I just recently launched my career in the swift and strategic fields of PR and marketing and am lucky to be mentored by some of the sharpest people in the profession. One of my boss’ catchphrases that has struck me is “perception is reality.” In the world of building a brand, it means the way in which the public understands your organization becomes the truth of your organization. If the public opinion is that your organization is elitist, then it’s elitist. If people think your product is junk, then it’s junk. Don Draper would add, “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.”
(Image via Salon)
Last night, my roommate and I saw Shane Salerno’s documentary Salinger following the life of The Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger. The film, while largely sensationalized and at times tacky, had its moments, and drew my mind to my boss’ phrase and the way it applies to the brand of a person.
Salinger’s rise in postwar American popularity occurred simultaneously with his shrinking away from public view. The media dubbed him “reclusive.” Interviewee and biographer A. Scott Berg called the act “a great PR move.” Why? Because by being outside of society, Salinger was at the heart of it. Because the less the man revealed, the more the public wanted to know, the more they speculated, the more they crafted their own perception of him.
And a perception formed that Salinger had all the answers. He could tell you how to live, how to protect innocence, how to grow-up, how to dodge the phonies. But the people who met Salinger, who appeared unannounced at his home in New Hampshire, or waited outside the post office he visited, were sorely disappointed. Apparently, Salinger had no interest in providing any answers. He was a writer of fiction; he told stories and asked questions. But the public’s perception of Salinger and the lessons of The Catcher in the Rye became their reality. That reality became so powerful that it drove three people to become assassins.
Therein lies the strength of my boss’ mantra. Perceived reality is powerful. Public opinion shapes the truth. What’s the big takeaway? For now, I’ve concluded to be conscious of the perceptions I project and the perceptions I form. That, and beware of phonies.
“I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it.”
Emma Bauer is a Being Geek Chic Contributor. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, history scholar, tea drinker, fashion devotee, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic.
Follow her on twitter: @emmalynnbauer
This week’s Lady Geek is Therese Shechter, the writer and director of the in-the-works documentary How to Lose Your Virginity. Her film begs the question: “Does virginity exist, or is it a social construct created to keep girls in line?”
Shechter guides the documentary, creating a far-reaching and personal dialogue with women from all over the age and sexuality spectrums. How to Lose Your Virginity seeks to reveal the myths and misconceptions behind women’s “precious gift”—virginity.
Check out the trailer! You’ll get a taste of the hilarity and honesty of Shechter’s film. Shechter narrates her story, “I lost my virginity at the age of twenty-three in this basement apartment. It’s now a flower shop called Bloom, next to a salon…called Shagg.”
Shechter has an impressive resume. She has a production company, Trixie Films, based in Brooklyn, “far too close to the pie shop.” Some of her work has become a part of college curriculums, and she prides herself on getting people to both talk and listen. But she is most proud of the fact that “so many web surfers who unwittingly landed on this site in the search of porn, get feminist sex-positivity instead.”
Feeling empowered? Schechter invites you to share you own stories about virginity and female sexuality.
A big thanks to an anonymous nominator for this week’s Lady Geek! Do you know someone worthy of the title? Send her name and her website (or blog or Twitter account) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Emma Bauer, who works as BGC’s official intern. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, history scholar, tea drinker, fashion devotee, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic. On twitter: @emmalynnbauer
YouTube is making me all kinds of happy, happy this week. Here’s some pickings for you, my friends.
PBS’s Off Book series on YouTube is a must-need subscription. The videos are always beautiful and fun. This week, they’re talking about the art of film and tv title designs. Fincher’s Seven to Zombieland to Mad Men, get a sneak peek at how artists brings these important introductions to life.
If you aren’t familiar with How It Should Have Ended, then it’s worth checking out. This week, they challenge the end of The Hunger Games and make a *wee* bit of fun of Peeta.
Women Authors Prominent on ALA Banned Books List
It appears that women are holding down the America Library Association’s most challenged books of 2011 list. Suzanne Collins, Harper Lee, Kim Dong Hwa and Lauren Myracle all make the list.
Happy weekend everyone!
Take a look at this trailer for a documentary about dating via the Internet…
The film XOXOSMS was conceived and directed by Nancy Schwartzman, who was named one of the “10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2011″ by Independent Magazine. And while Schwartzman is well-know for “The Line” (a campaign to use media to inspire action), her new film really hits home for a lot of people dating in the modern age.
Here’s what Schwartzman has to say about it:
"We hear a lot about the ways young people can be hurt by online relationships, but there’s not much discussion of how the internet can facilitate and nurture the most loving, caring relationships, too. I wanted to show what that looks like — the ways that the internet not only provides fertile ground for establishing young relationships, but how those connections, in turn, can be shaped and supported by technology. I wanted to tell a story that that reflects how countless relationships are now made.
When I first heard about Jiyun and Gus’s real-life modern love story, they told me how they’d fallen for each other online but, even more compellingly, they were able to show me: they’d saved every single chat and text they’d ever exchanged. Those archived, real-time conversations tell the story of their courtship — line by literal line — and allow us an intimate view of how their relationship bloomed.”
A great number of stories about couples finding love on the web have been gathered on Tumblr too, which you can follow at xoxosms.tumblr.com/
A new study from USC found:
In a survey of the top 100-grossing movies of 2009 — including “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" — researchers found that 32.8% of the 4,342 speaking characters were female and 67.2% were male, a percentage identical to that of the top-grossing movies of 2008.
For the record, the LA Times article has a photo of HP&HBP and states: “How does “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” add up in USC’s gender equality study?” But the question is never answered.
EDIT: Found a copy of the study on USC’s site. You can download it here. There’s no answer to the Potter question in the study.