Pan-Mass Challenge- One Week to Go!

The Pan-Mass Challenge takes place in about one week- August 7-8, to be exact, and I am ready (I think)! By the time next Friday rolls, I will have amassed 1,000 training miles and my bike is (had better be) in game condition (update– I need a new shifter now, too! Awesome!).

Most importantly, fundraising has gone very well so far this year. Thanks to a number of you generous folks, we have raised nearly $4,400 in sponsorships for my ride alone, and every cent of that goes to help fight cancer.

No, we are not done yet. Another $1,900 gets us to the new goal of $6,300. Can we do it? That’s a lot in a week, but I am asking your help:

  • If you have not sponsored my ride yet, please consider doing so at 40 people giving $50 each will make the goal (ok, 80 people at $25 each- but any amount is welcome!)
  • Pass the link to friends: Use Twitter, Facebook, email, or your favorite message service or social network– a quick message to friends, if you feel comfortable doing so, will help tremendously. Again, the link:
  • Wish me luck! I will be posting here, as well as at Twitter ( and Facebook ( during the ride with updates, photos and goings-on. I will also be taking more ride videos, as I have done the last two years, to post here later.

Remember- 100% of the funds I raise goes directly to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. No administrative fees, no corporate salaries, nothing gets skimmed. The PMC is trying to raise a total of $31 million, and every donation helps.

Thank you!

Until the ride begins, one more training video. I used a Kodak PlaySport mounted on the handlebars this time (thanks for tip Steve Garfield), and thought it came out nicely.

Pan-Mass Challenge: 07-24-10 training ride from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Music Credits:

Broken Dove: “Move On”

Lightning Jeff: “Wicked Twisted Toad”

Social Media Top 5: Anonymity Lives(?), Facebook’s Movie Tie-in (oops), & Podcasting

Anonymous at Scientology in Los Angeles

Anonymous at Scientology in Los Angeles by Sklathill, on Flick

Online Anonymity- Which Way Are We Headed?

Over dinner with a friend, the topic of community online discussion forums came up. And by “community,” I mean “local” – your town or city. My friend said that his local forum can get pretty nasty, with people heaping on the political dirt with complaints, accusations, and argument. One big feature? Comments are generally anonymous, as posters presumably fear the backlash of the part of the community that disagrees with them.

I understand that anonymous comments still thrive, and that there are very real safety reasons to remain anonymous at times. However, I thought the trend was tilting against anonymity. After all, look at the newspapers that are adding registration (with a small one-time fee) to ensure that people put their names to comments. If there are any sites that are deeper cesspools of trolling and vitriol, it’s newspaper Web sites. Well, ok, there’s YouTube as well. Yuck.

So, will people still talk as freely if they have to sign their names? Or will they go away without that protection. On the other hand, will trolling stop?

For myself, I occasionally comment on my local newspaper’s blog– under my own name, though many people choose to remain anonymous. I would like to point out that the most substantive commenters use their real names and comment frequently, so maybe the trend is going where I thought it was.

An interesting middle ground, of sorts- The Boston Globe recently published a story featuring some of its heretofore anonymous commenters. Some still wished to claim a smidgen of protection, while the “trolls” stayed away entirely. But that middle ground I mention is that many people post under aliases, but don;t necessarily mind people knowing who they are. Is that anonymity?

Northeastern University Professor Dan Kennedy wrestled with that question when he made the deliberate decision to ban anonymous comments recently. Many of his regular combatants (trolls, perhaps) went kicking and screaming, but did, I observed, stick with it (would love Dan to update that story as  it has been several months.

As a PR/social media guy, I’m all for openness, transparency, and all the other cool buzzwords, of course. What’s your take. Should anonymity die a painful death?

Facebook Promotes the Facebook Movie (not really)

So Facebook officially hit 500 million users last week. I was wondering, where did I hear that number before?

Oh, that’s right, the teaser slogan for “The Social Network,” the movie I suspect Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would prefer we not see:- “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.” Yup, a little accidental movie marketing. I’m not sure if the filmmakers made anything of it- they should have (well, “Daily Finance” noticed but the Wall Street Journal seemed to have missed the literal connection):

Media Bullseye Roundtable

I was pleased to make my monthly appearance on Custom Scoop’s Media Bullseye Radio Roundtable podcast last Thursday. I talked about measuring the Old Spice video campaign, interns on social media, and other current topics with Jennifer Zingsheim. Please, have a listen and tell us what you think!

Yes, that’s only three. I was told there would be no math.

Social Media Top 5: Cat Fights, Shark Jumps (Apple?) & Silver Fish (Old Spice)

see more

Some social media stories on my mind- just four this week, that’s how it goes.

Social Media High School

I don’t have much to say about the recent blogging slap-fight between Kami Huyse and Peter Shankman (except to say you’re beautiful people and I love you all, and Geoff Livingston too), but this post by Joe Hall at Marketing Pilgrim about a different spat, between WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg and Thesis theme creator Chris Pearson, seems to hold some good advice for anybody looking to air a disagreement online. (Yes, I used a Lolcat for an illustration. Bite me).

