Perception Is Reality

Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

(This is a guest post by Scott that continues from June 29th)

After they had charged about 25-30 feet, they stopped and held the line. The crowd started signing ‘Oh Canada’ and sat down in the road to protest the charge. What happened next, made me want to stand up and fight. As soon as we were done singing, the police charged at us again. Some of them even used their shields as offensive weapons. Theres a difference between using a riot shield as a tool for crowd control, and using it as a battering ram.

The following is a guest post by my friend, Scott Young. Please note: the material is emotionally charged.


My weekend started out just like a lot of other Torontonian’s. Stay as far away from downtown as I possibly could. But as the weekend wore on, the news reports came in on what was happening down there. I knew that this was history and I knew that I would never be apart of anything like this again. So I charged up the phone and headed downtown.

Hi, friends!

Summer’s nearly in full bloom and many of us will have a little extra time to spare. If you haven’t found a job or an internship, fret not. This is an opportune time to prepare yourself even further for the next best opportunity. If anything, it’s a great time to improve your personal knowledge. So here’s 5 ways to what I call, PPP (Personal and Professional Progress).

1. Watch a TED video

Many of you know of  TED. In their own words, they are ideas worth spreading. Watch at least one video a week. You will learn something knew. And the remaining 6 days will allow  you to internalize what you have learned. Make an active effort to think about the implications of the ideas that are discussed.

Recommend,Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense.”

2. Follow a Tweet Chat

I’m a big advocate of twitter. I have only recently begun using it, and already I have gained significant benefit from it. To gain the most benefit, follow a tweet chat. It’s where people with like minded interests come together and interact. Try to follow at least one, but no more than three. Don’t overwhelm yourself with an excess of information. Steady flow of information is good for you to be able to process it. This isn’t a race.

Recommend, #PRStudChat. Also follow #HAPPO (or #HappoCAN if you’re in Canada).

3. Volunteer

Giving of your money is generous. It’s wonderful! Keep doing it. But giving your time and knowledge is greater. This summer, participate in at least one charity event. Whether its a walk, a hike, or otherwise. Volunteer your skills and experience to the cause.

Recommend, World Partnership Walk in Montreal on the 6th of June, 2010.

4. Meet with old friends

It’s important to have a good time. To go back to those roots which at one time refreshed and rejuvenated you. There are high chances that you will recall those emotions and feelings of joy and contentment connecting back. This will definitely allow you to view things with a rekindled perspective. Equally importantly, the old friends that you meet might be your lead in to the industry you want to work in. They will not only be your gateway to goodness past, but also your progressive future. Follow up.

Recommends, A day long excursion at the Old Port in Montreal and/or a barbecue atop Mont Royal.

5. Treat yourself to solitude.

Some people call this meditation. Spending time alone with yourself in an active manner is necessary for an even healthier progress. The best communicators to respond effectively are the best listeners. Listen to your body and to your spirit. You will be armed with knowledge and will be able to respond appropriately. It is also good for your physical body. Furthermore, it is good to build patience, concentration, and persistence.

Recommends, a minimum of 15 minutes daily learning to relax your body by mentally stating to each body part to relax. Follow this with any visualization of achieving a personal or professional goal. Always imagine the goal in the here and now. Something done is better than something in the process of being done.

Do these things and you’re one step closer to self-actualization.

Al Gore was referring to accomplishing the Millenium Development Goals in the recent Montreal Millennium Summit whose slogan was Learn, Talk, Act.

And it was through learning, talking, and consequently acting, that we will be able to accomplish the eradication of global poverty, and move towards a society of an all-inclusive global economic upliftment.

“People sometimes don’t like to hear it described this way, but ladies and gentlemen, this is a moral issue. It is a challenge to our understand of who we are as human beings,” Gore said addressing the question on many people’s minds: why should we care?

Why Should We Care?

As Canadians, the question isn’t why should we care, but rather, why do we care. There are thousands of Canadians who join hands day in and day out to keep the momentum building, to make sure that we make a difference within our lifetimes: a difference that is sustainable, and long-term. And we have seen this difference: about 50% of people previously living in extreme poverty, have made their way up. Change is sometimes slow, but evident. It is an irrefutable fact, that as Canadians, we have brought hope to tens of millions of people.

“Shared Sense of Common Purpose”

“How did you rise to solve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?” the future generations will ask of us, said Al Gore. He was referring to this evident change and accomplishment that we have achieved, and continue to achieve.

“I want part of the answer to be that on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in Montreal in the Palais, men and women from all over came together to lift the struggle against extreme poverty…and rally the forces of conscience and common sense.”

How You Can Keep The Momentum Building

It’s being done. Right before our eyes. And we are doing it.

Learn about the issue. Go to the World Partnership Walk website and learn about the issue. But more importantly, learn about how these issues are being overcome, and how you (yes, you) have played a major role in bringing an end to extreme poverty.

Talk about the progress. Those days are long gone when people could talk about problems inconsolably. We are now in the era where we can be confident about our abilities and future as a collective global village. Because we truly are a global village. Share your personal stories of hope and change with your friends, and invite them to participate and learn about the World Partnership Walk. Also follow the Twitter hashtag, #WPW

Act in any way that is possible. Sign up for the World Partnership Walk (Montreal has an exclusive, fully-functional, bi-lingual portal) as a fund raiser, an ambassador, a volunteer. Sign up on a team that already exists, or create your own. Take the leadership position. Donate any amount that you can, and ask your friends and family too. If someone can’t donate, ask them to donate collectively as a Family. Remember, 100% of the funds raised go to the development work, and you get tax receipts.

Because Canadians Can!

Pete Codella, of Codella Marketing has an interesting video up on MyRaganTV about online newsrooms:

What Every Media Site Should Have

I am a very strong advocate of online newsrooms and I understand that generally having a presence online is one of the best things you can do. Why is this? Well, One of the reasons is that it costs close to nothing to build your brand online, specially with free social media services. This is especially great for students attempting to stand out for prospective employers.

There’s many other reasons that Pete Codella himself highlights in the video as benefits of having an online presence, and no wonder he has a successful, unique service, called NewsCactus. Just look at what NewsCactus clients are saying (navigate the website, as you learn more about the service).

However, there’s some things I disagree with. For one, Codella says,

“the more baskets your information is in, the more opportunities you have to rank high…”

It’s marvelous if a company can put its eggs in multiple baskets. But it only works when the company has enough eggs to show. More baskets mean less eggs per basket, and the less visible they are.

If a company uses all the social media and uses their website or other online presence as a center point of consolidation, this is good. But there are two issues that one must take into account:

  1. Can you keep up with the need to constantly update your various presences with relevant information?
  2. Is it feasible, or even necessary? In other words, do you have a following, or a target market that you can reach by expanding across the multiple networks.

It should go without saying, that a company must build its multiple networks one by one (or simultaneously if it is affordable, and meets the conditions mentioned above.

It is a really progressive idea to get involved in all facets and be everywhere, but in a situation of crisis, it may become much more unmanageable.

A simple example is the very prominent Australian bank, BankWest. BankWest has multiple YouTube accounts. EverydayOlympics has been stagnant for over a year now, and HappyBanking has been quiet for an equally long time. This is the same with their Twitter account.

The idea is, if it doesn’t need to be done, don’t do it. It’s Ockham’s Razor of sorts. And while I admire Pete Codella’s unique online newsroom service, I believe that being ubiquitous doesn’t work all the time.

Recently, I gave a 5 minute talk, a call-to-action about the World Partnership Walk in McGill University to some 50 students and several other adults. When I was writing down what I was going to say, my heart started beating fast.

It was because for the first time that I’ve told a story, It meant something to me. It was about empowerment. It was about hope, and about confidence in the future. It was about the generosity and leadership.

For the first time, I realized that I could speak about the positive side of international development and refrain from using words like “poverty” and emotional blackmailing. Because, truly, in the 25 years (going on 26) that the World Partnership Walk has been around, Canadians have shown nothing but proactive, meritocratic involvement in the issue.

So, this is what I spoke to. Canadian values, and the results. I went straight to the specific examples, down to the names and the work that was done. The story I told was of Kokilaben from a village in Gujarat, and how Canadians had empowered them to ask questions about their future and make choices about what was important to them. I saw many smiling faces, and many nods.

While I wish I had water before stepping up, I didn’t get a chance. I’m never one to be frightened by large audiences and I remember being on stage since I was at least 4 years old. That’s a long way back, and quite a good memory to have.

But, for the first time in years I was nervous, because I was going to make myself vulnerable to my audience about how I felt. My passion about the walk. In hindsight, it served as a wonderful reminder about Kokilaben’s story.

The challenge was then to talk enough to make a personal connection, but not too much to make it a sap story. The time limit was 4 minutes. I wanted to get across key messages of the Walk that my audience could relate to, doing it in a setting that did not allow for interaction. Yet again, a reminder that those less fortunate don’t always have a voice.

I ended the speech by telling my audience why I walk. They were the reason why I walk.

After you have reviewed the World Partnership Walk website, please sponsor me. 100% of your donations go to the development work. Not a cent goes to admin costs.

Bridges That Unite is coming to Montreal this 7th March. Please come to see where your funds are going. This is an immersive, interactive, and inspiring exhibition. See where your donations are going. For more information, please look at the official Bridges That Unite website.

The SeaWorld crisis has been upon us for several days now. In an article in the Orlando Sentinel, Beth Kassab spoke of the risks corporations face in using social media. It is no surprise that there have been many issues with twitter in particular, most recently and notably, the @HJ_Heinz case.

I went to the SeaWorld Blogs website, and saw this very well done video:

I sent an email following this to Kassab, sharing my two cents which I would like to share with the rest of Twitter.

The Direct Cinema/Verite Approach

The video had an authentic, home-made tribute feel to it. It also reminded the audience that the majestic whales are, after all, family.

Closure, Closure, Closure

What they could’ve done better is provide details on the safety lapse: it is not sufficient to acknowledge that a problem exists, but to identify it (without risking reputation), and provide closure. This is, I believe, a better way of managing the post-crisis.

A Whale for a Human Leaves SeaWorld Sad

A death shouldn’t be compensated with another death. In this case, @Shamu shouldn’t die after Dawn, which I believe adds more to the grief, even if it is temporary. This could’ve been turned around in a clever way, by having Shamu speak on behalf of his school of whales. This, of course, could tilt either way, and it would have to be a very carefully crafted message.

What is one good thing and one thing to be improved upon  for the crisis, and post-crisis communication on part of SeaWorld PR?


About the Author…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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