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When I was in the Air Force (waaay back when) and was stationed in the Philippines, our theme song for the 13th Air Force (to which I was assigned) was "We All Play In The Same Band." The lyrics spoke to the fact that, although our bases and personnel were scattered up and down Asia, we had one synchronous mission and our success hinged on each and every one of us doing what it took to "get the job done" regardless of our rank or "paperwork" assigned duties. That mindset has stuck with me for now more than 40 years.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Monday Roundup: Support

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So. Tell me. Sometimes you just gotta ___________. (Complete.)

...you just gotta boogie! :-)

3 months, 3 weeks ago on When Social Media Fills In The Blanks

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What a wonderful compilation of memories and milestones, Mary. You truly have done some amazing work on behalf of clients, as well as for and with your family. Thank you for sharing this with those of us who are honored to call you our friend and colleague. And may the next 40 years be even more remarkable!

4 months, 3 weeks ago on Reflections on Life’s Journeys

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Given that uttering/whispering/screaming "sucks" keeps me from getting in even MORE trouble with my higher-ups, my obvious vote is...ROCK ON...and people who have a problem with it, "tough noogies." :-)

5 months, 2 weeks ago on Sucks is a Bad Word

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This is a great follow-up to Tom Foremski's take on the lack of progress we in the public relations profession have realized (in his view) in adopting and adapting technology. However, I will take minor issue with Chris Penn's observation that "public relations is seen as a human art form and not as a science."


I would argue that PR has dual, equally valid, personalities encompassing both art AND science. I wrote about this for Shonali Burke's excellent blog, "Waxing Unlyrical," nearly two years ago (http://www.waxingunlyrical.com/2012/04/05/public-relations-art-or-science/)...citing Edward L. Bernays' own observation that public relations is, in fact, a combination of the two.


I think it's terrific that this discussion is taking place in forums other than the classroom, where I often challenge my students to take one or the other side and defend their choice. Let's keep it goin!

7 months ago on Can you automate PR?

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@Shonali @KirkHazlett @Howie Goldfarb  The Reader's Digest version...unabridged version available at PRSAICON in DC! :-)


Entered Air Force w/English degree thinking would be teacher. Wound up in Vietnam (Saigon) teaching English. Came back to States to a/v library. Was asked to help promote our services. Wrote a number of "letters" (as I knew them...known to us in PR as "news releases") to base paper. Also started talking up services at NCO Club and anywhere there were people gathered. Business grew to the point where we had to extend hours and add a new position.


Went back to Saigon. Taught for about three months and was asked to manage instructor dayroom/lounge/bar. Started talking with customers about what they would like to see offered other than snacks and drinks. Started doing cook-outs, bringing in live entertainment and first-run movies. Brokered special deal with regional exchange services for discounts on food and drink purchases. In 1970 dollars, was clearing $300 per week profit.


Came back to States, to another AF a/v library. Same as earlier. Wrote "letters" for base paper. Talked with tons of people about services we offered. Accepted invitations to assist with on- and off-base organizations' a/v needs for meetings and special events. Once again...added additional staffer to handle new business.


Was assigned to new AF base to Command Briefing Team...part of the Tactical Air Command Public Affairs Division as a/v tech. Ran briefings for host of units; promoted our services like mad.


Off to the Philippines and assigned to a/v squadron. Same as above..."letters"..."talking"..."helping." Was visited by Exec. Dir, Manila Red Cross for assistance in developing a/v training programs for dependent children.


When asked in all the above situations what I was doing, I said it was a "Southern thing"...being neighborly and helping people who needed help.


Started studying for second degree in Business Management. Had to take an elective. "Underwater Basketweaving 101" was filled; signed up for a course that sounded equally easy and mindless: "Introduction to Public Relations."


First chapter of Cutlip & Center's "Effective Public Relations," and I'm "OMG...THIS is what I've been doing all these years; I just didn't know what it was called!"


Came back to States to wrap up enlistment (total: 8 yrs). Got out and started looking for work...management positions...nothing caught my eye.


The US Army Training and Doctrine Command had an opening for a Public Information Intern. I applied. Was accepted. Got hired.


