Category Archives: Twitter

Now that selfies are in, can we start ignoring them?

If I see one more selfie on a national awards show, I may gag. It’s getting rather tiresome, seeing grown-ups climb aboard a bandwagon that usually has reserved seating for self-obsessed teenagers.

Sure the made-up word entered the OED last year — but so did jorts and fauxhawk in 2012. It also trumped the word ‘schmeat“, the new word for fake meat. In case you needed to click on the above link, you are probably like me, shaking your head in despair.

But to get back to selfies, yesterday on the Country Music Awards, there was a selfie moment, and we wondered whatever happened to human ingenuity. Didn’t Ellen make it clear that she owned that brightly lit space that celebs inhabit?

Just to cement the fact that we are in that moment in time when this awful word is rushing to meet us, there’s that annoying song. Obnoxious, albeit a wonderful parody of selfie culture. It’s title: “Let Me Get a Selfie.”

To add to this there’s the pres of the United States fawning over a selfie, as if it was the best thing that happened to image management –with a touch of product placement. I understand the man is desperately going after all the Likes and re-tweets he can get.

It’s time for people over 21 to calmly put away their phones and start real conversations.


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Lost in translation – when jokes go sour

With so many channels permitting us to share so much chatter, it’s alarming how people forget that what seems private could be very public. Twitter is “a village common” says David Carr, media and culture columnist for the New York Times. He considers what someone says on this channel as very public. (There is a journalistic debate on whether a tweet is actually public content.)

Humor often has a way of going wrong. If you are planning on posting a zinger remember the Aflack guy. The comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who was the voice of the duck in the Aflack commercials, made a few off color tweets soon after the tsunami in 2011. One of them was: “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, “They’ll be another one floating by any minute now.” He quickly became the ex-Aflack voice.

Even a comedian ought to think before he tweets.

Speaking of humor, this joke gone wrong, involving the Dalai Lama would crack you up. Nothing offensive, but the punch line, lost in translation, just didn’t connect. Karl Stefanovic, the anchor of the Today show in Australia explains.



Hippies or hipsters protesting? Is it the seventies all over again?

‘Peace through protest’ may sound the flavor of the month, or at least the theme of 2011, considering that peaceful uprisings overturned dictators during the so-called Arab Sprint.

But it reality, this is just the old recipe, delivered to our table on new tableware.

I watched a History Channel documentary on Nixon last night, and just seeing the short powerful segments when they cut away to the anti-Vietnam movement across the country made me realize this. You could cut-and-paste the present protest on Wall Street. Except for the bandanas and peace tattoos of the seventies, the similarities are striking.

People are fed up with their politicians (81 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed; confidence in Congress has dropped). They believe that the best way to send them a message is to show up on the street with hand-painted signs and chants.

OK, so we do have web sites, Twitter hash tags (#occupywallstreet) and Facebook, but it is easy to give too much credit to the mechanical tools of movements.

  • It does help when Salman Rusdie helps out with a tweet.
  • It does help when there is speculation that the Nobel peace prize this year may recognize Arab activists.
The revolution will not be televised.   But just watching the images, and the live stream makes you wonder if the hipsters have taken notes from their predecessors.
But what does this kind of speech, and technique forebode? Watch!


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Cartoonists ought to thank Weiner, Lee et al

Social media is a gift to cartoonists and talk-show hosts. But the cherry on top is when a politician is caught using a communication tool such as Twitter in thoughtless, irresponsible ways. Such as this one of Democrat, Anthony Weiner:

No less ridiculous as the naivete of Republican, Christopher Lee:

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Let’s send our congressmen to social media boot camp

Interesting statement by the Ministry of Defense on soldiers using social media:

“We are not here to gag people, because we acknowledge the ubiquity and significant benefits that social media offers to people and the MoD.”

The warning comes at a good time, almost a bit late in the game, now that soldiers have been using a host of social media to stay in touch with their families and even the media. Now that not one, but two congressman have been caught with poor social media discretions, it’s about time for a social media boot camp for government!

Back in 2004, the military began cracking down on personal journals maintained by soldiers serving in Iraq.  Some still blog, but are not sure if they will get into trouble, as this NPR story, reveals.

