Who do you trust?

Dog Cat Trust

When Steve Jobs died, I knew about it a few minutes afterward because I saw a tweet from Chris Brogan asking if it were true. But I didn’t immediately retweet or reply; I went to nytimes.com. And cnn.com. And msnbc.com. And apple.com.

I also turned on my television and tuned to CNN. (They tend to break in with confirmed news fastest, though not always.)

When twitter gets it right, the pundits all point to the powers of social media, how they are scooping traditional journalism and why print and television is dying. When twitter gets it wrong, everyone has a good laugh and points to how silly and lemming-like twitter is.

Thank God we have some smart journalists at the control switch who can pull the handbrake on this runaway ham sandwich, they remark.

We continue to assess truthiness based on hit volume and forget that only one small child actually had the guts to say the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes. According to the Google and Klout (and ABC for print) analytics, only the most viewed and recommended links are trustworthy even if only one small child or one barking dog says otherwise and in the end, turns out to be correct.

It all boils down to: Who do you trust?

We sometimes forget that Twitter and Facebook are commercial products and they have an agenda. This agenda may or may not be aligned with the users’. As Liz Heron of the New York Times remarks, “It’s helpful to have a journalist still.” (30:50 in the clip below)

Even liars have to get you to trust them or the whole game is off.

That is what Rupert Murdoch understood when he shuttered News of the World. Readers didn’t mind being lied to as long as he had their trust. FOX News understands this as well. That is why they spend so much of their time with phrases such as “Fair and Balanced and “No Spin Zone.” Their news day cycle consists of a slow building of “evidence” for their eventual “news” presentation in the evening.

Rush Limbaugh does the same thing by going through a formula of “logical” presentation of the story. He contorts a nuanced story into a blatantly simple ipso facto argument that basically says, “Trust me, I’ve thought all this out, here is the trail of evidence and here is the simple conclusion.”

At the end of the day, however, it boils down to, “do you trust me?” If the answer is “Yes,” then you believe your source.

Below is the opening session of the Journalism Interactive Conference at the University of Maryland, “Social Media: Best Practice in Journalism.” The link is at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/18160056 in case the embed does’t work. The folks on the panel are Jim Long, Lynn Sweet and Liz Heron moderated by Adam Ostrow. It is probably the most succinct piece on social media for journalism I’ve seen yet. No grandiosity, no hyperbole, no silver bullet solutions. These folks have thought deeply about the issue and it shows. It is an hour long, but worth the listen.



Video streaming by Ustream

President Obama was a bad man on the twitter yesterday

Barack Obama tweets GOP twitter accounts

Shortly after his speech yesterday morning, President Obama started tweeting out the twitter accounts of the Republican members of the Senate and House of Representatives on his twitter stream. All in all, he sent out about a hundred tweets throughout the day.

And some people got so enraged they unfollowed him. Mashable reported that he lost about 36,000+ followers.

Seriously. A handful of ideological lawmakers are holding the faith and credit of the United States of America hostage and you are complaining about an extra hundred tweets in your twitter stream? And the “bad twitter behavior” pisses you off more than what is going on in the House of Representatives right now?

You self-absorbed bag of bones.

Look around you. Being in the United States of America is what makes something like twitter even possible. Your being incensed that the president would dare send multiple tweets to sully the purity of your twitter stream are the threads that will undo what has been built by men and women who have endured far more than the annoyance of a few extra tweets.

Seriously, have a little perspective.

I’m beginning to think that social media is bit like giving a loaded gun to a monkey.

You are not a Ninja or a Rockstar

I read an article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today that says the hot new job title in technology is “Ninja.”

Really? Seriously? People like being called the “Ninja?”

Before that, we had “Rockstar” and “Guru” and … [insert other fantasy title here]. All mis-appropriated from a fantasy of a high-school nerd who wished he was a rockstar or ninja back in the day. Now that you are an adult with some power, money and skills you can be these things. But it still makes you look nerdy.

Ninjas are ninjas; rockstars are rockstars. You are just the guy with a really big brain who has skills and the ability to see patterns most of us envy. Is that not enough or is that just too much of the wrong thing? I suppose you reason that if being the really smart nerd in the room was every kid’s fantasy, then we’d all grow up wanting to be a big brainy nerd instead of a rockstar.

Be who you are and quit trying to live out a child’s fantasy in your adult life. Being a nerd back then may have been uncomfortable, but claiming to be a rockstar or ninja in an adult life makes you look ridiculous.

And it makes the rest of us uncomfortable because we’re not sure how grown up you really are.

As long as we are talking creative titles, I would be remiss if I didn’t throw out a few of my own: Lead Dog, Poop Maker, Bone Digger, Whiner, Barker, Butt Sniffer, Leg Humper. Thanks @1sassy_chick and @saintpetepaul for the contributions.

PupPeroni is even more fun than ice cream

Charlie and Sallie love Pup-Peroni after walks. If I run out, they won’t take any other treat.

So, I happened upon the Web site (printed right on the bag) and found this really cool, fun movie maker where you can write messages on the billboard the dogs hold in their mouths. (If you have a dog, go ahead and make a few and tweet them. Mention @dogwalkblog; we’ll see them!) I made a few movies and wanted to share them with the world. I type up my tweet and thought I would also drop a mention to @puperoni or even @delmonte. (see the two movies I made here and here.)

Nothing, no twitter accounts, no links to twitter, nothing.

Now, come on, other folks must want to do the same thing so I searched for PupPeroni on Twitter and found lots of chatter. Seems people like PupPeroni as much as Charlie and Sallie!

