Pan-Mass Challenge Heroes #13: Larry Lawfer

This is an ongoing series profiling some of the people I believe to be the real heroes of the Pan-Mass Challenge: the sponsors who donate their money to fund cancer research.

I have just $1,800 left to raise, but I can’t get there without help from more people like these Heroes. Please considering joining them by donating any amount to http://pmc.org/DH0159.

Larry Lawfer

I have known Larry Lawfer, Founder and President of YourStorys (www.yourstorys.com) for over three years in the “new media” space. More than most, he has represented the bridge from the quality and professionalism standards of old media to the mass (as in the masses) publishing and distribution of media in this new age of inexpensive, easy-to-get tools.

In other words, “new media” doesn’t mean the sacrifice of standards, and Larry’s media work has carried the standards, um, standard. More on PMC sponsorship from Larry himself:

I sponsor people, and you in particular, because of your passion to help, your willingness to sacrifice your time and energy, and the underlying
desire to give back to those who give.

I have been sponsoring people since the PMC’s inception, one reason why I
couldn’t jump on board last year. Yes I hear over and over from you, and
over again. This is what we marketing people do, right? (Note: OK, I can be persistent sometimes)

I actually have donated in the name of a close friend’s mother. She was an
absolutely wonderful woman who fought to the end. Ride well, my friend.


Larry, thank you for sponsoring me. And thank you, everyone who has supported the Pan-Mass Challenge in any way. Please consider joining Larry to sponsor my ride and fight cancer: http://pmc.org/DH0159. Please feel free to pass the link to others as well.

Social Media Top 5: Social CRM Paparazzi, Leaning on Young PR Pros, and Fighting the Elements

Rockstars of Social CRM- in Pictures!:

I blogged about my side impressions from this event early in the week, but Warren Sukernik put together these entertaining slides that give the perspective of someone who joined the event via Webinar:

Are We Setting Up Young PR pros for Failure?
I have wondered aloud– with help of some PR professors about the state of PR education in colleges, and whether students are getting the education in newer communication methods– the answer, I think, is that there has been a lot of progress between now and a few years ago. David Mullen, in his article, takes a different tack; he wonders if young PR pros are being tagged as “social media experts” due to their Gen-Y credentials, and being given the keys to social media programs. Is this really happening? I don;t for example, feel that we do that at SHIFT communications, where I work. Are they being given the experienced management and strategic support they need to help their teams succeed? David seems pessimistic. I’d like to hear more.

*UPDATE* Karen Russell, who teaches PR at the University of Georgia, weighed in with her take.

…And a Partridge in a Pear Tree(?):
While self-brainstorming this week (ok, that sounds wrong somehow), I searched on the phrase “elements of a social media program.” The results I got made me chuckle. They included:

  • Five Essential Elements
  • Six Successful Elements
  • Seven Critical Elements
  • Forty Key Elements
  • Oh- and Ten tips

elements

There is no shortage of advice, is there?

Something in the Air:
I happened upon friend Colin Browning of New Marketing Labs at a Tweetup (Twitter meetup) during the Enterprise 2.0 conference here in Boston, and he corralled me for this Friday Funnies video now up at his Constructing Social blog. I think I did a good job keeping my composure.

Girl Dies While Tweeting:
No, it’s “Girl Dies While Using an Electrical Appliance in the Bathtub.” I’m sure there are plenty of things we can blame Twitter (or Facebook, or blogs) for. This isn’t one of them.

Pan-Mass Challenge Fundraising and Training Update

I have been keeping up (mostly) with my Pan-Mass Challenge training, but have been a bit slow in editing videos (you’re welcome). The reason? I got a new Flip Ultra HD, which will result in much clearer photos, but also necessitated new editing software.

This short bit from an early morning ride shows my fascination with the HD format, as well as my struggles with the new editing program- I’ll get a little better at it.

