Monthly Archives: December 2007

Quotes for the week ending 28 Dec, 2007

“She was wearing a Rolling Stones T-shirt, the one with the sassy tongue sticking out.”

Syndicated columnist, David Ignatius, recalling the young Benazir Bhutto, as a cub reporter at Harvard.

“When we do foolish things, they come back around to bite you.”

Arizona Republic reader commenting on the ‘mistake” a Mayo Clinic doctor made in using a cell phone to photograph the tattooed “member” of a patient.

“We bring an energy-sapping debate to a close.”

Warner Music CEO, Edgar Bronfman in a message to employees about making available music in MP3 format on

“They didn’t want to be part of the conversation; they wanted to be the topic of the conversation.”

Todd Defren on the bastardization of social media where a company like to mark off the check box, but unwilling to engage with people.

“Women must not only be presenting the news, they must be making the decisions that determine what gets broadcast in the first place.”

Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society, commenting on a study that found under-representation of women in newsrooms.


Merriam-Webster’s 2007 word of the year, voted by readers. The word, comprising two zeros between the letters w and t, is an interjection, an expression of joy similar in use to the word “yay,” says MW.

“I have been thrilled, and a little surprised, by the genuine disbelief that a cabinet level agency could have started a legitimate blog complete with criticism and contrary opining.”

Heath Kern, editor of Dipnote, the State Department blog that began in 2007.

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Posted by on December 29, 2007 in Communications


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Cult of the Amateur. Annoying book, good read

I am finishing Andrew Keen’s book, The Cult of the Amateur, that strikes me as the modern day equivalent of Vance Packard’s Hidden Persuaders.

Keen is the kind of person who would have dismissed Abraham Zapruder‘s 26 minutes of film as unreliable and amateurish, just because he was an accidental “citizen journalist” long before the term was coined.

He is very passionate, maybe angry, about what he sees in the old media vs new media. Some of what he observes is accurate. Meaning, much of what he says is hyperbolic, flawed. The book seems to be about the digital economy, about the downside of internet as an economic and communication platform (you know, the usual suspects: click fraud, Google bombing, anonymous Youtube videos defaming politicians etc) than about ‘amateur’ content showing up through new channels.

I am working on a review, because this is one book anyone interested in the progress of the digital economy must take in, albeit with a grain of salt.

But nevertheless, a good read, and proof (I hope) that I don’t simply read and consume information that merely conforms to my preferences –something Keen thinks the internet forces us to do.

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Posted by on December 28, 2007 in Social Media, Technology


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Things that made us go “huh?” in 2007

Oh, what a year it was. Between freedom of information faux pas, a fake press conference, and a shiny new new object from Apple, we obsessed about these stories:

The amazing role that social media played in letting the world know about the violent reaction to the peaceful protests in Burma, in September

Larry Craig, Republican senator for Iowa, accused of soliciting sex in an airport bathroom, pleads guilty, but then attempts to deny charges.

Southwest Airlines gets a passenger to change his T-shirt because of it has a slogan that could be considered rude. It also gets another passenger to get off a plane for wearing a too-revealing mini skirt. Southwest later apologized and called launched mini skirt fares.

Lisa Novak, the astronaut who drove across the country in a diaper, is arrested.

Strumpette, the PR blogger who postured about PR, resigns, and re-emerges.

FEMA holds a fake news conference after the California fires, using employees posing as journalists.

Apple fans camp outside electronics stores to be the first to buy the $600 iPhone.

Soon after this, Apple warns iPhone customers it would cripple it should they try hacking it.

Wal-mart is investigated on charges that an employee could have been spying on text messages and phone conversations between a New York Times reporter and a PR employees.

Jeff Jarvis begins to say nice things about Dell.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for Beacon, a feature that would have shared users’ personal information with others without their opting in.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrests the owners of a newspaper, The New Times, for refusing to submit information about the dates and times and other information about visitors to its web site. The case was later dropped.

Comcast responds to the “Comcast Must Die” angst started by Advertising Age columnist (and NPR’s On the Media co-host) Bob Garfield, saying “real world developments” such as becoming the largest cable provider makes it difficult to keep promises.

John McCain responds to a New Hampshire high school student’s question about his age with “thanks for the question, you little jerk!”

A blog calling itself Fake Steve Jobs, is tracked down to senior editor of Forbes, Daniel Lyons.

British rock band Radiohead releases its album In Rainbows online, for free, with a prompt to downloaders to pay what they want.

Earlier in the year, Prince gave away a 10-track album, Planet Earth, free through the ‘old media’ a.k.a. newspapers, The Mail on Sunday.

The protest by Londoners over the ‘ugly’ 2012 Olympic logo. The wisdom of the crowds was ignored. The logo remained unchanged.

Barry Bonds if pleads “not guilty.” Don Imus is fired by CBS, and returns to radio via an ABC affiliate.



