May has come to a close, and there are only two months left until the Pan-Mass Challenge. There has been lots of good news on both the training and fundraising fronts:
As of this writing, many of you have helped me reach 60% of my $4,200 minimum goal. Still, there is more than $1,600 left to go, but with your help I know we will keep up the pace and make the goal. To help beat cancer by sponsoring my ride, please go to http://bit.ly/PMC2010.
To those who have been supporting me so far, an those who will– a huge thank you!
As for training: this weekend, I managed consecutive 30-mile rides Friday and Saturday. I have been feeling stronger, and we (my training partners and I) have been going faster, and while there is work to do here as well, I feel we will be ready for the PMC on August 7.
(UPDATE: Managed our first 40-mile ride today, May 31. Still feeling great!)
Technical note: on this ride, I was trying out my new Kodak Zi8 camera. It seems to have a little better image stabilization than my old Flip Camera (which conked out on me), but the microphone is not so great. The good news is I can try using an external mic, which I might do later. I was also using a new, sturdier handlebar mount. Please let me know what you think based on this brief video.
In the past, I have seen people bristle at the notion of “personal brand.”
You know, and I know, people who have gotten high off their own Google Analytics and displayed an inflated sense of their own self-importance.
Really, so what?
That’s no reason to sublimate the ego in social media.
It is, despite what people say, all about you.
Why? I don’t care about every little detail of your life, and I don’t expect you to care about mine (even if I post it on Twitter and Facebook- and believe, that is far from everything).
What I do care about is what you have to add. Don’t forgo ego because people (and I’m not picking on Amber Naslund even if her excellent post for aspiring writers set me off) tell you to. That shouldn’t be enough reason anyway, right?
So, here are my reasons for making it all about You:
You may or may not be an expert on some things, but you are definitely the foremost expert on You. Only you have had your experiences and opinions. Share them.
Objectivity is great but news I can read anywhere. Don’t distill, add You. I know when I blog,
Don’t worry if people don’t care about the “You” bits. More people care than you think- plus, you can always write it all out then pare back before you publish.
Don’t worry bout becoming a “social media (jerk).” Actually, do worry- if you are worrying about it, then you probably are in less danger of becoming one.
Corporate bloggers? Corporate-speak is necessary at times, but the most successful blogs inject the individual bloggers’ personalities. Is there a risk of the person eclipsing the brand? Two things: that’s where ego checks and common sense are actually required, and anyone- even the CEO- can be replaced as blogger without killing the brand.
People with healthy egos probably don’t need this advice. Maybe those are the people we need to worry about becoming obnoxious egotistical jerks.
Either way, I’ll end off with this great song “Watching the Planets” from one of my favorite bands, The Flaming Lips. The video is about as NSFW as it gets (lots of people running- and pedaling- around nekkid), by the way, but that’s how Wayne Coyne & Co. roll:
(Actually, I chickened out because my kid sometimes come to this blog, God knows why: if you want to see the video, it’s actually quite good, and it’s here:
It’s not because I am afraid of this (although on some level I am- and btw, some NSFW language on this South Park clip, if you can believe it):
On the other side of the issue, neither am I one of those reactionaries that thinks people are overreacting to privacy issues. Facebook, by its actions, has been pretty clear in that it is not interested in your privacy.
If I don’t want the world to know about something, I don’t post it. Anywhere. I may overshare, but I don’t share everything. (Believe it or not)
Having everything about you posted online is not the same as people giving a fig about the stuff you post online. The true danger of oversharing is not giving out your info, but boring people to death. (I’m sure I’m frequently guilty of that, but the great thing about boring is people ignore it and move on)
If I post something, I assume the world can see it, even if I put it behind some so-called social “firewall.” Look at Facebook, where people don’t understand that friends of friends can see some ostensibly private materials- and one of those FoF’s might be your Mom. Yup, your Mom knows about that very secret thing you posted. Why did you post that again? (Here’s a little something for people who find themselves in that situation).
The “Steering Wheel Lock Bar,” or Deterrent policy: I use this when posting photos of kids. With pictures of my kid, and especially anyone else’s, I post them to Flickr only, behind a “friends only” firewall- and videos go up behind a password. That doesn’t mean no one can see them, it just means to me that they’re far less likely to pop up in searches and seen by strangers than other photos and videos. Like the steering wheel lock, it won’t prevent your car from being stolen, but it will make the thief look at the next car first. I rarely waver from that policy. (You may notice that I do not put pictures of my son on Facebook; my high school classmates noticed; I told them to friend me on Flickr)
If I ever worry that I am posting too much info online, I cruise through my city’s assessor’s database. A couple clicks, and you know what I paid for my house and what my taxes are. (Have any realtor friends? You can probably find out what I owe on my mortgage)
Changing your credit card numbers is just a phone call away. (And it always has been)
Why am I not deleting my Facebook account like a few high-profile Internuts are doing? Because there are people there with whom I interact that I don’t see anywhere else. That’s the only reason I need. If those people move, or if I ever acquire enough juice that people would follow me to the Next Big, that would be another story. For now, it’s Facebook, but in the same limited way outlined above.
Privacy is not dead; it’s just not what we think it is. Forget social network privacy policies; just follow your own.
Perhaps my previous post on Google Buzz vomit fuels my nausea meme, but my new acquaintance LaSandra Brill (met her at Smash Summit this past week) posted a SlideShare presentation she compiled of social media infographics from a variety of sources. Extremely useful, but I dare you to flip through the slides quickly without feeling a little, well, queasy.
To keep track of goings-on in the social media world, I use bookmarking services. For a long time I used Delicious, which made it easy to see and share wjhat I had saved. I did sometimes have difficulty accessing it via mobile. With my Android phone and use of GMail and Google Reader, I decided that using Google Buzz would make more sense.
I does work great. Buzz integrates with my GMail and Reader services easily, and sometimes discussions break out among friends who subscribe there. Also, I can set up sharing via Twitter. Great, right?
Well, one problem. Sometimes Buzz seems to save up my Buzz shared items and Tweets them out at once- instead of sharing them on Twitter as I mark them. Annoying. Obnoxious. Makes me look like a jerk.
This has only happened a couple of times but it’s enough to make me move back to Delicious. Maybe. If I get around to it.
On April 17, my son and I went to the second of three Mets-Cardinals games at Busch Stadium in St Louis, as part of our annual baseball vacation. Little did we know we would spend nine hours at the ballpark. Here are some snippets from our experience…
I am breaking up my usual “Top 5″ post for a couple of reasons: first, the two (not five) topics I picked were enough material to stand on their own; second, I wanted to monkey with the format to see if the posts turn out better if they are a little more focused.
Those who know me (or at least read this blog) know not only that I ride my bike for charity every summer in the Pan-Mass Challenge to raise money to fight cancer (please feel free to sponsor me at http://bit.ly/PMC2010- thanks!), but that I experiment with social media to raise funds, using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube/Vimeo and other channels.
The people behind another anti-cancer movement, Ban Asbestos Now!, have also been enthusiastic about using social media to get their message out. It was their idea to team with me- I would try to draw attention to their petition to get asbestos banned (I thought it already was, that’s how little I knew), while they would donate cancer-fighting dollars to sponsor my ride.
While I had blogged about this as the campaign was going on, I wanted to take the opportunity to embed these videos the BAN folks made after the fact. While they have more signatures to go, I feel that even raising awareness is helpful in the long run– the same way I feel that people don;t have to donate money to be actual contributors to the cause.
I am breaking up my usual “Top 5″ post for a couple of reasons: first, the two (not five) topics I picked were enough material to stand on their own; second, I wanted to monkey with the format to see if the posts turn out better if they are a little more focused. Let me know what you think.
Image Borrowed from ByteMonkey Post
Beginning in 2007, I started using a great service known as Utterli (actually, it was originally known as Utterz) to facilitate mobile posting of pictures, audio and text (and, if I wanted, video) from my phone. It was a great solution for reducing the barriers to posting more frequently and when ideas occurred to me. I got some wonderful help from their support folks when setting the service up with WordPress, and met several of them, as Utterly was based not far from Boston.
Over the last several months, it became apparent that Utterli was gearing down- friends who were still using it heavily complained of support disappearing, and I worried that my posts, or some of the material in the, might disappear.
Just this past week, I noticed the site was down completely, with no announcement. As you can see from this post for example, the photo and audio I had posted are now gone- thankfully, the text remains. On the one hand, it would have been nice to have a little warning and a chance to back up our stuff. On the other, Utterli was a free service and you have to expect some risk in relying on a third-party service to provide your content in the cloud. We got what we paid for, didn’t we?
With May here, I want to make sure I get some riding in any day I can, as I train for the Pan-Mass Challenge (to sponsor my ride against cancer, please go to http://bit.ly/PMC2010)
What’s bike training season without a good weather disaster? Ignoring the forecast this morning (Saturday May 8), I saw it was not raining and headed out, only to get soaked. As I say, you only get wet once- but of course, you stay wet…
The Pan-Mass Challenge is a charity ride in which we raise money to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. 100% of the finds we raise passes through directly to the charity. Last year riders raised $30 million, and over 30 years that figure has totaled $270 million!
Please help me fight cancer by sponsoring my ride at http://bit.ly/PMC2010, and help by spreading the word. I finished April having passed 50% of my fundraising goal, but there is still at least $1,900 left to raise.