Marine Week Boston: Hitching a Ride in the Osprey

As part of Marine Week Boston, I (along with a few other boston social media community members) were lucky enough to be invited for a ride on the V-22 Osprey vehicle on Tuesday, May 4. First, big thanks to our host, Eric Schwartzman, for the invitation. Here’s the bird we flew out of Hanscom AFB:

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Of course, I brought out the Flip camera for some glimpses of the experience.

Marine Week Boston; MV-22 Osprey Flight from Hanscom AFB from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

And here is the group; from left: Eric Schwartzman, David Meerman Scott, Todd Van Hoosear, Marine Sgt Sean McNevin (corrected– thank you, Todd)), Steve Garfield (stevegarfield.com), CC Chapman, and YT.

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After our ride, the Marines introduced us to several native New Englander marines. I had a nice chat with Lt Col (I believe, trying to remember the insignia)  Desgroselliers from Auburn Maine, who finally set me straight on the pronunciation, despite my having a childhood friend with the same name (we called him “Gus”).  I also chatted briefly with Lt Francona, who moved to Brookline, Mass. back in 2004. It was only later I realized (thanks to Todd V) that he was the son of Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Talk about unassuming.

Finally– I couldn’t resist getting this glimpse of CC, by the way– to be fair, we all looked this ridiculous in the gear (helmet = “cranial” – great lingo). Even though I took this photo with the Droid phone, I got lucky with the lighting.

@CC_Chapman ready for flight

For a slicker video of the ride, please see Eric Schwartzman’s blog here.

And for the record- I enjoyed making friends, neighbors, and members of my sons Little League team extremely jealous yesterday.

New Comm Forum; Return of the Bad Kid’s Table

Last week, I attended the New Communications Forum in San Mateo, California; belatedly, it was my first time.

Over at the Voce Nation blog, I have delineated some of the learnings, thoughts, comments and questions that came up over the week. Please have a look and add your two cents if you like.

Beyond that, it was great to see some of my friends in the profession, some of whom are local to Boston and I see regularly, others whom I see too rarely, and many whom I met for the first time. It is important to make and sustain these connections, and to make new ones continually. Rather than try to list folks and leave people out (I already omitted enough in my session roundup), I will leave one last thought: the Bad Kids’ table lives on. The members change, and our behavior may not live up to its original outrageous billing, but the spirit of the Bad Kids from the December 2007 SNCR symposium was alive and well (sadly, the Seesmic videos from my original post are not):

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Flickr Photo by Priya Ramesh

Pictured here along with me are original Bad Kid Chip Griffin, Bad Kid Emeritus Shel Israel (he did not sit with us at the 2007 symposium but gave us an ideal to strive for), and new recruit Priya Ramesh.

What is the Bad Kids’ table? Originally, it was a little overenthusiastic experimentation with social media during the SNCR symposium program. We were much less disruptive at New Comm Forum this year, but the spirit of playfulness, teasing and healthy snark was present- at least enough to amuse ourselves.

Social Media Top 5: Doing Better than Facebook “Likes” & Worst iPad Joke Ever

Facebook Changes Brand “Fans” to Brand “Likes”

I get the idea that asking people to “like” a brand is likely to get more people than asking them to be “fans.” I also understand that that lower barrier, equaling more fans likers, also equals more potential ad revenue for Facebook. Well played.

Like is so well-used for posts in Facebook, I was wondering if there are some other terms that Facebook could use to replace fans on corporate Facebook pages. Here are my suggestions:

  • Non-Aggressors
  • Sympathizers
  • Fellow Travelers
  • Comrades in Arms
  • BCFs (Best Customers Forever)

Any faves? No? Can you do better?

Conversations with Community Managers: Back into Podcasting

This past week, my new employer, Voce Communications, launched a podcast in partnership with The Community Roundtable. “Conversations With Community Managers” kicks off with an interview of Blue Sky Factory‘s DJ Waldow. Mosey over to this post to get the podcast.

Also, subscribe to it here:

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Photo by Jim Storer

I hav been having a blast producing the podcast with The CR’s Jim Storer. I love podcasting, as it gets me back to my radio/audio production roots. And I am working with great equipment this time around, which I hope is reflected in the finished product.

Podcast equipment for www.vocenation.com

My Favorite Pun of the Week (iPad Edition)

I couldn’t help recounting this Twitter exchange with my Voce colleague Chris Thilk. I’m so proud of myself (warning- flammable mixture of tech geekery and comic-book nerdism):

*rimshot*

Will iPad mean the death of Flash?

I Give Up: “Douche, Douche, Douche”

Not long ago, I called for people to stop using the term “douchebag” so readily in social media circles. When I noticed even female friends of mine using the term over and over, I knew I would lose. Now, I officially give up; PostRank is getting attention for its influencer ranking service by introducing- wait for it- “DoucheRank.”

*sigh*

When “Douche” becomes part of corporate branding (outside of the hygiene products industry), then the term has been fully embraced.

I guess that’s better than (redacted).

Death of the “Interactive Agency of Record?”

I hate predicting the death of anything, so I won’t jump on board this totally, but… according to this post by Andy Beal in Marketing Pilgrim, Forrester Research is predicting the death of the interactive agency– well, eventually.

I hate being ahead of the curve, espousing things that just aren’t ready yet, but in retrospect that’s exactly what I was doing when I clung to the idea of the intermingled “traditional AND social (or interactive, digital, whatever) agency. There is still a need to have separate buckets for traditional and social PR and marketing, so long as social media are new and agencies, let alone their clients, are still figuring out what it all means. My recent job search underscored the trend that agencies are still seeing the need, and when resources dictate, keeping people and divisions that are digital/social/whatever “specialists.” Those were the roles I was looking at, and that was the role I landed with the Voce Connect group within Voce Communications.

So, death of interactive agency? Maybe someday- and to be fair, the Forrester report does not say this is imminent, but more of an eventual trend.

BanAsbestosNow.com Supports My Pan-Mass Challenge Ride for National Asbestos Awareness Week

It is amazing how people come out to help each other for good causes.

First of all, thanks to all of you who have helped sponsor my Pan-Mass Challenge ride (you can still sponsor here: http://pmc,org/DH0159). We are just under 40% of the total goal of $4,200, and at $1,640 raised so far we have blown away the target I set for the end of March. Remember, 100% of the money wer raise goes to cancer research and treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, one of the premier facilities in the world for cancer treatment.

Another friend has come forward as well. Jonathan Moreland, a former colleague who now does social media work for the Boston-based Sokolove Law office, asked me to help raise awareness of their Ban Asbestos Now campaign.

Why? Well, I am pretty well aware of asbestos’ link to cancer, and anyone’s attempt to raise awareness is alright by me. I was provided information on asbestos and lung cancer, which is copied below.

So, to coincide with National Asbestos Awareness Week (the first week in April), for every signed letter on http://www.banasbestosnow.com received between 4/1 – 4/7, B.A.N. will donate $1 to my Pan-Mass Challenge ride (up to $1,000).

If you are so inclined, please give the site a visit and look over the petition. And thanks to Jonathan and his colleagues for their generosity. It is the least I can do to give their effort a little plug in return for their donations.

P.S. Spring is here– as soon as the Boston-area flood waters recede, it’s time to hit the road for some real training!

Information about asbestos and lung cancer, courtesy of Sokolove and Ban Asbestos Now:

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name for a naturally occurring group of fiber-like minerals.  It is an extremely poor conductor of heat and electricity, so since the 1800’s it has been mined and used in various insulation and building products such as roofing, flooring and fire-proofing materials.

Why is asbestos so hazardous?

Asbestos fibers tend to break easily and form dust. These airborne fibers are easily inhaled and swallowed, which can result in a number of serious diseases, including asbestosis, malignant lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer directly associated with asbestos exposure.  The chances of developing asbestos-induced cancers increase in relation to how much asbestos a person is exposed to and how long the exposure lasts. However, researchers have found asbestos-related diseases in individuals with only brief exposures.  Additionally, asbestos fibers can stick to clothing, increasing the risks of second-hand exposure and putting others at risk.  Many victims are exposed through their occupations, with construction, mining, manufacturing and shipbuilding traditionally being high-risk.

Other factors in the asbestos problem:

  • Asbestos is a known human carcinogen
  • More than 50 countries have banned asbestos, including the European Union.  Canada and the United States are the only two developed countries not to have banned the material
  • Asbestos remains a consumer threat today, still present in various building materials, tiles, textiles, insulation, piping, automotive parts and adhesives
  • While some asbestos-containing products have been banned in the U.S., many products that still contain asbestos must only be “labeled as such.”  Additionally, people oftentimes are exposed when asbestos in existing products is disturbed, such as aging equipment or during demolition/renovation projects
  • The asbestos problem was fueled for decades by corporations knowingly hiding the hazards of the products from employees and customers alike.  As a result, the material was still mined, manufactured and used on a national, industrial scale as recently as 2002, when the last major asbestos mine in the U.S. shut down.  Despite these controversies, lawsuits and proven health hazards, asbestos is still legal to use in certain products
  • As much as advocating for the altogether ban of asbestos in the U.S., there is an urgent need for increased awareness of the asbestos problem, as well as education on how to properly handle the material

About mesothelioma

  • Mesothelioma’s latency period runs 10-40 years, making it difficult to diagnose and identify
  • To date, there is no known cure for mesothelioma
  • There are approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma in the U.S. every year.  However, this number continues to rise, as does the number of mesothelioma cases worldwide
  • In all, more than 10,000 Americans die each year from asbestos-related diseases

Social Media Top 5: March Madness- Twitter Not Relevant? Social Media Productive? I’m Using Buzz?

