Monthly Archives: March 2009

So Much Going On…

I’ve been busy and there’s been so much happening:clocks

What did I miss? Hope you’re well!

Update: 24 Boston Globe employees accept buyout

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Crisis Day 2

When I was in school and early in my career I would go to PR conferences and hear professionals discuss working in a crisis. I used to think it seemed exciting, challenging and something I’d want to do.  Day two into a crisis and I would not want to go through this again.

I’m not going to discuss the details, but the stress has nothing to with the actual work.  For a media person, taking calls from major networks to local papers from the east coast to west coast, from the western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere in one day should be great, but in this instance it’s not.

Still praying and still sad.  Still thinking about those pilots.

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I Had a Great Blog Post Ready but…

I had a great day. Until 5:09.  Then this happened:

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Blog Council Case Study: FedEx allows readers to rate blog posts

The folks over at the Blog Council recently did a cool blog post on the FedEx Citizenship’s star rating feature.  It’s always great to get a couple of incoming links to the blogs, but it’s especially nice when an organization as respected as the blog council adds their analysis.

FedEx also categorizes popular posts in a sidebar widget, organized by the content with the most views and allows people to subscribe to this feed — making it easy for fans to be alerted any time new content is becoming popular.

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The Key to Social Media Adoption: Value

I’ve seen presenters, tweeters and bloggers talk about the keys to social media. The list includes transparency, credibility, authenticity, etc.   This is all true.  Sort of.

If you are a content creator, all of these things are important.  Take me for example , I’m being transparent, I’ve implemented a blog in a Fortune 100 company (credibility, I hope)  and I write what I think (authenticity). Check, check and check.  But, there’s one important idea that hasn’t been discussed.

If you’re looking for people to consume content, I’ve found the most important idea is value.

Coin JarI came to this opinion after watching session after session at the SXSWi conference.  Speakers talked about their programs, thoughts and ideas.  And, it all came down to value.  Value was driving success.  The most interesting sessions were those with professionals who had implemented social media programs. There was tremendous value in listening to the experiences and lessons learned.

Recently, I’ve been in the process of training a global organization on a wiki platform. The immediate feedback I receive is, “this is an awesome tool, but it will be interesting to see if people come back and use it.”

They do and they are. Why? Simple. Value.

As people see what others have placed on the wiki, they are amazed at how easy it is to access information that once had been hidden away on hard drives, networked shared drives and folders tucked away in filling cabinets.

Users are placing value on this information and that’s why they come back.  Not because of credibility or authenticity-but because of value.

I will continue to explore “value” as it relates to social media.  I’ll provide my examples and anecdotes.  I’ll also look for yours too.


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The Rome Rant

For some reason the Jim Rome rant about Texas A&M came up the other night and of course I went and found the transcript.  I have to share.  As Rome would say, especially about something he said, un-be-liev-ahhh-ble:

ncf_g_young_600“They won’t shut up. They have to go on about spirit, and old army, and red ass, and how bonfire represents the burning sensation they have in their urine to beat UT, and blah blah blah. Shut up. You start to get the feeling the entire school was built to spite UT. Forget the fact that when the Texas Legislature back in the 1870’s passed legislation to start a state university they also decided to have a subsidiary branch of the main school(University of Texas) that would teach agriculture and mechanics. Aggies love to say their school is older, from where they get that I don’t know……the fact is, the State intended A&M to be a branch of UT. They are like the afterbirth from the original creation. Like Danny Devito in “Twins”. So they apparently have this complex, so much so, that they must devote their entire school to trying to prove to UT that they are just as good. All the while, nobody at UT denies that A&M is a good school, yet they won’t shut up. So they write a fight song……about?….Texas , and how they want to beat them. They have a Fish Camp for freshman where they tell them how bad Texas is and how good A&M and all its traditions are.

