Tag Archives: CG&A

3 top posts of 2011: On becoming Google-stupid, a digital dummy

As we become more computer dependent, there is an emerging argument that we are fast becoming intellectual mutants. Does increased screen time equate directly to a devolving humanity?

A few nights ago, our family saw an interesting and frightening CBC documentary entitled “Are We Digital Dummies?” This is worth every minute of your time!

As we cope with our wired world, we’re at the point that we must begin probing whether we can think for ourselves and socially interact? Are we all fast becoming “Google-stupid”?

Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote: “What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And for those who believe that information is power, Albert Einstein warned: “Information is not knowledge.”

The documentary and these learned reflections took me back to a previously written article that was first published in the By George Treasury.  In this excerpt, we make a few suggestions for dealing with our modern day info-glut.

       It is the amount of data that a person is expected to absorb that is scary. Consider that a daily edition of the N.Y. Times contains as much information as the average 17th century person would have come across in an entire lifetime. At our workplace, the average corporate worker receives 191 messages – 51 phone calls, 39 e-mails, 16 internal memos, and 20 items of outside mail. 

       The amount, and pace are becoming unbelievable. We offer some hints on how you might avoid receiving so much… and give yourself some healthy ‘headspace.’  

  •  Find a place of your own and sit and close your eyes for five – fifteen minutes, in the morning, noon and night.
  • Don’t take work or work related materials to bed with you.
  • Don’t take reading materials – or your blackberry or iPad – to the washroom (this could be your five – fifteen minute mental break).
  • At home, turn the TV – and all screens – off at least two hours at night.
  • Travel to work with the radio/i-pod off at least half your travel time.
  • At work, schedule time when you will concentrate on a single screen and not answer phones or e-mails. 

So, do you need to find a road to recovery? Step one to a better life-computer balance is recognizing the threats of your daily routines. Begin by watching “Are We Digital Dummies?” Step two would be to unplug for one evening and think this through for yourself.

(ed. – This is a repost, picked as one of our favourite three posts of 2011, taken from the earlier posts on the By George Journal.  The original post is found here.)


What’s with the sloughing?

These past two days we have been fielding the question, “Why sloughing and snake images to describe your business activities?’

# 1 – It’s a vivid image that caught your attention – no?

#2 – It’s an accurate analogy of the process we have undertaken to freshen up our look and to re-introduce our social media and writing services.

#3 – It got us talking with those interested in our business. It was provocative enough to prompt questions.

Our own release is a great example of content that works!  

If you are still not sure about sloughing, check this YouTube video of a reptile shedding its skin. It’s incredible – and some will say, unforgettable (which is exactly what we aim to be).

“Sloughing” through February

CG&A COMM has issued a release to relate the company’s plans to intensify its writing services and advocacy work.  Here is an excerpt from that statement:

     A snake’s sloughing process has it rubbing against rocks and sticks to peel back and shed weathered skin, and reveal it’s bright, new coat of scales. Through this molting, the animal is renewed.

     Through the month of February, CG&A COMMUNICATIONS will be sloughing to take on a renewed, attractive look with its website, the By George Journal and the company’s on-line activities. Along with the new look, President Chris George is unveiling new writing projects and services and has promised to “redouble efforts” on the company’s core wordsmith services. [Read his 2012 resolution in the latest e-newsletter.]

     “We’re intensifying what has always set us apart from other PR firms – our writing services and advocacy work,” explains Chris George. “With the explosion of social media in our business and personal space, the PR adage of ‘Content is King’ is increasingly significant for all of us. Anyone with something to say, wanting to be heard, must confront the hurricane of images and words blasting through the on-line world. You need quality content that is engaging and persuasive just to get noticed.”  

     “We’ll be enhancing our writing services to take full advantage of the direct contact social media tools offer organizations and businesses.” George adds, “While it’s a fact that it’s never been easier to express yourself, it’s never been harder to be heard, understood, and appreciated.”

     In the weeks ahead, Chris George will unveil a new company website, a re-designed By George Journal, and new features on his Facebook and Twitter pages.

Read the full release here.

Our resolution “to write more”

In our e-newsletter delivered earlier this week, I boldly revealed my 2012 resolution to write more.  (BTW – click here to read our e-newsletter which contains a selection of “Our Favs” from By George Journal posts.)

The # 1 question that has been asked of me since this revelation has been “What can we expect this year?” Well, currently on my writing desk, I have a total of 6 e-books which I hope to bring to publication in the next ten months. These projects include:

  • Becoming Better Communicators – a self-empowering handbook for the workplace and social engagements (this is a March release)
  • com-mu-ni-cate (verb) – a look at the discipline of effective communications
  • a lament for Sir John A Macdonald
  • a compilation of political and election campaign jokes

There are a couple of surprise creative pieces that I plan to introduce later in 2012.

And, of course, there are countless articles and postings ready for posting on our By George Journal (though we hasten to add that we intend to keep journal materials both timely and topical – so I anticipate much of our un-published pieces will remain so).

As a final note, to those who are new readers of By George Journal or new followers of our Facebook and Twitter activities, we currently have e-book publications available. You can read more on these publications on the preceding post ( immediately below or here ).

We invite you to join the By George’s Twitter feed and Facebook page.  We certainly would like to hear your freedback on our writings. We hope and trust you enjoy our work!   

E-books available @ the By George Store

We have three e-book offerings at this time at the By George Store.          


A Day in the Life of Man – Sustenance for the Soul is a moving collection of verse, thoughts and quotes to inspire and motivate a person through their day. From dawn to dusk, the reader is encouraged to reflect on their daily activities – and challenged to a new level of understanding about man and about life.

1001 Quotes on Politics, Elections, Democracy and Government includes remarkable quotes from Machiavelli to Churchill, from the Greeks to American influencers, and Canadian Prime Ministers from Macdonald to Harper. 

By George Treasury is a collection of the very best from By George from its launch in the mid-1990’s to 2008. This compilation offers a potpourri of information on effective communication to help at your workplace and with your social affairs (see further description below). 

Our By George Store makes the following publications available as PDF files which can be read on your e-readers or at your desktops. (Note that the By George Treasury is also available in print and can be mail-ordered.)  

Payments for these publications can be made on-line via PayPal.

2012 By George Journal Editorial Line-Up

We’re so looking forward to this new year. Here is our editorial line-up for the months to come:  

  • tips on being a better communicator – in social settings and at your workplace
  • best practices for social media communications
  • reflections to motivate, inspire and build character 
  • provocative quotes and verse that will challenge prevailing beliefs
  • jokes and humourous stories relating to politics
  • more commentary on hockey and what this game means for Canadians

We look forward to hearing from you through 2012 – and trust you will enjoy the read.

By George Journal’s 2011 Review

Thank you to our readers for a great year! Our readership is growing and word about this journal is spreading.  In 2011 — its second full year as an on-line opus — By George Journal quadrupled the numbers of daily visitors and more than tripled the pages viewed from the previous year. In looking back, the top five posts of 2011 were:

     #1 – Our By George Christmas Wish, with its list of useful links to get us through the holidays

     #2 – 2011 Election – Joke of the Week (there were six in total through April and May – all found in “election” tag)

     #3 – Food Allergen Labelling Regulations Strengthened and the posts recording the events of the February 14th Ottawa news conference re anaphylaxis and food labeling. For those news stories, view the February 2011 posts tagged anaphylaxis.

     #4 – On becoming Google-stupid, a digital dummy

     # 5 (tied) – Our “Cherry Bombs” were popular (a post recounting our tweets on Don Cherry)

      #5 (tied) – Pointers on the Perfect Handshake 

(Honourable mentions include: the fall series of posts relating to The Future of News – and any number of posts listing quotes to motivate and to inspire – selections from our Twitter account and from the November release of the e-book A Day in the Life of Man .)

As we enter the new year, our humble goals are to 1) continue our growth in the By George Journal readership and 2) make new friends and contributors to this Journal, as well as our Facebook and Twitter activities.

By George Treasury


   “There’s so much in the book. I spent the whole week of my vacation leafing through the articles and jokes.” – a recent comment from a satisfied reader.  

   The By George Treasury is available in our on-line store – as both e-book or print edition.

   This treasury compilation has been selected from the more than one thousand articles from more than a decade of our writings. We have looked back to gather lists of some of the most remarkable quotations, classic wordplay, puns and quizzes, editorials, the best of the humour over the years, and the 15-most popular feature articles to have appeared in the publication. From the initial editorial found in the very first edition, through to the slew of jokes in the summertime 2008 issue, we have picked the crème de la crème.

