Terry Fallis' Best Laid Plans novel short-listed for the Leacock Medal

Steven Leacock MedalTerry Fallis‘ novel The Best Laid Plans has been short-listed for the 2007 Steven Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

Terry and his novel are keeping some pretty impressive company. The other short-listed novels and authors are: Douglas Coupland The Gum Thief, Will Ferguson (Spanish Fly), Scott Gardiner (King John of Canada) and Ron Wood (And God Created Manyberries.) Past winners of the award include: Robertson Davies, Earle Birney, Pierre Berton, Harry Boyle, George Bain, Richard J. Needham, Max Ferguson, Farley Mowat, Mordecai Richler, Stuart McLean, and W.O. Mitchell.

The Best Laid PlansTerry originally launched the novel through a podcast reading.

I read the book when Terry published it and I have to say it kept me chuckling well into the evening.

Congratulations Terry!

(I guess this means I’ll have to go through your agent to book lunch with you. Today the Leacock Medal. Tomorrow, an option on the movie rights?)

Katie Paine's Shankhassick Farm saved from foreclosure

Katie PaineLast week, word went round the blogosphere about Katie Paine’s efforts to save Shankhassick Farm from being auctioned off by the bank.

Well good news. Katie has just posted that Shankhassick has been saved:

As of 4:05pm today the taxes were paid and the bank was notified. I am SO grateful to everyone who helped. Thank you all. It’s been a humbling experience. Let no one ever think that Shankhassick Farm is just a piece of land and some houses. You all made it very clear that this farm is a very special place — a refuge, a source of inspiration and creativity and when that much good will and Karma comes at you, anything is possible — including raising over $125,000 in less than two weeks.

A real example of community and generosity.

Congratulations Katie.

WOMBAT 07 – Josh Hallett's got it covered

WOMBAT07I couldn’t make it to this year’s Word of Mouth Basic Training (WOMBAT) conference in New Orleans. But Josh Hallett did and he’s filed a superb series of posts covering the two day long conference.

I’ve been following along during the conference. But there’s so much there, I plan to go back to Josh Hallettthem this weekend and re-read them all the way through. Taken together, they constitute a great overview of current thinking about Word of Mouth and social media.

If you missed Josh’s posts, you can read the entire series which he’s tagged as WOMBAT 07. It will be time well spent.

Thanks for sharing, Josh.

A case study of a viral post

HP’s Eric Kintz has posted a case study blogging viral marketing effects that is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding social media.

Eric based his case study on an earlier post regarding the importance of posting frequency. Eric’s post on his belief that blog posting frequency doesn’t matter anymore was referenced on other blogs close to 150 times (make this more than 150 times) and continues to be linked to more than four months later. (Darn, I’ve just done it again!)

Eric points to other factors that contribute to viral success, including strong content that was relevant to the blogging community, early links from level one influencers, tie-ins to blogging micro-communities, pick-up by mainstream media and newsletters, and localization/translation into other languages.
Eric Kintz's Influence Ripples

In an earlier post on the dynamics of viral marketing, Eric stated that, “Viral marketing does not spread well. In epidemics, high connectors are very critical nodes of the network and allow the virus to spread. In recommendations networks, a few very large cascades exist but most recommendation chains terminate after just a few steps.”

He finds support for this in the case study of his own post. “In this specific case, the post did not get linked to by more than 3-4 blogs in specific communities. This reinforces the well known rule to reach early on level 1 influencers, i.e. bloggers with more than 1000 links according to my blogging friend David.”

But it’s not just all A listers/Level 1 bloggers. Kintz was surprised to see his post picked up in an unexpected place. “Connectors are absolutely essential to spreading word of mouth, but they should not necessarily be confused with so called “A-listers”. The rapid scaling of the blogosphere with a doubling in size every 6 months (see my post on this growth) has triggered the development of micro communities around very specialized topics. Word of mouth can spread by connecting to the connectors in those micro communities. My biggest surprise has been to see this post spread through word of mouth among Christian church bloggers and Washington political blogs.”

Eric’s post is well worth tagging and sharing.

Thanks to KD Paine for pointing to Eric’s post.

Toronto and Ottawa PR meetups to discuss social media

Public relations practitioners in Toronto and Ottawa have a new monthly forum to discuss social media from a PR perspective.

Ottawa meetup The Ottawa meetup is called Third Monday. The Toronto group is called Third Tuesday. And, you guessed it, they’ll generally be held on Mondays or Tuesdays.

A great group of bloggers and social media enthusiasts have come together to get these meetups going. Joining me in organizing the groups are David Jones, Terry Fallis, Ed Lee and Chris Clarke in Toronto and Colin McKay, Brendan Hodgson and Ian Ketcheson in Ottawa.

Toronto MeetupWe believe that public relations practitioners have a unique perspective on social media.  We look at social media as an extension of the conversations we have always had with journalists and stakeholders to now include a much larger group of citizen journalists and interested people whose online conversations lead to the formation of communities of interest.

Others groups have different starting points and different perspectives on social media. Advertisers, for example, start from the perspective of disaggregating mass media and the need to find new advertising vehicles and strategies that will replace failing mass media campaigns.

Because we have this unique perspective, public relations folks have different conversations than do those people who are grounded in other disciplines. First Monday and First Tuesday will provide us with the opportunity to talk about social media framed as a public relations challenge. We will be able to focus on its potential for and impact on our profession. How we can extend our capablities by embracing social media. How we can enhance our careers. How we can better serve our clients. And how we can then take our best thoughts forward into the broader discussion with others. Ensuring that public relations is well represented. Ensuring that public relations is in a leadership position in exploring and applying social media.

Shel IsraelWe have a great first speaker to launch our meetups. Shel Israel, co-author of Naked Conversations, will kick off the gatherings with back to back sessions on September 25 in Ottawa and September 26 in Toronto. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the discussion than with a man who hails from PR and who wrote THE book on blogging.

So, if you are a public relations practitioner who wants to meet other PR folks to talk about practical applications of social media, join the conversation. Sign up for Third Monday (Ottawa) or Third Tuesday (Toronto).

And, for those who’ve spotted a similarity to the SF Bay Area Third Thursday group organized by Mike Manuel, Jeremy Pepper, Giovanni Rodriguez, and Phil Gomes, you’re right. In looking for a model, we thought that Third Thursday was exactly what we wanted to replicate in Canada. Mike gave us the go ahead to borrow from the Third Thursday and that’s what we’ve done. Thank you Mike!