The AP Stylebook Is Here to Stay

The AP Stylebook has long been hailed as the “Bible” for journalists. Newspaper reporters, magazine editors and even PR pros (including the BIGfish team) have relied on the famous style guide for decades to resolve questions on grammar, punctuation, abbreviations and more. Updated regularly since its initial publication in 1953, the AP Stylebook has become a must-have reference for virtually anyone who writes professionally.

Of course, not everyone abides by the AP Stylebook. Urban Dictionary describes it as “the sacred text of journalists and journalism students that is dogmatically followed regardless of whether the rule is outdated or makes the writing worse.” A bit harsh? Perhaps, but the definition does bring to mind some recent criticisms of the renowned style guide.
On Monday, the Associated Press announced several changes to its style guide, including an updated entry for “phobia.” The AP is now discouraging the use of terms like “homophobia” and “Islamophobia,” with editors saying it amounts to a diagnosis of mental illness. However, not everyone agrees with the editors. George Weinberg, the psychologist who coined the term “homophobia” in 1972, commented: “We have no other word for what we’re talking about, and this one is well established. We use ‘freelance’ for writers who don’t throw lances anymore and who want to get paid for their work. … It seems curious that this word is getting such scrutiny while words like triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) hang around.”

Although the updated entry for “phobia” stirred up some controversy, another big announcement from the Associated Press had the opposite effect: the launch of its first Spanish-language stylebook, with more than 3,500 entries. As described by the AP itself, “Spanish-language journalists can now learn that the correct word for channel-surfing is “zapeo,” sexting is best written in their language as “sextear,” “submarino” is an accepted term for waterboarding and Thanksgiving day is accurately translated as “Dia de Accion de Gracias.”” Several Spanish-language journalists expressed excitement at the announcement, especially for its ability to teach users meanings of words that differ in various Spanish-language countries.
In our opinion, the AP’s decision to expand its style guide to other languages signifies that the reference guide is here to stay. And now that digital subscriptions are available, updates to the AP Stylebook are readily available – meaning we no longer have to wait for a new edition to be published each year. As long as the AP continues to stay modern with changes like these, the AP Stylebook isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.

Forbes Features Open Blue

BIGfish client Open Blue was featured in Forbes yesterday in a piece by Bill Frezza titled, “Regulatory Uncertainty Drives A Fish Farmer to Foreign Waters.” The article focuses on Open Blue’s open ocean aquaculture technology in Panama. To read the entire article, click the photo or click here.

Social Media & Natural Disasters

Ever since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, social media has solidified its reputation as a viable place to receive real-time news and stay in touch with friends and loved ones during times of natural disasters. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have proven to be the easiest, fastest and most reliable way to communicate during natural disasters and storms. Personal accounts have used social media to share photos and experiences, while government officials and relief organizations have used it as a platform to relay emergency numbers and help those in need. The 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan fully utilized social media to communicate around the world and most recently, information about Hurricane Sandy and winter storm Athena was shared on social media sites to record-breaking highs.
In 2011, information about the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan took over social media, as it was used to report and communicate about the natural disaster. After the 8.9 magnitude earthquake left people with no phone service, Twitter especially became a way for people to receive real-time news about the storm and let loved ones know they were safe. Before the earthquake even stopped shaking Japan, people had pulled out their phones to take videos, photos, and tweet about their current state, sending the news like wildfire–much faster than a television news crew ever could.
In October, those affected by Hurricane Sandy took full advantage of social media to spread instant news around the country. In times of natural disasters, the Twitter and Instagram hashtags that serve as an organization tool become particularly necessary, filing together all tweets and photos that are being shared at that present moment. While Twitter is most often used as a place for individuals to tweet about daily annoyances, share funny photos and keep in touch with friends, it very quickly became an important place for people to document what they were experiencing and to share with followers how they were braving through the storm. Official accounts like those of New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg as well as other government organizations became an important real-time feed for news and announcements, especially after millions of people lost power. For many in New York and New Jersey, cell phone social media applications became the only source for news and communication.
Social media’s influence on storm reporting has become so great that The Weather Channel has created names for noteworthy winter storms in order to make communication easier and more efficient as well as to raise awareness. After seeing Hurricane Sandy’s record number of tweets, it made sense to name the season’s first winter storm “Athena” to help Twitterers stay within the 140-character limit when discussing the storm.

 A full list of The Weather Channel’s winter storm names.

Hitting only a few days after the Northeast was greatly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, winter storm Athena slammed some parts of New York and New Jersey with a foot of snow. As power was still out in many of these places, social media served as a place for those to become informed on the status of the storm by searching #Athena on Twitter, for example. Although the National Weather Service did not recognize The Weather Channel’s name giving, it most certainly raised awareness of the storm and made it much simpler for people to receive news.

