Doug Haslam

Gischeleman: "To Create With the Mind"


A Few Thoughts on Live Blogging

Waiting for Blogwell to start (I was early)

Waiting for Blogwell to start (I was early)

In the near-decade since “live blogging” events has been a thing, there has been debate about its utility – those arguments tend to extend to attendees live-tweeting, leading to an audience with noses buried in phones. I have tended to agree it’s generally not a bad thing, depending on the context of the event (see my post about how TedX Cambridge created an “atmosphere of attention”).

Another side to this is those running the event recruiting (or hiring) people to blog  their events live, regardless of whether they encourage the audience to do so or not. At base, live blogging is simple: dispatches from the front, updated live, akin to the old teletype and telegraph updates from bygone media days.

I was asked to blog a few sessions at Blogwell in Boston today (Oct 22, 2013 – in fact, I am writing this as I wait for the event to begin). The setup is simple: just text updates on a standard blog post. In the face of more complex curation tools out there (like Storify), this is pretty bare-bones, but if I do a good job, the ideas I capture from listening (rather than trying to get photos and gather other observations) will make the posts focused, useful and accurate.

For myself, I am interested to see how this goes. I have done live social media for clients before, but somehow this feels a little bit more like a “reporter’s adventure.” We shall see..



I Almost Caused a Riot at Dollar Tree (Google+/Facebook Embed Experiment)

I recounted this tale of horror on Google+ and Facebook recently. I wondered if I should put it on the blog- a few weeks later, the new “embed” functions on both platforms is as good an excuse as any. The Google+ embed is below, followed by the Facebook version.    

In each, the “see more/read more” function opens the text within the widget. This is also true for the comment left on my G+ post.

For G+, the comment shows up in the widget, while for Facebook they do not; when you click on the Facebook comments link, you are taken to The same is true for +1 vs “like,” and commenting on either widget. Go ahead, click around on each widget and see what you find.

(ETA: Rachel Levy points out that on the mobile version of this WP site, the G+ post does not show up; even when using Google’s own Chrome browser (which probably does not make a difference.)

(ETA II: The issue was cause by the mobile press plugin – ht Danny Brown. I suspected WP was the issue, but found it strange it did not affect the Facebook widget. Never a fan of mobile sites for the sake of mobile sites, and noting changes in design and device capabilities in the last few years, I am more than happy to get rid of it.)

All that is good to know if you are concerned about keeping people on site. Google+ wins overall in keeping functions within the widget, at least as of this writing. Facebook, of course, may still be your main content wellspring, so there is no clear winner if you factor that in.

In all, an interesting way to share your content on your owned platform, with the usual caveat- the content is still hosted elsewhere, and if you lose that account- or the entire platform, you must back up or forget about it.



Ghosts of Social Media Past: Jaiku’s Constant Reminder

With every celebration of the popular social network, the faint Cassandran winds howl “What will you do when it’s gone?”

I say faint, because nobody seems to see an imminent demise for Facebook or Twitter, and conventional wisdom tilts to Google Plus getting bigger rather than failing to gain traction. We shouldn’t have to worry, right?

Yeah, we should:

I was reminded of Jaiku recently when someone brought it up in conversation. Remember where we went as a backup in the early, outage-spotted days of Twitter? It was our rallying point, much like for a grade-school fire drill. RIP, Jaiku;

Every once in a while, we must remind ourselves to watch how attached we get to our social platforms


Or perhaps you chose unwisely in the “Great Location-based Services War”;

Here's another one

I have already talked about Utterz here. I had the foresight to back up all of my photos to Flickr (which in turn are backed up on hard drive), but all the audio I once posted is gone. Forever

Yet  anutter(z)

I’m not saying Facebook is going away. But in each of these cases, what was your backup plan? You can argue that this be great isn’t truly an “owned platform,” but I back this up also.

I’d rather keep my social networks portable than rely on a platform being there forever. It’s like the idea of a church; the people are the church, not the building.


Attention, Twitter and TED

I attended TEDx Cambridge this month. While I might be tempted to recap the sessions and the ideas presented, I won’t. What was more unique to me was the experience.

Instagram Photo

Over the last several years, I was surrounded by live-tweeting at conferences, being always connected, and generally being a social media you-know-what. That will always have its value, but I long ago learned its limits; a little goes a long way.

TEDx Cambridge was a little different; while there was no prohibition on connected devices or Tweeting, and I certainly had my tablet open to use Evernote, the organizers created an atmosphere of attention.

The resulting experience was different; the short, ten – minute presentations, helped by speaker coaching, created their own bubble of concentration, but there was a feeling, I felt, among the crowd that most people didn’t want to be “that person” who was buried in their device rather than the speakers.

Will I share my notes? Nah. The talks are ten minutes, and can easily be digested (though here is a Tweet summary from those who managed to multitask as I did not). Likely, some of them will spur action – whether or not that is reflected in a blog post – but that is for another time.

As for attention: does this mean we should put away our tips at events? Absolutely not. But it does reinforce the notion of balance: balance among listening, notes, and sharing. Everything in its best proportion. Always use your judgment.

photo credit: Sheen Benavente on Instagram


Pan-Mass Challenge 2013 in Review

With Nomo of @smacancer at #PMC2013 lunch stop, Dighton doughaslam

With Nomo, the Cancer-Fighting Sock Monkey

The Pan-Mass Challenge – my sixth – has come and gone, and this year may have been the best yet, in my unscientific opinion. The weather was beautiful, even with a little Day 1 rain, and I felt as though I was in my best riding shape.

This year I got to ride with a special guest – Nomo, the cancer-fighting sock monkey, courtesy of my friend Jennifer Stauss Windrum and her SMAC! Cancer campaign. Nomo took being tied to my handlebars for 170 miles like a champ.
I would like to thank all that have donated to support my ride against cancer and blew away my $7,500 goal – by several hundred dollars! If you would like to join in, the PMC take donations until October 1, and you can do so at:

As I do every year, I took some video from my bike as I made my way from Wellesley, MA to the very tip of Cape Cod. I got some great views, and as usual I had fun pulling out some footage to assemble this short video.

Again, thanks to all!

The sunrise this year over the Bourne Bridge and along the Cape Cod Canal was extra breathtaking. While I included it in the video above, there is a little more footage in this excerpt.


“How to be Me” – The Universal Un-truthiness of Thought Leadership

Love Yourself

Flickr photo credit: alachia

Frequently, we see influential people we look up to – in business, art, et al – write about their success. They write about how they achieved it; they write about the steps they took; they write, often, about what you can do to emulate this success.

It’s all crap.

Well, it’s not all crap. But the part about how it applies to you? That you must consider carefully.

All any thought leader can do is talk or write from their point of view. They do not share your experiences, your situations, your worries, your challenges. To the extent they do intersect, their advice is sound. Beyond that, it’s a good story that may have some value, but ultimately is the influencer telling you “How to be me because my life is the best-ever/awesomest and here’s how I did it” than it is about you improving your life.

My favorite example is from five years ago, when entrepreneur Jason Calacanis wrote a thoughtful screed on how entrepreneurs should do their own marketing and publicity, which I dubbed “How to be Jason Calacanis.” The points about being careful what you spend for outside counsel are helpful; but overall, the advice about, essentially, doing it all yourself was only truly helpful to entrepreneurs who had the stomach and personality to be entrepreneur, money man and spokesperson all in one. Most entrepreneurs, frankly could use some sort of outside help.

Zombie Finds Self-Help

Flickr photo credit: e_monk

There are plenty of other examples out there, including recent ones of successful women trying to make their road to the top, and how they stay there, relatable (think Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” among other examples). There is no way I am going to insert myself into those debates, where I have no place – but it appears they do not necessarily resonate with everyone.

Extrapolate this to any book, lecture, or blog post that veers into the “self-help” category. The sharing is wonderful; there is always something to take away from anyone’s story. But these aren’t instruction manuals, and I would be wary against treating them that way.


Sports Teams Getting Cheeky on Twitter – and I Love It

It is tiring to hear story after story of athletes doing something dumb on Twitter or other social network. That is hardly the only case, but those are the most fun to see- especially if you are a fan of virtual train-wrecks.

