Dave Jones over at PRWorks.ca has just created a FeedBurner network for Public Relations. I haven’t used a FeedBurner network before but it seems like a great concept for staying up to date on a subject. Read more about it on Dave’s blog, subscribe to the feed and join in!
Archives for November 2006
Roger Boyes, the London Times correspondent in Berlin, has written a book called “My dear Krauts”. The article about it on Spiegel Online suggests that he is a British man on a mission:
“I see myself as a development aid worker on German humor. Basically the Germans need all the help they can get. And I’ve decided to do my bit. It’s not that they can’t be funny. In fact they like a good laugh. It’s just that they’re a bit slower on the uptake than the rest of the world. And they don’t understand irony.”
That explains it. It’s because of my German heritage that I am slow on the uptake. For example, I never understood why my (Canadian) wife and our wedding caterer found my request for potatoes so terribly funny. Not to mention that they found it even funnier when I got mad about their reaction. All I wanted was to have potatoes added to the wedding menu. My wife still giggles when she talks about my email to the caterer which is now referred to as the “ode to the potato” in our household. It wasn’t funny! But maybe I would have seen the light with Mr. Boyes’ humour training for Germans:
“[Germans] need to spend 10 minutes in front of the mirror every day and keep saying: ‘I’m funny’. Then they need to grin and laugh out loud for two minutes. It might help. But I’m not optimistic.”
Why so doubtful? I like it! Physiotherapy for my Teutonic funny bone. Where were you when I needed you in my wedding preparations years ago, Mr. Boyes? This book is a must-read for any serious German. It’s on my Christmas wish list…
I don’t know if it is available in English, I could only find the German version on Amazon. But Spiegel Online has posted an English excerpt from the book on its site, where he “recalls a painfully funny ‘reconciliation’ tour of Germany with his father, an RAF bomber pilot in World War II”. Whatever happened to “don’t mention the War“?
I finally got Nakama to work. Not their fault that it took so long – Nakama is a great service. I had issues with my mobile provider. Let’s just say I am looking forward to March 2007 when the CRTC introduces number portability for cell phones.
Posted straight from my phone with Nakama.
“Innovation seems to be rediscovered in each managerial generation (about every six years) as a fundamental way to enable new growth. But each generation seems to have forgotten or never learned the mistakes of the past, so we see classic traps repeated over and over again. Some of these repeat offenders include burying innovation teams under too much bureaucracy, treating the innovators as more valued corporate citizens than those who work in the current business, and hiring leaders who don’t have the relationship and communications skills necessary to foster innovation.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School in Lessons Not Learned About Innovation, an interview by Harvard Business School Working Knowledge for Business Leaders
– Four second cut-off: 75% of shoppers would not return to a website that took longer than four seconds to load according to research by Akamai (via BBC News). Once again it seems I am part of a minority. But my spirit is with the 75%. Don’t make sites fancy, make them fast and easy to use.
– The BOBs: The results of Deutsche Welle’s 2006 blog awards are in…and the winner is The Sunlight Foundation (via heise.de). The awards highlight many other interesting blogs this year. Wish I would speak Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, too, so I could read them all.
There has been so much talk about transparency in the blogosphere recently, you’d almost think it is an issue exclusive to how you handle yourself on the Web. But it really is an issue about integrity in general.
So here is my own little rant about something that made me angry today. It deals with the current elections for Toronto City Council and specifically with the Ward I live in. Before I start: yes, I am biased. Until this morning I was only biased in favour of one of the candidates, the incumbent Karen Stintz. Based on what I have seen and read, I think she has done a great job for the community in which I live. And no, I don’t work for Karen Stintz’ campaign but I would vote for her if I could (I am not yet a Canadian citizen, so it is all a spectator sport for me). I really didn’t know too much about the other candidates. Now I am also biased against one of the other candidates. Here goes…
Today I got around to reading our local community paper, the North Toronto Post, which featured interviews with the City Council candidates for the Wards in this area, including Ward 16 where I live. All candidates were asked where they live. All answered except for Steve Watt who left it “unanswered”, which I found curious. Then I walked by one of his campaign signs, which are plastered all over a new store that just signed a short-term lease in the RioCan plaza on Avenue Road. Steve Watt’s campaign sign provides the URL for his website, so I thought I’d find out more about his community involvement on his site.
First, the web address stephenwatt.ca, which is printed on the campaign signs, leads to a “coming soon” placeholder site with ads. That’s embarrassing but okay, after an educated guess I did find his real website at stevewatt.ca. Again, nothing about what he has done for the community so far or where he lives. But he provided a link to a Rogers cable television station where he and the other Ward 16 candidates had recorded short videos for their campaigns. The other candidates talked – among other things – about how long they’ve lived in the community. He didn’t.
So I did a little more web searching and came across a National Post article from a few weeks ago, which provides an explanation. Steve Watt doesn’t live in Ward 16. According to the article, he lives in Rosedale and was “advised” by his friend Mayor David Miller to run in Ward 16 “where Mayor David Miller openly yearns to take out the incumbent” Karen Stintz (described as Mayor Miller’s “nemesis”, which made me smile). So he isn’t running because he is interested in the community in Ward 16. He has simply agreed to help an old pick-up hockey buddy from university days who is now running for re-election as Mayor of Toronto.
The article also mentions a “glitch at the printer’s” because Steve Watt’s campaign signs weren’t ready at the time. And now that they are ready they include the wrong web address. Attention to detail doesn’t seem to be one of the strengths of Steve Watt’s campaign. But I guess that’s not very important if his intention is simply to take away votes from Stintz. I find it ironic that Watt accuses Stintz of being negative when he is running a campaign that doesn’t stand for anything but helping Miller get rid of a critic. Not to mention that having a different opinion from Mayor Miller doesn’t necessarily mean you’re negative. You just have a different opinion.
Steve Watt’s big words to describe himself are experience and leadership. Sounds good. But integrity is part of leadership. It would be nice for Steve Watt to display integrity throughout his campaign by openly mentioning on his website that he doesn’t live in Ward 16. He should have done it in the North Toronto Post article, too. It may not be a big deal for him or other people. But I find it deceptive and annoying.
Maybe it is just me but community involvement matters and I find a candidate who actually lives in the community more credible. But even if Steve Watt disagrees, he should be open about it, and not just when a National Post reporter calls him on it. He could have turned it around and on his website said something like “I don’t live here but I saw that Ward 16 is in desperate need of leadership, so I am stepping up and here is my commitment to the community…” But the National Post article just
exposes him as [correction] makes him look like a fraud whose intention is to stifle opposition to Miller on City Council.
Steve Watt also emphasizes his experience and his years of working as a lawyer with municipalities. He supports the RioCan project, a huge community issue (read more about it here and here). In the National Post article he comments on Karen Stintz’ fight against the project: “Based on my 100 appeals to the OMB, the project is going to get built.” He may be right.
He goes on to say that an “experienced councillor should understand that. You can’t just say no.” Apparently Steve Watt thinks that City Councillors should just be yes-men (yes-persons?) to the Mayor and to developers. Karen Stintz has put up a passionate fight and got City Council to vote against the project with a large majority. She understands that this is a fight not just about one development but about the future of the neighbourhood. Even David Miller agrees that a study of Avenue Road should be completed first before the future of the RioCan development is decided.
In the video on Rogers cable, Steve Watt accuses Karen Stintz of preventing $400,000 from flowing into Ward 16 for community projects because of her opposition to the RioCan project. What he fails to mention is that the $400,000 would be paid by RioCan for breaching existing bylaws to increase height and density of a development. No wonder his campaign signs have popped up on RioCan property but on almost no front lawns within the community.
What am I looking for in a City Councillor? I look for integrity, competence, passion and community involvement. Somebody who is open and honest and doesn’t try to hide things. Somebody who displays transparency – on the Web and anywhere else.
Experience would be nice, too. But the the thing with experience is…well, let me put it in the words of writer and journalist Kurt Tucholsky: “Experience means nothing. You can do something badly for 35 years.”
What would the world in general and the blogosphere in particular be without random statistics? Surely we would cease to exist. So let me help by providing a quick update on toolbar statistics. Since its launch on October 3 the toolbar has been downloaded 32 times. According to the reporting function on average 18-20 people use it on a daily basis to perform 103 operations. You may say those numbers are small and insignificant. I say they confirm that the toolbar has become the productivity tool of choice for a select elite of Canadian PR professionals. 🙂
Here is the list of Canadian PR bloggers that are currently included in the toolbar for both the blog directory and the news ticker.
Please welcome Michael “Back-In-the-PR-Game” O’Connor Clarke (Congrats, Michael and Thornley Fallis!) and Maggie K. Fox of socialmediagroup.ca as the newest additions. If you would like to see anybody else added, please leave me a comment or send me an email.
Ryan Anderson (The New PR)
Darren Barefoot (Capulet Communications)
Boyd Neil (Hill and Knowlton)
Chris Clarke (Thornley Fallis)
Eric Eggertson (Mutually Inclusive PR)
Ted Graham (Hill and Knowlton)
Maggie K. Fox (socialmediagroup.ca)
Leona Hobbs (Flackadelic)
Brendan Hodgson (Hill & Knowlton)
Martin Hofmann (High Road Communications)
David Jones (Fleishman-Hillard)
Bob LeDrew (FlackLife)
Ed Lee (iStudio/Fleishman-Hillard)
Colin McKay (Canuckflack)
Michael O’Connor Clarke (Thornley Fallis)
Donna Papacosta (Trafalgar Communications)
PR Girlz (Thornley Fallis)
Julie Rusciolelli (Maverick)
Marc Snyder (emm-ess consultants)
Joe Thornley (Thornley Fallis)
Lisa Walker (Hill and Knowlton)
I am also happy to add recommendations in the other sections of the toolbar, for example journalist blogs, marketing blogs, PR events, associations or podcasts.