It’s like we’ll all be celebrities, but without the sweet cars and cash

Google engineers are working on a mobile application “that would allow users to snap pictures of people’s faces in order to access their personal information.” The app would link an image search engine to a face-recognition program, so users could pull up a profile on anyone whose picture they snapped – provided the photographic subjects had given Google permission to match photos with their personal information.

From The Week, April 15, 2011

Celebrities and paparazzi have a symbiosis, after all. This much is true.

Warning: might appear insensitive to some

we only hope that the eleven dead human beings don't offend you. Best. Year. EVER!

Transocean, LTD, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded last spring, killing 11 workers and unleashing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, has awarded its top executives big bonuses for making 2010 the “best year” ever for safety. After disclosing the bonuses, Transocean, which leased the rig to BP and helped supervise the drilling, acknowledged that the reference to its best safety year might appear “insensitive” to some.

reality and self awareness

A couple of experiences that allowed me to be fully aware of myself (but only for a second or two):

One: Guthrie Theater Acting Camp, circa 1978. First day with a bunch of strange, new, much cooler than me kids backstage. The camp “counselor”, also an actor in the Guthrie troupe, puts us all in a big circle and one by one we are to walk directly across the circle “normally”. As you can imagine, that’s impossible. The very fact that this group of young strangers are all watching you makes it absolutely impossible to walk “normally.” I believe I strutted, then sat down red-faced thinking what a lop I was. “Lop” being a strange little term that was popular among my small group of friends back then. It meant 1. uncoordinated; and 2. doofus. More or less.

This is an example as to why “Reality” TV is really the worst name for whatever that is. Anytime a camera (or the eyes of my fellow campers) is trained on you, reality slips right out the back door. Nothing that happens when the subjects know the camera is on can be remotely described as “reality”. It immediately becomes performance, whether we like it or not.

The other time, and this is rather embarrassing, I was standing mostly naked but for a shirt with the full length mirror to my right. I’m not one to stare at myself in the mirror and if you know me by sight, you know why. Pretty much average looking all around. But this one day, I’m standing there and happen to glance over to my own face at the exact same moment I pulled my belt up and it whips me right in my most personal privates, snap! and I saw my own face respond to the searing pain. Interesting, that. Painful, but interesting. I had no idea my face could ever contort in that manner.

Get out of my Facebook

Interesting article here. We’re finding things very similar with our clients and their Facebook presence. You can generally get people to “like” your company – especially if you offer something in return, but even if you stay truly active with your page, offering that “good content” that we all assume people are clamoring for, people seem to lose interest fast. I think there are a couple of reasons for that:

1.       As much as we all in the branding business like to believe it, people really don’t give a crap about most brands. Certainly there are some people who are serious brand advocates for a very small number of brands, but the other 99.99 percent of your customers just want what they want from you and then want you out of their face fast. (Unless you’re Apple, apparently.)

2.       I agree that by far the largest majority of people don’t go to Facebook to do business or engage with businesses or brands. They go there to chat and gossip and just hang out. Having a company/brand insert its face into that time is really kind of annoying to most people.

3.       People sense a sort of grim determination among companies to get onto Facebook and get into their face. It’s like they’re screaming “Look! Look how relevant we are! Cutting edge and all that!” And it all seems rather forced.

This could certainly change over time, but with all the brand messaging flying at each of us all day long, I really don’t see people welcoming it much more on their “social networking” site.


I’m surprised I’m writing about this, because this is my day job, but Comcast gave us the absolute worst brand introduction/education effort E.V.E.R. with XFINITY, whatever the hell that means. I’ve seen tv, billboards and print ads and I still have no idea how or why they are related to Comcast. Is Comcast going away? Is XFINITY a different service? Same great service, brand new ALLCAPSNAME? I just got another mailing from Comcast that said “Get even more from your XFINITY service.” I was thinking, “Do I have XFINITY service?” They have registered the trademark for XFINITY, by the way; but why?

Last Call – Old age and the end of nature

Last Call
Old age and the end of nature

Edward Hoagland

This is the most beautiful and poignant essay on aging I’ve ever read. I’m not quite at his particular juncture of life, but I’m watching my parents get older in a similar manner, and his brave, thoughtful words ring so true. We young people (55 and below) run about cussing, fighting and carrying on, and those with the most wisdom, the deepest understanding of what really matters most, often are relegated to the sidelines. It begins: “Grandparents – double-domed or double-chinned, and approval dispensers, greenback machines, emeritus jungle gyms – may be fragile in health but must avoid smelliness as a consequence, or cranky outbursts, pompous pronouncements.” Dive right in!

Creating the link, I found out that you need to be a Harper’s subscriber to read it. Sorry about that. Or subscribe, if you’re looking for some fun readables!