Monday, November 29, 2010

Gophers v. Hawkeyes, 11//27/10 at TCF Bank Stadium

All's well that ends well.

That couldn't be more true for the 2010 Golden Gopher football squad. Interim Coach Jeff Horton's 2-3 record may not be impressive at first glance, but consider the teams the Gophers played in that five-game stretch.

  • A home loss to a Penn State team that is well-coached and on its way to a bowl game after wrapping up a 7-5 season
  • Another home loss to Ohio State - A top 10 team that will likely be playing in a BCS bowl game
  • A road loss at Michigan State - Another top 10 team that would have been the Big 10 champion if it were decided on the field and not in the BCS
  • A come-from-behind road win against bowl-eligible Illinois
  • A win against a ranked Iowa team, in a trophy game, that might qualify as the most exciting, satisfying Gopher victory since Mason beat Michigan
According to the experts, Horton will not be considered for the head coaching job. Knowing that, I think I join a large number of the Gopher Nation who'd like to thank him for the job he did taking a broken season and making it interesting and a lot of fun to watch down the stretch. Let's hope this late-season success propels the Golden Gophers into the next era of winning football at the U!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dayton v. Emmer Recount

To celebrate the recount for the Minnesota gubernatorial election, I present to you, the greatest moment all-time in Minnesota election recount history...

Special thanks to Jed Hirschfeld for reminding me of this ballot from the Coleman v. Franken recount.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What the Vikings Should Be Thinking

The more I think about it, T Jack could easily give the Vikes a 2-1 record in the next three games (Lose to the Pats, win at home against Arizona and on the road at Chicago) By then, Brett's healthy enough to beat the Packers at home and the Vikes are 5-5 and (probably) in a tie for first at that point.

There. Problem solved. No need to lose any more sleep or productivity. Skol.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Minneapolis and Saint Paul at Sunset and Sunrise

Work on the Riverside Plaza video communications plan is underway! Earlier this week, I made my way to the top of the tallest building in the apartment complex. From 40 floors up, downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul are even more beautiful than they look from ground level...

Here's looking east toward downtown Saint Paul at sunrise...

The sun going down over Minneapolis...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Riverside Plaza: Rebuilding Minneapolis History

It's a city within a city. More than 5,000 residents living in high rises on a space about the size of Target Field. It's a place with history - this winter it could be added to the state's historic register - and also a place with nearly 10,000 Facebook fans. If you've ever lived in Minneapolis, you know that place; perhaps by its not-so-flattering name, but for those who live there it's Riverside Plaza.

Riverside is back in the news and that's a good thing. Check out this FOX 9 report for part of the story:

Now here's the rest of the story. To answer Jeff Passolt's question at the end of the above FOX piece, this January the landlords will be starting a two-year renovation project that will rehab every square foot of living space in Riverside, including new plumbing to address the pipes mentioned in the FOX story. The renovation will preserve Riverside's history while once again making it a comfortable home for the people who live there. Warehouse Media is fortunate enough be the firm chosen to produce the video communications associated with the renovation.

The videos will...
  • Communicate important renovation-related messages with all of Riverside's residents in several different languages. (Versions will be translated in multiple languages to serve the community's diverse population)
  • Explain why the renovation is happening and what needs to be fixed.
  • Talk about the history of a complex that has been part of Minneapolis' skyline since the early 1970's.
  • Tell stories about life as a resident in Riverside.
The last point is what excites me the most. Perceptions of the people who inhabit this place aren't always positive. Probably because the people with those misconceptions don't know stories like the one where a child who lives in the complex, whose family makes roughly $10,000 a year, led a massive fundraising effort to gather money and supplies for the earthquake victims in Haiti. Those aren't the stories you'll see on 60 Minutes, but they are the stories we'll be telling on Riverside's soon-to-be-developed YouTube channel.

So stay tuned...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Warehouse Media Expands

While I've talked personally to many of you about this, my career path has taken an unexpected, but (so far) rewarding turn - I am now 100 percent self-employed. Yep, Warehouse Media is no longer just a silly Twitter handle's also the silly name of my company!

In short, I create high-quality video content for organizations to use on their blogs, websites, Facebook pages ...basically, I give you something to show people online. Which is important, because Google loves nothing more than YouTube videos (SEO). For more, check out my short video explanation of Warehouse Media:

So if you know anyone who wants to get noticed using video, please send them my way! Justinwarebco at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Minneapolis Recycling - Sort it ...sometimes

Recycling is beyond important. The amount of glass, plastic, metal and paper that would otherwise end up in landfills is evident every time you drive through one of Minneapolis' many alleys on that area's recycling collection date. So, it would stand to reason that the city would make recycling as easy as possible for its residents. After all, plenty of other midwestern cities have adopted commingled recycling (where the city does the sorting for you) why not Minneapolis? Well, here's the explanation from the city:

Sorted recycling generates the biggest revenue. Revenue from recycling provides money for:

-Large item pickup
-The voucher program
-Clean City programs
-Ongoing operating costs

If the City of Minneapolis used single-stream recycling (all recycling in one bin, as some areas do), the higher cost of processing these materials would result in lower revenue, and possible cuts in other waste services.

OK, that makes sense. I really do appreciate being able to leave large items out and have the city take them, at no extra cost. Which leaves me with just one question ...if all recycling needs to be sorted by individuals, then where does the trash from the commingled recycling in city parks go? In those blue cans, conveniently placed all over heavily used public areas, we discard all of our recyclable waste all in one intermixed container. Is that recycling sorted by hand? ...or does the city have a machine for that?

This is not a complaint, just an honest question. If anybody knows the answer, please share! Ultimately, I'd like to see recycling made as easy as possible for everyone.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Offshore Wind Potential

Coastline touches more than half the United States and off those coastlines exists massive energy potential. Oil? Nope. Wind is the energy source and there is enough of it to power the entire country with energy to spare. In the video below, fast forward to the 4:46 mark for more on the power potential off-shore wind has to offer (or watch the whole video's worth six minutes of your time!):

(Video courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or "NREL")

A lot of Federal money goes into subsidizing the current form of energy pouring in off our coastlines - and recently, onto our coastlines thanks to BP's colossal, on-going spill. Let's push our lawmakers to start redirecting those subsidies toward clean forms of energy, like the offshore wind turbines described in the above video. It's the only guaranteed way to prevent another oil spill like the current disaster taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Behind the "B16 Ten" Logo

The Big 16 appears to be over before it happened, which is a shame for an alum from the University of Iowa.

On June 11th, with Nebraska joining the Big 10 and seemingly assuring the destruction of the Big 12, many members of the sports world theorized the Big 10 would be adding as many as 5 teams, making it a 16-team league. Had that happened, the conference would be in need of a new logo. And within the day, a graduate student from the University of Iowa produced the image you see embedded in this column. His name is Chiraag (he asked that I don't use his last name) and he cobbled the could-be logo "just for fun."

"I thought I had an idea that worked for the Big Ten if they did expand to 16 teams ... and wanted to share it," said Chiraag. "I've been pleasantly surprised with all the support and compliments I have seen on many different online forums. Graphic design has always been a hobby of mine, and as a graduate of a Big Ten school (University of Iowa), this was a natural interest of mine."

Chiraag has not been in contact with anyone from the Big 10. If Nebraska is the only addition, it's likely he won't ever hear anything from the conference. However, should Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Missouri or any other combination of four teams end up joining the ranks, will Chiraag's hobby turn into a lucrative business brought about by the instant, info-sharing nature of the Internet? It'd almost be worth adding four teams to find out, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The "Pro-am" Journalist: Is it Safe to Eat?

Here's a quiz for all your bloggers and/or journalists out there: what do many bloggers feel entitled to that would also make most true journalists lose their job? Answer: publicly begging for payola. See exhibit A (the following stream of tweets from one weight-loss blogger)

On one hand, I can understand why this blogger was upset. They were essentially told they'd be getting something in exchange for a blog post advertising GNC products only to have GNC later back out. So what happened? Probably only the folks at GNC know, but since this is my blog, I'd be willing to venture a guess.

The upset blogger claims she wants to "review" GNC's products. Reviews are trusted to be as free from bias as possible - something that gives an accurate appraisal of something to help inform consumers of whether they should buy/eat/wear/travel to something. So, good reviews are obviously something a company likes to see written about their products. But what happens when those reviews or the reviewer is less than credible?

A lot of smart PR and marketing strategists will tell you that, given the savvy of the modern media consumer, the last thing you want is to have reviews look unauthentic. Some strategists would even suggest planting a poor review amongst a sea of positive reviews just to make those positive reviews appear more credible. So, knowing that those same savvy consumers might notice that this one particular "reviewer" only reviews what she gets for free - and assuming GNC knows that fake reviews can be more detrimental than beneficial - it's quite possible GNC said "thanks, but no thanks. We'll get our good reviews the old-fashioned way - with a solid product." Which led to this...

Of course, the whole thing could just be disorganization on GNC's part, but that's not the point. The point is, this blogger is unwittingly telling everyone that follows them on Twitter "hey, my blog is for sale! These reviews are bought and paid for and, let's face it, are really just more annoying advertising!"

To be fair, journalists are sent fee product for review on a constant basis. That said, the very thought of so publicly complaining about not getting free merchandise in exchange for a review would be abhorrent to any properly-trained journalist. And that's just it - the vast majority of everything published on line has no legitimate training behind it.

Check out this story from Ad Age on "Pro-am" journalists. If you don't have an account or don't want to log in, here's the paragraph that matters most from that piece. It's a quote from former New York Observer Editor Peter Kaplan:

"The relationship between the reporter and the editor is the one safeguard when it comes to the business of truth telling." In assessing the recent rise of so many content farms (large masses of content gleaned on the cheap from untrained citizen journalists), Mr. Kaplan referenced Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," and perhaps minted a new quote for future observers: "What these sites are producing," he started before a long pause: "You know what it is? It's like sending unchecked meats out to the public."

That's precisely what the angry GNC blogger is providing - unchecked meats that might not be safe to eat. The blogger means well and could have written an honest review. But we don't know. And she represents an ever-growing demographic of "Pro-am" journalists with little or no training and just as much credibility.

None of this post is meant to dissuade anyone from serving as a citizen journalist. Instead, it's meant as a reminder of how important it is to get our information from credible, reliable, cross-checked sources. Our democracy depends on an informed public and that depends on reliable, well-trained journalists - not bloggers who throw temper tantrums every time a bone gets pulled from their teeth.

Monday, May 24, 2010


It took a solid 12 hours for my LOST-induced state of zen to wear off. The euphoria of the grand finale episode remained strong as I lay in bed watching the Jimmy Kimmel post-LOST wrap up; through a good, but short night's sleep; as I fought morning rush-hour traffic on 494 through Bloomington; it even stayed intact through the weekly round of morning meetings once I got to work. Clearly this was a powerful television experience.

SPOILER ALERT! If you keep reading, make sure you've seen the finale.

The episode more than delivered on the questions I needed answered. Mainly, what was really going on in both the island and sideways worlds - what was real and what wasn't and if something wasn't real, than what was the purpose of that fictional realm? Turns out (I think) the island was a real place where the survivors really did survive. But these are just details to add substance to the story. What was the show really about?

There are a LOT of people who want to say it was all about religion. LOST certainly had heavy religious themes. After all, the series closed with everyone presumably transitioning into some sort of heaven-esque after life. That said, while religion had a major role to play in the storytelling of LOST, saying the show was all about the truth or existence of religion or faith is still too simple. Much like the island and ancient philosophy, religion was another detail used to tell the story.