What’s Next?
Based on the record number of Instagram photos uploaded during Hurricane Sandy, it looks like the future of crowdsourced storm coverage may stem from the growing app. Launched in October 2010, Instagram gained wide popularity after it was purchased by Facebook and extended beyond iOS to Android in April 2012. With approximately 100 million users to date, Instagrammers were glued to their phones the day Sandy hit, as there were reportedly 10 photos of Sandy uploaded per second. Hurricane Sandy has become the most Instagrammed event in the application’s history with more than 800,000 photos (and counting) uploaded. In reaction to the application’s use to document the storm, co-founder Kevin Systrom said: “I think this demonstrates how Instagram is quickly becoming a useful tool to see the world as it happens ­ especially for important world events like this.”

A Twitter photo of 14th Street and Avenue C in New York City.

An Instagram photo of flooding in the East Village of New York.

Click here to read more about Instagram’s use during Hurricane Sandy.
To learn more about The Weather Channel’s winter storm names, click here.

Wrapsol Acquired by Otterbox

BIGfish client Wrapsol was featured in the Boston Herald, Engadget and several other outlets yesterday after announcing it has been acquired by Otterbox, a Colorado company that manufactures protective cases for phones and other electronic devices. To read more about Wrapsol’s exciting announcement, click the photo above or click here.

GreatPoint Energy and Luca Technologies Named GoingGreen Global 200 Top Companies

AlwaysOn-GoingGreen-Nov2012BIGfish is honored to announce that AlwaysOn has named two of our clients, GreatPoint Energy and Luca Technologies, winners of the 2012 GoingGreen Global 200 Top Company Competition. In addition, AlwaysOn named BIGfish clients Ambient Devices and Glori Energy 2012 GoingGreen Silicon Valley Companies to Watch. GoingGreen Global 200 spotlights the top companies that are disrupting global industries and creating viable business models for the green technology marketplace.
This year’s GoingGreen Global 200 companies are taking maturing greentech research and pairing it with innovative technology solutions to produce the products and services that will become the next great wave in greentech. The themes represented in this year’s list point to resource sharing and refining efficiency in almost all categories. GreatPoint Energy and Luca Technologies will be featured at GoingGreen Silicon Valley 2012 in San Francisco on November 27th and 28th.
Several BIGfish clients have been featured GoingGreen Top Companies in the past, including Luca Technologies, GreatPoint Energy, Powerhouse Dynamics, Coskata and Oasys.
Click here to see a full list of the 2012 GoingGreen Global 200 winners.

Phononic Devices: Testimonial

Check out this testimonial BIGfish received from a client:

“David and his firm are uniquely suited to provide public relations and web needs for start-up and growth stage companies who require a high value presence often while using limited resources. He and his company made a concerted effort to understand our business, challenge us to better understand and define our value proposition…and then communicate that through web, print and other media outlets. Marketing can often be an on-again, off-again, exercise for start-up companies and David’s team continue to be responsive and engaged often on short notice. I would recommend them to entrepreneurs looking to create a professional brand image for customers and investors alike.”

-Anthony Atti, Ph.D., co-founder, president & CEO Phononic Devices

Election Day 2012: Social Media Roundup

November 6, 2012 marked yet another historic Election Day as President Barack Obama was reelected. But just how historic was the day in terms of social media? The 2012 Election was one of the most shared and commented-on events in social media history, so we’ve rounded up some interesting facts and figures from this year’s campaign season.
First off – which candidate won the social media war? BostInno caught up with BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard for his take on which Presidential candidate was leading the social media race – and true to the election’s actual results, Obama was the clear winner. A quick glance at the numbers shows Obama winning in every category.

Obama also set a Twitter record yesterday for the most retweeted tweet ever – a photo of himself hugging Michelle with the caption “Four more years” was retweeted more than 682,000 times (and counting). The previous record was held by Justin Bieber at 200,000+ retweets.

Obama also seems to have won the Internet meme war, for two main reasons. First of all, Romney’s comments in the Presidential Debates (à la Big Bird and binders full of women) created instant fodder for meme creators – Obama’s comments simply weren’t as easy to “meme-ify.” Secondly, most of the people behind these memes are young, 20-somethings, who traditionally tend to align closer with the Democratic party’s views. The result? More memes mocking Romney, and less poking fun at Obama.

But the greatest success for social media this Election Day? No sign of the Twitter fail whale! Despite Twitter’s record number of tweets last night – peaking at 327,452 tweets per minute as news organizations began calling the results of the election – the website didn’t once notify users that the service was currently “over capacity.” Users tweeted their way through Election Night without any disruptions in the most tweeted-about event in U.S. political history. Cheers to that!

For more, check out this video of BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard discussing social media’s impact on the 2012 elections on Fox 25 News.