Tomorrow’s leaders will be defined by . . .

…how well they can spell.

I was checking out FutureWorks, the top agency in the US for social media, digital and public relations integration led by Brian Solis, and I watched the entire, actually entirely too long, entrance video. (Screen shot of website above).

I spent more time on the first page than I normally do, and as I did my eyes wandered down to the copy blocks and I began to absorb what top public relations practitioners say about themselves:

“FutureWorks is an award-winning digital and social media agency founded and led by author, speaker and thought-leader Brian Solis. FutureWorks fuses “best of breed” social media, new media, digital influence and work of mouth marketing. (Boldface and italics mine, screenshot below).”

From this description, namely the reference to ‘work’ of mouth, it is clear they must also specialize in dentistry.

I know advertising people. Some advertising people are my best friends. Some may say I might be one. And yes, there’s some heavy drilling that goes on when marketing people attack the world to influence us with their version of information, and here is the EXCITING news FutureWorks is ahead of their time.

FutureWorks may have found the shortcut to the hours spent on research to understand the target demographic, the shortcut to gathering intelligence from focus groups, the steep investment to hire top creative managers and renowned web designers. Certainly, they have discovered how to eliminate the hours upon online hours drowning in understanding and participating in social media. Potentially, they may have found the way to avoid all the small marketing testing and near misses, and to immediately deploy on large scale.

It’s clear FutureWorks has decided to get in our heads through our mouth.

I’m thinking a good tooth yanking would definitely make me buy ANYTHING.

Or, perhaps FutureWorks should learn to spell.

P.S. It’s ‘word’ of mouth marketing.

Carry on.

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Do not operate a submarine while reading this blog

I downloaded a new app to my smart phone and prior to engaging it the application required me to read the End-User License Agreement.

Most of the time I click the box that means, yeah, I “read” it.

Pay attention non-readers, not every boring End-User License Agreement is boring. In fact, these manufacturers believe that * I * am anything but boring, too!

Mostly, they’re right.

But to make sure we were on the same page, the End-User License Agreement detailed what was intended by high risk activities I should avoid conducting while using their product, and I quote:

HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES: The software is not fault-tolerant and is not designed, manufactured or intended for use in hazardous environment requiring fail-safe performance, such as the operation of:

  • Nuclear facilities
  • Aircraft navigation
  • Air traffic control
  • Implantable human medical devices
  • External human life-support machines
  • Explosives control devices
  • Submaries
  • Weapons systems
  • Or in controlling the operation of moving motor vehicles in which the failure of the Software could lead directly to death, personal injury, or severe physicial or environmental damage.

Let’s be clear. I agree. The above bullet points are high risk activities. I also think if you are intelligent enough to engage in the above activities, you are smart enough not to conduct the stated activity while using your cell phone.

But maybe not.

So, let’s be clear about you. I believe you are smart. You read my blog, follow me on Twitter and make comments on such, and due to your high use of good judgment it must also be stated that you are bright enough not to perform those activities while operating a phone (yours or mine), yelling at at kid (yours or mine) or entering into any life changing event such as getting married (while reading my blog).

In case you’re not that bright, this blog is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to anything I have said, might say or may never say and any of the preceding that may or may not appear in writing under my byline.

If you have any questions about the above, please leave a comment below. I will review your comments with my attorney and will craft a reply that will not place you in further danger of End-User Agreements.

If you do not place a comment, you proceed into life and future End-User Agreements at your own risk.

Cheers!


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Manhunt Part II

I wonder sometimes why I do some of the crazy things I do. I think it’s because I don’t want to miss out, I don’t like there to be places where I don’t belong, and I like to know what’s behind closed doors. I will be the one who—after everyone has gone home—pokes her head in the men’s bathroom. Just to see what it looks like.

Uh, yeah.

The people who know me would not be surprised by that disclosure. They might, however, be surprised that some of my antics require me to get my nerve up. But Sunday, entering the Korean Church felt quite comfortable now that I was in the company of a Korean, my co-worker Chye.

The time I came without her, the Korean greeters had taken one look at my auburn hair and round eyes and waved the Korean bulletins in their hands as if to ward off smoke from a campfire gone awry, shouting “This is not the right church.” Of course, they said it in Korean, but it was quite clear they believed I had made a wrong turn and ended up in their midst by mistake.

I smiled.

They gaped.

I neared.

They took a step back.

