Media & Communications
Social Media Marketing in Times of Tragedy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:41

If you’re using social media for marketing, what should you say following a tragedy like the deadly blasts at the Boston Marathon on April 15?

The horrific elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn.?

The October storm that took lives and devastated communities across the Northeast?

Sometimes, nothing at all.

The age of digital marketing brings with it new challenges, including how to respond during a national tragedy. Remember, as recently as Sept. 11, 2001, we had no MySpace, much less Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Except for email, no vehicle for delivering instantaneous marketing messages existed. After 9/11, one of the most painful days in American memory, most of us had time to pause, reflect and put on hold print, radio and TV marketing campaigns that might be viewed as inappropriate or offensive.

In recent months, there has been lively debate on this topic in the marketing community, including how and when to tie – or not to tie -- a marketing message into the news of the day, a  widely used strategy.

Gaffes can occur with the most innocent of intentions in any media content, marketing or not. Earlier in April, a new episode of the musical comedy “Glee” upset and angered parents in Newtown, Conn., because the plot featured a student bringing a gun to school, where it accidentally discharges.

"A lot of people were upset about it and that I feel horrible about,” Jane Lynch, one of the stars, told Access Hollywood Live days later. “If we added to anybody's pain, that's just certainly not what any of us wanted. … We're always rather topical and rather current."

Usually, however, simply applying your own sense of decency and good taste can help you avoid a blunder. Consider American Apparel’s notorious “Hurricane Sandy Sale – in case you’re bored during the storm,” advertised as tens of thousands of people endured freezing temperatures without power. Most of us wouldn’t have even considered such a ploy!

Here are a couple more suggestions for do’s and don’ts:

• If you use automated posts scheduled through a site such as HootSuite, turn them off immediately. If people don’t find them insensitive and uncaring or silly, they’ll likely conclude your messages come from a robot – not a real person – which is just as bad.

• Can you be helpful? Hours after the blasts in Boston, with cell phone service out in the city and family and friends desperately trying to connect with loved ones, launched “Person Finder: Boston Marathon Explosions.” There, individuals and organizations could share information about the status of marathon participants and spectators for those trying to find them.

If your community has suffered a tragic event, perhaps you have helpful information to share. Here in Florida, which is affected by hurricanes, people use social media to help evacuees and their pets find shelter, and to alert others to danger, such as downed power lines. Depending on your area of expertise, you may be able to provide more general information or commentary. For instance, an educator can share tips for answering children’s questions about the event. Philanthropists might comment on those selflessly step up to help.

• Of course, social media is also about reactions and, for many, that’s a sincere expression of sympathy for and unity with those affected.

If you want to post something and you’re unsure about what to say, take a look at what businesses and other brands are sharing, and how online users are reacting. You may decide to just say nothing for a day or two, or whatever time seems reasonable given the nature of the event.

Sometimes, saying nothing at all speaks volumes.

About Marsha Friedman

every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST. Follow her on Twitter: @marshafriedman.

In Book Publishing, Less Is The New More PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 22 April 2013 15:01

The hottest book publishing trend today: less is the new more.

“The first time I saw a 73-page ‘book’ offered on Amazon, I was outraged,” says New York Times best selling author Michael Levin.  “But I thought about how shredded the American attention span is.  And I felt like Cortez staring at the Pacific.”

The trend in books today, Harry Potter notwithstanding, is toward books so short that in the past no self-respecting publisher—or author—would even have called them books.  But today, shortened attention spans call for shorter books.

Levin blames smartphones and social media for what he calls “a worldwide adult epidemic of ADH…ooh, shiny!”

“Brain scientists tell us our brain chemistry has been transformed by short-burst communication such as texting, Tweeting, and Facebook posts,” Levin adds.  “Long magazine articles have given way to 600-word blog posts.  And doorstop-size books have been replaced by minibooks.”

This sudden change in attention spans changed the way Levin approaches ghostwriting.  “Even five years ago, we aimed for 250-page books.  Today we advise our business clients to do 50-page minibooks to meet impatient readers’ expectations for speedy delivery of information.”

Levin, who runs the ghostwriting firm and was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, says that people are looking for leadership disguised as a book.  “Today,” he asserts, “people don’t want you to prove your assertions.  They just want to know that you have legitimate answers to their questions and that they can trust you.  If you can’t get buy-in with 50 pages today, you won’t get it in 250.”

The trend toward shorter books caused Levin to offer what he calls the “Book-Of-The-Quarter Club,” which creates four 50-page hardcover minibooks a year for BusinessGhost’s clients.  “This allows them to address four different major issues, or four different sets of prospects, and provides quarterly opportunities for marketing events,” Levin says.

How short will books eventually run?

“Can you say ‘haiku’?” Levin asks.  “We’re waiting for a three-line, 17 syllable book.  It could happen.”

About Michael Levin

Michael Levin, founder and CEO of BusinessGhost, Inc., has written more than 100 books, including eight national best-sellers; five that have been optioned for film or TV by Steven Soderbergh/Paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, and others; and one that became “Model Behavior,” an ABC Sunday night Disney movie of the week. His new minibook, “The Financial Advisor's Dilemma,” teaches how to create trust and distinctiveness in the highly competitive marketplace.

Celebrate National Library Week at Rock Island Library with Gardening, Music, eBook demos, Stories & More PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Lisa Lockheart   
Monday, 15 April 2013 07:55

Rock Island, IL: “Communities Matter at Your Library” is the theme of National Library Week, April 14-20, and to celebrate, the Rock Island Public Library is bringing together varying interests, services, and communities of learners and readers.

Starting Monday, April 15, two new cultural and attraction passes will become available for checkout at the Rock Island Main, 30/31 and Southwest Branch Libraries. Patrons can now check out a free family pass for four to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, or a pass for two adults and up to four children from Niabi Zoo, Coal Valley, in addition to the family passes for four already available for the Quad Cities Botanical Center, Rock Island. Passes check out for seven days, and must be picked up and returned in person at the issuing library branch. There is a $1 per day fee if passes are not returned on time.

Also on Monday, a new awareness service from Prairie State Legal Services starts at the Main Library, 401 19th Street. Trained volunteers from Prairie State Legal Services will be available from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays on the 2nd floor of the library to offer information and assistance with navigating public benefits for food, cash, medical assistance, disability and township assistance. Prairie State Legal Services volunteers cannot offer legal advice.

Special events and activities offered at the Rock Island Library during National Library Week include:

Monday, April 15:

  • 6:30 pm, Vegetable Gardening: A Feast for the Eyes and Palate, Rock Island Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street. The free “liven up your landscape” program offers tips from Sandy Russell, of Tastes of the Rainbow, on how choosing organic or heirloom varieties can add color, nutrition and taste to a garden, from the flashes of gold of a Sunshine Cherry Tomato to the bright blue peppers of a Filius Blue pepper plant.
  • 6:30 pm, Family Dinosaur Storytime, for all ages, Rock Island Southwest Branch Community Room: 9010 Ridgewood Road:

Tuesday, April 16:

  • 10:30 am, Dinosaur Storytime for ages birth to five, Rock Island 30/31 Branch, 3059 30th Street.
  • 5:30 to 7:30 pm, Blues and Gospel film and discussion, Main Library Community Room, 401 19th Street. The scholar-led discussion on Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Episode 1, Feel Like Going Home and Say Amen, Somebody, is the first of three Rock Island Library programs in the America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway series. America’s Music is a grant-funded series of film viewings, discussions and performance events at Rock Island, Moline, Bettendorf and Davenport Public Libraries, River Music Experience and Western Illinois University-Quad Cities. For more events in the series, visit

Wednesday, April 17:

  • 10:30 am, Special “How I Became a Pirate” storytime presented by Circa 21, Southwest Branch, 9010 Ridgewood Road.  Captain Braid Beard (Janos Horvath), from the Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse’s new musical adventure, will stop by to help read stories, talk like a pirate and help with pirate crafts for ages birth to five.  The musical is based on the popular children’s book of the same name, by Melinda Long.
  • 4:00 pm: Lego Time, Rock Island Southwest Branch, 9010 Ridgewood Road. Make something fun for display at the library with Lego-brand building blocks.
  • 6:00 pm, Downloading eBooks demo, Southwest Branch, 9010 Ridgewood Road. Learn how to check out eBooks and eAudiobooks for free with your library card.

Thursday, April 18:

  • 6:00 pm, Teen Movie Night, Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street. Free movie screening, snacks and more fun, just for ages 12 to 18.

Friday, April 19:

  • 10:30 am, Dinosaur Storytime for ages birth to five, Rock Island Main Library Children’s Room, 401 19th Street.

Saturday, April 20 – all events at Southwest Branch, 9010 Ridgewood Road:

  • 10:00 am, El Dia Family Storytime, featuring a reading of Book Fiesta, by Pat Mora, who helped start the annual April celebration of children’s books.
  • 10:30 am, Saturday Lego Time, followed by an 11:30 am “Stem-tivity” on kite flying. STEM-tivity programs are fun, hands-on activities involving Science, Technology, Engineering or Math.

National Library Week highlights the importance of libraries, librarians, and library workers, and their commitment to the places where their patrons live, work and study. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

All programs are free and open to the public. For more news about Rock Island Public Library events, visit, call 309-732-7323 (READ) or follow the Rock Island Library on Facebook and Twitter. A monthly calendar of library events is available online and at Rock Island Library locations.


Celebrate Children's Book Week 5/13/13 - 5/19/13 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Book World   
Thursday, 11 April 2013 13:41

Valid in store only and while supplies last

Book World, Inc


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Media Link Welcomes New Account Manager PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Courtney Boothe   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 08:40
Rock Island, IL/ April 10th, 2013 -  Media Link, Inc. is proud to announce it's newest Account Manager, Laura Van Barg. In her new position she will be working with our customers on Media Link Software and Government affairs.

Van Barg has over a decade of marketing experience and has previously worked for Media Link, Inc., as well as Simon Properties Group, American Bank and Trust, NA, Lujack's Northpark Auto Plaza, and Living Lands & Waters.

"I am happy to be rejoining the Media Link team," said Van Barg. "Natalie Linville-Mass has built her advertising agency to the point where it is a key player in the advertising industry not only in the Quad Cities, but in the region and beyond. Her development of Media Link Software™ is bound to be a game-changer in the media buying industry nationwide."

"We are so excited to have Laura back on our team.  She has incredible talent and tenacity and is truly a welcome addition to our team.  We really need someone with her caliber to help us as we take this agency to a national level," said Natalie Linville-Mass, President of Media Link, Inc.

Media Link, Inc. is a full-service integrated marketing firm specializing in strategic media buying and placement. Media Link works with businesses in the Quad-Cities and around the country to develop and execute customized marketing strategies to help them more effectively reach their customers. Media Link, Inc. recently developed and launched its own media buying software system, Media Link Software™. This company is also one of the only marketing firms in the region to have obtained an 8(a) SDB certification, a designation of significance to clients who contract with the federal government.


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