I’m pretty confident that the big-boot lawyers at DelMonte will be sending me a cease and desist and forcing YouTube to remove the video, so hurry up and view it. I hope they choose to reach out and say, “Wow, Rufus, that is a cool idea! Tell us more about how we can use Social Media to reach our canine fans and their humans with bulging wallets” but I’ve walked around the block far more than most. I’m not that optimistic.

But, I am hopeful! DelMonte, drop me a tweet!

*The title? A take on @ev‘s explanation of twitter. It is not useful, but neither is ice cream. People, I’m a dog. the only thing we live for is fun. PupPeroni and ice cream 🙂

Why you should have a Twitter account even if you never tweet

Forget everything you’ve ever been told about Twitter. Forget about what you think you know about joining the conversation, being authentic, getting folks to follow you, following people you find interesting, etc.

Forget about not doing self-promotion or even tweeting. You don’t have to do any of those things.

But, you do need a Twitter account.

Because I may want to acknowledge your work, like a really insightful blog post, photo or something else you said or did.

Twitter is not about gathering friends, followers or being followed. Twitter is about being nudged when someone wants to say “Hey, good job, man” in a very crowded, very noisy room.

Does that simple reason help, @sethgodin? No reply needed cause I know you saw this.

Why celebrities on Twitter need journalists and PR folks

malariaI’m pretty sure I was not the only puppy watching Kutcher’s video where he broke 1 million followers on Twitter, scratching my head at the $100,000 check he was holding up as a donation to the Malaria No More organization. Why was this important? Where was the tie-in? Is malaria really that important to stamp out? Isn’t AIDS, cancer and heart disease more pressing?

Today, Peter Chernin wrote an article in the WSJ on why Malaria is an important disease to stamp out. Now, I get it.

Malaria kills 1 child every 30 seconds. It is easy to wipe out with enough money and it eats up limited resources that could be applied to solving the larger problems. It is the “day job” that keeps you from “changing the world” by sapping your energy. I get it because Chernin was able to write clearly.

I found out through the WSJ that April 25 is World Malaria Day. Surely, @aplusk was all over this with his 1 million+ followers on Twitter. Nope. His latest tweet as of this article was a musing over wanting a trap door to have people fall through.apluskfeed Maybe he was promoting it a few days ago. Nope. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

Malaria No More has a Twitter account @malarianomore. If you do a search on malarianomore, you will find a ton of pleas by average twitterers urging @aplusk to promote World Malaria Day.

Does @aplusk have a moral obligation to promote World Malaria Day using his 1 million followers? I think he does. I think the Twitter community would probably agree, especially after his claim that “One man can have a voice that’s as loud as an entire media company.” I think the folks at MalariaNoMore.org would agree that he does as well. Especially since it would take almost no effort.

I’m pretty sure the folks at MalariaNoMore.org are scratching their heads in confusion over Kutcher’s apathy and resultant silence on twitter about World Malaria Day. They have probably gone through the usual cycle of emotions of sponsorship: excitement, exuberance, confusion, anger and resignation. They probably realize by now that they have been and will be all alone in the effort, despite Kutcher’s “support.”

By contrast, If Guy Kawasaki with only a few over 100K followers were to make an impassioned plea to his audience, how many of us would fail to listen? I can’t think of one person.

Should Kutcher suffer the pains of a Twitterstorm for his apathy? We skewered Amazon, Dominos, Motrin, and Target. And these are just brands. Nobody is dying because the brand ignored Social Media. With malaria, people are dying because the awareness is not known, because Kutcher could make a difference but chooses not to.

However, with good journalists and PR folks, Kutcher would not have the option of letting this opportunity go wasted. As it is, he has less than 24 hours to pull something together for World Malaria Day.

Whatever it is, it will come across as half-baked and rushed. I eagerly await the first World Malaria Day tweet from @aplusk.

Ok, now give. DogWalkBlog is giving $100 tomorrow to help with World Malaria Day. If each of @aplusk’s followers gave $1.00, that would be $1.3million. But, I’m not sure why they would as it doesn’t seem all that important a cause to support when nobody is looking.

PS: Proof of the Existence of God. As I was writing this post, I received an email linking to this AdAge article. 🙂

Afterthought: On April 18, 2009 I tweeted out:

Should we listen to @guykawasaki about twitter any more? After all, he only has 100K and @aplusk has 1M, @mileycyrus has 300K+ Thoughts?

Guy came back with an “are you kidding?” response. I was thinking through a thought and it took a week and an article from the WSJ to get to some clarity.

Listen up, famous and cool people

alltop_coolpeople Here is my hit list and here is my challenge:

The first cool person who adds DogWalkBlog (can be found at http://pets.alltop.com) to their my.alltop.com page will be sent a personal Thank You bark from Charlie, the German Shepherd at DogWalkBlog.com

You must be on this “cool people” list and you must send me a DM or email at rufus [at] dogwalkblog.com

You just can’t be cool unless you have a cool dog.

Sorry, them is just the rules.

Get on with the real work

I sometimes find myself feeling a little guilty playing around Twitter or reading blogs, watching videos; all in an effort to stave off doing any real work.

But then I come across stuff like this where the Pennsylvania house is seriously debating a bill to ban students from having cell phones in school.

What planet are these guys on? Is Pennsylvania not in the same recession the rest of us are in? Is this just busy work for politicians? Have they already created all the jobs that Pennsylvanians need and just need something to do? Do they know how ridiculous and out-of-touch this makes them look to the rest of us out here trying to scratch out a living doing real work?

The height of silly.