New Podcast Espiode: Topaz PRobecast #5

I would like to cross-post (again) with my work blog, Tech PR Gems, this time to mention a new episode of our weekly podcast, in which I (usually) take part. The topic–loosely–is technology PR, but we have fun and try to make it a good listen. You can listen via the player in the sidebar, or subscribe (info below)– thanks!
This week’s panel, Tim Allik, Rob Capra, and I, discuss:

  • Where’s Adam Zand? Among his travels in the next week, he will be at the New Communications Forum. We look forward to his report in one of our upcoming podcasts
  • PRSA Boston– some impressions on last Monday’s session, “Social Media: Practical Tips, Tricks, Tools and Pitfalls,” where Topaz’s own Todd Van Hoosear was a panelist. A hat tip to panelist Paul Gillin’s summary of the evening, which also included panelist Todd Defren and moderator John Cass.
  • Rob discusses municipal PR; in particular, the city of New Orleans’ search for professional PR help, evolving into a discussion of community blogging, including our own participation.
  • The U.S. Army tells troops not to talk about Walter Reed Army Medical Center expose– Tim awards the weekly “bright side” award to the U.S. military for their handling of the issue, because it can only get better (with a vote for Jet Blue’s own PR regression)
  • Twitter; Doug expands on his post on Twitter burnout (and I pull out the word of the day, “onomatopoetic“).
  • Politics and PR!(?); Hillary vs. Barack vs. David Geffen, and John Edwards gets psyched out in Second Life.

You can subscribe to the podcast via Podcast Ready
or iTunes.

Or simply use the RSS link here: View RSS XML

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Another loser gets his own blog-I mean, personal brand is king

I thought I was running behind the curve by re-establishing a personal blog after 2 years of contributing to Tech PR Gems (which I still do).

Turns out one of my social media buddies, Christopher Penn of Financial Aid Podcast (hardly a “loser”) has made a similar decision. I do think he has a head start on me for interesting content, but I will continue to distinguish myself (I hope) with clever post titles and pictures of obscure movie characters.

To agree with Chris, it is true that a professional blog (especially a group one) leaves many personal topics untouched. That’s why I’m here, with a push from Ed Lee— but what I am working on now is focusing what I write about here. I think things will shake out fairly quickly.

I should note that I heard about Chris’ new blog through Twitter posts–so maybe Twitter has some use for me— I stay tuned in for now.

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Twitter adoption to burnout: Approximately 23 minutes

Reprinted from the Tech PR Gems blog:

Was fooling around with Twitter today, after a discussion at one of my regular haunts, the Thursday morning virtual “Coffee with crayon” in Second Life.

I had been signed up for while, courtesy of some friends from PodCamp, but decided to jump in for a day and see what it was like to use it.

Gee willikers, there is no way I can keep up– not on a browser anyway– plus, no way I’m going to tell people when I’m thinking about taking a shower, when I haven’t had enough caffeine, and when I’m goofing off. I have heard nice stories about the Twitter network coming to the rescue, but I just can’t imagine keeping up with this 24/7.

Too much information. Not giving up on it after one day, but sheesh.

But I will see if Gideon Television entertains me, as he does on his blog.

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Tut-tut, Sunglass Hut– bad customer service heads its ugly rear

Sunglasses– Leo ReynoldsI needed new sunglasses, because I’m an idiot and can’t find the nice pair I have worn for the last two years. So, I go to Sunglass Hut because I have a $20 coupon, buy a nice pair and off I go– until they break one week later.

I return them, no problem, but they don’t have any more of that model so I do a refund and new purchase but– they won’t refund or re-credit the coupon. Excuse me? I am supposed to forfeit a $20 coupon? So I say no thanks and later send a note to customer service. I wasn’t expecting anything,but I got an infuriating bot-response (no name on the note) stating the coupons are non-transferable.

Unfortunately for Sunglass Hut, my business is transferable. Thanks for the lesson in how not to keep your customers.

(Flickr photo by Leo Reynolds)

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Why the Hanson Brothers weren’t at the Oscars this year

Hanson BrothersThis year’s Oscars featured many luminaries, most of whom just sat in the audience looking good. But surely there were three empty seats, meant for the Hanson Brothers, supporting players and scene-stealers from the cinematic triumph “Slap Shot.”

The Brothers shared the ice with members of the Boston Bruins “Black and Gold Legends” team to benefit the Genesis Fund, an organization dedicated to the treatment of birth defects.

A worthy cause and an enjoyable day, though I had to explain to my 9-year-old son that it will be several years before I let him see his new bespectacled heroes in the film that made them famous.

Bucyk and McKenzieAnd to those of you at PodCamp Toronto this weekend; I may be missing the fun, but I saw some of the hockey-themed photos on the Flickr streams, and I don’t think any of you can beat Pie McKenzie, John Bucyk, Ken Hodge and the Hasnons. So eat your heart out.


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If you can’t join ‘em, scrotum

Every so often you hear about a children’s book that gets some parents’ knickers in a twist because they are afraid of their child getting exposed toScrotum things they don’t want them to (i.e. the real world) through the availability of these books at school.

Usually these books have something to do with same-sex parenting– I understand that controversy, though I hardly agree with it, given in my school alone there are several same-sex sets of parents and very little eye-batting over it.

Now, as aI read in the New York Times, comes “The Higher Power of Lucky,” which some parents- -and librarians– want to keep away from children due to this passage early on in the book, regarding a dog getting bit by a rattlesnake in a rather sensitive area:

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much….It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”

Now, the use of scrotum of an example of a body part may seem a bit provocative, but it is hardly sexual in this instance– according to the author, Susan Paton, it is used to express a child’s normal concern about anatomy and what various parts of the body are.

But parents that want to ban the book instantly recognize getting bitten on the scrotum as a sexual act, apparently. Tell us more, conservative parents, it sounds like you lead interesting lives…

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Comcast customer service: more cursive, less cursing

I was going to say, “Comcast couches customer service in personal notes,” but I had to make a choice.

For all the customer service horror stories we hear about Comcast and other big companies, I thought I would share this:

Last week I upgraded to a DVR service with Comcast for my new HDTV set, and today, what do I receive but a note with a coupon fora free movie! This after the I had trouble getting the box to work correctly and dealt with a number of quite helpful customer service reps on the phone before deciding I needed a replacement– no big deal, and good service all ’round.

But get this: the coupon came in a handwritten note from Regional VP Paul’Arcangelo. I was impressed.

Of course, asshat that I can be, I must point out the following:

The coupon was for an on-demand movie up to $3.99, while Comcast has just aised the price for on-demand HD movies to $5.99– oops.

The letter looked like a card from my parents, including what appeared to be my Mother’s handwriting. Sorry Mom and Dad, but I have a bad habit of not opening personal mail right away– ok, that’s my quirk.

All in all, an intersting take on customer service though.

On WordPress at last…

Ed Lee can stop his bitching now, I have moved this blog over to WordPress!
I’m still calling it Gischeleman’s Blog, but now it’ll have that nifty-looking Volkswagen logo in the address bar. Just like Scoble!

To all my RSS subscribers: Mom, please upgrade your feed.

What does Gischeleman mean?

Don’t you hate randomly-named blogs? Well, let me tell you what Gischeleman means. It is a word — from the language of the Delaware tribe, or in their language, the Lenape.

Gischeleman means “to create with the mind,” an appropriate term for many of the things I have done in life, from my decade-plus in public radio, to high-tech PR, through the latest social media innovations that have conspired to smush all these past lives together.

I was given this name through a fraternal organization of the Boy Scouts called the Order of the Arrow, which uses the Lenape as an inspiration and its language as its glossary. The OA bestows names on youth (and adult) members who achieve the “Vigil Honor” status. I was given Gischeleman, which was translated in my case as “vision maker,” which I must admit is an even cooler definition than the more common one cited above. It is heartening that name my peers gave me has come to stick through the last 20 years. Amazing, isn’t it?

By the way, while I do not remain active in Scouts for a variety of reason, I do participate in a non-profit organization, called the Key Foundation, which supports Order of the Arrow programs and the local Scout Camps in my original home region of Lowell, MA and surrounding areas. In fact, we are publishing a book about the rich history of our favorite summer camp, Wah-Tut-Ca, the proceeds of which will go to build a new boat house for the camp– information in the previous link but pre-order here if you like (it will be on Amazon as well).

Anyway, that’s why I stuck this unusual word on the name of my blog. Any questions?

Should I restart this blog?

I have long abandoned the idea of a personal blog, as I thought I had nothing interesting to say (witness my early posts below). I had satisfied myself with group blogs, particularly Tech PR Gems and the Garden City blog. Participating in a group of people with similar interests has its continued appeal, and I will do this for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps I should re-think this. Of course, many PR agency people who blog for themselves don’t have an agency blog to contribute to, but what if the aforementioned blogs go away? Do I have to re-build a personal brand from scratch? I think I should get a head start on that, don’t you?

The trick is to have something of value to contribute while not cannibalizing my other efforts.

What got me on this thinking? A post by Ed Lee at Blogging Me, Blogging You. A favorite blog of mine, and a good discussion about blogging and public relations, but also some points about people needing their own individual blogs for their careers.

Hmmm… no one reads this blog– that’s for sure, but I would love to hear outside opinions on this topic.