Archive for 'Social Media'

Sep 04

As you know, I loathe blogger. So, I’ve already started the process to move over to WordPress. My domain name was registered months ago, and the template now sits waiting for me to post my thoughts. Yesterday, Jon started to import my posts from blogger to WordPress. It didn’t work, so Jon is going to try again.

But now, all my posts are messed up. Everything is being posted as one long paragraph. It looks sloppy and I have no clue how to fix this.


Sep 04

After paying out millions of dollars in fines due to Janet Jackson baring her boob during the 2004 Super Bowl half time show, CBS is worried about airing a 9/11 documentary due to the profanity and graphic images.

I saw this documentary on CBS (or was it ABC) about 3-years ago. I taped it and I still have it on VHS. The documentary captured the sounds, sights and emotions of that day. It’s also the only known footage of the first plane hitting the North tower. It’s available for sale on Amazon.

This documentary was filmed by 2 French brothers – Jules and Gedeon Naudet – and the original intent of the documentary was to capture a typical day of a rookie firefighter. Of course, that typical day turned into one of the most dramatic days in American history.

It is indeed graphic. The brothers talked about some of the things they saw, but chose not to film. For example, a woman exited one of the elevators and she was engulfed in flames, according to one of the brothers. She was in the elevator when the plane hit and the kerosene dripped down the elevator shaft and she was the unfortunate victim. One of the brothers said he’s been haunted by that image ever since.

There was another scene where you could hear the sounds of those who jumped from the top floors hitting the ground below. I’ll never forget hearing that sound in the film. Never.

So, I can understand CBS’ nervousness. They don’t want to be hit with more fines. However, to censor the sights and sounds of that day doesn’t make sense to me. Each of us saw the mayhem, others experienced it first-hand. I remember being in my apartment at 2am after sleeping for about 6-hours, totally exhausted by the reality of that day. I was jumpy. Everytime I heard a plane go overhead, I sat up, worried that it was coming for my apartment. It took me 3-days before I could sleep without the lights on, and even then, every little sound I heard woke me up.

I wasn’t there in New York that day, but man, those images were just so surreal. My sisters and I thought it was a movie. When you don’t grow up around violence and you see it happening on TV in real life, we as North Americans can only equate it to a blockbuster Hollywood film.

At the end of the day and at this point in my life, nothing surprises me anymore. Emotions are still raw, even five years later. So, if CBS is nervous about airing the documentary, use YouTube. There’s no censorship and then people can have conversations about what they saw.

Now, I’m not advocating that the documentary be shown raw. The brothers who filmed the documentary did say that there were things they saw that they chose not to film. And frankly, I don’t need to see human suffering on TV. It’s the reason why I avoid films such as Saw, Hostel and anything produced by Quentin Tarantino.

However, put the video on YouTube and just let the conversations take place. Stop being so nervous and just let the people use the documentary as a way to remember and heal through dialogue.

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Aug 30

Mitch Joel and Michael Seaton organized a Geek Dinner last night at the Houston Steak And Ribs House here in Toronto. I attended along with a few dozen other people.

I call it the Un-Geek Dinner because mostly everyone that attended is in the interactive space, but don’t do any lick of coding in their day-to-day job.

If you don’t know who Mitch is, he’s like the Canadian version of Seth Godin, bald head and all. What shocked me about this guy is not only how humble he is, but his height. I very rarely meet anyone taller than me, so I was taken aback at how tall he is. Don’t let his picture fool you (as it did me).

And Michael is just excellent at connecting people. If he understands what you do and if he likes you (that’s 2 stars for me), he’s got your back. Michael is also (finally) planning a podcast, so I’m sure he’ll report more on his blog when it’s ready to go. I believe his recent co-hosting duties on InsidePR has given him the jolt he needed.

I met quite a few people last night, but here’s a smattering of the ones that stick out for some reason or another:

  • Ed Lee – I was familiar with who he is due to all the comments he leaves on the various blogs I visit. He has such a lovely English accent and there was a point where Mitch, myself and Terry Fallis encouraged him to start podcasting.
  • Sulemaan Ahmed – He’s in charge of the interactive group over at Sears Travel. Quite an interesting and animated guy. We chatted at length about social media, branding and just taking over the world.
  • Luca del Rosso – He organizes The Power Within conferences and was just so passionate about what he does. He explained how he’s able to get big names to come to Toronto and speak. More specifically, Luca is able to fill the room with senior executives because it’s cheaper for these executives to attend the event than to bring in Bill Clinton on their own for $100,000.
  • Kathryn Lagden – She’s the new General Manager over at AIMS Canada. This lady was taller than me and we giggled at how we purposely wear heels to networking events so we can tower over everyone else. She told me that she was hoping for a honeymoon over at AIMS, but has been running around getting a new website and blog launched.
  • Stuart MacDonald – I have never met Stuart in person, only conversed with him over email after he left a comment on my blog about my reaction to Mesh not podcasting. He’s a jovial guy who seems larger than life in terms of his personality. If you need to juice up your party, call Stuart. He’ll add the spark. He’s very passionate about the online travel industry, simply because he was the one who helped grow to dominate the Canadian market. He’s on the CIRA board and you can read more about his views on his blog.
  • Terry Fallis – Co-host of InsidePR, I met Terry at Podcasters Across Borders. At first, I didn’t recognize him with the suit on, but that soon passed when I saw him smile. Of course, we talked about podcasting and he shared with me the equipment he’s using to record his podcasts. Terry is just so engaging and I’ll be seeing him again at the Podcast & Portable Media Expo in California.
  • Mark Evans – Was a no-show and I was hoping to catch up with him. I wanted to ask him why he stopped podcasting, but hey, they’ll be other events.

