Doug Haslam

Gischeleman: "To Create With the Mind"


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?


On Nitpicks and Fun

Recently, the creator of the “gif” image format brought attention, while accepting a Webby Award, to the correct way to pronounce it, with a soft “g.” Many people, myself firmly included, look at the spelling and understandably pronounce the word with a hard “g,” the better to underscore sentences such as “The next person to email me an animated gift is going to get such a smack.”

Creator of the GIF: “It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”
The New York Times

Not to be outdone, the makers of “Jif” peanut butter weighed in on the correct way to pronounce their product :

It’s pronounced Jif® #Jif #GIF
Jif® Peanut Butter

That was clever and I laughed, but I can’t imagine there is a huge consumer audience for this issue, the way there was for the Superbowl when Oreo jumped on the blackout during the game to do a clever bit of “real-time marketing.”

Before you crown the new “real-time marketing king of the world” remember choosy mothers don’t know what a gif is. Still, I laughed
Doug Haslam

Part of me (the evil, snarky part) hopes this was a setup to see who what social media gurus would declare Jif the new Real-Time Marketing King of the World, and thus expose themselves as idiots and/or frauds. That would be even more fun, though far less likely.

Perhaps next, the makers of White Cloud toilet paper can reach their all-important enterprise IT demographic by making a play on “Cloud Computing” in a Tweet (please tell me that hasn’t happened).

I’m all for having fun nd hope more brands do stuff like this, but I pry the people keep in perspective what these individual cation really mean.


A Prayer for Passive Aggressive Resistance

you're doing it wrongOften online, and especially in the social media marketing biz, people resort to what we like to call “passive-aggressiveness,” which I will oversimplify by defining it as crabbing about something without naming names.

The second most-popular sport in social media, I suspect, is calling people cowards for being passive aggressive.

On the one hand, I have no problem with people calling others out directly, if they are willing to start a dialogue in which opposing viewpoints are debated rationally.

HA! Had you there. When is that going to happen?

I do believe that if we see things that we think are wrong, that we have a duty to correct them and offer a better way. I also agree with those that say slinging mud at each other is counterproductive. So what to do?

Passive-aggressiveness is the answer. But why? I have thought about it a bit, and here is my defense for you cowards people who want to tell it like it is:

  • There is no need to gratuitously call people out: The problem with naming names is that you could appear to condemn all that person does. Of course, a person is a sum of their being, and a professional is a sum of their professional acts, so that’s not fair. That said, if I think a friend can take a ribbing, I’ll jape with them directly, but humorously and always acknowledging the answer, whether I agree or not. We can make our points without having to attack people. ETA: Some people out there are thin-skinned, and perceive any criticism as an attack, or simply get defensive as a kneejerk reaction. Naming such people derails the conversation before it has begun. I’d rather discuss the issue rather than the people.
  • Universal application of concepts: Often, something we want to call out is practiced by many, so calling out one person, again, is unfair. People piled on Guy Kawasaki for continuing auto-tweets during the Boston Marathon bombing crisis, but he wasn’t the only one. Why single him out when there are plenty of targets? Plus, he responded like a baby so it wasn’t worth it and the point was lost (oops I’m breaking my rule).
  • Creative License: By this, I mean that there are different varieties of many bad practices. If you are too narrow in your focus, you may miss addressing a larger cure for a larger problem. What one person may be doing wrong is interesting, the bigger issue behind it all, and the solution, is afar more interesting.
  • Parody vs Personal Attacks: It’s much more fun to be funny. If you name names, you may tie yourself to the facts, and that’s certainly no fun. Passive-aggressive behavior gives you license to exaggerate, to be outrageous without cutting people down. You can be nasty and nice at the same time, and everybody wins.

Those are my thoughts on the matter. Feel free to attack me publicly and say I’m wrong (or use one of my handy rules above to attack me passive-aggressively).

Yeah, so I’m not going to name names here. We’re all probably doing something wrong anyway. Knock yourself out.

Photo Credit: The Happy Robot on Flickr

*Note: if you ever write a passive-aggressive social media blog post, let me know privately whom you are really complaining about. I love gossip.


Critics Gonna Crit – on Google Glass and other Silliness

Google Glass is coming out, and the early ambassadors have their copies. They look ridiculous- the glasses and the people wearing them – but that doesn’t stop the debate over “internet civility” from wandering over to Google Glass uninvited.


I dare you to tell Clara she looks siily

Apparently, if you point out that Google Glass looks stupid and that the people publishing preening posts about their precious prizes are – well, acting silly, then you’re a hater and uncivil.

Yes, I’m over-generalizing – I hope. But I think overall on the social web a lot of people confuse the backlash over tireless, pointless hype with some kind of sub-hate speech.

It’s not. There is a line.

I’m a big fan of the fight for civility on the social web (maybe we shouldn’t call it a fight, that sounds uncivil), and I look forward to reading Andrea Weckerle’s book on the subject (I know, I’m slow to read it- just flame me in the comments and be done with it), but I fear that self-appointed guardians of being nice will tamp down good, honest dissent.

Here’s the thing: Google Glass is ridiculous.

If I point that out, I’m not jealous, I’m not a hater. I’m also not ignoring the fact that Glass represents a technology – wearable computing – that will find a way into our lives that is not intrusive, obnoxious, or glitchy. It already has, to some extent, as the Nike Plus and similar gew-gaws have already shown their use. I would have sniggered just as much as people who put Digital Audio Tape (DAT) players in their cars 20 years ago (seriously, that happened, and I did snigger), or people who lugged around 20 pound battery bricks that some joker thought to call “mobile phones.” Both represented serious advances in technology, represented by some initial products that were just plain useless.

So- here are some thoughts on the lines between hating and honest debate:

  •  Thicker skins please: This isn’t just about Google Glass, but if you’re willing to put yourself out there, let the negative comments and minor jabs slide. I always wonder what I would do in the face of negative comments (so far, everyone loves me, what can I say), but not every dissent is a challenge to a duel. Back off.
  • Know the difference: Know the difference between disagreement and trolling. Know the difference between humor and hurt. It’s a moving line, just know where it is.
  • Don’t overreact: Working with clients, this is a big key to community management. Often, severe statements are softened by patience; wrong facts are corrected in a short time. And often, back-channel civil conversations trump public spats.
  • Enough navel-gazing: Actually, never mind. Go for it. I don’t care. It’s your blog.

I suppose haters are still gonna hate, but critics gotta crit too. Let ‘em crit. A true civil conversation is one that lets people have at it a little, within reason.

Oh- and feel free to flame me in the comments for my poor Photoshop skills