Barack Fools Us (Article from Toronto Sun last November)

Barack fools us
Whole world will pay for America's electoral mistake

A young student friend e-mailed me on Tuesday night.

"Have locked myself in my room because the place is full of little idiots -- who cannot spell Barack Obama's name and could not name one of his foreign or domestic policies -- running around screaming obscenities about George Bush, conservatives and how Sarah Palin is a bitch. I love democracy!"

Even so, the people spoke. A victory for the hysterical Oprah Winfrey, the mad racist preacher Jeremiah Wright, the mainstream media who abandoned any sense of objectivity long ago, Europeans who despise America largely because they depend on her, comics who claim to be dangerous and fearless but would not dare attack genuinely powerful special interest groups. A victory for Obama-worshippers everywhere.

A victory for the cult of the cult. A man who has done little with his life but has written about his achievements as if he had found the cure for cancer in between winning a marathon and building a nuclear reactor with his teeth. Victory for style over substance, hyperbole over history, rabble-raising over reality.

A victory for Hollywood, the most dysfunctional community in the world. Victory for Streisand, Spielberg, Soros and Sarandon.

Victory for those who prefer welfare to will and interference to independence. For those who settle for group think and herd mentality rather than those who fight for individual initiative and the right to be out of step with meagre political fashion.

Victory for a man who is no friend of freedom. He and his people have already stated that media has to be controlled so as to be balanced, without realizing the extraordinary irony within that statement. Like most liberal zealots, the Obama worshippers constantly speak of Fox and Limbaugh, when the vast bulk of television stations and newspapers are drastically liberal and anti-conservative.

Senior Democrat Chuck Schumer said that just as pornography should be censored, so should talk radio. In other words, one of the few free and open means of popular expression may well be cornered and beaten by bullies who even in triumph cannot tolerate any criticism and opposition.


A victory for those who believe the state is better qualified to raise children than the family, for those who prefer teachers' unions to teaching and for those who are naively convinced that if the West is sufficiently weak towards its enemies, war and terror will dissolve as quickly as the tears on the face of a leftist celebrity.

A victory for social democracy even after most of Europe has come to the painful conclusion that social democracy leads to mediocrity, failure, unemployment, inflation, higher taxes and economic stagnation. A victory for intrusive lawyers, banal sentimentalists, social extremists and urban snobs.

Also a defeat for one of the weakest presidential candidates in living memory.

Why would anyone vote for a man who seemed incapable of outlining his policies and instead repeatedly emphasized a noble but, if we are candid, largely irrelevant war record?

He was joined by a woman who was defended so vehemently by her supporters when it was cuttingly evident that she is years away from being, and perhaps never will be, a serious candidate for senior national office.

Most of all it was a terrible defeat for democracy and the United States. A politician of nothing defeated a nothing politician and a credulous electorate screamed in adoration. I fear we will all suffer very much indeed.


They are reading my mind....

So lately, there have been some eerily timely articles and blog posts posted from the different organizations I follow. I'm convinced that possibly I'm thinking hard enough about the topics that my brain waves are transmitting across the Internet and into the brains of the authors.

It all started Wednesday of last week. My manager and I were having a discussion about Intranet policies. We were talking about the future governance of our new intranet (launching in May..woo hoo) and my manger asked the question, "Do we need a policy for our intranet?". I was stumped. I really didn't know. We have an electronic policy, an email policy, a conduct policy - but when it comes to the new realm of collaboration on our intranet, do we need a policy for employees to abide by when using the intranet? We left the conversation with me committing to do some more thinking, research, and benchmarking on the topic.

Well, two days later, IBF (Intranet Benchmarking Forum) posted a blog post on "Intranet governance in the social media age". It walks through the need for governance around information on the intranet, the use of that information, and the collaboration related to the information. If you read the blog post you'll see it nailed the issue I needed help with. I still need to do some more benchmarking and research, but this is a heck of a start wouldn't you agree? So bizarre that this blog post came out only two days after the subject came up here.

Fast forward to this week. Another co-worker, my manager, and I were sitting in my cube discussing the use of social media for our company to connect to customers, especially during storms, etc. We were specifically focused on Twitter. I mentioned that a few months ago I had emailed out an article about some utility (I couldn't remember the name) in some state up north (couldn't remember which state) that had used Twitter during an ice storm to report on outages and connect to customers. I promised to go digging through my sent messages in my email and find the article and send it to them.

Well, about thirty minutes ago, lo and behold, Ragan Communications wrote an article about PSNH (Public Service of New Hampshire) using Twitter during a recent ice storm -- yes, the same company and incident that I was talking about to my co-worker and manager. Literally a day later Ragan decides to write an excellent article on the exact event and company I mentioned. So I was able to easily forward the link to my coworker and manager without having to dig through my old sent mail. The article just reaffirms to me what I was trying to convey last time I sent the article out - that a utility can use social media to connect with customers. PSNH is impressive with what they have done so far - not only are they using Twitter, but they have a YouTube channel, a Flickr account, and heaven forbid... a Facebook page! I'm now a fan of their Facebook page because I want to 'follow along' with them as they learn how to use the channel to push information to customers and have conversations. PSNH is definitely a leader in the industry when it comes to social media (in my mind). I appreciate that immensely.

Call me new fashioned, but with the growth rates of Facebook (especially with the 30+ age group) and Twitter, it seems mandatory to create an identity in this space....at least if anything, to protect your identity before someone else creates one for you!

On a side note, I think all of the communicators (internal and external) who work for utilities should get together and have our own conference. I think we have a lot to learn from each other and we share the same common concerns when it comes to social media - why not hash it out together? Hey NV Energy, can we have it in Las Vegas? :)

So, you see, two eerie 'coincidental' articles have been published. They are reading my mind! Or perhaps the more logical explanation is that these are not issues or topics solely of interest to us -- everyone is having these same conversations with their mangers and co-workers.

Regardless, I'm going to try this again. Ok, let's see.. what do I need? I think I need an article that proves why intranet strategists should be making six figure salaries. {puts fingers to temples} {closing eyes} {humming out loud} {cube neighbor looks my way on other side of wall with annoyed look} {concentrating really hard on aforesaid article}

Ok...done. Two days from now... some reputable organization will post this article. I'm waiting....


Do you have a social media mentor?

I haven't updated my blog in over a month, but gearing up to launch our newly redesigned intranet, wedding showers, weddings, home improvements, etc. has kept me so busy the last month I really haven't had the inspiration or time to update.

I was sitting around tonight trying to think of something to blog about and decided to share a flattering experience I had recently. There is an older gentleman who works in my department, (and I'm not going to dare guess his age, but let's just guess that he can retire if he chooses from our company in the next five to ten years) and he sent me an email the other day and asked if I had thirty minutes to spare to explain social media to him and where I saw it going, especially related to our business. He had just completed reading the book The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott and was excited with the mention of social media in today's communications landscape.

We set aside some time and had a good lengthy chat about social media sites and I shared some case studies I had heard about of how large organizations (Midol) missed the mark engaging with social media and how others (Ford, Dell, etc.) had made great strides in reputation and engagement using social media. We discussed how social media could play a role in large initiatives affecting our company and our industry, and how our company could potentially take advantage. It was a high-level discussion, but I really enjoyed bouncing ideas back and forth with him. It was great to talk to someone about social media who was as open minded and excited about the prospects - especially someone two generations away from me. We agreed to continue to brainstorm from time to time and share ideas as we come across them. He reads A LOT, so I recommended Shel Holtz's Tactical Transparency for him to read as well.

The next day I received a hand written note from him, thanking me for taking the time to talk social media with him. He's asked that I be his 'social media mentor'. What a novel idea. A social media mentor. Often when we think of mentors, we think of an older generation mentoring the younger generations -- but doesn't it make sense for a millennial to mentor a baby boomer on technology and social media? I think it's such a great idea - both parties involved can learn so much. I am constantly looking for ways to educate on the idea of using social media for reaching out to customers, and I have looked for opportunities to share case studies of other companies in similar industries who have had success with social media. What better channel than someone who has been with the company for 20+ years, who has relationships with senior leadership that I'll never come close to having, and who might help influence changes towards engaging (both internally and externally) with social media.

So if you're a millennial who can't imagine your life without social media and sees its potential for business, consider mentoring someone in your company who might not get social media or is just starting to dip their toes in it. With your powers combined, you might be surprised with what you can come up with together - and the influence that the mentoring might have on future decisions around social media in your company -- we've just started, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

After receiving his handwritten thank you, which he noted was appropriate for his generation, I sent him an instant message, thanking him for the note. :)

Related but unrelated:
Interesting descriptions of different generations in today's workforce. I fit the Gen Y (or millennial) description to a T.

I did a google search for 'social media mentor' and found nothing really related...only consultant type services.