Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Missing Link?

My wife and I had dinner at our neighbors’ house and our host mentioned that he has made it his mission to clear out all of the clutter in his home. The task has become somewhat of an archeological dig as he pulls out relic upon relic from deep within his closets.

One found object was his now grown son’s ham radio set – the radio itself and all of the “QSL” cards that had been sent to him over the years from people he had spoken to from all over the world.

Having gone to sleep-away camp as a kid, I remembered the camp’s ham radio shed and how such cards took up virtually every available inch of wall space within it. These cards with their official call signs and operator numbers were proudly displayed for all to see. One couldn’t help but be impressed by the collection of messages from the USSR, China, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The ham radio operator actually chatted with the sender of each and every one of them!

It suddenly dawned on me:

Was connecting with ham operators from around the world back then much different than connecting with people on FaceBook or Twitter today? Were QSL cards much different than “Friends” or “Follower” lists?

Can you think of any other antecedents of today’s social networks?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until then, over and out.


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Monday, May 25, 2009

Tweet to Remind: Social Media for Memorial Day

I wish I had learned about this sooner. 

Tweet to Remind is a creation of the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the ad agency, Porter Novelli.

To use their own words, "If every person who visits donates $5.25 in time for Memorial Day weekend, we could raise $1.65 million to help America's heroes as they return home."

Woodruff, you'll recall, is the reporter who was slated to take over the anchor chair at ABC News, until he was gravely wounded by a land mine while covering a story on the Iraq War. Tweet to Remind is only the latest project of his, an organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for service members injured in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their families.

Woodruff asks bloggers and tweeters to post a simple note answering, "Who is your hero?" and encourage readers to do the same. Also to set up a link to your blog post from your Twitter account. 

For the record, my hero is my grandfather, Nathan Solomon. He was an officer and physician in the Medical Corps stationed in France during WWll, but his real heroism surfaced during his years in private practice in the Bronx as the neighborhood around him burned. He refused to leave the patients who depended on him even after he was beaten and robbed on numerous occasions. He also showed his valor as both his children died at tragically young ages. And as the wife who he was married to for an eternity passed away. He was the guy who taught me all the right values. He was such a great character and had so strong an effect on me that no day goes by that I don't think about him. Thanks, Grandpa.

Sorry to post this so late, but there's still today.



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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Island of Social Media

I just read a great story on MSNBC about the power of social media.

Tourism Queensland, an Australian state's tourism bureau, invited entrants to submit videos explaining why they should be chosen as the caretaker of an island on the Great Barrier Reef.

The winner of "The Best Job in the World" is to spend six months exploring the reef and report on the experience via blogs, a photo diary, video updates and interviews.

As if that's not enough, he also gets about $110,000 in salary.

Nearly 35,000 video entries were received and news of the event was amplified throughout the blogosphere.

And while the number of entries was impressive, consider this: Tourism Queensland calculates that the $1.7 million it spent on the campaign translated to about $110 million in global publicity.

"This is probably the first time that a campaign has achieved this sort of reach with so little advertising spend other than a few strategically placed job ads around the world," said Australian marketing analyst Tim Burrowes, editor of media and marketing Web site Mumbrella.

"This has all been about the power of people passing things on, largely through YouTube. The main lesson to be learned here is that if you have an original, exciting idea that gets people talking you don't need to spend huge on advertising."

The winner of the contest is Ben Southall, of Britain (shown in the photo above).

But the real winner may be the allure of social media.



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