Google Instant “shields us” with pre-emptive censoring

google instant, baby on computerNow don’t get offended!

That’s what Google is trying to prevent from happening with Google Instant. It’s an understandable concern – who wants to be bombarded with, let’s say “work-inappropriate” images and content accidentally when you’re searching for something much less scandalous? That could be embarrassing.

It all works based on algorithms of the billion+ Google searches people do every day. They go through these searches and figure out if the results seem pornographic, violent or hateful. If they do, then voila – the search term is blacklisted from instant search.

And of course, just because certain search terms are banned from Google Instant doesn’t mean you can’t pull them up on a regular search query. You’re going to have to go through the hard work of hitting the ENTER key, just like in the old days. Google just refuses to read your mind and suggest a term that has been deemed naughty.

Here’s the full list of search terms banned from Google Instant.

It’s a fine line that Google is treading right here – a line between freedom of speech and information, and protecting us (or, as Google reps say, it’s meant to safeguard children) from the obscene. Any kind of censorship is always controversial. Google Instant has brought us a new realm of controversy.

What do you think? Should Google Instant keep adding to the black list, or should they mind their own business?

Habits I’ve stolen from highly successful people

leadership poster

Yesterday was a mini blast from my past.

My old communications professors invited me to come back to university and speak to the freshman class of Business Communication majors – an enthusiastic but somewhat shy group of bright eyed and bushy-tailed kids just entering the rite of passage that I just (finally!) completed.

With 40 attentive faces staring up at me from desks in a large classroom, scene complete with old-school blackboard to my back, I had the stage.

I was looking at a new, fresh class of upcoming communicators. Although they’re only a bunch of 17 or 18-year-olds right now, pretty soon they’ll be the interns interns and new hires sitting next to us in this office.

So what wise words of wisdom did I impart?

I summed up the whole surviving college and landing a job experience into four tips. And while I think they’re great personal mantras for getting you through secondary education and into the job force, they apply to what we do every day in the creative field. Here’s the cliff notes of my prepared-the-morning-of (procrastinate much?) speech: Continue reading

How to write a great slogan

reese's adLet’s go back to the basics in this post and start to rethink how we express ourselves to the world. Most companies have a slogan or a tag line that pretty much sums up what they offer, what they believe in, what they stand for, their guarantee or promise, or something along those lines. Ok, fair enough.

And we all know the benefit of a slogan – to remind people of SOMETHING about  you.  It’s your brand, short, sweet and to the point; it’s you in a nut shell. It’s what you want the consumer to remember about your brand. Got it.

But what separates a good slogan from a bad slogan? Well, my friend, all slogans were not created equal! What’s the difference between a few words strung together and a memorable tag line that can last for decades without losing any meaning?


Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about the hokey pokey. It’s actually all about emotion. That’s what makes something memorable. To use Al Ries’ example from his last Ad Age article (which, by the way,  is so insightful, as usual), it’s one thing when you want to send a package overnight. But when it “absolutely, positively” has to get there, well you’re gonna use Fed Ex, now aren’t you?

Continue reading