Category Archives: words

Giving in to health: In support of taking sick days

sickdayI took a sick day for the first time in a while last week, and although being sick is never fun, it was one of the better decisions I’ve made made lately.

Many people refuse to take sick days, even when they’re entitled to them — and I’m usually one of them. But it’s foolish to go to work sick, underperform and just trudge home even sicker. But why do we do this to ourselves?

We hate to admit weakness. Our popular culture, especially sports, build up an image of strength in working through pain or illness. Michael Jordan’s legend includes gutting through the flu to score 38 points and lead his Bulls to a 1997 comeback playoff win. Or a limping Kirk Gibson coming off the bench to hit a winning homer for the L.A. Dodgers in the 1988 World Series. We are shown moments of ailing athletes and other coming through and our pride takes over. But perhaps one of our greatest weaknesses is not admitting to weakness.

The pursuit of productivity. I’ll admit membership in the cult of productivity, a need to keep things moving, meet goals, always feel like I’m accomplishing something. But you can’t be very productive when you’re sick, no matter how you try to block it out, so sometimes taking a break to recover and recharge is what produces real productivity.

We like to feel irreplaceable. Chances are we’re good at something we do and feel we can do it better than anybody else. We fall into the delusion that things can’t get done without us, which is simply poor management on our parts. We should all have other people who can do tasks when we’re not around. Because, let’s face it, history shows all human beings get replaced eventually.

And so we soldier on, through coughing and running noses and headaches and fevers and chills, not only exposing those around us to our germs but preventing us from getting better. But we need to swallow our pride, and our medicine and vitamins and tea and chicken soup and whatever, and take that sick day.

Here’s why:

Our bodies need it. The idea of getting better by working through, by showing our “strength,” is simply bunk. There’s a reason doctors have prescribed bed rest and fluids for the most basic maladies for millennia. If you keep trying to work through sickness, you prolong your illness, wear yourself down even more and even make yourself prone to additional ailments.

Our minds need it. When you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, your decision-making suffers. One of most valuable skills in the workplace is the ability to make good decisions — it suffuses everything we do — and trying to power through sickness detracts from this vital tool.

Our organizations need it. When you come to work sick and refuse to give up control of anything, the unwritten message is that you don’t trust your coworkers. True leaders instead take time to help others learn, groom them for increased responsibility and then give them opportunities to shine. If these opportunities come because you’re home in bed, then they are blessings in disguise.

>> I’m usually that stubborn guy who tries to muddle through the aches and pains, the sneezing, wheezing and coughing, but after trying to stave off something for days, last Wednesday after teaching evening class I came home and collapsed into bed. I realized the best solution was to give in and take care of my health. Taking Thursday off to recover and recharge made me ready to go and productive again on Friday. And since I’m incapable of being idle, I did spend part of my day off doing chores I normally have to shoehorn into whatever free out-of-work hours I can, which eventually relaxed me even more.

Admittedly, taking sick days off can be complicated by staffing, deadlines, projects and other life priorities. I know that for self-employed people a day without work is a day without income — but if you press pause so you can recover and return to do your best work, then you can look at it as an investment.

Every musical composition contains beats and rests. You can’t compose a symphony on all beats and no rests — the rests emphasize the beats — and you can’t live a fruitful life that way either. So when you’re tempted to work through a sick day even when you’re drained, think about taking a rest instead. The beat will go on.

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Why are colleges still writing press releases?

Everybody knows (well, I hope they do) that the dissemination of information and the news media themselves have changed immensely in the past few years. Today, colleges can reach large audiences for their stories, photos and videos via social media, while most of what were known as “print media” outlets have slashed editorial staff, cut back on publication dates and (in some places) evolve toward digital-first publication.

Against that backdrop, many colleges are still writing traditional press releases and not changing their view of how to generate and disseminate stories. But should they?

Two great sessions at the recent SUNYCUAD conference — Greg Kie’s “Why Are We Still Writing Press Releases?” and a panel presentation on “What’s Next for Local and Regional Media” hosted by Alexandra Jacobs Wilke — gave a fabulous and fascinating overview of this topic.

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The game has changed

The panel presentation, moderated by former higher education journalist Wilke now with SUNY Potsdam, featured Tim Farkas of Northern New York Newspapers; Ron Lombard of Time Warner Cable News; and Ellen Rocco, station manager for North Country Public Radio.

