Category Archives: Site Blather

Letting myself off the hook

I just made a big decision and I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders: I gave myself permission to not write the two dozen posts I had in various stages of draft because I just wasn’t feeling them.

Understand that these were all sitting there, either as ideas half-mapped out in Evernote, as links and headlines in Wunderlist or even just saved links in Pocket, and were creating immense pressure. “When am I going to be able to write them? What am I going to say that is unique and interesting? Has too much time passed for this to be interesting? Should I still write it anyway?” All these and other questions were pressing on me each day, days that only brought something interesting to write about.

Pulling the cord and clearing out the baffles (yes, I’m mixing my metaphors. My blog, my rules) was tough though. I consider myself to be, first and foremost, a writer. That despite how most of what I do each day is manage editorial calendars and answer emails. So saying “I’m not going to write about X” was a hard – HARD – decision to make that involved no little amour of internal debate and self-loathing.

I realized, though, in looking at all the potential topics to write about that I wasn’t feeling passionate about any of them. And, more importantly, that there *were* things I was feeling passionate about writing.

Mostly I was feeling the need to keep writing about social media industry topics because…and that’s where the question hit me. Why was I feeling the need to compete in a race I had no interest in winning? It’s 2014. I’m 40 and I’ve been doing this social media thing for well over 10 years now. My reputation is what it is, whatever that might be. Writing 15 blog posts over the course of the next two weeks with my opinions on the latest news out of Snapchat, Facebook and so on probably isn’t going to move the needle much or do anything further to position me as a “thought leader,” whatever that term means these days.

There are all sorts of ancillary questions that are coming up along with this that I may go into later. But for now I’m deciding that I’m going to take a bit of a break from commenting on the news of the day (aside from my regular contributions to PNConnect) and stick with what I feel most called to write. That’s going to push me well outside my comfort zone, but if I’m not going to take the opportunity to do so that a new year, coupled with turning 40, affords me to do so then I may as well stop doing all this soul-searching and settle into mediocrity. That’s somewhere I’ve been hanging out far too long. It’s time for a change.

More to come.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt from WordPress’ recap of my activity last year:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Owning 2013

It’s resolution time, isn’t it. That time of the year where, because of what is essentially an arbitrary turning of calendar pages we decide that this is the moment we’re all going to say “I’m going to do this/not do this/do this differently.”

I get it – I always love a fresh set of downs and the opportunities to start fresh with some new idea at the beginning of a defined time period. But I’m not really a big resolution guy, mostly because I forget to write them down and then it’s not that I lose my momentum but I just forget about them.

One change that I’m going to make in 2013, though, is own more of my online activity. I’m increasingly frustrated by the plethora of networks on the web (and my phone) that don’t allow me to A) Export my activity into some sort of globally useful format and B) That don’t include a “Share on WordPress” feature, something that’s missing from almost every social network out there right now.

I want this site to be the hub of *everything* I do online. It should not only be the home of the short, medium or long-form material I write (aside from that which I write for Voce Nation) that then gets distributed elsewhere but also the repository for my activity elsewhere. But right now there’s such a strong movement by most every social company to be the one place people spend their online time that I’m increasingly irked by the speed-bumps I run into regularly.

So what does all this look like in terms of day to day execution? The initial direction I’m headed in is this:

  1. I’m kind of done with GetGlue and other activity check-in apps, at least for the time being. If I’m watching a movie I’ll post about it here and if I’m listening to some good music I’ll post about it here, likely with a trailer or video from said movie or album.
  2. I’ll likely get more into Instagram, which I’ve taken a bit of a break from recently, but I’ll link it up with my Foursquare account so I can check in using the Photo Map. Then instead of sharing on Twitter or elsewhere I’ll post the photo here on CT.WP with a note about where I am and why I’m there.
  3. My activity on those other social networks will likely consist of 1) Distribution of links to posts here and on VN and 2) Engagement with other people. So I’ll still have Twitter conversations, I’ll share stuff on Google+ and so on. But I’m not going to be publishing my own original stuff to those networks directly.

All this should add up to this site being a lot more consistently active in 2013 than it has been. It also means it’s going to be even more of a hodgepodge of topics than it has been, with my bouncing from media analysis to movie trailers to rants about the Cubs and so on.