I took another step, reached out, and my smile tensed as I tugged a bulletin out of the tight grip of one of them. I gave it a cursory glance, nodded and entered the sanctuary. I sat as close to the back as I could, certain I was a distraction, but hoped I wouldn’t ruin the service for the people who worshipped there regularly.

This morning they had the same set-up. Two Korean guards women greeted the oncoming with smiles and bowing heads, handing out church bulletins. Their eyes glowed when they saw Chye and the Korean words rushed and swirled as the introduction conversation ensued. With grand hand gestures, one of them handed Chye a blank piece of paper and a pen. Chye wrote something down, turned to me and told me to write my name down.

“Why?” I asked suspiciously.

“They want to introduce you. They say your name and you stand.” She pointed at a spot in the bulletin, ‘Welcome’ it said in bold letters followed by circles and hash marks I recognized as Korean.

“No. No, way,” I answered, taking a step back.

“Just do it,” she said, then the smile tightened on her lips as if to say don’t embarrass me.

I glanced at the women. They smiled encouragingly and waved the bulletins as if to fan the fire of invitation. I grasped the pen, narrowed my eyes on Chye and scratched my name on the paper under hers. Just you wait, I thought, if they make us speak I’ll announce we’re on a man hunt.

We stepped into the carpeted sanctuary and eased into the back row as soft music lilted from the small orchestra at the front of the church: violin, viola, cello and keyboards. We stared at our bulletins. One of us could read it.

A congregational hymn began, a few hands clapped in rhythm. My head jerked up.

Unbelievable.

I understood Korean. At least one word…

AH-LAY-LOO-YAH

More to come…


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What evil lurks in social media? A mom knows…now.

Little_Karol, my daughter, sat in a cube after hours at the office. The computer screen in front of her glowed as she checked her email. At least that’s what she told me she was doing. I strode into my office, crashed behind the desk and plunged into an evening of catch up.

It had never happened before, that our wires had crossed, even though she always used my log-in to get to the internet, but an absent-minded mouse flick on my part altered the screen I stared at. Suddenly, I shadowed her computer movements. It shocked me how quickly I rocketed into the bad-mom-universe. I was the bad mom. What flickered before me alarmed me.

Facebook.

I had shuddered at every horrid child abuse story in regards to social media, and had nodded sagely, arrogantly even, knowing my capable parenting skills would never find me the subject of a sad news story. I was too intelligent to raise a child who would fall prey. My child was too bright to fall to a predator. But there it was. Facebook. The ultimate child predator.

MySpace
drifted in semi-consciousness as: ‘places not to visit.’ LinkedIN sounded like the online bar of hook-ups. Bloggers were anal politicos who needed a forum to rant, or self absorbed punks who didn’t get enough ‘me-time’ and needed to hear their own voices, so they posted what remained of their dribble online: me-me-me. Twitter had barely hit my radar and sounded inane, a test to drill your most profound thought to 140 characters. What kind of a character is that? Did a space count as a character? Ignorance foamed and huffed at me and I choked on its fumes.

My fingers trembled as I stared at my child’s Facebook wall. What the heck is a wall? Why would I be encouraged to write on it? I clicked through the other places of her Facebook page. Oh my effing gee, she has posted pictures! If that isn’t a predator call I don’t know what is.

That was it.

She was done.

I am a woman of action.

I took control and did the most sensible thing.

I read the Facebook terms and conditions.

I had her.

She was toast.

I called her into my office and I sounded mean. I confronted her Facebook abuse. I gave her a piece of paper and a pen and ordered her to write down every email, gmail, yahoo-mail, hotmail and every Web-site she was on that required a log-in and I demanded her passwords. Her dark eyes flooded with panic and tears pushed at her lashes. She took in a shaky breath, her little knees collapsed, and she sunk into the guest chair. One-by-one, she proceeded to disclose her secrets. That’s when I learned she had a blog. I had never read a blog. I was ignorant.

I shut down Facebook and doled out strong words. She was underage. Facebook had a minimum age requirement. She did not qualify. My strong lecture lasted up through her birthday. Midnight clicked over and back up went her Facebook.

Second discovery went as well as expected.

I yelled.

I gave up.

I got a Facebook page.

It’s a writer’s conference, cry me a river

Day One.
I give my elevator pitch to Fellow Writer A, a woman. She says, “Oooo, nice.”

I gain confidence and give my elevator pitch to First Agent. She nods, appears interested. I give very brief summary of story. When I get to the part where ex-husband shows up as female protagonist’s new boss the agent stops me.

“No. That is too much of a coincidence for me.” I explain how the plot line makes it plausible. “No,” she smiles, “He would already know who the employees are in a business he is buying.” I tell her the story does not make that clear, whether he knows she’s there or not, it is not a story point. “No,” she repeats still smiling, pulls out a pocket dagger, swings it in front of my eyes for emphasis and details further, “I can’t find anything likeable about your female character.”
Nothing? The glint of the steel flashes and I sit back in my seat. I swing my head toward the exit and try to judge how far away I am.
“I like books with very strong female protagonists. Rethink your pitch, recast it in a way that describes the genre, what and why—why would she marry him?” She says things like explain plot device and ends with, “I have a disdain for characters who get themselves into a fix.” She stabs the dagger into the table top for emphasis.
I am in a fix. She has disdain for me.

Rewrite the story? I can’t just make something up.

Oh, right, I made it all up.

It sucks. I suck.

I my lips pull into a wavering smile and I thank her for her time.


Day Two, Morning
.
I give my elevator pitch to Fellow Writer B, a man, “Wow, I’m intrigued.”

Second Agent says, “Pitch me.” I give same elevator pitch. She stops me. “If she’s learned not to depend, why does she?” I explain the circumstances that make it plausible. She asks, “Is this you?”

“No. why do you ask? Does it sound like it happened to me?”

“No, but if it had happened to you, I would ask why you married this guy and tell you to turn it into a memoir.”

I wonder briefly if I can find and marry Jae-Chun Lee. I must discard this thought, after all, he is already married and…and…he is fiction.

I realize I am insane.

My plot is insane.


Day Two, Lunch
.
I decide I will not share agent feedback with my critique group, because one of them will tell me that such-and-so always bothered them, too, and I will quit, actually quit writing because…

I’ll give them a good excuse, as soon as I write one that does not suck and sound insane.


Day Two, Afternoon
.
I am thirsty. I leave my volunteer station in the agent consult area and grab a seltzer water can out of my car. I slip back into the banquet room and glide past an agent twiddling thumbs on a break.

The Agent grabs my arm and asks,“Where did you find the sparkling water?” I size the situation up. I hesitate. I do not snap the metal circle-tab. “You will be my new best friend,” she declares, “if you divulge your source.”

I hand her my can.

“No, I can’t take your water,” she says, and struggles to maintain her composure. She’s likely very thirsty after telling all the writers how much they suck. She swallows and chomps down on the inside of her cheek.

“My treat,” I say. “I have a whole case in the car.”

She looks doubtful. I plant the can on her table. She relents. Her shaky hand reaches out. Her fingers close around the metal cylinder, red-glazed fingernails flick at the ring-top. It pops open and the water gasps, sparkling and plinking of Northwest freshness. She takes a long draw.

“You owe me a pitch,” I suggest, and it doesn’t sound like I’m kidding. I mentally check my internal resources and steel myself for rejection.

“Send me your stuff,” she answers, “No,” she decides, after taking another gulp. She wipes her mouth with the back of her sleeve. “Send me your entire manuscript.” She scribbles her email on a scrap of paper.

I realize my value is measured in the drinks I keep in my car.

Later that evening, I wonder if it is required to cry everyday of a writer’s conference, and realize I do not suck at everything.


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Vacation over, what comes next?

There is something sad about the last days of vacation, something that fills me with deep anxiety, that somehow I’m not ready for life, I’m not ready to go back. I want to staaaaay….

It’s been a week. It’s time, the vacation gods murmur. The universe allowed you to leave, now it’s time to go back, go home.

“But I want to staaaaay….” I sing into the wind and it drifts back into my face, but far rougher than I’d released it, and I swallow the words. “You’re right,” I concede, and the consonants taste like sandpaper. “It’s time to go.”

Work hard, the spirits whisper, do your best and you can return.

We throw things in our bags un-carefully, a counterpoint to the anticipation we’d began the week with, trying to fool the lesser sprites (the ones that keep a closer watch) that it doesn’t matter. We’re fine leaving. We could stay if we wanted. We just want to go home now. Really

The car rumbles to life, noses out of the the parking lot, and turns east toward home.

What’s the first thing you do at the end of your vacation?


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