Pan-Mass Challenge Training June 11 (in HD!) from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, fundraising for the Pan-Mass challenge continues. We are a little more than halfway to my goal of $4,200 raised, but I can;t do it without your help. Will you join me in fighting cancer as I take a 2-day ride across Massachusetts August 1-2? Please sponsor me at http://pmc.org/DH0159.

Thank you! Doug

Pan-Mass Challenge Heroes #12: Adam Cohen

This is an ongoing series profiling some of the people I believe to be the real heroes of the Pan-Mass Challenge: the sponsors who donate their money to fund cancer research.

I have just $2,000 left to raise, but I can’t get there without help from more people like these Heroes. Please considering joining them by donating any amount to http://pmc.org/DH0159.

Adam Cohen (blog: http://adamhcohen.com ) is one of those members of the Boston social media scene who doesn’t merely show up, he contributes. He always has something to add, and he has organized a few meetups (or “Tweetups”) of his own. As one of my PMC sponsors, he does not limit his contributions to ideas and energy. I’ll let him speak for himself the rest of the way:

- Why did you sponsor me in the Pan-Mass Challenge?

I know folks who have done this ride in the past, and am familiar with the organization as a result. It’s a great cause and requires hard work – I sponsored Doug because he has been a great resource building community in the Boston area and sharing his thoughts and encouragement in social media. I thought this was an easy way to thank him for his own giving to the community.

- How did you first hear about the Pan-Mass Challenge?

I first heard of it through a client about 7 years ago, who rode for his son who had passed away.

- Are you giving in the name or memory of someone you know who has had cancer?

My grandmother, Shirley Platt, passed away from complications originating from cancer about 9 years ago, a few months before my oldest son was born. She was a 30+ year cancer survivor though – and an inspiration in many other ways. This cause hits home.

- Name one interesting fact or story that makes you unique and interesting.

The summer after I graduated from college, I went across the country with 2 friends over six weeks. We stole a cement lawn gnome and took it with us, taking pictures with us and the gnome everywhere we went. To this day I’m still waiting for the royalty checks from Travelocity.com. (Note: you may have to wait in line)

Speaking of photo pranks, Adam has been the subject of a Flickr meme ever since I discovered his name tag stuck to the floor at an event and took a photo of it. Here’s the latest:

From Social CRM Event- Adam Cohen Nametag meme lives!


Adam, thank you for sponsoring me. And thank you, everyone who has supported the Pan-Mass Challenge in any way. Please consider joining Adam to sponsor my ride and fight cancer: http://pmc.org/DH0159. Please feel free to pass the link to others as well.

Photo credit: Jared Goralnick via Flickr.

Getting Impatient with Social Media



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I attended Radian6’s "Social Media Rockstars" Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) event last night, and confirmed one thing:

I am getting impatient.

I’m impatient for social media tools and strategies to be considered- intuitively- part of the whole company fabric, rather than some special new thing.

I’m impatient for social media-themed events to get more practical in integrating the concerns of the people who supposedly don’t "get it."

I’m impatient to see the tables turned- to go to events run by people outside of the social media "cliques" (populated by friends & colleagues whom I love dearly by the way) and discuss social media in the enterprise there.

I know this stuff is happening. I just need to capture it for myself. I sometimes feel the social media groups have talked themselves out and we need to widen the circle- to dive more deeply.

Anyone else getting impatient?

UPDATE: It’s worth mentioning that I had a short talk with Eric Schwartzman at the Social CRM event, in which he described the hungry, active, members of the U.S. government and military branches and NGOs, who perhaps are the organizations that are the most curious (about social media) organizations out there. Ironic? Maybe


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Pan-Mass Challenge Heroes #11: Tom Lewis

This is an ongoing series profiling some of the people I believe to be the real heroes of the Pan-Mass Challenge: the sponsors who donate their money to fund cancer research. Please considering joining them by donating any amount to http://pmc.org/DH0159.

tom-lewis

So far I have profiled PMC sponsors whom I know fairly well, either from childhood or professionally. Tom Lewis is more of an example of why I am using social media to raise money; so that people I barely know, or don’t know at all, might become part of this “heroes” network through their generous sponsorship. Tom blogs at http://tomdog.com, and is also launching a new venture called Needlemine. Here is what he had to say:

- Why did you sponsor me in the Pan-Mass Challenge?

