Monthly Archives: July 2007

Stop being used

There’s an interesting post by Josh Bernoff about the way tech companies refer to their customers as users. And it dawned on me that if I’m a user then I’m probably being used. I guess that’s somewhat implicit in the symbiotic producer/customer relationship. However, if we, the users, can fully understand the situation then presumably we can stop being so used (upsold) and make more informed choices. On the other hand I also agree with the Elephant Man who so eloquently proclaimed, ‘I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am…a man!’

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Read any good blooks lately?

I just stumbled on Jack Kapica’s witty Weblish post. In it he mentions the Lulu Blooker Prize (I hadn’t heard of it before), awarded annually to blogs that transform themselves into into books, er blooks, from a program you can get on the Lulu site. The business was created by Red Hat co-founder Bob Young. I was curious, checked it out and it’s actually quite ingenious. You can publish text (fiction, non-fiction), comics, illustrated coffee table books, calendars. And they promote it on the site. However, as someone who has written two books the old fashioned way, I wonder if…

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‘A bad image or no image’

Poor Manitoba. It isn’t enough that my birth province is beset by frigid winters and an overabundance of blood-sucking mosquitoes in the summer. Not to mention a hollowed-out downtown, glue sniffing and a 40+ year exodus to points East and West. And now, to add insult to injury, it turns out that the reaction to ‘Spirited Energy’, the province’s attempt to rebrand and attract visitors and investment, was less than warmly received when it was tested in focus groups. According the Marketing magazine online (subscription required): consumers ‘were lukewarm and even confused’ about the campaign. (I guess that’s why the…

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A failure to communicate

Two years ago, during my APR* oral exam, I was asked how I might counsel the Mayor of Toronto on a certain issue of the day. I replied that I did not practice public affairs, would probably suggest the Mayor call someone else, and then offered a few general principles that I thought might apply to the situation. I’m going to do the same today. First some background. Toronto City Council defeated (by one vote) two civic tax increases that Mayor David Miller believed would bring in some much needed revenue. All of a sudden we’re in dire straits with…

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But seriously ladies and germs…

True confession: I used to be a comedy writer/performer a long time ago (I even collaborated on a political joke book). And since I now have this forum, I’m taking the liberty of posting a few jokes and puns. Feel free to add a laugh track (comments) – good or bad, improve the punchlines or submit your own. Here are three to start: What do comedians use for writing really bad jokes?A pun. What do you call an unruly group of snobs?A smob. Where do you bury jazz musicians?In a groove-yard.

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Face the music

Robert Scoble has a good post on why he thinks Facebook is the place to be. Everybody’s there… It’s sounding a bit like the Studio 54 of the social media scene, except there isn’t a bouncer (or beta version) to keep people at bay. And all those apps… Or, as Groucho Marx might have said, ‘Vy an app?’ Or which app should I go for since there seem to be too many to choose from… So (if I may borrow a reference from yet another decade), I guess the message is, be there or be square… (So yeah, I did…

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Just like Bob Dylan

When I was a camp counsellor in Webster, Wisconsin way back in the last millennium, I never would have believed that the first time I would see Bob Dylan live would be years later at a casino showroom north of Toronto. And yes, it was him and not a traveling tribute show. His performance was amazing. His voice, always like an old man’s, was even more so, filled with grit and gravel. He played his songs, old and new, with a country twang (which I loved). To borrow from Shelley Duval’s rock critic character in Annie Hall, the experience was…

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Facing up to Facebook

Quick confession: I’m not on Facebook (yet) because I think I would probably become addicted and spend way too much time on the site. I’m fascinated by it though. Enticed. From what I’ve seen and read about the service, it’s an amazing way to find and connect with people, to keep in touch. And I think I understand the site’s appeal. Facebook links past with present: it brings nostalgia to life.

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A little thing on Blogger that bugs me

I just published a new post that I started writing on Thursday and saved as a draft. But the publication date isn’t listed as today (and I think it should be since that’s the day it became ‘public’), but July 5. Hey blogger, what can I do to fix this?

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Follow the leader…

…Or lead the follower. Which road will PR counselors take? Giovanni Rodriguez and Paul Rand have written a thought-provoking, white paper for the Council of Public Relations Firms on the impact social media is having on our industry. They challenge us to take up the gauntlet and become social media leaders by learning, understanding, and integrating this new media into our strategic thinking and practice. They contend public relations is well positioned to assume this role since we’re all about relationships and are used to communicating across many platforms. It won’t be easy and it will require a mind shift…

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