The rest is, as they say, "history."


Had I not taken the "Intro to PR" course, this would not have happened. I would not have read something that described, TO A "T," what I had been doing all these years.


And I will be eternally grateful for the twist of fate that caused me to "fall into PR."

7 months ago on Forrest Gump Was Right…Life IS a Box of Chocolates

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What a great introduction to the "newbie" world, Tori! I will share this with my PR students as well as our Career Development folks!

7 months, 1 week ago on What to Know Before Starting a Job in PR

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Oh, Dear...The prolonged winter siege has take its toll! :-\

7 months, 2 weeks ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition is Coming!

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While I think this post is pretty much on track when it comes to blending internet-based communication with traditional print and broadcast, we seem to be mssing the boat when it comes to effective use of the internet itself. Content-rich, SEO-optimized websites can and will reach those who regularly log on to check news (and sports, in the case of my students at #CurryCollege). Incorporating social media into this mix will enhance the reach and effectiveness of your messaging.


But...traditional media still works...and will continue to do so...for reinforcement and amplification of your message.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232025

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Well said, @ginidietrich ! You're right...we're not perfect. Nor, I would add, are any of the other professions that comprise the current working world. If I had the proverbial nickel for every boo-boo I've made in my professional (AND academic) life, I would be sipping margaritas in Tahiti right now rather than dealing with the New England winter!

But we...like everyone else...have to do our homework as we ply our trade. It only takes a minute to do some quick research on a topic or an individual before acting. And, just like engineers, we need to "test-drive" our communication programs to make sure they're fault-free. (I love getting mass emails addressed to "Dear APR" myself! Makes me feel important!!)

I will share your thoughts with my Principles of PR class to which I am heading as soon as I hit "Post." Thanks for making my day!

9 months ago on Media Relations: Why The Economist Thinks We Have it Wrong

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@HeatherWhaling @KirkHazlett Looks like we'll ALL be gainfully employed for a while!!

9 months ago on Google & Facebook Changes GOOD for Public Relations Pros

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It's a bitter "lesson" for the spammers...and others who truly have no clue what comprises "quality" in public relations. Early on...in my Smith-Corona typewriter-centric youth...I balked at the proddings of my bosses to crank out releases and other copy for the sake of "getting our name out there." I held out for quality versus quantity...and it worked. Too bad that some of our wannabe colleagues don't understand this...and "Big Brother" has to step in.

9 months ago on Google & Facebook Changes GOOD for Public Relations Pros

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Chris ~


You are absolutely correct in saying that the organization must communicate its values and beliefs clearly and convincingly if it expects its employees to embrace them. I've seen/experienced all too often in my own PR career organizations whose response when asked was, "Well, they're in our employee handbook that everyone gets when hired." And, in response to the follow-on of "Do they actually READ the 'handbook'?", an exasperated "Well, they're *supposed* to" usually ends the conversation.


Great reminder for all of us...don't take acceptance of your values and beliefs for granted as a leader. Live it. Breathe it. Share it.

9 months ago on Let your core values guide employee opinions online

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@Howie Goldfarb My story, Howie, told probably way too often is...English and Business Management degrees. Fell into PR by accident...high tech, healthcare, nonprofit, federal government, and  higher ed. You're right...never know 'til you try!!

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Forrest Gump Was Right…Life IS a Box of Chocolates

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@Ancita Thanks so much, Ancita! Always good to know my ramblings can be helpful! :-)

9 months, 2 weeks ago on Forrest Gump Was Right…Life IS a Box of Chocolates

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@Howie Goldfarb @KirkHazlett @ginidietrich @Shonali Economies of scale, Howie! Why re-create the wheel when the experts have already built it! :-D

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Journalistic Ethics: What Every PR Pro Needs to Know

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@ginidietrich @KirkHazlett You just might hear from one of my "troops" one of these days, Gini!

And come on down to sunny suburban Milton, MA! Would love to have you talk to one of my classes! :-)

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Journalistic Ethics: What Every PR Pro Needs to Know

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Gini ~ To put it mildly, this is fantabulous! You validate everything that I "preach" to my PR classes practically every day regardless of whether or not that's actually the topic for the day's discussion.

Ethics in public relations...or ANY profession, for that matter...is non-negotiable. At the end of the day, we, as PR pros, have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and be proud of what we see. And we have to be proud of how we achieve coverage on behalf of our clients or employers. 

At the same time, we have to continue our mission of educating those same clients or employers on the realities of our craft...it's called "earned media" for a reason...there has to be something of value in what we are asking the media to communicate.

Is there a "silver bullet"? No. Is there hope? I'm an optimist...I say "yes."

We...my colleagues and I on the academic side...have to step up the educational aspect of ethical behavior., We have to help our young disciples...the up-and-coming PR professionals and journalism professionals...truly understand the importance of ethical practice.

PRSA and other organizations are doing a decent job of educating/informing current professionals, but more could be done. It really circles back to us as individuals to carry the torch. If others see us conducting our business ethically...and successfully...my hope is they will choose to do likewise.

Onward and upward!

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Journalistic Ethics: What Every PR Pro Needs to Know

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Excellent reference resource, Mike. Thanks!

12 months ago on 19 Must-Read PR & Social Media Blogs

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Very useful and realistic guidance here. I emphasize to my PR students day-in-and-day-out the imperative that what you say or "do" online can and will have an immediate effect on your organization's reputation as well as your own. So tread wisely, but do NOT shy away from the online opportunities to engage with stakeholders and potential clients/customers. As the old saying goes, "Be sure brain is engaged before putting mouth (keyboard) into motion."

1 year ago on Online Reputation Management: Use the Internet with Confidence

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Thoughts, prayers, and cyber-hugs flowing your way in waves. Be strong, my friend.

1 year, 1 month ago on When Life and S**t Happens

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@Howie Goldfarb @KirkHazlett @Mark_Harai Thanks, Howie and Mark, for some insightful comments. It's ironic that *listening* can be such a misunderstand and badly-practiced concept! Let's hope we seen some positive changes in our lifetimes!

1 year, 2 months ago on The Power of Listening

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@Mark_Harai Very, very true, Mark. It's a tough art to master for some of us, but definitely worth the effort.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

1 year, 2 months ago on The Power of Listening

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@sgm3444 There's a reason why there are twice as many of the one! :-)

1 year, 2 months ago on The Power of Listening

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Very refreshing, Holly, and mirroring much of what I "preach" both to my students and to folks who attend sessions I present on cultivating an online presence. I refer to it as "getting comfortable in your own skin." Once you achieve that, your online presence will represent the real you...all sides...all "shapes." Thanks for validating my thoughts!

1 year, 5 months ago on Would the Real Holly Dawson Please Stand Up?

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@Howie Goldfarb Very good points, Howie. And, as you so rightly conclude, you've done YOUR duty as counsel...it's up to the client to decide how he or she will act based on that guidance. While I've never said "I told you so" to a client or employer, I have had more than one say to ME..."You advised us not to do XXX. You were right." Gott love our profession! :-)

1 year, 5 months ago on Public Relations: The Two Sides of Information Access

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Terrific post as always, @Shonali . It truly is up to us as individuals to make good things happen. I know from personal experience how tiring and frustrating slumps can be, but I also know that a good swift kick in the mental rear-end can get me re-motivated and lead to positive outcomes. Thanks for a wonderfully-voiced reminder! :-)

1 year, 5 months ago on We Make Our Own Fairy Dust

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Very interesting read, Shonali, that highlights some of the very real dilemmas that we find ourselves facing. The beauty of the public relations profession is that it truly does encompass a vast array of techniques, technologies, and tactics. But it sometimes is more "comfortable" for others to brand us as this...or that...or the other. I think the secret, if there be a secret, is to be comfortable yourself and to be able to describe for others your capabilities. Whether it's "traditional" or "social" or an amalgamation of the two...it's all public relations.

1 year, 6 months ago on Breaking Out of The Box Only To Be Put in Another

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@Shonali @margieclayman The reader was in his early 40s, Shonali...not too old...not too young. Perhaps in that "uncertain" period of his life??