This dinner reminded me about the importance of networking. If you don’t show your face and let people know who you are, you lose out.

It was great to meet so many people in person that I’ve been reading about online. Nothing can take the place of human contact and I encourage all of you hiding behind your computers to attend your industry networking events, conferences and trade shows just to relax and have a gadget-free good time.

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Aug 28

Here’s just a small list of the weirdest things I heard over the past few days.

  • A man accidentally dropped his iPod in the toilet on an airplane. Due to his accident, the pilot announces an emergency, lands the plane, and both the canine unit and the bomb squad were called out. He’s then carted off by Customs, grilled at length about his ties to any worldwide terrorist group, then was let go. He tells his story here. Guess he dropped a pod-load?
  • I was at a BBQ on Sunday and I bumped into an old friend who was wearing a tensor band around her hand. When I asked what happened, she said she wasn’t sure, but it probably had to do with the excessive amount of instant messaging she did the previous week. She had just moved back into her parents home and was so excited about using a computer again that she strained a tendon in her hand while text messaging her friends.I dropped to my knees and howled in laughter while she stood and looked at me in shock. “What’s so funny?” she asked me, wondering why I found her injury so jovial.

    “Extreme texting!” I cried out while in tears. “You sprained your hand due to extreme texting.” I had to get this lady to hold me up with her good arm while I collapsed in hysterics under the weight of this tragic (yet absolutely hilarious) tale.

  • (I can’t possibly make this one up) I was in a sales meeting telling the small team of marketing folks how blogging and podcasting can help them build loyalty with their customers. The head cheese, the VP of Marketing, said that she’s not interested in blogging because it was launched 12-months ago and only young kids are interested in it.I almost choked on the coffee I was sipping on. Then, I sniffed it to double-check that no one spiked it. “Blogging?” I questioned. “Yes,” said the head cheese, “Blogging is too new for us to explore. None of the executives we’re targetting are even reading those things. Let’s focus on podcasting instead.”

    I stood there for a second wondering if I had time warped back about 5-years, then noticed that it couldn’t be true because I saw the word podcasting on one of my slides. Plus, one of the guys on her team had this evil smirk on his face which told me that he thought his boss was an idiot. Instead of correcting her in the meeting, I sent her an email with some blogging stats (by way of my pal Andy Wibbels). Have mercy.

That’s it for now. I should write a book. Web 2.0 As Told By Dummies.

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Aug 18

I think this is a first for a movie. I was watching Global National yesterday evening when Kevin Newman reported that a new film called Snakes on a Plane used social media eg. blogs, podcasts, discussion forums, etc. to promote its release in theatres today. You can view the piece by downloading Global National’s podcast (it’s the last 5-minutes of their August 17th episode).

There were no advanced screenings for critics. Instead, one of the screenwriters decided to use his own blog to start a conversation with bloggers and podcasters about this film (I would link to his blog, but there’s way too much cussing and taking the Lord’s name in vain for my liking – use Google and find it yourself).

This is the first blockbuster film (that’s what I call films produced by big movie hourses) to be user generated. Bloggers and podcasters told producers they wanted more gore, more violence, more blood and New Line Cinema, the distributor of this film, ordered 5 additional days of shooting to deliver on what fans were asking for.

The film was originally supposed to be called Pacific Air Flight 121, but bloggers and podcasters told them to change it.

Will I go see it? I’ll wait for the DVD. However, I’m very interested to how much money this film will generate on its opening weekend. The film took $36-million to produce and if it takes in at least that amount over the weekend, I’d say that this is a wonderful case for word-of-mouth marketing.

Will the online hype prompt you to go see it? Why or why not?

Update: Snakes on a Plane was #1 at the boxoffice over the weekend, pulling in $15.25-million.

Another update: (**sigh**) Of course, the Toronto Sun just has a knack for these things. Is anyone reading this paper?