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Quotes for the week ending 22 Dec, 2007

“Forgive me for being an old fart, but today’s “social networks” look to me like yesterday’s online services.”

Doc Searls, on why he is not joining a debate on whether brands should build their own, or join social networks.

“If I were a brand or agency, I would be down at the picket lines seeing if some of this top story-telling talent was available for freelance work.”

Joe Marchese, in Online Spin, on the impact of the writers’ strike, and what ad agencies should be considering.

“Democrats are at least 10% more likely to do just about anything involving social technologies. The Republicans are the opposite — they’re a lot LESS likely to participate.”

Josh Bernoff, on Charlene Li’s blog at Forrester Research, commenting on the social media profile of presidential candidates in the U.S. elections.

“At the end of A Bug’s Life, the main character, Flick, finally convinces all the ants that they have to stand up to the grasshoppers who’ve kept them repressed for years …It’s what happens when we all have a voice, and distribution, and the ability to get together and say something.”

Chris Brogan, co-founder of Podcamp, about how Social Media is a Bug’s Life.

“Googlepedia is perhaps a more direct rival to Larry Sanger’s Citizendium, which aims to build a more authoritative Wikipedia-type resource under the supervision of vetted experts.”

Commenter Ben Vershbow of IF (The institute of the future of the book) analyzing knol, Google’s answer to Wikipedia, that was launched this week.

The word “weblog” celebrates the 10th anniversary of it being coined on 17 December 1997.

BBC, on the birthday of the word that got all this started!

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Posted by on December 22, 2007 in Social Media


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10 things we obsessed about in 2007

Here’s what I will remember about 2007 from the perspective of marketing, social media and communications. We obsessed about these stories in PR, marketing and social media.

1. Facebook made us rethink what social networking could do for one-to-one communications.

2. Network neutrality became a debate that not just the geeks and telcos were interested in.

3. Short codes gained popularity as the new URLs, as text messaging took off. Sadly, it took the shootings at Virginia tech for universities to realize the value of this kind of messaging.

4. Mashups became more entertaining than the original. Think: the “1984″ spoof ‘commercial‘ about Hillary Clinton, viewed over 3 million times.

5. It was the year micro-blogging (with Twitter and Jaiku) got taken seriously,

6. This was the year email spam (in the form of “co-worker spam” and “PR spam”) hit a tipping point, forcing communicators to take a good hard look at databases, and how to try to target better. Not convinced? See the rumpus Wired editor, Chris Anderson’s “sorry people you’re blocked” post did.

7. A new, intriguing search engine called Mahalo (made possible by humans, not just algorithms!), the future of Wikipedia, and whether “amateurish” knowledge is helping or hurting us.

8. The toy for grown ups: the iPhone, what else?

9. Beacon, Facebook’s daring experiment with something called “social ads.”

10. Obama-mania, both here and abroad.

(cross posted from ValleyPRblog)


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7 things in 2007 that changed the way I think

This year was a game changer. I got to work alongside some extremely creative people, on projects that involved new media, old media, networking, and lots of social media learning. The highlights:

  1. Attended a one-day AMA Phoenix workshop on mobile marketing.
  2. Started using Wikis for project management, article interviews, what-if projects, a rich-media resume, etc.
  3. Rediscovered the value of online surveys as due diligence for strat planning, marketing, and a tool for tapping into emerging trends.
  4. Attended the IABC International conference in New Orleans.
  5. Visited Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington. A multi-sensory offline marketing eye-opener!
  6. Added Facebook and MyRagan to my social networks, that connect the dots between professional colleagues, knowledge, and work.
  7. Read Wikinomics. I couldn’t give a glib one-line explanation here about this amazing book.
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Posted by on December 21, 2007 in Social Media


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Job hunting and speed dating

A WIRED story about the web 2.0 speed dating sites reminded me about the value of instant, real time feedback in another type of courtship: Job hunting.

Unlike the old days of waiting for the newspaper to land on your doorstep, faxing your resume to the “black hole” and waiting a week or so for a recruiter to call, we are now into what I would call Human Resource Speed Dating. It’s gone beyond the Monster and Career Journal model of setting up profiles and filters, and using those so-called resume keywords so that HR people find you.

A blog is the best form of Human Resource Speed Dating.

From the HR person’s perspective, a blog gives the recruiter a deeper look at the person, not on the basis of the well crafted resume, but on the basis of his/her ideas, network and passion about fields of interest related to the job. It makes redundant the “tell me a little bit about yourself” question in phone interviews.

From a candidate’s perspective, a blog can give you instant feedback as to what pages and what posts are being scrutinized every day. A cover letter could provide a links that drives a recruiter to your ‘about’ page on your blog. Are other pages being viewed? It’s the equivalent of eye contact in dating, that provides vital cues about whether things are going your way, whether you ought to make the next move, or dry those sweaty palms and expect the phone to ring.

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Posted by on December 20, 2007 in Marketing, Social Media


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