What we are seeing more of, however, is cheekiness from the official team Twitter accounts. This is a lot of fun to see. For example, just this week (July 29, 2013 for those reading this in the future), the my beloved Boston Red Sox batted down this attempt at trash-talk by the rival Tampa Bay Rays:


I have been to Red Sox vs Rays games in St. Petersburg, and can assure you that is a verifiable smackdown.

This was another recent favorite from July:


In managing corporate social media this is, of course, a tough line to walk. How “informal” should our voice be? What happens if we take it too far? Should we do it at all? This tends to mean the willingness to be playful gets lost somewhere between warm intentions and cold feet (sometimes, but not always, with a stop at the legal department).

It also underlines the need for community managers with good judgment – a rebuke of the idea that “interns should handle social” (which is NOT the same as saying 20-somethings can’t do it – attaching maturity solely to age is another mistake we make, especially in these muckraking marketing blogs we write).

In any case, I applaud this. Sports is entertainment, a little trash talk and ear-tweaking just adds to the entertainment.

Now, if only we could count on more individual athletes to walk the line more reliably…




Friday Fun – Vine and Infographics, Together Where They Belong…

…in hell.

Actually, a nice quick reminder of the recent history of social networks, with fewer nausea and seizure-inducing properties than the Conversation Prism (even though it’s a Vine).

via Esteban Contreras

(btw, Esteban, you left out ChatRoulette, Color, and So.Cl ;P)


(ETA: Esteban made this Vine, which I apparently didn’t make clear enough)


Am I a Brand Whore?

Untitled I try not to get caught up in the whole “online influencer” game, in that I don’t put myself out there as an “influencer?” Do I influence people? Probably some, sure. But I don’t subscribe to the “social media celebrity” crap some folks in my business (including people I like,  respect and consider to be friends) do to varying degrees.

That said, we all – yes, all of us – have our smaller spheres of influence: family, colleagues, community, et al. I’m more comfortable moving in those smallest groups, which more often than not are spheres of mutual influence rather than some sort of master/apprentice or celebrity/plebe relationship.

Still, I was taken aback by something that happened to me this past week: a tweet making fun of a job listing for a junior position calling for for years of social media marketing experience. Kind of a lame joke, but then I got this response:


It was a bit of a non sequitur, but a well-meaning one from the Pretzel Crisps folks. I was taken aback, wondering if this was intrusive, to jump in on a Tweet that had nothing to do with their product. But I also happen to like pretzel crisps, and direct-messaged them my address, Thinking they’d mail me a sample. That was when I was taken aback again; not 15 minutes after I sent my address, there was a ring at the doorbell as I worked from home. My wife called to me, “Your Pretzel Crisps are here.”

Gigi Yassine from Pretzel Crisps had come to my door, as apparently they had a location near my neighborhood (down The Lake as it happens), and delivered a rather generous bag of Pretzel Crisps of various flavors.

I was so taken aback that I forgot to ask what prompted them to contact me.

So back to my original dilemma; taking freebies is not really something I’m into; so am I a Brand whore now? How do I regain my innocence?

Just to keep things neutral: as much as I like these for snacks, the Buffalo Wing flavor say not so great (there, I feel better already).

Oh- and by the way, I know I’m not a brand whore. But that was interesting.


A Few Observations for June 7, 2013

In lieu of a “real” blog post, some thoughts that leaked out of my ears:

  • If you Tweet that people are “doing it wrong” – you’re doing it wrong

(13) Twitter _ Search - _doing it wrong_

  • People have “personal brands” about Personal Brand (or against Personal Brand). No, really.
  • The only thing requiring more effort than making video (even good ones) is watching them.
  • “Video is Hard” Part II: this is part of why Vine is a hard sell for me.


  • It is tempting to ridicule people for posting highly personal, navel-gazing posts on public forums. Why is it not as tempting to properly ignore them?
  • What is more useful to you: advice or observation?
  • Is it really such a burden to look at food photos? Admit, you secretly love them

Shrimp deviled eggs

  • Do you still listen to podcasts? (I do)
  • List posts: informative and easy to consume? Or lazy anti-writing? Should I call this a Top Ten List for better SEO?