NewsBasis article published at

Here’s an article I wrote for Ragan Communications after interviewing Darryl Siry, founder of NewsBasis:

Published: 8/10/2010

New player arrives at the crossroads of PR and journalism
By Ari B. Adler

Founder of NewsBasis working to differentiate his service from HARO and Profnet

When something new is announced, it’s human nature to try immediately to compare it to something that already exists, to help people classify it in their minds. When you tell journalists and PR pros you’re creating a service that will help them connect with each other for stories and research, you’re playing to an even tougher crowd.

That’s why Darryl Siry, founder of NewsBasis, has his work cut out for him.

“My job is going to be to make sure people understand what the broader aspect will be. The best way to do that is to let people use it and find out what it can do for them,” Siry said.

One of the biggest differences between NewsBasis and other journalist-PR networks is that users will have access to a sidebar tab on news stories that alerts a reader to a footnote from a source. That means when a reporter researching a subject finds an article, he or she also may find a note from other sources offering a different point of view or additional facts.

“Today, the process of e-mail and phone is all inbound, I’m trying to change it so the journalist can find the right point of view at the right time, and that benefits the company,” Siry said. “On the company side, it’s a no-brainer. For the journalists, it’s really about convincing them they can use this system and it will make their lives easier.”

Convincing busy reporters and public relations practitioners that they need to sign up for one more networking service won’t be easy though.

When The New York Times recently published an article about the launch of NewsBasis, the reporter cemented the comparison with Help a Reporter Out(HARO) and PR Newswire’s Profnet into a lot of minds. When word spreads about NewsBasis’ keyword news alert system, the comparisons to existing search services—both paid and free—are bound to occur.  Siry said the comparisons aren’t frustrating, because he expected them. Still, it does create some additional hurdles for the start-up company.

“There is obviously some overlapping functionality that has caused people to focus on that comparison, but I also think anyone who uses HARO or Profnet would naturally also be a user of NewsBasis, but for different reasons,” Siry said.

It’s an interesting perspective from a guy who fell into the world of journalism and public relations. Siry has an economics degree and worked as a management consultant handling financial strategy. His career path pulled him into a marketing and communications role for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. and then Tesla Motors, where he served as senior vice president of Sales, Marketing and Service. Since 2009, he’s been a contributor to Wired Digital, writing a weekly column.

“NewsBasis came from my experience at Tesla,” Siry said. “The Tesla brand was done primarily on the basis of media relations. There was no budget for advertising or attending events. Still, we were able to build a pretty strong brand using just media relations.”

Siry noted that during his work for Tesla, he noticed that most of the mechanisms for a company to deliver their message were “pretty clumsy and inefficient.”

“Typically, you’re just pitching a message that’s important to you, but rarely will it reach a journalist who is actually working on that issue at that moment,” he said. “Plus, the attention span and the availability of journalists to have a conversation on background is growing increasingly shorter. They are all much more focused on the story they need right now. We are developing a tech platform where you can better match company perspectives with journalists when it’s relevant to them and when they need it.”

Perhaps the biggest, and most controversial, difference between NewsBasis and other services will be in the next phase, when journalists and sources could find themselves graded by their peers and colleagues from the other side of the coin. Siry is quick to point out, however, that he does not intend to create a five-star rating system.

“If you’re a journalist, you know that in the practice of your trade, you are going to have some people who won’t like you because you wrote something that wasn’t favorable,” Siry said. “Rather than a ratings system for journalists, it might be a way to share your experience about what was good or bad about working with that journalist.”

That phase of the system is on the company’s radar but may take time to be implemented. For now, Siry and his team are busy reviewing applications from thousands of potential users.

“I don’t want someone signing up as a journalist that’s not.  I don’t want people who are misrepresenting themselves.  I don’t want people who I’m concerned would be using the system to be spamming,” Siry said.

Siry said he also will have mechanisms to deal with people who “aren’t being helpful.”

The NewsBasis team isn’t aggressively marketing the service yet, but they’re bound to get there. The free beta period won’t last forever, and the for-profit corporations and public relations agencies that Siry sees as potential customers will have to be convinced it is worth their investment.

Siry noted that word-of-mouth is one of the biggest components of marketing the service, both now and in the future.

“One nice thing about working with media and journalists is word gets around!”


Zoos are going wild for social media

Here’s a piece I wrote for about the use of social media by my local zoo:

Zoos are going wild for social media
By Ari B. Adler
Facebook, Twitter and Flickr augment the live experience for animal enthusiasts

Zoos and aquariums across the country are joining the online jungle to attract visitors.

Of the 221 institutions that are members of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, at least two-thirds are using social media of some kind, and the number is growing continually, says Linda Cendes, a member of AZA’s communications team.

“It has provided a great way for zoos and aquariums to interact with their communities on a whole new level,” she said. “It’s not only to promote events and other activities, but a way to provide real-time updates to visitors, whether to announce a keeper talk or a closure due to inclement weather.”

For Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Mich., outreach to visitors has been steadily increasing during the 17 months that Jake Pechtel has been on the job. Originally a producer and marketer of video games, Pechtel joined Potter Park Zoo when he got a job there updating its website.

“Potter Park had updated the zoo on the inside, then the project started to bring the website up to date,” said Pechtel, who has earned the designation “Swiss Army Knife” at the zoo. “Our thought behind social media is enhancing guests’ experience, something for them to take home and share with friends and make them want to be fans, too.”

The zoo started a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Flickr feed in September 2009, but the accounts sat dormant until early 2010. Pechtel said the zoo just recently started using YouTube, as well, having to opt for the channel name “PotterParkTV” because they hadn’t secured their full name earlier.

“There’s definitely a lesson to be learned there,” he said.

Even with all the activity around social media, Pechtel said organizations need to remember to stay focused. The zoo’s newly updated website is still the core component; it’s what Pechtel refers to as a “discovery tool.”

“It’s a landing site for every piece of social media. It beckons to the way social media works,” Pechtel said. “Someone might love to converse with you on Twitter one day, then suddenly might find Flickr and, when they do, you need to be there.”

Better than 1,000 words

Pechtel said their Flickr account is “very interesting” for the zoo.

“Photos can be more emotional than words, and we try very hard to make our experience an emotional one for visitors,” he said. “When the Flickr pool was started, we made an effort to go find people who were already using Flickr to share pictures of their trips to the zoo and invited those folks to join our group.”

Pechtel said he tries to stay active within the group, posting behind the scenes photos as much as possible, which has gotten the zoo invited to join other Flickr groups.

“Flickr, as it turns out, has been as much about participation as any of its social media cousins,” Pechtel said.

The zoo has used Flickr to engage with visitors and make them feel a part of the zoo, in some cases even offering memberships in exchange for great photos to be used on the zoo website.

“I’ve since met a number of the photographers, as they stop by my office when they come to the zoo,” Pechtel said. “It’s a nice translation from online acquaintance to someone you share a chat with.”

Cendes said social media is allowing people to experience their zoo or aquarium in a way that isn’t possible even when visiting in person.

“People can see pictures of newborns even before they are picked up by the media, videos showing behind-the-scenes animal care or updates about current research or rehabilitation of a rescued animal,” she said. “People look to their zoo and aquarium to be leaders in conservation and education and you will often see conversations between an engaged public and the institution.”

For folks like Robin Miner-Swartz of Lansing, Potter Park’s engagement via social media got her to think about the hometown zoo she hadn’t visited in a long time.

“I guess I had begun to think of the zoo as a family place or a kid place, and I was neither. But once Jake started Potter Park’s social media efforts, I began to see the zoo in a whole new light,” she said. “I love Jake’s enthusiasm for the zoo but also for the Lansing community in general.”

Pechtel gives people a view of what’s going on at the zoo with glimpses behind the scenes but he also shows them a lot of what they’re missing if they don’t visit.

Featured content on Facebook

For the zoo, Facebook is the biggest home base away from its website.

“It’s where we can post the most robust content beyond our website,” he said. “I look at the Facebook posts as tent poles. Twitter is used as a way to fill in the gaps between the tent poles.”

For example, when Pechtel was going to visit the bongo exhibit recently for a Facebook update, he used Twitter to alert folks that he was going to spend some time in the bongo yard and he’d have pictures on Facebook soon.

It’s with his Facebook posts that Pechtel tries to tie the zoo into things the page fans might already be talking about. For example, a recent wall post read, “Our Golden Lion Tamarins are sad after watching their home team Brazil get eliminated from the World Cup. Did you know these guys are on loan from the Brazilian government?”

The Facebook page has more than 3,800 friends. Even when coupled with the Twitter followers, it’s a smaller online fan base when compared with some zoos. But Pechtel said the level of interaction is great, even when compared with much larger facilities.

“A lot of zoos have a lot more fans and followers. They might have 10,000 followers and get 30 retweets. I get the same with 800 followers,” he said. “It’s about quality not quantity.”

Of course, the bottom line is still the bottom line, and any outreach efforts are eventually going to be measured against the number of visitors walking in the front gate. Pechtel said the zoo has seen a 15 percent increase in foot traffic this year, which he attributes a lot to social networking.

“It’s tough to measure that though,” Pechtel said. “The end result of social networking is awareness. If you have a good, succinct marketing campaign in conjunction with a good effort in social networking, then the awareness level goes up. And having a user-centric focus has really driven our success. No one becomes friends with a logo.”

Pechtel said the zoo’s Twitter account, @PotterParkZoo, has “a bit of an attitude,” which makes it more personable for its more than 800 followers. It’s an attitude he tries to carry on throughout all of the zoo’s social networking activities.

“Other zoo employees mention that their friends say they feel like they’re talking to a person on Facebook rather than the zoo—and that’s the point,” he said.

Plus, without social media, Miner-Swartz probably wouldn’t have gotten to know some of the animals on a first-name basis.

“They have a pig named Kevin Bacon. How hilarious is that?”

Can Foursquare capitalize on its marketing potential?

Here’s a piece I wrote for about the untapped potential of Foursquare:

Published: 4/26/2010

Can Foursquare capitalize on its marketing potential?
By Ari B. Adler

Function must supersede frivolity and deliver pertinent information when the consumer wants it

There’s a love-hate relationship going on with Foursquare the likes of which we haven’t seen since Crocs tried to make brightly colored shoes with holes in them a major fashion statement.

The mobile check-in started as a game and quickly turned into a way to keep up with friends and their favorite hangouts. For some, that’s enough to keep them coming back. Others try it and lose interest.

Still, it’s the folks thinking not about what Foursquare can do, but what Foursquare could be doing that will probably continue to drive the company’s success.

“It took me a while to figure out what the thing is about—not what everybody uses it for, but what function does it play?” said Ike Pigott, a communication consultant and blogger from Birmingham, Ala.

Pigott noted how Twitter expanded the world so people can know what any of the people they follow are doing. The problem with Twitter, Pigott said, is the information, “falls off the radar due to sheer volume.”

Transcending time

“If I go to a sandwich shop in an unfamiliar town and have a life-changing sandwich and tweet about it, [and] if you’re there while traveling for a conference four months later, that won’t mean anything to you,” Pigott said. “What Foursquare does at its core is connect everyone over time instead of just space.”

According to Pigott’s theory, Twitter is about the here and now, whereas Foursquare is more about the here when you need it.

“I may not see your noisy tweet from four months ago, but with Foursquare, I’ll see it when I’m in the exact place where that information is relevant to me,” Pigott said.

It’s that type of relevance to travelers that prompted The History Channel to engage Foursquare for its campaign to bring visitors more information when they check in at historical sites.

Foursquare’s real strength, therefore, may be its ability to connect people with relevant information.

“One of the things that has intrigued me about Foursquare is its potential in event planning and attendance,” said Ryan Knott, manager of communications for the Michigan Osteopathic Association. “An event like Lansing’s ‘Be a Tourist in Your Own Town’ could use Foursquare to track people’s movements and special prizes could be given out to those with the most check-ins. I also was impressed with Foursquare’s partnership withIgnite Week. When I checked in at Ignite Lansing 3.0, I was given the Ignite Badge. Not a huge deal, but it was a nice way to bond with other attendees around Lansing and around the world.”

Conference call

Knott said he thinks this kind of Foursquare connection could expand to bring more life to industry conferences, as well.

“I could see using Foursquare for competitions at our annual convention—our member physicians could receive additional raffle tickets or something for checking into specific rooms or events,” Knott said. “Unfortunately, our members aren’t quite wired into Foursquare yet, but with some prodding, we might be able to get them there.”

It may not take much prodding if folks start to see the value of the giant database of useful information people are building via Foursquare, even without realizing it. Connecting with people is important, but connecting with and getting information from your “friends,” is even more important.

“Five years ago, what you asked Google or, we now go to Facebook for, because our friends give us more relevant information that means something to us,” Pigott said. “In three years, people won’t be fighting it out to be mayor of Starbucks. If Foursquare is done right, it eliminates the noise, because it only delivers the information when it’s relevant to me at the moment I can act on it.”

Social media and (not or) PR

There’s a level of frustration I and a few other colleagues have been feeling lately about social media and public relations. The issue seems to be that people are thinking of social media as a discipline — as something separate and distinct from public relations. That’s a false premise. It’s time for the thinking to switch away from social media or public relations to social media and public relations.

I was at an event this afternoon where Scott Monty from Ford was speaking to a group of PR students from several Michigan universities. The question was asked of Scott when Ford would be launching a new model solely via social media. His answer was, “probably never.” Scott noted that social media is just one component of an overall strategy that would be used for a product launch. It was refreshing to hear.

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of speaking to PR professionals from across the country at the Ragan Communications Social Media for Communicators conference. I’ve embedded a short portion of my presentation that was shot on a Flip camera. It’s not the greatest quality video, but it gets the job done. So, rather than trying to type out the point I was making, I’ll just say, “Roll the video…”

Time management more challenging as new networks grow

Here’s an article I wrote for Ragan Communications about time management and the risk of social networking interrupting our ability to enjoy where we’re at and finish what we’re trying to do. I think social media is awesome, but even I admit there are times we need to evaluate how much we’re doing these days.

Published: 2/16/2010

Time management more challenging as new networks grow
By Ari B. Adler

By the time you’ve tweeted and checked in and updated your status, have you missed out on a slice of real life?

Remember “Where’s Waldo?” That lost-again-found-again character that rocketed to fame in the United States in the 1990s probably wouldn’t have found nearly as much success if he were introduced today. That’s because the answer would be too simple—finding Waldo would just require following him via myriad social networking services such as Twitter,FacebookFoursquare or the new Google Buzz.

If you want to know where people are, just start watching their online posts. They tweet about what they’re doing. They provide a Facebook status update about their plans for the day. They “check in” with Foursquare, alerting the world where they are at any given moment. And, with the new Buzz, they have the ability to drop all of it into your Gmail inbox.

The explosion of online tracking has many users wondering whether they could juggle all the social media tools, and many others wondering why they’d want to.

“For better and worse, we’ve raised our tolerance for how much we can multitask and fit into our days, so we’re better at being able to fit it all in with only some falling to the wayside,” says Andrew Schreck, a director at John Bailey & Associates Public Relations, in Troy, Mich. “There will be a breaking point where we can not, or do not want to, add any more technology and maybe slide back to a bit simpler lifestyle. I’ve seen this with Facebook, where friends are dropping out or paring back on followers because it is occupying too much of their time.”

The concept of time management has never been more in flux than it is lately with all of the different ways people can spend their time, both online and off. Despite fears to the contrary, online social networking has not made society less social. In some instances, the number of social activities people are invited to in real life are increasing.

“I can’t imagine the Foursquare-style check-ins continuing into the future, but I see solutions like Google Latitude taking hold, where your friends and any other applications you authorize could know where you are, without a specific application,” says Charles Hoffmeyer, operations analyst for the Michigan State Police. “Twitter, Facebook and Buzz fall into a different category. The social applications that support conversations with friends and strangers will thrive and will help us interact more effectively in the physical world.”

Automating the process would help the concept grow more rapidly, says Shannon Paul, social media manager for PEAK6 Online, in Seattle, Wash.

“While it’s still novel, location-based technology has far to go. Check-ins at exact locations still need to be performed manually, but I think many will eventually opt into having their location status update automatically during stretches of time,” Paul said.

Knowing when to say when

Automating the processes might raise some eyebrows over privacy, but the folks who are checking in manually have already given up a fair amount.

As more and more services start to crop up, those services heighten the burden of trying to find time for them all.

“Because of all the latest and greatest platforms that pop up on a pretty regular basis, those that try to use all will spend a pretty hefty chunk of time talking about doing rather than doing, and connecting rather than interacting,” says Kasey Anderson, a creative services specialist with Citizens Bank in Flint, Mich. “While this will impact enjoyment, I don’t think it’s a mainstream issue. Most of us know when to say when.”

Perhaps the bigger question is this: Are we all going to be so busy checking in with one another about where we are and what we’re doing that we won’t actually have any time to enjoy where we are or finish what we’re doing?

“I think that’s certainly going to be a concern for some people, but I see distraction as a human problem rather than a technology problem,” Paul says. “Some people have trouble staying in the moment and focusing on a task whether or not there’s technology involved.”

Daniel J. Hogan, an author, podcaster, and media production specialist in Lansing, Mich., agrees with that statement—and so, apparently, would his parents.

“I’ve caught myself checking Twitter updates on my phone when I should be enjoying what I’m actually doing,” Hogan says. “It comes back to self-control, and I’m more aware of it—especially when I’m around my parents, as my mom will point out that I’m ‘being rude.’ ”

The rudeness concept isn’t reserved for the older generations who just don’t understand some people’s need for constant connectivity.

Angela Minicuci, a recent graduate from Michigan State University, says that although she’s been guilty of being distracted by technology, she is trying to get better about it.

“One thing I try to do—and something everyone should remember—is to live in the moment and enjoy the company we have,” Minicuci said. “I think social interactions are less enjoyable when we’re distracted, and while a check-in or update can be fun, we should make our friendsour priorities, not our followers.”

So, is the flashy technology creating some new threat for society, or is this just an old story being retold with new characters?

According to Ryan Knott, manager of communications at the Michigan Osteopathic Association, in Okemos, Mich., society has been here before.

Since the invention of the telegraph and telephone, Knott says, our lives have become less about where we are and more about what has our attention.

“When I’m checking Twitter while at a restaurant or party, it’s not that I’m not taking the time to enjoy where I am and who I’m with,” he says. “But where I am now means more than just where my physical body currently resides. I’m no longer simply engaged in conversations in the space 3 feet around me, but all around the world. Whether you think that’s good or bad will depend largely on what you value.”

All the world’s a stage, and all your employees can play a part

I heard Scott Monty speak yesterday at the Lansing Economic Club and, as well as being an engaging speaker, he also has the advantage of delivering a message from a company that really seems to “get it” when it comes to social media and its potential. For those who don’t know who Scott is, his official title is Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager for Ford Motor Co.

It probably helped that I saw Scott right in the midst of my prep work for a presentation I’m doing at a Ragan/PRSA conference in February. I’m preparing to talk to people about why they have a huge untapped potential in their employees as brand ambassadors via social media. Coupling that with Scott’s presentation about Ford’s incredible foray into this realm has me even more impassioned about the issue.

Employees have always been brand ambassadors. Successful companies learned how to keep employees happy and may have offered some training on how to express that happiness.  They probably talked to them about how to answer the phone and how to transfer calls to the right department if they couldn’t help. Maybe there were some tips on what to say to friends and neighbors if they asked about something going on at the company – with most of the tips being to say as little as possible or to say that’s not really your area and so you don’t know what’s going on.

But that kind of simplistic, command-and-control style of employee engagement simply won’t cut it anymore. The Internet is widespread and faster than ever, with broadband access sometimes giving people faster upload and download speeds at home than they have at work. With smartphones, Blackberries and iPhones, people now are able to receive and send information to anyone, anywhere, anytime. There are hundreds of news sources available 24 hours a day and there are dozens of ways for stories to be rebroadcast, repeated, re-tweeted and shared around the world in the blink of an eye.

There’s an old quote that goes, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” It’s attributed to Winston Churchill. Imagine what the English prime minister would say about the way news, rumors and information travel today compared to what was happening during the WWII era.

If you ever get a chance to hear Scott talk about what Ford is doing and why, I highly recommend taking advantage of it. After his presentation, I cornered him with my Flip camera asked him to reiterate something he said on stage. He had mentioned that people easily recognized the Ford name and the iconic blue oval, but that it’s important for people to now see behind that oval — to find out what’s really making Ford tick. Social media allows them to take that peek. I asked Scott why that was so important.

Here’s what he had to say:

Move over, content; consumers will be kings this year

Here’s a piece I was commissioned to write by Ragan Communications. Thanks to the great folks quoted in this article who were willing to spend time helping me with it.

Published: 1/4/2010

Move over, content; consumers will be kings this year
By Ari B. Adler

A customizable Web and mobile apps and augment users’ already formidable clout

From banks and Big Three automakers that needed rescuing, to the governors and golf pros who couldn’t master monogamy, 2009 may well go down in history as the year of the bailouts.

Public relations professionals have spent a tremendous amount of effort trying to fix things for their clients while the news broke faster than birds can tweet.

So, what’s in store for 2010 in the communications industry? That depends on whom you ask, but a common theme is the idea that consumers will have even more control, whether they are consumers of a product or of information about that product. In short, communications professionals will have to fight even harder for their client’s reputations.

“As social networking adoption continues, frontline communications and PR will become the responsibility of everyone inside a company,” said Charlie Wollborg of Curve Detroit. “Social media will stop being ‘some newfangled doohickey the kids play with’ and simply become the de facto way business is done.”

If Wollborg is right and social media use continues to grow, which is likely, will consumers eventually reach a saturation point?

“As more companies build an online presence, the ability or desire for consumers to keep up with all the content generated will max out,” said Amy Mengel, a communications professional from the capital region of New York.

Mengel believes we’ll see increased filtering in 2010, particularly in the field of tools that allow people to sort, rank and prioritize content.

The sorting of information is going to be especially important to keep tabs on if you have a client targeting the younger population, says Becky Johns, communications coordinator for Delta Dental of Michigan and a member of the Millennial Generation.

“We don’t find the news anymore; the news finds us,” Johns said. “As PR pros, we need to package our messages in a way that they will actually reach young people who aren’t out trolling for what’s going on.”

She said that for the younger generations, the source is still important because the information needs to be credible, but they care more about how relevant the information is than where it comes from.

“The Internet has made everything so customizable that there is no need or room for anything not relevant to what someone is looking for,” Johns said.

“We grew up typing a set of words into a box and being fed information about whatever we want, whenever we want it. We have choices beyond the mainstream media and dealing with that reality has to be a priority for PR pros in 2010.”

A year of transition

For Jason Kintzler, founder of PitchEngine, 2010 will be the year social media is tested as a resource, perhaps because people like Johns aren’t as concerned about sources anymore.

“We’ll see some ethical questions raised,” Kintzler said. “False reports, investor mishaps and other fails will likely spark some mainstream dilemmas. People flocked to Twitter and Facebook in 2009. They began to consume news in ways never imagined. Many of them even shut off their televisions and closed the newspaper. In 2010, questions of trust will run rampant.”

Johns and Kintzler do agree that metrics will be tested this year.

“We need to take ownership of the way communication has changed,” Johns said. “Social media is still widely considered broadcast media, and the focus is all on ‘What can we put out there?’ when it really should be on ‘What can we learn from it in order to do business better?’ ”

Kintzler said success in PR and advertising will need to be measured on more than impressions alone. “With marketers getting savvy to the ways of the social web, they’ll adopt more organic ways of reaching consumers and new forms of reporting,” he said.

Get familiar with mobile apps

The use of video and mobile applications also will see an uptick in 2010, according to Kintzler and Wollborg.

“Company YouTube channels and video blogs will replace company text blogs and news feeds,” Wollborg said. “Company iPhone and Droid apps will become as ubiquitous as company Web sites, and you’ll see PR and communications firms rebrand as ‘community relations firms.’ ”

Kintzler said startup companies will see a boom as retailers find ways to connect fans and followers to their brick-and-mortar stores. “Consumers will use their smart phones on a transactional level, and retailers will salivate,” he said.

With all the buzz about social media, mobile devices and online interaction, will there be any room left for old-fashioned PR basics? Absolutely, says Sam Sims, APR, account director at Jones Public Relations in Oklahoma City.

“With the outburst of new communications tools, mediums and vehicles, successful PR practitioners will root themselves in the foundations and be successful regardless of hype,” Sims said. “What’s new to PR in 2010 is really not new. It’s the four-step process centered on communications theories. Call it retro, antique, rustic—it’s good old-fashioned PR foundation.”

Ari B. Adler is a media relations professional with experience as a newspaper reporter and editor as well as a government and corporate spokesperson. You can follow him on Twitter at @aribadler.