be a part of the Republican agenda this fall.

“There are parts of it that are well done,” Mr. Boehner told reporters last month. “Other parts I have some doubts about, in terms of how good the policy is.”

In fact, only 13 House Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors, and Republican leaders, hoping for gains in the fall and, ultimately, in 2012, seem concerned at the possibility that the Roadmap may eventually become something candidates will be forced to take a position on. After all, what candidate wants to talk about major changes to Medicare and Social Security?

Even some of Mr. Ryan’s loudest supporters are reluctant to support the Roadmap top to bottom. Mr. Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, lavished praise on Mr. Ryan’s intellect and discipline, but did not go so far as to endorse the Roadmap.

“I think it’s a very good starting point,” Mr. Gingrich said. “It’s not a yes-no. When you undertake change on that scale, you have to have a national conversation.”

Fit from years of an intense exercise program called P90X and with hair as thick as Rod R. Blagojevich’s (and cut in a more contemporary fashion), Mr. Ryan has become a regular on the cable news circuit, and a book about conservative politics that he co-wrote — “Young Guns” — will include his picture on the cover when it comes out this fall.

But Mr. Ryan is still a wonk. He studied economics in college, once intended to seek an advanced degree from the University of Chicago’s school of economics, and meant to become an economist. Somewhere between stints working for Jack Kemp, a mentor, and Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, he meandered into public policy. The inner nerd seeps through: he often sleeps on a cot in the office, says he has “every 15-minute interval” until September scheduled, and writes up these PowerPoints himself (“I really like PowerPoint”).

Mr. Ryan favors small government and gun rights and opposes abortion. Mr. Obama, he says, is a pleasant person — not “nefarious or evil” — but extremely liberal, and “accelerating our path to cradle-to-grave welfare programs.”

The Roadmap, which cuts spending decades into the future, is packed with detail, though not everyone agrees what it would yield. People could choose a simplified, two-rate tax system. Corporate income tax would be replaced with a business consumption tax.

For people now younger than 55, Medicare would become a voucher program in which they would buy private insurance, and Social Security would allow people to create individual investment accounts paid for with payroll taxes. With both entitlement programs, the age eligibility requirements would gradually go up. Advocates praise the plan as a realistic way to take on the nation’s out-of-control debt and prevent the utter collapse of a Medicare and Social Security program, while critics say it guts those programs and would leave old, vulnerable people fending for themselves. Most political consultants advise steering clear of the whole conversation: messing with Social Security and Medicare, they calculate, never wins votes — something Wisconsin Democrats have instantly homed in on.

“We will be talking about his oddball plan to end Medicare and privatize Social Security,” Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party, said. “Republicans usually do a tap dance around the reality of the Republican fantasy of ending Social Security and Medicare. One thing you can say for him: he really wants to make it the reality.”

Mr. Zielinski also questioned Mr. Ryan’s professed passion about the deficit; where, he asked, was Mr. Ryan’s concern during the Bush administration? (Mr. Ryan’s staff counters that he has talked about these concerns and voted against several Republican spending bills over the years.)

For now, Mr. Ryan appears politically safe. His campaign has raised $2.1 million, more than in any of his six prior races.

His family has lived in these parts since 1851, and it shows. He calls the waitress at the hamburger joint by name. Older residents stop to fuss over whether he is eating enough.

Democrats, meanwhile, scrambled to find an opponent, eventually signing up John Heckenlively, who has never won office but said he was moved by the thought, “What, nobody is going to run?”

That is not to say that Democrats never win this district, a conglomeration of farm towns, industrial cities like Janesville and south Milwaukee suburbs. Mr. Obama won here.

Mr. Ryan has been talking about the ideas in the Roadmap since 2008, when he published an earlier version. During several town-hall-style meetings on a recent day, he received a few questions about Social Security and Medicare, but no pointed complaints. His plan, he tells one group, is not to end anything.

“If we did that, my mom would kill me,” Mr. Ryan said, adding that his mother, Betty, receives Social Security.