LOST was driven by the stories of the show's characters and every one of those characters was flawed. Kate was a murderer, Sawyer a con man. Locke and Jack had daddy issues like no other, as did Hurley who also believed he was cursed. Then there was Benjamin Linus, who many have called the greatest TV villain of all time. Every one of them found redemption. Even Ben - who we all finally learned to trust thanks to his poignant apology to Locke before Locke entered the church - turned out to be a good man and Hurley's island-guardian sidekick for who knows how many hundreds of years.

The main message and on-going theme of LOST was that through all the potential to be evil, there is good at the core of all human beings. For all the bad deeds done by the cast of characters, there was redemption available by doing something good of equal or greater magnitude.

That's a message that makes ya feel good - and it's why much like myself, so many millions of Americans went to bed with a inexplicable feeling of zen following the conclusion of what might be the greatest TV show of a generation.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Extremely Random Facebook Photo Musing

The best thing about Facebook are the pictures that users don't necessarily choose, but are often the first photographic representations of a person on their profile. You know, that first round of pics titled "Photos of You" when you're looking at your own profile?

Every other album is what the user chooses. Of course, a user can untag themselves and remove a photo from their "Photos of You" album, but that's being a little disingenuous with your friends, don't you think? "Photos of You" is sort of the "this is who I really am, without a filter" album. If you find yourself constantly removing images from this album, what does that say about your comfort level with yourself?

Since this is turning into a preachy post, I'll put my money where my mouth is and show you that, despite the potential embarrassment, I'm happy to allow some of my less photogenic moments to stay tagged. Is this a flattering picture I would choose to post on my own? Probably not. Was it a good rendition of "Born to Run"? Absolutely not. Is the arms-raised image of Robert Plant in the background awesome enough to save the photo? Without a doubt. In the end, I'm clearly having a great time, dressed up in yellow face as Simpsons character Kent Brockman during a good friend's 30th birthday party. If that doesn't give you a free pass to do a terrible karaoke rendition of a Springsteen song, then I don't know what does. I'm more than cool with people seeing this side of me. If I'm not, then I shouldn't engage in behavior that leads to such a picture being taken.

If you like the person you see through another person's lens (literally) then you're probably in decent shape overall. If you often feel the urge to "untag" yourself, perhaps you should take a closer look at the actions depicted in the photo instead of untagging and hoping the unflattering image goes quietly back into the Internet ether from which it came. Just sayin'...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Blogger - Tomorrow's Don Shelby?

Personality is an important thing when it comes to catching someone's attention. Make them laugh or cry, scared, awestruck or just generally impressed, a person with personality is usually able to command another person's attention better than someone lacking charisma. So it stands to reason that one quality you'd find in a journalist is a good, approachable personality.

For decades in TV news, that personality belonged to an anchor. If you look at the golden years of local news in Minnesota circa the '80's, you'd find KARE-11's Paul Magers duking it out with the about-to-depart Don Shelby from WCCO - both great news guys who knew how to command a viewer's attention with that oh-so-cool balance of stern sincerity that was broken occasionally, and always at just the right moment, with a little down-home humor. That was the media world of yesteryear.

In today's media world, it's not enough for a reporter to be polished. Today, there has to be a genuine connection between that reporter and his or her audience. There has to be give and take. Reporters have to listen to feedback (good and bad) and react to it appropriately. They have to write an occasional blog post that offers more to a story - or perhaps why they chose to tell a story in a certain way. They have to use all the new media tools available and facilitate on-going conversations with news consumers. Last but not least, they have to use that new media to show viewers, listeners and readers their personality. Reporters have to connect with news consumers and show them why they should be trusted with getting the facts right and giving them sound information to base decisions upon.

So is the blogger the new anchor? Maybe. More likely though, is that a good blog is just a solid tool in the arsenal of the modern reporter. A way to not only add to and clarify a story, but also an opportunity to add a little aweshuckedness and levity to what is (and should be) a serious topic - good journalism.


Want some examples? It's not all about personality alone. Check out this story from Mashable for examples of how a few journalists have used Twitter and Facebook to advance the quality and timeliness of their work.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tough Times Disappear at Target Field

On a recent Saturday night, my wife and I enjoyed a nice dinner with my parents, headed home and starting kicking around a few ideas for how we'd spend the next five or six beautiful hours of freedom that only a Saturday night can offer. After crossing a few things off the list and realizing there would probably be some easy-to-get, inexpensive tickets to the Twins v. Orioles game at Target Field, (rain postponed the game from the night before) we decided to jump on the train and head out to the ballpark.

For $10 a piece, we got seats worth $12 (not huge, but it's always fun to get a deal, right?). From there, we grabbed a couple beers and headed to our seats which were tucked neatly into the right field corner. Like so many spaces in this beautiful park, these seats were dripping with character - bleachers that offered a nice view of the action in a party-like atmosphere.

We arrived late, but the game was a good one (1-0 Twins in the top of the 4th inning). The temperature was not what most people would consider baseball weather with a game time reading of about 45 degrees, but the sky was clear, the grass was green and the gloves kept our fingers protected from the icy cold emanating from the beer cups in our hands.

About an inning into our night, my wife got a text from her brother saying he was just a few sections over. We grabbed our beer and headed to their section, watching the game the entire time thanks to Target Field's open concourses that offer numerous sweeping views of the action. As we walked, met up with and talked to my brother in law, we couldn't help but notice some of the other things that make this park so sweet.

There are the countless meeting areas where you can chat with friends and still catch a big play with a quick glance every time the crowd erupts. There are the outfield seats that seem impossibly close to the action (seriously, it feels like you're sitting on Cuddyer's shoulders in the right field sections). There's the State Fair food on a stick in the concession area behind those seats. There are the sections of stadium that were actually built over existing freeways - something that isn't noticeable from inside the stadium, but is surprisingly apparent when you walk around it. The undercover roadways are the result of trying to squeeze a major league ballpark into a tiny, 8-acre parking lot. When the plans for this park were being drawn up, architects and organizers were criticized for trying to squish a stadium into such a small space. Now that it's open, the limitations caused by the size of the land seem to be more benefit than detriment. Because of the lack of space, architects were forced to get creative and the end result is one of the warmest, coziest, most unique environments I've experienced in pro or college sports (that includes more than a dozen arenas, stadiums and ballparks).

And then there's the view.

Yes, this view that gave us an incredible rainbow after a short, early May rain shower.

All the bells and whistles are what you'd expect with a new ballpark - the character and coziness is beyond what you'd expect - but that's not what makes the Twins' new home so special. With everything that's gone wrong with the world lately, Target Field is a place where we can all take a break from reality and focus on something that we got right.

A lot of us have lost or are losing jobs; we've been fighting viciously over things like health care and none of us trust the leaders we've elected to clear up those debates; we've seen businesses leave or collapse and well-known business leaders crumble into piles of corruption; we're tired of being at war and being perpetually reminded of terrorism - but for a few hours at the ballpark on a Saturday night, we can forget about those things and sit back with awe-struck smiles on our faces as we take in Minnesota's new meeting place. A ballpark to watch our constantly-overachieving, small-market baseball team play ball against the beautiful backdrop of the downtown Minneapolis night sky.

Target Field wasn't free. As a Hennepin county resident, I pay the sales tax increase nearly every day. But it's hard to quantify and put a price on the feeling of community generated by the new ballpark. At a time when we need it the most, Target Field makes us feel good, if only for a few hours at a time. To me, that makes every penny spent well worth it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gluten is Good (for Lawns)

Just about the same time we're starting to figure out that gluten might not be good for our guts, many of us are learning that it is a wonderful food for our lawns.

Corn Gluten Meal is an all-natural alternative to the petrochemicals that homeowners have been dumping on their lawns for decades in the hopes that they'll have the greenest, most perfect-looking patch of grass on the block. But there are serious side effects to that lush, green, weedless look. One, is the contamination of our fresh water ways. Two, is the threat that those weed killers and fertilizers are slowly killing us by giving us cancer - especially if you're a dog, according to this article.

So to keep Tupper (our dog) and everyone else who plays on our yard safe, I've officially transitioned to an organic lawn using only corn gluten meal for weed control and fertilizer. And here are the results...

