On vacation... sort of. For the past two days, I was at New Comm Forum in Santa Rosa, but other than that and checking email, I've been trying to enjoy our family vacation in San Diego. I have been posting pictures more or less regularly over at Snapshot Chronicles but posting here will continue to be light until next week.
I did interview Lori Dolginoff of Johnson & Johnson about Camp Baby last Wednesday and am trying to get that post written this week. The early part of next week is crazy -- isn't it always after vacation? -- but once I get clear, I have a lot of material in backlog, including the HP Photo Books case study, some of the principal points from the Improve this Pitch panel at BlogHer, some notes on the alumni panel at New Comm Forum this week, plus hopefully a 360 degree view of the Katie Couric-mom blogger visit in early April, an outreach that impressed me with both its simplicity and impact.
In the meantime, if you are really missing my deathless (deadly?) prose, I was interviewed by Industry Week about blogger relations earlier this month. Here's the article.
Finding Hope in Photos: Children and Uganda
cross-posted to Snapshot Chronicles
The background: Part of friendship is to say thank you. We decided to thank the bloggers who wrote about the contest by making a donation of an HP digital camera, compact photo printer and some supplies to a charity of their choice.We also decided to send the gear directly to the women, so they could have the pleasure of donating it personally to their favorite local charities.
Because the donation aspect was not promoted in advance, it was a bit of a surprise to the bloggers when they got the email offering them the gear, but none of them had any trouble thinking of a cause that meant something to them personally. They also all took the time to let us know what they planned to do with it, even though we didn't make it a requirement that they do so.
Tracey Clark's donation is going to war-torn Northern Uganda next month with Katie Gardner of San Diego.
Katie is part of a group connected with Children of the Nations. They will be spending three weeks working with children and families in the IDP (internally displaced people) camps. Some of the folks going will be doing counseling, but Katie and small group of four or five others will be doing photo projects with the children.
She told me that working with third-world children, giving them a chance to use photography as a creative outlet has been a dream of hers ever since she saw the documentary Born into Brothels which documents the lives of children who live in Calcutta's red-light district.
"When kids take pictures, they have a unique view. I'm really looking forward to helping these children experience the world in new ways through photography. I hope it gives them hope for the future."
Including the camera and compact printer donated by HP, Katie has two brand new digital cameras, two printers, a handful of used polaroid cameras and cash donations from friends and family to purchase supplies. They still need a scanner so they can scan in the polaroids and leave the originals with the children. If you'd like to help, drop Katie a note at email@example.com.
Katie thinks it's important that we hear and see the smaller stories from Africa and other third world nations, not just the larger than life efforts of celebrities like Madonna and Bono so she is developing a blog to document her Uganda trip. You'll also be reading more about Katie's project on Snapshot Chronicles and on Tracey's blog, Picture This.
Over the summer, Katie's kids in Uganda, Tracey's daughter Julia (age 9) in California,Â my son Douglas (age 7) here in Massachusetts and two friends of Katie's in San Diego, ages 7 and 9, will take pictures using some simple themes, including laughter, friends, sunshine and where I live. When Katie returns in August, we'll do a series of posts showing their worlds through their eyes. It should be interesting to see the differences and similarities between the American and Ugandan children.
Katie says she hopes these pictures will help Americans better understand what is happening in Uganda:
"Not only do I want the kids in Uganda to have a creative outlet to think about their lives in a new way, I want people back home to be transformed by seeing the world though these kids' eyes. And I want both sides to really see the potential for hope in places where people have been suffering for so many years. I want people back home to be moved to see how they can make a difference; and even if not in Africa, then how can we make a difference in our own backyard? I'm lucky enough to go overseas, but it's so easy to be the catalyst for change in our own families and neighborhoods when we allow ourselves to open our eyes to what's going on around the world."
Bon voyage, Katie.
Check out Invisible Children, another group that helps the children of Uganda.
Update, 27 June: Tracey's post Picture Hope
Sundance, New Communications Forum and BlogHer
Whew. The holidays are over, so we can get back to work. And sanity. I still have some thoughts to share on the "Microsoft Vista-Edelman-bloggers get PCs" brouhaha of last week, but haven't had time to pull it all together the way I'd like as a commentary, so stay tuned for that.
However, I realized this morning that I have a bit of blog housekeeping to do. A few events that I am involved with are approaching, some faster than others, and I haven't said much about them. Until today.
First, the Sundance Film Festival is coming up later this month, and once again I am helping HP with the Backstage at Sundance blog. The blog is just getting restarted with previews of the Festival and should be in full swing by the time Sundance starts on January 18th.
In March, I am speaking at two conferences. First, on March 8th, I'll be leading a session on Viral Marketing at the New Communications Forum in Las Vegas (March 7-9 at the Venetian). We still need case studies, good and bad, for the discussion, so if you are planning to attend, and have a project to share, there is plenty of room for one or two people to join us in the hot seats. Just email or call me.
