30 December 2010

Resolutions, Fresh Starts, and Lasting Changes

A few days ago, Amber Naslund took on the topic of resolutions. Her take was pretty interesting: resolutions made at New Year's actually contain the seeds of their own failure. She makes the point that nobody checks up on you at the end of the year to see how you did, and that a much better attitude to take would be:
I can do this, today and every day, if I want it badly enough.
And I get her point - it's why I use New Year's for fun resolutions (under consideration this year: circus camp, learning how to "cab whistle," and learning how to ululate) and, if I want to change or be better, I just do it when the idea occurs to me.

But there's a reason the week between Christmas and New Year's is commonly known as clean out your desk/email inbox week: fresh starts are nice. Sure New Year's is kind of an arbitrary time (why not, for instance, the first day of spring?), but it's a commonly agreed upon arbitrary time, and that's why it works for people.

So how do you help yourself stick to your resolutions? Well, you could take my route and only resolve something fun. I started doing it probably about 10 years ago, and I've kept every single New Year's resolution I've made since.

But the answer's right in front of us: accountability. If you want to make a more serious resolution, find someone who's willing to hold you accountable for the results, and see the change you wanted to create become a permanent part of your life.

And whichever direction you choose to go - fun resolutions, serious resolutions, or no resolutions at all - have a very happy New Year!

29 December 2010

What I'm Reading

First of all, Mashable put out an exhaustive list of soc med resources from 2010. You could stop right there - this awesome list could probably keep you busy until 2012. But if you happen to have more time this week...
  • The best and worst cause marketing of 2010.
  • Want real success? Do real work.
  • Jeff Hurt has some great ideas for associations about eating your own dogfood.
  • How to recognize an idiot, a hilarious rant that also contains useful advice.
  • Joe Flowers asks: to renew or not? Be sure to read all the thoughtful comments.
  • I finished Dorian Gray last night (creepy!), and am considering what to start next. I have some good stuff downloaded to the Kindle, but I also have some actual books in waiting. Time to return to paper for a little while? I don't have any trips planned until late January...

28 December 2010

TED Talks: Why we have too few women leaders

To sum up:
  1. Sit at the table
  2. Make your partner a real partner
  3. Don't leave before you leave
Pssst non-profits: Don't pat yourself on the back. We're not doing so great, either. Only 20% of non-profits are headed by women (and it's mostly not the big, influential ones).

One more point: I know it's not popular to bring up these days, but I really wish she'd at least acknowledged that there are institutional forces at work too, aka "I'm comfortable with helping people who are like me, and you, Miss, are not." Yes, women need to bear responsibility for our own actions and choices, but not everything is under our control or a result of something we can affect.

27 December 2010

Always the Last to Know: Hashalbum

Having a hard time tracking all the photos that are attached to the hashtags you're following?  Hashalbum to the rescue! 

Case in point? #Tech10 photos - all in one place!  Lookin' good, association peeps!

24 December 2010

Happy holidays!

I wish you and all your loved ones 
a joyous and peaceful season of light!

(Back Monday)

Photo credit: me!

23 December 2010

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another entry in my irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series.
Our social tools are turning love into a renewable building material. When people care enough, they can come together and accomplish things of a scope and longevity that were previously impossible; they can do big things for love.

Shirky, chapter 5, page 142.
When I read this, I immediately thought of Jamie Notter and how often he talks about the importance of love/passion to what we do. I quote:
Passion matters. Yes, it opens up opportunities for let-downs and heartache. But that's the price of admission to a world where more gets done, and potential is realized, and synergy is actually accomplished, not just referenced in a keynote speech. Don't let the hard parts of passion scare you away. Stay with it and marvel at where it takes us.
At Tech10, I had the opportunity to sit in on the Open Community fireside chat, and this topic came up there as well as part of a discussion of chat participants' experiences with online communities over the years. The number one thing that distinguishes successful online (or even real life) efforts is that people CARE.

So that raises a key question for associations: do you know who cares about your organization, among your staff, volunteers, members, and other supporters? Because I assure you that not everyone does. Some of your staff members just want a paycheck. Some of your volunteers just want a line for their resume. Some of your members renew out of habit. Some of your supporters are there purely for selfish reasons. But not all.

The people who care are critical to your association. And they're likely going to be some of your most vocal critics, too. Why? Because if what you do or don't do didn't matter to them, they'd just let it slide. And because they DO care, they are your engine for growth, for change, for innovation and for improvement.

Make sure you know who they are. Make sure you know what they want and can do. Make sure you listen to them and make use of their energy. And, particularly at this time of year, make sure you say thank you in ways that are meaningful to them. Without them riding your ass, as painful as it can be, you'd never get anywhere.

22 December 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Another 2011 trends in social media post, this one from Harvard Business Review.
  • Is customer service the key to social media success?
  • Maggie McGary explains why you shouldn't "tell your fans."
  • More on the role of mobile apps in the modern tech world.
  • 9 reasons your social strategy isn't working.
  • Shelley Alcorn tackles truth in advertising, and finds associations coming up short. 
  • Is Delicious dying? It looks like it, and Harvard Business Review is in full-on raging against the dying of the light mode.
  • Foursquare v. Facebook: two soc nets enter, one soc net leaves? 
  • We've officially gone mainstream: social media marketers are now complaining about lack of resources, rather than lack of executive support/buy-in.  
  • Looking for Twitter success?  Be like Kanye - hey, at least people look forward to his tweets. 
  • Currently reading The Picture of Dorian Gray on the Kindle. To me, it has the same eerie, creepy feel as The Fall of the House of Usher (which is a good thing). Also, Oscar Wilde writes many delicious turns of phrase. Also, he doesn't like women much (not such a good thing). Also, it's amazing to me that people ever thought he might not be gay.

21 December 2010

Where did T4P go?

I'm sure everyone desperately missed my regular Monday tech post. I was busy coming back from NYC, where I got to watch this in person:

What does this have to do with associations? Nothing! But it was AWESOME!


17 December 2010

Friday Top 5

Let the recap posts commence!

The Top 5 Things I Learned at Tech10:
  1. We (association staff) are responsible to nurture and support our online communities. What does that mean? We have to set goals and be held accountable for achieving them. (HUG super forum)
  2. The crisis of modern leadership is to be able to give up control while still maintaining enough command to get stuff done. (Charlene Li's keynote)
  3. Stats are only useful if they drive action, either by telling us that what we did worked, so keep doing it or pointing out when something went wrong, so we can fix it. We have to turn data into information that leads to decisions. (Data, Data Everywhere - Marissa Goldsmith -  and Social Media Monitoring for Associations - Lynn Morton, KiKi L'Italien, Peter Hutchins)
  4.  Want your online community to thrive? Cross-promote, cross-promote, cross-promote. And involve EVERYONE. (appropriately, Make Your Online Community Thrive - Heather McNair)
  5. Experiment, but set up experiments that can be measured, evaluated, and iterated until you get to success (Creating Your Organization's Social Media Strategy Map - Holly Ross)
  6. Bonus: open community = people giving a damn (Open Community fireside chat)
What did YOU learn? (There's a good chance NEXT Friday's Top 5 will be the top 5 #Tech10 recaps - wanted to do that this week, but I have to give people a chance to digest that big meal of geek.)

16 December 2010

The First Snow of the Year

Calls for this:

Return to Serious Topics immanent, I promise.

13 December 2010

@Tech 10.1

I'm at the ASAE Technology Conference over the next 3 days. You know the drill: no posts and lots of tweeting (follow the hashtag #tech10), followed by my own conference recap and links to everyone else's.

See you in the general sessions, on the trade show floor, at the parties, or at the YAP Pop'n New Year's Party!

Check back on Thursday...

Image credit: Girls Gone Geek

10 December 2010

Friday Top 5

As many of my friends already know, I've been studying belly dance for about 2 years now. This fall, I joined a performance company for the first time, and our first performance is tomorrow night (gulp!). My Top 5 Favorite Things about Belly Dance:
  1. I love to dance, and I love to learn new things, and this is totally different than any other type of dancing I've studied before.
  2. It's a super-supportive community - it's not about competition or who's better.
  3. Meeting and getting to know a bunch of fantastic women.
  4. I have not had a single bout of back pain since starting.
  5. Sparkly, jingly costumes!
Wish me luck!

09 December 2010

Getting in the Spirit

A little something to put you in the holiday mood - only the best version of Jingle Bells ever recorded.

08 December 2010

What I'm Reading

Only a few items today (it's been a busy week!):
  • Branding in the digital age? You're throwing away money.
  • Got an online community? Don't do these 5 things.
  • They are 9 gazillion blogs - how do you know which ones your organization should interact with? The always-incisive John Haydon has some advice.
  • Just in time for Tech10, a reminder on the key steps to working a room.
  • Reading Ivy Briefs by Martha Kimes on the Kindle, and thinking how glad I am that I never went to law school. It's not nearly as powerful as Marilyn French's The Women's Room, which is the only thing that was able to help make any sense at all out of my grad school experiences at UVA, but it does have the virtue of being entertaining and reasonably well-written.

07 December 2010

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another entry in my irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series.
To understand the creation of something like a Wikipedia article, you can't look for a representative contributor, because none exists. Instead, you have to change your focus, to concentrate not on the individual users but on the behavior of the collective.

Shirky, chapter 5, pg. 128.
This quote also puts me in mind of Seth Kahan's article in the November issue of Associations Now on building performance communities (actually, I would call them Communities of Practice, but you get the point).

Particularly in the US, it's part of our national mythology to revere the lone hero. But that's rarely reality - people are enmeshed with each other. Most of the time, accomplishing anything meaningful requires the cooperation of other people. Even if one person is the visionary who has the great idea, she almost always needs others to help her make it happen.

The interesting thing that Shirky points up with regards to Wikipedia is that there's room at the table for everyone. Some editors have extremely minimal participation - they get an account to fix a few typos in a particular article and never contribute again. They're not quite lurkers, but almost. And of course, there's a core group of really engaged editors without which the site would not function. But the system itself needs and can accommodate them all.

How does your organization accommodate all levels of contribution? Does a member have to be willing to commit to board or committee service to be involved, or do you make space for all kinds of contributions? What about nonmembers who might want to help? What could you do to broaden the ways people can contribute, engaging larger and larger portions of your audiences?

06 December 2010

Always the Last to Know: Nudgemail

If you use email as a task list, Nudgemail lets your hit the virtual snooze bar - no website required, no account required, works on most mobile platforms. Do tasks when you want to, not in order they happened to appear in your in-box.

03 December 2010

Friday Top 5

The ASAE Technology Conference (aka #Tech10, aka - to me at least - Tech10.1) is just around the corner.

Top 5 Things I'm looking forward to:
  1. The pre-con Higher Logic Users' Group meeting.
  2. Hearing keynoter Charlene Li talk about Open Leadership (since I missed this summer's Buzz session on the same topic).
  3. The destined-to-be-amazing YAP party on Tuesday night. You're coming, right?
  4. Getting my geek on at all the great Idea Labs.
  5. NO SNOW! (Reggie promised.)
It's not too late to register - hope to see YOU there!

02 December 2010

Should Children's Hospitals Compete in Social Media?

There's been a minor stir recently in NACHRI's world about this eponymous blog post, written by Dr. Bryan Vartabedian.  It's short post, so go read it...

The key question he addresses is: "Do children's hospitals compete in social space?"

His answer is that they shouldn't.

His argument is that children's hospitals are inherently regional, so what would they be competing for anyway, and that the hospitals should work together.

I'm not so sure I agree on the first point - there are plenty of children's hospitals with known specialties that draw patients from around the country and the world - but even if we accept that children's hospitals are inherently regional, I think this reflects a narrow view of how social media can be used.

Association professionals have "community" and "engagement" drummed into us to the point that it almost becomes part of our DNA. So when our organizations move into social space, it tends to be pretty natural for us to think about our use of social media in those terms.

Corporations have a harder time with this, of course. They don't have built-in communities who want to engage with them and each other, so it can be hard for them to "get" that social spaces aren't primarily about marketing. Some do get it, and do social media well, and others...well, we can all point to lots of campaigns that flopped because of the wrong tone or focus.

So where do children's hospitals fall on this continuum?

I would argue that they're inherently more on the community side, for a number of reasons including the fact that kids treated at children's hospitals are often dealing with chronic - or at least complex and long-term - conditions and the fact that many children's hospitals are tax-exempt and that status depends in part on their community outreach efforts.

