Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ed Borasky can count to twenty-five, blog, and brag about microbrews

Today's post is from Guest Contributor Ed Borasky. This piece first appeared on Borasky Research Journal under the title Twenty Five Years and Counting.

May 13, 2010, marks the 25th anniversary of my arrival in the Portland, Oregon area. I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, and I call it my home. For those of you reading this from outside the area, I invite you to come visit us. There are lots of conferences, festivals and other reasons to come here, but – well – it’s just an all-around wonderful place.

But the thing is, I don’t actually live in Portland, but in a suburb called Aloha that, strangely enough, has nothing to do with Hawaii. And I’ve never been to Hawaii, so I can’t very well ask you to visit there, can I? So, yes, definitely Portland!

What do we have?

  1. Water. Two major rivers meet here, and fresh water literally falls out of the sky free for the taking! If you like it salty, there’s a few bays and coves a couple of hours to the west.
  2. Air. We get our air mostly fresh off the ocean, or occasionally funneled through the Columbia Gorge by a high-pressure cell. In any event, we get it before much of the US, and we try our damnedest not to add stuff to it on its way east.
  3. Mountains. Yeah, there’s one not too far away that gave us a little trouble in 1980, but for the most part, they’re pretty to look at and a great place to go skiing.
  4. Parks. There are so many, I can’t list them all, so I’ll just give you a link to my favorite. Tryon Creek State Park. And my second favorite, Cooper Mountain Nature Park.
  5. Beer. Contrary to popular belief, you can get imported beer here. But why would you? Ours has better hops, has more alcohol, is served in pubs, restaurants, banquet halls and even movie theaters! To quote Wikipedia, “Portland has more breweries and brewpubs per capita than any other city in the United States.
  6. Food and wine. We grow it. We catch it in the ocean. We make it. We cook it. We eat it. We package it up and ship it. And we love to share it. Our food cart scene has been featured on national television and in the New York Times.
  7. Entertainment. New York has Greenwich Village. Washington has Georgetown. Portland has — Portland! Jazz, folk, rock, symphonic, chamber, ballet, opera, and two new music ensembles. Portland has numerous theater companies and a major performing arts center. We have listener-supported jazz and classical radio stations heard around the world on the Internet. Oh, yeah – if you happen to hear bagpipes, they just might be coming from a unicyclist.
  8. Bloggers and Tweeters and Geeks, Oh! My!
    I’m a blogger. I have one. I used to have five. And I have a LinkedIn page. And I tweet, a lot. At last count more than any other Portlander. Folks around here call me @znmeb.

    Geeks: we have Linus Torvalds. Perhaps you’ve heard of Linux? He invented it.

    We have Ward Cunningham. Perhaps you’ve heard of the wiki? He invented it.

    We have major contributors to Perl, PostgreSQL, Ruby, WordPress and other open source projects. We have Jive Software and Zapproved. We have the Silicon Florist. We have 30 Hour Day. We have Strange Love Live.

    We love social media, software and . . . social media software! Software is a craft here, just like belts, jewelry and beer. You can actually sit and watch us make it in coffee shops and pubs.
So if you’re looking for a great city to visit this year, we’re here in Portland! Just be careful crossing the street if you hear bagpipes. 

If you would like a more in-depth conversation with Ed Borasky, follow @znmeb on Twitter. Or, offer to buy him a cup of coffee like I did.

Other guest contributors have been Jennifer Green.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Big Boys and Girls in Social Media and me

Pictured left to right: Carol Rossio, Ed Borasky, Ken and Wilma Doane.

The SoMe Awards—Pacific Northwest Social Media Awards—night was a fast-paced adventure of meeting new people, making first time connections with Twitter followers, rallying for future meet-ups, and waiting to find out if I won the Scrappy & Engaged category.

I LOVE marketing people. They know how to make you feel good. I'd social media'd my birthday party into a blood drive for Southwest Washington Blood Program and I was running with the big boys and girls. I received an email from organizer Sean Lowery stating I was a TOP FINALIST for a SoMe Award.

My present? Standing toe-to-toe with the men and women of social media agencies who deftly crafted winning campaigns for Intel, Air New Zealand, Travelocity and local Portland businesses such as Hotel Max and networks such as Portland Fit.

I arrived ten minutes early with my posse (Mom and Dad) ready to move the People's Choice Award votes to Carol's Save a Life Birthday PartyMy parents have no idea what social media is, and while trying to explain it on the way over, Mom gazed out the car window as we passed Propstra Stadium, and said wistfully, "Look at the baseball players."

Yes. Baseball they understand. Social media makes my posse A.D.H.D.

Ed Borasky, met us at registration swearing he wanted his money back if I didn't win, which brought my fan base to four (counting me), but you have to minus two because Mom and Dad don't have iPhones, let alone a concept of Twitter, and the People's Choice Award votes would be tabulated using a hashtag.

When I patiently began my explanation of a Twitter hashtag, Mom glanced desperately around the room for a ball player, or anyone in uniform. She grabbed the sleeve of a Multnomah Athlete Club employee and held on until he'd guided her to the dessert bar. Chocolate. Lemon. Vanilla. A vast array.

I ran into Jeff Bunch, Web Editor of, and we traded a few quips on web tactics. Our engaging conversation enveloped jazz singer Carol Rossio a friend of Carri Bugbee, president of Portland's Social Media Club. Carol didn't bring a phone, I noted and concluded, no votes from her.

Two big screens promoted the finalists by client and hashtag. I fingered my glass. Jeff plus Ed and me equals three votes. I downed my wine, and left the safety of the high-top table to work the room. I flitted from group to group asking, "Who are you voting for?"

"Ourselves!" said 90%.

I raised my brows, curled my hand into a fist, thrust it their direction for a fist bump, and enthused, "I hope you win something!"

If they paused too long, I suggested, "Vote for me, I'm #SM24. Carol's Save A Life Birthday Party."

"Okay!" noted one very nice stranger.

I scrutiznied her face to see if she was joking. I realized I knew her. She was a Twitter follower I recognized from her avatar. We introduced ourselves, orienting each other to our jobs and other people we had in common. She pulled out her phone and voted. I gave her a huge smile, thanked her for her hastag, and floated off musing, Ed, Jeff, Carmen Hill and me. That's four. Good grief. I could shamefully lose this People's Award for lack of proper scheming, er, planning. I flipped through my Twitter stream and noticed that Step Change had promised that supporters would be entered into a raffle for a pony. Dang, why didn't I think of that?

#SM24 was short lived.

An astute audience member noticed duplicate numbers. The big screen screeched to a halt for course correction. I got knocked from #SM24 out to #SM26. Adriane assured me she'd counted my four votes before she made the change. I scanned the room, conversations buzzed in a happy roar. I could not insert myself into everyone's private space again, so I quietly slunk off to find my seat.

Music, snappy introductions and awards flowed with cheers and laughter. 
Rob Sample, crooner and emcee, did a fabulous job. He dove straight into the internet ocean with a SoMe rendition of the Love Boat theme. When he leaned in toward Dad, his voice slowing into a smooth vibrato, and warbled, "♫ exciting and new," I thought I might bust a gut. 

Proving that results count, Anvil Media shone as a great example of creating a winning social media strategy. Their fabulous campaign for Hotel Max produced 4,000 retweets, 80 guests, and a 37% increase in hotel revenue, which they detail in this after party video.

Those results won them an award, The Scrappy and Engaged category.  Congratulations!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Can social media motivate?

The Pacific Northwest is known for beautiful landscapes, diverse, rough-hewn history and nature-loving populations with large hubs around Seattle, which boasts 3.3 million coffee lovers, and farther north a hub of 2.3 million around Vancouver, British Columbia which can boast about not being original.

Vancouver, B.C. has the dubious distinction of usurping the name 'Vancouver' from the original: Vancouver, Washington.

My city.

A slightly smaller grouping of people, barely over 400,000 in the entire county.

Vancouver, Washington grew organically from the outreach and marketing of the Hudson's Bay Company, the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world.

Vancouver, Washington benefits from the proximity of Portland, Oregon, a mere 2.2 million, and just an interstate bridge crossing away from great modern day advertising agencies such as Wieden + Kennedy.

I swim in that pool. Advertising. Marketing. Media.

Marketing is a staple of our lives. Millions of messages pound at us everyday. Experts try to estimate how many. Who can be sure? It's pervasive in every part of our lives. So, how can any ONE be heard?

Brian Solis, principal of Future Works, suggests in his blog post The 10 Stages of Social Media Business Integration that we find a voice and a sense of purpose. Someone in Seattle found their voice and spoke to me. Sean Debutts of the Puget Sound Blood Center asked me to spearhead a local event. Our connection came through social media. I decided to dive deeper into social media, use it, test it for this event, and discover if social media can motivate someone else to take action.

I chirped, twittered and cajoled the Portland/Vancouver hub to celebrate my birthday by donating blood. A month later, I'm wondering how many more would have come forward had we used traditional media. Actually, that's a lie. I'm not wondering, I know. A series of ads in the local paper, a jingle on a targeted group of radio stations and public service mentions on any of the local television stations would have pumped up the numbers. But this event had no dollar budget. Only time and complimentary venues.

Irregardless of the results that traditional media provides, businesses are flocking to social media as if it's traditional media's dynamic replacement. But it's not. It's not targeted (yet), it's not controllable (yet), and message frequency is not viewed as a good campaign, it's viewed more akin to spam. It's like standing inside the ramparts of Fort Vancouver (pictured above) with a single shot rifle and trying to connect with one 'prospect' at a time. It takes a lot of effort and determination as you fine tune your aim.

My blood drive event was a mash-up of crazy shots as I tried every gun in every arsenal within reach. The results? I had a blast.

My efforts placed me as top finalist for a SoMe Award – Pacfic Northwest Social Media Award. Included on my resume are many awards from PNNA, Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association, and I'm proud of them, but all happened when I was in sales and madly dashing from 'post to post' trying to create something spectacular to motivate businesses to market together. There's strength in numbers. If everybody fires a lot of shots we will hit something. I guarantee it.

The number of participants in the blood drive was very small. But, I think we can say there's strength in those small numbers, too. The potential affect on the overall community for each person who participated as a blood donor is priceless. Each donor's gift could save up to three lives.

Saving one life makes a stronger community.

Social media is our new community. It's still an untamed venue whose impact has not fully been explored, exploited or fully exported into traditional marketing campaigns. It's also very personal. It's a conversation. It's putting the advertising gun down, coming out of the tower and having a conversation with the person you want to connect with. It builds a stronger relationship.

Okay, wish me luck. SoMe winners are announced tonight. We get two drinks and dessert. I hope one is coffee, and when it's all said, awarded and done, I know what I will come home with—more connections, more friends and more victims to hit up for my next blood drive.

What motivates you to use social media?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The new media of traditional media congratulates social media

The e-newsletter BusinessTODAY produced by The Columbian, the largest daily newspaper in Southwest Washington, included this information about the Pacific Northwest SoMe Awards . . . and me :-)


Carol Doane, advertising sales manager for The Columbian, is a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Social Media Awards' Scrappy & Engaged Award category. Doane is being recognized for her response to Sean Debutts, Social Media Coordinator at Puget Sound Blood Center. Debutts had sent a direct message to Twitter follower Doane asking if she would spearhead a blood drive.The Scrappy & Engaged category salutes best brand awareness/user engagement for less than $500. Doane dubbed her campaign, "Carol's Save A Life Birthday Party." The awards will be announced Thursday, May 6, at an event at the Multnomah Athletic Club, 1849 S.W. Salmon Portland. The event starts at 7 p.m. Registrations are accepted online at

(View the slideshare that describes the birthday event:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Carol Doane top finalist in Pacific Northwest Social Media Awards

It's real. Here's the Press Release for the SoMe Scrappy & Engaged  Award (I'm a top finalist!)

Every two minutes someone in Western Washington needs a blood transfusion. Sean Debutts, Social Media Coordinator at Puget Sound Blood Center, sent a direct message to Twitter follower Carol Doane to secure Doane as a champion to spearhead a blood drive. Carol Doane, the Advertising Sales Manager and Social Media Strategist at The Columbian in Vancouver, Washington, quickly agreed.

Doane's social media campaign and resulting blood donation event placed her as a top finalist for the Pacific Northwest Social Media Awards in The Scrappy & Engaged Award category. Winners will be announced after the Portland, Oregon InnoTech Conference. InnoTech is a business and technology innovation conference and expo sponsored by top brands IBM, Microsoft, Integra Telecom, Advanced Systems Group, Smarsh, MSI and others. Besides Portland, InnoTech conferences also take place in Austin, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The Scrappy & Engaged category salutes best brand awareness/user engagement for under $500. Doane dubbed her campaign, "Carol's Save A Life Birthday Party," and estimated the cost at $14.99, the cost of a birthday cake. As part of her submission she created a SlideShare to describe the event, "A crew of social media enthusiasts in Texas and beyond were the SoMe Awards judges," reports Sean Lowery, Executive Director of the InnoTech Conference which is spotlighting the awards.

"Social media is very personal and this campaign struck a chord for me," says Carol Doane. "I have an innate curiosity to see if I can drive people out from behind their computers to share a cup of coffee and many will, but this project asked them to extend past surface conversation and participate in a needle-in-the-arm way."

Sean Debutts, the initiator of the direct message that launched Doane's participation notes, "Carol deserves the honor after all the hard work she put into her drive and all the visibility she gave the concept."

The Puget Sound Blood Center maintains eleven donation centers in Washington and continues to benefit from Doane's efforts. "For an hour the SlideShare I created to describe the campaign was Hot on Twitter and featured on SlideShare's Health and Medicine category," notes Carol Doane. "It's all these little wins that makes diving into social media fun."
What's next on the agenda for the Social Media Strategist? "The hardest part now," she muses, "Is explaining what a social media award is to my parents."

Social media is an all encompassing term for the mixing of technology and social interaction to add value to the community. The SoMe Awards honor the best social media projects, programs and campaigns in the Pacific Northwest. The SoMe event takes place at the prestigious Multnomah Athletic Club, 1849 SW Salmon Street, Portland, Oregon 97205, Thursday, May 7, 2010 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

Registration is $20 and includes two drinks and dessert. Event registrations are accepted online:

Information about the awards can be found on the SoMe website:
Award categories include:
  • Best Brand Awareness/User Engagement (over $25k) – The Sugar Daddy Award 
  • Best Brand Awareness/User Engagement (under $25k) – The People Like Me Award
  • Best Brand Awareness/User Engagement (under $500) – The Scrappy & Engaged Award
  • Best ROI (over $25k) – The Rich Get Richer Award
  • Best ROI (under $25k) – The Keep Your Job Award
  • Best ROI (under $500) – The Soon-to-Be Wealthy Award
  • Best Social Media App – The Next Big Thing Award
  • Best Agency – The House Party Award
  • People’s Choice Award
  • Best in Show
Carol Doane blogs on business themes at and as @TheClassicCarol on Twitter.