Monday, January 31, 2011

Curious? - 2011 World Predictions from Top Medium Joseph Tittel

Did you know 3 out of 4 Americans believe in some form of the paranormal? If you are like 1 in 3 Americans, you believe you have personally had a paranormal experience in your life. Admit it, you have read your horoscope in a magazine or newspaper at least once.

In the book Paranormal America co-authored by Baylor Sociology Professors Christopher D. Bader and Carson Mencken, they recently surveyed a cross section of Americans with a deliberate randomness to compile an update on statistics for America’s belief in the paranormal.

Their work found 70-80% of America does believe in some form of the unexplained. They also found believers to have at least a high school education and a higher income than the average. They did not find believers to be on the fringe of society.

While there are many frauds that call themselves psychics or mediums, there are legitimate mediums working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement on a regular basis. As numerous documentaries and several television shows now highlight, there is documentation of the paranormal in FBI studies and crime solving.

Pennsylvania medium Joseph Tittel is the real deal. He explains “Since I was a young child, I have felt, seen, and sensed spirits and information about the future. I was nicknamed Spiritman by a childhood friend in my late teens or early twenties. It just stuck.”

Joseph has been a working medium for over 15 years. His down to earth personality, sense of humor, and detailed predictive accuracy has gained him a vast and loyal following in the US and internationally.

He authored the book Messages From The Other Side and has been featured on television and radio programs as well as in print. Joseph created and hosts his popular Messages From The Other Side call-in radio show on WBCB 1490 AM and on the Internet’s Blog Talk Radio.

He impressed audiences on the Lifetime’s hit series America's Psychic Challenge with his ability to provide complete and detailed accuracy of the crime to investigators from a murder scene he had no prior knowledge. Joseph also found a boy hiding on one square mile of desert in 4 minutes, 12 seconds.

He is able to communicate with spirits in haunted places, and he gives detailed information including names and dates. Upon historic research of his findings, he has proven out to be remarkably accurate.

The first week of January, Joseph Tittel releases his world predictions for the upcoming year live on his radio program and then on his blog. His predictions encompass the economy and investments, US and world politics, weather events, medical, science, and celebrity.

As just a few of his accurate past predictions for 2008-2010, in 2008 Joseph predicted the earthquake in China and the worst tornados in history along with soaring gas prices. He also noted Obama was not the man he seemed to be, and OJ would end up in the slammer. Many of his real estate news and investment areas were accurate.

His 2009 predictions on many voters being angry with President Obama’s policies (think Tea Party movement) and Michael Jackson's death proved accurate. He noted mudslides in California and Washington, discovery of a new planet, and impeachment for selling Obama’s senate seat by a politician he thought was named Blagojevich.

In 2010 he accurately predicted the Philadelphia Phillies would win the World Series as well as record cold winters, record hot summers, and numerous global earthquakes. He noted legalizing marijuana would be a big debate in many states, and there would be problems for NASA.

To see a complete list and exact detail of Joseph Tittel’s 2011(and some 2012) predictions, go to his blog. Only in part and with some detail summarized for space, here are a few of his 2011 predictions:

* Significant 2011 Dates – Jan 15; Mar 3, 22; Apr 1, 3, 10, 16; Jun 5, 20; Sep 1, 18, 20; Oct 18, Dec 24, 25
* Obama will put up a good second term fight, but more voter anger around him will affect him running.
* A woman will enter White House by 2016 possibly as VP first and then become President.
* Bus explodes in terrorist bombing incident possibly in Chicago. Something big will happen there.
* Former US President dies in late 2011. Could be Carter or elder Bush.
* Major controversy in Miami that evokes protests.
* Arizona law goes into effect and causes fury, anger, and protests.
* Economy remains in a hole until the end of 2011 when things seem better and consumers begin to spend.
* More issues with layoffs and so forth will hit once more in 2012.
* Major changes in bank credit prevent more than 50% from buying causing drop in real estate.
* Early 2011 to April is a good buy if you can sit on real estate for a while.
* Avoid stock market unless you know what you are doing. Stock market is going to experience some major and sudden losses leaving many people with barely anything left to invest.
* Other forms of investing to look into are gold, platinum, diamond, emeralds, and other precious jewels and metals.
* Two or three points between mid-2011 up to the end of 2012 that could make instant millionaire overnight in stocks.
* One company doing well years ago and dropped huge over the past two years and has not been doing well since will introduce something new that causes stock to move up ten times its current trade.
* Buyers must jump in at start of rise on this stock for once it hits high, it begins to drop rapidly.
* Chrysler hits the headlines with major recalls. People are not happy with them.
* Australia, US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and China will be hit with record breaking weather.
* Largest recorded earthquake in mid-California. Flood and mudslides in Oregon.
* Two separate volcano eruptions, record hurricane, and tidal wave or tsunami mid-2011 to mid-2012 in Hawaii.
* Hurricane hitting Texas and Louisiana. Flooding in North Carolina.
* Earthquake hits Washington DC, and White House is shaken up quite a bit.
* A leader of a country is shot, either in head or chest, while making a speech to hundreds. Not Obama.
* China and Russia make a commitment or pact to each other causing a big stir, especially with US.
* US discovers a foreign country does possess nuclear war head missiles. Most likely Iran.
* Israel has hands full in 2011and 2012 with terrorist attacks and bombings.
* One Israel bombing involves children at the hand of Iran.
* Large bomb attack wipes out large city or small country.
* Mid to late 2011 forward into 2012. May come as surprise that Israel pushes button for big bomb.
* North Korea spells out big trouble for the world. May endure a military attack.
* North Korea may become problem for US when our government interferes and our allies go against US.
* US angry at another country and is not backed up by allies. May cause WWIII.
* Rioting in the streets in England and by 2012 could be like this throughout the world.
* Large funeral outside the Royal Palace from sudden tragic royal passing. Not Queen necessarily.
* Queen Elizabeth very angry over something huge. Could result in war.
* A new King and/or Queen are crowned.
* High speed train collision in Germany kills dozens.
* Many people wearing facemasks. Virus, chemical leak, terrorist attack. Russia. Not in US.
* Russian economic collapse and below normal temperature bringing death in unexpected areas.
* France also encounters large economical issues and a fall of its economy.
* Controversy around Pope and Vatican mid-2011. Causes great damage.
* More anger with airline security when a terrorist gets through and attacks outside US possibly Australia.
* Big airlines trouble with at least one bankruptcy and flyer boycotts.
* Huge medical advancements in 2011 and into 2013.
* Discovery of a plant that has many healing factors and even helps cure certain diseases and cancer.
* Advancements in breast and colon cancer, HIV/AIDS and other blood diseases.
* One blood disease is completely cured by a special blood filtering system.
* Critics give Oprah a hard time about her new network. In time, OWN beats out just about all the networks and quickly becomes one of the biggest networks of them all. Soon she will be running against ABC, NBC, and CBS.

