Posts Tagged ‘flash mob’

For Valentine’s Day – The Story of a Social Media Wedding Proposal

February 14, 2012 9 comments

Derek and Adrienne - "Mad Men" Style Courtesy of Autumn Luciano

As today is Valentine’s Day, I thought it fitting to finally get around to writing about how I romanced my wife into marrying me using social media.

The Backstory

In grad school, I met a bright and vivacious colleague who was always the first person to start up conversations with the room before class started.  Fortunately her extroversion overcame the introversion that plagued me throughout my time in school and we became friends.  In addition to being funny and kind, she was smart and hard-working which made her an ideal partner for group projects.  She also shared my fondness for snark and would sit in the back row with me, actively contributing to the running dialogue about the class (nowadays the kids call this “tweeting”).

After grad school, we kept in touch and remained friends.  She always had great insight when I was facing challenges at work, and I was more than happy to come speak to her colleagues about social media and lend a hand in the charitable efforts she was always investing herself in.

Everything always remained friendly and platonic because we were both in long term relationships.  At some point both of our relationships ended and created the opportunity for a romantic spark.

The Proposal – Ver. 1.0

I can never do anything the easy way.  Like most people who muster up the courage to make a marriage proposal, I wanted it to be as special as the person I was proposing to.  I quickly realized this would be impossible, so I tried to think of something 1/10th as special as my future wife. Read more…


PRSA 2011 Assembly Flash Mob Video (Featuring Jack O’Dwyer)

October 31, 2011 2 comments

This year I took a break from organizing flash mobs like I did in 2009 and 2010 and instead handed the reins over to Jack O’Dwyer, my favorite curmudgeon.

O’Dwyer’s repeated unethical and illegal behavior forced the organization to take the step of refusing to issue him press credentials (the evidence against O’Dwyer and the rationale for the move are detailed eloquently in this blog post by PRSA).  Here’s my favorite part of their response to his complaints about not being allowed in:

“Mr. O’Dwyer is an activist, and he has the right to be one. But much like the author of the “Sprint Really Sucks”blog would not be invited to attend the annual meeting of Sprint shareholders, so, too, does PRSA have the right to deny access to an activist who harasses our employees, volunteers and business partners.”
– (Arthur Yann, ‘Aren’t You Tired Of It By Now Too?’, October 26th 2011)

So O’Dwyer became a one-man flashmob, posting himself outside the entrance to the assembly with a fistful of papers (some of which looked like a list of names that were being checked).  I took the opportunity to shoot this video of O’Dwyer camped in the public space outside the assembly so that people could get an idea of how he conducts himself:

Regarding the comments O’Dwyer made on the phone and his generally-unprofessional conduct:

  • The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) invited O’Dwyer to resign his membership.
  • Vendors clearly have no problem with PRSA’s decision, nor do they have any problems accessing O’Dwyer to mug for the camera as these examples show:
    • Example 1: (Sidebar: This is one of my favorite videos of all time as it shows how completely out-of-step O’Dwyer is with the rest of the world – he’s asked to defend his position that public relations people should never be allowed to interact directly with the public (because they apparently have special communication powers that make it an inherently unfair situation.  No lie – he actually believes that – it’s one of his many criticisms of PRSA.)
    • Example 2
    • Example 3
  • As I mentioned in the video – if O’Dwyer wanted to find out what was going on in the conference, the hashtags #prsadelegates and #prsa_leaders carried unfiltered discussion about each moment of the 2011 Assembly directly from the attendees.  Unfortunately Mr. O’Dwyer is the journalistic equivalent of a coelacanth (something you believe is extinct until you actually encounter one in the wild) and isn’t a very skilled user of social media.
Thus far the handful of advocates for journalistic access who have published content in support of O’Dwyer have demonstrated that they’re painfully ignorant of the situation they’re inserting themselves into.  Let this be a warning to any others that they may want to vet Jack O’Dwyer before itching their wagon to his and turning him into the poster child for transparency.