Twitter less relevant?

Justin Kownacki pointed me to this post by Jeff Pulver noting that the increasing use of geo-location social tools like Foursquare and Gowalla have made Twitter instantly a little less relevant. While I see the point tht the “I’m here now” Twitter messages by the heavy-user social media crowd have largely moved to Foursquare, at least in my experience Twitter (and Facebook for that matter) are linked to those services and carry those messages as well. Much- actually, all– the discussion of my Foursquare check-ins take place on Twitter (and, again, Facebook).

Twitter is still the hub of my online universe- largely because it is ridiculously simple (“too stupid to die”), and it links to everything. How about you?

Social Media Productive for Work? Of Course- Say Social Media Users

A hat tip to Ted Weisman at Lois Paul & Partners’ blog for pointing me to this information from Forrester Research about how social media users seeing social media usage as great for innovation, revenues, profitability, customer service and productivity, among other things. All things I can get on board with– and who would know better than those who use social media. So…where is the study saying what corporate management thinks? If they get similar results, now that would be something.

When reading survey results, it is important to note whom is being surveyed, lest as a reader you misinterpret the results and assign them more importance than they deserve (I’m not saying Ted did this here).

I noticed a similar principle at work…

…in a recent post by my friend Scott Monty showing that email and social media have a great near-future in integrated programs. Again, this time, the survey sample was purely email marketers. I would love to see what other marketers- a more general sample- thinks about using email with social media. That would help everybody.

Using Google Buzz– Yes, Using Buzz

There has been a lot of hand-wringing about Google Buzz since its introduction. While heavy social media users like me don;t welcome yet another noisy channel, I do recognize an important potential value- if it somehow becomes evident that it ties together all th other Google products we use as a single information channel– mail, search, reader, maps, etc etc– I could see it holding value. Time will tell.

A small step I am taking in that direction is changing how I bookmark. I have been using Delicious to bookmark interesting web pages, but am now trying to  use Buzz to see if I like that better- and if I get some social interaction in the process as I mark these atories up, all the better. I’ll report back after using it a bit more.

Are you using Buzz? How? Any verdicts?

Media Bullseye Radio Roundtable

Last, just a note that I have recorded my second co-hosted (with Jennifer Zingsheim) episode of Media Bullseye Radio Roundtable since last month’s reboot. Our guest was Arik Hanson, one of the people behind Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO). WE covered netwrking, skills being learned by tomorrow’s communications leaders, and corporate monitoring of employees’ social media activities. Please have a listen and let us all know what you think.

(Direct link to Mp3 download)

Social Media Top 5: Bloggers Don’t Care if You’re PR, Accent-u-ate the Negative, & the Need for Community Managers

Do Bloggers Understand the Differences Between PR and Advertising? Should They (Will They) Care?

Jason Falls brings up in a post the notion that bloggers don’t understand the difference between PR and advertising, highlighted by the fact that some bloggers, when pitched by PR, ask for, in essence, a “pay for play” arrangement. Right or wrong, I think we will see more, not less, of this type of understanding. Do bloggers owe it to PR people to care about the difference? I don’t see why they should. It would be convenient for PR people, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

ReTweeting Negative Comments– Really

It is common to advise clients to engage with negative commenters online- perhaps to sway their opinion, but at least to be part of the conversation and have their side heard by all observers. What burrito chain BoLoco does is a bit more interesting- according to a post by Zach Braiker, they repeat (“ReTweet”) negative posts on Twitter. That’s risky, because Twitter offers little room for context. But it does show a good sense of sport, and a willingness not only to face critics head on by acknowledging them, but to egg on their fans to come to their defense.



Will it work? Here is some isolated evidence:

Surprise! Facebook Fan Page Admins Get Weekly Stats Emails

Are you a Facebook Fan Page administrator? Then you probably got an email last week with page stats. Considering that existing Fan Page stats were thin at best, and slow to update, these numbers, slim as they are as well, are welcome.

But…

I would have been nice if Facebook had done the courtesy of asking permission to send these emails, true we probably opted in somewhere down the line in signing up, but still. This disregard for the the protocols of Internet privacy and etiquette could be applied to more serious matters– to date, Facebook doesn’t have the greatest track record in this regard.

