Header photo by Hamish Grant. Used with permission.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Real-Life Personal Branding with Threadless T-Shirts

I like t-shirts.  They can be a "real-life" way of expressing a personal brand.  From the silly to the profound to the downright offensive, I think t-shirts say something about the wearer's personal brand.

My favourite go-to place for t-shirts is threadless.com.  Threadless is an online t-shirt store that prints shirts designed by members of its online community.

Here's how it works:

1) You have a doodle, slogan or drawing that you think would make a great t-shirt.
2) You submit it to Threadless for review.
3) Threadless posts your t-shirt design, and then members of the community rate your t-shirt from 1-5.
4) If the shirt is rated highly enough, threadless prints your t-shirt to sell on its online store.
5) You get paid - $2,000 cash and a $500 gift certificate.  If the shirt is so popular that it is reprinted, you are paid an additional $500.


It's a community that connects online to collaborate and share and produce creative t-shirts!  Fantastic.

There are some really cool shirts on threadless - check it out.  Maybe you'll want to pick out something that reflects your real-life personal brand!

The threadless community is huge.  Whenever I wear my threadless t-shirts out, I'm always stopped by someone who has seen that shirt online.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Quest For Social Engagement

A social media story for all ages.  A networked narrative.  A connected chronicle. A technological tale.  An electronic epic.

Meet the Wiki'd Witch.
Stay a night at the Linked Inn.
Don't get stuck in the Bogspot.

Follow our hero, the brave peasant Sandorkerr on his quest for interconnectivity and justice throughout his noble kingdom.

Please Digg this video by clicking here. You don't need a Digg account - you can sign in through Facebook. Thanks so much.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Personal Branding in 3 Easy Steps: Extract, Express, Exude

After Personal Brand Camp II (#pbCamp2) and the Third Tuesday Event with Mitch Joel, I have a clearer understanding of personal brand, what it's all about and why it matters.

First of all, personal brand isn't something artificial or contrived.  It's not something that I conjure from the ether and declare "me" or "mine."  I already have a personal brand.  So do you.

Your personal brand is reflected in your online identity - your digital footprint.  It's your Facebook profile, the pictures you post, your tweets and what comes up when you Google yourself.  Your personal brand isn't about what you think it is.  It's what Google says it is.

The key is to nuance and tweak your personal brand to put you in control of it.  This is a deliberate, but straightforward process.

Is it important?  Absolutely. Your personal brand allows you to stand out, and let your personality and passions inform who you are.  It allows you to forge connections and build online and real-life communities.  It should reflect your own values and goals.

At pbCamp2, personal brand strategist Paul Copcutt outlined the basics of building a personal brand.  He outlined it as follows:

My colleague Jenna Strothers wrote an excellent summary of Paul's advice.

Authenticity is key.

Happy branding.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thinking About Personal Branding? I am.

Personal branding has been on my mind lately. 

Some think it's important.  Others do not.  Some people are invigorated by the idea.  Other are terrified.

I'm attending "Personal Brand Camp II" and "Third Tuesday Toronto" tomorrow, which will focus on the notion of personal branding, especially as it pertains to public relations.  At Personal Brand Camp, various PR practitioners will lead conversations (which you can follow on ScribbleLive and Twitter at #pbCamp2) and try to answer some top questions about personal brand, including:
I'll let you know what I come up with.

Pizza Friday is a part of my personal brand.  In my blog introduction, I proposed some themes that Pizza Friday would take - community, connectedness, creativity, collaboration - as a reflection of things that I think are important in building my personal brand.

I would love to know what you think ... especially those of you who know me personally:
  • How would you describe my personal brand?
  • If I were a product or company, what would you associate with it (me)?
  • Based on what you've read in this blog, am I getting it right?  
  • Are there elements of "me" that you don't see but want to?  Elements that you do see but don't think are accurate?
Please comment and let me know!

Update: There were some excellent, thoughtful comments made. Please check them out, because they add a lot of value to the conversation about personal branding.  And of course, please feel free to chime in yourself.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Volunteers Wanted: The TTC Tweets Toronto (and TO Tweets Back)

Steve O'Brien has been named volunteer head of the TTC's customer service advisory panel.  A tough job for sure, and he's doing it for free.

The volunteer panel has been set up to:
  • Examine challenges and criticisms facing the TTC
  • Draft a passenger's Charter of Rights
  • Recommend how TTC employees can improve the experience of riding the system.
The recommendations from the commission are slated to be ready by the end of June.

Today, Brad Ross (@bradTTC), the director of communications at the TTC sent out the following tweet:
Ok riders, looking for 1 public member for the cust. serv. panel. Tell us why it should be you in 140 char. Pls use #TTCpanel
I like it.  His call to action is being widely re-tweeted by Torontonians, and responses are flooding in.  Here are a few (yes, including my own).

@tamera I'd be a great fit for the #TTCpanel b/c I understand that you need more than one member of the public to get meaningful change

@pronosher #TTCpanel born in TO lived here all my life , have metropass since concept was introduced & know how to measure the experience

@mmarmoset I'm committed, optimistic, realistic, creative, diplomatic & articulate. Vision: riders & empl have positive experience & opinion #ttcpanel

@ZackSandorKerr Believer in pub. transit;Advocate for change;Mindful of TTC challenges;Open-minded;Daily rider; Neither jaded nor out to get TTC #TTCpanel
#TTCPanel@karimawad RT @daveaduncan: I love public transit and want to make it better for everyone; riders, union and management. Everyone can win. #TTCpanel    
What a great way to gauge the public and mobilize the social media community to promote change!  It's like American Idol in 140 characters!  Way to embody the values of Pizza Friday ... community, collaboration, creativity, connectedness!

Is one position enough??

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tony Blair: Under Arrest for Crimes Against Peace?

British environmentalist, Guardian journalist and activist George Monbiot has created a bounty for the citizen's arrest of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. 


Monbiot declares that Blair's invasion of Iraq constitutes crimes against peace according to the Nuremberg Principles. As well, he argues that it was a violation of articles 33 and 51 of the United Nations Charter.
"Without legal justification, the war with Iraq was an act of mass murder: those who died were unlawfully killed by the people who commissioned it. So today I am launching a website — www.arrestblair.org — whose purpose is to raise money as a reward for people attempting a peaceful citizen's arrest of the former prime minister.

"I have put up the first £100 and I encourage you to match it. Anyone meeting the rules I've laid down will be entitled to one quarter of the total pot: the bounties will remain available until Blair faces a court of law. The higher the reward, the greater the number of people who are likely to try."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pizza Friday's Official Pizza Dough Recipe

Want to know the secret to a successful Sandor-Kerr Pizza Friday?  Dough.

Here it is: The long-awaited, official dough recipe of Pizza Friday.

Pizza Friday Pizza Dough
4 cups flour
1/4 cup margarine (not butter)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 & 1/2 tablespoons seasoning salt
1 & 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon instant / quick-rise yeast
1 & 1/3 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all ingredients with hands. Dough should initially cling together easily without a lot of loose flour on the bottom of the bowl. If too dry, add a little more water. Knead until smooth.

Roll out dough on baking sheet.  Top with deliciousness.
Bake for 13 - 15 minutes.
Serve with beer or wine.
Enjoyed most on a Pizza Friday.

This recipe usually makes 2 or 3 (if it's thin crust) pizzas.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Shooting for B's

"Be a B student and an A+ networker."

Really?  Whoa.  You lost me at B student. 

This is the top advice shared by one of my instructors.  I've taken pause.  It's been hard to wrap my head around.  As someone with a history of chronic high expectations, I've struggled with saying "that's good enough" and moving on to something more important.  It's tricky, but I'm realizing the value.

I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to play more video games in university.  Seriously.  Since graduating, nobody has ever asked my what my GPA was.  Nobody.  Why?  Because nobody cares.  People care about what kind of friend I was.  People care about the ways in which I served the community.  People care  about the time we shared a beer or went for a coffee and had a chat, even if it was not scheduled onto my colour-coded itinerary. Having As isn't going to get me a job in PR - strong relationships, community involvement and soaking up experience is.

If you're a future employer or one of my classmates reading this thinking, "I want nothing to do with this self-confessed slacker," let me reassure you: I'm not about to let you down.  I'm driven to be successful.  This isn't a reflection of my work ethic.  It relates to my priorities.  This paradigm shift allows me to be get creative and take risks.  By worrying less about a grade at the end of the assignment, I can focus on the process and on the lessons the assignment seeks to teach.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Who's a Bigger Global Threat: Saudi Arabia, Iran, China or Canada?

I love Canada, but recently I've considered removing the Canada flag from my backpack. 

Canada once boasted an international reputation for peace keeping, foreign aid and kindliness. These things no longer define our nation.  Our deplorable environmental policy does.

On Monday, Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced that Canada will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020.  Environmental organizations agree that this target is too weak to stem climate change. 

The climate crisis issue resonates most strongly in Alberta, home of the tar sands. British writer George Monbiot accuses Canada of becoming a “corrupt petro-state” and a greater threat to global peace and security than Saudi Arabia, Iran and China, thanks to the tar sands.  This troubles me.

This is exactly the international image Prentice is trying to avoid.  Prentice reacted against the negative “perception of the oil sands” in Canada and abroad.  While he affirmed Canada’s ongoing commitment to the tar sand development, he noted that he would fight internationally to reverse these negative views.

Impossible.  Tar sands development and ecological consciousness are mutually exclusive.  Prentice cannot have both.  No amount of PR will make the tar sands more sustainable. This contradiction speaks to the government’s lack of commitment to real environmental sustainability.  Its mere appearance will do.  The government wants to benefit from Alberta’s dirty oil, but maintain an eco-friendly reputation.

It’s time we shirk infamy. 

So what can you do?

  • Understand the issue
  • Learn who your member of Parliament is 
  • Write and share why this is unacceptable
  • Tell your friends
I want to keep the flag on my pack.  I want policies I can be proud of.