O’Dwyer off the Deep End: A Beautiful Mind in its own Words

October 21, 2010 4 comments


Hilarious Photo of me on the O'Dywer's Blog

Hilarious Photo of me on the O'Dywer's Blog That I'm Going to Make my Facebook Profile Photo

I’m starting to feel bad for Jack O’Dwyer; in an effort to support the narrative he’s trying to sell that PRSA is undemocratic (APR Fans Rout Unbelievers at Assembly), he published his first story about the PRSA 2010 assembly flash mob (Delegates Recognize Our Reporting) without doing enough research …and now he looks bad.  Rather than admit his misunderstanding, he’s instead opted to believe there’s a massive conspiracy to silence me.  Here’s an excerpt from an email he sent:


“As for Derek DeVries’s explanation of the pen presentations, he now calls himself a “goofball” as well as the others who gave me pens. I would like to talk to them. They may not agree.

This is only one person’s opinion. Somebody must have put a lot of pressure on him. He says this was arranged by “a bunch of goofballs.” Is that who is in the Assembly? Then he says PRSA had nothing to do with it. No one said this was an official action of the board.”

To that end, he’s been attempting to intimidate me via email and voicemail to admit to the nonexistent conspiracy – and now he’s published a blog post all about me (We’re Nutty and Inaccurate, Says Delegate).

In the interest of letting people judge for themselves what’s up, I present the bizarre, rambling voicemails O’Dwyer has left me:

I wonder if O’Dwyer realizes that becoming a target of his blog is probably the best career move I’ve ever lucked into…?

Jack O’Dwyer Misunderstands PRSA 2010 Assembly Flash Mob

October 17, 2010 3 comments

PR news beat fixture and legendary curmudgeon Jack O’Dwyer actually wrote about the Flash Mob organized yesterday at the PRSA International Assembly.  (I know, I can’t believe it either).  His assessment is … less than accurate (which I know will be surprising to a lot of PRSA members):

“While talking to Stevens, about 20 delegates formed a line and began presenting us with pens.

Bewildered, we started accepting them since delegates were all smiling and this did not look like any criticism of us.

Most just walked away but one finally explained that our blogs on the APR issue had reached a “flashpoint” (gone viral) in Twitter and blogville and that we were being given pens as a recognition of our efforts to communicate.”  (Source)

First, I should say that PRSA had nothing to do with the flash mob.  It was a bunch of goofballs like me who happened to be delegates.  We thought we’d liven up the assembly and have some fun paying tribute to Jack for his tenacious (if occasionally misguided) work to cover PRSA.

I think most PR people would describe their relationship with Jack as similar to that of an exasperating relative; in the end we’re all family, but he can be frustrating to interact with.

We opted to present him with disposable pens in the same way the faculty of Princeton presented John Forbes Nash with their pens in the memorable scene toward the end of “A Beautiful Mind.”  We thought it fitting as both Nash and O’Dwyer occasionally have had difficulty matching their version of reality with the version experienced by others.  Using the power of social media (primarily Twitter), we coordinated a flash mob to go into effect at 2:45 p.m. when the assembly took a break.

This was the result:

It was a lot of fun, and we decided to extend the flash mob to the entire PRSA 2010 International Conference – so if you see Jack O’Dwyer in the hall, take a moment to present him with the “tribute” of a disposable pen.

PRSA 2010 Assembly Flash Mob Video

October 16, 2010 3 comments

Here are the results of this year’s Flash Mob (to present Jack O’Dwyer with pens ala “A Beautiful Mind”).  Enjoy!

We’ve decided to continue the Flash Mob during the entire conference; so if you see Jack – hand him a pen.  Better yet – have someone snap a photo of you handing Jack a pen, and email it to me and if we get enough of them we’ll put together a compilation.

PRSA 2010 Assembly Flash Mob Instructions

October 16, 2010 1 comment

In the spirit of good humor and fun (and to relieve some of the tension surrounding the APR requirement vote) – we present the PRSA 2010 Flash Mob.

Last year, we tipped our tent cards.  This year we tip our caps.  We’ll be honoring/ribbing everyone’s favorite curmudgeon and muck-raker, Jack O’Dwyer.  Instructions:

  1. Get a disposable pen.  If you don’t have one, find Bonnie Upright or myself (Derek DeVries).
  2. When we break this afternoon (at 2:45 p.m. or thereabouts), everyone will take a disposable pen and proceed to the back of the room.
  3. We’ll all line up and present our pens one at a time to Jack O’Dwyer (ala the movie “A Beautiful Mind”).

Scene from "A Beautiful Mind"