Social media how-to

Yesterday, thanks to a post by Parker Mason, I came across Dave Fleet’s Practical 101s series that explains various social media tools in language that’s easy to understand. And he provides clear instructions and useful examples, too. So far, he’s covered using RSS with Google searches and social bookmarking. It’s a fairly new endeavour, so I imagine there will be more to come.

I’d say it’s required reading for anyone interested in social media and the blogosphere, from beginners to people who’ve been bumping around in it awhile, like me.

Thanks Dave.


Panic, not depression

And I mean that in the most positive sense of the word.

In today’s Globe and Mail, there’s an excellent opinion piece by Richard Ivey School of Business professor George Athanassakos, who uses a historical context to explain why we may be in the midst of an economic panic, but are nowhere near another ‘great depression’. In his view and in light of what governments and financial leaders are doing to address the situation, we are not likely to get t0 that dire point, either.

Amid the turmoil, it’s a comforting thought.

We’re number four (and that’s reason to be proud)

According to an article in the Toronto Star, our fair metropolis placed fourth in a global ranking of cities that offer people the best cultural experience, after London, Paris and New York. Pretty good company, I’d say.

And in the same piece, an A.T. Kearney study ranked us 10th in terms of what it calls ‘global cities’ (below Chicago and Seoul). Again, not too shabby.

Now, compare that with a recent Maclean’s magazine cover story ranking ‘smart’ Canadian cities, (i.e. those ‘rich in culture’, among other things), and Toronto didn’t do nearly as well – we only made it to the middle of the list. In fact, Barrie and Orillia placed higher.

Now, without meaning to impugn those communities, that’s a ridiculous result. And so Canadian. Slagging the leader while trying to be politely inclusive towards the rest of the country. The tall poppy syndrome rears its ugly head once more.

Frankly, I’m tired of it. Toronto’s the number one city in the country. Complain all you want, it’s a fact. And, rather than trying to apologize for what we are, we should celebrate.

Meet the new boss…

Watching the Canadian election results last night was mildly frustrating (and a bit dull). And ending up with essentially the same House we had before the vote was called is a strong message from ‘the people’ to politicians of all stripes – no matter how they may try to ‘spin’ it.

From a communications perspective, it offers all parties a potential opportunity to win back the electorate, rebuild their reputations and credibility, and create a vision for our country. But they need to begin from the ground up.

Here’s what I would suggest:

  • Define yourself and what you stand for; and please make it intelligent, meaningful and heartfelt
  • Show us you have integrity; start small and keep it up to demonstrate you’re serious
  • Be honest, transparent and believable when you’re delivering your messages
  • Not everyone is a leader; choose someone who can speak to and to inspire both individuals and large crowds
  • It’s OK to answer questions directly, even if you say you don’t have a response just yet
  • Start telling your story; not selling it
  • It’s all about relationships; not opponent-bashing or trading favours

In the meantime, if you want to read about a reluctant, yet idealistic politician in a satire that may be a bit too prescient, try Terry Fallis’s hilarious Leacock award winning novel, The Best Laid Plans.

Social media redefines PR borders

It doesn’t usually happen with MSM. I’m talking about Canadian PR outreach to Canadian editors being picked up in publications beyond our borders.

But with social media and blogger outreach, traditional country mandates are starting to be blurred?

What’s a PR agency to do?

If you’re interested, have a look at an article I wrote for the International Public Relations Association’s Frontline newsletter.

I’d welcome your comments or thoughts.

Vintage Google

In honour of its 10th anniversary, Google has treated us to a youthful version of itself; the web circa 2001. It’s quite charming really and the searches yield no Wikipedia results – unless, of course, you type in ‘Wikipedia’.

I found an early version of Blogger with its groovy slogan: ‘push-button publishing for the people’. Right-on, I say.

I tried to sign in with my current info hoping to connect present with past. But, alas I was left on the platform.

Now, usually nostalgia goes back a little farther than seven years. Something like this. Or maybe our wired world is so sped up, that anything older than yesterday is vintage.