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June 2010 - Posts

  • Do You Have Waldo Envy? Do You Ask Strangers, "Please Rob Me?"

    Jun 30 2010

    Well, if you use location-based social networking services such as Foursquare, Gowalla or Yelp, among others, you might just have the over-sharing syndrome: Waldo Envy. Forbes blogger David Pell pointed out "...there is an increasing number of people who suffer from a major case of Waldo Envy — you're convinced people care where you are."

    These location-based social networking services work by "checking you in," or marking your current location on a map, which is then placed in a social context. Many people who check-in on location-based social networks also simultaneously update their statuses with their location on other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. What many people may not realize is that, unless they have adjusted their privacy settings to broadcast their information to their friends only, their location is actually broadcasted for ALL to see across the Internet.

    The ramifications of publicly broadcasting one's current location across social networks such as Twitter and Facebook were brought to light by a website called, which aggregated people who publicly posted their current location and pointed out one fact: they were not home. presented those people as "opportunities" and boasted a tagline of "Listing All Those Empty Homes Out There." Although is now defunct, its brief existence certainly raised awareness about the issue of over-sharing.

    Hmmm... time to adjust those privacy settings?

    Kevin Brockett | Team Coordinator

  • Who Gives a *Bleep* About the Oxford Comma?

    Jun 28 2010

    Who says no one cares about punctuation anymore? When indie rock band Vampire Weekend made a recent appearance on "The Colbert Report," the host took the group to task for its song "Oxford Comma," which opens with, "Who gives a <bleep> about the Oxford comma?" Who does? Stephen Colbert, for one.

    The Oxford comma, also known as the serial comma, is the final comma in a series (e.g., "I'll have a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich"). And its perceived necessity has been subject to great debate among writers and editors ever since Strunk and White's highly influential 1918 book "The Elements of Style" (pro-Oxford comma) and the Associated Press Stylebook (anti-Oxford comma) first divided on the issue.

    During the interview, Colbert pulled out a copy of "The Elements of Style" to demonstrate the Oxford comma's domination, citing the book as the source for grammar and punctuation. While the band conceded that, sometimes, the extra comma serves a purpose, it is increasingly going the way of the VCR. In fact, journalist Lynne Truss, author of "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" (this century's version of "The Elements of Style"), has gone as far as to state, "Nowadays... A passage peppered with commas — which in the past would have indicated painstaking and authoritative editorial attention — smacks simply of no backbone ... and out-of-date reference books."

    Ouch. Take that, Colbert.

    Point is, even in an era of truncated texts and tweets, punctuation and its use remain important to communications and readers' perception of copy. Does that mean the rules can't (and don't) change? Of course not. Yes, even punctuation must move with the times.

    A moment of silence for the Oxford comma...

    Kristen Mccarthy Thomas | Public Relations Specialist

  • How to Build Trust in Social Media: Be Responsive

    Jun 24 2010

    Everyone recognizes that trust is paramount for establishing credibility in social media messaging. But how do you build trust in a medium where online identities may be little more than a logo and a few lines of copy? If you text, you already know: responsiveness. When someone sends you a text, if you want continued interaction you need to respond — and the quicker the better.
    Blogger Greg Ferenstein points out that when only text is available, participants judge trustworthiness based on how quickly others respond.

    So, he reasons, it is better to respond to a long Facebook message acknowledging that you received the message, rather than to wait until there's time to send a more thorough first message. Wait too long and you are likely to be labeled unhelpful or, worse, a host of expletive-filled attributions.

    To increase your social media responsiveness, Ferenstein suggests making sure Facebook, LinkedIn, et al, send you e-mail alerts. Then, only archive the e-mail once the message has been responded to.

    Tom Rector | VP Senior Copywriter

  • How Do Customers Find Your Website?

    Jun 24 2010

    There is a trend in people entering longer search queries, defined as averaging five to eight words. These were up 7% between December 2009 and April 2010. Searches of eight or more words increased 4%*.

    As consumers become more search-intelligent and explicit in how they search, it's become imperative to develop a solid strategy around long-tail search queries. Driving more click volume is one thing, but engaging users who are at the end of the buying cycle translates into better conversion rates and increased profitability.

    Ask your marketing team how to find which search queries are applicable to your Website.

    * Experian Hitwise

  • The Phelps Group Recognized as One of LA's "2010 Best Places to Work"

    Jun 22 2010

    The Phelps Group has been recognized for the fourth year in a row by The Los Angeles Business Journal as one of LA's "2010 Best Places to Work." The rankings of the 75 "Best Places to Work in Los Angeles" will be unveiled at the annual awards luncheon scheduled for the week of August 2. We will keep you posted on where we rank! Wish us luck!

  • Panera Bread Rises Bright and Early for a Visit from KTLA Morning News

    Jun 17 2010

    KTLA-TV Morning News broadcasted live from Panera Bread in Studio City with Panera Bread franchisee Keyshawn Johnson talking about summer salads, healthy options and Panera Bread’s community support. Check out the clips to see what Keyshawn had to say!

  • Janette Rizk Featured on New Media Panel at the Eco Expo on Environmental Education

    Jun 07 2010

    Our very own Janette Rizk spoke on the new media panel alongside new media experts from the Huffington Post, and Dwell at the Eco Expo on Environmental Education (e4), one of the largest educational environmental conferences in the nation that is entirely student run. The event kicked off with a leadership dinner catered by some of NYC’s top chefs and keynote speaker Matt Peterson, president and CEO of Global Green, USA. Students and professionals participated in panel discussions, dialogues and interactive workshops on the environment from a global perspective, science, school food sustainability, green schools, new media and eco-lifestyle. Panelists and speakers included Fred Krupp, executive director at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Jeremiah McElwee, global Whole Body coordinator at Whole Foods Market; and Amy Leonard, senior vice president at Levi Strauss Global.