Doug Haslam

Gischeleman: "To Create With the Mind"


Social Media Top 5: Phweet Phound of Phuccess

Ok, trying to make a pun I made a naughty sounding blog title. Dear me. Well, here I go, thanks to some phriends on Twitter:

  1. Phweet? Phounds like im Liphping. Not sure how this audio-for-Twitter service works here, but I’ll add it to the pile along with, Plurk, Rejaw, Jaiku, Brightkite and a bunch of other services I could use more. Or not.
  2. Is “Editorial” the same as “Blog?” Perhaps there are some logical gymnastics performed in this article, but as I feel it’s healthy to look beyond format and examine content and intent, they may be closer cousins than some bloggers – or editors – may want to admit.
  3. Has the Age of Blogging as the path to fame passed to the Age of Twitter? Ask longtime, well-read blogger Francine McKenna, whose Twitterings led to an appearance in the Financial Times. I will agree that Twitter is getting more mainstream press mentions lately.
  4. As the social media world kept their ear to the virtual ground for advance word of Sen. Barack Obama’s choice of a presidential running mate, I can only think that this sweepstakes could have been settled via a YouTube contest. This struck me as a model for a winning entry:
  5. And last, I just thought this was a nice “down for maintenance” message.

Hat tips to Bostonwriter, Scott Pooler, John Carson and Francine McKenna


Utterzcast: Keeping score is fun but then what?


Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I love keeping score and following shiny round numbers. I can also get quite competitive in my work if someone gets my back up.

That said, I separate those fun bits from what really pushes us all forward; content and ideas, fueled by your community (community or content first? That’s another topic).

That’s why I am not a fan of the PRWeek blog contest (…ction/477). I know I have said it before in several places, but what a bunch of nonsense encouraging us to act like we’re in junior high school. Where’s the celebration of the best content? Where are all the great ideas? PRWeek could own this, and then it would be great. Oh well.

Maybe I should start my own contest. What’s your favorite PR blog content? Want to share?

By the way- is not in the contest. I have never branded my blog as stricly PR. That’s fine by me.

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Utterzcast: Do you need rules?


I am one of those people that likes to break rules, but also likes to have them in place first. Does that make me not so"free?" I don’t think so. Maybe I like editing over writing due to this.

I think of it this way; even most improvisitory jazz musicians vamp over a predetermined set of chord changes, often based on a Broadway tune. Even the truly "free" jazz usually rests on some loose framework.

How about you? Do you need rules?

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Social Media Top 5: Colonizing Austin and PRWeek’s Beauty Contest

It must be summer– I have been delinquent for two weeks in getting out a Social Media Top 5, putting me at risk of becoming a snark-fader. But there is quite a bit to talk about in the social media world, isn’t there?

  1. Bryan Person moves from Boston to Austin. Well, there must be five reasons why one of Boston’s most likable social media evangelists is leaving our fair city for Austin, the West Berlin of Texas (think a cultural and political equivalent of the Berlin Airlift and you get the idea).

    Boston is colonizing Austin. First Kyle Flaherty, then John Johansen, now Bryper (yes, I still use his abandoned handle. I’m sentimental that way). Slowly, the good city of Austin will bend to our will. We’ll start with the Red Sox (what, you have Rangers Fans there maybe? I highly doubt that), and pretty soon you’ll all be dropping your “R’s.” Yes, it’s a conspiracy.

    Ok, I could only think of one. Safe travels Bryan, and we shall see each other again before long right?
    So what else has been going on?

  2. What’s the deal with this Cuil search engine? They got a ton of hype (nice PR), but the search engine itself was terrible. I suppose they could recover as their service gets better, but for now they are covered with builen (plural of buil, Dutch for “bruise” – don’t you love it when someone makes a joke they have to explain?)
  3. Well, Hasbro/Mattel finally killed Scrabulous and put up their own weak version of Facebook Scrabble– which, of course, they should have thought of in the first place, one of several ways they could have avoided this mess. I think I’ll sit on my ideas for Bogulous , Battleshipulous and Riskulous until this all calms down.
  4. Tech bloggers hate PR. Actually, that’s horseshit; that’s not really what the “>bloggers were saying (for the most part), though it seems some PR people hate PR. Here’s an idea; be good at what you do and people will respond. I know, I already blogged about this but it belongs in the social media top 5.
  5. Speaking of PR, PRWeek has initiated a PR blogger popularity contest. I don’t understand this at all, beyond the fact that beauty/popularity contests can be fun– for the contestants. How about a contest about the best content– the best blog posts of the year, something that would actually give me some content to consider, rather than wondering if the Edelman-associated blogs can be pounded into dust due to some contrarian backlash (which seems to be the case the one time I checked)? Feh.

    *I should give a hat-tip to Peter Kim; it was in conversation with him that the “content as a better contest” idea sparked.

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Utterzcast: Mojo is making me hate the Beatles


I love Mojo, a great British music monthly. Their monthly CDs are often a treat featuring new bands, summing up trend. or highlighting a rock star’s influences and favorites.

But every once in a while, they unleash recreations of Beatle albums, comprised of cover versions, that are staggeringly awful. I mean, jam knitting needles into your cochlea awful. I have favorite Beatles covers, so this comes as a surprise, but just take my word for it- stay away.

The recent Revolver And Sgt. Pepper recreations gave me nightmares and eczema, so I am steeling myself for Disc 1 of the White Album. Bad enough? Next month they threaten us with Disc 2, including a cover of "Revolution 9."

Why, Mojo? Why why why why why?

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Utterzcast: I swear I’m not making this up


I had dinner with a friend last night I hadn’t seen in years. He is not involved in any way in tech, public relations or social media. But when I was explaining what I do and started talking about blogs, he said, unprovoked: "Do these companies realize that they no longer have control of their messages?"

I swear he had no coaching, but damn he’s smart. Did I mention he’s not in social media? He’s not even in the business world!

Forgetting for a moment that I could argue the nuances of the "no control" notion, that’s an incredibly perceptive thing to say. An eye-opening- or, to go with hyperbole suggested by the photo, a parting-of-the-skies moment.

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Tech Blogs Take On PR; Lots of Delicious Food for Thought

UPDATE, July 8, 2009:

Welcome, David Weinberger friends and fans! It seems David mistakenly linked to this post in a Tweet. Please stick around and enjoy this slightly aged but still relevant post about public relations. If you want the “United Broke My Guitar Video,” please go here.

One of the occupational realities of working in the public relations world, is that our media “targets” (yes, we use that word) often write about us, mostly when they are frustrated and want to vent about how terrible we are. I’m not complaining, as we get our rewards and kudos in other ways.

Recently, there has been a rash of posts by tech bloggers that forces PR to re-examine its role in the world of social media. Not that we haven’t been doing it anyway, but I’ll bite. Here is a roundup of the posts that came to my attention:

Marshall, Kirkpatrick, ReadWriteWeb: “Does Good Tech Need PR?

I really like Marshall’s post, and I am not surprised as he has been very friendly to and understanding of the better Pr people out there. He is very balanced, seeing the need for startups to engage PR and pointing out some of his favorite PR pros (I can live with the snub, as I have been too full of myself to be pitching Marshall lately). Most importantly, he knows the need for companies to work with PR outside of mere media and blogger relations, to craft messaging and make sure communication preparation is solid before going out the door with it. He does acknowledge the other side, but doesn’t seem to embrace it in my view.

Robert Scoble, Scobleizer: “PR-less launch kicks off a stack overflow of praise

Scoble goes out of his way to come up with a great example of a company that got lots of blogger attention. His source, a programmer that loved the product, Stack Overflow, and recommended it to Scoble, who in turn loved it. I don’t see how that disproves the need for other companies to engage PR professionals. This seems more a calculated post by Scoble to bear out his recent attempt to go cold-turkey on PR. Withdrawal’s a bitch. I’m not going to excuse the scads of crappy pitches any blogger gets, but saying you are getting off the PR bandwagon won;t prevent you from being pitched– in fact, now you will only get pitched by the dummies who are doing it wrong. The only practical advice is not to be popular.

Michael Arrington, TechCrunch: “The PR Roadblock on the Road to Blissful Blogging

Despite the snarky title, I liked this post as well. We don’t want to hear our PR industry is “broken,” but Arrington is very constructive in his criticism. He ends up writing a decent blueprint for young PR people to follow: read the blogs, participate in the community, go to events. Just because it’s common sense doesn’t mean it can’t be said over and over. And over.

Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins, Mashable: “The Changing Role of Public Relations

What has changed in public relations? For one thing, we are pitching people named “Rizzn.” You won’t get that in the New York Times. I’m not just making fun of a nickname, but pointing out the informality that now exists between bloggers (and, heck, other journalists) and PR folks. This points back to relationship-building– no, not a freakin’ rolodex; how useless. I mean, treat people like humans, and as Hopkins says, give value beyond a press release and corporate messaging. Again, more common sense (a theme here so far), but old skills newly highlighted by the need to do relations with blogs and other social media.

Steve Rubel, Micropersuasion; “Does the Thrill of the Chase Make PR Obsolete?

Ah, fear and self-loathing in PR land? This is the post, inspired by Scoble’s post above, that in turn inspired the TechCrunch and Mashable write-ups. Unfortunately, Steve can offer no better advice to us PR pros, assembled at his feet to learn, than “stop spamming.” Thanks, Steve! But what he does give is insight into the problem of any popular blogger who has to put up with the daily multitude of misdirected pitches, with the added misery that he is a part of the industry that creates the pile of cow patties he must now navigate in his email inbox. that is actually a worthwhile perspective.

WWASD (What would Allen Stern Do?); Centernetworks
Conspicuous by his absence is Allen Stern of CenterNetworks. He is usually good for a strong opinion, and trust me I know he has strong opinions on the relationship between PR and bloggers. Come on Allen, what say you? Or are you too busy writing posts about, I don’t know, technology and social networking?

I wish for bloggers– and all journalists– I could crinkle my nose like Samantha Stevens and whoosh away all the bad pitches they get every day. Alas, I can only try to tidy up my little corner of the SHIFT Communications universe, and maybe a little more. Bloggers are learning that their popularity means they get the same uneven PR service, solicited or not, that all media gets. PR pros are learning that bad PR practices beget much swifter and more public retribution than in the past. Maybe these factors will combine to make us better.

Other related posts:

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Utterzcast: Still thinking that content is #1


Like a lot of folks, I spend much time figuring out the best way to get to good content efficiently. As a public relations professional, I particularly seek out blogs that discuss my profession.

RSS feeds? Great, and primary, but hard to keep up with.

Contests for best PR blogs, like the current PRWeek contest? Blech, though maybe I,ll find a couple of new blogs to check out. The contest may worth its own post.

For me, it’s the content of posts themselves that attracts, and they could come from anywhere. Twitter, FriendFeed and others tend to bubble up the best posts for me.

What’s your method?

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Utterzcast: To Absent Friends


Just got back from a goodbye Tweet-up for Bryan Person, who is leaving Boston for Austin, Texas. Seems like a lot of Bostonians are moving there. Hmmm.

How much does location matter? Not as much as it used to, though face-to-face is still best.

Heard of the old toast "to absent friends?" We have more of them now than ever, thanks to online social networks.

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Pan Mass Challenge; Rider’s Eye View

A week after the event, I am still awed by the experience of riding the Pan-Mass Challenge. More than that, I am awed by the generosity of the people who stepped up to sponsor me; in fact I was stunned and humbled to make my fundraising minimum of $3,400 the day before the ride, even though the PMC organizers give us until October 1 to raise our funds.

If you would like to jump on, my fundraising page is still open– just go to this link.

The video below gives snippets of my view of the 2-day ride, but a few impressions in words:

  • The people cheering along the side of the road, all along the trail, were an inspiration. A number of them let us know they were cancer survivors themselves
  • The signs posted along the entrances to the water stops, reminding us of the children with cancer who benefit from the fundraising
  • The many volunteers who fed, sheltered and otherwise helped us riders worked harder than anyone on a bike
  • It was great to meet up with Duncan Perry, one of the folks who originally encouraged me to sign up for the PMC, in Bourne
  • A huge shout-out to the Team 9 folks: Lee, Eva, Jose and Erik, who picked me up on Day 2 when I was really dragging and let me ride with them until the finish. Despite the many hills up the last leg, I felt like I finished strong thanks to those folks

Pan-Mass Challenge – One Rider’s View from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

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