Bridging Two Worlds

A conversation about online media and what it means to your organization

Archive for March, 2009

U.S. Government Employees Can Access Social Media Sites

Posted by AHA Creative on March 31, 2009

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

I had a good friend from Toronto staying with me this past weekend. She works at a credit union was explaining that she can’t access the Internet at work. It seems that many organizations are still living in the “dark ages” when it comes to allowing staff access to their Internet. There appears to be some concern that people will “waste” too much time online or perhaps say something they shouldn’t…

U.S. government employees are now able to access social media sites at the office. If the highest offices are allowing staff access, other organizations need to rethink why they are banning access to staff, and revise their policies to reflect this new and interactive world.

Most people are quite reasonable and won’t abuse the access, and putting policies in place provides staff with an understanding of what is expected. For many organizations that “block” the Internet, I often wonder if they realize that staff have other ways of going online – Blackberries, Internet wireless sticks, etc. There are more opportunities than ever before to get around rules and regulations that seem unreasonable.

Posted in Demystifying Online Communications, Social Media | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Twitter for Business

Posted by AHA Creative on March 30, 2009

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

I saw the Chris Brogan blog post on 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business a few months ago. The post has been making its rounds on Twitter, and I came across it again over the weekend.  For those of you wondering how Twitter can work for your organization, this is definitely worth a read.

Posted in Demystifying Online Communications, Marketing Communications, Social Media | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

This Time is Mine

Posted by AHA Creative on March 27, 2009

Post by: Della Smith of QUAY Strategies

Check out Time Magazine‘s answer to the online world with their test of mine (and here in this Fast Company blog post). mine is a personalized magazine where you can select from some 56 categories of stories. It’s a creative attempt to stay current and use the concept of people’s choice. It’s hard to imagine how they will make it profitable, but I will be interested to follow this one.  

As someone who still loves magazines I give them full marks for effort.  Still, when I am in the mood for Vanity Fair, I am not in the mood for the Economist.  It is only open to U.S. residents or I would have signed up. Too bad about that since they are offering an online version.  Perhaps even more interesting is the one advertiser concept – I think we will see more on that front.  Lexus is the only advertiser.

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Worksafe BC Gets Twitter

Posted by AHA Creative on March 26, 2009

Post by: Della Smith of QUAY Strategies

Check out Worksafe BC on Twitter at  They seem to have captured the concept in the perfect way.  You can see events taking place, get information on what is currently happening and more.

Good on you Worksafe BC.  

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If A Mayor Tweets – Can His Staff Hear Him?

Posted by AHA Creative on March 25, 2009

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

One of the challenges of working as a communicator in today’s world of Twitter, blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, Facebook, YouTube and other social media tools is that some organizations haven’t kept pace with the new way of doing business and living life. Take, for example, the case of Toronto’s Mayor, David Miller. Mayor Miller is on Twitter, which is good for a politician. It allows him to reach out and be a part of an ongoing conversation with the good people of “Hog Town.” Unfortunately, depending what organization you work in—including the Mayor’s own office—you might not have access to Twitter. This means the Mayor isn’t reaching a large part of his stakeholder group.

The National Post has an article on the disconnect between Mayor Miller embracing the new opportunities to connect and the challenge that comes when employers block staff from accessing these new tools at work.

Times have changed and organizations need to realize that social media provides a great opportunity, rather than viewing it as a distraction or a fad that will go away. (News bulletin: It’s not going away!) Yes, there are some potential issues in providing staff with such freedoms, but there are ways to manage the risk involved (usage policy, for example).

Let’s just give a few examples (and I mean a few because there are lots) – The U.S. State Department, Homeland Security, The U.S. Airforce, The Office of the President, West Jet, RBC and The Hospital for Sick Children – are all on Twitter. Now, if these organizations can see the value, and manage the risk, don’t you think we should all be able to get past our misconceptions and fears?

Apparently though, the social media issue at Toronto’s City Hall goes deeper than who can use it. There is a discussion going about the value of social media. In fact Councillor Rob Ford even calls it “superficial.” Ford thinks social media is of no use in his or anyone on Council’s job and is quoted as saying, “I personally don’t know how [councillors’] staff has the time to be playing on Facebook.”

From the article, it seems that Ford’s is quite old fashioned. This head in the sand approach can be damaging to an organization. In the article, Ford is quoted as saying: “I don’t see how Facebook or Twitter can get your garbage picked up or your trees pruned or your potholes fixed.”  In fact, there are many applications of both Twitter and Facebook that could actually save the city time and money.