Then at the end of March, I am doing a couple of things at BlogHer Business in New York City. On Thursday March 22, I'll be doing a blog case study interview with small business blogger Shirley Frazier and on Friday March 23, I'll be part of a session on blogger relations. And there is a whole lot more going on at the conference, so I urge you to check it out before early bird registration ends this month.
Light blogging til July 3rd
On vacation this week in lovely Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia so blogging will be light.
Back next week.
Grab Bag: Business Blogging in Wisconsin, World Water Day and Dr. Who
Last week was my trip to the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee to present my Business Blogging 101 Workshop (full day format) at the UWM School of Business Center for Technology Innovation. The hospitality of the faculty hosts was superb, the room was terrific and the audience totally engaged. I enjoyed most of my trip. Especially dinner at Mader's German restaurant the evening before the seminar. YUM.
The only bad part? And the reason why this blog has been silent all weekend, a time I normally post? Around two in the afternoon on Friday, I got really sick. Flu sick. The kind of sick where you want to curl up and die sick. I toughed it out and finished the seminar (a bit early) and dragged myself to the airport to wait for the flight home. But I was not a pretty sight, trust me. I didn't get home until midnight, and it took most of the weekend to get my equilibrium back. So I went 'net-less until I checked email late yesterday afternoon.
What did I do instead? Besides sleep you mean? I read an absolutely terrific book, Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. It's the legend of the Grail, but told from a female perspective, with dual storylines, one modern, one medieval. I highly recommend it. Think about it -- it was so good, I didn't miss my blog reading....
It must be a Grail period for me -- tomorrow we are going to see Spamalot. From the sublime to the sublimely ridiculous!
To a more serious matter: World Water Day, March 22, 2006. Brought to my attention by blog buddy Yvonne DiVita. Yvonne has always helped me get the word out about charities I have been involved with, and I am more than pleased to be able to return the favor, and for such a worthy cause to boot!
Some facts from WaterPartners International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping fight unsafe and inadequate water supplies.
- In 1992, the UN General Assembly designated March 22 as “World Water Day” to draw international attention to the critical lack of clean, safe drinking water worldwide.
- The Global water crisis is the leading cause of death and disease in the world, taking the lives of more than 14,000 people each day, 11,000 of whom are children under age 5.
- The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6 kilometers. More than 200 million hours are spent every day by women and girls walking to collect water from distant, often polluted sources—time that could be better spent on more productive endeavors such as work and school.
Why hasn't this problem been solved? Mostly because people just aren't aware of the crisis. Those with the money to help aren't touched by it. In the developed world, the biggest water shortage we typically face is whether we can water our lawns in the summer. We buy water at the store, to which we drive in our cars....
And with my most cynical hat on, it's about water, women and children, not oil and WMDs.... It just doesn't get the play, in our politics or our policy, that the more macho issues do.
So we need to make people aware. I urge you to check out the WaterPartners Web site. Their common-sense approach seems to be making a difference. Make a donation if you can. Blog about World Water Day. Help spread the word however you can. Even if you just tell one other person.
Because we can do without a lot of things in this world. Safe drinking water is NOT one of them.
And after you do a good thing, treat yourself to the new Dr. Who!!! Yes, the good doctor is back, in his 9th incarnation. The new series debuted last year on the BBC and now US viewers can see the episodes on Sci-Fi channel. Premiere was last Friday, with 2 episodes, Rose and The End of the World, but it's Sci-Fi -- if you (or your TIVO) missed it, the shows will repeat two or three times before the next new episode this Friday.
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Off to Hawaii
We are off to Hawaii tomorrow so blogging may be thin.
For the past week, I have been pushing hard on a web site for my client GuideMark. GuideMark provides CRM solutions to financial services organizations, and we just finished redoing their site to have more of a product and market focus: www.guidemark.com
When I return from vacation, I will be working on the sites for two other clients. Just call me the "Web Queen."
I'm also thinking about Web 2.0 -- whatever that is, and will definitely have some thoughts soonish.
Just a reminder post about the upcoming blogher conference in late July. Hope to see you there!
Been to Texas...
Posting has been light for the past week as I have once again gone "off grid." This time, we went to Austin, Texas for a family friend's Bar Mitzvah, and then took a couple of extra days to take our 5-year old son to SeaWorld San Antonio.
I brought the laptop in case something came up, but resisted the temptation to go online. :-) I do promise to get back into a regular posting schedule but in the meantime, should you be planning a trip to Austin/San Antonio, here are some of our highlights from this most recent trip.
San Antonio: At SeaWorld, if you can, Dine with Shamu. It gets you quite close to the whales for an extended period of time, but warning: it is NOT the show with all the feats of daring, so make sure you see the regular Shamu show as well. And touristy though it may be, you have to eat at a place on the Riverwalk at least once. People watching at its finest. Hotel: Marriott Riverwalk.
That's it for the travelogue. We will return to our regular marketing topics later this week.
And I will leave you with a quote from Davy Crockett. After losing re-election to the Congress in his native Tennessee, the 50-year old Crockett said:
"Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me, you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas."