The Search for the Slice

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the July 6, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259It rains an awful lot in New Haven. It even rains in the winter. Of course, any amount of snow makes it worse. They don’t use salt in New Haven. They use sand. The snow melts (with the help of rain), leaving the sidewalks a puddle of a gritty mud. Over the years, though, one builds an immunity of sorts and learns to cope with the constant precipitation. (Maybe that’s why I rarely Continue Reading “The Search for the Slice”

Chasing the Iron Ghosts of Blasdell Junction

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A different year. A different time. A different era. A different culture.

Dry cinder and billowy steam painted the surroundings. The clanking and grinding of metal against metal pierced the air. The steady distant drone of heavy industry Blasdell Junction - RR Sign Amidst Nature_300provided background color for the audio pallet.

Within less than one square mile of reshaped earth lay more than twenty-two linear miles of railroad. Stacked one above another, the tracks featured motive power from five Class 1 railroads and one industrial switcher.

Squeezed within a quarter mile wide swath of land included: two junction tracks (formerly the Terminal Railroad that bypassed the busy railroad yards of the City of Continue Reading “Chasing the Iron Ghosts of Blasdell Junction”

D&C Writer Disses Western New Yorkers

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Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. — Teddy Roosevelt

1116416_66523644_sled_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300

A few weeks ago, a columnist from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote a piece titled “Winter as Metaphor for Community’s Woes.” If you’ve read the column and you’re a true-blue Western New Yorker, you’ll immediately see the column itself as a metaphor for our community’s woes.

The writer, while acknowledging the obvious diminution in our region’s stature, meekly states “The decline we’ve seen is not a character flaw; it’s the result of economic forces beyond our control.”

Actually, the statement reflects the major character flaw many die-hard residents of the western frontier of New York State see in our neighborhood – too many people, especially those floating merrily in the ether of high profile, fail by wallowing in self-pity rather than seizing the reins of self-improvement.

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Western New York Media Market: Whole Greater than Sum?

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A decade ago, before the financial crisis that opened the first decade of the new millennium, Adelphia Communications, in addition to a cable channel called the Empire Sports Network, owned a radio station with the call letters WNSA. The two worked in tandem and, at least until the falling stock market exposed the Regis family, this modest media juggernaut gained a respectful audience.

Western_New_York_Microphone_300On the cusp of a content driven era, the small cable company had, together with the Buffalo Bills, successfully begun to build connections within a broader Western New York Region. This bigger footprint would include not only Buffalo and Niagara Falls, but also Rochester, Jamestown and several other cities within the roughly seventeen western-most counties of New York State. With a growing national market, Adelphia offered the allure of becoming the new century’s CNN (or at least ESPN). And with its intention to build an impressive headquarters in the state’s Queen City, Buffalo finally had a new hope – one that might bring it to rival Atlanta in cable communications.

But, as it seems to have happened to our region ever since Canada left us no choice but to build the Saint Lawrence Seaway, fate once again dealt a bad hand. Continue Reading “Western New York Media Market: Whole Greater than Sum?”

The Snow Monster Returns: Buffalo Bills, Undefeated for the Decade!

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Bills_Game_Close_Up_300Should I stay home or should I go?

With red letter snow warnings, ominous travel advisories and a plethora of church service cancellations, the question wavered annoyingly in my own mind and unspoken on my worried wife’s barely wakened lips.

Should I stay or should I go?

The last game of the season. A meaningless game. Against a team that expects to bench most of its starting players. The beleaguered Buffalo Bills, banished for the past decade to the Siberia of no-playoffs, have done little to earn back the loyalty of staunch fans since the heresy of hiring Tom Donahoe. Why should any humble fan place their body in harm’s way, especially when the kind Gods of Time-Warner decided to sell-out the game (the only way they could then broadcast it to local viewers).

Should I stay or should I go?

Continue Reading “The Snow Monster Returns: Buffalo Bills, Undefeated for the Decade!”

It’s a Wonderful Western New York Life

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It's_a_Wonderful_Life_250For the umpteenth time I find myself watching Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Yet, in all the years those reels have run through my retinal receptors, for the first time I really see the poignant – if unintended – metaphor.

We – Western New York – are Bedford Falls.

I don’t mean in the literal sense like Seneca Falls. I don’t mean in the physical-proximity sense because the movie mentions Buffalo and Rochester. And I don’t mean in the meteorological sense because those are definitely lake-effect snowflakes in the film. Rather, I speak of a much more mysterious philosophical aura that borders on the eerie similarities of tragic prognostication laced with a fringe of hope.

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Day 18 – December 1, 2009 (Tue): Start Putting Your Tweets Together

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Start of Day Twitter Stats: Follow: 108 Followers: 94 Listed: 5

Missed yesterday? Go here to read what happened on Day 17 – November 30, 2009 (Mon): Post an Action Tweet

twitter_power_joel_comm_150This Twitter Churn and Burn Hypothesis seems to have some legs. It makes me think a lot of folks waste a lot of time on Twitter. Why else would they follow and unfollow in less than 24 hours? I can almost understand the marketers doing this with all their fancy machines. But regular folks? And, especially, non-profits? @BPOrchestra, out of the blue, followed me. Since I feel I belong in their target market, I followed back. Then they unfollowed me. Go figure. So I asked them why with an “@” question. They haven’t updated their tweets in a while so I might not hear from them until tomorrow. But, instead of worrying about my followers – or unfollowers as the case may be – on this day I learn I should worry about my own motives.

Continue Reading “Day 18 – December 1, 2009 (Tue): Start Putting Your Tweets Together”

Day 1 – November 14, 2009 (Sat): Sign Up and Settle In

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Start of Day Twitter Stats: Follow: 0 Followers: 0 Listed: 0

What’s this all about?

Here’s what I did. I actually tried to start a new Twitter using my name. “ChristopherCarosa” had too many characters, so I had to go with “ChrisCarosa” as my username. Having read Joel Comm’s book Twitter Power, I carefully filled out all my profile information.

twitter_power_joel_comm_150Name: Chris Carosa

For my name, I kept “Chris Carosa” just to avoid confusing people. As far as I tell in my internet search, Of all the three-hundred thousand Americans, only three of them can be called “Chris Carosa.” I met the other two – when I was a kid. One is another “Christopher” and the other is a “Christine.” They don’t appear to reside on Twitter.

Location: Mendon, New York

Now the location caused me to think a bit. Most web surfers will have never heard of my town. Still, I am proud of my municipality, having once (hopefully ably) served on its Town Board, so I thought I’d identify it. Furthermore, I figured, since I had the room anyway, I’d spell out the full name of the state. I never served in any elective office for New York State (which probably explains why I still have friends), but I nonetheless have an affinity for the Empire State.

Web: http://chriscarosa.com

It turns out this Twitter username limit helped me avoid a major mistake. My web-site (which I added to Twitter) is “ChrisCarosa.com” and if I had used my full name, my Twitter User Name would not have matched my web-site name. Bewilderment averted.

Bio: Author, speaker, entrepreneur who likes connecting with family, friends and the future and loves Western New York.

My one-line bio proved a bit of a challenge. I’m used to a standard elevator pitch for my business, but this Twitter account isn’t about my business. In fact, being in a highly regulated industry, I’m bending over backward to separate my business activities from my social media activities. So I used a variation on a theme (specifically, Joel Comm’s theme of three). It started as a three and three – what I am and who I want to connect to. I added the “and loves Western New York” when I realized searchers might not know Mendon exists in that region of the state.

Lastly, I added the account to TweetDeck and CoTweet (but not SocialOomph, which I’m determining whether I should continue using.

How many followers do you think I’ll have after 30 days? Click here to enter your guess on my Survey Monkey survey “Chris Carosa’s 30-Day Plan to Dominate Twitter Experiment.” There’s no prize, but the fan who guesses the closest correct number the earliest will “win” and I’ll mention you if you want me to.

Find out today’s results on Day 2 – November 15, 2009 (Sun): Create Your Background Image

Back to the Future

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So I says to Mark I says, “Mark, I’ll go but I don’t want to pull in before you. You see, at the risk to confirming stereotypes, I’m a bit of a wallflower when it comes to these things. I could regale an auditorium filled with strangers, but put me in a small reception where I must talk to people face-to-face and I sort of stay to myself, speaking not, unless first spoken to.”

998276_97728952_business_time_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300“When it comes to groups,” I fully confessed, “I have a tough time feeling I really belong.”

Mark reassured me I could arrive after 6:30pm and find him already on hand.

Such was the set-up for attending my first meeting of the Rochester Social Media Club at Label 7 in Pittsford, NY. Funny thing. I discovered something there. Something really surprising.

Continue Reading “Back to the Future”