Apple’s Arrogance is a Feature, Not a Flaw

I have long been a non-admirer of Apple’s communication tactics- bullying PR, arrogance, non-response, and the reliance on a cult of rabid fanboys to keep their brand image positive. Well, that and great products (nevertheless I switched from my MacBook Pro to my Asus Windows 7 PC to write this post to ward off  electrocution or some other “accident”). I have also often said that Apple is a “Newton or 2 away” from having pent-up ill will kick them in the butt.

This communications arrogance was on display yet again last week, as the company addressed “antennagate” by simultaneously saying the iPhone 4 antenna problems were not problems, and offering free cases to solve the problem that’s not really a problem, but if it’s a problem, all other phones have that problem, and hey you’re holding the phone wrong dummy.

Favorite posts on the topic? An Apple-hating Shel Holtz (hyperbole perhaps Shel, but you did recently forswear Apple products) shows how Steve Jobs and Apple broke all the rules of crisis communications, and venture capitalist Jeffrey Bussgang wonders if Apple has “jumped the shark” already (I’m not sure it has hit yet, but I do contend that moment can exist).

Apple, you make wonderful products and I hope you continue to do so. But I continue to be appalled by your communications and PR strategy. Stop it.

Old Spice, blah blah blah

Even predating my tenure as a PR guy, I tended to be allergic to advertisements that featured cleverness over, well, selling the dang product (leading, of course, to my “law of inverse proportions as relating to beer ads vs  beer quality- Sam Adams, may your ads always suck). Great “creative” in love with itself is still creative in love with itself. I have at least one colleague who may make the “will this campaign actually move product?” argument more eloquently than I can be bothered to, but if sales continue to go down after this clever set of ads, who gets fired?

No, I’m not inserting a video. We’ve all seen them.

Prezi Fever- Catch it!

We all know that PowerPoint in the wrong hands is an instrument of the Devil, but could the alternative tool, Prezi, spark Armageddon? So far I love what I have seen, from Andrew Davis of Tipping Point Labs, to Garr “Presentation Zen” Reynolds’ pointing out its use at a recent TED Talk by Kiran Bir Sethi. I’m interested in checking it out and though I won’t be able to make this tutorial that Davis is putting on, I expect we’ll see more of the tool before long, by presenters who can master the fluid presentation theatrics the tool offers. I hope to give it a go at some point, when I am ready.

(A Prezi example from Davis- I know I used it in a blog post recently, but it’s still pretty cool)

Pan-Mass Challenge Update: Speed Demons and Heavy Hitters

An overdue Pan-Mass Challenge update.

First off, thanks to many of you, I have met my minimum fundraising requirement ($4,200) for the ride in record time! With a full four weeks to go from last weekend, I think it’s worth sticking with and see if I can hit “Heavy Hitter” status; $6,300. There is time, and I think we can do it!

“Heavy Hitter” status has a little bit of prestige to it, but what it really means is an extra $2,000+ to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. 100% of the funds I raise with you goes straight through to the DFCI, which to me is one of the best parts of this whole venture.

So, let’s do it! If you have not sponsored my ride yet, please consider doing so at Thank you!

As for riding; we had been increasing our speeds on training rides lately, so we had a new challenge; average 19 mph for a short ride. We hadn’t come close before, but with a little push at the end, we (for this ride, my friend Ed and I) did it! some of the keys (aside from being in shape) were to draft each other (ride close behind in single file) to save energy, and then just give those little extra pushes along the way for a stronger ride. There are still four weeks to go  but I’m feeling close to ready.

This video captures a few highlights along the way (and a bonus “double rainbow” reference).

Pan-Mass Challenge- Speed Challenge from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Social Media Top 5: No Mobile Updates, Content Curation, Yelp Smarter than Foursquare?

Only 10% Using Mobile to Update Social Networks? Really?

That’s what the Pew Internet and American Life Project says, according to Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim. I know I am in an early social media adopter bubble, but it seems to me that people are already Facebooking from everywhere, no? No, apparently. In one way this is a lesson in not assuming people are zooming ahead in adoption the way we might be ourselves. The other, I am tempted to say, is that Facebook’s mobile apps leave a lot to be desired and are a pain to use. I know the Android Facebook app is useless.

Content Curation

Over at Voce Nation, I stitched together some thoughts on content curation, based on a recent Social Media Breakfast here in Boston, but more so on my feeling that people are growing weary of the default “news feed” blog format and need to think a little more abstractly about how they present their content to serve their audience best. More over at the Voce Nation post.

Location Based Services? “Old School” Finds Relevance by Being, Well, Relevant:

I got this email a week or two ago from Yelp. Even if this is “random relevance” (how does Yelp know I care about Farmer’s markets? But I do!), random relevance (aka “serendipity”) is a big hit with me in social media. That’s how I stay *relatively* sane using Twitter and Facebook. This also tells me that old dog Yelp has a few new tricks up its sleeve in trying to gain some attention from Foursquare in the location-based services game.

Best Tweet Ever

My friend Adam Cohen posted this several days ago. I thought it worth saving here.

Fail Whale Over San Francisco

For those Twitter users familiar with the dreaded “Fail Whale,” this short video from Kosso gave a chuckle. I’m sure some of my Bay area friends have seen this in their nightmares: