Author Archives: Rob Cottingham

About Rob Cottingham

Political speechwriter for national leaders, provincial premiers and Vancouver mayors. Cartoonist behind Noise to Signal. Online engagement strategist since the days of dial-up modems. F2F humorist ("stand-up comic" for you old farts).

I believe crash reports should be worth reading (11)

What year is it? What? 2015?! Augh, no, too soon! I see the problem: a freed zone element was modified. The convergence is still developing, the lines are too faint—I had hoped for 2022 at least. Now I’m going to lose precious days refilling the temporal reservoir and the gravity buffers, and meanwhile that bastard Perrault is making the most of his head start. And his damage to the timeline is expanding: you’re still using internal combustion engines and taking the Republican Party seriously, for Christ’s sake. Wait… what’s the atmospheric carbon dioxide level..? Oh… oh god, no. Perrault, I swear, you’re going to pay dearly.

What year is it? What? 2015?! Augh, no, too soon! I see the problem: a freed zone element was modified. The convergence is still developing, the lines are too faint—I had hoped for 2022 at least. Now I’m going to lose precious days refilling the temporal reservoir and the gravity buffers, and meanwhile that bastard Perrault is making the most of his head start. And his damage to the timeline is expanding: you’re still using internal combustion engines and taking the Republican Party seriously, for Christ’s sake. Wait… what’s the atmospheric carbon dioxide level..? Oh… oh god, no. Perrault, I swear, you’re going to pay dearly.

In which I barf up a ton of advice on getting real value from your blog

I’ve been updating my series from a while ago about getting tangible value from your blog. You can follow it on LinkedIn; I’d love to know what you think!

 

One small note from a man, one giant email for humankind

A friend of mine just received one of those weird blank emails you sometimes see, dated 1969-12-31. Oh, I know what you’re going to say: it’s a server glitch, or the email program has a bug. Sure. You believe your thing.

Me? I like to think those emails actually come from Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who had to spend a day orbiting the moon—cut off from all human contact, even radio—while Armstrong and Aldrin bounced around on it. How did he cope with being the loneliest person in history? I think he beamed messages into space… messages that ultimately bounced off some distant world or massive as-yet-undetected object, and have only now returned to us, transformed into email. All the data has been lost in the transformation; only the year of transmission remains.

So if you get one, just respond, “Hi, Michael—hang in there. You guys make it back fine.”

The Apollo 11 crew portrait. Left to right are...

Michael’s the one in the middle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh! The Things That You’ll Tweet!

To celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday today, HootSuite has posted a really clever Dr.-Seuss-inflected guide to Twitter, and invited their friends and followers to share their own rhymes, hashtagged #HootSeuss.

Naturally, I found myself helpless to resist. (P.S.—I have nothing against live TV tweeting. It just scanned and rhymed so. well.) And so…

Oh! The things that you’ll tweet!

Oh, the things that you’ll tweet! Oh, the news you will share!
The wisdom you’ll show! The truth you’ll lay bare!
And then Twitter rewards you for all you have tried
when you wake up to find your account’s verified.
It’s all been worthwhile, tweeting all of that dreck,
now that your name appears next to that check.

You’ll tweet about breakfast!
You’ll tweet about memes!
You’ll tweet about farting—
well, that’s how it seems.

You’ll tweet about TV.
You’ll tweet sappy notes.
(On your very worst days?
Inspirational quotes.)

You’ll gain plenty of followers each time you tweet.
They’ll shower you with mentions and favourites so sweet.
You’ll soon know you’ve figured this Twitter thing out
as evidenced by your ever-increasing Klout.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

It’s hard to believe but
you need to know that
sometimes your very best
tweets will fall flat.

Your hashtags may wither,
your snark gone unheard.
Your follower numbers
may drop by a third.

You will come to a place where you soon realize
that sometimes your content unhappily dies.
Especially if you’re trying to force something viral.
That’s when you enter a bad downward spiral
and feeling defeated, and feeling goodbye-ral.

Could your Twitter fame have been sadly so fleeting?
What content will save you? Live TV show tweeting?
A desperate grab for some new trending trope?
Or maybe, just maybe, there may be some hope.
Some force in the darkness may throw you a rope.

Somehow you’ll escape
tweeting drivel and pap.
You’ll drag yourself out
of that trivial crap.

You’ll look deep inside you,
and you’ll make the choice:
to speak loud and clear
with your very own voice.

So…
whether you’re heard by a million and two,
or even if nobody’s following you,
you have something to say!
Come down off that shelf.
You don’t need to be GaGa.
Just come be yourself.

Update: Oh, for god’s sake—they tweeted about it today, but I just noticed that the actual blog post was from last year. It’s still terrific.

I believe crash reports should be worth reading (10)

(crash report for Firefox) I think the aging starcraft knew as I did that the next time would be our last: that they'd have us—and with us, the Arcturan Protocol. That was the one eventuality I couldn't accept. I flipped the control yolk over, centered the implacable rock of the asteroid directly in my sights, and in a moment I will gun the thrusters to overdrive. If you are reading this message, please know I did all I could. Long live the Galactic Assembly.

I think the aging starcraft knew as I did that the next time would be our last: that they’d have us—and with us, the Arcturan Protocol. That was the one eventuality I couldn’t accept. I flipped the control yolk over, centered the implacable rock of the asteroid directly in my sights, and in a moment I will gun the thrusters to overdrive. If you are reading this message, please know I did all I could. Long live the Galactic Assembly. [message ends]