Summer’s End

As we head into Labor Day, summer is nearly over and the long hazy daze of hot weather are coming to an end.  It’s traditionally the time of year when various financial institutions, including the stock market, begin to perk up and take notice of what’s been happening since the weather was less languid.

This year the return from vacation is as hectic as ever.  Economic news over the last week has been terrible, showing a horrific decline in home sales, stubborn new jobless claims, and a huge downward revision in GDP.  None of this can be taken as good.

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A Saint Paul Moment

I came home from a meeting with a client and there they were.  A whole team of guys with buzzing and growling equipment filling Irvine Park with motion and clouds of dirt.  It wasn’t an unusual scene, since the Parks Department does their share to mow regularly – but these guys were different.  It was some private company out trimming and mowing and generally making our li’l park look better than it has in a long time.

What makes this a Saint Paul Moment wasn’t clear until I asked one of them what happened.  Did the city contract out the maintenance?  No.  “The owner of our company’s son is getting married here this weekend, and he wanted it to look nice.”  So he just set his crew loose on our public park and made it look great.

That is a Saint Paul Moment.  You just do it.

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Community & Social Media for Business

Community is a very rich word that means many different things at the same time.  It evokes a powerful set of images which are both highly personal and deeply cultural at the same time.  That only makes sense, given how important community is to the social animals that humans are at heart.  Yet for all of this, community as a concept is still a hard sell as an guiding principle for businesses sometimes – a concept that I’ve been building my career in social media around.  That’s a real shame, and not just because I need the work.  The traditional and well understood concept of community is what makes the buzzy new world of social media effective.

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First Amendment

Nearly every heated argument on the internet between Americans eventually gets to one fundamental point.  All it takes is a label of some kind – racist, liberal, nazi, socialist – and within a few messages someone is bound to claim that their First Amendment right to Free Speech is somehow being squashed.  This whine is both laughably silly and, like any well-cut joke, deeply reflective on our culture’s basic values.

What does it mean to be oppressed and have your right to Free Speech taken away?

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Forget SEO & Write for Humans

“Get to the top of Google and stay there!”  The notices spam out to thousands of inboxes, probably including yours.  Many people make some kind of living pitching their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) methods to businesses small and large who hope to make a killing off this internet thingy.  But for all the noise and money spent, the vast majority of it is a terrible waste.

Real articles, blogs, or other content are written for humans, not machines.  If you forget this, there is no magic formula to undo your mistake.

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