My entry about talking to kids about Rob Ford is garnering some pretty cool attention.
Yesterday I did an interview with the Toronto Star that ended up on the front page of today's Life & Entertainment section. In about an hour I'm expecting a visit from Global News and I might have the CBC dropping in this evening.
Here's what was published in the Toronto Star today.
I called into the Humble and Fred Podcast this morning to discuss some controversy swirling in my new bride's family regarding a line in my speech and an impromptu speech delivered by my good friend Humble Howard Glassman.
If you want to hear me read my speech in its entirety, listen to the most recent episode of my Your Blog Sucks podcast I recorded with Elvis, who was seated at Humble and Fred's table during Saturday's celebration. The episode is 30 minutes long, but we cover the wedding speech controvery in the first ten minutes.
Here's my segment from today's episode of Humble and Fred Radio, or you can download the MP3 directly.
You can hear Humble and Fred every morning on SiriusXM and you can download episodes at www.humbleandfred.com.
I appeared on Montreal's only English sports radio station tonight, The Team 990. The show is called Game Points and they had me on following their discussion about my blog last week.
It's not easy being cocky when your team hasn't played a playoff game in five years but I think I pulled it off. Have a listen and tell me what you think.
Game Points with Matthew Ross is a sports radio show that airs on The Team 990 in Montreal. Minutes ago they spent an entire segment discussing my Subbanator Habs Fans Find New Way to Offend entry from Friday afternoon.
I wasn't just listening, I was recording the web stream with Audacity so I could share all 11:30 with you. Here's Metric Julie talking about Toronto Mike on Game Points.
I'm glad they laughed off this Leafs conspiracy angle that's gaining steam. This topic runs a little deeper than your run of the mill team rivalry.
Great job, Metric Julie!
What was Pepsi thinking? That's what I want to know.
I work in marketing. I'm shocked Pepsi's "Cheer Nation" campaign got off the drawing board. I totally understand why Pepsi would want to associate their beverage with our national game, that's just smart business sense, but asking us to abandon “Go Canada Go” and “Ca-Na-Da” in favour of their awful and insulting chant of “Eh Oh Canada Go” is a horrible, horrible idea. They literally trampled ungraciously and obnoxiously on sacred ground.
Since I wrote Cheer Nation? I'm Not Chanting "Eh! O' Canada Go!" For Pepsi I've been using every ounce of my Google prowess and social media might to defend my nation, our game and our collective intelligence by rallying against PepsiCo and this campaign. I've managed to get interviewed by one major newspaper and an article I wrote got into the hands of the entertainment editor at The Star. Sadly, that article never got printed, but this one in the Vancouver Sun ran today.
'Eh Oh Canada Go' junior hockey chant falls flat
VANCOUVER — While Team Canada's attempt to achieve a sixth straight World Junior Championship gold medal fell to the wayside in overtime against Team USA last night in Saskatoon, at least one sigh of relief was exhaled by hockey fans across Canada as a corporate attempt to hijack a cultural tradition fell flat in its face.
Pepsi's attempt to eliminate the traditional Canadian hockey chants of “Go Canada Go” and “Ca-Na-Da” and re-brand them with the dubious chant of “Eh Oh Canada Go” was received with little fanfare before the tournament and by the gold medal game, the corporate takeover was stopped in its tracks as 13,000-plus loud, passionate fans kept to the traditional “Go Canada Go” chant.
Pepsi is a sponsor of Hockey Canada but not the Olympics and decided to get in on the pre-Olympic hockey buzz by creating a marketing campaign asking Canadians to create a new hockey chant.
The hockey gods cringed, as did fans across Canada.
The corporation's bid to get one million people to sign up for “Cheer Nation” has only garnered 93,876, many of whom were enticed to sign up because Pepsi said it would temporarily display a list of their names in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Pepsi's Facebook page has 133,000 fans, although that may be deceiving since most of the latest messages on the page seem to reinforce what many are calling a marketing disaster.
"I became a [Facebook] fan of this just to say how stupid it is. No company is going to tell me how to cheer. I don't need a sports cheer marketed," wrote Facebook member Jeff.
Meanwhile, the recently created "Eh! Oh! Canada Go! chant is a national embarrassment" Facebook page has 30,000 members.
And on Canucks.com, one fan created a forum discussion demanding the Pepsi chant be boycotted.
While Pepsi said the chant had "landed in Saskatoon" it was barely heard, if not for the parachuted Pepsi employees who tried (and failed) to launch the chant inside the arena.
During one commercial break in a previous game the chant's creator Joan Buma was introduced while a small group of "fans" chanted the cheer and a Pepsi cheerleader waved a Pepsi flag up and down the aisles. To Pepsi's credit one boy (presumed not to be paid by Pepsi) did stand up and bravely cheer the Pepsi chant for the camera.
Fans posting messages on online hockey discussion forums, such as NHL team websites and HFBoards.com, condemned the chant, with all due respect to Buma.
"I trust the Pepsi chant will die the early and inglorious death it deserves," said one member on HFBoards.com.
Bloggers also derided the corporate gimmick.
“Toronto Mike” said on his popular blog that the premise that Team Canada fans needed to be united was "faulty," and that fans are not corporate "sheep."
By the gold medal game there was seemingly nothing left of the chant other than the continuous bombardment of Pepsi commercials on television. The cheer wasn't necessarily boycotted, rather it was simply ignored and died an inglorious death.
I'm claiming victory. This campaign will go down in history as one of the greatest miscalculations in Canadian marketing history. We Canadians are a tolerant bunch, polite and passive at times, but when you come in our backyard and tell us how to cheer for our national hockey team, we get pissed. And you don't want to see a Canadian pissed.
That damn cheer has indeed died an inglorious death. We won!
Humble and Fred fans, I know you've been waiting patiently for Humble and Fred's Fifth Podcast. Dan's passed it over to me, and I'm ready to throw it into the wild just as soon as I get Freddie P's final blessing.
I just listened to it, and about an hour in I received some sweet praise from the boys. Here's 1:24 that really spoke to me.
If you need help getting your Web 2.0 groove on, contact me.
I spoke with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix yesterday regarding Pepsi's Cheer Nation. I previously wrote about Cheer Nation in an entry entitled Cheer Nation? I'm Not Chanting "Eh! O' Canada Go!" For Pepsi.
It must be a slow news day in Saskatoon. The article in which I'm quoted is currently the lead story.
Here's the article in which I do my very best Neil Young impersonation.
Give a cheer
Professional fan teaches 'Eh! O' Canada Go'
By Wendy Gillis, For The StarPhoenix
Having thousands of cheering sports fans watch his every exuberant move is just another day at the office for Cameron Hughes. But one excited woman gave the professional sports entertainer a career first on Saturday during Team Canada's premier game of the 2010 IIHF world junior hockey championship.
"She just grabbed me, took my head firmly between her hands and planted a kiss right on my lips," said Hughes. "I knew people in Saskatchewan were friendly, but not that friendly."
For 13 years, the Ottawa native has travelled throughout Canada and the United States living every sports fan's dream. At games, he yells at the top of his lungs, leads cheers, throws T-shirts into the crowd and dances up and down the stairs -- and gets paid to do it.
His flair for fanaticism has him perform at dozens of professional baseball, hockey, basketball and football games, including last year's Grey Cup game in Montreal. Now, Hughes brings his infectious energy and self-described awkward dance moves to Saskatchewan for his first gig at the world junior tournament.
"This is a dream come true," said Hughes, who always watched the tournament as a boy.
Though the job title of professional fan may sound cushy, Hughes has to suit up and prepare like any athlete he cheers on. He does vocal exercises and drinks special tea to protect his voice, and non-stop moving forces him to tape his ankles prior to each performance.
Despite his preparation, Hughes still has battle scars: Constant clapping has left him with chapped and cut hands, and he has been sent to the hospital eight times during the course of his career.
Hired to cheer by PepsiCo Beverages Canada, Hughes' task at the world juniors is to promote the company's national hockey program Cheer Nation. According to Pepsi, the goal of Cheer Nation is to give Canadian hockey fans their own cheer for Team Canada.
The company ran a contest for a national hockey cheer, and the result was debuted during Team Canada's game against Latvia Saturday. Penned by Ontario high school teacher Joan Buma, the simple "Eh! O' Canada Go!" was the contest winner, beating out 1,000 other submissions.
"I'm an encourager by nature, and I'm a die-hard hockey fan," Buma said Sunday from her home in Grimsby.
Buma wrote the cheer a mere two days before the contest closed, and got her students to participate in the video submission at the last minute. She receives a four-day trip to Saskatoon for the championship, and a vacation to Germany for the 2010 IIHF World Championship in May.
Hughes said hockey fans embraced the cheer when he taught it to the 12,469 people at Credit Union Centre on Saturday. He said fans were singing along with him and then chanting it on their own.
But Cheer Nation has come under fire from those who think Pepsi is turning Canada's love affair with hockey into a marketing gimmick.
On the Internet, some blogs and comment boards are questioning Pepsi's motives, with one blogger saying cheers must be "organically spread."
"Such cheers can't be forced upon us by a multinational corporation," Mike Boon, a Toronto-based blogger at torontomike.com, said in an e-mail.
But Dale Hooper, vice-president of marketing at PepsiCo, says the cheer is only meant create a "legacy for Canadian hockey."
"We've been partners with Hockey Canada for 10 years, and we look to build on that partnership," Hooper said. "This is not a marketing ploy as much as a chance for (Buma) to share this with Canadians."
Hughes will be in Saskatchewan for the duration of the tournament or, as he says, "until Canada wins gold."
This article is like a big ad for Pepsi, with the two men on PepsiCo's payroll getting 95% of the ink. I suppose my quote was in there to give it a little "balance". They could have used a few of my other points against the campaign.
When I read the vice-president of marketing at PepsiCo saying "this is not a marketing ploy" I choked on my Shreddies.
I'm sitting in media seat #67. No foolin'. Of all the numbers I could have got, I got #67.
I've already had a tour of the Rogers Sportsnet broadcast truck, seen Cliff Fletcher chowing down on a pre-game meal and I've been ice level to soak in some pre-game ambiance.
I'll be updating this entry throughout the game, so keep pressing F5. I'll also add some pics once I find my USB cable.
6:55 - All the popcorn and pretzels you want here... and just passed Mike Murphy and JFJ in the hallway. Does JFJ ever leave?
Having a good chat with Jonathan about MLSE and guys like me who blog and tweet about the Leafs ad nauseum. His vision is a suite where 20 or so bloggers / twitterers watch each game. He's working on getting buy-in from management, but my presence here in seat #67 is a baby step in the right direction.
7:03 - Andy Frost is yelling at me! He just announced that the young jedi Luke Schenn won't be playing tonight. That's his 2nd healthy scratch in a row...
Just my luck that the night I get access to the media box at the ACC is the night the biggest news in the building involves the Toronto Blue Jays.
7:09 - Fun fact: The last time I saw a Leafs game from the ACC, Jim Cuddy sang the national anthem. Today, Jim Cuddy sang the national anthem. Spooky!
Game just started...go Leafs go!
7:19 - Leafs PP fizzled... On a TV timeout. Sitting right in front of Dennis Beyak and the AM 640 crew calling tonight's game on radio. You can hear him when the crowd isn't booing Alfredsson.
7:24 - Do the Leafs and Sens know this game started at 7? C'mon guys, Toronto Mike is in da house!
7:28 - Here's the media seating chart.
7:34 - The ACC loudspeaker just played the 3rd Metallica song of the night. And the Leafs are shorthanded. Here's a view to my left in "The Foster Hewitt Media Gondola".
7:40 - The Leafs are being outshot 10-6 but Tosky's looked solid. Now it's time for the Metro Food Frenzy! See what you're missing!!!!
7:48 - Got another tour of the media rooms. Guess who I bumped into (literally) while going for a vanilla fudge Drumstick? Joe Bowen. True story.
Had a chat with Mike Ullmer re: Luke Schenn and whether he should be in the press box here to my left or with the Marlies. I say he's better off with the Marlies than he is being a healthy scratch. Mike agrees with me.
I'm diving into my ice cream now. Back in a bit...
8:02 - I just sent Jonathan to get me a coffee. Meanwhile, I'm making a total mess of myself trying to eat this Drumstick.
Jason Blake just scored! That's got this place jumping. Nice backhand from #55. Leafs 1, Sens 0.
8:08 - #67
8:20 - Mike Fisher just scored to tie things up. Having a great convo with Jonathan, my brother from another mother.
And Phil Kessel scores to put the Kessel Vessel back up by a goal. What a shot!
8:29 - 4th Metallica song of the night...
Free stuff I've consumed: pretzels, popcorn, bottled water, coffee, ice cream.
# of media info papers I've had delivered to me: 5434.
8:42 - Here's some video I took of the intros.
8:51 - Third period is underway. We just chatted about Hanson's blog, the awesome TFC atmosphere and censoring the word "vagina" on the official Maple Leafs Facebook page. Yes folks, I saw him do it. Stop using the V word over there.
8:53 - Crap. Sens tied it up. Btw, we get a special announcement with interesting facts re: penalties and goals, etc. Did you know Poni likes long walks in the rain and mangos?
8:59 - Grabs scores with 13:58 to play in the third! The crowd is chanting "Go Leafs Go" and watch out in section 102 because I just dropped my bagel.
9:05 - Has anyone seen Grabovski and Berezin in the same room at the same time? Just wondering...
9:09 - Luke's Troops gets the biggest cheer of the night. A standing O.
9:16 - I'm having a blast. Great convo, great view, awesome evening.
4:09 to play. Leafs up by a goal. I'm staring at the banner for retired #5 Bill Barilko. And Borje Salming is on the brand new scoreboard as the Leafs all-time highest scoring defenceman.
9:23 - C'mon Leafers, hang on... Sens goalie pulled. Sens scored, but the ref calls it off! Under review... the drama!
9:26 - No goal! The crowd loves the call. Screw you, Sens!
9:39 - Leafs win! Leafs win!
Komi was just announced as the first star and Poni was star #3. Shots were 24-24.
I'm going to talk this guy into an independent Leaf fan consortium that has total access to MLSE without MLSE having any editorial say or veto power. It's me and a few other intelligent Leaf fans who get the digital space and MLSE feeds us multimedia, access to players and ACC passes. I'm serious.
From the ACC where God's team just beat the Sens, I'm signing off.
Remember when I wrote about being interviewed by The Canadian Press last week? The article about me is out there. So far I've seen it in the Winnipeg Free Press and Metro News.
Here's the article in its entirety. I'll share some thoughts at the end.
TORONTO - It took Mike Boon a few years of blogging until he finally beat the mainstream media to a story, an especially big accomplishment considering he lives in Toronto, with its hyper-competitive media market and four newspapers fighting for scoops.
And it wasn't just one lucky break, as he's had another two exclusives this year after carving out a niche for himself reporting on the comings and goings in Toronto radio, a subject he turned his attention to after finding little coverage in the daily papers.
After years of hype, online citizen journalism is starting to have a real impact on the mass media and is drawing readers who aren't getting all the news they want from the mainstream press, said Alfred Hermida, assistant professor with the University of British Columbia's journalism school.
"People are looking for news that's relevant to them . . . and perhaps that's not something that a mainstream publication will publish because it might be too narrow, too niche," Hermida said.
"But if you have, essentially, more media, there's the ability for more stories to be reported."
Canadians have been active in the citizen journalism field, launching sites like Orato.com, Digitaljournal.com and Nowpublic.com, which was acquired by the American site Examiner.com in September.
So-called hyperlocal blogs add to the mix and well-established sites, such as Torontoist.com and Blogto.com, have enough clout to see their content syndicated by the Globe and Mail and National Post, respectively.
NowPublic co-founder Len Brody said his site was launched a few years ago after recognizing the media was facing a challenging future and wouldn't be able to cover everything.
"You now have millions of people around the world that are out recording everything they see and we realized there was going to be a big market opportunity for the next generation (wire service), an organization that would have the ability to help news companies and media companies make sense of this rapid-fire news economy we were going to live in," Brody said.
Examiner.com has entered the Canadian market with local content for Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver but they're not setting out to compete directly with mainstream media, said Brody. Instead, they're hoping to empower local users to create content for their peers.
"Our focus was really on having people in their communities speaking to one another . . . it's about having people who are passionate about any particular subject in their locality writing on it."
In Boon's case, his early postings at Torontomike.com covered his love for "The Dukes of Hazzard" and The Tragically Hip. Over time, posts about local radio piled up and Google began to recognize his site as a main source of that content.
His first big story came in 2006 and involved the firing of local DJ Humble Howard. His web traffic logs suggested users were bombarding his site after searching for information about his on-air absence, which at that point hadn't hit the mainstream.
Boon noticed Howard's name had been scrubbed from the radio station's website and figured he'd write something about it, since there was an obvious appetite for that type of news.
"I had thousands and thousands and thousands of people trying to find out about his radio career, that was the first time I noticed there were suddenly people . . . reading what I have to say."
A couple days later the mainstream media caught up to the story, with Humble Howard - whose real name is Howard Glassman - confirming he was let go.
A little more than a week later, Glassman posted a message on the comments section of Boon's blog and readers continued to talk about that story for another two months. A story the mainstream media initially didn't care about had a lot of legs for Boon and Toronto readers.
Boon's biggest coup came this summer, when he was the first to report on the suicide of local DJ Martin Streek, based on a tip from one of his readers. At least one newspaper quoted his blog as a source and, while he was confident that what he was posting was true, Boon now says he's conflicted about his role as a news provider.
"It frightens me when people sort of take me as a definitive news source, I just think it's dangerous and I'll be the first to admit that," he said.
"Having the audience is very powerful and totally awesome at times but there are times where it is completely scary because, suddenly, people are actually listening to you and a lot of people start to confuse you with CNN or the The Canadian Press."
The questionable credibility of citizen journalism has been one of its biggest criticisms but online readers will quickly decide which sites are reliable and worth reading and which aren't, Hermida said.
"If you don't find a site useful you're never going to go to it again, so the credibility comes from the content rather than the credibility of the brand, and that's not necessarily a bad thing," he said.
"(Readers will question) is the content there valuable to me, does it help me live my life, does it tell me something I didn't know, because essentially, online you can switch at a click of a mouse."
Brody said it's an exciting time for citizen journalism, which is finally building steam and yet is still at an embryonic stage.
"We're really at the beginning of a journey, we're kind of in the 2nd inning of a nine inning game and I would argue we didn't even step onto the ball field until seven or eight months ago," he said.
I've had a few of these interviews lately with the mainstream media, and they're tougher than you'd think. They get you talking, sharing stories and opinions on the subject at hand, and then they take your 60-minute convo and boil it down to 1000 words and a couple of quotes.
For example, regarding my Humble Howard, Are You Okay? entry from 2006, I wrote that after several visitors arrived after searching "humble howard fired" and keywords of that nature. I wrote about it because I was a fan of the Humble and Fred morning show and I sincerely wanted to know if he was okay, because where there's smoke, there's often fire. I didn't write about it because "there was an obvious appetite for that type of news", even though there was.
And I assure everyone, I handled the Martin Streek topic with great sensitivity. Reading that part of the article, especially the reference to my "biggest coup", makes me look a bit like an ass. I wasn't an ass, I promise.
Looking back, it's tough for me to even read Martin Streek Dead. That's not a story I ever wanted to break.
But all in all, it's a pretty fair article and I think the point is valid. Citizen journalism is gaining steam, but everyone needs to check their sources when reading news. I'm not the Globe and Mail or BBC, but I have been blogging for 7 years and 10,000 entries, and over time you do earn trust and integrity. You can't buy cred, you have to put in the time and prove yourself worthy.
On my way to hockey last night, I made a quick stop at the Purolator depot to pick up a package they've been trying to deliver to me. It was a textbook from Oxford University Press entitled "Perspectives on Ideology". For the life of me last night, I couldn't figure out who sent it to me or why.
This morning, my wife cracked the case. She found a letter on page 376 from Oxford University Press that explained I'm quoted in this text book. Here's the letter:
I guess I gave permission at some point and totally forgot about it. I quickly jumped to page 376 and found myself quoted between an MP and Ayn Rand. Not bad...
The actual entry they printed can be found right here.
As @vinaymenon just pointed out, being quoted in a text book entitled Perspectives on Ideology makes me sound like a freedom fighter, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
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