What if there was a Facebook page that showed the city’s potholes and offered a repair and maintenance schedule, and gave people the opportunity to let the city know of new potholes. Or perhaps Twitter could be used to listen—in real time—to the community. These tools could identify specific problems that could be dealt with immediately, giving the people of Toronto the sense that City Hall IS really working for them. Wouldn’t it be nice to have small issues easily and quickly dealt with BEFORE they turn into bigger problems.

If we look at social media within the context of how it can help our communications efforts and bring people together to discuss problems and challenges or to have a conversation about something specific, the value is clear. The challenge is getting people to open their minds to the potential. 

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What Are The Liabilities Online?

Posted by AHA Creative on March 24, 2009

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

I am often asked in workshops and when meeting with clients what the liability is online. There are challenges that accompany the opportunity to freely speak your mind to a potentially global audience. I read this article with interest. A California court has ruled that a dentist can pursue a lawsuit against the writer of a bad review on Yelp. Yelp is an online Web 2.0 company that operates a social network, user review and local search. According to stats, over 10.6 million people access this site each month putting it in the top 100 U.S. websites. A good review on Yelp brings people business, a bad review can hurt.

Apparently the dentist originally tried to sue Yelp, but the federal Communications Decency Act immunizes the site from libel lawsuits stemming from user comments.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this case.

Posted in Social Media, Things That Make You Go hmmm... | Leave a Comment »

Teaser Ad Worked

Posted by AHA Creative on March 24, 2009

Post by: Della Smith of QUAY Strategies

Did you check out the teaser ad that appeared in The Province newspaper on Sunday? “Your Community is in Crisis.” Find out why at

It is a plea from the United Way of the Lower Mainland, and a creative way to tell you they are short on funds.  Worked for me.  I actually thought it was referring to all the gang violence of late in our community.    

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An Example of Needing to Bridge Two Worlds

Posted by AHA Creative on March 23, 2009

Post by: Della Smith of QUAY Strategies

A friend of mine is buying Coach luggage for her daughter’s 19th birthday.  Since we were chatting about it, and I happened to be walking by the Coach store in Metrotown mall, I popped in to see if they had any luggage.  The lovely salesperson told me that if you find what you like online, they will bring it into the store for you.

Great idea but wouldn’t it have been even better if they had a computer in the store so they could take me to the site right then and there and get my order?  They didn’t know I was just window shopping for a friend.  Part of bridging two worlds is to make it super easy for the customer.

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How’s That Working For You?

Posted by AHA Creative on March 20, 2009

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

There is a great blog post, which I learned about via Twitter, about dead or dying PR tactics. I think that it’s well worth a read for a lot of reasons. There are a lot of great comments on this post as well, although it looked like it was mostly PR or communication types that were commenting on this. It would be interesting to hear from a reporter.

Another reason to read this is to have a real look at some of the PR tactics that are listed that you may still be using – maybe they are working for you, maybe not. One of the questions that I often get from clients is how do I find the time and resources for social media when I have so much to do as it is. If you look at this list and are honest with yourself, is there something here that you are spending precious resources on (time, money, energy and effort) that maybe isn’t providing the returns that it used to – but you are still doing it because you’ve always done it that way? Maybe that’s where you can find the time and other resources to focus on some social media tools…Just a thought.

I would be interested to hear what you think of this list – and what does or doesn’t work for you.


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Are You Listening?

Posted by AHA Creative on March 18, 2009

Post by: Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

There is a very interesting article in The Vancouver Sun today that cites a survey done by 6S Marketing. According to the survey, 61% of companies using social media are tracking what is being said about them while 39% don’t pay attention.

Social media is hitting critical mass – and as I mentioned in previous posts, one of the underlying themes at the Ragan Social Media Conference in Vegas last week was that social media is now a part of everyday life for the majority of people. My question is to that 39% not paying attention – why aren’t you? There may be conversations happening online at this very moment about your brand – don’t you want to know what is being said?

Every negative comment provides a chance to learn what your clients/customers/stakeholders/communities are thinking and saying about your organization and it allows you to understand their expectations and needs in an authentic way. There is so much to learn from what is being discussed openly and honestly online. It surprises me when I hear that some organizations and people aren’t listening. Active listening has always been one of the key tools in a communicator’s belt – so why not use this super powered tool that we have been given?  

Posted in Interesting, Marketing Communications, Social Media, What Were They Thinking? | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »