Friday, January 30, 2009

All Aboard the Cluetrain (I wonder how many other blogs already have that title?)

I just finished reading a book that I want to recommend to anyone and everyone that uses the internet. That's right, EVERYONE.

I first learned of this book a month ago when I was reading infamous blogger Chris Brogan's recommended reading list for things to take on vacation with me. (Unfortunately, I can't find that list to link to, but I did find another link for helping people to understand social media, which also has the two books I bought from his list. I also figured I bought the books for that purpose, so this link works just fine)

This book talks about how businesses can't operate the way they have for the past 100 years with the cold stone face hidden behind cute and fuzzy marketing. That just doesn't work anymore. People don't want to be told anymore. They want to talk. They want to be heard. But, they're also willing to listen.

This book is about how there's a new revolution (already started), and if companies want to survive, they're going to have to change and adapt. 

It's written before the renaissance known as Web 2.0, but you would never know it except for the lack of mention of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Because I could probably write for a day on the things I think about what this book said, I'm going to point out to two great things and then let you read it yourselves.

The first thing I loved that was brought up throughout the book is how the web has transformed the world into a giant ancient marketplace. People can enter and leave when they like. They can walk around and shop around for things. They can also ask others what they think about things. The marketplace becomes a place where conversations happen, instead of advertising being thrown at you. You can talk to people around the world on their thoughts about companies and products, or you can talk to companies themselves and let them know what you think. It also gives them (companies) a chance to respond, and it's their loss if they don't, not ours.

The other part I loved is a chapter that speaks about how on the web, everything is hyperlinked. Another way the Internet puts power in the everyman. The web isn't like a half hour TV show where you know the order goes intro, lead up, commercial, climax, commercial, resolution, commercial. Hyperlinks allow people on the web to move around freely from topic to topic, spending as much time on any one thing as they like. The people are back in control.


If you don't want to buy it, you can actually read the entire book for free at

I actually finished the book yesterday morning and had brought it with me to give to a friend that evening. We were going to a Social Media conference/seminar thingy. It put a little smile on my face when one of the guest speakers, Toronto blogger and teacher Boyd Neil, recommended several times that everyone in the audience read this book.

It's not just me. 

Seriously, go read this book.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My new way to stay connected on the go

Once I start to like something I get hooked.

Once I started being an avid Twitter user, I needed to find ways to stay connected at all times.

On my home computer I'm using the Twhirl desktop client. I like it. It keeps me fully connected to Twitter without me having to keep checking the actual website and continuously refreshing the page while waiting for replies. But what about when I don't have my computer with me, or when there's no wifi to jack into?

Enter my glorious baby and best friend; my iPhone.

For the past few months I've been using the free edition of Twitterific. It seemed like a great iPhone app for a while. It was free, and I was able to stay connected to my Twitter list. There are ads on it, which can be avoided by buying the premium version, but they weren't all that annoying. I thought the interface was pretty simple and easy to use. It would highlight my @replies in a different colour so they stood out to me, but only if I viewed it within 10-30 mins of someone sending it to me. I was always getting home and finding that people were talking to me when I wasn't online and I was unaware of it. I needed to find a better way to stay connected.

After asking some other Twitter users what they were using, I was tipped on to the TwitterFon app. This one has a much better user interface. It actually has sections where it holds all my @ replies and direct messages until I view them. It didn't matter if I was online or not. It just updated me when I logged on. The colours are a bit annoying, but I'm sure I'll figure out a way to change them eventually.

It's a much better way to stay connected to all my Twitter friends (not to mention it's free), and I highly recommend it to anyone with an iPhone that tweets.

Now here's a good song...


Monday, January 19, 2009

I'm ready to get LOST

I'm a geek!

I know it. I can admit it. I'm even kind of proud of it.

Especially when it comes to LOST.  I love that show.

I'm the kind of guy that every Thursday would be on Lostpedia because LOST was on Wednesday night. I had to check it. I had to know if I missed anything, and what other people thought was going to happen next. I even subscribe to The Doc Artz Blog which talks about theories of the happenings in the LOST world.