1 year, 6 months ago on Person-to-Person Communication: The Human Side of Public Relations

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@margieclayman Thanks, Margie! It IS  the humans who gum up things, isn't it?!? Thanks so much for reading and commenting! :-)

1 year, 6 months ago on Person-to-Person Communication: The Human Side of Public Relations

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@HowieG Thanks, Howie. I've always been about the "personal" touch, and have never been disappointed in the ultimate results. It's how I finally realized that my calling was public relations and not some other profession...long story there, but got me where I am today.

I really appreciate your reading, sharing, and commenting!

1 year, 6 months ago on Person-to-Person Communication: The Human Side of Public Relations

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@PattiRoseKnight @KirkHazlett @yvettepistorio Very true on that one, Patti, although Yvette and the gang might claim that *we* need *them* ore! ;-)

1 year, 6 months ago on Corporate to Agency Life: Differences Between the Two

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I completely agree with the description of corporate PR benefits...I've always been more comfortable in a corporate setting because I've been able to be a part of the "Mother Ship" and can more fully provide advice and counsel based on my in-depth knowledge of "how the sausage is made." Agency life didn't do that for me. Great post!

1 year, 6 months ago on Corporate to Agency Life: Differences Between the Two

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 @ginidietrich  @KirkHazlett Loved it, Gini. Just showed all the segments to my Mass Communication class.

1 year, 6 months ago on Gin and Topics: The Truth Fairy and a Dump Truck

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Best laughs I've had in a long, long time...and a lot of underlying truths in the various videos. Thanks for sharing on a *Good* Friday!

1 year, 6 months ago on Gin and Topics: The Truth Fairy and a Dump Truck

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Late to the conversation on this excellent post, @Shonali . This is very valuable information that I will share with my students and others who are trying to wrap their social heads around social media, especially Twitter. Thanks for simplifying my so-called *life*!

1 year, 7 months ago on 18 Tweetable Twitter Tips for Newbies

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Awesome, @shonali! Mr. Bill and I never really got along too well...I was more focused on roughly 300 years after him. But you have absolutely and totally captured the essence of the messages that can be found in his writings. I also can still hear my Shakespeare prof at UGA saying, and I quote, "Shakespeare is lying in his grave laughing his a** off at the 'interpretations' we do of his writing." She was right, of course, but you have piqued my interest once again in the Bard's work and I'll probably...with an emphasis on "probably"...revisit his works. Thanks for making my day!!

1 year, 7 months ago on 15 Quotes from Shakespeare for Public Relations Pros

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Excellent continuation of the conversation, Starr. Your suggestions for setting and enforcing rules are just what we need to help wrap our heads around the rapidly-evolving/changing communication channels that exist between teachers and students. Thanks again for some great insights!

1 year, 7 months ago on Successful Social Media Disengagement for Teachers

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This sounds like an amazing opportunity, @Shonali ! Wish I could get down for it...one of these days. Looking forward to your updates/recap, though!

1 year, 7 months ago on Gearing Up For Social Slam 2013

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@HowieG @KirkHazlett Thanks, Howie. It can be a tough path to follow, but, in the end...

Thanks for reading and commenting!

1 year, 7 months ago on Ethics and Accountability in Public Relations are Non-Negotiable

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@CarrieHillPR @shonali @KirkHazlett As one of my favorite lines from "The Kind and I" goes, "It is a puzzlement," Carrie. I tell my students that one of my saving graces as a PR professional has always been that my face turns beet red when I "bend" the truth. Therefore, I don't! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

1 year, 7 months ago on Ethics and Accountability in Public Relations are Non-Negotiable

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Thanks very much, Matt. It IS an intersting show in that I can always find something to rant about the next day in my public relations classes! And, sadly, it DOES show the seamier side of our profession...or ANY profession, for that matter. As long as human beings are "human," there will always be someone somewhere who will be tempted to take the "easy" way out of a situation. All we can do is continue waving the flag of ethical, responsible business practice. I really appreciate your reading and commenting!

1 year, 7 months ago on Ethics and Accountability in Public Relations are Non-Negotiable

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Some good questions in this post, @arikhanson , but I also have to agree with what @ValerieSimon says. Social media, although it has been with us for what seems like forever, is still an evolving piece of the total planning process. Those of us who are have been around longer (my students say "old"; I say "experienced") are still to some extent wrapping our collective heads around effective incorporation of social media into our corporate/client planning processes. While the Gen-Xers want things to move more quickly, we (Boomers) are still, to a great extent, in the driver's seat. As we move on to greener retirement pastures, the younger, more social media savvy pros will step in and step up. I believe that is when you will start seeing more calls for senior, "experienced" social media pros for leadership positions. The next five years will be very interesting...just be patient!! :-)

1 year, 7 months ago on The Gen X social media talent gap–and what it means for corporate America

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@Shonali I have a great relationship with my troops, Shonali. They really DO show me a huge amount of respect, but they're not above "poking the tiger" once in a while just to see what happens! This student actually got verbally beat up by a couple of folks sitting beside him! We all had a good laugh!!

I appreciate your kind observation regarding my "experience"! It's nice to know that some of my friends haven't given up on me yet! :-)

1 year, 7 months ago on How Social Media Blurs the Black and White in Education

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Starr ~ You have absolutely nailed the challenge between the eyes. My "troops" know that I'm on line roughly 18 hours a day...not actively doing stuff, mind you, but there. They've also learned that, if they don't respond to my school-based email, I WILL track them down on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

As an "experienced" (one of my students recently informed me I was "old"...how DARE he?!?) PR professional/professor, I also instinctively know the boundaries in our online relationships, and I keep out of the obvious (to me) quicksand areas. But I also have found that I am able to quickly learn about and respond to students who truly have experienced something unfortunate.

Things are changing, and we have to learn how to adapt and adopt. We also have to remember and remind ourselves that we are entitled to have a life outside the workplace/classroom.

Terrific post. Thanks for sharing!

1 year, 7 months ago on How Social Media Blurs the Black and White in Education

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Awesome post, Matt. While I have no problem with others having an opinion, I have major problems with those who automatically dismiss my (or someone else's) ideas as inferior. Thanks for saying so well what many of us feel and experience on a daily basis.

1 year, 7 months ago on The Arrogance Of Being Right

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I needed this this morning, @Shonali, as I have managed to slog through the monsoon (hey, it's not snow, so there's an upside!) to open my email here at Curry and read a paper from an (undergrad) COM Scholars student that is, at best, unreadable. Four simple questions to answer...total miss.

Following directions is one key step toward forming a cooperative relationship in my mind. If you listen to me and heed my suggestions/directions/instructions...and vice versa...there is a very good chance that we will ultimately form a very cooperative relationship and do some very cool things.

But this requires (a) an open mind...I'm pretty good at what I do and am willing to learn how to do it even better, and (b) a willingness to be argued against and to take that response not as a criticism but as a learning moment.

My own PR students/mentees have learned that our relationship is based on two-way, "symmetric" communication (thank you, Jim Grunig!), and, if we all play by the same rules, we all succeed in one way or another.

Thanks for putting so eloquently in words what I feel in my heart and sense in every bone of my professional being!

1 year, 7 months ago on The Client Covenant

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@Shonali Burke , what a wonderful commentary on finding joy in the simplest things in life. Thank you for sharing!

1 year, 8 months ago on Sheer Joy

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Very interesting, @Shonali , and something I have to learn a lot more about. Every time I read one of you posts, I learn yet one more new "trick of the trade." Thanks for the shout-out, too!

1 year, 8 months ago on Streak: Possibly the Best CRM System for Small Business

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@barrettrossie Many thanks, Barrett! And, yep, I've been around the block a couple of times! :-)

I think that's what keeps me so energized and engaged now as a teacher...we DON't know what's over the horizon and, when it eventually does arrive, we're dazzled and delighted. And, as public relations professionals especially, we quickly figure out a way to incorporate whatever it is into our plans and programs.

Happy Holidays!

1 year, 10 months ago on PR and Change… On the Edge of Tomorrow

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