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Are you being facetious? (Or, as some incorrectly say, sarcastic?)

16 hours, 49 minutes ago on Internal Communications on Spin Sucks in October

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I never learned that rhyme to keep track of the days in a month. We did the "knuckle" method: clench your favorite hand in a fist, knuckles up. Start at the first knuckle (the one where you index finger starts) and work you way to the pinky. The first knuckle is January (31 days), then you tap the depression between the first and second knuckle. That's February. It's between knuckles so does not have 31 days. Then follow the rest of the firt for March, April, May, June, July. All the knuckles are 31 and the depressions aren't. July is on the pinky knuckle (31 days). Now go back to the index finger knuckle. That's August —remarkably, another 31-day month! Then continue toward the pinky for the rest of the year.

You are WELCOME.

22 hours, 38 minutes ago on Internal Communications on Spin Sucks in October

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Internal communications was my niche back at the PR firm and I've always believed it's as, if not more, important than external. SO important. And so neglected. Looking forward to this. I saw Shel speak a couple of years ago at a PRSA event and it was really engaging and informative.

But I'd also like to see a point/counterpoint between you two on all these areas of disagreement you speak of ...

2 days, 20 hours ago on Learn Internal Communications from the Best

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@annelizhannan @belllindsay True. Or, as I like to say, Endora's Box (/Seinfeld).

6 days, 22 hours ago on The Squishy Grey Line of Ethics

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@belllindsay Yes, I was agreeing with you in the beginning of my comment and then I thought more about it ... and it's tricky. I don't have an answer!

6 days, 22 hours ago on The Squishy Grey Line of Ethics

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@belllindsay Yeah, why couldn't the look at his track record and see how that measures up in terms of ethics. (Or maybe they did?) Imposing some other type of penalty, like a pay reduction while he completes his degree online or something.

On the other hand, I know someone who fired a worker because she stole some coffee filters. Stealing is stealing. And once you start making exceptions for some people or some unethical acts, how do you maintain a standard?

6 days, 22 hours ago on The Squishy Grey Line of Ethics

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Erika, I've enjoyed following your progress here. I had similar experience with improv. I found that while I'm probably better than 90% of the population, I was in the bottom 20% at Second City. Tried out and didn't get into conservatory twice (though, from what I've observed, that's an odd process in itself).

From there I tried standup for a short while, did sketch writing and performing, which I really enjoyed, then went into theater and commercial work — commercial is where I've enjoyed the best success. So it's definitely a journey. You have a talent or an urge and it's about finding just the right outlet for it.

And the acting experience has really come around and led my career — my business career — into directions I never would have anticipated 12 years ago when I first stepped foot into Second City. Congratulations on Black Box. I've heard great things from lots of people!

6 days, 23 hours ago on Why Dreams Aren’t Bullshit (a “welcome back” post from Erika)

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@Tapeleg True. I would think Annoyance Theater would be right up Erika's alley.

6 days, 23 hours ago on Why Dreams Aren’t Bullshit (a “welcome back” post from Erika)

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Thank you, Unmana! I've been cutting back on my Feedly lately (pretty much over every blog with the word Content in it!), but I always check out Spin Sucks, even if I don't comment. Great post!

6 days, 23 hours ago on Why Spin Sucks is the Best Blog for Guest Posts

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@belllindsay @ImMarkBernhardt The off-center thing is a great point! Never thought of that. I'm totally a symmetry guy, so it'll be tough adjustment ...


6 days, 23 hours ago on DIY Video: How You Look Matters

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@belllindsay @SusynEliseDuris I recently invested in a good mike when I was told (a couple of times) that the sound from my MacBook on webcasts and webinars was tinny. Made a huge difference, and definitely worth the $75-$100 or so. From here I'm going to look at a separate webcam ...


6 days, 23 hours ago on DIY Video: How You Look Matters

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@belllindsay This is great! And you definitely have a better webcam than I do ...


1 week ago on DIY Video: How You Look Matters

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Yes! Lighting and shooting from above are key!

It seems I can't ever get enough lighting — I bring every lamp in the house into the room, plus use sunlight — and am wondering if my built-in webcam (MacBook Air) just isn't good enough?

I would also make an appeal for proper "set dressing." That is, get rid of the clutter in the background — it's distracting. On the other hand, have SOMETHING there. Nothing screams "hostage video" like a bare wall.

1 week ago on DIY Video: How You Look Matters

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Doing video on the cheap often costs you more, in time and aggravation. If you hire someone who's merely a "videographer" he might not have the judgment to save you from your worst instincts -- including the storytelling savvy Tony speaks of. He also may not have good business sense -- meeting deadlines, showing up on time, getting things right without a ton of hand holding.

I've done it both ways, and if you can spring for professional work, it's worth it. And I'm not just Tony's friend ... I'm a client! 

1 week, 5 days ago on Video Production: The Benefits of Going Pro

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@ginidietrich Oh, that's totally different then!

2 weeks, 2 days ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management

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@LauraPetrolino @Howie Goldfarb Yeah, and the settlement they threw at them was peanuts.

2 weeks, 2 days ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management

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@LauraPetrolino I know! And if you're into college ball, too, that's the whole weekend! (Though I will say one of the greatest inventions of the modern age is the outdoor patio with TVs.)

2 weeks, 2 days ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management

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The "Cardinal" rule? I thought you were a Bears fan! (Ba-dum-BUMP).

For me the NFL's reputation was really degraded over the brain injury issues they've only half-heartedly addressed. This is more of the same.

I'd like to say I took a principled stand and walked away from the TV for these reasons, but really it began years ago when I realized the best days of the year are in September and I wasn't going to spend them inside on a couch anymore.

2 weeks, 2 days ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management

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@LauraPetrolino Thank you, Laura. I've written a lot about my Dad the past few years. As Paula said, it's a process.

3 weeks ago on The Things He Carried: My Dad and the War in Vietnam

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Strangely, Livefyre emailed me your other two replies even though they don't show up here. Weirdzies.

3 weeks ago on Do Selfies Sell?

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Ha! And I cropped out the beverage in my driving hand in that second photo!

3 weeks ago on Do Selfies Sell?

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@biggreenpen Yes, Paula -- I also read Matterhorn, which was very good. (Not represented on the bookshelf since I shifted over to ebooks.) That sounds like a really cool project!

3 weeks ago on The Things He Carried: My Dad and the War in Vietnam

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Amazingly, this monkey knows one thing that 7 out of 10 human selfie takers don't: you look at the LENS, not the SCREEN. 

3 weeks, 1 day ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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Michigan, 1994.

3 weeks, 1 day ago on Do Selfies Sell?

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Feh. Kids these days with their damn selfies. I was taking selfies back when you didn't have a screen to look at to frame the picture with. In fact, I was the master of the selfie while driving.

Florida Keys, 2000.

3 weeks, 1 day ago on Do Selfies Sell?

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@Eleanor Pierce Thank you, Eleanor! I feel like I'll probably write something every year around this time. My thoughts sort of evolve with time and distance.

3 weeks, 1 day ago on The Things He Carried: My Dad and the War in Vietnam

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@jasonkonopinski @ClayMorgan Wow, I never got house downpayment money! I always wondered how agencies managed their photos. I imagine the system is only as good as the humans who create, maintain and update it. That is, flawed!

3 weeks, 1 day ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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@belllindsay What I want to know, and I suppose I could read the article you linked to: do they think the monkey is actually smiling? Or could he see the screen and maybe he was examining his teeth? 


3 weeks, 1 day ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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These are great! I would add "the pseudo visionary." (Maybe it's a combination of the Besserwisser and the Spiritual Guru.)

This happens with clients, but more often potential partners. Every couple of months they come out of the woodwork and spin these elaborate ideas and plans. So-called "Big Picture" thinking. But when it comes to actually DOING something? It never happens.

3 weeks, 1 day ago on Five Types of Clients to Avoid

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So THAT's the story of the monkey selfie. I have a weird contrarian instinct to actually NOT click on things that seem to be flooding my social media feed. Thank you!

3 weeks, 1 day ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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@ClayMorgan This is huge in the world of acting and modeling. Agencies and clients will sign detailed releases setting the terms for the use of images and video footage, such as "non-broadcast only, one year."

Then a million things happen: someone else in the organization sees the image and uses it, not knowing the terms. The marketing people who worked on the project leave the company and nobody looks at the paperwork or the agency is fired and the client gets the files.

This has happened numerous times to me. Just this spring I saw my picture up in a drug store in Florida. Apparently the store manager didn't know the campaign was limited to one summer several years ago. I got paid a few hundred dollars, but no doubt there are scores of other stores doing the exact same thing. 

Much of my acting revenue these days comes from clients caught violating the terms of their agreement. Some may be sneaky, but most are probably just negligent.

Information wants to be free (literally and figuratively) and controlling it is a tough, tough thing.


3 weeks, 2 days ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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@NancyDavis I was thinking also about Keith Richards' book. Along with the great stories, what really struck me was the strength of his voice coming through. With every sentence you could practically hear him talking.

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Read a Book Day is September 6

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@Howie Goldfarb Guns, Germs and Steel. Yes! I learned a TON from that. Theories of the development of civilization that I hope won't be completely debunked in my lifetime ...

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Read a Book Day is September 6

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@Eleanor Pierce Yes, Graham's story in a real study in empowerment (without having to sit through a cheesy self-help book). She just found her way in whatever she did through her own smarts and instincts.

And speaking of audio books, she did an abridged version, just a couple of hours, and it was a great listen. Very touching.

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Read a Book Day is September 6

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You're not the boss of me -- I'm gonna think! Here are 10 few books that had a big impact on me:

Tender is the Night: Fitzgerald's command of the language is incredible. It's like poetry.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: Brilliant, exuberant, hilarious and, of course, heartbreaking.

Into the Wild: came along at an interesting time in my life and had a lot of eerie parallels to mine.

The Corrections: another book that reminds you of just how ordinary a writer you are (by comparison).

A Personal History: Katherine Graham's memoir. An incredible life, an incredible woman. Took over the reins of the WaPo after her husband's suicide and rode it to its peak. (Currently spinning in her grave over what it's become.)

The Big Two-Hearted River: a Hemingway short story about fishing that is not at all about fishing.

A Walk in the Woods: I'll never forget Bill Bryson's description of what to do when a bear attacks. Everything he writes is intelligent and hilarious.

Angels in America: cheating, because this is a play, but the words and ideas just soar off the page. A play that's as good on the page as it is on the stage. Maybe better.

The Tipping Point: If you want to be shown how to weave a story, instead of told, read anything by Malcolm Gladwell. Proves there's a story in almost anything.

A Man in Full: epic, sweeping, hilarious, surprising.

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Read a Book Day is September 6

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@ginidietrich Yeah, anyplace that sets up "process streams" would kill me.

1 month ago on The 10 Percent of Communicators Who Get it

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The consensus word scares me. So many big companies couldn't achieve consensus on a brand of pencil to order. Maybe the word is "involvement?" Because I often see that. Company hires a firm and thinks their involvement is over, when really it's just begun.

And speaking of farms, I shot a commercial in a 100-degree cornfield a couple of summers ago. What the hell are those GIANT (okay, inch long) flying bugs that are EVERYWHERE. Like gnats, only GIANT. Geh.

1 month ago on The 10 Percent of Communicators Who Get it

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@EdenSpodek @ginidietrich My dentist has a slogan: "Prompt appointments for busy people." I barely get my jacket off before I'm called from the waiting room for my cleaning. I LOVE her.

1 month, 1 week ago on The “I’m Busy” Badge of Pride

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@kanya632 @crestodina @ginidietrich Another approach I've seen and which I highly approve of: your contract specifies a date for completion. You bill half up front and the other half is due at the end of the term (say, 90 days or 6 months). If the project extends past that, it's all up for renegotiation.


I once worked on a brochure -- A BROCHURE -- for a law firm that took 11 months. ELEVEN MONTHS!

1 month, 1 week ago on The “I’m Busy” Badge of Pride

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@ginidietrich @hackmanj ??? That's bizarre. Every firm I know has a ready source of outside help (like me) that they tap when they face sudden overload.

1 month, 1 week ago on The “I’m Busy” Badge of Pride

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@kanya632 When I do a proposal for a client I always make clear that meeting the deadline is a two-way thing. It requires accountability from both of us. I will turn things around promptly, and I need them to do the same. If we build in two days for them to review a certain stage and they take a week, that obviously affects the schedule. I can't just compress my times from two days to two hours to get us back on track.

1 month, 1 week ago on The “I’m Busy” Badge of Pride

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@LauraPetrolino Here's my client peeve, and it happens often. They're all "When can I get it/when can I get it/When can I get it?" You give them a date and then you deliver (usually ahead of deadline). 

Response: crickets. A couple of days of silence as they run it through the mill. Seriously? You can't even just say, "Thanks, we'll take a look"?


1 month, 1 week ago on The “I’m Busy” Badge of Pride

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Ha-ha, I love Josh's scenario. Here's mine (and I'm afraid I'm kind of on the doctor's end). I don't drive much -- maybe once or twice a month at most, but recently I had to be on the road a LOT. So I always imagined a confrontation with the dummies who plod along below the speed limit, refuse to go around a car that's in the process of parking or who sit at green lights. When they'd demand to know what my problem is, I'd respond, "I'm sorry, I'm actually on my way somewhere. You, apparently, are just driving around for the fun of it."

Never happened, but I dream ...

Anyway, busy is about prioritizing. When I'm super-busy I cut back on the things that matter less (to me), like reading blogs, social media, etc. But I always respond to email and phone, even if it's, "I can't do this right now but I will at [x time]. 

It's interesting that when I do respond promptly to people's requests they almost always say, "Wow, thank you for being so prompt!" It's obviously a big surprise to people, because so many people are unreliable!

1 month, 1 week ago on The “I’m Busy” Badge of Pride

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The Times has fewer readers than Buzzfeed or HuffPo, but they also have a paid subscription base. Maybe that's peanuts compared with the ad revenue that the others generate?

I have not read the report yet—it's been sitting in a browser tab for a week—but am looking forward to checking it out. What I find interesting is what's happening with their traditional competitors, like the Washington Post. I don't know if it's Bezos' influence, but I haven't wanted to subscribe to the Post this much since the pre-Internet era. It seems every month my allotment of free reads ends earlier and earlier. Whether it's clickbait or not, they're doing a much better job of creating provocative content with headlines that sell. 

They're not quite BuzzFeed or HuffPo, because when I click through I don't instantly regret it (as with Huffington) and it's really substantive (unlike BuzzFeed.) The Grey Lady looks downright stodgy in comparison, and it's got me thinking of moving my subscription dollars from the Times to the Post. 

4 months ago on Digital Times and the Innovation Report

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@ginidietrich Yeah, I believe it. Maybe it's gotten better in recent years with technology enabling better communication and relationships, but the trust issue was a tough one to overcome. I mean, part of it is definitely revenue, but a big part is also, "Do I trust these jagoffs I don't know with a client relationship I've spent years cultivating?"

4 months ago on The Lies PR Firms Tell

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@LauraPetrolino @belllindsay Yeah, libraries leave a bad taste in my mouth. Got shushed a thousand times as a kid. They beat the extrovert right out of me ...


1 month, 3 weeks ago on Brick Walls and Bad Social Media: Lessons from Jawbone

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@belllindsay Me, too! Or neither? I care not a wit about germs. But I have an extraordinarily high "ick factor." Even as a grade school kid I would never, ever, take a bite of someone's sandwich or ice cream when offered. Totally gross.

And, yes, when I consider where people take their books and magazines??? No thank you ...

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Brick Walls and Bad Social Media: Lessons from Jawbone

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Don't know if this is OCD, but speaking of newspapers, I always wonder about people who pick up a used newspaper on the bus or subway and read it. Yuck. (Of course, that's also why I won't touch used books or library books ...)

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Brick Walls and Bad Social Media: Lessons from Jawbone

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@ginidietrich Yup, met him at Counselors Academy -- he's a fellow reformed thespian.

2 months ago on A Social Media Contest, Cole Haan, Pinterest, and the Rules

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Yay, Michael Lasky!

Every few days I get an email saying someone somewhere has repinned a photo of Morrissey from my boards (or whatever they're called). I should go back and there sometime and see what's up. The most popular things I've done on every social media platform are all off-message. 

2 months ago on A Social Media Contest, Cole Haan, Pinterest, and the Rules

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