Thursday, February 26, 2009

Editor listens and responds

MIAMI - FEBRUARY 2:  Television personality St...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Yesterday morning boasted:
Passing Strange Star Jones to Replace Blake in This Beautiful City.

Star Jones? On Broadway?

That would be passing strange. I wanted to tip off the editor. Playbill's website made it simple with an easy-to-locate Contact Us button and a Contact Us page that can serve as a model to others; names and addresses, no gatekeepers. I emailed a note to editor Andrew Gans, and later that day, the headline was rewritten:
Passing Strange star Rebecca Naomi Jones to replace Stephanie Blake in This Beautiful City.

Rebecca Naomi Jones thanks you, and so do I.
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Congressional tweets

Rep. Erik Paulsen on stage waiting to address ...Image via Wikipedia

My Congressmember, Erik Paulsen, is on twitter. And MySpace and Facebook and LinkedIn and YouTube and pretty much everywhere a person can be networked. Good for him. I'm glad to see my Representative using new media.

But how is he using it, to speak or to listen?

I tweeted him. Impressed with Obama's State of the Union call to set aside old partisan politics, I asked Paulsen how he would work with the President. No response. Paulsen (or someone in his office) had time to continue tweeting, posting a link to a newspaper story about Paulsen. Subsequent Paulsen tweets posted links to new YouTube videos, as well as a request for questions to ask at a Financial Services hearing. So I tweeted, "How will you insure banks don't use TARP money for lobbying?"

The demands of Twittering can be intense, and Congress has important work to do. But if my Congressmember has time for Facebook and LinkedIn and YouTube videos; if he makes time to offer his comments to traditional media, he can use the new technology to listen to and respond to his constitutents. I follow my Congressmember. Should my Congressmember follow me?
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Media, Old Message

Michelle Obama's Arms Inspire At Presidential Address (PHOTOS)

Posted using ShareThis

Intriguing headline from the Huffington Post.  Michelle Obama's Arms Inspire.  Because she reached across the aisle?  Lifted someone to safety?  Embraced an outcast?  
No.  HuffPo says Obama's arms inspire because they're fit and toned.  Same old, same old, this time from new media; new media run by a woman.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

All a twitter

TwitScoop and Twitter search filters in TweetdeckImage by Kevglobal via Flickr

Just went to Mr.Tweet, Your Personal Networking Assistant for twitter. Thirty minutes later he (she? it?) had found 200 people for me to follow; people who write and think about things that interest me. I'm not going to follow all 200, but I clicked the "Follow" button for so many that I'll have to switch from my twitter gadget to a tweetdeck. I remember the old days when I thought a gadget was cool;  two, two-and-a-half weeks ago.

When all of this was new to me (two, two-and-a-half months ago) I thought it was funny.    Not any more.  When did that happen?  Two, two-and-half minutes ago? 
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dave Winer: Hugs to the New York Times

Dave Winer: Hugs to the New York Times

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And hugs to Dave Winer for telling the world, "that's what the New York Times should understand, that as long as people are telling you what to do, it means they care. When they stop, that's when you need to start worrying!"

I do it all the time-tell the New York Times what to do.  My beefs may be different.  My reason is the same.  It is the newspaper that matters.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

The MacBook Pro (15.4" widescreen) was Ap...Image via Wikipedia

Step away from the laptop.
Stop now. Ninety minutes ago, I sat down to check email and I'm still here. I also checked the RSS feeds in my Google Reader where a handful of the 102 new items drew me further afield. One post from Mashable had a whole batch of applications for delicious which I had to try, which moved me on to pasting html code for new widgets into my blog. Now I have a tag cloud and a blog linkroll. (What is that; sushi or a dessert?) So many toys; new toys every day; and, here I am blogging. These things don't pay the bills. There's an empty whiteboard waiting for me and until I pick up the dry erase marker and get about it, they'll be hell to pay.

Two hours since I sat down to check email. Stop. Step away from the laptop.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beards+Social Media=Win

A photo of User:WHEELER, placed under GFDL by ...Image via Wikipedia

Beards Social Media=Win

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There was a flurry of tweets this afternoon about new media guys and beards, and I thought, "What? Someone is bearding for Mashable??? For Chris Brogan?!?" See, beard has more than a single meaning. It can also mean someone who covers for a homosexual or loosely construed to simply mean someone who covers for someone else. So on seeing famous names and "beards" in the same tweets, my first reaction was that someone was bearding these social media thought leaders; assuming their online identities and faking tweets and posts. But no. I went to the source, the clever Lost Jacket site and read the original. Go to the source. Grow your own beard. And enjoy.

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Social social media

downtown Minneapolis, MinnesotaImage via Wikipedia

Social media is so social.

I just came home from Minneapolis' own Social Media Breakfast(SMB), where new media folks kibitz and learn in the land of 10,000 links.* It was fun. Don't believe the hype about social media folks ("Geeks" "Introverts" "Awkward"). These people are sociable in the best sense of the word; listening, sharing, helping. I came home from the SMB with new contacts, new information, new leads, and a head full of new ideas. If two hours at a social media breakfast make me feel that good, imagine how great I'll feel March 7 after the day-long social media unsummit.

*All kind of links. Bacon is always on the menu.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rev. Al Franken

It was good while it lasted.  This morning Huffington Post had a story on a despicable cartoon  in today's New York Post.  The story included a comment from the Rev. Al Franken.   Clearly someone demanded a recount, because the comment is now attributed to the Rev. Al Sharpton.

True to form, the Post is defending the cartoon and the cartoonist.  

I demand a recount.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Twitter's Update PageImage via Wikipedia

You can divorce him, but can you keep him out of your social network?

If you've got a blog, a twitter account, or any kind of online presence, how can you keep an ex- out of your network? You can ignore the Facebook friend invites; you don't have to LinkIn, but he can still read your blog, see your public profile, and follow you on twitter. What do you do?

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Saturday, February 14, 2009


Now this is a mashup; a strange combination of old and new, sweetness and sorrow, past and present.  Fourteen years ago, I had a miscarriage.   I wrote a piece about it that appeared in newspapers (old media).  It then appeared in a book  (more old media.)   Life went on. Technology went on.  I went on to have a healthy child and other writing.

Today it came crashing back in new media; the loss, the memories, the old sorrow, the old life writing for old media; in Spanish, no less.  Someone kept that book alive.  It was translated, marketed, posted, tagged, search engine optimized.    And today, after trolling for my name with Google blog search, I switched back to web search, and there I was, along with Pipik, in the middle of a Spanish url.   

Pipik is another story, for another day.  I don't even know if he exists in new media in English.   But I remember.  Aveces se gana, aveces se pierde.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rebranding the Weather

Money quote from MinnPost's David Bruaer's media column: 
"weather is something we've rebranded"  
according to Kiki Rosatti of Minneapolis' CBS TV affiliate, WCCO.  

You can "rebrand" weather. 
So from now on, when we're shivering, it will be WCCOld.
Above 80, it'll be WCC hot
Wind chill will now be known as WCC chill
And when the mercury drops so low, there's a wind chill advisory, the meteorologist will twitter, "It's W C C C C Cold!"

Got more?  
How should WCCO brand tornados, snowstorms  (WCCOstorms?) , freezing drizzle, 
pre-C C- ip - O-tation,  the dew point, thunderstorms, watches, advisories?  
Do chime in.  It's a fabulous branding opportunity.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Media for Customer Service

And how not to use it.

If I were a marketer, a brand manager, or a CEO, I'd want to know when my product or service fell short. And I'd be grateful that I'm living in times like these when I can get instant feedback.

But no. Not at Qwest or ExpressScripts. No way to reach'em.

No twitter account. No e-mail. Nada.

I could twitter. I could complain on this blog and post on my Facebook wall. But I'm no Chris Brogan, with hundreds of followers.

What a missed opportunity for these companies! There are real glitches in their customer service systems costing them time and money. But they won't hear about from me. And they won't keep me as a customer.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama Presser: New and Old Media React

Never has the case for real journalism, new or old,  been so clear.

Last night the newly elected President of the United States, charged with steering the country through its most dangerous economic crisis since the Great Depression, gave us critical news: without stimulus, crisis would become catastrophe.   And new media guy MNHEADHUNTER twittered  to his 1300 followers, "find annoying the tennis match he always has between teleprompters".    Meanwhile, old media's Chuck Todd , political director and chief White House correspondent for NBC News, showed his ignorance by asking the President how the stimulus will work when customer spending got us in the mess in the first place.  

MNHEADHUNTER is an expert on using social media for recruiting.  Chuck Todd is an expert on U.S. politics.  Neither is an economist.  Neither is a journalist with an understanding of economics.  And so once again we see the need for real journalism; sourced, edited, vetted reporting by knowledgeable experts.  Put it in print.  Put it online.  Just do it right.  


Monday, February 9, 2009

Big Day in New Mediaville

Go to the head of the new media class!  Today this auto-didact figured out so many things. I learned where to post code for widgets, meaning I could move various widgets out of my title bar and into their proper place.   Then (drumroll!) I used html and posted "Add this" buttons to my blog template.  It's the first time I've gone deep into html.  This is only fun and exciting if  you don't know what I'm talking about.  Kind of like me,  two months ago.  

What did you learn today?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

AnonymomBlog: See no toxin, hear no toxin, speak no toxin

AnonymomBlog: See no toxin, hear no toxin, speak no toxin

New York Times-Wrong, Again

The New York Times gets it wrong. Again.

Don't misunderstand me. More than ever, the Times is the newspaper of record. Someday it may be the last newspaper standing. So it is critical that the Times gets things right. Instead of a serious examination of the the way a whole generation is at risk of toxic contamination; of the role environmental toxins have played in today's epidemics of cancer, autism, ADHD and other neurodevelopmental syndromes; Orenstein adopts a "What, me worry?" attitude. As Anonymom blogs, a sort of "See no toxins, hear no toxins, speak no toxins" approach.

Orenstein uses the Kids Risk project to put these risks in perspective. Consider the source.

The Kids Risk project was developed by the Harvard Centre for Risk Analysis, founded by John Graham who was later appointed by George W. Bush to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Graham was responsible for figuring out how many deaths-due-to-various-environmental-exposures per million were acceptable. The Harvard Centre for Risk Analysis is funded by industry and government sources. The Kids Risk webpage is supported by Exxon Mobil.

These are the sources of the newspaper of record. This Times article will be linked and quoted, twittered and bookmarked, archived and reblogged, and used to justify the continued contamination of our children.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

The Smell Test

Fragrance Wheel perfume classification chart, ver.Image via Wikipedia

The New York times has a scent critic.

This is the same New York Times that is struggling to stay afloat; the crown jewel of U.S. newspapers, an industry shedding franchises and writers left and right. Yet they have a reporter dedicated to the scent beat.

I do not advocate shedding writers. I am for full employment for journalists. And the New York times has already made cuts in the newsroom. So how can they continue to afford a perfume reporter? It doesn't smell right.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009


An original Edison light bulb from 1879 from T...Image via Wikipedia

It's 13 years to the day since my father died, and I just plugged in a Yarzheit light bulb. A light bulb is hardly new technology, yet if you look at how many thousands of years Jews have been remembering their dead by lighting a candle, it is new. My father would have been delighted at the changes in technology we've seen in the last 13 years. He was an early adapter to the new technologies of his time: cell phones, home computers, e-mail. So he'd love today's technology. He'd have a website and a blog, and post pictures of his grandchildren. He'd have RSS feeds of his favorite sites and journals. He'd network with his remaining buddies from his WWII pre-meteorology unit. He'd use listserves and video chats and social networking to arrange the next Berkson reunion. He'd twitter updates all day long. You'd find him at #MyronEBerksonMD and you'd follow him. Anywhere.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Plus Ca Change*

The Washington PostImage via Wikipedia

It's all about weight and shoes.

Today's Washington Post has a story that reconsiders Martha Washington based on her appearance.

Yes, her appearance. That's a reconsideration?

The writer says the previous consensus was that she was frumpy and dull based on portraits that show her over 50 and overweight, which they interpret to mean frumpy, dull and asexual. But if you reverse-age her portrait and look at her wedding shoes (the manolo blahniks of her time), she is!

Where do we begin to count the ways this is wrong?

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Sunday, February 1, 2009