That’s the plan. I think it’s incredibly important – and getting more so with each passing day – that publishers own their material and these moves are guided in large part by that philosophy. I want to be able to download and own what I’ve done regardless of anything else and WordPress allows me to do that while many other platforms don’t.

Here’s to 2013.

Nine years? That’s just shy of forever on the internet

Jeremy Pepper is celebrating nine years of writing on his blog and talking about how he’s seen the landscape change over those years:

I’ve seen the “popular” bloggers in public relations turn to social media advocates, and then fall to the side of less importance because they, well, never stuck out their necks on issues or just followed trends. I see the new group of SM bloggers that have risen to the top – some are cream, some are artificial, powdered cream – and while the cream is imparting wisdom, the powdered kind is glomming onto hot topics and rehashing others’ posts, with no original content or thinking.

I’ve also seen the original group of PR bloggers just say fuck-it-all and give up on PR and SM blogging, and start following their other passions. And, well, most of the time I don’t blame them. That small group was relatively close, meaning we’d talk and share ideas and information and while somewhat competitive, were a community. Yah, that’s pretty much gone nowadays except with a few good people. But that is how media works, and at the end of the day, blogging and social media are … just media.

My own earliest online exploits have been lost to the ages, largely because in the early days I’d sometimes get a twitch and decide that the contents of wherever I was writing were garbage and I needed to start again with a clean slate. I know I don’t beat Pepper’s nine years but even if I’m just counting Movie Marketing Madness then I’m well past eight years of being online, with MMM starting in May of 2004.

Aside from that I can’t disagree with Pepper’s overview of how things have changed in that time. Not only are the conversations different – there are far fewer constructive conversations and more rushing to be the first person to yell “FAIL” – but the way people are having them has fundamentally changed.

One of the biggest differences is that links to other writers used to be given out freely and with a sense of excitement, like the writer knew that by linking out from their own site they were not only encouraging people to check out another good point of view but also gaining some good karma at the same time. Now too many people only link back to their own previous posts on a topic (something that’s easy to do since there’s far too little original thinking going on) as if we’re supposed to think that their seven previous posts somehow prove the veracity of the current one.

As for myself? I continue to flounder to some extent in what I’m trying to say. I’m not the angry voice in the wilderness that Pepper is. I’m not the wise professor that some people are. I’m not the hip dad with a unique point of view that others are. I’m me. CT.WP will, most likely, continue to be a mix of serious stuff about PR, social media and the industry I work in, the Cubs, movies and music I’m enjoying or looking forward to and a bit more.

My hope is that when I do take an opinion on something, whatever it is, that I do so in a respectful yet forceful manner. I always try to call BS in the nicest possible way since I know that, whatever I might think of something, there was an individual or group of individuals on the other side of that who thought they were doing a good job. More often it’s the reaction to something that’s the bigger failure than whatever happened in the first place and the last thing I want to do is pile on someone’s bad day or come back a year from now regretting whatever I might have said.

In short, I try to leave the internet in a little better condition than I found it. Here’s to 8+ years of doing more of the same.

The End

As I announced yesterday on CT.WP, what was originally intended to be a month off for reflection has quickly turned into the decision to shut down Movie Marketing Madness. I’ve decided that my energies are best put elsewhere at this time and MMM will not be operated as an ongoing concern. Even more dramatically, I’m going to just let things expire and disappear over the course of the next couple months.

The content I’ve published here over the course of the last nearly eight years will be archived over there for posterity and I may revive the concept from time to time if things allow and the spirit moves me. But overall I feel things have run their course and the beginning of a new year offers the opportunity to put a nice, tidy bow on things.

Thanks to those who have been faithful readers, those who nurtured MMM through the early days and everyone else. It’s been fun but lately it’s been less so, feeling very much like an obligation, which is part of the reasoning behind my decision.



Nice recommendation

That link goes to my Tribeca Future of Film Blog post on how independent filmmakers need to get out there and sell their movies themselves instead of hoping it someone magically finds an audience. Considering the piece was partly inspired by Burns’ work on promoting Nice Guy Johnny I’d say it reached the intended audience, which is nice.