Joseph’s paranormal gifts are only outweighed by his compassion. He offers, “I most enjoy my work with clients seeking to reconnect with those that have passed on. I am happy to use my gifts to bring peace and closure for people.”

Not surprisingly, Joseph works with politicians and police departments. He notes with a smile “Politicians go to great lengths to keep that they come to me for readings a secret.” On a more serious note, “I work with police departments whenever I am asked at no charge. It is a way I can give back to communities.”

Joseph pays it forward. “Helping those who cannot help themselves and giving back to the community is a part of my mission statement for my life. I think this is very important for everyone but especially for those that have a spotlight on them. I do not understand those in my profession that do not.”

Each year Joseph and his manager Bob Breining organize several events to raise money and awareness for special causes. They have raised thousands for the Arthritis Foundation, The Healing Consciousness Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure, Camp Kindle, and Camp Dream Catcher.

One of Joseph’s goals is “to tour the world with my seminar Message From The Other Side to raise as much money as possible to help children in need both in the United States and worldwide.”

Joseph Tittel ends our interview this way, “Many psychics will not even go there at all with doing predictions just because of the backlash they may receive if they are not accurate. Even with my own predictions, I have found web sites that crucify me for the things I may have gotten wrong but always fail to acknowledge all the specific predictions I make that come true. Finally now that I'm 40 years old, I know that there will be people that will love you and those that just do not.”

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union – 1st American Children Investment Must be They Don’t Inherit a Bankrupt Country

Photo Credit - Flickr
If you are out of work or woefully underemployed today, you were not excited by the State of the Union speech or impressed by President Obama’s future focus in it. If you are concerned about the big government spending and the now record deficit of $1.5T, you weren’t impressed either.

President Obama did not focus on what the majority of Americans care about most as we enter 2011 – immediate jobs and urgent spending cuts.

No matter how much one may like the president as a person, or think he has a wonderful family, or even believe he is trying his best; the SOTU speech was a stunning display of how out of touch with the reality of every day Americans he really is.

President Obama’s speech focus reflected he really doesn’t get it. He really does live in the DC bubble. American political concentration must be on jobs today and tomorrow – not tomorrow only. The jobs focus needs to be immediate and for adults that have no job prospects today, not only on what jobs children will have in 20 years.

Having a SOTU speech that focused on the future education of those now in elementary school and the Dream Act as corner stones in rebuilding America’s future seemed to blatantly ignore and be a replacement for the extreme need to focus on rebuilding the lives of unemployed Americans today.

The state of the economy for most Americans is things are not getting better in their every day lives. The unemployed still can not find jobs, even jobs well below what they lost months ago. Housing prices are starting downward again with foreclosures in 2011 estimated to be at the same record levels of 2010 if not higher. Prolonged unemployment and more foreclosures go hand in hand in reality.

The wear and tear on Americans, including unemployed professionals with a college degree, is showing with extreme increases, if not records are being set, in the number of foreclosures, short sales, settlements, charged off credit card accounts, and bankruptcies in 2008-2010.

One in eight Americans is now on food stamps. One in seven is now living in poverty. This includes formerly employed professionals educated at the level President Obama espouses for future generations.

Many lament the downfalls of the US being a youth focused culture in advertising and entertainment. Is job creation now only going to be focused on the youth also?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics November 2010 Employment Situation report the unemployment rate go up to 9.8%. Increased joblessness had set a record remaining at 9.5% or higher for 16 consecutive months. The current unemployment rate is not much improved at 9.4%. At 43%, almost half of the long-term unemployed are 45-years and older.

It was good to see the president acknowledge cutting the corporate tax rate is needed to ensure the US is competitive in a global market in job creation. At 35%, the US has the second highest tax rate in the world. There was also an acknowledgment that government over regulation is an issue in creating an environment of private sector job creation. He must walk the talk.