Perfect? No, there are a few dandelions, but overall the grass coverage is thick and soft. I don't have to worry about getting sick from rolling around in my own back yard and I can't be blamed for toxic algae buildup on area lakes. After three years of use, my lawn is officially hooked on corn gluten meal.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Occupation or Inspiration?

If you follow social media, then you're probably used to reading all those peppy, motivational quotes reassuring us that "failure is only a step toward success" and that if we truly "follow our dreams, success is the only option." (They remind me of a cross between a hard-core hippie and that "case-of-the-Mondays" woman from Office Space) Cheesy as they may be, some people not only live by those fortune cookiesque tidbits, but do quite well for themselves, too.

The following companies are run by people who may not be tweeting those ooey-gooey bits of overjoy, but they are living them. And I'd wager most of them would refer to their work as more of an inspiration than an occupation...

Regreet works by using labels and mailing supplies that make it "easy and chic for you to reuse greeting cards," according to Regreet's website. And how awesome is that? Let's see, they 1. protect the environment by using less paper and producing less waste from discarded greeting cards, 2. provide a tracking system that lets you follow your greeting card everywhere it goes (assuming other recipients also enter their info) and 3. give well wishers a more affordable option than plopping down $5 on a tiny piece of cardboard at Walgreen's everytime a birthday or anniversary pops up. Creative, fun and helpful.

Element Six Media is one of the most fascinating companies I've seen. By reshaping snow, sand, flora and water, Element Six creates advertising displays using only the stuff you'd find in your grandma's garden. (Talk about sustainable) It's beautiful stuff and something I could see taking off should they convince some larger cities (doesn't this just absolutely belong in San Francisco?) to sign long-term contracts for their service.

So those are a couple quick examples of companies where I'd guess the employees never utter the word "work." Can you think of any others? I'd love to know...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Foursquare Code of Ethics

So what's fair when it comes to Foursquare? Should there be an unwritten rule that says you have to actually be at a location to check in? Not check in shortly before or just after leaving even if you're close enough for Foursquare to think you're still at that location?

To be fair, I'm guilty of checking in at certain locations from my home, because they're only a handful of blocks away. For example, I'm currently locked in an epic battle with @xMikemx for the mayorship of Minnehaha Park. We've gone back and forth as mayor of the park over the past few weeks, often checking in multiple times daily. Now, I do walk or bike through that park on a near daily basis, sometimes more than once a day. The problem is, I don't always remember to check in while I'm there. Thankfully, my home's proximity to the park allows me to check in at the park while my feet are resting on the ottoman with my dog Tupper sitting comfortably on my lap. I'm not lying. I was in the park ...just not right at that very moment.

So the question is, does this fit under the Foursquare code of ethics? Is it about telling people where you just were or where you are? Should you be letting people know where to find you or just updating them on where you've been or where you're going? Am I thinking WAY too much about this and should I find better things to do with my time? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Being Good is Good Business (Thanks to Social Media)

There is an inherit danger with social media.

Platforms and tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all bring with it one thing that PR pros of old didn't have to leverage; automatic and immediate transparency. Yep, we can officially (and I think quite happily) throw that old phrase "spin doctor" out with yesterday's trash, because in today's world, spin often gets unspun pretty quickly in the self-policing world of social media where everybody, everywhere is a journalist.

So what does that mean for us PR pros? It means working with clients who bring integrity to the table on a daily basis. For example, at StoryTeller (the PR shop where I call home) we have MindWare Toys. MindWare is "the nation’s best resource for toys that engage and entertain." With a focus on creating and selling children's toys that don't just entertain but teach, MindWare's mission is more than just making money ...they're also focused on making the world a better place.

Another client, Helping Paws, is a non-profit that trains service dogs to help those with physical disabilities. Yet another, the Minnesota Section PGA has a goal of growing the game of golf and will soon be offering tips and tricks to anyone who's interested via their YouTube channel in the near future (stay tuned).

All are great organizations that simply don't have a need for old PR tricks of deceit and slight of hand.

So beware all you organizations out there that have a lot to hide, social media is ready to make life very difficult for you. Thankfully, I get to work with a lot of clients who don't have that concern.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Social Media Backlash? Or are we Just Getting Smarter?

Remember when you first started tweeting? And how much fun it was talking with other like-minded social media users about the “power of social media?” There was this sense that a new communication technique was here to change the world for the better and that we were all so smart to be a part of it. You know, those of us who “got it” with regards to using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, etc?

Now we’re starting to hear a different story. It’s a story of a social media backlash where users are beginning to drop off the radar. (For more on this perceived backlash, check out this post from AgencyBabylon) So that begs the question, is this the beginning of social media’s end?

That’s hard to imagine, considering that in many ways, social media has already changed the world. From the elections in Iran to Ashton Kutcher battling CNN for followers to the first thing you do in the office every morning, the world is probably a different place thanks to the new world of communication ideology (that being a world where you talk with the people who matter to you, not at them). But let’s face it, the social media love fest is over. Everyone knows about social media, nearly everyone has a profile on at least one of the platforms, plenty of people have made mistakes, others have had success …so the novelty is over. We don’t need to spend our time evangelizing about the benefits of social media anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still love using Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, YouTube and others …I’m just a little tired of talking about how much I love it (which I think is the backlash Mr. AgencyBabylon is referring to in his post).

So now comes social media 2.0; using the new interactive communication ideology affectively to achieve whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. Which means integrating that ideology into all your communication plans. In the past, it was enough to simply be on Twitter or to post something to YouTube ...just make sure you’re out there, because “it’s better than not being out there” was the driving force behind a lot of social and interactive media plans.

We’re past that now. Now is the time to start putting specific plans in place with clear objectives and desired results. Then executing those plans to increase sales, raise awareness, build networks or what ever else it is you’ve been trying to achieve since you started trying to achieve things (long before social media came around). That, in my opinion, is far more exciting than sitting around and tweeting about how much we all love social media.

So is there a social media backlash? I don't think so. We're all just getting a little wiser about how to make the most out of something we love so much.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tips on how much to feed your pooch in cold weather

Hey dog owners! Just a heads up that I did a guest post for Coborns Delivers about the proper amounts for feeding your dog during the winter months (although the tips can be applied any time of year).

Please take a look when you get a chance!

If you want to learn more about Coborns Delivers, click here (they're a client of ours at StoryTeller)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wanted: A Conversation Manager

Quick, name your organization’s conversation manager.

So, who is it? How long did it take you to name that person? Do you have such a person employed with your group? Do you know what a “conversation manager” is?

If you’re a communications professional with a knack for interactive (social) media then …rejoice! My guess is there will soon be plenty of conversation manager job openings available to you in the near future, because every organization needs someone who spends a good deal of time managing the social media conversations taking place about their organization.

On Twitter, Facebook, via blogs, in videos on YouTube, message boards (and the list goes on) …there are a lot of places available for members of the public to praise and criticize your organization. The good news is, all of that information is out there, free of charge for you to peruse and respond to, which you should almost always do. The only problem is this takes time. Either you have a number of people with not enough to do or you need help. And that help is out there in the form of what some are starting to call conversationalists, individuals who:

A) Have a passion for multiple platforms of social media
Pretty simple. They use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, have a blog, etc.

B) Have a high degree of real-world communication sophistication
We’re looking for emotionally intelligent people here. If their Facebook page is plastered with derogatory language and pictures of the user shotgunning beers, you might want to look to the next applicant.

C) Understand the personality of the organization
If you’re working with a conversation manager who’s not a full-time employee of your organization (a PR firm, for example), you want to make sure that person has taken the time to understand how your organization thinks, a.k.a. what your organization’s personality is. This goes beyond what you sell or provide your members or customers …it’s more about what someone from your organization would be expected to talk about should they run into someone at a coffee shop. In other words, what matters to you personally, beyond your business goals.

So, I’ll ask again, who is your conversation manager?