Why it’s ridiculous to argue about ghost blogging »» Blogging best practices, corporate communications, ethics »» Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}

This weekend I received a LinkedIn query from an alumni group I belong to asking if anyone wanted some freelance work ghost blogging for some executives. The more I thought about it, the less annoyed I was at the concept.

Then I found this well argued post by Mark Schaefer about other corporate ghost writing examples and all my reservations faded.

“The chairman does not pen his own speech, yet nobody questions that they own it. They don’t write the shareholder’s letter in the annual report, yet this is deemed as authentic. Do you think Former GE Chairman Jack Welch sat there and pecked out his own book? And yet it is seen as his.”

via Why it’s ridiculous to argue about ghost blogging »» Blogging best practices, corporate communications, ethics »» Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}.

Head of the Charles Mayhem

Row2K points to this awesome video shot from the Princeton Heavyweight Men’s eight during the Championship Eight event at this fall’s Head of the Charles Regatta. This gives a great sense of what it is like to row at full speed in an elite boat — and the crash with the U. Penn eight is pretty awesome to watch too. You can hear the Princeton coxswain warn the Penn boat out of the way, call for a sprint to pass, and then blam! Chaos.  I miss big boat rowing, sculling alone doesn’t have anything close to the exhilaration of rowing with eight other people at full speed. Maybe next year, I just got off the water here in Cotuit, rowing solo around the bay in my single, trying to get into fighting shape and work through a shoulder injury.

Cooking Frisbees

Tip of the hat to Jimmy C.

Second Life at End of Life?

Om Malik reports SecondLife founder Philip Rosedale is moseying on.

I am so glad I steered clear of virtual world marketing when it was all abuzz in 2006.

“Four months after CEO Mark Kingdon left the San Francisco-based Linden Lab, the company behind erstwhile hot virtual world, Second Life, interim CEO and founder Philip Rosedale is getting real too. He is leaving the company he started in 1999 in order to pursue his new idea – LoveMachine, a collaboration software company.

via Oh! Oh! Even Linden Lab Founder Is Leaving: Tech News «.

New York Times Digital Ad revenues up 13%

Peter Kafka at AllThingsD reports on the New York Times’ earnings as a bellwether for digital advertising trends. Taken as a barometer for display revenues — I assume paid search is a minor contributor to the Time’s revenue stream as the channel is dominated by Google, et al — it indicates that display is holding its own during a period of general economic malaise and the old prevailing wisdom that display was dead as CPMs trended lower and click-throughs continued to deteriorate. The Times is fairly innovative without being obtrusive with its display inventory, so my take is they are seeing strong demand for their supply.

“Here’s the full breakout for the Times’ digital properties NYT.com About.com, etc, which appear to be doing pretty well:

Total Internet revenues increased 13.3 percent to $89.4 million from $78.9 million.

Internet advertising revenues increased 14.6 percent to $78.3 million from $68.3 million.

Internet advertising revenues at the News Media Group increased 21.6 percent to $47.4 million from $39.0 million mainly due to strong growth in national display advertising.

Internet businesses accounted for 16.1 percent of the Company’s revenues for the third quarter of 2010 versus 13.9 percent for the third quarter of 2009.”

via Ad Dollars Shrink at the New York Times, Again | Peter Kafka | MediaMemo | AllThingsD.

Interesting fact – The Times has more Twitter followers than paid subscribers according to Journalistics:

“When it comes to Twitter followers, The New York Times is the top bird with more than 2.6 million followers. To illustrate how impressive this follower number is, The Wall Street Journal only has 464,591 followers in the #2 spot. The New York Times is the ONLY newspaper from the Top 25 with more Twitter followers than print circulation.”


While walking the outer beach on Cotuit’s Sampson Island on Sunday I came across the carcass of a leatherback sea turtle. It had come ashore at some point in the last week since my wife and I walked that same stretch of sand last weekend.

Leatherback’s are the largest sea turtles (fourth largest of all reptiles after crocodiles) and this one was huge — the shell was at least six feet long — and according to the literature they can weigh over 1,500 pounds. The carapace, or shell, had been split in half, either because of a propeller strike or just decomposition. My guess is it died in the water and drifted ashore where it came to rest above the high water line. It looked, from a distance, like a dinghy sitting bottom up on the sand.

Leatherbacks can tolerate cold water and range across most of the world’s oceans — so I doubt this one was stunned by the rapid drop in water temperatures over the last two weeks. Right now the water is about 54 degrees, two weeks ago it was in the low 60s. They are endangered, so it is a shame to see such a magnificent animal lying dead and beached.  They are reported to live as long as 150 years. That would mean this dead specimen could have been born as long ago as the beginning of the Civil War.

I’ve seen turtles in the water off of Craigville Beach in August, but never have come across any on the beach before. The stranding network swings into action this time of year to help the Kemp’s Ridley turtles that get cold shocked and stunned.

Google investing in wind

This is pretty interesting — a backbone transmission system for connecting a string of wind farms along the mid-Atlantic coast. With the Cape Wind project moving forward — and projects like this being funded, it would appear this country is making some serious steps forward on infrastructure and non-fossil fuel energy.

“When built out, the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone will stretch 350 miles off the coast from New Jersey to Virginia and will be able to connect 6,000MW of offshore wind turbines. That’s equivalent to 60% of the wind energy that was installed in the entire country last year and enough to serve approximately 1.9 million households.”

via Official Google Blog: The wind cries transmission.

Rowing and the Social Network

I thought The Social Network was a great movie. I loved it and thought the casting, acting, writing and directing were superb. I especially thought the movie nailed the sport of rowing — as personified by the Winklevoss brothers, the 2008 Beijing Olympic oarsmen who thought they had hired Mark Zuckerberg to code their concept for a social network, only to sue him for going off on his own with their idea to launch Facebook.

I’d seen the Winklevoss’ row under assumed names at the C.R.A.S.H.-B sprints, the world indoor rowing championship, when they were still undergraduates at Harvard — probably 20o3-2005.  College rowers entered the competition under bogus names and club affiliations I think because of some NCAA/Ivy League rules against formal team competition. Whatever. They are big names in contemporary rowing, mainly because of their Olympic participation and Harvard’s position in the rowing world.

Row2K is running a great series by Dan Boyne, author and director of recreational sculling at Harvard’s Weld Boathouse. He staged the rowing scenes for the film and has a good insiders account of how he tried to make the point that the average elite rower cannot deliver a witty line penned by Aaron Sorkin while rowing full power in a race, let alone a word as they struggle to get their next gasp of oxygen.  The initial scene depicting a race in pairs (two-man shells which the Winklevii competed in at Shunyi, during the 2008 Olympic Games) is well rowed, but again, you can’t talk in a boat. Not while racing.

The Henley scene where the twins row in the Harvard eight and lose to the Dutch is very well done.

Rowing has a long history of appearing and being massacred in the movies. From the title sequence of the old George Peppard detective series Banachek, to some bizarre depictions such as Rob Lowe proving that you can perform boat repairs in the middle of a race and still win or various green screen weirdness that shows some hapless actor trying to ape a motion that takes years to perfect.

Two good lists of rowing and film are Rabbit’s Rowing in Film and Row2K’s feature.

My favorite rowing/film story was told to me by people who will go unnamed who rowed at the University of Washington in the late 197os. A director arrived seeking to film an after-school special about a rower who falls in love with his handicapped coxswain.  The director wanted to capture “the true essence” of the sport, and hired my two friends to help stage the rowing scenes, including any post-race festivities they might traditionally indulge in. My friend suggested that a local Seattle tavern be rented — a total dive — and convinced the director to film the “EMFBO” cheer — Every Man For Better Oarsmanship — when indeed the acronym stood for two utterly obscene phrases which I will not repeat here.

The director liked the noble sound of EMFBO and had big banners made to hang around the tavern. I cannot find the title of the film, but take it on good faith that it exists, somewhere.

Outstanding presentation on social networks

Tip of the hat to John Bell for sharing this insightful presentation by Paul Adams at Google, on the Real Life of Social Networks. Very germane today in the wake of Facebook’s “group” announcement yesterday.

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