The president’s future focus on jobs being in clean energy, high speed rail, health research, and education is all too far down the road to affect the lives of unemployed Americans today. His talk of investment and innovation in America in these areas also look to be more government spending is the answer in reality.

Investment and innovation in America must come from the private sector without government subsidies and spending money the US simply does not have now without continued borrowing, digitally printing, raising taxes, or stealing from future generations.

Everyone knows “government investment” means “government spending”. Americans are innovators without government help or direction. We always will be if allowed and trusted to be so. Isn’t the theft of intellectual property by other countries, mainly China, a big problem for America’s private sector companies?

Regretfully, President Obama’s SOTU speech was in many ways reflective of protecting big government, big spending, big waste, big duplicity, and big bureaucracy. To suggest a “freezing” of current levels of spending for 5 years as reflecting the fiscal discipline Americans want to see is not moving to the center politically or listening effectively to those governed by consent.

Freezing the current spending at a level that increased government agencies 25% in the first two years of being in office is not President Obama realistically owning up to the current budget crisis. In the 2010 SOTU address Obama promised a 3 year spending freeze that did not come to pass. With all the talk in the 2011 SOTU of new investments, why would anyone believe a 5 year spending freeze will happen either?

Realistically the new entitlements in Obamacare promise to increase spending by billions. What other government programs will be decreased as an offset to ensure a 5 year spending freeze?

Investment or spending in education has doubled over the last 30 years with scores going down. Will the US ever admit spending too little on education is not the problem? Will the president ever really take on the stranglehold of teacher’s unions to reward good teachers and oust bad ones? If education spending is increased, again, what other government programs will be decreased as an offset to ensure a 5 year spending freeze?

The president noted in his speech kids must be taught discipline and work ethic. He didn’t note this could begin with parental role models and welfare reform. As much as he is taking a page out of Former President Bill Clinton’s political playbook of moving to the center, he is in reality no Bill Clinton.

The president offered a note on government bureaucratic duplicity with the example of there being 12 different agencies dealing with exports and 5 different agencies dealing with housing. Did he lay out a plan specifically to cut any of these agencies reducing government spending in this way?

Did President Obama acknowledge Obamacare comes with increasing the IRS by thousands of agents to enforce the regulation and mandates? Did he note Obamacare comes with creating a huge new bureaucracy with billions in increased administrative government spending? This makes the 12 export agencies and 5 housing agencies he did mention look like fiscal discipline in comparison.

Indicators of inflation are here today with rising prices at the gas pumps and grocery stores. The need to increase the debt ceiling to continue government levels without significant spending cuts was ignored in the SOTU speech.

Yes, Mr. President, the American children are America’s future. Meaningful and effective federal government must be willing to first invest in American children by not having them inherit a bankrupt country. The second investment in them should be their parents have employment and economic stability.

President Obama likes the comparison of himself to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Perhaps FDR’s “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” could be applied to immediate job creation and urgent spending cuts in 2011. The future of America’s children really depend on this more than anything else.



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Monday, January 24, 2011

Real Estate Trend Expert Tom Ruff's January 2011 Housing Report

“Torture numbers and they’ll confess to anything.” Gregg Easterbrook

I can now empathize with the rescued Chilean miners, because after being trapped in a data-mining operation since late November, I emerged just last week via my own Phoenix capsule.

What did I learn after being confined in a data mine for over six weeks? Simple: no matter what type of mine entombs you, singing like Elvis really does help pass the time.

Six Weeks Trapped in the Mine

The intent of the data-mining operation was to create a database wherein comparable sales could be matched by transaction type. For example, if a third-party investor purchased a property at auction and later flipped that property, that investor would be able to look at the prices that third-party buyers are paying at auction and then see what those properties are selling for on the flip, giving the investor an apples-to-apples approach.

Below is a summation of December’s resale activity that was harvested during my recent mining operation. I think it’s interesting, and I think you’ll find it interesting, too.

December

TYPEOFSALE VOLUME PERCENTAGE DOLLARS SQFT PRICE PER SF AVG PRICE AVGSQFT
GOVERNMENT 2,314 28.0 6% $231,765,741 3,929,606 $58.98 $100,158.10 1,698
NORMAL 1,598 19.3 8% $436,705,251 3,243,677 $134.63 $273,282.40 2,030
DISTRESSED 1,505 18.25% $234,260,889 2,915,898 $80.34 $155,655.10 1,937
BANK OWNED 1,314 15.93% $199,764,403 2,491,724 $80.17 $152,027.70 1,896
FLIP 824 9.99% $126,460,493 1,538,353 $82.21 $153,471.50 1,867
3rd PARTY AUC 691 8.38% $74,801,371 1 216,641 $61.48 $108,250.90 1,761

While sales volume was up, median prices were down in December. Translation: lower prices mean increased demand. The much talked-about double dip finally arrived, as evident by December’s median home price of $115,000, which was 4.09% below our previous low of $119,000 in April 2009.

As the chart above displays, a high number of lower-priced government home sales had a dramatic impact on the median sales price. Transactions involving the federal government accounted for 28.06% of all sales activity last month, making up the single largest transactional category.

Since they accounted for the largest percentage of sales activity and sold homes for the cheapest prices, government sales negatively impacted the median price.

An interesting conclusion drawn from the numbers above is that banks are now getting the same prices for REOs and short sales. In our opinion, this is very good news for short sale buyers. You will notice in this spreadsheet that normal sales are $134.63 per square foot, which is much higher than what other reporting services say.

