No, not another “five brand lessons you learn from Springsteen” post

by Jon Newman

This is a big week for me.  In the next week or so I’m going to see Bruce Springsteen live.  Twice.

In the past I might have fallen victim to the same “crutch” that other blogger sometimes depend on.  I’ll admit to it, I’ve also done it in the past.  That’s taking something you are doing or are passionate about and stretching that into a blog post about three or five or seven lessons you can learn from that person or thing.

At first it was cute, then it grew a little tiresome and then it became the thing that everyone did.

I’m stopping now.

In this social world I’m finding it harder and harder to separate the personal from the professional.  More times than not lately I’ve been chided by some who have grown tired about my Facebook posting or tweeting about Springsteen, or Rutgers, or the Mets, or my other passions.  By not connecting my passions directly to a blog post I hope I’m giving them one less thing to chide me about.

If I sound a little bitter, well maybe I am.  If social sharing is not created to share things that you are truly passionate about then what is it there for?  Please tell me it’s not just about sharing your latest views about marketing, PR or advertising because if it is the world would then be a truly boring place.

Maybe I/we are somewhat to blame for that.  Maybe we get so caught up on the use of social media, we forget what it is there for, for people to just share.

If you don’t like what I’m sharing then feel free to unfollow, unfan, unlink, unpin and unconnect with me.  I’m not forcing you to do any of that, it is your choice.

As Springsteen says in “The Ties That Bind,”

It’s a long dark highway and a thin white line Connecting baby, your heart to mine.

Maybe we should look at social media as that highway and its thin white line.  You can ride it with me, or get off at the next exit.  You can choose and should choose the Ties That Bind.

Shit, there I go using Springsteen to teach a lesson in a blog post.  Damn.

Things I learned during my blog’s summer vacation.

Okay…so it’s been a while.  Shoot me.

Rather than start things with a great PR or social media proclamation, let’s ease back into the swing of things with some random thoughts on things that have popped into my brain over the course of the last few weeks.

  • There will never be a plan for Shockoe Bottom.
  • Google+ is interesting but I’m still waiting to see the business applications for it.
  • You can only stave off your wife and kids wanting a new dog for so long.
  • There are members of Richmond’s social media community who really need to get over themselves.
  • It’s amazing how many people will help others find a job in our “creative” community if you ask them.
  • Alcohol tastes really good when drunk out of a mason jar.
  • The Mets have the amazing ability to keep my attention just long enough to get me to football season.
  • You can never have too much new business on the table.
  • Amber Naslund is a great social media leader and an even better human being.
  • College Football is about to change in a geometric way.
  • Bruce will never be able to replace the BigMan, but we need a tour any way.
  • Children will survive two weeks at sleep away camp.
  • Our Pig Pickin on October 15th will definitely “kick things up a notch” (you’re all invited, BTW).
  • My wife is wonderful and is making “The Year of Me” a year I will never forget.

This fall should be exciting with work stuff and teaching a social media course at VCU but I promise to gear up the blog again if for no other reason than to be an example for the students in our class.


Badlands boy

On Sunday, I won't be rooting for the Steelers, or the Cardinals.  I will be rooting for halftime.

On Monday, I have already cancelled a meeting and probably pissed off my business partner.  You see at 10am sharp I HAVE to be in front of my computer with three browser screens open and and hands poised for action.  That's when tickets for the next Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band tour go on sale.

No, I'm not one of those people who can recite the playlist from the '78 show in Fenway, but I've probably seen the greatest rock 'n roll band of my generation between 25 and 30 times.

The irony is that back at Rutgers in the late 70's and early 80's, I was likely the only Jersey boy who still didn't "get" Bruce.

Then on that fateful day in 1981, I got "the call."  You see my friend Mitch somehow scored tickets to the opening night concert of what was then called Meadowlands Arena.  I'm talking about the opening night of the arena itself.  I think it opened with a series of ten E Street concerts.  I of course said yes because, well, I wanted to see the arena.

They say that once you see the band live, you are hooked.   I definitely fall into that category.  In the almost 30 years that have followed, I have:

  • Seen him from the seventh row on the floor at the Hampton Coliseum with tickets that by radio DJ friend had gotten from a caller on the morning of the concert.
  • Stayed up all night in a car outside the Capital Center in DC to get tickets the next morning.
  • Made my wife climb up to the top row of the then Brendan Byrne arena (how many names has the Meadowlands Arena really had) when she was six months pregnant with our first child.
  • Travelled over the years to Nashville, Philly, DC, Greensboro and countless arenas and stadiums.
  • Seen him in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.
  • Had the religious experience of hearing "Jungleland" live on more than one occasion.
  • Rented a limo for a ten block drive to the Richmond Coliseum, not only because we had a client in tow for his first Springsteen experience, but because I didn't want the hassle of having to park near there.

I know, I know.  Most of you just don't understand.  I know.  But as I have said before, what is your life without your passions?

Why run from meeting to meeting?  Why debate the merits of the latest tactic you are deploying?  Why argue PR 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0?  Why wake up at five in the morning to move the boulder up the hill one more inch if there is not a payoff more than being able to pay your mortage or rent?

For me my passion payoff is the communal experience of being able to fist pump or sing background with almost 20,000 of my new friends who magically all know the right hand gestures and correct harmony for each song.  It is a club of which I am proud to be a member, and unless you join you can't truly appreciate.

So when some or rooting for Hines Ward or Kurt Warner on Sunday, I will be rooting for Badlands or Rosalita (OK, I know it's longer than 12 minutes but I can root can't I?)

And, please.  Wait until 10:05 eastern time on Monday.  By then I'll know whether I was able to get the tickets to Charlottesville and DC at face value…..or if I have to dip into the bank and buy them from Stub Hub.

Latest “Springsteen” rumors

Okay, so a short diversion from the PR old vs. new school debate to update folks on the latest Springsteen rumors.

The mill is abuzz with talk of Bruce performing on the mall on January 18th as part of Obamafest in DC.  No word on whether it's just him with Patti and the guitar of a full-fledged E-Street extravaganza.

Then the latest from has all Springsteen fans crazy with anticipation as shortly after the release of the new CD "Workin on a Dream" a short tour is planned.

But the most interesting tidbit is that Bruce is considering including full-live versions of classic albums as part of the dates.  He did this on the last tour at a fund raiser for a New Jersey theater where he and the band played the songs from "Born To Run" in order, took a break, and then played "Darkness" live.

For Springsteen fans hearing those "albums" live would be a true trip to "The Promised Land."

What is life without passions….

A man cannot live by PR 1.5 alone.  So from time to time I will blog about my other passions (aside of course from my wife and kids, who may show up once in a while).Rtime-bowl

Sports and Springsteen, specifically Rutgers sports, the Mets, the Jets, are you beginning to see a theme here.  Yes my life has been filled with great sports disappointment with a glimmer of hope about once every 20 years or so.

Recently that glimmer has been Rutgers football and tonight I'm preparing to make my first bowl excusion.  The destination is Birmingham, AL for what the familiy is calling The Pizza Bowl (the sponsor is PapaJohn's) to face N.C. State.  Over the next week or so the posts will follow our trek to Birmingham and Atlanta.  If I can I will sprinkle in some idle work thoughts that hit me on the ten hour drive.

After the bowl game on Monday, the next big date in my life is January 27th, when Bruce's new CD hits the web and stores.  Can't wait until tickets are on sale for the next tour.


From time to time I will post about other things like my love for Springsteen and New York-area sports teams.

For those of us who are long-suffering New York Jets fans, todays loss was expected but still hurts.

Wouldn't it be classic Jest to win next week and back into the playoffs as a six seed with either a Pats or Ravens loss?

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