Here goes: Canada's oldest Daddy blogger! Est. 2004. Now I don't know that to be true, and I don't mean old as in my age, but that might be true as well. So I'm the dinosaur of Canadian Daddy Bloggers. Toronto-based Canadian Daddy Blogger and Canadian Tax Consultant still trying to find the balance between work, family and life. Married 15-years, 3 awesome kids.
Thoughts swirling through my head around the word “replacement”. In my life, what could replace me, or what (whom) could I replace?
What about in other aspects of society? Where could the world benefit from replacement, aside from the office of the President of the United States of America where some recent decision scare the crap out of many, while bringing the “protectionist” US back to a time when they turned away other immigrants who were slaughtered by the Nazi’s.
Instead of having a “Trump” card, or a “Veto”, the US needs a “Replacement” vote which should allow the majority of their citizens to have stupid / racist / sexist decisions replaced by common sense ones.
Just a thought….
But about me, as a Dad, husband, and tax services professional – I recently had that conversation with my kids about my wife’s new best friend… Art. She loves Art, and Art makes her feel good.
Art, you see, is not a person, but is what artists do, and my wife has become one seriously talented artist. Watching her create is exciting and seeing the final product is awe inspiring, but I digress. “Art” would be a suitable replacement for me.
My kids, however, wonder if “Art” were to be their next daddy, how “he” would treat them.
I told them since “Art” is not a real person, we could pretend that “Art” was really rich… like Bill Gates rich, and “Art” would buy them whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted… And then if “Art” had a huge family then it could help expand our super-small family. That would be cool right?
They liked the thought, but felt that getting what they wanted, whenever they wanted would become boring after a while, and they kind of like me as their Dad… Awwww.
So “Art” would replace me as a husband, but not as a Dad, while common sense would replace dumb, racist political decisions.
Replacement might be the word of the day, but it offers the best opportunities for everyone to be happy. At least I think it does.
The link is to a really great post from Michelle W., who writes for WordPress.com, about the 2013 Bloggies, specifically the 11 WP bloggers who were among the finalists and winners. Please read the original post.
“The 2013 Bloggie winners were announced on March 24, and we were excited to see eleven WordPress.com bloggers among the finalists and winners.
Now in its 13th year, the Bloggie awards accept blog nominations for everything from Best Craft Weblog to Best-Kept Secret Weblog, winnowing down the nominees through rounds of voting until five finalists remain in each of its 30 categories.
The Urban Daddy was a daddyblogging juggernaut, picking up nominations for Best Canadian Weblog and Best Parenting or Family Weblog.”
“Of the other nominees, 80 are self-hosted sites running the free WordPress software available at WordPress.org – which means that a whopping 68% of this year’s Bloggie finalists and winners are powered by WordPress!”
Nominations for the Bloggies generally open on January 1st of each year, so if you did not see any of your favourite blogs among this year’s finalists, make sure to nominate them (or yourself) in 2014 here.
Congratulations to this year’s nominees and winners!
As a user of the Internet, for work or for play, it is extremely important to know and understand what the consequences can be when you use social media.
Many do not.
I am constantly amazed that people get caught doing, saying or showing things online which they later regret and the consequences of their actions can be very severe. It certainly changes the way people see them, and can change the way people treat them, with bullying, job loss, or lack of promotion some of the worse case scenarios.
I learned this the hard way. In the almost nine years since I started blogging I did so with the mistaken assumption that no one read my it and that the 5-10 hits a day were complete strangers who arrived there by error. Not having any comments, and being able to see the search engine terms used to get there it was easy for me to write whatever I wanted in complete anonymity. My blog was my forum to bitch, moan and complain about whatever I felt like, whenever I felt like it. Getting it all off my chest made me feel great.
Then it all came crashing down. I can recall this as if it were yesterday, when I hit send on one particular post from 2005 in which I complained about my employer and also lambasted some colleagues for their lack of work ethic. I never thought for a moment that there was a remote possibility that anyone from my company was reading my blog and that the information I wrote in that post, or in any of my previous posts were going to be spread around the office and used against me, like they were.
My hits over the next couple days went from 5-10 to 150 on that post and I started to receive anonymous ominous comments on that post. Stuff started to disappear from my desk, and I would get hang-ups in the middle of the night. Then some of my colleagues would start random conversations with me and include information from my blog that they would not have known if they did not read it there, like “how was the movie you saw Saturday with your wife at Yorkdale.” I was perplexed.
It was soon thereafter when I realized that I had made a really stupid mistake and if I wanted to continue to work there without having my stuff disappear, I would need to go into damage control and implement my own social media policy.
Some of the key points are below;
1) No mention of work. Ever. I’m a blogger building my brand first and foremost.
2) No mention of names of my family or friends unless they give me permission.
3) No posting of pictures on any form of social media except for family pictures on Facebook that I would be comfortable sharing with the world or a future employer.
4) I would never say anything online that I do not believe in or would not say face-to-face to someone.
5) If I am going to be critical of something or someone it had to be fact based and that required sources and a ton of research. No gossip or hearsay.
6) I am my own brand. I want my brand to be respected and taken seriously so I will have to treat others that way – good and bad.
The next thing I had to do was take a step back and see how this new social media policy worked for. I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress and kept it hidden until I was sure that I could play by these rules. Once I came out from hiding, I not only started to play fairly, but I started to informally educate others about the consequences of using social media for I realized that whatever you post that can be traced back to you, or your brand, can and will be used against you at some point in your life.
I have seen people tagged in photos where they are with friends and drinking, and the picture is most unflattering – maybe they are winking but look drunk – or the comments to a photo are unflattering or rude, or a photo taken in an inappropriate position – like on the toilet, and even an innocent comment like “I’m bored” which shows up next to a mention about your place of employment. All these examples can have long-lasting consequences far from the original intent. Ignoring them is not an option and just removing them usually does not suffice either. Not being in that situation is the best choice a person can make, and letting others know if equally as important.
I’m being tough on myself, but it’s nothing compared to the tolerance that certain industries have for themselves and when tracking their massive employee base.
Financial services, for example, can be especially tough due to the high regulation and as an employer they must ensure that their employees are clear about the organizations expectations and the social media policy.
I, for example, when hiring for my tax units always spends a few minutes to check out the candidates Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and then I Googled them to see if there are any warning flags. To not do so, would be not be responsible on my behalf. If they post anything and their profiles are not neat and tidy it means either they are going to be social media nightmares for the company or I am going to have to do a lot of coaching and mentoring them to ensure they don’t get caught online harming the company’s image of their own brand.
One of the first discussions I would have with staff is to caution them about what they say when using certain social media outlets, like LinkedIn. If they are choosing to comment on posts and join discussions they have to remember that they are not just individuals commenting there but they are also employees so they have to be cautious to keep their comments on topic and away from anything which could get them fired or the company sued.
I treat all my online activities, whether blogged, tweeted, liked or commented on, which relate to any external business as being monitored and recorded by someone if the company is not doing it themselves. I expect the same from my staff, my colleagues and my peers. I know when I talk to staff who are not practicing safe, social media that it is just a matter of time before it catches up to them.
Implementing an effective social media compliance process isn’t rocket science especially when the company has a clear social media policy and everyone abides by it and that policy has to be more than reactionary and punitive. Effective companies outline how they interact with the world via social media and how they expect their employees to do so as well. Leading organizations empower employees to build the corporate brand but it is certainly a team effort every step of the way.
Almost every other department has a key role in shaping the message. Marketing defines the scope of the message, the IT group outlines which social technologies will be used and provides the devices to be used while the legal and social media compliance groups are critical to ensure that the messages meet the necessary regulatory criteria. Once all that is in order it is absolutely critical for the training and learning group to be engaged so that the organization be trained to understand the pros and cons of using the various forms of social media, the most common being Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
What most employees in large organizations do not know unless they are trained is that any output on a social media platform goes through a series of serious checks and balances before someone hits send. Static content, for example – such as Facebook and LinkedIn profiles – require documented pre-approval before being posted online, while interactive content such as updates to Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks do not need to be vetted, however, regularly monitoring the content is extremely critical to ensure that there are no compliance violations or negative comments.
What most employees fail to understand is that these tight rules not only apply to business-related items posted by the organization but also if it comes from the employees personal social media accounts. It pays to think twice before speaking about your organization, their practices, clients or earnings.
Organizations keeping a close eye on their social media content in order to control the public message and ensure it is compliant with the organization’s policies and procedures. It also allows organizations to control their message and that makes sense from a brand perspective as quick accurate responses to comments shows a proactive organization while quick responses to, or removal of, derogatory or inappropriate messages displays a proactive social media policy. Keeping negative comments unanswered in a thread is a message to the general public that it is okay to pile on with more negative comments and spam the site. If these comments are removed and/or responded to quickly than others will think twice before hitting send.
Even prior to the monitoring the output, employees usually are not aware that many organizations prefer to control the message by utilizing tools to prevent rogue posts from ever hitting the web. Organizations assign limited permissions to certain employees and once that employee is finished creating a tweet, comment or update it is them moved into a queue to be edited or for managerial review before it moves to the compliance group, then on to marketing before it is approved and posted.
The best of these systems even come with their own archiving tools already built-in as financial services are heavily regulated and keeping all outgoing messages for a certain period of time, are a requirement of regulators.
Banning social communications altogether and hoping for the best, is no longer a viable alternative. Restricting communication, access to information and people networking is a practice which many organizations have been moving away from since smartphones have become commonplace on the hips of many employees. There is also the opinion that if organizations continue to resist, that their competitors and customers are moving ahead and talking about them to their current customers and to their potential customers.
To further that point, many organizations who are already heavy in social media are forging ahead with new social media positions, such as the social media compliance officer who among other things, lines up tweets for management’s approval and works closely with legal, marketing and training to ensure the right message is getting out and that all staff have been trained in a meaningful manner on the risk of non-compliance to these policies both for their personal brand and for their company.
Banks in particular, are moving forward quickly in all areas of social media, and with great reason. These customers tend to be more affluent and faster adopters of new, expense-cutting technology such as online and mobile banking, which makes them particularly valuable at a time when revenues are low and expense cutting makes the most sense. Getting them on the bank’s side also helps on the public relations front as these tech savvy folks are just as likely to comment online about good experiences, as they are to complain about bad ones.
So next time you fire up the computer, smartphone or tablet, make sure that before you press send that you are doing so responsibly. You don’t want to ruin your brand in a manner of seconds (or a few words) considering how long it took you to build it up.
The other day I was checking out my statistics on the WordPress dashboard, trying to figure out why my readership has doubled, beginning 3 weeks ago.
I began to think that maybe it was because I was trying to write shorter posts, or that I’ve been trying to put a little more effort into editing them which I’m sure you all know is not an easy task when the time you set aside to write and edit the posts is between 11-3 in the morning. Like this post, for example, I’m doing my 4th re-write and each time I save it I am sure that it is fantastic and ready to be posted but upon further inspection, the draft was terrible and this one might be too. LOL. #ZombieDad.
So, after shaking that nonsense out of my head I kept looking and noticed that here I was on November 12th and I have actually posted a fresh, new post each and every day so far this month.
How did that happen?
It is convenient, mind you that for the first time ever I have completed a post-a-day and it is November because every November in the blogosphere there is a challenge known for “NaBloPoMo”. NaBloPoMo stands for “National Blogging Post Month and during the month of November the challenge is to publish a post a day. I have never taken up the challenge, or even considered that kind of obligation to be honest. I’m in a long-term relationship already. It’s called marriage. Oh, and being a dad, son, brother, friend, employee, volunteer… Whew. Blogging every day for the sake of typing “NaBloPoMo” in an article just never appealed to me.
But here I am. Almost 1/2 way through this challenge and now my competitive juices are starting to kick in. I think I want to try to do it. I don’t think I will, to be honest, but I’m going to give it a shot. How hard can it be now? I just need 18 more posts for the month that are meaningful, tied to the theme of my blog and longer than a sentence.
I’ll never complete this.
Heck, seeing that the first 12 days are covered in the calendar on the right side of my blog is cool enough already. So what if the rest of the month is blank…
Thank goodness for the WordPress Daily prompt… http://dailypost.wordpress.com/category/daily-prompts/. One of the first prompts I found there was a challenge to write a letter to yourself as if you were a 14-year-old boy. Whew. That would be a very short post for me. When I was 14-years-old, I was a yucky, smelly boy who loved sports. My message would be something like this;
“Hi. 14-year-old boy. No body likes boys who don’t shower. Go shower. And take off your baseball hat sometimes, but your yucky hair, quit eating junky food and if you cannot figure out that light-blue rugby pants from the Sears catalogue are not going to make you popular, just fill your closet with blue jeans and black t-shirts. That’s it. Blend in a little more and stay clean. Oh, and sign up for a baseball team, dumb ass. If you’re already throwing a baseball in the high-70’s, low-80’s with pinpoint accuracy, and being left-handed, you might actually be able to make something of yourself in the game instead of being 41 and wondering what if.”
Hey, that was fun!
Are you doing NaBloPoMo? Why or why not?
…and what advice would you give the 14-year-old you?
So this is my 900th blog post here at The Urban Daddy.
A lot has happened in the time it has taken me to write 900 posts here. 3 children, 8 years of marriage, a lot of education and thankfully, my writing has improved too. I’ve noticed that people actually read stuff I have written and I’ve started a professional tax / management / social media blog which has just over 100 posts on it, so I won’t bore all of you with that kind of yucky stuff here.
This post was actually ready last Monday, but I decided to wait until Thursday so I could capitalize on the Thursday Thirteen theme, but along the way I got my ass thoroughly kicked by a flu which has been slowly rolling through our household. My son Stewie started with it – received an anti-biotic – and still 5 weeks later coughs like a chain-smoker. Then my wife and daughter got hit around the same time, Boo had horribly goopy and runny eyes and had trouble sleeping at night. My wife, the woman who laughs off strep throat, had it and tried to rest where possible but both of them still cough and sniffle 4 weeks later.
As for me… It killed me. I’m on day 8, 5 of those days without a voice which has never happened to me before, and for three of those days my head is stuffed and I cannot hear out of my left ear. It throws off my balance. But the coughing is the worst and at times I felt like I was going to herniate another disc in my back. I think my abs might be in better shape after this, to be honest, but I’ve been pretty useless for over a week – fever, chills, sweats, exhausted… I’m so done with being sick.
So instead of letting another day fly by, I am tossing up this post, which is a list of the 13 most memorable posts to me, on this blog. I hope you will take some time and check back to some of the earlier ones to see how much has changed along the way.
So please sit back, turn the calendar back to 2004, and be prepared to read the 13 most memorable posts to this Urban Daddy of his first 900 posts.
1) This is my first post on this blog. Have to start somewhere, right.
3) The re-birth of my blog and my first angry rant at the TTC and other stupidities. I got great feedback on this post and it gave me confidence to be myself online, to blog smartly and continue to point out how much I detest stupidity.
5) Owie!!! Our kitten arrived and back then it seemed like a great introduction to the family. Now my kids look at that kitten, then look over at the adult-sized cat on the couch and wonder how that happened. “Did Owie eat that little kitten?”
6) I reposted this speech from the United Nations, an organization I believe is corrupt, useless and anti-Israel and by doing this I pretty much came out as being Jewish – something I had not really done before just because I didn’t feel like fielding comments from bigots and racists. Since that powerful post, and I hope that you do read this post, I have posted more and more as a means to educate people and to continue to stand up for what is right, just and fair.
9) I posted about the day I completed my graduate school for my MBA which I started 3 days after Linus was born. Work… School… Children. Exhaustion. It was a great ride, a ton of work and an opportunity to finally leave the government for the private sector. I owe my wife and family a ton of gratitude for putting up with me studying while at the cottage, late nights at the kitchen table and for being downright cranky and surely during the process. I also got a ton of A’s and a couple A+’s which I had never achieved before so that was sweet too.
10) This was my first “overheard on a Monday” post where I realized after a couple years that if I arrived at the office before 7:30am, that I could listen to my two neighbours talk about their weekends. I used to tune them out and get right to work until one day I realized they were talking nonsense, something about double-reverse osmosis, so I called them on it – brought in my wife the chemistry teacher to back me up, and from there I had gems for my blog like no one else. These are must read posts, as well.
11) The First Urban Daddy Official Canadian Coffee Shop Rankings. I’m on year 4 currently and have received feedback and Twitter love from all the main chains, Country Style, Starbucks Canada, Java Joes, Tim Hortons and Timothy’s.
13) My absolutely most popular post ever. On the Ontario election. My views on this post were 10000% more than any other post, and some of my comments were tweeted along the live election feed of CP24. I felt engaged. Now, however, that total mocks me, as I get closer and closer to it, but it will be a long time before I can reach it again.