The reason my numbers are higher is because I break out flips. As the chart above shows, flips in December sold for $82.21 per square foot. Investors purchasing properties at trustee sales with a sell-and-flip strategy are buying on average $61.48 per square foot and quickly selling for $82.21.

Looking ahead to January, early numbers show more government sales in the mix, which means continued weakening of our median prices. Taking a quick look at foreclosure activity, in December there were 5,766 notices filed and 3,523 trustee’s deeds.

Now that the holidays are over and the moratorium has ended, expect January’s notices to be very close to those of January 2010: 6,762 notices, and expect January’s trustee’s deeds recorded around 4,800, slightly above 2010’s 4,452.

If 2011 first quarter numbers follow early 2010 numbers, expect the highest foreclosure numbers to hit in March. The holidays and moratoriums always inflate first quarter foreclosure numbers and inflate March’s numbers the most, just as they decrease the numbers in November and December.

Introducing Azbidder

From time to time when I see a new product come into the marketplace, I will mention it in my opinion piece. Like the kid in the early 60s who ran over from next door to announce his family’s new color TV, I’m pleased to announce to you the launch of azbidder.

For the sake of full disclosure, I must first say that the Information Market is participating, and we are working with azbidder’s creator, Dan Mayes. Mr. Mayes was a Senior Vice President for Walker Digital LLC/Priceline.com, where he was responsible for creating the financial settlement technology that forms Priceline.com Hotel Service.

With his latest effort, Mr. Mayes, a local realtor, created an online eBay style system for purchasing properties at foreclosure auction in Maricopa County. Through Mr. Mayes’ system, you or your client can bid “on the court house steps” from anywhere in the world; all you need is an Internet connection.

Looking Back

As I look back at the comments I’ve made throughout the past year, I realize it’s time to see what we got right and what we got wrong. While the number of times we were spot on are too numerous to mention—just bein’ funny, folks—my biggest mistake was that I underestimated the power of a government bribe.

It’s always been my methodology to keep an eye on the data and an ear to the ground. Prior to the expiration of the tax credit, I was not hearing many reports of first-time buyers; there was much more chatter about investors and their dominance.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty: looking back now, I see that the data clearly shows how both prices and volume were inflated as a direct result of the tax credit; at the time, this trend was invisible within the data. The lesson here: never underestimate the power of federal policy to make or break a market.

While I missed the impact of the tax credit initially, the fact remains that I have been and still am very bullish on the Phoenix housing market. Anyone who has followed my writings will know that in late 2008 I encouraged people “to get out and shop,” and in early 2009 I asked, “What are you waiting for?” followed by 2010’s “blood in the streets.”

For the past two years I’ve written time and time again about the opportunity that currently exists in the Phoenix real-estate market, and I still feel that way today. The people who had the courage to act in early 2009 are amassing empires by buying, holding, and collecting rental income, wishing they had more properties to meet the demand.

While on the other side of the street, investors living by the same mantra, “you make your money when you buy,” are buying and flipping and boasting to their barbers and hairdressers about the deals they are involved in.
Two of my friends visiting from Nebraska last week called and told me about the incredibly low prices they were seeing, and they wanted to know what I thought; so instead of golfing or climbing Camelback, they were headed to look at houses.

Through history we’ve heard of the shoe-shine boy giving stock tips before the great stock market crash in ‘29 and the retired investor talking about the steal he made during the RTC days in Phoenix after the Savings & Loans crashed.

We are living in the time after the crash, not the time before; Phoenix is now offering the same opportunities we saw in the early 90s. I haven’t heard anyone say, “Boy, I wish I’d have bought that home down the street in 2006 when I had the chance,” but I’ll bet you, ten years from now when they look back at this unique time in history…

Contact Tom Ruff at The Information Market.

Tom is a graduate of the University of Nebraska. He founded "The Information Store" in 1982 and quickly became known as “The Source” of publicly recorded real estate data in Maricopa County. In August 2005 he formed "The Information Market" specializing in foreclosure data and housing studies.

Mr. Ruff is an expert on publicly recorded data and is known for his monthly housing opinion which shares an inside and sometimes irreverent look at the Phoenix Housing Market. He is often quoted in local and national publications.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Take My Poll on Best Type of Income Tax Reform

WHAT IS YOUR INCOME TAX REFORM CHOICE?
What do you believe is best for job creation, deficit, people, prosperity?
Take the poll I created on Linkedin at http://linkd.in/dGXhsb Thanks!

Monday, January 17, 2011

PR Expert Knows Why Facebook is Worth $50B

PR CEO Rebecca Crowley Offers 2011 Advice

Photo Credit - Flickr
It’s standard now days to see an icon on a company’s website that allows readers to connect with the company on their Facebook page with one click. Have you noticed a recent change at the end of television commercials? In many ads, the consumer is now directed to the company or product’s Facebook page instead of to their website.

Did you know 1 in 9 people in the world, yes the entire world, are now on Facebook? Facebook may be the Microsoft of the 2010s. It has changed the way the world communicates and interacts. With this kind of exposure, social media in general, and Facebook in particular, are changing business standards especially in the advertising and public relations sectors.

While some in the PR area have not been early adopters, PR expert Rebecca Crowley, CEO of innovative RTC Publicity, is rapidly moving clients to what she calls “PR 2.0.” With a decade of experience in Public Relations, Rebecca has had an eclectic client base allowing her to pull from many different areas of her vast history in the industry.

