PMC Training; New England Landmarks

My latest Pan Mass challenge Training Ride took me on a 50-mile trip past various New England historical landmarks, including:
Walden Pond
Concord Center/Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Lexington Battle Green
Bunker Hill
Hatch Shell
Fenway Park

It’s amazing that I took all those in– and Harvard Square– in just 50 miles!

Fundraising is also going well– I have raised 2,140 dollars from many generous sponsors as of this writing, but I’m not done.

My total goal is $3,400 – help out the Jimmy Fund and kids with cancer by joining the sponsors– any amount helps– and thanks!

Sponsor link:…ofiles.asp

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Utterzcast: Green Guilt

Now that I have a 2-mile commute, I feel eco-smug. Do I feel guilty when I drive that distance? You bet! Am I making an effort to bike to work more? Absolutely- just not today.

Are gas prices and other environmental concerns changing the way you think about travel?

(no audio today– a little snag with the Utterz phone line, it seems)

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4,000 for 40– Stupid Twitter tricks; Why?

Over the last several days, I had been spearheading a drive to get to 4,000 followers on Twitter for my 40th birthday, which was on Saturday June 28. I fully admitted it was a vain, shameless, silly stunt, and I was too far away from the goal when I started to think I could realistically make it. I did make it to 3,891 as of this writing, a bit farther than I would have thought.

So why do it? There are so many reasons a serious communications professional like myself should not take part in such a “shiny object/round number” game. But there are so many reasons to do it as well. Here is a look into some of my thinking.

Round Numbers are Meaningless: This is true, but they are fun nonetheless. Any goal needs to seem not random, so any reaching by definition looks contrived. I have learned not to care, so I dove in. Plus, I would rather conduct this practical experiment than make general pronouncements about the near-future ubiquity of tools noone is using yet.

Social Networks are Meaningless over a Certain Number: I don’t believe that for a second. The more people, the more information to share, the more touchpoints with the rest of the world. Whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or whatever, I want to be connected with as many people as possible.

It’s a Frivolous, Vain Pursuit: I’ll give you vain, but frivolous? Wrong, wrong WRONG. The currency in social networks is relationship, with the smaller denominations being communication. Even if only a small number of the several hundred (Twitter makes it hard to count exactly how many) new followers over the last few days become regular correspondents, I have just enriched my network several-fold. I win, and hopefully the new followers win.

Don’t Tell People Your Age One of the rules of job interviews is not to answer direct questions about your age. That’s smart, as age discrimination laws are serious, and indeed I actually refused to answer an innocuous question about my age in my recent interview process before joining SHIFT Communications. Also, I could go around pretending to be 32 online, but my birthdate is public information somewhere down the line. So, the temptation to make a little noise around a round number was too much to resist.

You Will Piss People Off With Your Little Quest: I did see one message from someone unfollowing me because of my “dumb followers goal,” but the norm was people– who I count as real friends- taking the meme and spreading it. Full disclosure: I asked Chris Brogan to Tweet about my quest for 4,000, but everyone else who did, including my boss. Todd Defren, and many of my co-workers, did it unprovoked. What I saw was a community effect.

This Dilutes Serious Communications Efforts: For me, social media is a lab. There is a place for strict businesslike communications, but there is a reason I maintain possession of a personal blog, Twitter account, etc. – I can do what I want with it, from gathering information for or disseminating information about clients, to Tweeting about Red Sox and Celtics Games (which makes my “4,000” effort seem like a minor Twitter burp), to raising awareness of my training and fundraising for the Pan Mass Challenge. A lab means I am going to try things, to see what draws traffic, what draws responses, and what new tools I can use to create media.

The network effect of asking for followers to celebrate my birthday was something to see indeed. It convinced me that many of my Twitter friends are indeed truly friends, not just correspondents. It also shows me that people are naturally inclined to help each other, even with the smallest requests. That’s how I got active on Twitter in the first place.

So, thanks to all of you who wished me well on my birthday, and tried to get people to follow me in my quest for 4,000 Twitter followers. I may have fallen short, but I got a lot farther than I thought I would, simply because people help. If my cause had been more serious, I’m sure enough of you would have been there. And on an everyday basis, I have a much bigger pool of people to talk and share information with.

Yes, I’d do it again. Besides, wasn’t it fun?

P.S. As for people who helped, there are actually too many to name and I fear I would forget someone. Your best bet, if curious, is to look back at replies to me on

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Pan Mass Challenge Training- Boats & Houses

A shorter ride from this week, in which I took a look at the scullers on the Charles, and the various boathouses one sees on the river.

I am riding the Pan Mass Challenge in August, a 2-day ride for which I am raising at least $3,400 for the Jimmy Fund to help children with Cancer.

Please join in by sponsoring me– which you can do at:…ofiles.asp

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Utterzcast: Equipped for Travel


Despite the company I keep online, I do not consider myself a Supreme Geek. When I travel, I think about the tools I do have, and how they serve me:

1. Laptop: An obvious one- my main work PC is a laptop and I just carry it with me

2. Phone: Iave been lucky enough to avoid Blackberry slavery, but nor do I have any other smart phone. QWERTY keyboard & simple browsing serve me well- for now.

3: Audio: Zoom H2 is always in the bag. You never know when a podcast is gonna break out.

4: Video: I have had a Flip Ultra for months and love it. Small and convenient with good-enough video. My Canon SD1000 camera takes usable video as well.

What’s in your travel bag?

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Uttercast: Multi-media


Social Media Breakfast 8 in Boston yesterday was a great session video with some great examples and diffring viewpoints on video production approaches.

Pulling back a little more, I often mull th approaches and reasons for using different kinds of media. Text is easier for people to consume and will always be more active. I use audio through Utterz as a convenience, as I post from the road, and du affinity, as I spent years as a public radio producer. However, you will notice I almost always add some text as an option.

Video? I only use it if there is truly some moving visual element worth showing- and that’s subjective. My Pan Mass Challenge training videos are examples. Do people watch? Maybe. I hope so.

What media do you use? Why?

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Utterzcast: Dumb tools smarter?


Hearing constantly about the unreliability of Twitter, I wonder why people stay with it, and keep coming in droves.

Actually I don’t wonder. Part of it is steady word of mouth/hype growth. A bigger part is the fact it is such an unrelentingly dumb tool. T only means I can use it anywhere and still connect to hundreds or more. And because the Dumb Twitter is more popular, the more sophisticated services want to hang out with it. So, Twitter is my hub, channeling Utterz,, and other efforts. Sometimes stupid and smple gets the job done.

Yes, like Agent 86, Maxwell Smart. FriendFeed? Too smart. Maybe that’s Agent 99.

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Social Media Top 5: What Scott Monty Will Hear at Ford

Those of us in Boston’s Social Media crowd were happy to hear of Scott Monty’s new gig at Ford Motor Company, though we are saddened to hear that means leaving Boston to live near Detroit.

As social media high mucky muck at Ford, Scott will undoubtedly have some great opportunities to not only do great things for Ford, but also show that a large enterprise can succeed using social media. No pressure, Scott.

That said, I polled myself and came up with the top 5 things Scott may actually hear in his first day at the estimable automobile giant:

  1. “Welcome to Ford! Here’s your office, your secretary, keys to the washroom, private bar…. and the keys to your first company car. Behold, the 2009 Pinto!
  2. “You can have any social media you want, so long as it’s a blog.”
  3. “Whatever you do, don’t bring up the Edsel (or the Mustang II, for that matter)!”
  4. “GPM, MPG, no one will notice the difference if you switch the letters around. Now get that Green Expedition social network up and running.”
  5. “We’re not really sure about your idea of a Henry Ford character blog, but we have some writing style samples for you to mimic.”

Good luck, Scott– and watch your back driving that Pinto!

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Utterzcast: Parts


This glowstick is just a small part of a great event in Boston last night: a Gary Vaynerchuk book signing, organized in great part by my friend Dmitri Gunn.

Of course, when I got my stick I immediately clicked it apart, sending it across the bad hitting two young ladies *sorry about that* but no matter. Every little bit adds something to an event- or project- doesn’t it?

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