…Oh lord please don’t let me be misunderstood

It’s not just an amazing tune given to us  from the great Nina Simone (and then again by the Animals), it’s also my Twitter Bio. Something I had posted for fun without really thinking about when I set up my profile. I was only reminded of it when one of my newest Twitter friends Rajesh pointed out that whenever he saw me tweet, it would pop into his head.

It got me thinking, what a great song it was and how truly applicable it is to communicators  in this business who are constantly  walking the fine line between practicing what we preach (i.e.  remaining individual and unique–keeping it ‘real’ if you will) and remembering that we’re in a fish bowl that never forgets.  Of course, top of mind is the Ketchum/Fed Ex saga that played itself out on social media big screen just last week.

When you first read that letter from Fed Ex management, you can’t help but cringe at the glaring error in judgment the Ketchum exec made by taking shots at the company’s hometown of Memphis–especially when they are part of a revitalization effort for the area in question-ouch!

But I can’t help but want to cut him some slack. While misguided, his intentions weren’t filled with malice or hate. His mistake was one we could all find ourselves in at some point. With social media tools becoming second nature to us, and Twitter feeds taking on stream of consciousness reflexivity, all you need to do is add a few savvy clients to the mix and what happened last week is all but guaranteed.

And isn’t that the point? To make all clients social media savvy?

While we continue to try and keep it ‘real’, and at the same time strive to connect our clients with these tools, I just hope that if I ever find myself in the same situation, someone will remember to sing the chorus of that song for me.

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…I think we can all agree with Arianna Huffington on that one. The creator of the Huffington Post and author of recent release, “The Huffington Post: Complete Guide to Blogging,” made that quote (and few other gems) while on the Daily show this week.

In the segment, which you can find here, Huffington gave a run down of what makes a good blog/blogger–that is amidst a number of random cheese comments, a positive spin on the US economy and a thick Greek accent. Her main pillars?

  • Intimacy
  • Immediacy
  • Tranceparency 
  • Sharing

No real wow moment there–in fact most of the bloggers on my RSS feeds have dedicated more than one post to all of these blog traits, individually. But it’s easy to forget, while in our industry, that most people aren’t talking about these things, most people don’t know what an RSS reader is or Twitter for that matter.

So maybe the Daily Show spot means a tipping point into the mainstream for the blogosphere–at least the liberal mainstream.

In support of, friend and colleague, Collin Douma’s social media meme, and long overdue I might add, I’ve jotted some notes of social media programs that I’ve seen recently or have stuck with me in the last little while. Caveat- some I’ve worked on or in shouting range of.

Douma’s Meme Rules

  1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
  2. List five Social Media projects that deserve better exposure.
  3. Tag EIGHT {as many as you’d like} “Social Media / Digital Experts” at the end of your post and list their names.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.
  5. Tag your post “Five Gems” so we can search for all of these great examples.

1. 5 Friends – This PSA doesn’t exactly need my endorsement, seeing as the star studded Youtube video already has the thumbs up from the likes of Decaprio, Whitaker, and Silverman. However, the message is something I support fully–in the free world, the decision not to vote is a slap in the face of all those countries who don’t have the option. (American readers out there, please show us Northern neighbours up and hit higher than 60% voter turnout. Pretty please.)

2. Potatoe Parade – Nowadays, email virals are few and far between. But I still remember when this one, stickhandled by Glue London, from McCain. And I still get it sent to me by well meaning (and encouraging) friends. For a bit of info into the making of the lovable spuds, see Glue’s case study.

3. Xarelto Social Media Release – Bayer’s one-stop-shop of news, video, images. Helping patients, family, media, and others understand what can help prevent blood clots in patients who have undergone elective hip or knee replacement surgery.  {H&K client}

4. Extreme Gamefaces –  A gamers playground. Bringing together a community of PC gamers, who will certainly pwn you!  {H&K client}

5. Throbbing Hearts – A fun site, from Motorola, that includes social tools, a Facebook app, and an overall tongue and cheek experience. Throbbing Hearts doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes it my kinda people. {H&K client}

I tag,

Mike, Meegs, Parker, David & Hessie

Every so often I get the urge to go through my online profiles and do a little tidying up. Taking an inventory of where I exist online is overwhelming, considering all the upkeep that needs to happen, and I am by far not as connected as I could be. Right now, you can find me on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Wikispaces, Delicious, Yammer, and more that I don’t even remember I have accounts to.

Some I use more than others. Some require more time than I often have to give. Some are so cool that I don’t care how long it takes, I just love them.

How do people manage? All the passwords and login names–I still haven’t master the art of this. Each platform gears to a different audience and therefore requires different content from me. Keeping track of who’s keeping track of me is exhausting. Mitch Joel described it pretty well, saying Facebook is your past, MySpace is your present, and Linkedin is your future.  I’d almost entirely agree with that, except maybe label MySpace as my music provider. But nonetheless, they’re all important.

Twitter is sometimes my feedreader, Delicious is often my research partner, and Wikispaces is my collaborator. My bet is Yammer will soon be my water cooler…but the verdict is still out.

So knowing all this, I take a few hours every so often and truly geek out. Tweaking settings and changing profile pictures and polishing everything up just so. Just the way my OCD-brain likes it in that particular moment.

And all is right with the world again.  

* Cartoon by Oliver Widder @ Geekandpoke.typepad.com

Last night (or more accurately, this morning) I ventured out with the masses to see art. Lots and lots of art. So much art, that often I was mistaking regular inanimate objects around the city for art–is that bike art? I don’t know, but it’s just so beautiful.

