The Lab; Portnoy Media Group Blog

Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty

Blog Action Day is SO GOOD! Poverty is such a big deal and while I haven’t traveled to third world nations that are experiencing mass hunger, I do get to see it on a weekly basis around Los Angeles. When I think of poverty I immediately think of the homeless. In LA we’ve got almost 90,000 homeless and whether you’re on skid row in the heart of downtown or you’re in my neighborhood in Pasadena, the homeless issue is everywhere. There are a lot of reasons for homelessness and such extreme poverty – from chemical imbalances and drug addiction but according to Andy Bales, CEO of The Union Rescue Mission, the big cause is the lack of close family. Check out his recent video talking about it.

The average age of the homeless in America is 9 – NINE!! Sam Slovick’s collaboration with GOOD Magazine’s look at downtown is horrifying and heartbreaking – I recommend you check out all 5 parts.

So how is poverty going to change or even just decreasing the number of homeless in LA? Sure, I could say a collaborative effort, increased police presence, cracking down on drugs, and politicians working to give aid where it’s needed. BUT all of those things are passing the buck. What am I going to do? I can rail against governments and organizations all I want but people are at the core of all of that. People make those decisions, people influence their corporations.

Tim Sanders, in his recent book, Saving the World at Work, illustrates time and time again that a single person at any level of an organization has HUGE power. So I think that the power to stop poverty starts with you and with me. I’ve been very fortunate to rub shoulders with both Andy Bales and Tim Sanders in the last 6 months – both are amazing guys and are the kind of person I aspire to be. I recommend checking out the book.

Some quick action items:
1. Donate to your favorite cause – If you need one I recommend the Union Rescue Mission (They were recently featured on ESPN – See it here)

2. Talk with your business about helping your community – many companies are starting to encourage this kind of ethos in a brand.

3. Let the candidates know that you care about poverty and that it should be addressed. With the election this year, you’ve got more power than normal to influence the world.


Portnoy Media Group uses the influence of social networks to expand your organization's voice and tell your story. We connect people with your mission and enable your brand to be shared, discovered, and connected. Work with us as we empower your organization to dramatically extend your online presence and increase donations.

The Future of The Web Experience with Video

The Secret Location is a great, corect that, phenomenal interaction with the user – check it out.
The Future of The Web Experience with Video


Stories from Skid Row

I’ve been working with Union Rescue Mission (URM) recently. It’s the countries oldest and largest homeless shelter in the country serving over 20,000 meals to the poor and homeless of Skid Row weekly. The homeless community in LA County is at epidemic proportions with numbers ranging from 70-90,000 and URM and the other missions on Skid Row are leading the charge to equip individuals with skills and services to break the cycle. What I’ve been learning over the last few months is that homelessness is a complex issue. The reasons for a man, woman or family on the street are as diverse as the people themselves. One of the staggering statistics is that the average age of someone who is homeless on the streets of America is 9! I’ve had a chance to be at URM a lot more recently and what always strikes me when I come into their facility is that people are fighting for life and death on the streets all around them. It feels like the country gas station on the side of the road after a long journey and you’re almost out of gas. Having just recently traveled through the desert and almost breaking down, I can really appreciate that.

Over the past 6 months Chronicle Project has been working with URM capturing some of the stories of what’s happening at their facility and a glimpse into the lives of their residents. A few weeks back we launched a video podcast of these stories and the iTunes staff selected it as “New and Notable” and since then it’s been in the top 100 of Non-Profit Podcasts on the iTunes Network.

So here’s my encouragement – subscribe to this podcast, especially if the issue of homelessness is important to you. In the coming weeks we’ll be adding a video FAQ hosted by URM’s CEO Andy Bales as well as some seriously great stories about Skid Row’s finest.

Check out Stories from Skid Row and don’t be afraid to share it


The Secret to Making Money Online

The guys at 37 signals share their knowledge and how to make money online – the funny part is that it really isn’t that different than making money in any business. Warning – it’s PG.

The Secret to Making Money Online


The Drop On Share This

About a month ago we made a significant switch on THE DROP website. The adjustment came as a way to incorporate the multitude of ways that users would interact with the website. We had been using a social plug-in and it really started out working amazing. Last month I was introduced to ShareThis and I found that the plug-in was easy to use and that it actually gave the user more options to pass around the info and would be crucial in the interaction of social media to the site. The user would then be able to add or share the posts via their Myspace or Facebook but could also email them to friends if they so chose. A little while back The Drop was featured on the ShareThis site. We got sandwiched between infertility and obscure movies – I don’t think it’s a bad start.

I also had a chance to join their Publishers Group on Facebook. What I loved about this was that I then could put faces with the code writers and other bloggers/new media types who were employing the same pieces and any additional strategy that they may have. ShareThis has just been named one of the Top 20 plugins to have on WordPress and I highly recommend it.

New Media Expo Wrap Up

After 3 days in the Las Vegas desert with blazing sun and heat (which is an understatement), The New Media Expo kicked off in fine style at the Las Vegas Convention Center. While there we got to network with a great crew of fine New Media Professionals. Chance meetings with Steve Frey about how podpress is the glove to the WordPress hand was great and exactly what I think a conference of new Media types should be about. The free exchange of ideas and good will towards other techies.

While I was there I got to learn about TubeMogul and there presentation at their booth was really nice. In recent months and working with client video, the need for adequate coverage of any social media campaign to several sites (Vimeo, Myspace, facebook, et al.) is really time consuming but totally necessary. Facebook fans want to see a video on the native platform. And don’t mess with the crew at Vimeo – their users want their content in beautiful streaming HD and I can’t blame them. Call me a snob if you will or a social media purest but when I’m surfing a site and I see a low quality YouTube video embedded on the page I get a little sad. There are so many more options on YouTube now and specifically with video on the web. From Viddler to Meta Cafe they are all fighting for a piece of the pie and as a result we win.

The most amazing part of the conference was the way that we could track each other. Due to the recent popularity of Twitter and with the geo positioning through apps like Twinkle on the iPhone I knew what the expo was talking about even before I hit the floor and it was easy to meet up with others for personal interaction on a common topic, meet ups, or where the party was at.

Other chance meetings included Felicia Day from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (Also starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion) and a Scoble sighting. I forgot my camera on both counts. It was also great to meet Tim Borquin face to face. We’ve exchanged emails over the past few years and it was nice to finally get a sense of who he is. I hope he’s on vacation right now because I’m sure he had some sleepless nights coordinating it all.

To Sum up – The New Media Expo was a good time and 3 days in Vegas is long enough for me, especially when it’s August.


Social Media guru, Chris Brogan, weighs in on the relation of social media with marketing.Social Media Does Not Replace Marketing Strategy


Firefox 3 releases with 15,000 Improvements


Email A to Z

New York Times Best selling author and every Human Resource managers ace up the sleeve, Tim Sanders launches the Dirty Dozen Rules to Email Etiquette. As Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo, Tim dealt with a lot of email and in this offering Sanders walks through the best steps for managing your companies “mood factor”. For this project The Portnoy Media Group had a chance to work with Rapture Studio in Pasadena, CA to integrate a database driven blog to support all the content on the best practices of email over the next couple of years. Integrating powerful tools like having blog posts actually get emailed as soon as they post is a fun feature to connect HR Managers and other business leaders with reminders about email best practices. Check out Email and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.


Marc Ritzema | cinematographer
Director of Photography and general cinematic wizard, Marc Ritzema launched his brand new site today. With the help of The Portnoy Media Group we were able to focus on some key features for Marc’s site. We moved Marc from a standard flash based site to a more indexed database driven site (more…)