Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Morning Thought on Identity






Definition (from American Heritage, by way of
  1. The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known: "If the broadcast group is the financial guts of the company, the news division is its public identity" (Bill Powell).
  2. The set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group.
  3. The quality or condition of being the same as something else.
  4. The distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity; individuality.
  5. Information, such as an identification number, used to establish or prove a person's individuality, as in providing access to a credit account.
We are people. We identify as part of a group and as individuals. Consequently, we are unique and relate-able, simultaneously the same and a persisting, separate entity.

Part of our identity can be summarized as our relationship with our surroundings, our engagement with our surroundings.

In anthropology, it is said that people are uniquely social animals. Let's not forget the I in socIal (media)--the I is how we identify with the larger group and ourselves.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Post Over at Media Bullseye

Based on the recent Sarah Silverman, Matt Damon video (Re: I'm F#$%ing Matt Damon), I wrote a piece about viral video. You can check it out here on Media Bullseye.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sweatpants on a Plane: First Impression vs. Ongoing Dialogue

There are people, though I am definitely not among them, that get dressed up when traveling, just in case of that chance, in transit encounter that might change your life. The underlying principle behind this no-sweatpants while flying philosophy is that everyday is a first impression. And you should always make the most of a first impression.

I still prefer sweats for flying. But I'm wondering if all this concern over first impressions is just silly--you can blow all your effort by simply opening your mouth if you have nothing of substance to say.

So here's another one of those, what's more important questions: first impressions or ongoing dialogue?

Issues of false dichotomy aside, I'd prefer to be judged by the content of my character (and head) than my appearance. Appearance based first impressions lack understanding of personal depth and intellect--usually that requires some semblance of an ongoing relationship.

But what do you think?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Returning to Boston: Content Coming Soon

I've been away for a week and now I'm back.  

So more content coming soon.  

Catching Fire, Meeting Sasquotch and Other Sports-Related Exploits: Part 1

Part 1: Catching Fire: My Story of the AFC Championship Game

Alright, I'm giving into the requests; I'm going to tell you all how I actually caught myself on fire. I've mentioned the fact that I caught on fire at the AFC Championship game both on this blog and on Twitter. But I haven't shared the how part. So here's the long and short of it.

There were four of us cramped into my car from Newton to Foxboro--me behind the wheel, a middle-aged die hard Pats fan, my boyfriend (a die hard Pats fan just the same, but boyfriend is more interpersonally descriptive) and a mutual friend who was rooting for the other team (we tried not to hold it against him). It was freezing out, so aside from the four of us, there were multiple layers of clothing on all of us and spread around the car there were extra coats, sweaters, gloves and hats. In fact, the middle-aged die hard brought a full body suit to keep warm.

We got to Foxboro with about an hour's worth of time for tailgating. So after the car was parked, we made our way to the tent to get some grub. We passed patriotic and rental RVs, cooking fires and grills of all sizes, and lots of cheap beer, before finding the friends we were looking for.

The tent was full of people slowly moving in all directions to talk, stand by the propane space heaters or get at the food. But by the time we arrived at the tent the cooking was winding down. The chili was almost gone. And there was some chilled American chop suey--it wasn't supposed to be chilled, but when it's twelve degrees out, that happens.

I was leaning over a propane space heater to get at the more food.  But wearing the three layers of pants I had on to keep warm for the game, I couldn't tell I was too close to the space heater.   

From the other side of the tent, someone shouted, "she's on fire." 

That she was me... I was on fire. 

Of course it got put out; otherwise, I probably wouldn't be as jovial about the whole thing.  And the only thing damaged, aside from the pride of the retired firefighter who through wine on me to put the fire out, was my sweatpants and my partially melted fleece.  

Coming soon:
Meeting Sasquotch: My First Beanpot and Social Media
Watching the Super Bowl: Trial of Errors

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mind that One, he's got a temper... Wack-a-Flack

How creative!?! Someone else at Wired has decided to take a swing at PR people. Because, you know, why not?

Bruce Sterling of the Wired blog network writes, "I'm Suffering An Evil Tidal Wave of Blogsurfing Public Relations Spam." He singled out one woman's pitch, a PR person who happened to have pitched this guy at the wrong time, and posted the pitch, with snarky comments throughout and her phone number at the bottom. The whole thing harkens to Chris Anderson's blacklisting of PR people email addresses.

Okay, so you want to play whack-a-flack?
Be professional. Get used to the game or get out. There are PR people and there are journalists. PR people have clients to tell you about, information you might find useful. If you don't? Delete the email or reply and tell the person making the pitch why you don't have time for their unrelated nonsense. But grow up--for all the time you spent blocking PR people's emails or coming up with creative witticisms, you could have written something of substance.

Don't tread on me!
That said, good PR is about two-way communication and respect. I won't be sending blanket emails by way of mail merge--and doing so does not signify a high level of professional or personal respect. A good pitch will be timely and relative to the reporters areas of interest.

But that's not the point... We need mutual respect
You don't get to play whack-a-flack unless I can play whack-a-hack every time a journalist repeatedly blows off a client interview, never responds to relevant emails or calls or writes inaccurate hogwash, about a client or otherwise. And I'm not prepared to do that.

We're supposed to work together folks. And the notion that we can publicly humiliate those that we don't like, that we could teach the other group a lesson, demonstrates a serious lack of respect between both groups. If you want PR people to pitch you relevant material--hit the reply button and tell them why their email is going in the trash, maybe they'll learn. To the same end, hitting reply demonstrates that the journalists respect the PR people's place in the process. We have to be able to work together or nothing gets done!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Morning Epiphany: This is Not a Weekend Blog

The other morning on the way in to work, it suddenly struck me. I'm not a weekend blogger. I come home from work with ideas, from the articles or posts I read or from something a client mentioned, or the home life gives me an idea and I try to type through it before, after or during (lunchtime, folks) work.

I usually do my best writing when it's completely spontaneous--when I get the idea and immediately write it down. Admittedly, that's not always possible and I have three or four unwritten posts on less than news worthy topics and two or three evergreen ideas in the cue.

But the perfect time for writing is when everyone else is asleep (like now) or out. And right know, everyone is asleep.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday Residents: Go VOTE!

That's all.

Today will political posting day.

This is a friendly reminder to do your civic duty and vote.

Monday, February 4, 2008

And the Ads Weren't Even that Good!

What a supremely disappointing Super Bowl for Pats fants! Monday morning quarterbacking aside (i.e. woulda, coulda, shoulda done this), 18-1 is one of if not the most impressive seasons in professional football. To say it's all meaningless now is short-sighted folks--we've got ourselves a dynasty.

Normally, regardless of whether your favorite is winning or losing, the commercials are worth talking about. Perhaps I was spoiled with the amazing commercials of old--the Rold Gold sky diving ad, the original Budweiser frogs and the Apple computer launch spot. (Share your favorite Super Bowl commercials in the comments below.)

But this year, we had an always popular clydesdale ad, a talking baby by E*TRADE and way too many how-did-the-ad-execs-get-these-guys-to-spend-so-much-for-this-ad? ads. The only commercial the people I was watching the game with actually enjoyed was the thirty second Victoria Secret spot, proving for the umpteenth time that sex does sell.

With ads costing roughly $86,000 per second, why does the content still stink? Is content sacrificed for the actual cost of the placement?

Did you have an favorite ads you'd like to share? Please do, we can reminisce!