In its third year, organizers did everything they could to make everything beautiful. They also vowed to make this year’s event ‘more user-friendly’. Since I haven’t attended Nuit before I had nothing to compare the night to–but I found getting around the city and finding the exhibitions very easy and painless.

So all in all a good time…EXCEPT (you must have seen that coming).

My one exception is the HUGE miss that Nuit and Scotia Bank (the lead sponsor) made in its pre-event digital footprint. In preparation for the night, I went online to help scope out my route. I scoured the Nuit site to find where the smartphone apps where available to download…half an hour later, I finally gave up. They didn’t make one?! Really?!

How could this be? Everyone has their phones with them, everyone is texting each other, some of the exhibits even hinged on Nuit-goers using their thumbs. An app with GPS capabilities, exhibit descriptions, and other tips and tricks to help get us through the night–Now that would have been user-friendly!

In a city where Blackberry’s and iPhone’s run rampant, a Scotia branded Nuit map app would have impressed this year. But at the rate that mobile technology is being entrenched in our culture, next year it won’t be impressive, it’ll be expected. 

Above is one of the cooler installments that I saw. Click here for the artist’s vision.

Full Discloser: H&K has previously done work for ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation

For the second year running, the philanthropy committee at H&K (aptly named Dare 2 Care) has held a office-wide BINGO game to raise money for learning resources for adult literacy programs. Players donate money for cards in hopes of winning vacation days. BINGO dabbers are provided, all the numbers from B1 to O75 are thrown into a bingo cage, and for two weeks of the year–it’s game on!  

Being communicators by profession, it’s easy to see why supporting adult literacy is a good fit. But it can be a harder task than expected trying to find the appropriate avenue for our donations. That’s where ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation came to our rescue. This is an organization that gives adults access and opportunities to increase their literacy skills and realize their full potential. One that takes on global competitiveness and the economy of literacy.

In gratitude for their encouragement, I’d love to highlight a smart, thoughtfull letter by the president of ABC Literacy, Margaret Eaton. Measurement, economic considerations, and creative approaches to literacy in Canada – ABC Literacy says game on!

Browsing around, I stumbled across Google’s 10th birthday (thanks to the Client Side and not my iGoogle, which made no mention of the milestone). Even on the ‘classic’ Google site, there wasn’t much fanfare, just a quick link to ‘come celebrate’ the occasion. Lots of YouTube integration and some geeky Google trivia lies on the other end of that link. But what caught my eye was the Google timeline–rich in hyperlinks and snippets of information.AdSense

Lots of good milestones in there–like the beta launch (kinda obvious), the April Fool’s debut of Gmail in 1994, Google Maps, along with the whole shabang of apps in its portfolio and other memorable moments of note. The tipping point, many will argue, was the advent of AdSense in March of 2003. The commoditization of search was inevitable, but with Google (and Applied Symantics) it was smart too. Not flashy or showy, not priced just for the big players. It was (is) targeted and reasonable and effective.

Without AdSense, I’m not sure Google would be the online behemoth it is today. It certainly wouldn’t be as rich.

My basketball team plays our first game this Thursday. And what do you know our team colours have changed from grey (boring, I know…) to purple (!). It’s a co-ed team, so I’m more than a little impressed that the guys agreed to it. But alas, it means I’m in search of a new t-shirt.

This search brought me online. And what I found was a whole other world of brightly coloured t-shirts and sarcastically dry slogans–none of which can help me in my current predicament, considering I have less than 48 hours until tip off. However, I do have my eye on few gems…

BustedTees.com: Uses funny slogans, Someecards.com’s hilarious and mostly off-coloured one-liners, and just random shit to bring American Apparel shirts to life. My absolute fav can be found here in honour of my Save By the Bell days, when I probably owned a purple tee!

Threadless.com: More graphical depictions, but funny all the same. Also rocks the A-Apparel, and throws in a little Fruit of the Loom…Oh no they di’in’t! Learn your grammar and have fun at the same time with this beauty.

CNN Shirt Archive: This pick is as shocking to me as it is to you I promise (watch for future posts on why I believe CNN is decaying news journalism). But until then, get your fav CNN headline on your shirt. As you can imagine, the Election 2008 is hogging all the good real-estate. Also note that apparently these ones are hackable and unliked by some.

Ever hear a patient (or not so patient) parent urge a small child to “use your words”? It’s good advice. And not just for those of us snowballing into a temper tantrum. Lately, it seems like many people are using their words. But in a way much different than traditional communications. At a time where social networks are thriving–words, sentences, even punctuation, are becoming this digital world’s currency.

Don’t believe me? I would bet, if you’re reading this blog, that you could name at least 5 of your Facebook friends that take ultimate pride in their daily Status updates. There are whole websites dedicated to the funniest, smartest, most outrageous status’. Maybe you are one of them. I certainly am. There is nothing better than when I can post a quip or half sentence that makes me smile–and if it makes others smile, all the better! If you’re not one of the yet, the Star has some great tips on getting started.

When you think about it, isn’t Friendfeed and twitter close to the equivalent of showing off your bling in the form of links, breaking news or sarcastic banter. “See how smart I am, how funny I can be, watch me count down to my vacation or wedding or ‘Half Birthday'”…

Which frankly, don’t get me started on how annoying countdowns are. How cliché, how pedestrian…;) Because of course with every symbol of status, there are those of us who will tear it apart and judge to no end.

So choose you words carefully, your entire social network is watching…and casting a judging eye.