This April, in the wake of Wikileaks, a Pentagon official, Doug Wilson talked about how “technology — and particularly technology at the intersection of national security — has outpaced the policy.”

My reaction was: Still? You would think thee are more policy wonks than tech people in government.

It’s not just the defense folks who have realized that policy has always been lagging as technology zips ahead. States have been facing the same problem. A national survey of social media in government found that

  • Two-thirds of survey respondents lack enterprise policies addressing social media
  • One-third of the states responding have enterprise policy standards,and are in the process of developing these
Furthermore, “relatively few have developed policies or guidelines to provide an enterprise context for managing social media tool use,” and are “completely balked by uncertainty”
Bottom line, they are seriously lagging in policy.
But the government has also stepped up, with its just released International Strategy for Cyber-security. It states that

“The United States supports an Internet with end-to-end interoperability, which allows people worldwide to connect to knowledge, ideas, and one another through technology that meets their needs.”

All this big picture stuff is well and good. Someone needs to put our elected officials in a room give them a 101 course in using digital channels. Their DIY method of using social media is turning out to be one of DYI –Damaging Yourself Irreparably.


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Filtering social media stories into ‘newspaper’

This is an interesting reverse phenomenon.

We’re used to traditional media being massaged into (‘poured into’ might be the more appropriate term) digital formats to create new distribution feeds.

So I was intrigued by the way a Swiss-based startup, Small Rivers, lets me pull in digital feeds from Twitter and Facebook, and create the look and feel of a newspaper.

Here is a look at my newspaper for today, 28 January, 2011.

Now I grant, this smacks of a vanity press affair, but if we think slightly outside of the ‘Daily Me’ the ease of generating an aggregation of  content might be give us  different approach to corporate newsletters. I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, or pull them in via an RSS reader. These custom news sheets, could be open up a new level of variable data print options, too.

Many years ago I managed a Print On Demand for a Marcom portal. It seemed liked the coolest thing at that time, but seriously lacked the kind of customization I was always asking for. That was because it lived inside a print company –tied to an Indigo machine– and not a digital content aggregator. Today, an organization with a team of writers who create content in a handful of social media channels could collaborate on a newspaper, and not even think of themselves as being in the news business. They could be marketers, researchers, videographers and bloggers whose output is turned into a news channel once a week.

No Indigo required!

In related news:


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News Flash: Some companies do listen!

I like to follow up on my experience with Data Doctors two seeks ago, when I complained that I had been taken. It was a communication problem, rather than about bad service.

Before the end of the day I wrote that post, the CEO of the company wrote to me (via Twitter) indicating they wanted fix the problem.

But it didn’t stop there. The next day, Robert called me (you could listen to a short audio clip), explaining why they disagreed with the ‘policy’ that had been thrown my way, and making an offer to remedy it.

So while we do hear of how often organizations are tone deaf to their customers and prospects, a good number of them have empowered their employees to be the antennas of the organization. Unfortunately it doesn’t hit the wires often enough when companies do listen!

Indeed, listening is only one part of the equation when there’s a dent in reputation. Following it up makes a big difference. As Robert told me, Data Doctors has had to live with the fact that a post from one disgruntled person (an employee, apparently), albeit inaccurate, still lives in the blogosphere.

I brought this up at length on my radio show this week (iTunes or player here) if you like to listen to the follow up and more context.


Where are the ‘conversations’ after the Tucson shootings?

The shootings last Saturday in Tucson set a horrific tone for the new year for all of us in Arizona.

The tone has all become politically charged, vitriolic, cascading into media finger-pointing, political caricatures, party bashing. It’s time for everyone to cool their jets, and rally together as a community. We are still in a state of shock.

Speaking of shock, this hit me when I ran into Walmart very early this morning to pick up a bottle of medicine for my daughter. There was hardly anyone in the store. I went up to a lady in the pharmacy stocking the shelves to ask for help and she shrieked! It must have seemed as if someone had crept up behind her. She apologized profusely, and pointed me to the shelf. But I went away thinking this might be the thumbnail of how we are all feeling as a nation, caught off guard.

We have seen a sad decline in discourse in this country. We don’t spend enough time engaging it it because, frankly, people don’t even know, or care, what discourse means. It’s not a synonym for comment wars. Or mocking wall postings and adhoc pages on Facebook. Or rude posters and Tshirts at rallies. I picked this definition (an archaic one for sure!) that says discourse is the “mode of organizing knowledge, ideas, or experience that is rooted in language and its concrete contexts.” The word ‘conversations’ — a term we social media types use flippantly, sometimes — have a lot to do with it.

Social media  both informed us and confused us over the past few days. You probably saw this in the wrong ‘reports’ that were quickly repeated and re-tweeted. Things were less heated at Wikipedia, on the entry for Gabrielle Giffords. The editors were more civil, debating the reports that she had died, and whether to use the Sarah Palin map, just because other media were mentioning it. In short, there was –and still is — some restraint.

Maybe we could learn a thing of two from the discourse, based on established guidelines, at Wikipedia. Maybe we should all calm down a bit, and not feel the need to shriek when something of this magnitude creeps up on us.


Here are some thoughtful commentaries on how social media has played out so far:

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 10, 2011 in Social Media, Twitter, Wikipedia



Six months in ‘multi-media radio!’

Can’t believe it’s been six months since I took up the challenge of starting the weekly radio show, Your Triple Bottom Line. It’s truly been a terrific ride!

There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes, lining up the guests, planning topics, keeping the content fresh on the web site –which runs on the WordPress blog platform — and using Twitter to chat with listeners, often while the show is in progress! Sometimes we upload photos, and have even tried video streaming. And then, after the show, I edit down the file (shrinking the commercial breaks, etc) to  a podcast format that I upload to iTunes and Libsyn. With so much multi-media rolled into the show, I find this new radio format invigorating.

It also lines up nicely with my other digital and social media work.

I am truly grateful to all our guests (who agreed to be under the microscope, so to speak), and of course our listeners. Thanks too, to my co-host Derrick Mains who is such a natural on a talk show.

Speaking of whom, listeners, many of you may have been tuning in to the live stream or listening to the podcast via iTunes, seem to add an international flavor to  show that happens to be primarily out of Phoenix Arizona. Listeners seem to come from Australia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Chile, Brazil, UK, Israel and a few other places, apart from the national audience.

How do I know this? I use the URL shortener, which has a great feature that tells us about incoming clicks on the live stream link,

Next week, we plan to do a survey to get more feedback from listeners. Till then:


Crowd-sourcing is fine, until you bump into control freaks

I ran into a great post on Crowd-sourcing,by Sid Roy, at an ad agency blog, PO Box. I was very impressed because this is the kind of topic that agency types who –at least the traditional ones — used to be very suspicious of: outsiders invading their turf.

The gist of the post is that is that co-creation, collaboration and open sourcing are here. And that marketing models that worked fabulously well in a world of scarcity would be ‘severely challenged to work in a world of abundance.’

Challenged is an understatement, isn’t it, Sid?

(You probably wanted to say ‘crushed!’)

I pointed out that while it’s taken awhile for crowd sourcing to catch on (Surowiecki’s book on The Wisdom of The Crowds, notwithstanding). There might be three reasons for this:

1. The ‘NIH’ syndrome. The team or department is often threatened by ideas that are ‘Not Invented Here’

2. Intellectual Property lawyers. Very recently Boeing and Apple rejected ideas from outsiders because they have been advised to not solicit or welcome ideas form people who might later sue them if the idea (or some flavour of it) is used.

3. Crowd-sourcing is somewhat anarchic. It’s not easy to manage the crowd in the traditional sense, since they don’t have roles, titles, proper compensation structures etc.

I can see why an ad/marcom agency might be reluctant to solicit and execute a campaign that came from a ‘bazaar’

Or why a school might not want to publish a text book based on knowledge sourced via Wiki platform

Those who control the distribution, creative and knowledge portals, and wear these hats aren’t ready to let the crowds run the show.

Full Disclosure: I used to work for Phoenix Ogilvy and Mather, publishers of the blog


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