It is the world’s largest known case of penis envy, and it is manifested in everything A&M does. The people at A&M. Now we all have friends who went to A&M or are at A&M. There are some nice people there. However…there is the Corp. East Texas’ answer to dreams of ROTC kids everywhere. For every boy scout who never learned to stop playing with his GI Joe Toys, there is the Corp. Now, forget the fact that A&M will actually let people with sub-par grades enroll if they agree to join the Corp. Forget the fact that the Corps looked like a Gestapo hate rally while beating down students on Kyle Field in 1995. Forget the fact that along with the numerous hazing charges that have been filed against them, and swept under the rug over the years, they just this past month have had one Corps member bring charges against another Corps member who apparently had been propositioning others for a little actual sodomy. Not only could I go on with more instances of idiocracy by these Khaki-clad-shaven-headed-dorks, I am sure each of you have your own stories.

The point is: We all respect West Point, Annapolis, The Air Force Academy; however, nobody respects the Corp. I imagine they are kind of the laughing stock of the military world. Just because you dress like the Army, and try and act like the Army, does not make you the Army. People at A&M don’t even respect these clowns. It is not cool to shave your head and dress up. Halloween is only supposed to be one day of the year. If you want to carry guns and beat up civilians, move to Israel. It is even less cool to slobber on somebody’s daughter on national television and call it a tradition. Dry humping 18 year old girls in the stands at football games is not cool. Not only is it not cool, it should be against the law. I know that in College Station, students are just prone to mount each other on the campus lawn, or in the middle of class, or anytime anything good happens you can just grab the girl sitting next to you and start sucking on her face. But everywhere else in the world, it is looked down upon. Especially if you are doing it on my TV. That is why we have moved the game from Thanksgiving. Because people across the nation were gagging on their turkey when in the middle of watching a football game, some boy scout is tongue thrashing some overweight co-ed during somebody’s Thanksgiving dinner. We do not need to see burly women engaged in a suckfest every time your woeful offense manages to put points on the board. Some of these girls are in desperate need of a trip to the Clinique counter. Screw that, forget make-up, it is too late for that, just give them a veil.

“t.u.” is not funny. It is NOT insulting. It is dumb. Just imagine if folks from Texas kept talking about M&A and giggling. That would not be funny. In fact, it would be retarded. That’s why UT fans don’t do it. Please learn. You want to lose the image of country bumpkins, of a people fond of sheep, of people that aren’t stupid? Then quit building things that fall down. Quit chasing cheerleaders around with swords on national TV. Quit whooping in church. Quit whooping period. Quit putting up scoreboards for the enjoyment of dead mammals. Quit spending your Friday nights practicing how to yell. Quit telling rape jokes to reporters when you’re running for Governor. When you are filling out season ticket renewals, and the form asks for your phone #, H & W, quit putting 258-3999, Height 6’3″, Weight 185. Just, collectively, stop making asses of yourselves.

Go to East Texas, tour every small town, and ask every red neck with a 5th grade education why they cheer for A&M and wear maroon. That is your fan base. This is why you are perceived by the educated masses as stupid. Nobody cares if you think your band is better. They might be louder, they might march in neat little zig zags, but they have no musical ability. The point is, nobody cares who wins halftime. Quit getting geeked up about marching bands. I find it hard to believe you stood through your high school band’s entire halftime performance. And why? Cause nobody cared then and nobody cares now. Plus, you can hear them fine sitting down even if you do care. Why is it cool all of a sudden now that you’re in college? Men should never let out high pitched whooping sounds. Perhaps the only justifiable situation in which this can be tolerated is perhaps during an anal probe. Oh wait…I understand now.

Dogs are not ladies. They don’t look or smell like ladies. Dogs eat their own feces and should be treated accordingly.

Finally, College Station is an arm-pit of a town. Quit pretending that it is a great college town. It is a town and there is a college there. That should be the end of this comparison. If you feel that life doesn’t get any better than the Dixie Chicken, and enjoy being stuck in a never ending “Dukes of Hazard” episode, then move there. More importantly, don’t move to Austin…..they are trying to create an educated, technological, and open minded population base. Austin is, and will continue to be, the birthplace and final resting place of all that is cool.

As my friend Stephen Johnson once said: “If the world were ever to get an enema, College Station is where you would connect the hose.” If you go to school at A&M, please don’t be an Aggie.


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Update: Business of Newspapers

Ugh. The plight of the newspaper business continues. Here are the latest headlines:
Seattle P-I Goes Digital

In an earlier post, I described a world where a newspaper only prints one paper a week, well the Seattle P-I trumps that and goes soely online.  “The P-I has built a lively online edition that claims 1.8 million unique visitors monthly, and is now redesigning as the P-I’s only edition. A much smaller staff of reporters will write, edit, photograph, videograph, record and post, with an emphasis on local news.” – PC World, Peggy Watt.  (Full Story)

A little closer to home: Commercial Appeal Layoff Announcement Postponed

From the Memphis Flyer: It was originally announced that 18 of the employees being laid off would come from the newspaper’s editorial department. That has changed with the voluntary retirement of business reporter David Flaum, and the resignations of business reporter Cassandra Kimberly and Alex Doniach, who covers Shelby County government.  The employees being laid off were originally supposed to be notified on Monday, March 2. But recent, not entirely clear events, have resulted in the notification date being been pushed back to March 27.  (Full Story)

Star Tribune Staff Facing Layoffs

The Star Tribune says its pressmen have ratified a contract that includes layoffs and pay cuts in an effort to keep the newspaper afloat. (Full Story)

Clay Shirky has a great Tweet and post regarding all this horrible news: “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.”

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SXSW Day 2 Wrap Up

SXSW is awesome. Simply put.  I went from a very entertaining session on how to create and maintain ideas in an organization to a very interactive round-table session on how to blog on company time – which turned into a session on how to implement a blog inside an organization.  Brian Hope (@tracksuitCEO) led the discussion and he was great. Very down to earth and agreeable to discussion. If it felt like a college lecture-type session, it’s probably because Brian teaches blogging at UT.  Way cool.

After that session I was able to meet Debbie Weil, author of The Corporate Blogging Book, and Lindsey from Southwest Airlines.  Amazing conversation ensued followed by a great lunch with Debbie, an awesome marketer from Travelocity and @southwestair Twitter-er Christy.  From there caught @zappos for an interesting keynote on the Zappos culture, followed by Charlene Li discussing the future of social networks. And, to top it all off, got to chat with a good friend and former colleague @paulwalker from C&W.

Say what! That was all in one day. One. Day. As Harry Carrey would say, “Holy Cow!!!”

So, that was today.  My head was so full of ideas and thoughts I caught a migraine and had to call it a day early. I’ll be up and at it early tomorrow morning and will report what I learn when I can.

I’ve met some great people, added some Twitter followers and folks I’m now following and learned a bunch that I can’t wait to take back to my work group.  I got social in my veins now, baby!

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Daniel Hope – teaches classes on blogs, a blog coach and is a blogger, but does it for other people now.

Lessons for implementing corporate blogs:

1. convince boss you need a blog. it’s a new website. it’s not a diary, rather it’s the new website. Eaiser to update. better platform for a website because it is dynamic.

2. With a corporate blog, stop the “we”. it needs to be professional.

This session is a little bit more interactive.  Which is very cool, but limits notes.  Will report back on my thinking in a bit. What time is lunch again?

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Making Ideas Happen – SXSW session

Why Ideas need to be studied. These are my notes from the session.  Sorry for the disorganized nature of the post. :)

Lack of Leadership

Disorganized & isolated networks – no real approach to building network, lack of feedback exchange

Interviewed productive teams and how do you make ideas happen, what are best practices

used action method: interviewed everyone who is productive and asked who else do you know

Macro – creative people how they organize and present themselves prof

Micro – creative people in teams. how do they become more organized.

Behanced network. not ranking, rather appreciate others work on the site. vertical sites have launched. all an effort to organize creative works.

How productive people keep track of their projects.  action method online for teams to keep track of. for iphone as well.

What they’ve learned – ideas don’t happen because they’re great or by accident. making ideas happen = ideas + org + communal forces + leadership. generating ideas in moderation – surplus of ideas is as dangerous as a drought. people who kill ideas – debbie downers. play an important role.  drink creative juice sparingly – creative comprise.

distinguish urgent vs important- people who are action tend to hoard urgent items. find times in your schedule to put away urgent to make time for important. before you open everything, you have to consume the non-stimulation things to keep ideas prioritized.

creativity x organization = impact

5×0 = o

100×0 = 0

3×2 = 6

Organize with a bias to Action

achievement is actions taken.

Action Method

any brainstorm, any meeting, any dream. 3 things come out of it

  1. action steps
    1. keep separeate from reference items
    2. each one start with a VERB
    3. Delegated start with a person’s name
  2. reference items
    1. worthless
    2. helpful for legal reasons
    3. helpful when someone absent
    4. notes
  3. Backburner items (someday actionable, but now aren’t)
    1. poss actions for future
    2. Not actionable
    3. forgotten

Measure a meeting in action steps- measure meetings with action steps, if you leave and nothing was actionable, than that should have been an email or phonecall. posting meetings. mgrs have these to catch up, not to be productive

Don’t meet just to Meet- Publicize Productivity – some teams relish progress. brainstorm is easy, action is hard. decorate and celebrate action taken.

Create a backburner ritual – one Sunday ever month – keeps a word document keeps all backburner ideas. running backburner list. prints out list and takes out if makes name sense and files and organizes his list. interesting idea

culture of capturing action steps – after meeting go roundtable for action items. see who has what.

attraction breeds loyalty

prioritize projects visually: energy line – all projects on the table the team is doing – find what is important and not – and then take what is important and take care of that.  extreme, high, medium, and on idle side. create action areas – person who gets it doesnt mean they should do it. anything actionable should be in one place.

Communal Forces

the doers, dreamers and incrementalists

seek cross-pollination (Book-Medichi Effect)

foster the different ideas, push comfort zone when hiring. foster this intersection

Share ideas liberally – share before they’re ready. passionate people don’t like sharing until they’re really ready to share. since they don’t share, they suffer as a result.  Chris Anderson lets everything go and sees what sticks. Doesn’t keep anything to himself, wants to see what others think.

Fight your way though breakthroughs – fighting is really important to get excellence. as they wrestle they explore the design space of point of view. encourage to not let go of ideas.  “how comfy are you with fighting”

Don’t become burdened by Consensus – find things you want, conceed things that aren’t important

Get-Respect Overcome Sitgma of Self-Marketing – it’s a best practice. get respect for their strenghts. not being recgonized for the people they work for. It’s your career, take control of it and market it.  Take control so no one passes you by.

Leaders Talk last (Silence the Visionary!) – if you layout what should happen first, you won’t explore the contradictory ideas, you wont see the crazy ideas.

Reduce Amount of Insecurity Work – stuff they do all the day that takes all your time.  Info Porn. Constantly looking at it. Takes up all the time. we’re worried we’re missing something. identify this out of insecurity versus business need.

Value the teams immune system – when did things go wrong. when we didn’t kill ideas when we should have. need the debbie downers. need people to shoot down the ideas-they’re infections-but they need to be killed. Foster the immune system and know when to surpress it.

Stop focusing on the visionaries – campaigns that win awards don’t always help the business. everyone gets drunk on their koolaid. We design things for people like us, rather than what others need.

Unique is Opportune – shun people who go against the grain and then celebrate them when they become successful.  meet leaders who really made it.

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