Archives for category: Political

My blog  just turned 40.

Like most that experience age 40, my blog is questioning itself in a weird mesh of reflection and bewilderment.

“How has there already been 40 posts?”

“Ugh, those paragraphs aren’t as tight as they used to be.” 

“Have I, after 40 posts, been successful?”

The interesting thing is that I feel a forty-year old would come to terms with the above comments much like I am coming to terms with this blog. A lot has happened over the time period of those 40 posts. The writing may not be as ambitious or written with the same intellectual vigor, but it has developed a tone; it now has structure. And yes it has been successful. It may not have won any awards, but it has carried a message, and has been received well by people.

So… am I supposed to buy a Corvette now or something?

Well, my blog is 40, not me, so I think the Corvette will have to wait. But in the meantime I do have some ideas for what I am going to do:

       1.     I am going to write to an audience, an audience that will listen.

When I started this blog it was intended to demonstrate that I was familiar to blogging, and meant to be a device to help me develop my writing skills. But I got tired of writing to some mythical job recruiter, and I decided to focus on writing to people who can identify with me. I will continue to offer this blog as a tool to recent graduates, employment seekers, and emerging communications professionals.

       2.     I am going to tell a story.

As I look back on some of my past writing, I realize that my best posts reveal something to the reader, and give them something that they can feel. A persuasive argument has no emotion, but an inspiring story can be quite persuasive and can hit people in the gut, where it really counts.

       3.     I am going to continue to strive for excellence.

While I feel I have made great strides in my writing, I want more. I want to engage a readership. I want to see a conversation take place via comments sparked by a thought-provoking post. I want people to tweet about my posts; to ignite conversations of their own. I want my pursuit of betterment to make other people better.

I do realize that those are some pretty lofty goals. But how else do you achieve greatness other than by setting the bar high?

I am fortunate though, to know what I need to do to achieve those goals: Listen. I will listen to criticism, I will listen to advice, and I will listen to my audience to make my online presence, worth something to others.

There is one more thing that I will try do start doing more frequently; leave with a call-to-action. So I say this to you: write. Write with everything you got. Put your head down on a piece of paper; punch out your thoughts on a keyboard. And if you are already doing that, great. Show me what you got. Share your writing with me, as I share with you. So that by the time you and I turn 40, our achievements will allow us to afford that Corvette.

I just came across this luncheon webcast of Michael Slaby at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/interactive/events/luncheon/2010/03/slaby

I highly recommend watching this in its entirety because the conversation is so tangible to so many different kinds of organizations and situations.

Slaby dives into his experiences on the Obama campaign team and then follows up with various discussions regarding the Obama campaign technology to Web 2.0 and how online strategy can turn into offline movement.

My personal favorite discussion was about maintaining the campaign narrative through the online channel  and how web 2.0 applications were used as a tool for people to tell the story instead of web 2.0 trying to tell the story.

This was a very engaging discussion that definitely sparked my interest and brought forth many questions for me. Hopefully it will do the same for you. And if you happen to come across other webcasts that are similar in nature, please send them my way!

I recently came across Starbuck’s new frappuccino ad campaign and cannot decide if they are brilliant or unethical:

This commercial seems very positive and simple, but there is a lot going on in 16 seconds. This commercial tries to hit the viewer every which way with visual, audio, and textual stimulus all of which have nothing to do with coffee in any way.

Now I understand the argument, Starbucks is not selling coffee; they aren’t even selling a brand, they are trying to sell a lifestyle. This issue I have concerns with is the very last line of the commercial: “Express your love.”

Starbucks is not selling coffee; they aren’t even selling a brand, they are trying to sell a lifestyle

This is a very powerful three word statement. In fact, I challenge anyone to think of a simpler, more emotionally stimulating message than “Express your love.” I could dissect why these words are powerful and emotional, but that is tangential to my point. My concern is what will happen when we no longer receptive to emotional stimuli. I have a growing concern that one day we will make ourselves immune to emotionally charged advertising. I am not concerned that consumers will stop buying, I am concerned that consumers will stop feeling.

I am not concerned that consumers will stop buying, I am concerned that consumers will stop feeling.

If our advertising makes people immune to emotional triggers, what is going to stop consumers from being immune to real emotional stimuli, not just the manufactured type?

On a note of full disclosure, I think the frappuccinos are delicious and am not offended by the ad campaign; just playing devils’ advocate so that people may think about it.

I have heard many businesses describe their online communications as an opportunity to have “authentic communication” with their clients. While I understand that they are discussing unmediated and live communication, I still question using the term “authentic.”

The reason this bugs me is because authenticity is a word that seems misconstrued in the world of marketing. I do not really like breaking terms down to their dictionary definition, but Websters explains authenticity in one way that I believe correlates with this post:

Authenticity: 5 : true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

I believe this is the term most marketers would like to attach to their branding efforts and communication. However the one nugget of business that throws this off is the fact that businesses are there to make money. This means that for them to be true to their own personality, they have to be explicit in communicating that they want to make a dime.

I understand that this argument isn’t full proof, and that many business desire the relationship more than the profit. However I believe that it is very challenging for companies like McDonald’s to ever position themselves as an authentic food service because of their sub-par health concerns.

I hope that companies do search for authenticity but believe that the bottom line will ultimately hamper this pursuit for many businesses.

We collectively influence each other. We apply pressures, insecurities, prejudices, and values upon one another. Together we change the world and the world changes us.

But enough about being an existentialist.

The bottom line is the ultimate question. It sits there and ferments in our minds. It dictates our every move; our every decision; our every thought. However it never seems like it wants to look you in the eye. It is always late for a meeting. It is always walking fifteen steps ahead and is on its cell phone with its financial advisor.

Why must our relationship with the question always be so tumultuous?

If you remember back to middle school you tried to pretend like you didn’t care when you were talking to the girl you liked. Why is our relationship with the question any different? It seems as though the question is going to meet us whenever it damn well pleases so I propose that we not wait on its beckoning call. To not care is to be liberated from it right?

However I still find myself attending to it. Sometimes more so when I try not to. I still have not found the support group for my problem but nonetheless I think I will keep searching.

At this point my only true aspiration is to find solutions that keep me distracted from the ultimate question, hoping that one day I am too busy talking to my financial advisor to meet with the question.

So I guess my current solution to the ultimate question is to abandon it the best I can and neglect it in retaliation to the numerous times it left me on hold.

Question the question before the question questions you.

%d bloggers like this: