Wednesday, January 31, 2007

File under "Me"

{disclaimer} When I started this blog, I struggled with the question of just how personal I wanted to get. Without knowing how it would evolve, it was difficult to come up with a definite answer. I knew it would be viewed by my family and friends and maybe even some colleagues but how comfortable would I be sharing my thoughts with the rest of the world? Although still a little reluctant, I have come to a conclusion: If you are willing to spend a part of your day in my little corner of the web, it is only fair that I am open and honest about myself. Now don't get worried, this isn't going to turn into my public diary and I promise never to write poems about my ex-girlfriend. I just wanted to preface this post by sharing with you my thought process. Here I am for all to see; go ahead and judge. Phew! That was liberating. {/disclaimer}

If you know me, it's no secret that 2006 was a difficult year in my life. If there was a bad decision to be made, I made it. Everything that could go wrong, pretty much did. I won't bore you with details but let's just say that rock bottom is closer than you think and it doesn't take long to get there. I am exaggerating slightly for dramatic effect but I did manage to screw up just about every aspect of my life in less than a year.

As I began to explore the reasons for my reckless and irrational behaviour, I discovered something that was comforting as much as it was alarming: I was not alone. It seemed that everyone I talked to was just as lost, confused, and unhappy as I was on some level. In fact, a surprising number of people I know are taking anti depressives or have been on them at one time in their life. Of course, there is the argument of over prescription and misdiagnosis but there is no question that something unsettling has surfaced here. Why am I and everyone I know so damn miserable?

Let's put this into context - I have good friends, a family that loves me, a rewarding career, a comfortable home, a fridge full of vegetables, a closet full of sweaters in a multitude of colours, straight teeth and a health plan. It would seem that I have everything going for me and no reason to complain and if you performed the same checklist on most of my friends, you would find the same thing. So why can't we get no satisfaction? It's a question I find more perplexing the further I explore it.

To continue with the Rolling Stones references, you can't always get what you want; this I realize, but I'm also sure we are more than just a bunch of spoiled brats with a false sense of entitlement and a bad attitude. There seems to be a deeply rooted sadness in all of us and I can't understand why (forgive me for sounding too Emo but it's a bi-product of our generation.)

As I continue to update this blog, I will come back to this topic frequently because I think it is the key to understanding myself, our culture, and the way we interact with the world around us.

I'll leave you with a quote from C.P. Snow: "The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase if you pursue happiness you'll never find it."


Somehow I managed to totally mess up my RSS feed today. I can only assume it happened when I was screwing around with the Html. Here's a screen grab from Feed Validator:

I've tried just about everything I could think of to no avail. If you have any ideas on how to fix this, your comments would be greatly appreciated. I apologize to those of you whom subscribe to my feed; hopefully I'll get this sorted out soon.

Today's lesson: Make a back-up of your template before you start messing around with the Html or even better, don't touch the Html if you don't have a clue what you are doing.

Update: The feed has been restored! Apparently the source feed from Blooger changed which confused Feed Burner.

Something To Post On Your Cubicle Wall...

Thanks Joey!

Link Cocktail for 01.31.07

I'm hoping automate this with but haven't figured out how to do it with blogger or know if it is even possible. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment.

McDonald's Launches YouTube Talent Search

Ikea Gets Into Bed With New User-Gen Network, Taps Promotions vs. Ad Budgets

Ogilvy Taps Technorati For WOM Insights

Apple Pays $700,000 for Bloggers' Legal Fees

Technorati's Mysterious Disappearing WTF Product

The Top 100 Alternative Search Engines

Climate Challenge Flash Game

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

God 2.0

It's official! Heaven has a broadband connection:

All jokes aside, this is actually pretty cool. The United Methodist Church managed to create a functional social networking site complete with a blog, volunteer matching service, member directory and prayer request. Hmmm... I wonder when J.C. will discover facebook?

