Doug Haslam

Gischeleman: "To Create With the Mind"


Uttercast: Happy Thanksgiving


I love vacations and days off, but while I can rest, I know the rest of the world is still going full-tilt while I’m off.

Holidays are different. The whole world – or enough of my world in the U.S. – stops for the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Those of you also celebrating Thanksgiving. Enjoy the break.

That box in the picture? The New Paris Bakery in Brookline, Massachusetts makes the best eclairs. Not sure if we,re having any on Thanksgiving this year, but one can hope.

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Uttercast: What Will Change in Obama Presidency?


I got meme-tagged by Susan Getgood (, asking me to weigh in on what change Obama will bring.

Change? I am tempted to snort that a politician is a politician, and we are in for our usual 4-8 years of partisan wrangling and gridlock, despite an orgy of Democratic majorities.

However, I do see some real opportunity for change, solely because we are at a stage where a new regime is coming in and people
are excited.

Change lies not with a single person but the feelings he or she inspires. I feel that people voted for Obama because he was able to rally them and get them excited- on top of an extreme hangover from eight years of Bush. The atmosphere now feels a bit like 1992, to be honest.

So, change? I look not to Obama himself but to the many people energized by his campaign and victory. Real change, I think, will come from outside the government.

Here are my five people to tag:

Todd Van Hoosear (

Aaron Strout (

Bryan Person (

Kevin Whalen – not an Obama supporter by any means, so I would really be interested in seeing what you do with this – (

Adam Zand (

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Social Media Top Five: Monty Python, Personal Branding, Ghost-Blogging…

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – and make ‘em laugh until they buy your stuff. More entertainment companies should follow this “treat your customers with respect and trust your product” direction. The Monty Python Troupe have put a number of popular television and movie clips up on YouTube and winkingly acknowledged the “Theft” represented by unauthorized uploads. Of course you would expect these gentlemen to have a sense of humor (sorry, humour), but it’s still a lesson in “free.”

I’ll be a full-time believer in this endeavor when they add “Scott of the Antarctic.” giant penguins with tentacles!

(Perhaps this video will get pulled in favor of a high-quality “official” one- please?)

TypePad’s “Journalist Bailout Program- A hat-tip to Chip Griffin of Media Bullseye for this one. TypePad is offering laid-off journalists (and working ones fearful of a “re-organization”) free “pro” accounts, along with enrollment in their advertising program and blog promotion. Is this a crass exploitation of an industry of workers feeling a lot of pain right now? You bet! In fact, there is some reported skepticism about the offer. But they are offering a service, keeping writers’ work in the public eye. It can’t hurt, and it’s a nice gesture.

Hiring in a 2.0 World – I think – I hope – we’ll be hearing more stories like David Murray’s (as related by David Meerman Scott). He needed a job, and found one by using Twitter to search for relevant messages and people. In the meatspace world, we call that “networking.” Well done! Of course, “Hiring in a 2.0 World” is nothing new, as Aaron Strout will tell you. Oh- and I should mention that part of the process by which I found my current job at SHIFT Communications was Twitter. Like I said- networking.

On that note, people have been kicking up dust about “personal brand” lately (see Steve Woodruff at MarketingProfs and Geoff Livingston for two of the better examples). Geoff’s posts in particular seem to take aim at people who use their personal brand for business. Personal brands may or may not help companies close business, but I would point out that it often opens doors. I’m less interested in personal brands that are the faces of business- that’s is a cultivation that must be deliberate and careful. I am interested in personal brand as just that– personal. It helps us get jobs, our employers can latch their reputations onto ours- and therein lies great responsibility to behave ourselves- but it belongs to us. Like with any social media project, define what brand will do for you, and lay out your content in pursuit of those goals.

Ghost-Blogging- didn’t we settle that issue? Simon Wakeman brings up the issue thoughtfully on his blog, raising the *gasp!* possibility that ghost-writing is going to happen, and perhaps, if done right, it’s not so irredeemably evil. That, of course, is a big “if,” but my observation: the arguments against ghost-blogging tend to focus on ghost-blogging itself as the sin, but it’s not. The lack of transparency is. If you can have people ghost-blog and somehow pull it off, I’d like to see it; perhaps admit it’s ghost-written, dare people to care, provide good content and engage openly in conversations. Just a thought.

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Uttercast: Disappearing Ink


PC Magazine is the latest publication to announce that it is stopping its regular print edition to concentrate on the Web. In public relations, we worry- as print publications decrease, will there be anything left to pitch? The answer, of course, is "I refuse to answer such an ill-considered question."

While there are certainly economic reasons attached to the wave of disappearing ink, there is still plenty of editorial out there. Online is the future, merely exacerbated by the economy.

We asked these same questions during the rise of the Internet when online e-zines sprouted,and during the bubble burst, when magazines folded at an alarming rate. There’s still plenty to read.

I had the pleasure of leading PR efforts for the Christian Science Monitor’s announcement that the daily print edition is moving online. They also know there is still a print audience to serve, so they will start a weekly magazine in April.

I’m just sad because I never missed a print issue of PC Mag ;)

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Dan Lyons and the Yahoo! PR Flap: Lying?

Let’s forget about the fact that Dan Lyons is apparently retiring his personal blog, “The Real Dan Lyons.

Let’s forget that Newsweek apparently made him take down his post about his frustration with the Yahoo! PR people and what they said about CEO Jerry Yang (not) stepping down prior to it actually happening.

Let’s forget about the catfight about who “broke” the story that Lyons and AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher got into on the blog, regrettably now deleted.

I’m in public relations: so I am interesting in Dan’s characterizing Yahoo’s PR flacks as “lying sacks of s**t.

I prefer to be called a "lying sack of potatoes."

I prefer to be called a lying sack of potatoes.

First, I’m happy to hear he was painting only one group of PR people with that brush, rather than the whole industry. that’s refreshing.

But, was Yahoo! PR lying? That concerns me, because, the silly caption to this photo aside, I wouldn’t want to be characterized as a liar. In PR, we often have to hang onto information and keep embargoes (yup, we still do that and so do reporters). Sometimes, we do not know some of the real heavy news until very shortly before it hits. so, a few thoughts:

PR needs to be trusted with information: If Yahoo! PR folks honestly didn’t know ahead of time about Yang stepping down, it was because management didn’t trust them with the information. It insulates them from the “lying” thing but makes them look ineffective and not trusted.

PR needs to be artful with information that cannot be released: See the above-linked post on embargoes. That’s part of the principle here. The question is: what can we tell people when we know the big news but aren’t allowed to spill it yet? We are professional communicators. We should know how to do that without insulting the intelligence of the media, and we should be trusted by executive management to do so.

The Yahoo! PR folks are lying sacks of (potatoes): I suppose that could be true, but I’m an optimist that doesn’t like to believe that stuff about people. I know that there are enough bad actors out there, but in this case? I don’t know. I don’t suppose there’s anyone from Yahoo! PR that wants to defend themselves here…

*Photo from Roadside Pictures on Flickr

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Uttercast: Discoverers & Discoverees


I often notice two types in online (ok, social media- but really it’s not just about that) interactions: Discoverers and Discoverees. I try to follow as many Discoverers as I can, as that is where I get the shared links, interesting articles, and information. I guess that makes me a Discoveree; one who seeks out this knowledge and absorbs it.

But wait, what if, aside from simply reading links and info from smart people, I actively ask around for answers? Does that make me a Discoverer? Then, what if I share that info with the community? The quiet ones share more than you think, and the "Discoverers" have to get their info from somewhere.

Clear enough? That’s what I get for trying to assign labels.

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Uttercast: Mindset


Look at the patch in this picture. 1981 seems like another era, but I was actually a teenager when I attended the event indicated on this gaudy piece of embroidery.

Why this photo? I have been thinking of mindset lately. Mindset, as in Beloit College’s "Mindset List" at, designed to remind teachers of the worldview of incoming Freshmen. What is the worldview of someone born after I got this patch? We’re both adults, but we both grew up in different worlds.

I’m not just talking about growing up with technology either. I have lived through three recessions. Recalling the last one, I remember folks a little younger than I had little concept of what was happening.

How do you relate to other generations? Do you consider "mindset?"

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Social Media Top 5: SMB10, SNCR, and Never You (Social)Mind(er)

A bunch of social media events and topics have caught my eye in the past week. Not least of which, I have been busy attending Social Media Breakfast 10 in Cambridge MA, and the annual Society of New Communications Research symposium in Boston.

I posted briefly on the breakfast
the other day. But for more, the full video of the event:

As of this writing, the SNCR symposium is still too fresh to digest fully, but topics like social media adoption by the Inc. 500 (why not watch more nimble small businesses for lessons on what the rest of the slower enterprise world could do?) and an overview social media in the election (co-presented by Albert Maruggi), among others. While a full day of presentations is mind-numbing, the ability of this organization to put numbers behind ideas is valuable. Next step: what you all– what are we– doing with this data?

Silly Social Media Tools: A lot of Web sites and tools allowing you to play with your blog or Twitter, “analyzing” the sites, ranking people, etc., exist for our amusement. Lately, a couple have ticked people off:

SocialMinder: Remember Quechup? That social network spammed your mailing list with invites without your permission. Almost as bad, SocialMinder requires you to invite at least 15 people before allowing you to try the full alpha. How about letting me try the alpha, then when you wow me tell me I should invite friends? How about trusting me to be an evangelist? Don’t turn people like B.L. Ochman against you.

Twitterank: Give this site (right, not linking- Google it) your Twitter username and password, get a random number for your “Twitter Rank.” Ok, I admit I did that for amusement, and quickly changed my password. Then, click a button to Tweet the result and show the world you fell for it.

GenderAnalyzer: Another silly tool, this one harmless, unless you are sensitive about your masculinity (what’s wrong with being 54% man?). There are some gender confusion issues, apparently:

Scott Monty in

Bonus: The Onion nails the problem with YouTube:

YouTube Contest Challenges Users To Make A ‘Good’ Video

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Uttercast: Obscure References


I love to make obscure pop culture references. I suppose it makes me feel smart to know useless stuff, but also, when someone else gets the reference, you can make instant connections.

What if you’re trying to reach a larger audience? Do you know how to walk the line between cool and obscure? I think people who don’t know the 1979 Steve Martin film "The Jerk" will be very confused by this car dealer ad. I got it, I thought it was funny. My wife thought Ernie Boch was, well, a jerk.

To quote the 1984 film "This is Spinal Tap" (come on, you know that one) : "There’s a fine line between clever and stupid."

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Uttercast: Measurement, ROI & Other Scary Words


Yesterday’s Social Media Breakfast in Boston (SMB10- have we really had 10 already?) bore the topic "Social Media ROI." The speakers, Brian Halligan of Hubspot, Matt Cutler of Visible Measures, and Andrew McAfee of Harvard Business School, all weighed in on a topic that clearly they need to think about every day.

What did I come away with? A mixture of pragmatism and hopelessness. Pragmatism
in the phrase "measure what you can measure." We often try to get our minds around measuring things that are a bit abstract. This is especially true in public relations, where our efforts are often a couple of steps removed from business results, or our ends are concepts like "branding" and awareness." Hopelessness? That our bosses and clients still want measurement and justification for the abstract. Don’t think we have the silver bullet – yet.

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