Their message was clear: They’re just not interested in getting buried in press releases. In fact, the more releases you sent, especially if they had little news value, the less likely some news orgs would even look at them in the busy, competitive news marketplace. Quality trumps quantity.

What do they want? News. Good stories. Things that will interest their audiences. But we (as communicators) need to facilitate this, not complicate it. We need to be more selective in what we send them, and focus on conveying relevant, interesting stories.

Lombard explained that news junkies still very much exist, but how and where they consume the news has changed. Farkas noted that the Watertown Daily Times has become digital-first and dedicates resources to getting its stories out to audiences via social media (do colleges follow their lead?). My favorite line from Rocco, whose operation has evolved from radio to media because young people don’t even have radios any more, was that “you don’t have to justify investing in new media” if your goals include younger audiences, because that’s where they are.

Instead of piles of press releases, they said, should focus on relationships and strategy: What do particular news outlets want? What don’t they want? If we have an outstanding feature story, they advised, consider personally reaching out and pitching it instead of burying it in an avalanche of releases.

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Think news, not press

Kie’s thought-provoking session drew on the SUNY Canton communicator and former journalist’s experiences as well as interviews with others. Ramming out releases loaded with marketing-speak and embellishment to meet marketing goals — but not news value — means more work for those editors, already drowning in releases, who may just let your releases sink into oblivion.

We should essentially, Kie says, write NEWS releases not PRESS releases, because the press is not our audience — readers are. We should be more selective in what we send and to whom we send it. We should avoid “cutesy leads,” Paul Riede of the Syracuse Media Group told Kie, and instead provide concise information and let media outlets decide what to do with it.

The edicts of Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” are still relevant: “Omit needless words” and “Eschew obfuscation.” Be concise and clear. Or to borrow a beautiful phrase I heard recently: Nobody cares how a clock works. They just care what time it is.

But Kie sees use for relevant news releases which, when they run in online publications that take our submissions, surface on Google News and may lead to more discovery. He cited “Why Bullies Thrive at Work,” penned by Kevin Manne at the University at Buffalo, that started as a news release on faculty research and found its way into Time magazine and the Wall Street Journal, the “Today” show and BBC Radio, among other places. Admittedly that story was very topical since bullying was much in the news at the time, but it also represented an actual news story told with clarity and relevance that found a large and willing audience.

Kie mentioned the leaked findings of the New York Times’ innovation report, and its implications that newsrooms need to consider websites and social media channels part of distribution. Your news stories on your .edu site (ours is considered a Google News source) and shared on Facebook and Twitter can reach web-savvy and socially active audiences as readily as they can appear in what we once called newspapers.

In the end, you want win-win situations. “When you can write the type of press release that is aligned with the news media’s own goals and needs,” Colin Matthews, CEO of readMedia, told Kie, “they’ll not only print the release but thank you for it.” Worth noting that readMedia, which started as a conduit for sending student hometown news releases (probably news with the highest publication rate of all), has set the pace by evolving into a company that provides hometowners that also get distributed via social media through the students themselves (who can also build online profiles) via their Merit tool — which dovetails with evolving definitions of media and information flow.

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Less noise, more strategy

If you’re in an office that spends more staff time cultivating, writing, editing and distributing news releases for no other reason than because “that’s what we’ve always done,” it’s time to re-evaluate things. If you put out a high volume of press releases without any discretion, all you’re doing is creating more work … and more noise. When you need to do less — especially because it’s crowding out opportunities to do work that will get a higher payoff with your audiences than that news release on page 22 of a local shopper that almost nobody will read — you could consider asking some questions to steer your writing priorities:

1. Does this support our strategic communication goals?
2. Does this serve a substantial audience?

All communication should have goals. When your time and resources are limited, you shouldn’t create a news release, a webpage or a social media account “just because” — these should all involve strategy.

Strategic communication goals can be viewed broadly or narrowly. For us, promoting academic reputation — which I loosely define as “showing why attending or working at Oswego can be awesome” — is key, so promoting student or faculty research is part of that, made easier when you can show relevance that the average person can understand. If we’re opening a new building or adding a new major, however, the bottom line is not the building or program itself (and definitely, imho, not a process story) but how it will benefit our students (provide better labs and opportunities, meet a professional need or niche).

The problem we all face is tradition, the many press releases that we’ve always sent just because somebody asked us to … that many media outlets don’t even want, let alone want to run.

Digital (r)evolution

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 10.34.50 PMAs Herbert Spenser and Charles Darwin posited back in the 19th century, those who will survive and thrive are those who best adapt. Just a few days ago, Amazon bowed to the changing marketplace by placing its Digital Music section (formerly CDs and MP3s) front and center and moving its CDs down the menu into a CDs and Vinyl submenu in Movies, Music and Games. Couple that with the aforementioned New York Times innovation report and you’d have to be either obstinate or incredibly nostalgic/romantic to not realize the future (or perhaps even the present) lives in the digital realm.

If media outlets are going digital-first, shouldn’t we? Are we creating online newsrooms that showcase our best or are we sending (often-unwanted) e-blasts to editors? Or are we somewhere in between?

But let me clarify: Telling great stories on our websites and getting positive media attention are not mutually exclusive. Stories of interest to our key audiences are, by definition, news. Every media outlet wants news, wants to share stories that move their readers. The more we clutter the streams with off-point releases, the less they will even try to see the diamonds when they emerge.

We also need to realize that news releases are just one possible method of storytelling. Our student-created and student-centered videos such as Head2Toe Health: Kevin Graham, Grad Student/Pro Wrestler (approaching 2,000 views) and Monotype Printing at SUNY Oswego (above 1,300 views and counting) reach bigger (and wider) audiences than if we had merely blasted them out as news releases — in large part because the video medium tells the stories better. Similarly, standalone posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can concisely and elegantly communicate better, quicker and more effectively — directly to key stakeholders — than pouring hours into a press release with little readership or relevance.

There’s no perfect answer to the question of why colleges still send news releases, or if they should, but it’s something we all ought to revisit and revise if possible. Our news should be, well, news and we should create stories welcomed by editors and readers alike, anywhere they want to find it.

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Don’t hate the player (Richard Sherman), hate the game.

Malcolm Smith.

That’s the name of the Seahawks linebacker who hustled downfield to make a heads-up interception that will send Seattle to its second Super Bowl™ ever. You won’t remember his name, because he didn’t do what Richard Sherman did.

Sherman, as most of the world knows by now, is the All-Pro cornerback who made an amazing mid-air adjustment to tip the ball to Smith. Then adjusted a lot of attitudes just after the game when Erin Andrews asked him a question and he went off with the kind of trash talk he brings every minute of every game. Just as much of the Twitterverse had hit “send” on a congratulatory tweet to the Seahawks, Sherman suddenly changed the conversation.

My Twitter feed was divided between immediate haters of Sherman and those who found his candor “refreshing” and about what you’d expect right after a ferocious game between two teams that hate each other.

The most naive reaction came from professional communicators who suggested somebody should get Sherman to media relations training. Sherman has a communication degree from Stanford. He knows what he’s doing. He knows this is how he gets famous. And if you knew Richard Sherman — and almost nobody does — you wouldn’t have been very surprised.

*****

umadbro

Courtesy of Richard Sherman Twitpic

I’ve been a Seahawks fan longer than probably the majority of my Facebook friends have been alive. I’ve seen ups and downs with this franchise — more downs than ups, many years in the NFL desert — so this win was beyond exciting. I was disappointed in Sherman’s behavior because it taints the moment of victory and turned many fans (with a shallow understanding of the team and the game) against them for the Super Bowl™.

Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the game. He led the league in interceptions, which is all the more amazing because quarterbacks so rarely throw his way. Sherman (correctly) noted that on the final play, the 49ers gambled by going at the Seahawks’ best defender. He has bravado, but he can back it up.

If you follow the Seahawks or are a hardcore football fan, you know this. If he played in New York, you’d know it. If he played among the East Coast media that sets our sporting agenda, you’d know it. But he plays up in the northwest corner of the country, where you have to do bold things to get attention.

He first gained notice when, after the rising Seahawks earned a surprising upset win over the Patriots last season, he tweeted a photo of himself and New England quarterback/media darling Tom Brady with a caption “U mad bro?” The sports establishment that reveres Brady was aghast some upstart would do such a thing, people with actual senses of humor found it funny, and soon enough the sports world returned to ignoring Seattle and its mouthy cornerback.

The Seahawks and the 49ers hate each other with a passion. The Seattle secondary and San Francisco receivers trash talk and taunt more than most, so it’s not surprising that Sherman and Michael Crabtree, the receiver he tipped the ball away from and ripped in his postgame interview, despise each other. The NFL likely will fine Sherman for his comments (probably less than the $50,000 they docked teammate Marshawn Lynch for not talking to the media) while realizing the swagger he brings and the rivalry between the two young teams will bring the league riches beyond belief.

*****

Russell Wilson is the kind of player coaches and PR staff dream about. In just his second year in the NFL, the humble Seahawk most believed too small to play his position in the league is now a franchise quarterback for a Super Bowl™-bound team. He says everything you’d want in his interviews about hard work and teammates and respect for opponents. He makes plays with his head, his legs and his arm. Wilson is known as the first player to show up for practice and the last to leave. Wilson’s face lights up when he tells heartwarming tales of visits to children’s hospitals, and how much he admires the brave young people he meets.

Russell Wilson is everything we say we want in our heroes.

So he’ll never be as famous as Richard Sherman.

*****

Fortune favors the brave. That line has been written many times about the Seahawks (mainly in Seattle, of course, because outside media barely paid attention to them until recently). Coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider built the Seahawks from also-rans to Super Bowl™ contenders in a few short years by taking lots of risks and creating a competitive atmosphere. They took risks on quarterbacks deemed too short, cornerbacks deemed too big, defensive lineman considered too small, and found a way to win. Mel Kiper and the shellacked-hair draft analysts who make a living pricing young players as if they are sides of beef, routinely give the Seahawks low grades in their drafts … but Wilson (third round), Sherman (fifth round) and others Kiper and others derided are among the best at their position, and undrafted free agent Doug Baldwin made a number of game-changing plays on Saturday.

Deciding to go for it on fourth down — where Wilson rifled a pass to another undrafted free agent receiver, Jermaine Kearse, for the go-ahead score — is the kind of thing most observers applaud … when it works. On the field, Sherman deflecting the pass to Smith to seal the Seahawks win and trip to the big game is something fans cheer.

But when the athletes we venerate for on-field bravado do something other than act as corporate spokespeople, the world acts with disgust. Fans tweet their dissatisfaction, not realizing they are merely making the target of their anger more famous and more ripe for several endorsement deals.

Richard Sherman knows this. Football is not the only game he plays better than almost anybody else. Russell Wilson can still become famous, and deserves to. Malcolm Smith can still become a prized football player. But only Richard Sherman has become the most talked-about athlete on the planet.

UPDATE: Sherman explains himself and his comments in a Monday Morning Quarterback column for Sports Illustrated. If you’re interested in knowing how he really is, it’s well worth a read.

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Stop “e-blasting.” Start communicating.

Of all the tired and tiresome phrases showing how we misunderstand, disunderstand or disregard our audience, the phrase “e-blast” probably tops (bottoms?) the list. I’ll hear people say “we’re going to send an e-mail blast” or “let’s do an e-blast” and I wonder … that doesn’t sound very respectful or considerate of our audience, does it?

If we Google the definition, it basically describes an act of violence:

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Do we want to create “a destructive wave” toward our audiences? Are we admitting that what we send is just “a strong gust of air”? (Maybe this is more applicable than some realize.) Or we trying to “blow up or break apart” valued customers? Are our e-blasts indeed “a loud continuous … noise” that leaves our audience “expressing annoyance”?

You’re not blasting your audiences — you’re communicating with them. At least if you really care about your audience. And you should. Every day we are bombarded with messages, often via emails, and it may be clear when we feel like we’re being “blasted” and when somebody is actually trying to communicate with us. In addition, so much professional communication isn’t one-way any more — you want to create a connection, a dialogue, a beneficial relationship. You shouldn’t want to blast everyone unfortunate enough to be on your email list. We’re all busy enough without having to deal with misdirected emails — I get everything from people selling fundraising tips to lab animals (!) — and you should respect that time is a very precious resource.

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 12.07.02 PMSo all credit to people like my friend Leah Landry at WRVO who stand up to say “no” to this phrase. We all should.

“Why is this important?” you may ask. The phrase “e-blast” or “e-mail blast” is symptomatic of a mindset that communication tools are weapons more than they are interactive channels. We’ve all seen the Facebook pages that are just compendia of brutal copy-and-paste listings, the Twitter accounts that just tweet but never reply or retweet or otherwise engage.