Last week CTV and ABC showed all three hours of last seasons finale. It got me all excited. 

This week LOST premiers with another three hours of LOST. There's only really two hours of new episodes, but still. THREE HOURS OF LOST ON WEDNESDAY!!!



Friday, January 16, 2009

The Straw That Broke Me on the York U Strike

Technically, I don't go to York University.

However, I still have been affected by the strike, I just tried not to let it get to me. Until yesterday, when I finally had it.

A little background first. I go to Seneca College. My campus just happens to be a building on the York University campus grounds. Sometime in November the TA's and other support staff at York University decided to go on strike. 

This really only affected me because I take public transit to school and the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission), being a union themselves, will not cross another unions picket lines. That means that I have to get dropped off outside the campus and take a 7-10 min. trek into my school everyday instead of getting dropped of right in front of the doors.

Sure it pissed me off a bit with it being winter and all, but I sucked it up and took the walk.

Yesterday I snapped though.

On my long walk in from off campus, across a big field where the wind picks up and blows hard, on the coldest day of the winter (it was something like -30C), I get to where the picketers should be, and there's no one there!

They decided that maybe it's too cold to picket?? That's bullshit. I still had to walk into the school because they're on strike, and they're not even out there picketing cause it's a little chilly outside??? 

If they wanted to be inside and warm, they should stop crying, suck it up and go back to work. But instead, I had to suffer getting frost bitten  on the tip of my nose, and they stayed home and drank hot chocolate????

Now, I've never been much of a union supporter, but I never said anything bad against these guys either, until now. Yesterday made me sick, and so do the York TA's. It's been over 2 months of striking for ridiculous reasons. People are losing their educations. I'm freezing my ass off.

It's enough already!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Years Everyone!

Now I know that it's a little bit late to be making new years resolutions, seeing as most people did it 12 days ago. In my defense, I worked 'till 4:30 am New Years Eve,and then I went on a little vacation to visit some friends and attend a wedding in Los Angeles. 

The extra time did however give me time to think, and I came up with a list of goals, or new years resolutions, for my 2009.

So, without further adieu, here they are:

1. QUIT SMOKING - I've been smoking for about 12 years. That's a long time considering the fact that I'm still relatively young. I did quit for one year a few years ago, but the one cigarette slip I made sent me into a downward spiral that eventually took me back to being a regular smoker. I know that smoking is bad for me, but I just love smoking. I know it sounds dumb, but the smokers understand what I mean. Anyways, as much as I love smoking, I do want to quit because I know it's the smart thing to do. In the summer, my dad bought me a book called "Allen Carr's Easy Way to Quit Smoking" that I started a few months ago, but stopped reading. I'm going to pick it back up again. Very soon. I swear. 

2. UP MY PROFESSIONAL GAME - Yes, I'm currently a student. Yes, I might be extending that stint for almost another year if I go to get my MA in Australia. But, none of those are reasons as to why I can't start being a professional at the same time. I try to go to networking events to meet people in my future industry, I add all sorts of people on Twitter, but aside from initial contact with some of these people, nothing else happens. I need to be more professional and meet more people and keep in contact with them for all sorts of reasons. I got some business cards made near the end of last year, and I plan on running out of them soon.

3. BECOME MORE HEALTHY AND FIT - I know lots of people say this, and then they say that plus, "but I mean it." I joined a gym around the corner from my place in August and on average I go at least 3 or 4 times a week. I want to do a harder routine there and get more fit. On top of that I'd just like to try to not eat things that are terrible for me. Of course I'm gonna splurge every once and a while, but that's ok, as long as I make a conscious decision most of the time. Also, I'm thinking about maybe yoga.

4. READ MORE - This means everything. Fiction. Non-fiction. Blogs. Magazines. Newspapers. Comics. Everything.

5. BLOG MORE AND BETTER - When I started this blog a few months ago I said I was going to keep it updated as much as I could. And I did. For a little while. Then I got side-tracked. No more though! I will keep this blog and/or any other one I do updated. As well, I'm going to try and better and more concise, both for my readers and for PR practice writing. 

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any advice or tips or comments for me.

All this starts after now, or after this appropriate video: