Tag Archives: fucking up

How Not To Do Social Media: The Rock 101 Way

In a parallel universe, I’d love a career in radio. Unfortunately, the way things are going, it seems like some of the folks running radio stations don’t have a clue about how to survive in a New Media World, and who knows if Radio As It Is will continue well into the future.

Especially if folks like Vancouver’s Rock 101 keep fucking up the new media mix.

Being a part of the Corus Radio Network, I suspect the aging rock station’s social media work is being done by Jumpwire Media, who aren’t from Vancouver, but I’m not sure, and investigating that just isn’t important to me. So, let’s be clear that I’m unclear on who the Social Media Moron is in this scenario, but we’ll let their tweets do the talking.

So, about three weeks ago, I check my Twitter stream and there’s all this NOISE there. Seems someone has the CUTTING-EDGE GENIUS idea to try and boost their listening audience through Twitter, because suddenly there’s all these awful [ON AIR NOW] tweets from Rock 101.

Their Brainchild? Tweet EVERY SINGLE SONG played by the station. Every single song. And each song tweeted had no value added trivia or factoid, just the song and artist.

Even more awesome: The autofeed wasn’t working, so you’d get the song title partly cut off, like in the hilarious instance of [ON AIR NOW] Reilly, The Who. I asked if that was a song about Baba O’Reilly’s more conservative cousin, with less guitar. That took 2 or 3 days to fix, with hundreds of spammy tweets preceeding the fix.

And, like the rocket scientists they are, Rock 101 decided to be even more douchey by using the #Vancouver hashtag in every tweet, which one should use for interesting local content, not just wanking off for business purposes. When I called them out on that, their reply was that “lots of spam uses the #Vancouver hashtag already.”

Oh, so now you ADMIT you’re spamming me. That’s pretty awesome. Go, you!

During all this, I was vocally pissed about their “new” use of Twitter, and said much in public to my followers, while always using the @ClassicRock101 tag. This led me to having some private direct message conversations with whoever was behind the Twitter account too.

When they asked about another idea they had in the hopper — that of unfollowing the 2,000+ followers they had, choosing a “select” 101 accounts to follow — I replied as you see in the included screen shot here, but what I really wanted to say was that’s fucking elitist and dumb.

Why? Because they’re supposed to be a ROCK station. Rock’n’Roll was about telling THE MAN to FUCK OFF. Rock’n’Roll was about challenging long-held societal ideas, speaking out, getting involved, snubbing the system, and being your own man. Rock’n’Roll was Grace Slick singing about red pills that make you small. Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.

Unfortunately, Rock 101 has decided to BE THE MAN and forget the little people, and this Fucking Dumb Idea is now their modus operandi, as they’re following the world’s most baffling 101 people, from Axl Rose to a couple little local bloggers. Apparently their fix was to “list” all their followers, but most Twitter users don’t even use lists or think they’re relevant.

Rock 101 have stopped their made-of-fail “ON AIR NOW” attempts, largely due to most people being pissed off about it (thank god). They’re full-steam-ahead on the Following 101 Not-So-Movers-Or-Shakers. And the result? They’ve lost 100+ followers in a couple weeks.

Here’s the thing.

Twitter is about engaging, not putting up walls.

I’m a personal tweeter. I’m not in it for the money or the glory, so I don’t follow everyone back and I really don’t give a shit what you think about my tweet stream — whether I’m swearing or angsty or goofy or what — because the minute I start caring about your thoughts is the minute it becomes a drag for me. When I start to please the people I would normally not attract, I start being less authentic, and set myself up for mass unfollows in the future.

In fact, when I become a Happy, Well-Balanced Tweeter, I attract more people that I know will unfollow me when I’m “myself.” And when I finally get bitchy and do a mega-rant, I get affectionate tweets from people who’ve followed me for a long time, saying they’ve missed my angst. Those are the people I want to keep around because they like me at my most uncensored, and that should be what it’s about.

But when it’s a radio station, your job is to address your audience, be relevant, have interesting content, and to engage. You’re not there masturbating. You have a chance to actually LISTEN to the audience you’re trying to make money from, and what do you do? You don’t follow them. Worse, you UNfollow them. Genius!

When Rock 101 asked me what I thought they should be doing, I said:

Be edgy. Have interesting rock trivia. Don’t kiss celebrity ass. Embrace the lack of CRTC regulations and SWEAR some. Establish that you ARE rock’n’roll, not just some corporate sell-out station that plays music from the ’70s. I’ve included a screenshot of some of what I’ve said.

And, when I said “be edgy,” I didn’t mean to have typos and improper capitalization, Rock 101.

Radio needs to get the internet right. If radio today wants to exist tomorrow, they need to figure the web out.

I find that The CBC and News 1130 Radio are two accounts getting it right when it comes to radio. The CBC itself, not so much, but their personalities, whether it’s radio reporter @TheresaLalonde or the On The Coast man himself @CBCStephenQuinn, really announce their content ahead of time, engage their audiences, and keep their Twitter accounts very relevant as a personal way of getting to know the big network. As for News 1130 Radio, I’d say it’s much the same — their reporters are all very engaged and present. The station itself retweets followers and follows 60% of those who follow them, they always announce who’s at the news desk, they reply to comments, and they’re just plugged in. As far as both these examples are concerned, they believe Twitter’s a valuable part of their audience. News 1130 even held one of the best tweetups I’ve attended, and that’s a great way to thank your audience.

When it comes to media today, they have a chance to listen to real people and engage with their public. Want to be successful? Do that. Listen, engage, make people feel heard.

When someone like Rock 101 comes along and thinks, “Hey, fuck the 2,500 people we’ve been following, let’s whittle that down to 101, let’s broadcast everything the station’s doing, literally, and let’s start being newsy,” they can’t be surprised when their following starts dwindling, and when the few who stick around really aren’t dialed in.

Unfortunately, Rock 101 has no idea who they are. They’re tweeting news about lattes, traffic, and other silly things that I would be turning to other sources for, not a rock station. And, judging by the corporate approach on Twitter, they’re not even much of a rock station anymore.

Rule Number 1 in social media, man: Know who you are.

Rule Number 2: Know who you want to engage.

Both counts, Rock 101? You fail. Better luck next time, kids.

Note: During the simple hour it’s taken to write this post, Rock 101 has lost 2 more followers. Now that’s a social media strategy with results… just not the results they want.

The School of Fucking Up

I’ve been internally celebrating something I like to call The End of Fucking Up for about a week. Ironically, it’s coincided with more fucking up. Que sera sera, like the man sings.

Mistakes happen. That’s life. Growing from them, that’s smart. Repeating them, that’s dumb. I don’t tend to repeat mistakes. I may attempt, you know, a variation on a theme, as it were, but seldom do I duplicate it flat-out.

Turns out technique is everything.

From May of last year to June of this year, it’s been sort of The Lost Year for me. It’s been a time of being unsure of what I really wanted from life, and understanding that I wouldn’t get where I needed to go unless I could at least put a name and voice to that wish.

Mm-kay. Explain, please?

I think most of us are raised with the “find something you can live with doing” mentality about getting a job. You know, do what it takes to get by, and that’s that.

I wasn’t raised with the notion that dreams came true for everyone. I was taught you picked a career you were suited for, that you didn’t suit up for dreams. I wasn’t taught to pursue whatever I wanted because I “had” what it took — it was implied luck played more than hard work sometimes did. Confidence wasn’t a big thing in my household, for any of us.

And that sucks, but I’m far from the exception in that upbringing. Most of us were raised with the belief that we’d have a career, we’d have a house, and somewhere in there would be life, and it’d look a lot like the “life” other people had, too.

The older I get, the more I realize I can’t do the square-peg-square-hole-equals-career thingie.

I can’t just do the “it’s a job, it pays the rent” dealio. I’ve been trying on different writerly “hats” to see what feels right and the answer has been none of them, not really, not yet.

Stupid is As Stupid Does

From writing to life, the last year, for its scores of challenges, has probably been the hardest but also the most educational I’ve lived. There are lessons I’ve learned in the recent months that I hope I never forget, things I’m stunned I never really understood before now.

I believe there are eras that profoundly shape who we are — months or years that are somewhat like a crash course in self, and I think the last 18 months have been one of the most profound life-lesson times I’ve ever endured. Filled with events that may have reshaped the eyes I’ll see my years through.

Only now am I beginning to catch my breath enough to really go “Wow” at everything I’ve had go down in the last year, probably 70% of it or more I’ve never put anywhere on this blog, Twitter, or anyplace online. Ain’t for you to know.

But I went through my email yesterday, deleting thousands of things on my mission to Inbox: Almost Zero (read: 6).

It was kind of like a click-by-click visit of everything that came my way over that time.

You know what else it was, though?

As I saw all my original sent emails, I remembered the emotions I had, but hid, when I had sent the mail. I remember often being less than earnest, saying what I thought should be said.

Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

It’s funny. It’s almost like the biggest lesson of the year was pretty simple: The heart wants what the heart wants, and trying the old switcheroo to get the heart to settle, that just ain’t gonna work. Lie to yourself, lie to others, doesn’t matter — the truth wins the end, the heart wants what it wants.

What my heart wants is to write the book that I just can’t fucking figure out. That’s what it wants. I’ve been making progress lately, after having back-burnered it for the job search. I know sort of what I want to accomplish, and with what, but I don’t know how to do it. I’ve made a  progress on the subject matter, and now the plotting begins on that front, but the structure… Hoo. That’s the doozy. And the voice.

I think there are a few books to read that might give me ideas. In the meantime, I’m just doing background writing in the hopes that’ll help me figure out the structure I’m so confused about.

When it comes to movies, it’s people like Tarantino, Terry Gilliam, Doug Liman’s Go, Baz Luhrman, and others who really capture the way I like a story to be told — so the reader/viewer has to work for it. Stylized. In writing, that’s harder to do without coming off a complete wanker.

The trouble with having written non-fiction and opinion for so long too — another “learning fuckup” — is that I really don’t know who I am, fiction-writing-wise. I was sort of getting somewhere in the late-’90s but stopped on that journey. I have a good idea.

This fall and winter, I’m really looking forward to exploring new writing and new avenues. I’ll be writing a lot more, but I doubt this blog will see a lot of that.

Necessity is the mother of invention they say, and I guess in times of necessity we can invent too much inauthenticity for ourselves, but in stripping away so much of the clutter we can’t afford or haven’t time to contend with, we also rediscover ourselves at our most basic. It’s a paradox of discovery.

And now I’m somewhere in the muddled middle as the dust settles. May I live in interesting times, indeed.

Everybody Has Reversals

One of my favourite movies is the little-known David Mamet skewering of Hollywood, the filmmaking parody called State and Main.

In it, supposed screenwriter Phillip Seymour Hoffman laments being kicked off his first movie.

The bookstore owner, played by Rebecca Pidgeon, says to him, “Well…  Everybody has reversals. If you were never down, how would you know when you were up?”

It’s a pretty universally held-belief espoused by everyone from Rumi and Kahlil Gibran to my neighbour Bob down the street.

Graffiti I love from Vancouver's Granville Island. Unfinished on purpose or interrupted? No idea. Love it.

I think we get it, right? Gotta be sad to know happy, poor to know rich, fat to know thin.

I’m identifying with the latter as I acknowledge I’ve been backpedalling against my own reversals of late.

I had set myself a weight goal in May and I’ve moved the opposite direction. I’ve been kind of mentally lost at sea as I’ve been screwing up the courage to make the journey to where I need to go: self-employment, et cetera.

That means I delved into emotional eating while I’d been on edge and in fear.

Failure is something I’m really scared of. So scared, in fact, I’d rather not try at all and have the excuse that I’ve yet to get around to it, than to do it and face-plant.

I’m getting past that in my (cough) old age now, and starting to have the “feel the fear and do it anyways” ’90s mantra pumping through my head, but it’s been taking a while.

I know what I want now, and that means the emotional eating has begun to become more obvious to me — I’m realizing what I’ve been doing, I’m conscious of the shame that has come with it, and the depression that comes with realizing I’ve been failing myself for a while now.

I’ve been trying to hide it.

But there’s only so much you can hide when you’re carrying around the evidence on your ass.

Seriously, right? That’s what it boils down to: Who the fuck do you think you’re kidding, there, tubbo?

Granted, I’ve only gained 2 pounds more than I started the summer with, but I’m still pissed off about it, because I know HOW to defeat it, and because I’ve fucking cycled more than 1,100 kilometres this summer — all for naught! All that sweat and pain and endurance so I could barely maintain my weight? Fuck!

This week some things are coming into play — I’ll be talking to a professional trainer to see what we can maybe do for each other. I finally made a connection last week with someone and we’ll see if it’s a promising venture toward the weekend. Here’s hoping.

As a result of getting a “yeah, let’s talk!” from the trainer, I realized “Well, I’d love to get the help, but you know what? I’ve done this all by myself before — I cut out butter, I ate better, I worked out 6-8 hours a week… I didn’t need a trainer then, and I don’t need one now.”

So, I decided I’d get real. I celebrated with a cheeseburger, but then I knuckled down and chucked out the butter, made some mental commitments as to what I’m willing to do, where I’m willing to go, and grocery-shopped accordingly.

I also decided that I don’t need a trainer, no, but I want one.

Sooner or later we all have to realize that we can only get ourselves so far on our own. There’s only so much we can consider inside our little brains and only so many experiences we can have first-hand. There’s only so much we can excel at in life without others’ help.

Eventually, help really is something we all need to accept.

I honestly believe the last five years of my life have been specifically about teaching me that it’s okay to ask for help and that it’s okay to turn to others. You can’t possibly know how far I’ve come, but I still have far to go.

Times like these are when I’m proud to say at least I’ve learned how to make the first move.

It’s been a very difficult lesson, gaining the humility that is needed to admit help is required.

The two lessons I’m most proud I’ve taken from the last 10 years are: 1) That I know I’m strong enough to overcome everything that gets put in my path, and on my own, and 2) That I’m finally comfortable asking others for help and admitting that I just can’t do everything, and that it’s given me a tremendous amount in life.

Where I’ve gotten myself is this:

  • I’m more than half-way to the body and the health that I’ve wanted all my life.
  • I’ve overcome most of my injuries to the point where my days seldom get clouded with the thoughts of pain and discomfort that used to swirl like blackness around me.
  • I no longer feel my goals are hopeless but instead feel anger that I’ve been letting them slip by because I know in my heart I should be all over ’em like Oprah on a ham.
  • I’m ready.

Yes, I said the big word: Anger.

I’m fucking pissed, buddy. I’m mad. I’m bitter. I’m choked. I’m gonna kick some ass. MINE.

It’s all MY fault. It ain’t about the media or the government, life beating up on me or any of that shit. This weight I’ve regained is ALL MY FAULT and I FUCKING KNOW IT.

Oh, sure, you want to do the “Hey, love yourself” or “Embrace yourself and be gentle” la-la-love-in bullshit? KNOCK YOURSELF OUT. Ain’t my cuppa, honey.

It was THIS MOOD that launched me on the path that saw me losing 70 pounds, saying NO MORE, and going hard after what I wanted. It was THIS MOOD that said I’m entitled to better but only if I earn it first.

I’m not being mean to myself, I’m saying I’m better than this. I’m saying I know I can do this. I’m saying I have this in me. That’s love, man. I know I’m built for this. That’s love.

I don’t need to light candles, run a bath, and sing “Kumbaya” to myself, okay?

I need to put the fucking butter down, pay attention to when my belly is full, stop living the college dorm “HEY, LET’S GET BEER” life of excess that my summer has been. That’s love, man.

Am I pissed off at myself? Sure.

Am I gonna hold a grudge about it? Fuck, no.

By this time next week, I want my attitude to be “Hey, I’ve done well this past week. Let’s go windsurfing!” ‘Cause that’s scheduled for then, you know. That’s how we say “ENOUGH” in my world.

Kumbaya, motherfucker. Reverse this!

My Own Private Dichotomy

Fear is not my friend. I don’t care what the bookstore’s self-help section says.

Fear is a bitch. A mean, driven bitch.

I am not a fan of fear.

I bought that book. Twice. Feel The Fear and Do It Anyways. Sometimes I do it anyways. But I always feel the fear. Ever-present, always-niggling fear.

Fortunately I know that I’m apparently invincible. Continue reading

In Vino Veritas: Of Bananas And Hotties

I’m drunkish. I feel obligated to write for you. But you’ll take obligated, won’t you? Yeah, that’s human nature.

Stringing thoughts together might be a challenge. But. It’s not like I get graded on this, right?

It’s been a weird day. I’ll get into that in a minute, but you need the prelude first.

I was up at 5, for starters. Oh, what a horrid thing that is. Then I weighed myself. Down 3 pounds this week. Heh, I’m sure I’m rectifying that terrible inconvenience tonight, though. Continue reading