I support the Pan-Mass Challenge and came across your Tweet by happy coincidence

- How did you first hear about the Pan-Mass Challenge?

I had heard about it several years ago when I was on the board of MassBike (a Massachusetts organization dedicated to cycling issues).

- Are you giving in the name or memory of someone you know who has had cancer?

In memory of my father-in-law Bill, my Uncle Chuck, and my Aunt JoAnn.

- Name one interesting fact or story that makes you unique and interesting

As someone who moved to Massachusetts from the year-round cycling state of California, it’s been wonderful to see cyclists involved in a cause as powerful as the Pan-Mass Challenge, an event that requires its own kind of year-round commitment. I hope to do it myself someday! (Note- I think some routes are still open– hint!)


Tom, thank you for sponsoring me. And thank you, everyone who has supported the Pan-Mass Challenge in any way. Please consider joining Tom to sponsor my ride and fight cancer: http://pmc.org/DH0159. Please feel free to pass the link to others as well.

Social Media Top 5: Social Media’s Dead- No, It’s a Clique- No, It’s a Jelly Donut

Social Media is Dead (?)
Geoff Livingston wrote the salacious phrase in the title to his recent blog post explaining why he was discontinuing his involvement in the Blog Potomac events. The gist I took from the post was that social media is no longer a shiny new tool, the province of the innovators.

From Geoff Livingston, www.livingstonbuzz.com

From Geoff Livingston, www.livingstonbuzz.com

While I agree with friend and fellow commentator Greg Verdino that perhaps the world as a whole isn’t so far along the “adoption curve” as Geoff suggests, I also agree that the ultimate end here is that social media finally becomes “media” or part of it; ingrained, rather than ghettoized.

Social Media is a Clique (?)
Yup, I’m linking to Mack Collier again. This time, he muses that some “social media folks,” himself included, may come off as aloof and clique-ish when in fact they are merely shy. Some folks probably act as a clique whether they (we?) mean to or not. Will people recognize the difference between aloof social media “rock stars” and shy people who happen to blog a lot? Probably not. Time to be more outgoing- in person, not just on Twitter and blogs.

Social Media is a Jelly Donut a public servant disaster waiting to happen:

In this post from Shel Holtz, he describes a municipality with a Twitter account in which a few misdirected Tweets led to plug-pulling and denouncement of social media. It led to this quote from a public official:

How anyone could ever suggest that a public body could control a Twitter account is beyond me.

Shel then points to a number of communities that are doing social media just fine, thank you very much. Frankly, I’m not surprised by small-mindedness and short-sightedness at the local government level when it comes to these new scary communication methods. This is a prime example of the kicking-and-screaming road to social media adoption.

Bad Pitch, Good Response
In public relations, reporters- and now bloggers- have always complained about bad pitches. John Cass, who I have known for about four years in the Boston marketing community, actually took on well-liked and popular video blogger and author Gary Vaynerchuk, for a pitch that seemed a bit, well, un-customized. Commenters dissected the pitch pretty well so I won’t. I would like to point out the constant presence of Gary in the comments, showing genuine concern he may have offended and trying to solicit advice on how to improve the process. This is another example of the public seeing the PR sausage being made, and it’s a great example of responding positively to negative publicity.

UPDATE: Gary and John will be on a special live edition of the For Immediate Release Podcast on June 26.

World Events More Important Than Scheduled Website Maintenance (!)
I just wanted to give my nod to the Twitter folks and the U.S. State Department, who combined to delay a scheduled Twitter outage so that the burgeoning democracy movement in Iran could continue to use the tool to communicate. An inconvenience to many in the States, but so what?

Pan-Mass Challenge Heroes #10: Ann Handley

This is an ongoing series profiling some of the people I believe to be the real heroes of the Pan-Mass Challenge: the sponsors who donate their money to fund cancer research. Please considering joining them by donating any amount to http://pmc.org/DH0159.

Ann Handley is someone who I, as a public relations professional, have come across for years, going back to the Internet bubble and her days with ClickZ. Now, she spends her professional life as Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs, a great resource for anyone touching on the marketing profession.

A year or more ago, we finally met at a local social media event, and found an interesting personal bond that I will let Ann describe below (let’s just say I sometimes call her “homegirl”).

Ann also keeps a great personal blog, Annarchy, which contains some very personal and extremely well-written posts. That blog is the reason I was particularly eager to get her answers to my questions once she became (for the second time!) a sponsor of my Pan-Mass Challenge ride. Here they are:

- Why did you sponsor me in the Pan-Mass Challenge?

The PMC raises money for cancer research and treatment, of course, which unfortunately is an issue near and dear to my heart. Cancer is so much a part of my family, it practically has a seat at Thanksgiving: Both of my parents died relatively young from various forms of lung cancer, when I was a teenager (my dad) and then post-college (my mother). Two of my aunts have struggled with breast cancer, and even I have had minor brushes with it.

When you grow up with cancer as part of your family, you can’t help but feel that it’s only a matter of time before you and others close to you will be similarly affected.

All that… plus, Doug and I grew up in the same neighborhood. And though we didn’t know each other — and only discovered our common roots decades later, when we met at an industry party, it nonetheless is a bond.


– How did you first hear about the Pan-Mass Challenge?

I’ve sponsored others, on and off, throughout the years. But it’s only recently that I’ve truly grokked the importance of PMC’s mission. Plus, I admire the dedication and commitment the riders make, especially those middle-aged folks (note: who you calling “middle-aged?”) who challenge themselves to do it, and by “it” I mean the ride itself, but also the hours of training through the cold and dark New England winter.

Being in my 40s, I know the physical part isn’t easy… I have to lie down after walking my dogs around the block. ; )

Can you imagine the kind of mental and physical dedication it takes to ride (165) miles over 2 days… even for someone as young and healthy and virile (note: [!]) as Doug? ; )

- Are you giving in the name or memory of someone you know who has had cancer ?

No one special. But at the same time, lots of people. In other words, there are many families like my own… our experience is far from unique. Sadly.


– Name one interesting fact or story that makes you unique and interesting.

Oh jeez…. I hate this question….

Well, I guess I’d say that I’m full of contradictions. I’m at once confident and insecure. I’m competent and unsure of my abilities. I’m intensely private, and I bare it all on my personal blog.

And fundamentally, I’m not very interesting… except when I am.


Ann, if you are one thing, you are interesting. Thank you for sponsoring me again. And thank you, everyone who has supported the Pan-Mass Challenge in any way. Please consider joining Ann to sponsor my ride and fight cancer: http://pmc.org/DH0159. Please feel free to pass the link to others as well.

Constant Context



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I have been reading folks saying that a downfall of Twitter is the constant absence of context in 140-character Tweets, and similarly short Facebook updates.

Too bad. People are there. Make it work.

Make your own context. Again and again. People have short attention spans, not just because of Twitter. People happen in on the middle of conversations, Welcome them, by offering constant context.

The lack of context in a medium is not the problem. Lack of context in the messages- that’s the problem.

By.the way- I guess the picture lacks context. Are the bottles new or empty? All from one dinner party? Who was there? Maybe there’s a story here- but I would need to frame it- with context.

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Hooray for Twitter’s ‘Idle Class!’



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So a recent Harvard Business School study said 10% of Twitter users produce 90% of Tweets (http://bit.ly/hbstwit). Does that make Twitter a "Broadcast" medium? I don’t think so.

The lurkers, the "Idle Class" of social media, are important . Just as they are in blogs. If the 90% of idles are actually reading Tweets, who’s to say they are not enriched in some way? Who’s to say they don’t pass along the conversations offline?

I say bring on the lurkers and idles! The more the better! I’m comfortable with a "90/10" rule.

Are you?

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