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Aug 16

As you’ve read before, I am tired of blogger. Been using it since 1999 and it’s now time for me to move on.

By way of Mark Evans, I found out that Blogger has a beta out with some additional features. It’s the first upgrade since Google bought Pyra Labs back in 2001.

I checked it out only because I want to give Blogger a 10th chance and here’s what I liked:

  • Labels. Finally, now I can categorize my posts.
  • In the archives, it shows the number of posts beside the month and you can expand it to see the title of the posts. Right now, if you’re searching for an old post, you have to click on that month under the Archives tab, then scroll down to find what you’re looking for.
  • An AJAX-y thing where you can drag and drop what you want to make visible in the template you’re using for your blog. Right now, the only way to edit your blog template is to go right into the HTML.
  • I like the fact that I can use the same login for my Gmail account for my Blogger account. No need to remember yet-another-username.
  • Posts are uploaded really quick. Has something to do with some server side improvements, stuff I don’t really care about, but someone reading (and who can explain it better than I) can probably comment on what was done. All I know is that posting to my blog is really quick.
  • I can make my blog (or certain posts) private. This can be useful for a CEO who wants only his direct reports to read the blog, or a blog that presents tips & tricks to people who paid for a service.

Here’s what’s still missing:

  • No way to make individual labels its own RSS feed. From a podcasting standpoint, this is important since iTunes gets a little fussy when your feed has a mix of text-based posts and audio-based posts.
  • Still no way to schedule posts to be published in the future. When I was updating Jon Watson’s blog, I had scheduled 8 posts on the Wednesday before the long weekend so they would go live while I was at Sherkston Shores.
  • Still no way to install a non-branded podcast player in your blog. WordPress has a nice plug-in called Podpress that I’ve been using for one of my clients. Blogger is missing this.

A little too late in my book as I’ve already started the motions to port my blog files over to WordPress. will be live very soon using a brand-spanking new blog platform. Stay tuned.

View my Blogger Beta page.

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Aug 01

Some of the best products come from our frustration with something. In similar fashion, some of my best blog posts come out of a frustrating experience.

I don’t claim that this is one of my best blog posts, but I have noticed something very frustrating that I do need to share.

I emailed someone about some information and revealed “a secret” in it. Minutes later, I saw part of “my secret” on that person’s blog. I was flabbergasted. Even after repeated inquiries asking that it be removed, the blogger hasn’t done so.

Amanda, formerly of Rocketboom, chose to copy and paste all her email correspondences between herself and Andrew that detailed the coming of the demise of their relationship.

When did email – a private correspondence between 2 or more parties – become subject to public display? Why do people think it’s okay to publish private, intimate information that’s shared in an email and throw it on a blog, discussion forum or other public online venue?

What then is considered private in the online world?

I guess I have to spell things out everytime I email someone, huh? Put a disclaimer somewhere in my email that says:

“the contents herewith are for the recipient’s eyes only and are not intended to be republished or reproduced in any resource, whether moving or inanimate, digital or not, without the express written consent of the person who originated the content.”

A journalist did this to me the other day. He emailed me to respond to one of my blog posts. He revealed “the truth,” something that went on behind the scenes that resulted in his article being written the way it was. While the information was juicy, I didn’t publish it to my blog because he started his email with a “don’t publish this, but…” warning at the top.

It’s sad that our emails and instant messages intended for only a few eyes person can appear in a public forum such as a blog, discussion board or other venue where dozens of eyes are gazing at your private information.

Where’s the privacy in our conversations?

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Jul 25

It took me two dozen hours yesterday morning to update my blog. Here’s the message I got around 10:45am on Monday as I tried to publish a post:

“Error. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are unable to process your request at this time. Our engineers have been notified of this problem and will work to resolve it.”

It’s time for me to move on, leave blogger behind and port my thought-provoking posts to another blog tool.

I’ve used blogger since 1999. I continue to use it today because I love that it shows I’ve been a member since 2000. It’s like a badge of honour for me to say that I’ve been blogging for 6-years (should be 7).

Blogger was the first on the market and I enjoyed the freedom of posting my thoughts whenever I felt like it. I went through the growing pains with Evhead who had to ask us for donations to buy more servers to keep up with the growth. It was a labour of love for Pyra Labs and I laboured with them.

Then, they were acquired by Google in (I believe) 2003. I shouted for joy thinking that with the big name would bring much powerful servers and more resources.

Instead, it’s brought nothing but headaches. There are constant outages, lost posts, server disconnections, on and on it goes.

I now grow tired of blogger. It’s the one resource that Google totally sucks at. So, I’m now on a quest to port my blog to another service.

I need your help. Should I go with Typepad, WordPress or Movable Type (is this one still around)? What are the benefits of each? Which one do you like and why? How can I port all my posts and comments to the new service without losing anything? Post your comments below.

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