Sure, sometimes social outlets are used for marketing type purposes (although I do wonder if a patient sharing her compelling story really constitutes hard-sell marketing), but I would contend that the true purpose and benefit of children's hospitals engaging in social space is to form deeper and more meaningful ties with patients, their families, and the surrounding community.

01 December 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Why I'm NOT a social media expert - LOVE!
  • Apparently, it's my week to pick up on snarky posts - this one's a gem on "employee engagement."
  • MIT's Technology Review addresses how HTML5 is going to change things on the web.
  • Twitter Analytics are coming.
  • Why paid time to volunteer is a good thing.
  • Olivier Blanchard goes on an epic rant and it's good stuff.
  • Jeff Hurt recounts The TED Commandments, which should be required reading for anyone who ever speaks or hires speakers.
  • Google Docs now synchs with MS Office.
  • Vinay Kumar's been doing a series recently looking at personality types and motivation in the workplace. I've found that you don't want to read too much into these things, but that they can provide some additional tools for working successfully with colleagues.
  • The best panelists misbehave - WORD!
  • Simple tips for managing your time and workload.
  • Need something new to read yourself? Check out this great list of 125 fearless female bloggers.
  • Rather than going on to a novel, I decided it was time for a little non-fiction. I've been reading This Land is Their Land by Barbara Ehrenreich on the Kindle. Puts me in mind of the "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention" quote, which I think originated with Mother Jones.
  • Finally, a little canine humor.

30 November 2010

YAP @ Tech 10.1

When: December 14, 2010, 9 pm
Where: RFD

You know you want it.

29 November 2010

Always the Last to Know: Flowtown

Another social media mining tool enters the race: Flowtown. Flowtown offers a free trial, shows you the platforms where your members already are (by email address), and allows you to run email marketing campaigns from within the platform.

22 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

T4P is on hiatus for a few days while I go spend some time with the fam giving thanks for the many blessings in my life. I'll return to my normal posting schedule Monday, November 30.

Image of the Carrboro Farmer's Market from triangle.com .

19 November 2010

Friday Top 5

My family has a Thanksgiving tradition that I love. Once the food's all ready and on the table, we sit down and, before eating, go around the table taking turns saying what we're thankful for in the past year. I'm getting started a little early today ,with the Top 5 things I'm thankful for:
  1. My wonderful spouse, Jim.
  2. My awesome, crazy friends in and outside the association community, who make me laugh and think, bring joy to my life, and keep me from having to drink alone.
  3. After a few years of career turmoil, finding a job that, a year and a half in, is still a good fit and that I still enjoy going to just about every day.
  4. My terrific, supportive family, all of whom live in easy weekend visiting distance but not in drop-in distance (which is the perfect distance to be in my book).
  5. The fact that the Philadelphia Eagles are, at 6-3, tied for first place in the NFC East and could potentially take sole possession of the lead in the division if all goes well this weekend.
What are you thankful for this harvest season?

18 November 2010

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another entry in my irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series.
Communications tools don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.

Clay Shirky, chapter 4, pg. 105
I love this observation. It SO clearly reflects what's happened with every means of communicating, probably going back to the telegraph and the telephone.

I think the ASAE conferences are really illustrative of this. It was probably about 3-4 years ago that social media first started being something for associations to pay attention to. If you think back at the types of conference sessions that have come up in the intervening years, you'll probably remember that the early ones were almost exclusively focused on the technology qua technology: what is FB, how do you set up a blog, how do you get on Twitter, what are wikis, etc. Early and even mid-bell-curve adopters like myself fretted constantly about the over-focus on the platforms and the under-focus on what you could do with them and why you'd want to.

That picture has changed dramatically in the past year. Sessions are no longer all about "I don't understand how to set up an account" - now they're about things like member engagement, creating a true sense of community, reaching out to your audiences where they are, turning data and metrics into information that can drive decisions, creating strategy, and board and committee development and management, just for example, from the upcoming ASAE Technology Conference that I'm fondly referring to as Tech 10.1.

We can't start making sense of why new technologies matter until the technology itself disappears and it's no longer, "Oh, that's only for geeks, not for me. I don't understand it and I could NEVER figure out how to use it."

