I goof off almost every day. In fact, when I'm very busy, as I have been lately, I work very hard to incorporate some goofing-off time in my schedule....
Usually it's just a few minutes here and there, between projects or during a fit of writer's block. Nevertheless, this time is invaluable to me.
When I goof off, it's often by browsing the Web. I'm usually scouting out stories about media, marketing, advertising, journalism and PR -- my natural interests. But I'm not looking for the earnest, serious stuff. After all, the whole point is to escape from serious for a moment.
No, I'm looking for the silly, fun stuff -- stories that are good for a laugh, but that also serve to put our lives and careers in perspective for a moment. Stories about PR blunders, celebrity scandals, political gaffes, annoying commercials and the like. Bits of Web flotsam to remind us that the big project we're working on is (shhh, don't tell anyone) not actually brain surgery.
This kind of goofing off is good for your mental health -- and, I would argue, your career as well.
In the image-making professions, reading is leading. The more seemingly useless junk you know, the greater library of cultural references you can draw from in advising your clients -- and the more your clents respect and appreciate you for it. Personally, I've found that the silliest stories I tell are often my most useful tools in educating clients. Why? Because those are invariably the ones they remember.
When I do a media training session, for example, I could give the client a long list of dos and don'ts. I could tell them how this CEO or that CEO handled a similar interview scenario. But when I am able to teach the client through engaging analogies -- how the latest political gaffe or celebrity scandal might have been avoided, for example -- that's when the lesson really sticks.
So, where should you spend you goofing-off time on the Web? I recommend the following sites:
* Adrants, Beyond Madison Avenue, and AdJab, for keeping up with the advertising biz
* Gawker, Romenesko, Eat the Press, and Regret the Error, for the media biz
* Copyblogger and Bad Language, for copywriters
* Make the Logo Bigger, for art-director types
* The Flack and The Bad Pitch Blog, among many others, for PR types
* Fark and Boing Boing, for general weirdness
Actually, these sites are just the tip of blogberg. If you'd like an broader overview of marketing goofiness on the Web, those of us at Media Orchard have launched a new destination called Spin Thicket. It's a Fark-style repository for all things wild and wacky in the world of marketing.
So check it out, and feel free to point me to some goofy stuff you love.
Goof-offs of the world... unite!
Take the first step (it's free).
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