Urlameme and me
Last year, I wrote a weekly newspaper column for a while. I had a relatively open-ended contract with the publication that ran it, but after three months or so I had to hang it up. Although I'm able to churn out line after line of random drivel on this blog, having to come up with something new and on-topic, right on cue every week, was tough. I gained a new respect for guys like Phil Stanford and the folks at Willamette Week who have to produce one or two columns of a specified length each week. It may look easy, but it quickly gets to be work.
As the time rolls around for me to draft another weekly post-for-hire about Marqui, the communications software company that's paying me and some other bloggers to write about it, I'm feeling just a tiny bit of that same pressure. Technically, all I've got to do to earn my weekly pay is to mention Marqui and link to its product demonstration -- which I've just done, so my contractual obligation for the week is fulfilled. But since they're shelling out bucks for this, I feel it's only right that I say something more.
You know, there ought to be a designated Muse for blogging. The Greeks had the nine mythological sisters who inspired all sorts of creative arts: Calliope for epic poetry, Terpsichore for dance, and so on. We bloggers need a modern descendant of those grand gals. But what would her name be? Urlameme? Instalanchia? Googilio? Let's work on that.
Meanwhile, I've been prowling through the Marqui site, scratching around for an angle. As best I can boil it down, they're tech managers of the written word, mostly for marketers. They have been operating out of Vancouver, B.C., and now they're moving down to Portland. Given their previous location, they list a number of clients in Canada, but they've got some here in the States as well.
What the heck, I'm thinking, why not take a look at some of the clients' sites?
BC Ferries is a cool one. British Columbia is full of beautiful waterways, and in a lot of places, the only sensible way to get around is by ferry. I remember many summers ago cruising around B.C. on the way back to Portland from Jasper, Alberta, and a couple of long ferry rides were among the highlights of the itinerary. Anyway, the ferry system now has a fairly sleek and tight website, including a news release archive that looks pretty active. There's some information there that might not mean much to you or me, but it could make or break somebody's day. For example, all you folks who are planning to ride on the Duke Point -- Tsawwassen route next week! A modified schedule will be in effect from Monday, January 10 through Thursday, January 13, 2005, while the regular vessel the Queen of Alberni is redeployed to the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay route. For this period, the slower Queen of Saanich will be the temporary replacement vessel. And the Queen of Saanich carries fewer overheight and commercial vehicles than the Queen of Alberni, so you might want to get there early if you're driving a big rig.
With that cleared up, I mosey over to see what's up with Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. This group is based in Toronto, and unlike the ferry outfit, it doesn't sport a Marqui logo or even mention Marqui on its site, as far as I can tell. But Marqui's got it listed as one of its clients.
Anyhow, Friends has also got an active site, including secure donation pages along with lots of news releases and links to reports about Canadian broadcasting issues. Did you know that Friends recently gave the president of the Canadian Broadcasting Company a C-minus grade on his last five years in office? They also run an essay contest every year on "the link between democratic values and the quality of the media in Canada." Man, can you imagine that kind of thing down here in the Lower 48? You'd get entries like "Rupert on Survivor: Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian?" and "Egalitarianism on Jerry Springer."
I get a good feeling from these sites. Part of it's because these seem like benign organizations, and part of it's because their sites are clean and work well, at least for a casual visitor like myself. Now to be honest, I'm not sure how much, if any, of the credit for that should go to Marqui. But it looks like they've got some good clients, at least.
(Note: I'll be mentioning Marqui at least once a week on this blog, at least through mid-March. As noted here, they're paying me to do it. My other Marqui posts are here and here. You no like Marqui posts? You no read.)