Hey all. It's been a few days since I've had the opportunity to update the blog, so I'll give you the quick and dirty on what's been happening here. I've been more busy than usual these past few weeks. With CoolCleveland.com, I have taken up the role of Events Editor in addition to being the Managing Editor (and de facto Music Editor). I've also been working behind the scenes on some new editorial (and blog) improvements for the site, which I think will help to make everything there even more interactive. Keep an eye out for a new approach to the Cool Cleveland blog. Stay tuned for more on that.
On Tuesday afternoon, I popped over to the spectacular East 4th Street district of Cleveland to interview celebrity chef extraordinaire Michael Symon at his new Lola location for CC. Don't let that "celebrity" moniker fool you: he is an extraordinarily humble, witty and candid guy and a great conversationalist who loves what he does. And it shows. Symon is (arguably) the most prolific chef and food personality to emerge from Northeast Ohio... well, since Chef Boyardee, I suppose. He's been nominated for an award from the James Beard Foundation, which is often referred to in culinary circles as "a Food Oscar." A Beard Foundation award is a pinnacle for a chef and Symon -- the only one in the state to have ever been nominated since the awards started over 20 years ago -- clearly deserves the nod. And not just because he's a great chef, but also because he's a great guy. I'll post a link to the story when it runs.
This morning, I participated in a panel with Plain Dealer Metro Editor Jean Dubail and Meet the Bloggers/Brewed Fresh Daily catalyst George Nemeth about Newspapers and Blogging: Challenges in the Era of DIY Publishing. The forum took place at the Penton Media Building downtown to some 30 or so and was moderated by PR Newswire's Southeast Region Director Jennifer Cotton. We talked a lot about whether companies and organizations would benefit from initiating their own blogs and how PR and marketing professionals can best gear their company/org messages to both old and new media. That's simplifying the discussion a lot, but having been working in media now professionally for 17 years, I can wholeheartedly tell you that the Internet and new media has changed the "social physics of information" and how people choose to consume that knowledge. Now you've got XML, RSS feeds, Google readers, social tags, metakeywords, digg, reddit, netscape, del.icio.us... it's all a far cry from the Atari 800XL computer I started banging reviews out on so many years ago.
I get a sense from talking to some of these business-minded folks that the idea of blogs freaks their hierarchies out because they can't figure out the ROI of it all... So, here's a message to all you corporate folks who might be mulling it over: go ahead and start a blog and be intentional about utilizing it. You'll be surprised at the results; a lot of businesses are reaping the rewards for the decision. Trying to measure the ROI inherent to a blog is like trying to measure the ROI in building a highway: it's there, for sure, but try quantifying all those details. If you are conversational, you're liable to tap into a far more segmented audience of people you want to target, instead of struggling to get coverage for your business or organization in more MSM circles -- where your "audience" just might not care about the subject at all and merely flip the page. And don't be afraid to be real instead of "controlling the message." I think Glenn Kelman in the Wired story is a great example of the kind of honesty I'm talking about.
So, anyway. There you go. That's what happens when yours truly sheds the pajamas, gets wild and crazy and leaves the "office" for a little while. We return you now to your regularly-scheduled hungry L'il Man, crazy foxhound and SAHD in 'jammies with a laptop, already in progress. Next time: Barack Obama, Why I Quit Caffeine, and a brand new segment called PCHQ-TV.