Tweet in review – October 11-17

This is the beginning of  ‘the tweet in review’, a regular feature on my blog that highlights some interesting, helpful or amusing tweets I’ve read in a given week. Essentially, it’s my twitter notes. Have a look and let me know what you think.

I hope you’ll add to the list.

Week of Oct 11 to 17:

  1. New blogging and social media resource: @ginidietrich Introducing For Bloggers, By Bloggers from @dannybrown
  2. A first glimpse of Google TV: @zaigham_inc Sony Airs First Google TV Commercial
  3. Sometimes, the volume of data that passes before us is a bit daunting. Here’s a 10 month compendium for ’10:  @lorirtaylor 50 of the Best Twitter Guides, Stats, Tips and Tools of 2010 (So Far) –
  4. Has anyone Googled google-ization: @Alltop_Social Amazing List Of Every Google Product And How Much We Depend On Them
  5. Publish books by pressing send:  @caroljsroth Barnes & Noble releases PubIt! Ebook tool. What are your thoughts?
  6. Creation by curation-a new approach to journalism: @jayrosen_nyu One of the most optimistic signs in journalism is the evolution of people like Storify’s Burt Herman

The long and winding tweet…

I think my journey on Twitter has been similar to that of many folks. I began perplexed and frustrated until I gave it a second (or third or fourth) try and then bumped around a bit till it started to make sense. That happened around the time I was able to conjugate the verb ‘to tweet’ in public.

On Inside PR #2.23, Gini, Joe and I talk about Twitter, how we use it, which platforms we’re on and the value it brings to communications.

And, as much as some thrive on the ego-boost of new followers, balanced, of course, by the reality check of those who fall by the wayside, Twitter is  more than a quasi-religious experience. For me, it’s the people I subscribe to and the insights and information they share, the things I can pass along to others and how I’m able to keep up with certain topics and late-breaking news.

So how do I manage the ebb and flow?  Hootsuite is my base for Twitter and a few of the other social networks I’m on. I still use the main Twitter platform, which has improved of late.  But  it’s more like a starter home;  the one you soon outgrow and then move onto a 3,000 sf third-party app (with attached URL shortener and AC, no less). On my BB, I use  the Twitter App and sometimes UberTwitter.

Will Twitter replace my RSS?  I don’t think so. It’s more of an RSS add-on. The big difference is that RSS doesn’t pass by in an instant, while Twitter is like a watching a never-ending parade.

Have a listen to the podcast and let us know what you think.

Are you a social media addict?

I have a confession to make: I think I am.

And I wonder if you may be one too.  Worried? Not sure where to turn? Do you want to know the signs?

If so, please check out the guest post I did on the Spin Sucks blog.  Anonymity is guaranteed; no one will know you read it…

And by the way, I hate to admit it, but  even though it’s a holiday in Ontario, I’m still online writing about it.

Special thanks to @ginidietrich and @danielhindin for asking me.

Let me know if you have any more symptoms to add – and if we should start a virtual 12-Tweet meetup.

Counselors Academy 2010 – Twitter notes

Last year, after live-tweeting from Counselors Academy’s annual conference, I noticed my Twitter feed had become my notes for the sessions. So I used them in a blog post to capture the flavour of the event.

Counselors is, as I’ve said many times, my PR highlight of the year. If you run an agency, it’s a gathering like no other. And, if you haven’t been there before, it’s hard to describe the  exhilarating energy of being in a room with so many bright people, most of whom share your interests, challenges and entrepreneurial dreams.

I’ve made some of my best friends in PR at Counselors. In fact, that’s where I met my new business partners, Carol and Esther, and first had a chance to get to know them. Long before she and I had an inkling that we might be working together, Esther put my name forward as the Canadian rep on the executive committee.  So, I guess, energi PR has its roots in Counselors.

Here are 10 Twitter highlights from CA2010 in Asheville (in no particular order):

  1. @bgindra: We learn visually, not by words; video stories are becoming more and more important.
  2. @jaybaer: Many mobile developers have platforms that you can tweak and customize; you don’t need to start from scratch.
  3. @jaybaer: Social media success factors: broaden your horizons, sell ingredients, not entrees, embrace math, adjust to 24/7.
  4. @darrylsalerno: If the 1st and last letters of a word are in the right place, it’s hard to tell if it’s misspelled.
  5. @darrylsalerno: 500 most used English words have 14,000 meanings.
  6. @ambercadabra: We over complicate social media; it’s just communications. Need to get over our obsession w/ tools & focus on intent.
  7. @ambercadabra: B/c social media was labelled media, we want to apply trad media metrics, which don’t work.
  8. @elisemitch: When you’re building a biz you need to consider how you deal with change, both up and down.
  9. @briansolis: Try writing story in 120 characters so it can be RT’d.
  10. @briansolis: Today PR agencies function top to bottom; need to have most senior people on the frontlines.

Of course, there was so much more wonderful talk and ideas that weren’t captured in 140 or less – like the after-hours drinks and conversations, the Sorry game, the 60s banquet, prom-night in Ashville and, the wonderful southern hospitality of Justin Brackett. You can also read Gini Dietrich’s thoughts here, Abbie Fink’s musings or Dana Hughenspost for some other perspectives.

If you run an independent PR agency, it’s not too early to start thinking about Counselors 2011.

(Disclosure: I’m the conference co-chair.)

My.sxsw – a recap

Now that the tweets have settled and FourSquare’s down to a dull roar (i.e. most days you’ll find me checked into my office), I thought I’d recap my experiences at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival.

First the highlights:

I guess I’m a Panel Nerd at heart. I go to conferences to listen to people I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to hear, learn things and hopefully open my mind.

Among the sessions that stood out for me were Christie Nicholson’s overview of the interface between human brains and computers. I wanted to try the EEG shower cap that non-invasively reads impulses outside the brain, especially when I saw the video of a journalist who thought of letters and saw them materialize on a screen in front of him.

Danah Boyd offered a challenging keynote on privacy and publicity in a world where we have become our own big brothers: ‘Now social media makes conversations public by default, private through effort. This is a complete shift in the way we used to act.’

Clay Shirky is as engaging and intellectually challenging in person as he is in his book. Here are two nuggets he shared: ‘Abundance is a bigger challenge to society than scarcity’ and ‘behaviour is motivation filtered through opportunity’.

I also enjoyed the networking and the opportunity to get to know new people and exchange ideas with them, as well as actually meeting some of the folks I’ve been reading/following for a while.  That said, you soon realize the stars of SXSWi can only been seen from the planetarium that is the Ausin Convention Centre and not from a middle-American night sky…

Now my.downside:

SXSW is a big party scene – I know that shouldn’t be news – and some people place a premium on VIP lists, jumping the cue and hoarse throats. Now, I went to a few soirees (hey, I am social), but honestly I preferred the ones where you could actually talk to people instead of screaming at the top of your lungs at someone who can’t hear you and who you know is nodding out of politeness. (Or maybe my age is showing.)

Evan William’s keynote was a  major disappointment. We were there to hear the Oracle of Tweet but what we got was a pompous interviewer and little insight. The two convention halls were overflowing at the start of the session and overflowing with people leaving halfway through.  It’s too bad. I’m sure with better questions, Williams would have had something to say.

The quality of the panels was definitely mixed.  I think there should be better curation and guidelines as to who can present on what topic in order to set higher standards. Maybe there should be fewer sessions, with presenters doing their talk more than once.  Also, every room should have had AV so you can hear what people have to say.

For me, the two worst sessions were: A guy who took us through a deck you knew he used to pitch new business – complete with client testimonials; and the panel where one woman extolled the virtues of ‘ads that look like content’ and then rushed out to catch a flight before answering questions, followed by a guy who was so hung-over he looked dumbfounded by every slide he incoherently presented.

If you want to hear more, have a listen to Inside PR #197 where Robert Scoble answers the 4Qs.  I also had an opportunity to interview Brian Solis and Chris Barger, who will be featured on upcoming episodes.

My good friend Gini Dietrich blogged about her decision not to go and makes some valid points.

Special thanks to Keith McArthur and Michelle Kostya for being my panel/social buddies.

Will I make the pilgrimage next year?  I think so – it’s hard to match the overall calibre and energy of the event and the fact that you have thousands of social media practitioners in one place at one time – all trying to figure out the next big social thing.

Getting started in social media – new McMaster business course

As most of you know, I taught a social media for PR course at McMaster University last fall. You can read about it here, here, here and here.

And now, I’m happy to report that I’m teaching an accelerated business course on SM – also at McMaster. The after work sessions run March 4, 5, 11, 12, 6-9 p.m. and March 6, 9 AM – noon.

This is a hands-on class geared to business people and entrepreneurs who are looking for practical advice on how to get started with various social media tools.

Participants will learn how to set up a blog, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, post videos, record a podcast. I’ll also be meeting with people one-on-one to discuss their communications and business goals and help them figure out which tools might work best for the audience they’re trying to engage.

Here’s where you go to sign up.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Introducing my social media class

Well, the social media for PR course I’m teaching at McMaster University is half over (hard to believe) and the students are busy working on their blogs. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce and welcome them to the online community.


Blog title


Devorah Abrams Farmer

Devorah’s Blog


Suad Abukamla

Suadabukamla’s Blog

Natalie Ardanaz

Natalie’s Blog


Lisa Atkinson

Lisa M. Atkinson blog


Christine Davis

My New Digs


Sonja Dowbiggin

Staying Alive in the 905


Donna Drake

Dawna’s Blog


Paul Jones

Collapse of the West


Giselle Kimos

HR and more…


Lesley Morris

It’s All About Relationships


Julia Oudeh

JuliaOudeh’s Blog


Jotsna Pervin

JBPV’s Blog


Helen Powers

Socially Responsible Thoughts


Madeline Robins

You, Me and Poverty


Margaret Shkimba

In the Sisterhood


Mark Skeffington

About Cities


Allyson Wenzowski

Allyson’s Publicity Works School Works Blog


Kaan Yucel

Kaan’s Dervish Lodge


If you have a chance and visit their sites, you’ll see an eclectic group; original voices writing about a wide variety subjects including living the unemployed life, corporate social responsibility, city politics, HR, women in society, being a new homeowner, a doctor’s view of the mind, and many more.

And, if you do drop by, please share your comments and thoughts. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Special thanks to Joe Thornley for suggesting I do this.