Later, Mr. Ryan said, “I don’t think these things are third rails anymore. People are ready for this.”

Mr. Ryan and his allies — who admit that the Roadmap is unlikely to get a real hearing in Congress soon — say Republican colleagues who have yet to support the idea are probably following the admonitions of political consultants. But Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California, who signed on to the Roadmap months ago, says candidates in 2012 will be forced to take a stand — up or down — on its ideas.

“The deficit isn’t going away, the entitlements aren’t getting better, and it’s tough times out there,” Mr. Nunes said. “The presidential candidates are going to have a problem with this.”

Jeff Zeleny contributed reporting from Washington.

Representative Paul D. Ryan, a 12-year veteran at 40, meeting with a women’s group in June in Burlington, part of his southeastern Wisconsin

Marketers Are Certainly Tweeting, but Users Are Barely Listening

By Michael Learmonth

Published: July 27, 2010

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Attention brands: Twitter users aren’t talking to you or about you. In fact, they barely know you exist.

The most mentioned brands on Twitter tend to be there because they are part of constant daily conversation, not because of anything the brand is or isn't doing on Twitter.
The most mentioned brands on Twitter tend to be there because they are part of constant daily conversation, not because of anything the brand is or isn’t doing on Twitter.

That’s one of the conclusions of a six-month analysis of the service’s ubiquitous 140-character messages conducted by digital agency 360i and released today.Despite marketers’ embrace of the medium, brands are finding themselves on the outside of the conversation. Of the 90% of Twitter messages sent by real people — the other 10% come from businesses — only 12% ever mention a brand, and most of those mentions are of Twitter itself.

Further, only 1% of consumer tweets that mention a brand are part of an active conversation with that brand, meaning marketers are, for the most part, conducting one-way conversations — the opposite of the way consumers often use Twitter.

The most mentioned brands on Twitter tend to be there because they are part of a constant daily conversation, not because of anything the brand is or isn’t doing on Twitter. The most mentioned brands on Twitter are, in descending order, Twitter, Apple, Google, YouTube, Microsoft, Blackberry, Amazon, Facebook, Snuggie, eBay and Starbucks.

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Embedded in the culture
Snuggie is the surprise brand on the list, but that appears to reflect the brand’s place in the culture, not its own Twitter activity. Official Snuggie profile @OriginalSnuggie has just 591 followers and @WeezerSnuggie, an account set up to promote the once-popular Weezer video, has just 693 followers and has been dormant since November.After spending six months going over a statistically significant sample of 1,800 tweets, 360i Senior-VP Sarah Hofstetter was struck at just how mundane and personal they were. “They’re mostly doing what people mocked Twitter about in the first place, as in, what I had for lunch.”

The vast majority of real people’s tweets, 94%, are personal in nature. Most tweets, 85%, are original and not re-tweets of other messages. They’re also very often conversational: 43% of tweets begin with an “@” sign, meaning they’re directed at another user, not the sender’s followers at large.

While marketers such as Dell, Comcast, Ford and Starbucks have been, at times, clever participants on Twitter, the majority of marketers use it as a mini press-release service. Only 12% of messages from marketers are directed at individual Twitter users, meaning marketers still see it as a broadcast medium rather than a conversational one.

Showing up isn’t enough
“There is still a misperception that if brands show up, people will listen to them, kind of like Facebook a few years ago,” Ms. Hofstetter said. “Twitter can be used as a promotional RSS feed, but that’s not going to establish a relationship with anybody.”

The study was conducted before Twitter took any advertising, from October 2009 through March 2010. Twitter has since rolled out a series of ad units including promoted tweets and trends. Ms. Hofstetter said the ads are great to help boost things already popular on Twitter. “They are only going to work if they are relevant in the first place,” she said.

Twitter posts are intrinsically navel-gazing, conversational and personal, but they aren’t predominantly self-promotional. Depending on your circle of connections, it can certainly feel, as Wired’s Evan Ratliff noted, that “self-aggrandizement” is “standard fare” on Twitter. But the 360i study found only 2% of tweets were professional updates or career-related.

What do Twitter users talk about? Beyond the 43% of individuals’ tweets that are conversational, 24% are status updates, 12% are links to news or comment on current events, and 3% are seeking or giving advice.

The good news for brands is that when a consumer does mention them on Twitter, they’re usually not complaining about it. Only 7% of tweets mentioning brands indicated negative sentiment, 11% positive and an overwhelmingly 82% neutral.

//

The Answer Just Might Surprise You

By Jack Neff

Published: July 26, 2010

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Isaiah Mustafa, aka “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” has clearly broken through all previous viral-video records and achieved pop-icon status. The question is: How much Old Spice body wash has he sold? And the answer is a bit of a mystery.

Isaiah Mustafa, aka 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.'
Isaiah Mustafa, aka ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.’

Since Mr. Mustafa lent his sotto voce humor to the production wizardry of the Wieden & Kennedy ad in February, the Procter & Gamble Co. brand has been consistently gaining market share, even though that’s only been enough to erase a deficit for the brand built up earlier. In the 52 weeks ended June 13, it had a roughly flat share in a category that grew a robust 8.6%, according to data from SymphonyIRI.Then again, some other men’s brands also have been making substantial share gains of late, including P&G sibling Gillette and Beierdorf’s Nivea. And the thing Old Spice, Gillette and Nivea have in common isn’t Mr. Mustafa, but rather multiple national drops of high-value coupons. They included buy-one, get-one-free offers from both P&G brands and up to $4 off a single bottle of Nivea Men from Beiersdorf, reflecting unprecedented levels of promotional intensity in the category.

Strong Gains chart
Source: SymphonyIRI Dove Men+Care launched in February, so has no year-ago comparison.

Meanwhile, Unilever’s Dove Men & Care has also picked up some share, albeit with lower-value coupons and higher price points.

The bottom line: Mr. Mustafa and Wieden & Kennedy are clearly selling some body wash, but they may not be responsible for the bulk of Old Spice’s sales gain this year.

Consider the four weeks ended June 13, possibly the best month ever for P&G body wash. Old Spice’s sales were up 106% from the prior-year period, jumping 4.8 share points in a category that grew 17.7%. But sales of Gillette body wash, also backed by buy-one-get-one-free coupons and by TV ads (but not Mr. Mustafa), were up a lot more, 277% and 3.9 share points, though it’s by far a smaller brand in the category.

Nivea men’s body wash, backed by little other media support but $4 coupons, saw its sales rise a mere 63% and its share go up 0.5 points.

And Dove Men & Care, the newest brand in the segment and against which all three were defending vigorously, dropped no coupons and was outside the main promotional burst of its February launch, but still held on to 2.4 share points for the four weeks ended June 13, down a bit from the 2.7 points for the 12-week period.

How much of Old Spice’s recent gains — of that 106% bump measured by Symphony IRI in June, for example — come from Mr. Mustafa’s ads and how much from the coupons? “It’s impossible to know,” said P&G spokesman Mike Norton.

Nor is it clear how much Old Spice’s 106% gain will disappear from P&G’s top line when coupon redemptions, which don’t figure into scanner data but do come off the company’s top line when financial results are reported next month, figure in.

But it seems clear the ad, which won the Film Grand Prix at the International Advertising Festival at Cannes in June, has had some positive impact. Old Spice began to reverse share losses as soon as it began in February.

Mr. Mustafa, a former NFL wide receiver who essentially switched to playing defense for Old Spice against the Dove launch, is now clearly back on offense. None of the data (including that for the four weeks ended July 11 that showed continued gains for P&G in body wash), yet reflects the sales impact of Mr. Mustafa’s 186 highly publicized personalized response videos earlier this month, which generated more than 34 million aggregate views and a billion PR impression in a week, according to P&G. In a single week, views of the personalized ads surpassed the nearly 29 million viral video views of Mr. Mustafa’s four TV ads since February.

As of July 18, Old Spice, with 94 million views, had become the No. 1 all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube, Mr. Norton said. Old Spice had eight of the top 11 most-popular videos on YouTube on July 16. In the six days following the start of Mr. Mustafa’s personalized videos, he reached more than 100 million followers.

The effort sent Old Spice to more than 80,000 Twitter followers (finally ahead of Mr. Mustafa’s own follower base of 30,000) and its Facebook fan base to 630,000. Facebook fan interaction jumped 800% since the launch of the personalized videos.

The effort also bumped traffic to OldSpice.com to 300%, inspired a fan to create a website (oldspicevoicemails.com) where people can download voicemail messages that sound like Mr. Mustafa, and inspired a marriage proposal from another fan, which was accepted.

In perhaps another boon for P&G, Mr. Mustafa has also inspired a counter-video from a man claiming to be a fan of Dove Men & Care, and who may be to some women a cautionary tale of the man their man could look like: http://bit.ly/b5lzAg.

On behalf of enlightened conservatives, I’d like to apologize for the damage done to Ms. Sherrod’s career and reputation for nothing more than cynical political reasons.  I think David Frum does a pretty good job of attempting to hold conservative media accountable for their role in this mess by his blog entry.

I’ve long since stopped listening to Limbaugh as he became more of a blow hard and less a political satirist as he was in the 80s.  Sean Hannity I’ve never liked and hardly took seriously.  Bill O’Reilly I like and I’m confident he will clean up the lack of due diligence he did on the situation.  Finally, Glenn Beck, who I don’t ever watch but haven’t had a reason to want to either, I hope he does as I believe O’Reilly will.

What’s funny interesting (as opposed to funny ha-ha) about this was the focus group I organized on behalf of Congressman Tom Price (GA) with a group of centrist/independent leaning BUPPIES two weeks ago.  What boiled up over and over again was that while many in the room could agree in some measure with a number of conservative policies and issues, what they couldn’t get past was the brand of the GOP around matters of the aforementioned type.

To his credit, Cong. Price, who is also Chairman of the Republican Study Group, was a great listener and there was a genuine give and take between the audience and a leader of the Conservative Caucus.  Congressional Republicans in general are cursed with have too homogeneous of districts and can’t extol the virtues of conservatism with any credibility beyond the “amen” party base.

Unfortunately, Michael Steele doesn’t help matters by being a dud of a party Chairman.  And Lord knows that many of the “old faces” of the GOP — Boehner, McConnell, especially — don’t help the brand either.

More to come on my thoughts on how to revitalize the GOP brand for modern times and for the changing electorate.

David Frum

When Andrew Breitbart unveils a selectively edited tape to defame a federal employee, conservatives blame Barack Obama

posted on July 21, 2010, at 9:10 AM
David Frum

You want to see media bias in action? Okay — look at the conservative media reaction to the firing of Shirley Sherrod.

Sherrod is the former U.S. Department of Agriculture employee fired for supposed anti-white racism. On July 19, Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com website posted a short video clip from a speech Sherrod had delivered to an NAACP gathering in March.

In the clip, Sherrod confessed to having deliberately declined on racial grounds to help a white farmer faced with a foreclosure on his farm. She was immediately terminated by the USDA and condemned by the national NAACP.

But a second look at the tape made it obvious that the tape had been severely edited, abruptly cut short. Within hours it emerged that the story on the tape was exactly the opposite of the story Breitbart had wanted to tell.

Conservative pundits justify fraudulent journalism on the grounds that all is fair in war.

Sherrod was telling a story about overcoming her own racial antagonisms. She had repented, had helped the white farmer, had saved the farm, had formed a friendship with the farmer and his family that lasts to this day. Besides which: The episode in question dates back to 1986, long before Sherrod ever went to work at the USDA.

By the morning of July 20 the Sherrod-as-racist narrative had collapsed.

What is most fascinating about that second day, however, was the conservative reaction to the collapse. At midday on the 20th, Rush Limbaugh was still praising Breitbart: “I know that Andrew Breitbart’s done great work getting this video of Ms. Sherrod at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and her supposed racism and so forth saying she’s not gonna help a white farmer.”

By the evening of the 20th, however, conservatives were backing away, acknowledging that an innocent women had been defamed.

Here’s Glenn Beck.

Here’s Rich Lowry, editor of National Review.

Here’s Instapundit
.

Here’s the popular Anchoress blog at First Things.

Even the racially incendiary Eric Erickson tweeted his disquiet, and then posted this on his RedState website.

But you’ll never guess who emerged as the villains of the story in this second-day conservative react. Not Andrew Breitbart, the distributor of a falsified tape. No, the villains were President Obama and the NAACP for believing Breitbart’s falsehood.

Breitbart went almost universally unmentioned. Erickson even justified Breitbart’s falsehood as a tragic but necessary and justifiable measure of conservative self-defense:

This is what we have become in politics because of the unrepentant race-baiting on the Left. It has become a tit for tat war of retribution. … That war has casualties on both sides. Ms. Sherrod is the latest. It is not fair. But that’s how the Left plays and the Right must fight on offense or not fight at all. It disgusts me to have to say it, but that is so very sadly where we are.”

Breitbart himself had this to say about those who would manipulate the public record for ideological purposes:

Journalists love whistle-blowers. Just not when the whistle is blown on them. Journalists love transparency. As long as they’re not the ones being exposed. No steadfast journalism rule is unbendable when it comes to justifying and protecting the racket that is modern journalism, specifically, political journalism in the United States today. The ends justify the means …. They lie when they claim to be objective. They lie when they claim to be unbiased, because these so called “truth seekers” are guilty of engaging in open political warfare. And when the whistle is blown, they simply double down.

But that of course was not a confession or apology. Breitbart continues to defend his own “ends justify the means” bending of the truth, as you can see here in this July 20 interview with CNN’s John King.

No, Breitbart’s indignant words on the 20th were aimed at another snippets-out-of-context scandal for the Right: the Daily Caller’s publication of quotations from the JournoList archive in which liberal activists and bloggers jeered George Stephanopoulos for asking Barack Obama about Jeremiah Wright.

Speaking on a liberal list serve, journalists had wondered how the Wright story could be stifled. One obnoxious young participant had even suggested that the story could be killed by hurling accusations of racism at conservative figures like Fred Barnes and Karl Rove. Conservatives exploded: The media were colluding to quash bad news about their beloved Obama! Only of course the Wright story was not quashed — unlike the story of Breitbart’s role in Sherrod’s firing, which has been, at least among conservatives.

On the phone on the evening of July 20, a friend asked me: “Can Breitbart possibly survive?” I could only laugh incredulously. I answered: “Of course he’ll survive, and undamaged. The incident won’t matter at all.”

There will be no apology or statement of regret for distributing a doctored tape to defame and destroy someone. There will be not even a flutter of interest among conservatives in discussing Breitbart’s role. By the morning of July 21, the Fox & Friends morning show could devote a segment to the Sherrod case without so much as a mention of Breitbart’s role. The central fact of the Sherrod story has been edited out of the conservative narrative, just as it was edited out of the tape itself.

When people talk of the “closing of the conservative mind” this is what they mean: not that conservatives are more narrow-minded than other people — everybody can be narrow minded — but that conservatives have a unique capacity to ignore unwelcome fact.

When Dan Rather succumbed to the forged Bush war record hoax in 2004, CBS forced him into retirement. Breitbart is the conservative Dan Rather, but there will be no discredit, no resignation for him.

Instead, conservatives are consumed with a new snippets-out-of-context uproar, the latest round of JournoList quotations. Here at last is proof of the cynical machinations of the hated liberal media! As to the cynical machinations of conservative media — well, as the saying goes, the fish never notices the water through which it swims.

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