Social Media Top Five: Journalist POV, Incivility, and PR Agencies Really Doing Social Media?

Press Releases From a Journalist’s POV
Daryl James, a former newspaper professional, lays out some very simple tips on what should go into a news release to get an editor’s or reporter’s attention. Some of them are beyond common sense, but always worth repeating. Setting aside the fact that the fixation on the news release itself is problematic, there are some great tips. I summarize below, with my own notes in parentheses:

  1. Just the facts. (Daryl brings up the idea of putting the important information in bullets rather than writing a narrative release; something I have been in favor of for a decade, and one of the important features of the Social Media Press Release template put together by my boss at SHIFT Communications, Todd Defren)
  2. It’s not about you. (In other words, don’t pitch the news, pitch the story that will actually get written.)
  3. Don’t make me work. (No attachments, hard-to-find resources, etc)
  4. Don’t lie. (You will be found out. Period.)
  5. Know your audience. (A basic for anyone involved in any form of communications)

Sick of incivility? TechCrunch, which has an obvious bias in this story, takes potshots at the DEMO conference and departing organizer Chris Shipley. TechCrunch, of course, organizes the fiercely competitive- and opposed- TechCrunch 50, which isn’t mentioned in the piece. Well, if you follow both you know what’s going on, and it has been clear for a long time that it pays to pay attention when it comes to TechCrunch, or it’s easy to get lost when trying to sort out the behind-the-scenes editorial process (and drama). Over at Media Bullseye (for which I write a monthly column), Chip Griffin opens fire on the whole “uncivil” war, which begs the question; should we just stop trying to expect old-fashioned journalistic standards from the more formidable “blogs” and just learn to expect yellow journalism, back-biting, and omissions of convenience? Chip won’t stand for it; I say, I think we’re already at where these publications are headed. Of course, I’m in the position of not needing to take a side here.

PR Rep for Octuplets’ Mother Get Death Threats Just as there is no boundary, apparently, for who should hire PR representation, there is no reason at all to take on a client that would get you death threats. Right? I suppose there are exceptions but this is far from one of them.

Talking About Yourself Egomaniacs have no problem talking about themselves. Others, though we know it’s often necessary, have a problem with doing it. Chris Brogan lays it out nicely; in taking about yourself, make it about others. It’s just a social media take on getting by giving, but after a couple of reads I got what he was saying.

PR Agencies and Social Media– Eating the Dogfood? First off, I read Jennifer Leggio’s long-awaited ZDNet report on survey results on public relations agencies and social media. Yes, I was gratified that my employer was mentioned positively as an agency that understands social media- after all, that’s a big reason I work at SHIFT. But also, there are some great takeaways- best of all, pooh-poohing the notion that social media is a “premium” service that needs to be separated from the rest of PR, and several reminders that “traditional” PR competency is still important.

Next, there was a blog post by Cece Salomon-Lee attempting to chart 100 independent PR agencies by how they use social media. It was a great idea, hamstrung by her insistence on corporate presences at the exclusion of individuals doing social media on behalf of their agencies (in part, like me and many others, or in whole). The mix of personal and professional brands is very important to me, and while we don;t necessarily advise clients to do things the same way, it’s something I feel strongly about. I wasn’t the only one to mention this, or the first, and Cece replied in a very open way– creating a wiki for agencies to contribute and speak for themselves. Very cool.

Blog readers: I am riding the Pan-Mass Challenge this summer, a 2-day bicycle trek across Massachusetts to raise money for the Jimmy Fund in support of cancer research. Will you join the generous folks who have sponsored my ride? Click any part of this message to go to my fundraising page– and thank you!

Help hollywood name the 4th “Jason Bourne” movie

Just heard that Matt Damon has signed on to play Jason Bourne in a 4th film in the action-packed “Bourne” series. As many of you know, the first three movies were “The Bourne Identity,” “Bourne Supremacy,” and “the Bourne Ultimatum.”


What to name the 4th film? I think we have an opportunity to help the producers here. How do you follow up such Hyperbolic titles? On Twitter, I have already garnered a number of suggestions. Please add your in comments:

The Bourne Divinity
Bourne Again
The Bourne Yesterday
The Bourne on the Bayou
To the Manor Bourne
The Bourne Free
The Bourne to Run
The Bourne Postscipt
Bourne 4.0
The Bourne Hyperbole
Bourne in East L.A

What’s your idea?

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Blog Tag: What are you reading?

We all love blog tag! Ok, maybe we pretend we don’t sometimes, but we love being linked to, and we love sharing info about ourselves.

So, I would like to start a blog tag experiment inspired by a client, Brijit, which provides 100-word abstracts of long-form content, or as they put it, “The World in 100 Words.”


When I represent a company whose product or service I can actually use, I do it; and Brijit is one that is growing on me, as I discover articles, even in magazines I subscribe to, that I would never have read otherwise.

The idea behind this tag game is to show that you can dig through and find some spectacular content that you might have missed otherwise. Brijit is the engine for this particular game, but the star is the content that you find fascinating.

So, the Blog Tag and guidelines:

“Three Great Articles I Found on Brijit That I Would Never Have Found Otherwise.”

Guidelines (not rules, I know people will change how this is done down the line):

  1. Dig for treasure: Use Brijit and find three articles that interest you greatly, teach you something new, or simply would not have bothered to find and read in your normal day of browsing and offline media consumption.
  2. Share the booty: Summarize those three articles and link to the Brijit abstract, the article itself, or both.
  3. Don’t bury the treasure: Tag five blog friends by linking to them in your post, and make sure they know they have been tagged.

That’s it. Simple enough, I hope. Now, for my three articles:

1. Vanity Fair: Mailer’s Movie Madness, by Patricia Bosworth.

Just in time for the Oscars, a look at the uneven, and at times, crazy film career of Norman Mailer. The video below is referenced as a great example of Mailer’s gonzo film career: a too-realisitc brawl with actor Rip Torn:

2. Salon: Bowling for Votes in Wisconsin by Edward McClelland


During presidential campaigns, I love seeing the on-site stories of the local campaigns: how the candidates struggle to fit in with “normal folk,” and the locals’ stories of candidate visits past and present. Wisconsin presents no shortage of color in this instance.

3. The New Yorker: Killing Joke by David Denby

new yorker

The New Yorker has long been my “read it as you find it” magazine; it’s simply too much too read cover-to-cover on a weekly basis. I was very pleased to find this article by veteran cinema writer David Denby on the state of on-screen affairs for Oscar favorites the Coen brothers, following the moods of their movies from “Blood simple” through the current “No Country for Old Men.”


  1. Scott Monty
  2. Chris Brogan
  3. Kami Huyse
  4. Paull Young
  5. Dave Austin
  6. Marshall Kirkpatrick

If you like this tag concept, don’t wait to be tagged; run with it!

UPDATE: and to stress the “no real rules” bit above, I found a fourth article (not to mention tagging 6 people)– a bit different from the first three, but a very timely topic for me due to my recent switch to green teas:

Gourmet: Tea Loyalties, by David Shenk. Should I check out Japanese teas, or the Chinese one mentioned in the article? I am now curious.

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Watching old movies with your kids; yah, I gotta do this more

As a lifelong movie fan, part-time art-film snob, and dad, I had a great time reading Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr’s new book”The Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching Together.”

Ty BurrFirst, I should disclose that I know Ty– we live in the same school district, and my son is slightly younger than the younger daughter he references so frequently in this book.

I think it is a wonderful idea to watch old movies with your kids– to open up enjoyment that is not solely dependent on dull kids’ TV and video games.

Ty is exhaustive in explaining why you should–or should not– sow different movies to your kids, what might need explaining, and what companion movies you should seek out for further viewing.

When my son was a bit younger, I showed him Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin films– which he ate up, and still likes, and this may give me the excuse to explore a bit more with him, starting with my own library and perhaps rambling over the nearby Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, Cambridge, or the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts for a revival show.

Now that I have praised the book, it’s time to get snarky. I need a list of films not to watch with your kids– or Old Movies Guaranteed to Mess with Your Youngster’s Mind:

  • Blood of a Poet” — Ty Burr recommends Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et La Bete,” and rightly so as it is fantastic. But Cocteau’s earlier, surreal mind-f**k of a short film should be good for a little bed-wetting and nightmares. (Also look for: “Un Chien Andalou” by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, especially if your child has been naughty)
  • Any film by Ingmar Bergman — I was a little surprised Ty could not find at least one Bergman film to include in his book, until Bergman died this week and I was reminded of his subject matter. Try the Seventh Seal, especially if your young genius is a budding chess champion.
  • Godzilla” — This is an old movie, from 1954, so it should qualify. No excuse for not including this in the book; I refuse to acknowledge this omission. It’s a classic, especially the American version with Raymond Burr inexplicably shoe-horned in.
  • Catherine Deneuve — Ty included the beautiful ribbon-candy of a film “Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” but could have dug deeper for follow-up films. I think “The Hunger” would be great. It’s not so old but it co-stars David Bowie; don’t kids still love Bowie?

Just a few helpful suggestions for the next edition of the book.

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Social Media is Not just on Your Computer — Boston TweetUp, 7/24/07

Joe, CC, and Doug

Originally uploaded by stevegarfield
As much as I love conversing on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the like, it is equally important to meet people in person– the same people, I mean. These kind of meetups make the online conversations more meaningful, and tightens the connections between us all.

I also try to meet people coming into town– would like to do more– and try to see online friends in other cities (sorry about the NYC missed connections a couple of weeks ago, Paull et al).

“No Reservations” Screening, Boston, 7/24
I attended the Boston TweetUp (meeting of Twitterers) last night, and was pleased to see some friends I had met before and meet several new ones.

So, hello to C.C. Chapman (pictured, center), Kroosh, Steve Garfield (who took this photo, the only one I know that I managed not to avoid being in) and John Wall (and great to meet the lovely Carin finally).

Pleased to meet you–in person–Joe Cascio (pictured, left), Josh Nichols, Laura “Pistachio” Fitton, Clarence Smith (whom I now know), Critt Jarvis, Amy Carpenter.

And of course, I met Kathy Maister of, who hosted us for the movie screening of “No Reservations,” starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart. the movie was ok– harmless, really, with a great performance by the young lady actor in it.

Seeing Catherine Zeta Jones from the second row was quite interesting, but did not have quite the same affect on me as seeing Daniel Craig from the same seat did on my wife a couple of months back.

I would especially like to thank the owners of the drool-worthy Nokia N95 and the iPhone for convincingly feigning interest in my slightly wacky but not nearly as special phone, my Samsung SCH-u740.

UPDATE: Joe Cascio posted a video via Blip.TV, which I am happy to share, especially if you are eager to see me fondling an iphone. Also, the bit where Amy is telling, rather animatedly, her “quitting” fantasy unfortunately did not get recorded in its entirety, but I hope she blogs it somewhere.

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The Legion of Creepy Actors

Walken 2008Some time ago, I decided that certain actors represented a certain level of, well, creepiness, and were worthy of their own legion (think “Legion of Doom,” Superfriends fans). Two years ago, I posted my original Legion of Creepy Actors in a blog read by approximately zero people, the Pop Culture Gems blog put up by Topaz Partners as a fun training blog to get all Topazers used to blogging. I decided it was time to dust off the list, update it a little, post it here so my mom can read it, and see if anyone has additional suggestions.

The members of the Legion of Creepy Actors are:

Founding Members:
John Malkovich— no explanation needed

Alan Rickman–Thin-lipped British representative of all things creepy

Gary Oldman— Even if he hadn’t played Dracula

Peter Weller— Not just Robo-Cop, but in particular, “Naked Lunch,” and even his recent appearances on “Enterprise” and “24”– I mean, that voice…

Willem Dafoe— no explanation needed

Christopher Walken— He’s even creepy on Saturday Night Live (“I pranked him to death with a tire iron”)

Crispin Glover— It takes talent to bring a creepy vibe to “Back to the Future,” and recent roles in “Charlie’s Angels” and “Willard” show he can still bring the creepy.

Eric Roberts— ah yes, the man who brought us “Star 80” is now slithering his way across the set of NBC’s “Heroes.”

Ralph Fiennes— not satisfied with playing a repugnant Nazi, he is now portraying Voldemort

Junior Members:
Jude Law— You can actually interpret a scene in “Existenz” as Willem DaFoe ‘initiating’ Law into the Legion. If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about.

Christian Bale— American Psycho, the Machinist

Cillian Murphy— His turn in “Batman Begins” alone gets him on the list– and “Red Eye” helped his resume a little

Adjunct members: (I’m kind of on the fence about these):
Steve Buscemi (way too likeable in some movies)

There could also be an ancient league, comprised of old timers such as Eduardo Cianelli, John Carradine, and Peter Lorre, but perhaps that’s a different post.
I may have left some out, and reserve the right to change the list. Feel free to add your nominations.

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