Rebecca believes passion for the story and “the business” keeps her ideas fresh. Often, Rebecca is called upon to manage traditional marketing and social marketing campaigns. She knows why Facebook is worth $50B. Rebecca explains the difference between “traditional PR” and “new PR” in the evolving public relations sector, “A year or so ago the term “traditional PR” did not exist. It was created to define the difference between what most of the business world is familiar with and digital marketing which became strong in 2010 with initial momentum in 2009.”

She notes, “Traditional PR is ‘media relations’ with outlets that have been around for years such as print (dailies, weeklies, monthlies), and broadcast TV and radio. It involves a publicist using their contacts in order to properly pitch a story idea to journalists/editors/reporters/producers. It focuses on conveying a ‘key message(s)’ of a company, product or individual. It is said that the term PR or Public Relations Representative as we know it today was created by Edward L. Bernays in the 1920’s. Other forms of a traditional publicist are those that produce events, trade shows and handle crisis management.”

Rebecca continues, “The ‘New PR’, or as she calls it ‘PR 2.0.’ involves pitching blogs and creating social media campaigns involving such sites as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Flckr, YouTube, and others. The idea is to join a conversation versus to only deliver a key message.”

She advises, “When complimenting a traditional PR campaign with a social marketing campaign, often times traditional media outlets get their news from these conversations had online. In the reverse, many of the things that bloggers are writing about stem from things read or seen on TV. Many of the articles that are shortened and posted online come from traditional media sources. PR 2.0 has created the need for today’s publicists to be savvy in both areas - messaging and conversations.”

Rebecca understands why some in the PR industry have been slow to move to this new PR. “I think a big part of this is fear of new technology and new social media outlets. It is a lot to keep up with. Facebook and the likes are constantly changing interfaces. If a publicist is not engaging in these activities or reading the latest happenings, it is easy to quickly get lost in the technology. It also requires a lot of time investment.”

She believes “Today’s publicist should be engaging in conversations online not only for their own companies but their own clients. For so long it was believed that if you called a media player enough they’d take the time to hear your pitch.”

Rebecca offers, “ A lot of ‘old school’ publicists still believe in blasting the media and seeing what sticks. It’s now time to engage them not spam them. By hanging out online and reading whatever you can, a publicist, or any individual, now can know inherently what the editors and producers want to hear. A lot of power has been given to the individual outside of PR messaging only. Publicist must respect that and capitalize on the power of the immediacy of social marketing.”

Rebecca does see her PR colleagues catching up and moving more quickly to new PR in 2011. She notes, “The 2009 ‘social marketing expert’ could be anyone who knew the technology. Now it is apparent that having traditional PR experience while understanding the technology is an important advantage. It is a very exciting time to be a publicist. If you are ‘with it’, you’ll be in the PR game for quite some time. It makes me said when I hear or see one of my colleagues doing things the ‘old’ way. I call them pitching machines. There’s no strategy or new knowledge to it.”


Ms. Crowley recommends these basics to clients beginning a new PR strategy: “Know the audience and know that people now expect information instantaneously. They must also respect that traditional PR is not dead, just enhanced. While focusing on social marketing, it is still necessary to go after more traditional media outlets. This takes more time, but the two together are a powerful combination. Above all, anyone who is looking for a good publicist should do their homework and not hang onto only dreams of getting the ‘biggie’ traditional outlets. A blog with the right demographic can be just as powerful of a hit.”
Her advice to the PR industry in general for 2011 is simple, “Stay tuned. Web 2.0. is not going anywhere, and Web 3.0. is being conceived. If a publicist or company feels behind in the times, it is time to brush up.”


Rebecca summarizes, “There is plenty of good literature out there both in print and online. Joining social marketing sites often also has feeds for news on the latest developments in technology and trends in social media. If a publicist or company does not catch up now, early in 2011, the year will rapidly leave them behind as new developments take place. There is more competition than ever out there now that the consumer has been given great power.”
It’s hard to believe the PR industry would not understand and embrace the strategy of social media universe and buzz creation. This has been the holy grail in business social media marketing emerging with growing strength since Obama’s presidential campagin in 2007.

Bloggers and social media platforms can be the medium for a business’ planned “grassroots” marketing campaign as well as a spontaneous, unplanned, unexpected, and genuine grassroots buzz around a company or product. Facebook is certainly a the leader in this aspect.


Micah Warren of Large Media, Inc. specializes in designing and implementing unique social media marketing strategies. He touts the power of bloggers in the new PR reality, “The PR aspect I like about bloggers is how their content can spread across the internet like wildfire. One hit on an important blog, and you could have an extra 20, 50 or 100 more hits when it gets picked up by other websites and blogs. In PR, that is gold. And if all these sites are including the link to your website, then that is built-in SEO. Those inbound links are great for increasing your rank amongst search engines.”

He continues, “It’s an absolute must companies monitor blogs and forums to see what their customers are saying about them. Nothing is worse than someone posting a complaint about your product on a forum and then you standing by and doing/saying nothing. By logging on and addressing the issues, customers see that you actually care about them and are actively looking to react to their concerns.”

Micah relays why companies are now directing consumers to their Facebook page in ads, “Its one thing to have company news and information on your website. It’s important. But, how often are people hanging out on your corporate site? Probably not that often. Where ‘are’ they hanging out? Places like Facebook and Twitter. So go to where they are and engage them.”

He offers an understanding to adding social media to a PR campaign, “It has to be noted that interacting with your customers on Facebook should not be looked at as a direct pipeline to sales. It’s not. It’s about building long-term relationships between your brand and your customers. Looking for quick sales with Facebook is a big mistake companies make that turns them off to the whole process. They get turned off because they didn’t look at it the right way in the first place.”

Micah offers realism to clients with, “Another huge mistake companies make with Facebook and Twitter is thinking that this is all about them and what they want to say about themselves. That is a great way to get people to ignore you completely. Social media is about them, not you. So engage your audience and start a conversation with them. Listen to them. Social media is about the time to listen, not speak.”

Looking forward in 2011, the PR industry must understand consumers now want a real seat at the table. To serve their clients in a meaningful way, they must understand social media can easily facilitate this. Potential and existing consumers become most invested when they feel ownership in the process.

The expectation of two-way participation and communication in real-time is an emerging and lasting dynamics with social media user consumers. The days of business CEOs thinking the dynamic remains I talk, you listen, and you don’t question my message are over. The PR professional must understand the new consumer dynamic is you spoke, I listened - now you listen to me as I speak my experience and opinion.

An exchange and a more personal individual relationship are expected. Should a business CEO ignore the two-way communication that social media fosters and consumers expect, they will be viewed as out-of-touch and replaceable no matter how great the initial excitement, the strength of message, or the value of the product.

Solicitation and participation in two-way communication is how consumer loyalty can be achieved and solidified. Those that facilitate a successful Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter campaign for their products and services that go viral are the winners in turning social media platforms into a positive return on investment and consumer base increase.

Companies can excel at using social media to bring together like-minded people that love their product and are a target market for their product. They can encourage proactive two-way participation and communication with their customers cementing loyalty to their company and their brand.

When the PR professional comprehends that consumers are producers, directors, and have control over message to other consumers ultimately, they will add to their success by not only developing their client’s message with consumers, but by developing their client’s real-time relationship with their consumers via social media.

Micah Warrens sums up the necessary PR mindset shift, “Think about it just from a media point of view: how many stories are broken on Twitter first? Tons of them. You’ll see mainstream media outlets passing along breaking news from the Twitter accounts of other journalists. It is the age of immediacy and you can either join in and embrace it, or continue to wait for a morning newspaper with information that you could have had the day before at 2 p.m. Heck, why do you think all the newspaper websites now have blogs and Twitter pages!”

In 2011, business can successfully establish a winning PR campaign and consumer relationship only by accepting the new marketing paradigm components are real time information, consultation, and participation – and social media is the perfect platform. That’s why Facebook may well indeed be worth $50B.



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Monday, January 10, 2011

CA Citizen Faxes Daily Letter on Bailouts – Feinstein Replies, Boxer & Pelosi Ignore

Bill Bianco Details Small Business Closings & Employment Age Discrimination

Napa, California resident Bill Bianco’s morning routine is probably fairly similar to many Americans. Upon waking every morning, Bill takes a shower and takes his vitamins. He then researches and applies for “each and every possible job.”

Bill applies on job sites like Monster.com, TheLadders.com, and Yahoo.com. He researches local publications online and in print for job openings. He makes phone calls and emails his resume. He utilizes his VP/General Manager level core competencies daily in his job search - communication, management, organization, and marketing.

What Bill does next is probably not a part of the average American’s daily routine. From December 2, 2008 to today, Bill’s morning work also includes faxing a letter to California’s two U.S. Senators Feinstein and Boxer and now former House Speaker Pelosi.

Bianco’s letter addresses the Washington mindset in bailing out Wall Street and bankers to keep them solvent while ignoring the recession’s negative impact on small businesses. He explains the plight of small business owners trying desperately to keep from closing their companies that have prospered for decades prior to 2008.

Bill details exactly what happened to the company he help build for the last ten years. He notes that while companies considered “too big to fail” were saved with taxpayer’s money, small companies that paid these taxes were “wiped off the map”. He implores Washington to consider that their economic policies are not helping small companies that are failing though no fault of their own but simply because of the economy.

Bianco explicates how government policy and banks affected small business when business credit availability was pulled and disappeared at the beginning of the economic downturn in 2008 right after banks were bailed out. He recounts the death spiral of his company and the American horse breeding and sports industry.

He notes the millions and billions given in the stimulus package did not go to small business loans that could have bridged small companies through the recession crisis. This could have saved American small business closings and the unemployment rate rising. He specifically asks what options are available for failing small businesses and for constructive input from Feinstein, Boxer, and Pelosi for private sector companies.

Bill also describes the effect on business owners and company management whom are now unemployed due to the huge amount of small business closings in the last two years. Most of these former owners and managers are over 45. They now face financial devastation along with age discrimination in seeking to rebuild their lives starting with new employment. Bianco uses his personal situation as a detailed example.

Senator Feinstein did respond on May 28, 2009, approximately six months after Bill began his daily fax of his letter. Feinstein’s response appeared to be a form letter sent to those requesting information on government grants referencing a book on grants that came separately approximately three months later by mail on September 3, 2009.

Senator Boxer and Former Speaker Pelosi have not responded. Even though it has been two years of daily faxing his letter to them with no response, Bianco continues to try to engage them in what he sees as the realities of the non-political and unconnected class of small business and people. He remains positive and optimistic, yet he is also realistic against what he knows are David and Goliath odds.

Who is William Bianco III? He is a man with a proven record of management success with core competencies in public relations, marketing, customer service, financial management, strategic planning, and process development. He has fourteen years experience in managing business and personnel from retail to professional sports. He excels at business development from conception to implementation. Bill holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics.

In the words of CPA Carter E. Wicks, one of Bill’s many professional references: “I had the pleasure of working with William A. Bianco III (Bill) for several years at Sunset Stables. In a matter of a few years, he managed to transform Sunset Stables from a very small operation to a viable Thoroughbred Horse Racing and Breeding concern. It was impressive to see him take his previous business experience and apply it to an industry new to him. I feel that his passion for both horses and the sport drove him to success. His thorough research led Sunset to make many wise and profitable decisions regarding its’ breeding strategy.”

Mr. Carter further notes, “Unfortunately, the economic downturn in 2008 hit the Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding Industries very hard. This combined with other factors beyond Bill’s control forced Sunset to drastically downsize. The downturn of Sunset’s fortunes was in no way reflective of the hard work and passion that Bill gave to the Stable.”

At 49, Bill has been looking for new employment for almost two years. He never dreamed he would be in this situation. His friends and family can not believe he is in this position either, and he finds those that are not facing unemployment over 45 do not understand it. Many now avoid him, because they find his situation awkward for them.

Bianco is willing to relocate and has researched and applied for every employment option available. Like many professionals out of work over 45, he has only received one interview. It was with Yellow Cab. Even with a perfect driving record, they did not call him back, for they only wanted to hire experienced drivers.

It’s very tough to find a job today. Bill is again realistic, and he is not sure which is worse in his situation - employers not wanting to interview the unemployed or candidates over 40 for open positions. Recruiters have told him, off the record of course, they know of very few companies that will interview, let alone hire, someone unemployed at his age. Bill believes he just hasn’t knocked on the right door yet.

On December 8, 2010, the Labor Department released its 2009 work report. There was an increase of 2.7M long-term unemployed Americans looking for jobs in 2009 over the 2008 total. There were 5.8M job seeking Americans that had no work at all in 2009. The 2010 numbers are not out yet but promise to be more of the same if not worse.

At 43%, almost half of the long-term unemployed are 45-years and older. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. workforce’s demographics are changing with more than 50% of the workforce turning 40 years and older in 2000. It is illegal, yet it is common knowledge one of the chief reasons older workers are not hired is they are perceived as increasing healthcare costs to a company. Age discrimination is very hard to prove in reality.

The EEOC’s government facts include “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA’s protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training."

"The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.”

Adding to Bill Bianco’s employment search obstacles, and those like him, CNNMoney reports “Employment experts say they believe companies are increasingly interested only in applicants who already have a job. Some job postings include restrictions such as “unemployed candidates will not be considered” or “must be currently employed.”

CNNMoney continues, “Those explicit limitations have occasionally been removed from listings when an employer or recruiter is questioned by the media though. But even if companies don't spell out in a job listing that they won't consider someone who currently doesn't have a job, experts said that unemployed applicants are typically ruled out right off the bat.”

CNNMoney notes, “Most executive recruiters won't look at a candidate unless they have a job, even if they don't like to admit to it,” said Lisa Chenofsky Singer, a human resources consultant from Millburn, NJ, specializing in media and publishing jobs. She said when she proposes candidates for openings, the first question she is often asked by a recruiter is if they currently have a job. If the answer is no, she's typically told the unemployed candidate won't be interviewed. “They think you must have been laid off for performance issues," she said, adding that this is a "myth" in a time of high unemployment.”

In the meantime, Bill Bianco provides consulting services to his last employer and the sports industry without pay to remain connected to the work environment. He has volunteered for Toys for Tots, Goodwill, and The Salvation Army.

Bill and his son also collect recycling items and give them to people waiting in line at the Napa recycling center. He wants to continue the charitable giving he and his family have done for years. For now, this is a way he can be charitable to others costing him only his time to collect items to give them.

Bianco has downsized. He has sold what personal belongings he could. He has almost gone through his savings. He has not applied for any government assistance programs. This is not out of ego or pride. Bill “believes government handouts are not the solution and not a way of life he will accept.”

Even under financial pressure, Bill wants to set a good example for his nineteen year old son whom is attending college part time and also looking for employment. He wants to be “a strong role model for his son on weathering life’s ups and downs with personal responsibility.” He believes “self reliance is one of the strengths of America’s prosperity ultimately.”

Bill explains the daily letter fax, “As a citizen I send the letter, because I want the voice of small business to be heard on a real world and real life level by our politicians. They don’t have to live it personally, but they make the policies which can either help or hurt the environment in which the private sector can create jobs.”

Bianco ends our interview on an upbeat note, “My last position was as a Vice President and General Manager, but that was just a title. Managing and keeping things neat, organized, and running smoothly is what I did. A job that requires strong management, organizational, and research skills would be ideal. Of course, at this point, I would take any job offered to me.”

Should you sincerely like to talk to William Bianco III about an open position you have or are a recruiter willing to work with him, he can be contacted directly at wbiancoiii@hotmail.com . It’s not on his resume, but we can all agree, Bill is persistent in a good way and has integrity.

On a wider scale, as a nation, let’s end employment myths and discrimination on the basis of age and someone being unemployed. Let’s all live up to the “This Could be My Mom or Dad 2011 Employment Challenge” of each employer hiring at least two people who are unemployed and make at least one of them over 50.

This challenge can make a big difference in ensuring those most affected by the recession do not get discounted and discarded in our society. It truly is time to remember, you will be over 50 and/or unemployed at some point in your life. When you are, how would you like to be treated?
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Monday, January 3, 2011

How do You See the World? New Year Message from Jerry R. Mitchell

HAPPY 2011

With the beginning of 2011, I would like to wish you and your families all
the best for the New Year.

Another year. They all seem to blend together at a certain point. Part of
the problem of getting older, I guess, is the sameness. But it's also an opportunity. You can see the similarities with a bit of perspective, and
enjoy the way things seems so calm and, even, I venture, understandable.

When you look at America, you can't help but getting a warm and positive feeling. Even in the face of the greatest economic downturn in our lifetimes, people remain positive and even hopeful for the New Year.

On his day we may well think back on the generations that created our America the farmers who plowed the fields and cultivated the earth, the workers who sweated and toiled in the factories and all those who built the country and fought for its defense.

Their names do not appear in the records of history, but the fruit of their labor is the society we know today. We are stewards of their inheritance. And it is our task to maintain the society that is regarded everywhere as the best in the world.

Some, indeed many, are already prepared. They are quite certain to be able to manage in a new era with exciting challenges. Others, I know, ask themselves, 'What is to become of me? Is there room for me? How do I secure my children's future? Have I still got a job? Can anybody use me?'

My reply is this: 'Yes, there is and will be need for everyone if we still work together on developing our society on the basis of community and not selfishness."

This is also part of our shared responsibility. If we sign off our responsibility with merely a check from society once per month to those who are outside, those who have abandoned all hope of ever getting started again, then we fail utterly, and our society has become poorer and more
vulnerable.

The respect for our fundamental values is emphatically not about intolerance, uniformity of appearance and creed. It is based on a modern view on life and man, upon which this society builds for the benefit of all its citizens.

We do not want an America with new, sharp class distinctions. Everybody must be part, with the duties and rights this entails. The ideals of equality and community must include all and be respected by all.

Assuming responsibility for our neighbors, equality and justice are things that can be realized only in a tolerant society. Acceptance of and respect for diversity are among the prerequisites for our collective success.

Nevertheless tolerance does not mean accepting all deeds. At the same time as we recognize how diverse people are, we must also see the ethical factors that we share. We must emphasize the values that unite humankind in its common struggle to eliminate inequality, hunger and want.

Sustainable development will not be brought about merely by redressing the shortcomings that economic globalization has created. It will also require the positive, constructive contributions of cultures and religions. In the new world economy, development will have to be sustainable also in the cultural sense.

I have often stressed the importance of change. Adhering to permanent basic values is a prerequisite for being able to adapt to change. We must respect each other and look after each other.

But we must look forward as well as back. America has always been a country on the move and will go on being so. I know that the fairness and decency for which this country is rightly
renowned will mean that continued efforts are made to ensure that this prosperity touches all Americans.

So if there ever was a time to put country before self and patriotism before party, the time is now. We live in a time of great social crisis. Our children rank at the bottom of nineteen industrial nations in math, reading, science,writing, and arithmetic.

The world's narcotic economy is based upon our own consumption of this commodity. If we didn't buy so many powdered dreams the business would collapse-and schools are an important sales outlet. Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world-and suicidal kids are rich kids for the most part, not the poor.

But we must not, on the basis of individual mistakes and failures, let ourselves be carried away by the misapprehension that everything is bad, and that much has gone downhill.

And, let us be honest," Would you like your child to grow up in any other country?"

I think I know the reply: 'No, we would not.'

You will find your own ethical dilemmas in all parts of your lives, both personal and professional. We all have different desires and needs, but if we don't discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled.

Sooner or later, we are all asked to compromise ourselves and the things we care about. We define ourselves by our actions. With each decision, we tell ourselves and the world who we are.

Think about what you want out of this life, and recognize that there are many kinds of success.

We have to demand that new voices and new ideas get a hearing, my ideas and yours. We've all had a bellyful of authorized voices on television and in the press.

But the problem is that much of American culture right now is built on an adolescent fiction. The fiction is that life is all about you as an individual-your ideas, your appetites, and your needs. Believe me it isn't.

The main interest big companies have in your wants and mine is how to turn them into a profit. Part of being an adult is the ability to separate marketing from reality; hype from fact. The fact is, the world is a big and complicated place. It doesn't care about your appetites. It has too many of its own needs, and it won't leave you alone.

God made you for a purpose. The world needs the gifts he gave you. Adulthood brings power. Power brings responsibility. And the meaning of your life will hinge on a simple, basic choice. Will you engage the world with your heart and brains and faith, and work to make it a better place-not just for yourself and the people you love but also for people you don't even know whose survival depends on your service to the common good? Or will you wrap yourself in a blanket of noise and toys and consumer junk, and stay a child?

God gave you a free will. How you use that gift is your choice-but it's a choice you won't be able to avoid. And that choice has consequences. Here's my point. People who take the question of human truth, freedom and meaning seriously will never remain silent about it. They can't. They will always act on what they believe, even at the cost of their reputations and lives. That is the way I believe it should be.

Jerry R. Mitchell is the President & CEO of Jerry R. Mitchell & Associates, Inc. He is an entrepreneur with a passion for helping companies grow. He's worked in the Fortune 500 world and been a part of 12 companies, 8 of which either went public or were sold/merged with larger companies. Jerry is also the President & Founder of The Midwest Entrepreneurs Forum.