17 November 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Looking for more FB fans? Jay Baer says to make sure to create a custom landing page and learn to love the "like."
  • Confused about what to measure in social media? Social Media Examiner has some advice.
  • The 2011 predictions have already started - check out these from PRSA.
  • There's a new front in the ongoing Facebook/Google war: email.
  • I was quoted in an article in PR News (although you need a subscription to actually read it).
    Short cuts to stronger writing from a sci-fi writer. Not all of them apply to blogging (when was the last time you blogged about a "swelling bosom"?), but good advice nonetheless.
  • Still working on Bitch is the New Black. It's taking a while because I've been pretty busy and, frankly, it's not that engaging. I think I'm in need of a good serious novel next. Any recommendations?

16 November 2010

Why You Don't Want to be a Lifer

You start telling yourself the story of your organization the day you're hired. Over time, the story becomes more complete, but also more constrained. As you start to "know" more, the range of possibilities narrows.

But what do you really know?

We don't recall everything that happens. We can only store what fits into our mental categories. As soon as you start forming those categories, you start reifying them, choosing what to keep and what to dump out of your mental file cabinets based on what meshes with the story you've already started telling yourself.

You see this most frequently with a long-time employee shooting down a new idea without even considering or discussing it: "We tried that and it didn't work."

And maybe that person is right - the organization DID try it and it DIDN'T work.

But maybe "it" wasn't done right or by the right person or at the right time. Maybe the audience or the environment has changed in the interim, but because different people and different circumstances don't fit into the long-timer's story, s/he hasn't noticed.

This is why people get so excited about the concept of beginners' mind and why so many new hires try to retain their outsider perspective as long as possible.

I'm not arguing that you need to change jobs every two years - there's value in institutional memory as well.

What I am saying is that, if your story is stale or you feel it's completely filled in and can't accommodate so much as a change in punctuation, maybe it's time to move on and recapture that blank slate.

15 November 2010

Monday Top 5: Open Community

 I'm excited to be a part of the Open Community (a little book of big ideas for associations navigating the social web) virtual book tour. When authors Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer and I started talking about what to do here, we thought it might be fun to break out of the interview format for a minute and play with one of this blog's tropes: the Top 5 List.

So for your MONDAY reading pleasure, I'm happy to present:  Top 5 Takeaways from Open Community, a conversation with the Lindy Dreyer, one of the babes from SocialFish.

First of all, thank you, Elizabeth, for having us on Thanks for Playing. And thanks for the great idea of doing a “top 5 takeaways” post. I think the top five list will be different for everyone who reads the book. But here are the ones I try to remember on a daily basis in my own work (in David Letterman order.)

Number 5: Fail smart and forget perfect

OK, so that’s kind of cheating, since those are two takeaways in one. Failure is a big part of the process of community building. On a micro level, for every post that gets tons of discussion, you might have dozens that don’t get much attention at all. On a macro level, knowing when a project or tool just isn’t doing the job, especially when you’ve made a big investment of time or money in it, takes a lot of bravery and soul searching. And it’s really important to separate the failure from the staff or volunteers who poured their hearts into a project.

The perfectionist in me cringes at failure, which is why I added “forget perfect” to this takeaway. Everything’s moving so fast, if you wait for it to be perfect, you’ll miss the boat. You have to know when it’s worth sacrificing perfection for speed, and when it isn’t.

Number 4: Remove the hurdles
My analytical side loves this takeaway. In the book we identify the hurdles as:

  1. Finding your organization
  2. Knowing how to participate
  3. Feeling connected
  4. Feeling invested

You can lose someone at any one of these points. So the question to ask is this: if you look at everything you’re doing to build your open community online, where are the hurdles, and how can you remove them?

Number 3: Social objects need social actions
This is so simple, and yet so easy to forget. A social object is a piece of content that draws people into social interactions. But an object can’t be social unless there is some clear social action to take: commenting, rating, re-posting to Facebook, retweeting, joining, etc. Sometimes I see web pages where there’s no obvious action I can take. Other times, I see web pages so full of actions I’m paralyzed because I don’t know which action to take. It all goes back to those hurdles, especially “knowing how to participate.” The clearer you can be about what you actually want people to DO, the better.

Number 2: Simplify, simplify, simplify

We see this one all the time. An organization might have a very complex process they are trying to move online. Many times, the reason the process is so complex, has so many steps, or needs so much oversight is because there was no better way to do it before - there was no social web to serve as the foundation for the work. So what happens when the association tries to move the process online? They recreate the complex, multi-step business logic they’re used to. They miss the opportunity to open up and engage people using the strengths of the social web, and instead build these convoluted systems that require lots of moderation, instruction and training.

So really, this takeaway is a call for people to use the social web to find ways to work differently at a fundamental level. It’s kind of a big deal.

And my Number 1 favorite takeaway:

There’s something to be said for the mess.

Your open community is a living, growing, dynamic online ecosystem. It’s messy! There are so many different people, so many different websites, so many different systems that all affect the bigger picture. It’s not realistic to try to choose a single website or platform and expect your entire open community to meet you there. That might work with your most engaged champions, but the whole point of open community is to take a more holistic view of the people who influence and are influenced by your organization. Building community online is about connecting with people. And since passionate people have an irrepressible tendency to self-organize, and no shortage of social tools to use to connect amongst themselves, organizations need to learn to love the messiness of it all.

So there you have it. I feel like I may be too close to it at this point to draw out the most useful stuff, so I really look forward to hearing favorite takeaways from people who read Open Community

So, Thanks for Playing readers: what was YOUR favorite takeaway? 

12 November 2010

Friday Top 5

I only WISH my mixer had a cool flame job like Alton's
We're gearing up for another Food Lab, so I thought I'd give a shout-out to my top 5 favorite kitchen tools:
  1. Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I don't think you can claim to be a serious baker without one of these.
  2. Good knives. And keep 'em sharp. Most important tool you can have.
  3. My beechwood French-style rolling pin. I searched for the perfect pin for years. LOVE.
  4. My perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet. Also useful for warding off intruders.
  5. My cheap-ass aluminum cookie sheets. They give me a perfect bottom of the cookie texture EVERY time.

11 November 2010

In Memory of All Who Served

Including my paternal grandfather (WWII Pacific Theater), my mom's middle brother (nurse in Vietnam), my mom's youngest brother (peacetime in Germany), my dear friend Alan (Afghanistan and, as a Green Beret, other places he can't talk about), and all the other brave men and women of our armed forces, thank you for your service.

10 November 2010

What I'm Reading

  • Heard about 501 Mission Place? It's a new online community for non-profit Executive Directors (and it's got the backing of some heavy hitters).  Deirdre Reid asks: is this an opportunity...or a threat?
  • Sometimes, the most important thing is "don't screw up the whisky."
  • Bruce Hammond wonders: is it OK to draw the line on saying "yes" to things?
  • Ever wish you could make those college kegstand pictures vanish? In the EU, you soon might be able to.
  • How do you get people to talk? Try asking them questions.
  • I'm also reading Bitch is the New Black. It's cute-ish. I think I'm outside the age and relationship demographic. Love the fact that some of it's set in DC, though!

09 November 2010

Social Media and the Elections

I was hoping to have something profound to say about social networking and last week's mid-term elections, like people using Twitter to report voter intimidation and election fraud.

And there was a hashtag - #EP2010 (did you know about it? I didn't) - and a Twitter account for Election Protection, a non-partisan nonprofit dedicated to protecting the right to vote (unlike this totally sketchy Republican front organization).

But so far I haven't seen anything major come out.

Obviously, #election and #IVoted were both hot topics on Twitter on Nov 2, and many of us woke up (or at least woke up our computers) to discover the Facebook Elections app running the self-reported tally of how many people on FB had voted. Of course, if you closed it, you couldn't get it back, but it was still very cool.

And Foursquare offered an election badge that its founder believes will increase real-world participation. 

As a political scientist by training, civic participation is a huge issue for me.  I missed the 1988 elections by 4 months and was very disappointed, and I've voted in every election since, even when it required old school send-your-request-through-the-US-mail-months-before-the-election style absentee ballots. So anything that increases turnout is aces in my book.

What about you? Did social media in any way affect your propensity to vote last week? Change who you voted for? Increase (or decrease) your level of knowledge about the candidates and ballot issues? Change the way you followed the returns?

08 November 2010

Always the Last to Know: Unsocial

Unsocial is a social network for business that's designed to include location services (like Foursquare) and the networking aspects of LinkedIn without all the Mafia Wars silliness.

What I wonder is if there is room for another platform. I get invitations to other "for business" platforms periodically, and I tend to ignore them. How many online channels can one reasonably manage? On the other hand, neither FB or LI is the killer app, so who knows - this just might work.

05 November 2010

Friday Top 5

This was a boneheaded move, too.
We're at the midpoint of the 2010 NFL season, and I just realized I haven't done a SINGLE football themed post yet! Shame! My Top 5 Tips for Professional Football Players:
  1. CATCH first, THEN run.
  2. When tackling, remember to use your arms.
  3. Stop juking - just secure the ball and run. This ain't college honey - the other players are fast, too.
  4. When the QB puts the ball on your numbers, catch it donkey.
  5. Pull off a GREAT play? Down by 20+ points? Don't celebrate - just don't. You look like a moron.
    Image credit: MisterIrrelevant.com

    04 November 2010

    More Flashmob Goodness

    On April 24, 2010, members of the Philadelphia Opera Company descended on the historic Reading Terminal Market and performed the famous drinking song "Brindisi" from Verdi's La Traviata.

    What unexpected thing can you do today to spread a little joy?

    03 November 2010

    What I'm Reading

    Shortish list today while I'm at the annual NACHRI communications team retreat.
    • Want to post to FB as an organization rather than a person? The always spot-on John Haydon shows you how.
    • Jeff Hurt's tips for more effective Google searches. I'm a pretty dexterous searcher, and even I learned some stuff here.
    • Wow. Just wow. Also an important reminder from Joe Gerstandt that actions speak louder than words.
    • Fascinating article on why we procrastinate and why some are able to overcome that universal human tendency.
    • 10 numbers every email marketer should commit to memory.
    • Still working on American Psycho. Skipping over the gory parts is working just fine, and I'm in the midst of a really interesting conversation Patrick Bateman has with his secretary Jean towards the end of the book about how everything is surface and nothing has any real meaning. Before you judge, remember that these sort of late-80s sentiments and experiences gave rise to a lot of great music in the 90s.

    02 November 2010

    TED Talks: The Case for Anonymity

    An article in the latest issue of MIT's Technology Review led me to this fascinating (and short) TED talk by Christopher "moot" Poole, the founder of 4chan.

    Since you need to be a subscriber to get the full article, let me summarize the key point: amid all the outright crap that makes up the majority of 4chan, the site accomplishes one important goal: reducing the cost of failure to nothing or virtually nothing.

    If you've read Here Comes Everybody, you'll recall that chapter 10 is entitled "Failure for Free." Shirky focuses on the open source movement, but the point is that the cheaper it is to fail, the greater your chances of getting to success and getting there quickly, since failing for free means you're pretty much willing to try anything.

    moot's point is that the loss of privacy that results when everything we ever do or say is tied back to our "permanent records" will necessarily result in loss of innovation and creativity.

    01 November 2010

    Always the Last to Know: YouTube Insight

    Yes, views are important, but they're not the ONLY thing that's important.

    YouTube has launched YouTube Insight, an analytics service that anyone with an account can use to look at things like the demographics of the people who've viewed your video, how they found it, what section(s) are the most popular, and what they've done to promote it, all in a simple dashboard.

    29 October 2010

    Friday Top 5

    This weekend is, of course, Halloween. In honor of that, my Top 5 favorite spooky books:

    (Realize that I'm not a big horror fan, so if you're looking for Stephen King, you're in the wrong place.)
    1. The Fall of the House of Usher. Nobody does creepy like Poe.
    2. And Then There Were None. Great Agatha Christie in which 10 people are trapped on an island by storm and are being picked off, one at a time.
    3. The Poseidon Adventure. My mom let me read this the summer before 6th grade. I was a late night reader when I wasn't in school, and I loved this book and couldn't put it down, but also my vivid imagination wouldn't let me sleep after picturing those trapped people trying to make their way through a world turned upside down.
    4. Dracula by Bran Stoker. Only down side? I tend to root for the bad guy, and Dracula loses in the end.
    5. Rebecca. Daphne Du Maurier's book is really more of a gothic romance, but it's also quite creepy.

    Image credit: BBC 2007 pumpkin gallery

    28 October 2010

    Social Media Engagement, Mashable Style

    Great presentation about social media engagement from Mashable's Adam Hirsch: