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saying thanks? write it down!


So I was reading my blog subscriptions Thursday and I come across Chris Brogan’s blog. Chris is one of the founders of Podcamp and is one of the muckety-mucks (in a good way) within social media, oft quoted and referenced along with Christopher S. Penn, CC Chapman, Mitch Joel and some others. All nice guys (I’ve met them, they wouldn’t remember me except Mitch who noted he did remember, which was very kind but not necessary as I would still say he and they are good guys) and knowledgeable about social media.

So Chris goes to eat at PF Chang’s and encounters this unbelievable (in a good way) waitress. He wrote about it in his blog as a way of encouraging others to perform as well in their lives and recognize the efforts of others who help them.

I enjoyed the story but saw a bit of an omission in his praise. While it’s old school in this electronic age (and I epitomize the “old” in old school) I asked Chris in my blog comment if he had sent a letter to the head of PF Chang’s to promote his waitress’ truly impressive customer service. This is something I try and do often because I think it professionally boosts the service provider within his/her corporate culture.

Chris, it has always seemed to me, is a fairly honest guy about his world, his successes and his misses so I really wasn’t too surprised at his candor:

Peter, you’ve put me in a spot. My real answer is that I’m very lazy about real paper mail. And yet, you’re right. THAT would have more meaning than telling Andrea’s boss. Very interesting point.

I’m on it.

Now, I really wasn’t trying to put him in a spot but if it helps, OK then.

A verbal compliment should always be offered and an email is ok, but I do think it is the lazy way out.

Because so few people take the time to hand write notes or even type out letters of thanks or send clippings with a note, I think it really stands out in the eyes of the recipients.

Same for complaint letters although ultimately you’ll only get a form letter back from a company…AirTran (which is why I avoid like the plague flying that airline and tell everyone my horrible story so they’ll book somewhere else and often do but I’m not bitter even a year later…much).

If someone takes the time to really serve you, it just seems to me that you should take a minute to write down your thanks to someone who can make a difference in their life.

It occurs to me now that this is a lesson from my Mother, who passed away 21 years ago today; a memory that makes every surviving child 5 years old again, regardless of what the birth certificate says.

“cleveland show” voice star mike henry promo


I think The Cleveland Show is the first official spin-off from Emmy nominated Family Guy. As part of their promotion for the new show, they produced a quick vid on some of the show’s recording sessions with star Mike Henry.

three biggest lies – voice over edition


1. We loved your voice.

2. The check is in the mail.

3. This is a non paying gig but it may lead to one.

Did I forget any others?

“boom de ya da”


I’ll admit that I don’t watch a ton of TV. I don’t have time with the kids and there isn’t much that catches my fancy. There’s nothing wrong with people who do watch TV, it’s just a current lifestyle thing I guess.

But Sunday night the Discovery Channel was running a bunch of episodes of Cronkite Remembers episodes that I came across. It was very enjoyable.

But while watching the shows, I happened upon this network promo for Discovery which I see has been running for a while (me, again, always late to the party). I just thought it was brilliant.

It reminded me of the kind of smart, memorable network promos I haven’t seen since ABC-TV ran the “We’re the One” promos in the 70’s (featuring Ernie Anderson) and NBC ran the “Come Home” promos in the 80’s.

Maybe I’m still all about the jingle! Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

six pixels of separation by mitch joel

six pixels of separation_logo

I’ve met and conversed with Mitch Joel two or three times and not for about a year. So when I thought about writing the opening sentence to this blog as “My friend Mitch Joel has a new book coming out…” I stopped.

Mitch Joel is a very nice guy as far as I can tell but he and I aren’t friends; friendly certainly. Were time and place different, I think we could be friends– I don’t know. But today he likely wouldn’t know my name if he saw me nor does he know the names of my children or even that I have children; I’m absolutely cool with that. We all have business contacts like this.

But I wanted to say “friend” because ever since I met him at the very first Podcamp Toronto where we both presented, truly enjoying his great presentation on personal branding there and then subsequently as I watched the spotlight of social media and personal branding grow on him, I’ve quietly felt proud of him, like you would be of a friend. His blog posts and his insights on Twitter (he makes pretty good use of 140 characters) teach me a lot or at least make me think about things, much like a friend would.

I think that it boils down to Mitch’s overarching message that people need to communicate within social media as real people; we want real interaction – authenticity. Not some sales pitch…not the one way conversations that permeates so much of social media. Authenticity is Mitch’s on-line message for himself and its a key point of his new book, Six Pixels of Separation.

Enjoy this wonderful Twist Image video about Mitch’s book (courtesy of CC Chapman, who actually is a personal friend of Mitch Joel’s) and then please reserve your advanced copy of Mitch’s book.

a chastity belt for your computer


There were a couple of tweets today (and if you don’t know what that means, head straight to social media dungeon) that referenced password security. Most of us have to have a password to get us into easily two dozen sites.

But some folks are kind of lazy about it OR as I have found, some folks just don’t put that much thought in passwords and that, sincerely, is a bad thing

So for whatever its worth, here is an amalgamation of ideas for creating a really good password for your system. Nothing I suppose is foolproof but you should at least make the effort to lock your doors more securely within your online home.

> You have to use more than six (6) characters in your password and many folks say try eight (8). I saw I guy I know once type about four (4) characters in for a password; he and I had a chat about that!

> Use upper AND lowercase within your password

> You know those characters on the keyboard above the numbers? Integrate them into your password. An example might be if you had an “s” in your password, substitute the “$”. Or just include the symbol randomly…whatever works for your memory best

> One rule of thumb that I thought was pretty smart was do not use a word you can find in a dictionary as a password, it’s too easy for bad guys to run their software that rips through basic password options like that stuff much like a hot knife through butter

> Don’t use other easily remembered stuff like license plates, mother’s maiden name or pet names – the sort of password verification Q&A stuff that we’ve all filled out on sites in case we forget our passwords

> Stay on a regular schedule of changing passwords- doesn’t matter if you change the whole thing or only part of it. But do NOT write it down or share it with anyone

> You also shouldn’t save your passsword in any files on your computer (such as an email)

Now, there are many more qualified folks than me to give you insight into all this but these are some of the tricks I’ve learned. I hope they help you stay safe.