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Social Media

For some time, since I was convinced by friends at a conference I attended a few years ago, I have been using so-called social media. I am connected with work prospects, colleagues, and partners on LinkedIn, I use Twitter on occasion, and I regard my Facebook account as a work in progress that encompasses my activism, my blog posts, and my personal life, including staying in touch with friends. I am refining how I use Facebook, so I recently started a professional page which will make it easier for me to communicate about my projects. I am a writer, not a programmer, so I have a lot to learn about using the page. The page is up and live and you’re welcome to “like” me on Facebook as a matter of convenience. Though I may post items there that don’t merit attention here, my e-mail newsletter remains the best way to consume what I produce.

Site Facts and Stats

For those interested, top education-based domain visitors to my site for the past couple of years are from Duke, Brown, Oxford, Harvard, and the New York City public schools. Others include Columbia, USC, NYU, Vanderbilt, Los Angeles Unified, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, and Clemson. Top categories are Movies, Interviews, Services, News & Ideas, and Books.

Though my blog is the most widely read page on the site, the most popular interview during the past two years was my 2001 conversation with talk radio’s Dr. Dean Edell, who recently announced his retirement, about his book Eat, Drink and Be Merry (though readers spent more time reading my interview with Seton Hall University Professor Robert Mayhew about Ayn Rand’s We the Living last fall). The top ranked movie review was my review of the 2009 Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Avatar, which was also posted on Capitalism Magazine. Number one book article: my commentary on We the Living, which was also published in several newspapers including the Korea Times (my review of David Halberstam’s book about Michael Jordan and my profile of the “Chinese Cinderella” author Adeline Yen-Mah were the runners-up). The top War-themed article was my roundup of informative DVDs about 9/11.

The top-ranked blog posts concerned Disney’s train tour to promote A Christmas Carol, Susan Boyle, cable television comedian and host Jon Stewart, Chicago teacher Marva Collins, and my review of The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, which I enjoyed and recommend. Widely searched terms on the site were Iraq, Iran, Illusionist, Gran Torino, Milk, and Kinsey, and readers may be confused by the fact that the search field at the top of each page covers the site, not the blog, where I post many movie reviews, while the blog search field exclusively searches the blog (sorry for any inconvenience). Top keywords searched that brought readers to the site: ‘Scott Holleran’, ‘Martin Russ’, and ‘Susan Boyle YouTube’. Some of the more amusing movie review terms: ‘land of the lost cher’, ‘jungle book john wayne’ (he had nothing to do with the Disney movie, so maybe this is an urban myth), ‘slumdog objectivist’ and my personal favorite: ‘initiate the binary commands’, a line from District 9 that I favorably referenced in my blog review.

Statement on Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Ruling

Based on new disclosure rules by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for bloggers, I am issuing the following disclaimer: I am a writer and journalist and, as such, I receive solicited and unsolicited promotional items, including books, DVDs, and unpaid passes for events such as movie screenings, for editorial consideration. These do not constitute payment of any kind and do not influence the editorial product of this Web site. So, I am disclosing that the films I review are generally consumed at press screenings, not consumed as a member of a paying audience. I will also post this statement on the site’s Terms & Conditions.

Pittsburgh, Television, and an Update

Blogger Aaron West’s first blog post is an excellent tribute to an historic city of capitalism, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the businessman once thrived. The post is a desperately needed reminder about what makes America great. Once a bustling boomtown, Pittsburgh is no longer at the center of American industry. But the metropolis evokes the best of our nation’s Industrial Revolution. Built into the rolling, green hills of western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh rises as a triangle of skyscrapers at the intersection of two rivers, which merge to become one, wide river, the Ohio, which flows into the West. Aaron’s post, citing industrialists Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan, pulls an excerpt from a book published in 1907, which captures the spirit of Pittsburgh: “Without a single exception, the steel kings and coal barons of to-day were the barefooted boys of yesterday. In this respect no other city is as genuinely republican, as thoroughly American, as Pittsburgh.”

Another byproduct of Pittsburgh capitalism, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), bearing the names of Andrew Carnegie and banker Andrew Mellon, recently sponsored a thoughtful discussion about making money in arts and entertainment, “The Future Business Model of Television” (Pittsburgh is also the site of the world’s first broadcasting station, KDKA). The event was hosted by Heinz College’s Master of Entertainment Industry Management program in Hollywood and included NBC Universal’s Chief Marketing Officer John Miller, Fox’s Marcy Ross, William Morris Agency’s Steven Selikoff, head of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences John Shaffner, and producer and former Warner Bros.’ executive vice-president for production, Judith Zaylor.

The event, held at the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank, California, was moderated by Wayne Friedman. Miller recalled that, when Dallas aired on CBS, everyone freaked when they learned that Larry Hagman, who played the male lead, earned $ 50,000 per episode, and he observed that the government might invoke national security and take over local television programming, which is struggling. Zaylor explained how the Sarbanes-Oxley law, which imposes regulations on business, has seriously damaged the ability to produce TV content and everyone talked about the success of Fox’s American Idol, studio cost-cutting and so-called reality TV programming, which, as Shaffner reminded those in attendance, echoes the early days of TV, which was dominated by wrestling, boxing and talent competitions. TV is experiencing a tremendous business model change and the panel reflected the current state of the industry as a work in progress, ripe for new opportunity.

Readers of this blog may notice a few new features. I have added an ability to search the blog, which, it is important to note, is a separate function from searching the site. Please note that the blog search field is located on the right-hand navigation bar (the site search remains at the top of each site page). Another feature is the ability to subscribe to my blog using a feed (see Feeds on the right) and there is now a Permalink at the end of each post, to make it easier to link to an individual post. Also new: archives, arranged by month and year, categories, and an index of outside sources, such as podcasts and blogs (see right). I do not plan to include Comments, which, properly implemented, is extremely time-consuming. Of course, there is more to the site than this Blog, so feel free to scout the subjects under Writings (Books, News & Ideas, War, Health Care, Music, Travel, Interviews and Movies) for something of interest.