The GIFt of Able GIFs

Forget the gifts. This season, I’m all about GIFs. Like this one from the good folks at GovLoop (who even made the title of their email blast “Abe in a Santa Hat.”)


I particularly appreciate the “Able” pun, and the implication that Lincoln is, in fact, Santa Claus.



What’s Wrong With The Gettysburg Address?

152 years ago this afternoon, President Lincoln delivered one of his most famous speeches. At the time, it was considered a flop (or “The Flop That Popped” in the words of Salvador Litvak), but today we treat it like the gold standard of Presidential communication.

Now that’s not to knock it; it’s an important speech. But by today’s writing standards, it’s anything but clear. Don’t believe me? Check out what happens when you run the address through Hemingway:

GettysburgFollow along for more Lincoln fun at @HonestAbeBlog!



Score 4 and 7 Yards To Go

This weekend I am due to see what will be (**GASP**) my first football game. The match, scheduled between my beloved Michigan Wolverines and the still-weird-for-me-to-think-of-them-in-the-Big-10 Maryland Terps, was supposed to be a night game – but has been bumped up to a 12pm start time.

I’ve been watching Michigan football for years; so getting to see a game in-person will be a treat, but there’s definitely one thing I’ll miss, and no, it’s not the commentary. It’s these commercials:

Kudos to Illinois, for having a state ad campaign that rivals Pure Michigan.

The Elements of Presidential Style

“Practice makes perfect” has always been my approach to writing. Right now, I’m very much in the midst of the “practice” period. While improving my copy-editing capabilities is on the short list for 2016 New Year’s Resolutions, I believe that ALL writing can benefit from another set of eyes.

However, another set of eyes isn’t always the only answer. Sometimes, you’ve got to balance that with style, audience, and other choices.

This image from Laura Freschi on the Development Research Institute’s blog hammers home the value of balancing clarity and style nicely:

“How Good Writing Experts Are Not Always Right”


Got good pop-culture Abe Lincoln references? Send them my way at honestabeblog at gmail dot com.


Happy L-Abe-r Day

Labor Day didn’t exist as such during Abraham Lincoln’s lifetime. Although, it originated in a late nineteenth century tradition of showing public support for labor issues, it was not until 1882 that it became a more organized celebration.

Even though Lincoln didn’t get to participate in our modern-day formalized fête, he still deeply appreciated hard work, noting that:

“Labor is the true standard of value.”

He was no wimp when it came to hard labor, himself; indeed, the classic image of Lincoln the rail splitter comes to mind.


Although for most of us, today is a day where we take a break (or in my instance – spend 12 hours travelling home from a vacation), it’s important to step back and take a minute to be thankful for all of the hard working people that makes our country great.


5 Ways Abe Lincoln Can Help A PR Professional

A version of this post previously appeared on the Washington Women in Public Relations’ blog

Four score and seven years ago,* I was lucky enough to have gotten a semester-long internship for C-SPAN’s history unit. This meant I dusted the Ann Arbor snow off my shoulders, moved to D.C., and never looked back. While it was an incredible opportunity from a professional perspective (I was later hired full time to work on C-SPAN’s American History TV), it was also important on a personal level, as it helped me discover my hero: Abraham Lincoln.


Sure, I’m not the only one out there who loves Lincoln, but my (borderline fanatical) love of our 16th President has shaped a lot of my life since then. My fellow history nerds will know that April marks a solemn occasion: the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, so to commemorate this event, I’m sharing five Lincoln quotes that shape my life as public affairs professional:

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” I love this Lincoln quote because it reminds me that the best way to approach any PR campaign, is not just to look at a single leaf or branch, but to try and get a sense of the whole forest. Indeed, when representing a client, understanding the distinction between character and reputation is crucial.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”Everything goes smoother when you’ve got the right tools in place. Although planning wasn’t always possible in the midst of warfare, Lincoln knew the value of preparation. When getting ready for a big campaign launch, I keep this 2/3rds ratio in mind and spend twice as much time getting ready as I do on the event itself.

tumblr_l3rj7vzfet1qa59jno1_400“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
Admittedly, Lincoln didn’t live in today’s context of constant communication, but his message here is spot on. Just as you shouldn’t always jump on a trend, you don’t always have to speak.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Living in D.C., the “hustle” may seem like the only option, but Lincoln’s words remind us that there’s a reason for that. As a young woman in this industry, there are a ton of fantastic opportunities (likeWWPR events!) that can truly enrich your life.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Perhaps of every one of Lincoln’s words, these resonate most deeply. As a person who has devoted her life to helping others present their position to the world, the reminder to be good and ethical is a tremendous compass, and I try and share these words with every professional I meet.

As Washingtonians, we often take Lincoln for granted, but this April I encourage everyone of you to take a walk down to the mall, sit on the steps of the Memorial, and consider the lessons Lincoln shared with us.

*Length of time may have been exaggerated for the love of Lincoln in this instance.

Sk8rboi Abe Linc0ln’s txts

I’ve written before about the Tweetability of the Gettysburg Address, but this comic takes this to a new extreme:

lincoln texts

I also enjoy that Lincoln is apparently a skateboarder in this portrayal? Sure, I’ll take it.

All of this said, the digital communicator in me must urge every single one of you to avoid txtspk/SMSish/txt talk)… you can still communicate effectively without unnecessary abbreviation! #RantOver