June 25, 2005

In Praise of BlogHer and Why I Can't Be There

I let Lisa know a few days ago that I can't make it to California on the 30th for BlogHer. Time to let you all know too. I'm sorry sorry sorry because not only did I Really Want to Go to this one (as opposed to the many I have NOT wanted to attend), and I Really Want to be on the Naked identity panel, and I Really Want to meet everyone of these women I've never gotten a chance to meet, and I Really Want to try my hand at being on a panel. I think I'd do good. I think I'd learn so much.

But then real life comes in to intercept this other life I live. And the fact is that our once-a-year family reunion, we learned a couple of weeks ago, will take place in Buffalo the day after the conference. And the fact is that George is performing in Ain't Misbehavin'? in NY (think Long Island, not Broadway) and hopefully coming home before then, but that is never for sure in his business. And that I'd have to take Jenna with me, in a 48 hour span from Atlanta to California to Buffalo, then back to Atlanta two days after that. And that I don't want to tell you how many client deadlines I have between now and then. And that I'd have to be clear headed and keeping tabs on my seven-year-old every minute while trying to contribute and enjoy myself and all of you. And that it costs money. And also the fact that I have a trip up north scheduled mid July as it is.

I didn't make a pros and cons list. It wasn't that easy of a decision, and it wasn't that hard either. I just thought a lot about it over a week's time. And I thought about how tenuous my remaining family relationships are. (There aren't many left.) How important it is for Jenna and who she is to understand and know the Sessum part of her family in Buffalo that she has met precisely one time (last year at the reunion), and that it meant a lot to George to begin only now to know that side of his family, and what a toll that has taken on so many of us, and all of the other "thats" I've babbled about above.

The decision kind of made itself.

Lisa and the BlogHer gang were gracious in accepting my apology, my withdrawal, and my request to use my registration so someone else doesn't have to pay. I also pledged to sponsor another participant between now and the conference. It's the least I can do. They're not even kicking me off the Board. Least I don't think so. ;-)

Why do I believe that you should go to BlogHer even if I can't? For a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that the conference was a bottom-up response to a situation that many in blogland -- many women especially -- have been bitching about for years now. It was a brave response to the undeniable fact that mainstream Technology, Internet, Blogging, Podding, RSSing, and PISSing conferences look past women. They look past women when they pick speakers and panelists. They look past women when they schedule the events. They look past women when they decide what to talk about. They look past women when they begin talking and linking to other non-women. They look past people of color. They look past ideas that challenge their own. They look past out-of-the-circle-jerk conversations. They look past anyone who doesn't look like them.

Rather than continue to solely write about that fact, the BlogHer founders came up with another layer to their response. In additon to writing and talking, they got their plans together, their funds together, their team together, and their shit together in record fast time to hold a conference that doesn't look past women. And they went zero to 60 with the top down, baby. Got the venue; got the people; got the sponsors (keep em coming); got scholarships and assitance for attendees.

And the women who will be there are smart and strong and willing to listen and willing to talk and willing to shut up and learn as much as they are to slap you silly. That's the difference. I guarantee that unlike conference-as-usual events, this one will engage folks in a real exchange. Not just an exchange that claims to be an exchange because the bloggers having it are Technorati Top 100 list makers.

So go if you can. All of you. Men and women. Together. Engage. Talk if you can. Write if you can. Listen if you can. Clap if you can. Laugh if you can. Cry if you can. Say AMEN if you can. Blog if you can. Lunch and Dinner and Drink if you can. Shero Chalk on a brick wall for me if you can.

I will be watching.

Love you guys,

Ketchum meets Ex-Ketchum in Constantin's Comments

If you would have told me I'd be commenting on a Ketchum-related comment by Adam Brown on blogging one day, I would have told you you're crazy. (Adam and I started the same week at Ketchum. He's still there. I'm not). I wouldn't have believed, first, that Ketchum would make it to the blogosphere. And that if they did, I would have expected that they wouldn't get it right. Nothing against Ketchum. It's just hard for BigPR to play with the little guy and maintain the BigPR mindset and model.

Maybe there's hope. Adam (for Ketchum) has responded to the recent flack (hee) toward Ketchum for their sloppy, bouncy entry into the blogworld with the Ketchum Personalized Media service.

I have a lot more to say but not much time. I added some quick comments on Adam's response. We'll see where it goes.

Pool time.

Networking Is Something I Suck At

...which is why I found this post on the Cheater's Guide to Linked In fascinating. It's not really cheating--it's best practices for networking in a social network. It's almost like search engine optimization for social software participants. It strikes me that folks who are good at networking in the real world are the ones who are good at networking online. The practices aren't so different, but the techniques and the technology are. Thing is, I've also identified that I do approximately 0 of the recommended practices. Which proves my theory that I suck at networking.

Ah well, we all have our gifts and talents.

June 24, 2005

PETA unfriendly*

Two years I've been going to the same pool. You know me--I like to get brown in the summer, chasing my daughter's beautiful tone, her always one step ahead of me. Last year one of the moms and I used to chuckle because every day we ended our pool fest, we looked whiter than when we came.

"What is up with the flakes and sloughing?" She asked. Yes, she talks like that. Isn't she cool?

"I can't handle it," I say. "Hour after Hour I spend here trying to get the least bit non-anemic looking, and I'm actually going backwards! I'll be a frgging Sweede by the time the summer's over."

"What do you suppose it is--I mean, we shouldn't be getting whiter. I don't think chemically it's possible."

"I think it's the pool. I think they keep the water pH on whitey."

"I think so too; it's like a sloughing thing."

SO this year, we decided to experiment. And we found the key. Oil. The thicker the better. It doesn't matter if it has 299 sunscreen or 0 sunscreen, as long as it's oil, it manages to create a barrier against the sloughing detergents.

She and I have begun our tanning contest.

She's going the slow approach--from 50 down to 14 down to 8 SPF. BUT she gets to add in a trip to florid in July (no fair!)

Me? I've found THE tanning oil. On an old shelf at Big Lots, behind all of the safe 60 SPF cream, was a bottle of $2.49 no-sunscreen-added oil with the initial ingredient of Mink Oil.

The same mom friend, a vegetitarian, asked: "What's the new oil? You're getting darker."

I tell her. She wants to see the bottle.

"My God it has mink oil in it--you're coating yourself with dead animal."

"You think? They probably just milk them."

"No, dear. I don't think that's how it's done."

"Well, It's working, I know that."

"What's it feel like?"

"Makes me fell kind of like road kill."

While she's in Florida using her slo-tan, animal friendly tanning techniqiue, I'll be splashing on my road-kill special.

We'll see whose tan rocks by the end of the summer.

[[*No minks were harmed in the making of this post, at least.]]

Knowledge is Power

Our KM Hero, Euan Semple, rides again, ridding the world of dis-collaboration, disunion, and the unsightly un-networked.
To describe talk.gateway, Semple uses an analogy of trying to build a collection of Cotswold villages with lots of footpaths between them. “You know where the pub and church are, you’re comfortable in the environment and you can locate yourself,” he says. “Corporate systems tend to be more like Milton Keynes. On the surface they’re efficient with lots of straight lines and signposting, but you get lost because everything looks the same.” He supports Dave Snowden’s assertion that you can’t manage knowledge, but you can manage a knowledge ecology.

He's just that smart.

June 22, 2005

Dear Ketchum 2

Constantin Basturea's Dear Ketchum post is extraordinary. Whether or not someone inside the borg hears him or not, it is worth reading if you're the NEXT BigPR company to decide to do new media while it's hot.
That means, dear Ketchum, that if you want to advise clients about blogging, RSS, and podcasting, you should show that you know what you're talking about. You can do that by having senior executives blogging for some time before trumpeting your blogging consultancy; that's what Edelman's Richard Edelman and Christopher Hannegan are doing. The same goes for Hill & Knowlton's Joël Céré and Niall Cook. Or you could launch a blogging community first. You can let the results of your expertise speak for you before formally launching a blogging practice and a corporate blog; that's what Hass MS&L did. But you can't just issue a press release about it, and hope for a cheerful "Welcome to the blogosphere!!!"

You mean, this press release won't get picked up by Business Week?

Don't forget, Ketchum did try blogging back in 2003, quite bumpily, and then gave up. They caught some heat because they tried to use the blog as a promotional celebration of their Kudos winners--and now that they've had two years to snoop around, you might think they would have learned a thing or two.

I am going to say again that the few employees who were blogging with me unobserved back in 2001 and 2002 are the people who should be running the program. Screw the hierarchy and let those with a blogging foothold and something to say MAKE THE RULES.

But it won't happen that way. Because the big agency model hangs the balance, and its organizational, pay, and pricing structure teeter like Humpty Dumpty when people start messing with who's in charge.

Personally, I'd like to blame that JOHO guy. He's been showing Edleman how to find a clue, and now all of them want in. ;-)

[Disclaimer: If you haven't been following the bouncing ball, you don't deserve one.]

Memory Maker

Cluetrain, Gluetrain, and Doc as a kid, not as Marilyn Monroe, below.

Okay, it's really not cool that my sidebar has slid down after x number of years w/ this template

No, I didn't add any wide graphics. No, I haven't been in the template.

I've just been here minding my own blogness.

Why my sidebar's slipped d o w n. ?

June 21, 2005


Doc is stacked.

and my sidebar is down at the bottom of the page because???


"White Paper" White Paper from The Content Factor

If you haven't gotten it yet, you can download the Rules for Creating Great White Papers free, courtesy of the Content Factor team.

We work hard to bring you the world and all that's in it. Oh, wait, I think that was National Geographic.

Either way...

The Business Writing Life - First Job

When I first started in business writing, I was a mere pup of 22, fresh out of college. That was 21 years ago, and I had the distinct pleasure of writing documentation for statistical process control software. w00t! Not really. hARd! I found the art and science of technical writing very taxing, especially when writing about a product that was so fundamentally mathematically intricate. I felt like A Beautiful Mind with no garage.

The interesting part of this first job was that we had a completely unrelated yet simultaneous business in educational publishing for the Rochester City School District and NYS Department of Education, as well as a kids' magazine division (another division of me and my business partner) that published YOUth Magazine on Long Island.

So what that job lacked was Focus, and I was grateful. If I'd have focused on the SPC software exclusively, I might be either mad or living on Slashdot. Fortunately, each day at work was as different from the one before--I might be photographing and writing a story on the Magnet Program at a city school one day, and disecting user instructions involving teensy tiny measurements the next. From teen fads to widgets. Sometimes in the same day. The only difference was the nature of the copy, the volume of content needed. And the best part of all--I lived 3 miles from my job. Little did I know then, one day I would be living 0 miles from my job. And I'm still trying to figure out which is better...

Second Job--Kodak. To Be Continued...

[It's career review week here on allied: Post about your first "real" job and I'll link to the good, the bad, and the ugly here... Notice, Real means I didn't include my K-Mart Door Greeter Job. You don't have to either. ;-) ]

June 20, 2005

The Bayou

At a mall, a plaza, running a quick errand with Jenna, me driving her in the van, through winding countryside, curvy roads, to a place I have not known, and then, in a mall of sorts, thankfully up high, looking out a window, on a platform, the architecture feels old, so old, solid and from an era outside of time. I am only eyes, looking out, looking down to the street, which is not there. Instead, a white-capped river, muddy and torrential, flows from right to left, licking the top of the sidewalk that I'm watching on the other side.

On the sidewalk, ugly miracles happen--a wolf is chasing a sheep, the sheep bleets and jumps into the water, thrashing, the wolf swimming after it, and other tsunami images of floating hubris, humans and animals and structures tossed like crutons in a wash of angry river water. These are the new archetypes: 911 burning buildings and Tsunami dreams. We are the first generation to have them. We will pass them down, Jung be damned.

I watch the action as merchants push carts down the sidewalk next to the angry river's edge. Another wolf emerges and charges a german shepherd, domesticated dog no match for the wild dog. I look to the left, where am I, place changes to billboard and I see the sign: Bayou, and another: Louisiana. I take Jenna back into the tourist shop, and we look for trinkets that say Louisian on them because she has never been to this state. Candles. Ceramic bells. Spoon rests.

And then I woke up.

George reminded me of my dream at naptime today.

Just Once...

I would love to see Mena Trott show up at a Your Typical Internet Conference in black face.

Just once.

You know, to prove a point.

Semi-Related Bonus Link:

In a city whose name I can't pronounce, Mena spots a Black Lawn Jockey with a body like a woman, apparently erected to give testimony to the talent of black men on horseback.

Something like this might have been better, but then all the white women would have to stay locked in their million-dollar homes:

I got your black lawn jockey swingin' Tiburon.