   Visit: http://cgacommunications.com/main/?page_id=263

A Day in the Life of Man – Sustenance for the Soul

A Day in the Life of Man – Sustenance for the Soul

is being released as an e-book, available as a pdf.

  Your $5 payment can be made on-line through PayPal,

accessed from the CG&A COMMUNICATIONS By George Store:


 Visit the By George E-bookshelf.


Thoughts of Inspiration and Motivation

By George Journal has always been a labour of love. Many will know that pre-dating this on-line journal we published a regular newsletter.  The best from more than one thousand articles in 50 By George issues is captured in our company’s 15th-year anniversary collection By George Treasury.

Just as we have always done, we continue with this on-line journal to provide our readers with meaningful and thought-provoking quotes. We routinely compile thoughts from our favourite thinkers, on specific issues, or reflecting a holiday or special event. Through the years, hundreds of articles listing quotes and verse have been produced. To complement this effort, in this last year, @ByGeorgeJournal has begun daily tweets of inspiration and motivation.

These comments lead us to share news of the release tomorrow of a special compilation of writings, verse and quotes. In our e-book publication, we present pages of words to inspire and motivate – thoughts to enrich one’s perspectives of life and its daily challenges. We are thrilled to be adding this e-book to our By George offerings – continuing with our objective to share select, profound thoughts that we might all make use of to better understand both ourselves and our world. More on our new publication tomorrow…

Anaphylaxis awareness effort gaining support – and you can help

As an active member of the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative (CAI) – raising awareness for serious, life-threatening allergies with MPs and Ottawa officials, we are please to see our collaborative efforts gaining support.

Elizabeth Goldenberg of One Spot Allergy has recently written of the campaign to inform Ottawa decision-makers of the reasonable and achievable steps that can be taken by the federal government to create safer environment for anaphylactic Canadians. In her piece, The Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative Requests Your Help, she explains the CAI mission. READ:  http://blog.onespotallergy.com/2011/11/the-canadian-anaphylaxis-initiative-requests-your-help/

By George Journal has also just published a e-newsletter which focused on anaphylaxis awareness. In The Latest you can read of the CAI’s advocacy activity. READ: http://bit.ly/v0bsA5

The CAI is asking everyone who wants to see action on severe allergy issues to contact their local Member(s) of Parliament. Write. E-mail. Phone. Visit.  Go to the CAI website for direction on what can be said to MPs – http://cai-allergies.ca/

As stated in the latest entry on the CAI blog:  Over the next few months, connecting with your MP is the most important thing you can do to move the goals of the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative forward. Thank you in advance for your time and efforts. Together we will see results in Ottawa through the up-coming year. 

Also, you can help by spreading the word. Direct others to the CAI website and CAI Facebook page. Encourage other families to become informed and get involved. Share the information about Motion 230 and the CAI’s 5-point policy request.  

Latest news of Motion 230: http://cai-allergies.ca/?p=172

CAI’s 5-point policy request: http://cai-allergies.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/CAI_5points.pdf

“Join us, and contact your MP” – Chris

– Photo (l-r): Gladys Vergis-Mayo, Cindy Paskey, MP Dean Allison, Mindi Ferkul, Debbie Bruce, Chris George, Roy Mayo

To Have Succeeded

One never tires of the remarkable verse by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people

   and the affection of children;

To earn the approbation of honest critics

   and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;

To find the best in others;

To give of one’s self;

To leave the world a bit better,

   whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,

   or a redeemed social condition;

To have played and laughed with enthusiasm

   and sung with exultation;

To know even one life has breathed easier

   because you have lived —

This is to have succeeded.

This beautiful verse is the subject of our 3-piece collection of art pieces plakmount for your wall.  By George Inspirations can now be purchased through PayPal and are available through the CG&A COMMUNICATIONS website store.  HERE:  http://cgacommunications.com/main/?page_id=263

Effective social media for retail, B2B and issue management

With more and more businesses and organizations jumping into the social media pool, it is evident that whether one sinks or swims depends directly on the lessons learned and necessary skills applied.

On the weekend, I read a great article by Craig Woods in B2Bbloggers:  Social Business Is Spreading, But Is Anybody Listening?  LEAD:  A recent Gartner survey asked the question “Who is leading social media initiatives in your business?”. 35% of the respondents answered “Marketing.” 10% said “PR.” Nobody said “Sales” or “CRM” teams. The immediate conclusion to this is that companies are still falling short of using social media, and the web to listen. While marketing departments are getting much better at tracking brand in the B2C space, most B2B organizations would most likely hold their hands up and say they still ‘don’t get it.’ 

READ:  http://www.b2bbloggers.com/blog/social-business-is-spreading-but-is-anybody-listening/

So, this begs the questions: what is your sm strategy and how effective is your sm content?

These considerations immediately prompts questions regarding the fundamentals of “good content” and knowing what can and should be achieved.  The basics of good content?  Here’s a Reader’s Digest response:  Your message should be targeted and delivered in a variety of ways over multiple sm platforms. Key is the fact that sm is not direct selling – but rather two-way communications. Therefore, content needs to engage your potential clients. You will want to build conversations and attract, inform and educate your readers. Instead of blatantly promoting products and services, try promoting your ideas. Share news and research; provide latest interesting stats; and survey your readers for feedback. Need input? – then provide rewards and incentives for responses. 

What kind of content are we speaking about? There is a great deal involved in making a digital footprint in an on-line community and the time you put into your content development will impact directly on the chances of successfully making your content noteworthy. Think:  digital press kits and on-line media releases, Website and blog copy, audio and video scripts, slide presentations, Facebook pages, Twitter feed, landing pages, LinkedIn Forums, case studies and white papers,  e-books, podcasts and webinars – and yes, even advertising copy.

This has been mentioned in previous By George Journal posts:  the secret to good sm content is its brevity. Today, digital readers really don’t read very much. Scanning text is an extremely common behavior for higher-literacy users. Recent research shows that 79 percent of users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.

It appears nobody reads! On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% – and more likely approx 20%.  Clicking hypertext links remains the most-used feature, clicking buttons and using the Back button are also “most-used” features. Therefore, today’s most effective Web-pages employ scannable text, using:  

  •  highlighted keywords (hypertext links; and typeface variations and colour)
  •  meaningful sub-headings (not “clever” ones)
  •  bulleted lists
  •  one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
  •  the inverted pyramid style of wrtiing, starting with the conclusion
  •  half the word count (or less) than conventional writing

SOURCE: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/percent-text-read.html

BOTTOM LINE COMMENT: social media marketing success doesn’t just happen with a big ol’ belly flop into the pool. Businesses, organizations need to consider a sm strategy that will work for them – and then spend the resources to develop good content. Only in this way will you swim!

Favourite Quotes: To Motivate / To Inspire

Next month, we will be releasing a collection of inspirational and motivational quotes, verses and touching scripts. In the final edits of our book, we’ve re-discovered the moving power behind some very remarkable quotes, said by some very remarkable people.  

  • It’s not whether you get knocked down; It’s whether you get back up. – Vince Lombardi, American football coach
  • I’ve missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot … and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan, American professional basketball player, active businessman
  • I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts. – Sylvester Stallone, American actor, filmmaker and film director
  • At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. – Lao Tzu, mystic philosopher of ancient China
  • Buried deep within each of us is a spark of greatness, a spark than can be fanned into flames of passion and achievement. That spark is not outside of you it is born deep within you. – James A. Ray, motivational speaker and author
  • Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. – Muhammad Ali, American boxer and three-time World Heavyweight Champion
  • Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools. – Napoleon Bonaparte, military and political leader of France
  • What I do is based on powers we all have inside us; the ability to endure; the ability to love, to carry on, to make the best of what we have – and you don’t have to be a ‘Superman’ to do it. – Christopher Reeve, American actor, film director, producer and screenwriter
  • I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties. – J.C. Penney, American businessman
  • That which does not kill us makes us stronger. – Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th-century German philosopher
  • Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. – Steve Jobs, CEO Of Apple, American business magnate and inventor
  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain, American author and humorist
  • The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. – Buddha, spiritual teacher from South Asia who founded Buddhism

Anaphylaxis (severe allergies) awareness – in the news


Today, an awareness group supporting families caring for loved ones with severe allergies, issued a press release. We encourage you to read:

Families discuss with MP next steps on Anaphylaxis Motion M-230


Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative (CAI) is a network of Canadian families formed to raise greater awareness of the realities Canadians with severe allergies face every day. Their primary goal is to urge Parliamentarians and federal officials to respond to allergy concerns involving public awareness and education, food safety, transportation, and research; with an ultimate goal to reduce the risks of preventable anaphylactic attacks throughout Canada.