The Need For Community Managers: a Good Reason

In this post by Jeffrey Cohen, Aaron Strout (disclosure: a good friend and former client) of Powered, Inc.  talks about the need for community managers. That need is nothing new in my circles, but Aaron articulates a great point: community managers breed content creation. Creating content is the hardest thing for any company, especially when content is not their core business. Rather than the limited content output of one person, a community manager can harness the creativity of a company’s “fans,” thereby creating much more content. How many content creators does one community manager equal? Ten? More?

(Link contains a video interview with Aaron).

Do You Need to Incentivize Colleagues to Use The Intranet? Then Your Intranet Sucks (or You Don’t Need It).

After reading this article in Ragan.com by Lindsey Miller, I noted a lot of interesting and clever, likely effective ways to entice employees to use a company intranet (or other internal communications tool, for that matter). In my experience, nobody will use these tools effectively if they don’t find them valuable– no matter how many cookies you give them. Forget the gimmicks– just make it work.

Social Media Top 5: Verdict on SXSW, Twitter Influencers Tell All, 5 Reasons to Stop Blocking

SXSW: Geek Spring Break or Great Business Opportunity?

I debated whether or not writing something about SXSW Interactive was even relevant for me, but then realized a lot of the people that read this blog are at the conference as I write this. The most-asked question about SXSWi is, is it “Geek Spring Break,” or as Christopher S. Penn puts it, the “single best opportunity to ruin your personal brand,” or is it a valuable business prospecting and networking opportunity? Too many good friends insist on the latter, while the people who make it the former are probably wasting their (or their employers’, or clients’) money and time. The best representation is probably this snide column from Paul Carr of TechCrunch, who looks down on SXSW and its attendees while also panning to lead a session there.

As I see it, the choice is yours, Mr/Ms Attendee. What do you think?

How to Find Out How the Pros Use Twitter

Ask them. Leave it to an original thinker like Justin Kownacki to come up with a new method for discovering information. I might try that more often. What is most interesting from the answers to the questions Justin asked to a number of Twitter power users (myself included, which is why I’m trying not to use the word “influencers” he does) is that it gives a little insight s to why having a lot of Twitter followers is (mostly) a good thing. We see so many schemes advertised to build up a Twitter following, but not enough about how to use it. As for me, it’s great to have a greater potential of touchpoints thanks to an expanded Twitter network, and the meaningful relationships that come out of this network, while a very small percentage, come in greater number as a result.

Blogs Over Twitter for Content? You Don’t Say?

Actually, venture capitalist David Hornik says it. I agree that one of Twitter’s best primary uses is as a way to point out more substantive content, not merely as content itself. And while blogs may be better search engine fodder than Tweets, as Hornik points out, I wouldn’t go so far to dismiss Twitter as search engine bait. I speak as someone whose Twitter page ranks sixth on Google for a very common word (as of this writing), and has been as high as second. As we have seen, Twitter has only been showing up more as search engines add more “real-time features, making prolific Tweeting a very important part of an overall search dominance plan.

Will There be a Concerted Move to Get Companies to Stop Blocking Social Networks?

I don’t know, but B.L. Ochman has another in her fine series of social media lists, “Five Reasons Why Companies Should Not Block Employee Access to Social Networks. Read the whole post here, but the five reasons listed briefly are:

  1. Resistance is futile.
  2. Don’t assume people won’t find other ways to waste time.
  3. Social networks actually can make workers more productive.
  4. You’ll miss great ideas.
  5. Employees are much more trustworthy than companies think.

The fears that B.L. tries to push back on here are actually understandable, but the last point is key: trust. A little trust brings back goo returns- or may be a better way to flush out rotten employees who abuse the privilege of access (let’s be real, it’s not really a right, is it?), who might be otherwise skating by on less visible poor work and behaviors.

Worth mentioning here is the effort is the StopBlocking.org site, a longer-range effort to outlined the case for remove barriers to social media use in the workplace, spearheaded by Shel Holtz.

For Immediate Release, Here I Come

Speaking of Shel Holtz, I will be co-hosting the communications/PR/social media/etc. podcast “For Immediate Release” with Shel, taking over for an absent Neville Hobson, on Thursday, March 18. This is the granddaddy of all PR podcasts, one that has inspired so many others (including “PRobecast” during my Topaz Partners days).  To say I am looking forward to this is an understatement.

Neville Hobson and Doug Haslam

Me with Neville Hobson in 2008, plotting ways to usurp his share of the FIR throne

A Rock in the Pond (You’re Gonna Get Ripples)

While putting together some points regarding corporate use of social media, the phrase “giving a s***” entered my head, rather than the social media bromides so many of us throw into documents. As I often do, I threw out my unusable phrase in case I entertained anyone, and it turns out several wanted to jump in with suggestions. The results, while some were tongue in cheek, were interesting. I didn’t intend to get answers, but sometimes you just do; or, you throw a rock in the pond, you’re gonna get ripples. (this Twitter search result reads newest result down to oldest):