Link Cocktail for 01.30.07

Unhappy Meals
A realistic guide to nutrition

First the Wait for Microsoft Vista; Now the Marketing Barrage
The wait is over as millions line up to be the first on their street to own... Oops, we're not talking about Wii... In case you cared, Vista arrives in stores today

Really Bad PowerPoint

A nice refresher for using PowerPoint effectively

Priceline, Travelocity, Cingular Fined for Adware

See what your job will eventually do to you with this nifty little viral campaign from

Seattle-area Spots Employ Bikini-clad Women to Boost Business
Coffee, Tea, or me? Teehee

YouTube's new, new model
Will YouTube start sharing revenue with users?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Paris Spotting: Week One

Welcome to the premier edition of Paris Spotting! Our girl has had a busy week so without further ado...

The biggest news of the week comes by way of The website, launched on Wednesday, offers monthly subscriptions for $39.97 U.S. and promises "New never before seen sex videos, 250 personal and private videos, and drug use that makes Tony Montana look like a missionary."

Apparently, the website's creators acquired the contents of a 6,000 square foot storage facility from an auction after Paris failed to pay her $208.00 bill. Paris and former boyfriend Joe Francis have now reunited to file a lawsuit against the site.

Read more here.

And as if this wasn't enough for the poor girl, Paris was also sentenced to 3 years' probation for reckless driving, fought with Stavros Niarchos in a Hollywood nightclub, snubbed her "friend" Scott Storch, and underwent eyelid surgery.

In other news... It would seem that Anderson Cooper is 'The Paris Hilton of Television News'.

I hope you enjoyed this week's installment of Paris Spotting. Stay tuned for another juicy glimpse into the fabulous life of our favorite pop princess.

Link Cocktail for 01.29.07

LinkedIn raises $12.8M to build out professional network
Good news for LinkedIn users. Should be interesting to see what new features are added and how they will play into the pay vs. free model "YouTube needs a competitor, and we are it."
Brampton based company's ambitious plan to take on YouTube

Hillary Clinton In Blog Ads Flap
Interesting story about Politics in the blogsphere

Norway declares iTunes illegal
Bold move. Hopefully other countries will follow suit

Toronto Transit Camp
I love this! Another great example of how the Internet has enabled communities to organize, mobilize and have an impact

Friday, January 26, 2007

Save the Date: DemoCamp Toronto 12

DemoCamp Toronto 12

When: Monday, February 5, 2007
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Where: TBD

Demo Schedule

Flock - Will Pate
Distributed Development Mozilla Style - Mike Beltzner
BubbleShare v2.0 - Albert Lai
Update from previous presenters

Not familiar with DemoCamp? Click here to learn more.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Introducing: Paris Spotting

As a shameless attempt to increase blog traffic, I have devised an experiment in the form of a weekly feature I like to call, 'Paris Spotting'. Here's the deal:

Every weekend, over a period of 8 weeks, I will follow the life of our favourite hotel heiress. I will closely monitor blog comments, traffic, and links in order to draw conclusions on the following items:

- Will blog traffic increase simply by mentioning Paris Hilton?
- What affect will this have on visitor retention?
- Will I alienate current readers by posting meaningless fluff?
- Will I develop a new found admiration and respect for Paris?

I will also adopt a simple colour coded scale, similar to that of the Department of Homeland Security, to gage the potency of Paris on the interweb.

Upon completion of my little experiment, I will make sure to share the results. It's not going to be easy but anything in the name of discovery.

Make sure to check back this weekend for the premier edition of Paris Spotting!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Is This Healthy?

I share a three bedroom house at Yonge & Eglinton with two other roommates and at this exact moment we are all in our own rooms on our own computers listening to our own music. Although I haven't actually spoken to them in person in over an hour, we've MSN'd, e-mailed, text messaged, posted on each-other's facebooks and come to the conclusion that Wyclef, Portishead, and Beethoven don't really make for a cool mashup.

Now tell me, is this healthy? Because it is a regular occurrence in our household. In fact, I often have to remind myself that my roommate's name isn't actually fungrrl1979. Here's a typical Saturday morning at my home:

*Wake up to text message*
Lesley: Are you up?
Jason: I am now
Lesley: Hungry?
Jason: yep
Lesley: McDonald's?
Jason: ok
Lesley: Meet downstairs in 5 mins
Jason: cool

Sure, there is something to be said about making plans without having to leave your bed but have things gone too far? Like most people my age, I have a number of friends that I haven't actually met in person yet but we do share similar tastes in music and of course we're going to finally get together for coffee soon...

I've yet to figure out what ramifications the "Internet age" will have on our society but I do know that it is becoming easier and easier to avoid human contact. I guess this post is just a reminder to myself not to hide behind the mouse and keyboard and get out there in the "real world" once in a while. Tomorrow, I urge you to hug a friend, make lunch plans with one of your LinkedIn contacts, write a letter to your best friend from high-school or finally take that boy/girl from Lavalife out for dinner. Let's all have a human experience tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

WinterCity 2007

If you can stand the cold, the City of Toronto is hosting a series of free outdoor concerts at Nathan Phillips Square. Performances by some of the country's finest talent include:

The Philosopher Kings - Friday, January 26 (8pm)
Sloan - Saturday, January 27 (8pm)
Mobile - Friday, February 2 (8pm)
The New Pornographers - Saturday, February 3 (8pm)

To see a list of all performances, click here.

CaseCamp Toronto 4.0

Many thanks to Eli Singer and co. for another great Case Camp! Over 150 of the industry's most creative professionals came to meet, learn, and share, making this the most attended Case Camp to date. There was a definite theme of social/grassroots media which only amplifies the importance of understanding the movement.

Case studies from MommyBlogs Toronto, Newmindspace, Eli Singer on behalf of WWF-Canada, and Zipcar proved that marketers have to be more honest, sincere, and creative than ever to succeed in this day and age.

I was particularly struck by parenting blogger, Catherine Conner, who discussed the importance of integrity and trust with her readers. All would be lost the moment her community sensed they were being sold something. This raises a good point that I'm sure has been on bloggers' minds for quite some time - how can you generate enough revenue to sustain your project/hobby/passion without alienating your readers? It's a very delicate balance that the web 2.0 world has yet to figure out.

Another interesting moment to come out of tonight's camp was the announcement of a Case Camp job board. Created as a way to help fund Case Camp as it continues to grow and to ensure that it remains free for all to participate. If you or your company is looking to hire, please get in touch with Eli. Not only will you be helping the community, you will be reaching the industry's brightest.

If you still haven't experienced Case Camp, I strongly urge you to check out the next event. Sign up for the mailing list to be notified as soon as the next camp is announced.

Notes From the Digital Frontier

Today I received a newsletter from MediaPost introducing their new blog:

"Welcome to Notes From The Digital Frontier, a new weekly newsletter linking to a first-of-its-kind blog. A unique collaboration between the students of Ball State University and MediaPost, Notes is an attempt to link the world of academia -- more specifically, the next generation of media-savvy undergrads -- with the commercial world of Madison Avenue."

As a fan of many MediaPost publications, I was excited to learn of this new venture and quickly clicked through to the "first-of-its-kind" blog. Wouldn't it be refreshing to have a different perspective on new media? Much to my disappointment, "Notes" contained nothing more than a collection of pointless quips that read more like a high school student's My Space than "next gen thinking from the next generation of media insiders." Here is a summary of this week's topics:

- Dustin is addicted to his laptop
- Amanda was seduced by Nano
- Naiomi likes Facebook
- Jason is obsessed with his iBook and the Internet
- Betsy's roommate has a Wii

Forgive me if I am being too critical but it is almost insulting to me as an industry professional and as a member of this generation to think that MediaPost is trying to pass this off as valuable information. Of course Naiomi likes Facebook and Jason cannot live without the Internet but what does this mean to a marketer? It's unfortunate that they failed to make the connection back to media because it actually would be an interesting collaboration.

On a positive note, "Notes" does feature a diverse and talented group of young bloggers who all seem to be reasonably "plugged in". Hopefully as the property evolves, they'll figure out how to better integrate the two worlds.

To visit Notes From The Digital Frontier, click here.

Thug Love

I found this comment posted on a friend's facebook today...

Isn't it delightful disturbing?

Saturday, January 20, 2007