Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cross channel commentary and the society of facebook

I was invited to join facebook by a good fried of mine yesterday. After blowing a few hours and now starting to explore the various features of the product / service / cyber-societal landing, I'm still trying to define it's value.

Some people ask me why I have a blog. Perhaps I explained this in my first few postings, but I think I blog because I want to share my ideas, hoping to make the reader laugh or ask a question about their own lives. The entertainer in me also likes to tell of great movies or introduce what I consider fabulous music to other people who perhaps don't have the time or means to explore the vast world of new music. On the selfish side, I'm very proud of my heritage and the city I call home, so I tend to promote things of relating to England and the great things that go on the big T.O. I also used to write in a journal now and again, so I thought I'd put it in a more available format
(although I really do need to back this stuff up) and open up some of my life a little more to family and friends. Pretty decent reason to blog, no ?

What about
Linkedin ? Another site very similar to facebook in that in defines the six degrees of separation (a great movie as well) in our lives. Linkedin does this for your business relationships and facebook for your social side. There are clear values in these online services if you're looking for a new job or a new girlfriend. With the unpredictability of the business world, the saying is very true, keep your business network up to date. Linkedin appears to do this quite well and I'm sure it will be a very valuable tool when I need it. Good reasons to spend a little time keeping your business network up to date. The interesting side effect of Linkedin is that you get a mini news feed on changes in other people's lives. Honestly, it's just nice to find out what your old work colleagues are up to and in many cases, where their lives intersect with your timeline and business network.

I think this is the interesting side of
facebook. My wife has a little bit of a problem with the news feed stuff on facebook that shows what other friends are doing online (e.g. adding friends or trivial items like changing their favourite TV show), but I think this feature is pretty intriguing. Facebook seems to be doing a good job of letting people get over the fear of sharing personal things with friends. I think people already recognize blogs and facebook as new new channels for self-expression. Funnily enough, these new online forums may just be what we need to regain that close connection with family and friends. Of course, the cyber realities can never replace real life personal interaction, but the way most of our lives are structured today, there is very little room for wine infused dinner parties every night of the week, or finances to share a pint with Brits and Aussies every month. Actually I think there is some opportunity to expand on these online network sites and get close to a feeling of a cyber get-together. Here's the idea...

i. Invite a group of friends to a online meeting place at a specified time.

ii. You could be joining solo or as a small group (i.e. your spouse or friend in your living room).

iii. The mood is set by perhaps a type of people invited, food, drink and of course a fine selection of music (
BYOM; I'm still looking for an easy way to stream music playlists to a private group, kind of like hearing a playlist from Finetune simultaneously and everyone can add tunes on the fly).
iii. Then you just have a handy IM chat room available to lob in the topic of choice. Guest chime in with their thoughts, links are instantly looked up and posted, jokes are told, pictures are shared, favourites are discussed and links provided for future (sober) reference.

But I digress. Getting back to thoughts of facebook (and Linkedin), what about the new online etiquette rules that we are creating (as humourously pointed out in another friend's blog). What are the consequences of ignoring, or worse, rejecting an invite ? What if someone brings in a friend you're not keen on ? For the record, I don't accept all invites. For Linkedin, I feel I have to clearly remember working together (in whatever capacity), a place and time and perhaps even a face. For facebook, the general rule is simple, I've usually had a few drinks with the person and enjoy their company (or I connected in a way where I want to have a drink with them).

On the positive side, I think it's wonderful to be reminded of the breadth and depth of the relationships you've created in your life. I'm sure my wife could blend in an angle of
photo scrapbooking into this so we could share some old photos along the way. It's just up to us, in our new cyber friendships to keep it all alive, expand it into new experiences and enrich our lives.

I'm sure this will be the beginning of a whole thread on this topic, so I won't attempt to exhaust all angles tonight. Food for thought !

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Paul & Giacomo

Just heard about this gem on my new favourite talk radio station - CFRB 1010. Regular British Bloke Sings Puccini, beautifully on YouTube. Tears in my eyes.

Paul & Giacomo

Just heard about this gem on my new favourite talk radio station - CFRB 1010. Regular British Bloke Sings Puccini, beautifully on YouTube. Tears in my eyes.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I watched the final episode of the Sopranos last night. I gave it 15 minutes before trying to find some explanation on the web of what I'd just watched.

Thanks to the show's popularity, it's fertile ground for commentary on the people and the world, and good writers willing to dissect every episode, there is some great final reviews this morning.

Last night I was disappointed with the ending. But after reading a few reviews, I feel a lot better now.

Spoilers within:

'Sopranos' last episode leaves much up in the air (they summed up my thoughts quite well during the last scene!)

Toronto Star -
Sopranos ending that no one saw coming

Bloomberg -
Hapless Phil Gets Whacked, Sopranos Share a Final Family Meal

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The divide

People talk about the divide between people. Of course there is a divide, otherwise their wouldn't be news to report. I'm talking about the divide between couples.

As married folk, we start off with the belief that our relationships are one of compromise. Compromise must exist for a civil relationship, but I feel there is something else at play.

I feel as we get older, man and women start to figure out what they really want in life. They focus their likes and more importantly their dislikes. The 45 year old woman who says - I'm sorry, life's too short, I don't have time (or the body) to learn how to snowboard and I just don't care for horror movies and bourbon ! Have fun, count me out ! [male perspective talking here - but I'm sure there's a female one, including talks of Patrick Demsey and the latest he-said-she-said].

Some lucky buggers may never experience this. But others that do - it's important to recognize the inherent differences of each other and respect the wants, likes and passions of our loved ones. We need to recognize that sometimes that we are very different people who need quite different things out of life, who just happen to be in love together, and need one another to make it all worthwhile.

A few questions

Here's a theory.

What's up with people who deliver a self-focused, pseudo-monologue rather than asking questions.

Some people feel that asking questions is being nosy.

I feel that asking someone questions about their life, their ideas, their likes and dislikes isn't being nosy, but rather shows interest and a potential to connect.

It takes two sides...but if no one is asking you questions about your topic, I'm sorry to say it's a sign that your topic is not of interest (at that point in time) !

I think many of us like to tell people about our lives, but the moment has to be right. Is the audience interested, or more importantly equipped with the right questions to ask you to get the real story.

Side note: questions that don't count: How are you ? How's work going ? You get the point.

Very Zen

Repeat monotonous activity with a spiritual rhythm - that's my definition.

I think everyone needs to engage in a zen-like activity now and again.

I did some painting today. I don't mean deep abstracter art on canvas, but rather putting the 3rd coat of pure white behr on the new front steps. Very zen. Sometimes I set something like this up, with the big mug of coffee and the portable tunes, but I went au natural today - I even heard a sea gull overhead at one point.

The time goes by so fast but so much goes thru your mind as you're absorbed in a mundane physical activity. I think THEY talk about this in respect to Buddhist monks or the like - finding enlightenment from trivial, repetitious acts. The rhythm seems to let the mind catch the edge of a new idea or take a long surf into old ideas - refining deep thoughts and putting the world into perspective.

I thought perhaps that hobbies may recreate the same emotions, but I think it depends on the hobby.

A reason to do the dishes, mow the lawn or shine your shoes.

Friday, June 01, 2007

James versus Stanley

A couple of sports things of note.

I read in the paper yesterday that the estimated number of US viewers for game 1 of the Stanley Cup NHL Playoffs was just over a dismal 500,000 . Ouch. Bro - you have more mates than that don't you ?

I was trying to find the link to the specific story, but couldn't find it, but ran into all kinds of articles about NBC turning off the Buffalo Ottawa semi final overtime period in favour of a Preakness pre-show.

My take: the US are missing out on one of the most hard fought championships in global sport today. Fantastic athletes, fast action, huge drama and intensity.

I saw the 5th game of the NBA Cleveland Detroit semi final last night. I haven't been following this series too closely, but I picked a good one to watch (even though I didn't start watching until mid way thru the 4th quarter). Turns out the Cavs won after 2 overtime periods. The big story - the big man - LeBron James. "James' career playoff-high 48 points - including his team's final 25 and 29 of its final 30 - carried Cleveland within a win of the NBA finals for the first time in franchise history".

My take: I'm not a huge fan of seeing one player dominate in team sport, but this was just an incredible exhibition of athletics, drive, focus and passion. This guy is good. Jordan good ? If he can step up and win big when it counts and also make his team better, maybe. Worth watching for sure.