The CAI has made progress by working closely with MP Dean Allison in raising awareness with his Parliamentary colleagues. The Niagara West – Glanbrook MP has Motion M-230 in the House of Commons which reads: That in the opinion of the House, anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.

Photo (l to r): Lead members of the C.A.I.: Debbie Bruce, Chris George, Cindy Paskey, Mindi Ferkul, Roy Mayo, Gladys Vergis-Mayo


Tell us the images that inspire, motivate you?

 What sights inspire you? What will motivate you to act? 

By George Journal is looking for imagery that will compliment our soon-to-be-released publication on inspirational and motivational verse and quotes. 

From our research, some of the most popular inspirational imagery includes:

  • rainbows
  • water – from waves to droplets
  • burning candle(s)
  • sunsets

Most popular motivational imagery includes:

  • mountain tops
  • stairs
  • pathway
  • runners

We would like to hear from you on what inspires?  what motivates?

Some favourite quotes on politics

  • In politics, stupidity is not a handicap. – Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians. – Chester Bowles
  • Nearly all men can withstand adversity; If you want to test a man’s character, give him power. – Abraham Lincoln
  • Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. – John Quinton
  • Power only tires those who don’t exercise it. – Pierre Trudeau
  • The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill
  • A campaign is about defining who you are – your vision and your opponent’s vision. – Donna Brazile
  • However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. – Winston Churchill
  • No nation ever taxed itself into prosperity. – Rush Limbaugh
  • Governments propose, and oppositions dispose. – John G. Diefenbaker
  • The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency. – Eugene J. McCarthy
  • There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty. – Margaret Thatcher

These quotes are taken from 1001 Quotes on Politics, Elections, Democracy and Government. Read more on this publication and how to get your own copy here:


Edelman on “PR in a digital world”

Richard Edelman, CEO of the giant public relations firm Edelman, was interviewed recently by Curiosity.com and asked about corporate branding in the digital age. His response is that proactive positioning is not just an option – it’s a necessity.

     “…companies have a responsibility not to be in a sense framed by your opponents. Your job is to tell your own story. And you either do that through your own channel or by reaching out to mainstream media. But to put yourself in a bunker and let others define you is just an absolute disaster strategy. And so particularly in an Internet age where everything is available, you must go out aggressively and also talk to third-party experts, but engage. Engage NGOs;  engage consumers. Be an open-faced kind of company, not closed.”

In that same interview he addressed the role of a public relations company in assisting clients in developing and positioning their brand. Mr. Edelman hit the nail on the head:

     “The problem for PR is that it’s either seen as trivial and “flackery” of the sort of show business type. Or it’s seen as, at the highest end, manipulation and the spin room. And so we have to be between. We’re neither black nor white. In fact, the best kind of PR is that which is quite clearly advocating a position. We’re paid advocates. On the other hand, we then have to commit to acknowledging how we’re doing our work, the names of the spokespeople, their academic backgrounds, that they are being paid. In addition, I think we have to commit to partnering with NGOs, others who have been traditional critics of business. So it’s really the “what we do,” the “how” and then the “where we engage.” It’s all three. That’s the new form of communication.”

The full interview can be found here:


1001 Quotes on Politics – now available

We have published a wonderful resource for all those politicos mastering the game of politics as well as those armchair critics who are avid fans of the sport.

1001 Quotes on Politics, Elections, Democracy and Government is now available – and you can obtain your book on-line with a payment via PayPal.

Here is an introductory blurb from the book:

     This tome of quotes on power, politicians, elections and government is born of my love for politics. The more than 50 pages contained within are the very best “bons mots” on our world of politics – past and present.

      This collection has many Canadian musings including scores of quotes from Prime Ministers Sir John A. Macdonald and John George Diefenbaker.

     You will find the “Political Mastermind” Niccolo Machiavelli, ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, many great American influencers, and insightful thoughts from Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

     Included within are the great legends of the 20th century:  Sir Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan.

     There is also a generous amount of humour injected with the delightful wit of Will Rogers and H.L. Mencken.

      Through the past two years, I have personally selected these 1001 quotes. I trust you will enjoy the brilliance of thought as much as I have assembling what I believe are the very best thoughts mused on all that involves and impacts politics.

1001 Quotes on Politics is available for $5 from CG&A COMMUNICATIONS – either with a cheque or via an on-line PayPal payment. Order your copy from the By George E-Bookshelf.