I don’t think of social media as a megaphone, but as a potluck party. Yes, a party … where we all gather, bring what we have to the table, share and learn and nourish ourselves. And along the way, we all help each other, everybody gets fed and life is a little better. There’s no place for blasting … only for conversation, sharing and enlightenment. Isn’t that how we should live in the first place?

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‘Copper’ + Iron & Wine = how you nail a promo.

With so many boring, forgettable and lookalike TV ads, it’s rare that one just grabs me and makes me not only want to pay attention, but delve into its world. So I was exceedingly pleased when this promo for the BBC America show “Copper” (with excellent placement during extremely popular “Doctor Who”) captured my fancy:

As arresting (pardon the pun) as its visuals are, the song selection jumps out as perfect and haunting. That’s Iron & Wine doing a gorgeous cover of Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More,” a parlor song from the mid-19th century — the time where “Copper” is set in New York City’s teeming, tussling and corrupt Five Points neighborhood. Sam Beam’s voice and the lyrics craft a simultaneously mournful and hopeful tapestry, depicting a time when the country was divided and bloodied in the Civil War and yearning for a light at the end of the tunnel. (The song is also building buzz in the music press.)

The visuals themselves are unforgettable: The cinematography, gritty and compelling, paints the series perfectly. From the scenes, you get just a hint of what’s going on, not too much but enough that you want to learn more. It helps that it’s teasing a series rich in character, plot and action.In class I talk about the importance of calls to action, and whether content we see moves us to do something. Well, this is what this spot has done:

  • I started watching “Copper.” The first season is available on Netflix, and it’s stirring entertainment. It’s not cheerful, for sure, but it is cinematic in scope and extremely compelling. This promo teases the second season, coming this summer, but gives the world that missed the first season time to get up to speed.
  • I wanted a copy of the song. Alas, in searching for a copy of this beautiful recording, I learned Iron & Wine has not yet made it commercially available. I’d buy a copy in a heartbeat. But in the meantime, I searched through Amazon and listened to many, many versions. I ended up downloading The Chieftains cover of the song, which closes with a minute of bagpipes (which is awesome). Here’s hoping Beam makes a version of this available soon to capitalize on the attention.

Normally I say that a TV spot should include multiple mentions of its product (audio and video) to be more effective, but for outstanding examples you throw the rules out the window. This promo grabs you for its full minute, pulls you into its enthralling world, and leaves you wanting more. I love it. And it’s already moved me to action in two directions. That, then, makes it very successful.

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When unicorns fight bears, we all win: Book(s) on Business of Awesome/Unawesome reviewed

Businesses and organizations have opportunities to be awesome and spread awesome in person and on the Internet every day. Businesses and organizations also have opportunities to be unawesome and spread unawesome in person and on the Internet every day. Fortunately, author/blogger/speaker Scott Stratten (aka Unmarketing) has these phenomena more than covered with his must-read two-headed book, The Business of Awesome/The Business of UnAwesome.

It’s two books in one, unflinchingly honest and unstoppably funny, but it makes one unifying point: How much you care about your customers says far more about your brand than anything else. We’ve all had good customer service and bad customer service, and these experiences linger with us long after we remember our purchase, our meal or our stay.

The Business of UnAwesome side chronicles the many awful things companies do in customer service, marketing and social media. The misguided case of the unfortunately named Boners BBQ, which assailed a customer via social media for her even-handed review (and incorrectly claimed she didn’t leave a tip). Using social media to blast information but never respond to questions. Unbelievably awful marketing gimmicks. Lavishing gifts on new customers while ignoring your loyal customers. Poor use of QR codes. So many truly terrible things somehow conveyed with great entertainment.

If that side says beware the trolls, the Business of Awesome side asks you to embrace the unicorns. Stratten repeats the beautiful story he told at #pseweb about how one man’s heartfelt apology saved his whole view of Hilton Hotels. Even awesome people and businesses make mistakes, but he shows how they make things right. Stratten lovingly details customer service that brings a smile instead of a frown, social brands that make loving them fun, small gestures that make huge impressions, companies that don’t take themselves too seriously but are very serious about pleasing their customers.

A unicorn boxing a bear, or why Chad Frierson from Austin's Pizza is awesome.

A unicorn boxing a bear, or why Chad Frierson from Austin’s Pizza is awesome.

He saves perhaps the greatest example for last: John, a customer who placed an online pizza order and added a small, silly request in the comment field, “Please draw a unicorn fighting a bear on the box.” Chad Frierson from Austin Pizza’s Call Center took the order and knew it wasn’t something the stores were equipped to do. So he drew a picture of a unicorn boxing a bear on a Post-It and sent along with a nice explanatory note ending with “I hope this suits your needs.”

“Needless to say this is the greatest thing of all time,” Stratten worte. “John uploaded the picture to display its awesomeness, which then went viral and was seen by millions of people. This story reigns supreme over all others, not just because it includes a unicorn, although that certainly helps. This was done by somebody in a frontline position with seemingly little autonomy, at no cost to the company, in an industry not known for being mind-blowing. It was done with immediacy and personality, without focus groups or a meeting beforehand. … He simply decided that unawesome is unacceptable, saw the window and acted on the awesome …”

If you’ve enjoyed perusing Stratten’s @unmarketing Twitter feed, checking out his blog or seeing him speak live, you’ll love this book. If you haven’t, yet you work in social media management and/or customer service, you really should catch up on his awesome work.

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The branding of blizzards and the commodification of catastrophe.

In the media swirl around Winter Storm Nemo, many wondered why blizzards suddenly had names, like hurricanes have. Simple: It’s part of a new branding strategy by the Weather Channel. We have names like Nemo because it’s all about the Benjamins.

Weather Channel’s rationale behind the branding, er, naming of storms speaks volumes. Extracts follow:

Hurricanes and tropical storms have been given names since the 1940s. … Important dividends have resulted from attaching names to these storms:

  • Naming a storm raises awareness.
  • Attaching a name makes it much easier to follow a weather system’s progress.
  • A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own, which adds to awareness.
  • In today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
  • A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future. …

Finally, it might even be fun and entertaining and that in itself should breed interest from our viewing public and our digital users. [Emphasis mine.] For all of these reasons, the time is right to introduce this concept for the winter season of 2012-13.

In this lesson on branding 101, the most important bit is that “should breed interest from our viewing public and our digital users” part. Translation: Branding storms will raise ratings and readership, which means higher revenues. Getting attention for your business is much easier when you have a well-defined and memorable brand, and storms are no exception. This comes, after all, from the media company that brought us the “See Friends at Risk in Severe Weather” feature. (And who finds a storm bearing down on them “fun and entertaining”?)

Video blogger Ze Frank nailed this years ago when he did an episode of The Show on branding: [F]or a brand to be successful, its emotional aftertaste has to be stronger than the more general brands that are associated with it. Your grandma, unless your grandma is Grandma Moses, isn’t as strong as the general brand “grandma.” But “grandma” is a stronger brand than the more general brand “old people.”

And “Nemo” is a stronger brand than “winter storm.” It’s easier to sell a weather disaster with a name, especially a cute one with a pop culture reference. Calling it Nemo launched a million “finding Nemo” and “just keep swimming” references and related memes. What about reasoned discourse over this storm? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

aintnobody

Branding storms and creating added media attention also help spread one more thing: Panic. With Nemo, like Sandy this summer, the Twitterverse filled with tweets in the order of “[College hundreds of miles away from us] cancelled classes. Why won’t my school? Don’t they care about our safety?” When you’re hoping for the shared experience of the brand Nemo, little things like geography and meteorological factors are less relevant than the feeling of being left out. Lining up for the sequel to Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, it’s as if, to paraphrase Death Cab for Cutie, the world was flat like the old days and storms can travel just by folding a map. (Disclaimer: I never fault my college or any institution for closing in the name of safety. Ever.)

Perhaps one positive offshoot could be a return to hyperlocal coverage with the volume turned down on hype. When he gave a revised and reasoned forecast on Nemo late Thursday, 9WSYR meteorologist (and SUNY Oswego alum) Dave Longley had a rather remarkable statement on his Facebook page:

I NEVER write a forecast for ratings or what I think people want to hear. I write a forecast based on the information that is presented and how it might impact CNY. I put everything into each and every forecast and I live each forecast to the end. That is my commitment to you the viewer and me as a scientist.

This, then, is where the Dave Longleys and the scientists of the world diverge from the Weather Channel, which is selling branded infotainment. Seems like it’s only a matter of time until “I Found Nemo” T-shirts crop up in their online store.

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