I'm B.L. Ochman, and I've been helping blue chip companies, agencies and associations incorporate new media into their marketing mix since 1996.

I'm a multi-media content creator, live-stream event and podcast producer, journalist, ghost writer, social strategist and producer of socially shareable videos.

Let's talk about how I can help you.

I co-host and produce the award-winning weekly Beyond Social Media Show

I contribute to Ad Age Digital Next, Social Media Today and others. On Twitter, I'm @whatsnext.

Friday, May 29, 2020

B.L. Ochman Author Interview: Why Is There So Much Bullshit in Business Writing?

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By B.L. Ochman

Josh Bernoff, author of Writing Without Bullshit, says fear of saying what you mean accounts for most of the BS in business writing.

Josh’s top three tips for BS-free writing

  • Write shorter
  • Get to the point quickly
  • Get rid of three kinds of toxic prose
  • You’ll find many more tips about banishing BS from your writing on Josh’s website.

    And here is Howard Rheingold’s often updated list of Crap Detection Resources.

BL Ochman | May 25, 2018 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

One of the Great PR Hoaxes of All Time – That You Never Heard Of

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By B.L. Ochman

This is an important interview in this new era of fake news. The Nantucket Sea Monster – a Fake News Story, by Darcy Pattison, tells the tale of one of the greatest PR hoaxes of all time. It happened back in 1937 on Nantucket island, terrorizing people across the country.

The multiple award-winning book teaches children in grades three to six not to believe everything they read. Here is the reaction of one third grade class.

The newspaper was in on the stunt

There was no sea monster and the Nantucket newspaper and publicity committee were in on the stunt. Yet the news quickly spread from Cape Cod to California. The Nantucket Sea Monster demonstrates kids that hoaxes, free press, and publicity stunts can be made up and seem real.

Pattison teaches kids that fake news can also be applied to books, social media, and websites. Not everything published is accurate nor true. She teaches kids to ask questions and not to believe every story until they learn the facts.

BL Ochman | | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What’s Next Blog: How Comcast Punishes Cord Cutters

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Comcast has come up with a new way to fight cord cutters. And it sucks.

In markets where Comcast is a monopoly or duopoly, cord cutters who don’t pay for cable channels will be relegated to super-slow Internet speeds.

Comcast has long been imposing data caps on customers. So now, if you agree to buy cable, your Internet speed is being increased at no extra charge — for now.

“Cord cutters are not invited to the [speed increase] party,” the Houston Chronicle wrote. “Only those who bundle Internet with cable television and other services… will see their speeds go up at no extra charge.”

Cord Cutters Cost Comcast Cash

In their latest quarterly earnings statement, Comcast said it lost 96,000 video customers and saw video revenue decrease 0.8 percent, “primarily due to a decline in the number of residential customers.”

Kids’ TV networks have lost half of their audiences over the past decade. And this season is looking like it’ll be the worst yet. Hardly anyone in the industry predicts a turnaround.

The Netflix Generation

With its shares climbing 58 percent this year, Netflix is bringing more youth-oriented production in-house. Netflix hired hired Melissa Cobb away from a DreamWorks joint venture to run its kids and family division. The division just produced a new live-action series, “Alexa & Katie.”

Cord cutting will only accelerate as new batches of kids raised on the Internet join the fray. Networks are going to have to figure out how to make more money from shows they produced – whether they are online or or broadcast on the tube.


BL Ochman | May 5, 2018 | Permanent Link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

What’s Next Blog: 7 Apps That Are Much More Fun Than The News

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By B.L. Ochman

Here are seven apps that are much more fun than the news.

You need to spend time with these apps (some are actually useful) because these days too much news will drive you bananas. For example, before noon today, Paul Ryan announced his retirement; John Boehner announced that he’s joining one of the biggest pot companies; the president’s bellicose Tweets threatened to start World War 3.

And then, Mark Zuckerberg testified for four or five hours before Congress, where some Congresspersons were no better versed in Facebook than they were in the thousand-page bills that they admit to signing without reading.

Wake-Up Tools
1- Horror Channel Night Terror Alarm Clock Have trouble waking up in the morning? Use the horror alarm to wake up with a scream… you’ll be glad to get out of bed. This will definitely get you up without hitting the snooze alarm. It does have a panic button, in case you chicken out.

2- If that’s too scary, there’s Wakie – a fun, friendly community of people who wake each other up in the morning.

3- Shhhh is a mobile application that turns off all notifications and alarms automatically to stay tuned with friends and family when spending time together. And to give you quiet time to get work done.

Paint Your Photos
4- Procreate is a multi-award winning painting app for iPad designed for creative professionals. Made exclusively for iPad, Procreate allows you to create sketches, paintings, and illustrations. It costs $9.99.

An artist who goes by the name Subway Doodle uses Procreate to add monsters to photos he takes on iPhone and transfers to iPad. He sells prints on instagram for $25 and up on his website. He says Subway Doodle resides in Brooklyn, NY with a house full of monsters. Every purchase goes directly to feeding their insatiable appetite for bacon. This one is called Subway Tourists.

Subway Tourists image made with Procreate app.

Social Proof
5- Invisible Boyfriend Gives you real-world and social proof you’re in a relationship so you can get back to living life on your own terms. Let’s you have text conversations, share photos, tell a believable story about your “invisible boyfriend”

6- Noisli – A choice of background sounds helps you improve focus and enhance creativity.

A new study suggests that the ambient background noise or buzz of conversation in public places can fuel creativity, for example. But if coffee shop buzz doesn’t do it for you, how about the ocean and birds, rain, train whistles….

Guess My Age
7- How Old? – upload your photo and it tells you how old you look. Here’s one it got wrong (in a nice way) about me.:)

BL Ochman on HowOld App

BL Ochman | April 11, 2018 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

B.L. Ochman: Why Facebook Apps & Quizzes Are a Privacy Nightmare

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By B.L. Ochman

What 25 million people gave to “Most Used Words” Quiz Creator

If you’re one of the more than 25 million people who took the “Most Used Words” quiz on Facebook, here’s what Paul Bischoff of Comparitech says you gave away about yourself and your friends to Vonvon.me, creator of the app:

  • Name, profile picture, age, sex, birthday, and other public info
  • Entire friend list
  • Everything you’ve ever posted on your timeline
  • All of your photos and photos you’re tagged in
  • Your education history
  • Hometown and current city
  • Everything you’ve ever liked on Facebook
  • IP address
  • Info about the device you’re using including browser and language
  • Perhaps worst of all, your friends are not notified when you use a Facebook app or quiz and provide access to their information.

    Important: Watch my interview with Bischoff to learn the three things you need to change in your privacy settings before you use another Facebook app or take a quiz.

Depending on the requirements of the app or quiz creator, you sometimes can remove all permissions except your public profile and Facebook timeline posts, and still use the app or play the quiz. However, as Bischoff points out, “most people that play probably won’t bother.”

Facebook Quiz Dangers

Like so many of the quizes and apps that are shared on Facebook, the “Most Used Words” app is free, quick and kinda fun. The problem: instead of using it within Facebook (who already knows everything about your entire life), you use the quiz and apps on third party sites that collect and can store the information about you and all of your friends on their servers. Those servers could be anywhere in the world, even in countries that have very lax privacy laws.

What do they do with your information? Facebook prohibits them from selling your data, but how is that rule enforced? There’s no way to know.

Changes you need to make

The good news: you can change your privacy settings, and the information you share with apps, and Bischoff tells you how to do that in this interview. Or you can resist the urge to use the next Facebook app or play the next quiz that comes around.

Please Note: I first published this post in 2015, but I’m running it again as a public service.

BL Ochman | March 6, 2018 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

PLEASE SHARE – GapingVoid Cartoonist Hugh Macleod Needs a New Kidney #KidneyForHugh

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My friend Hugh MacLeod – otherwise known as the brilliant cartoonist at GapingVoid – needs a new kidney. He’s a good man and he has a young family. #KidneyForHugh

If you are Type O, you could be a match. Information is online here

BL Ochman | March 5, 2018 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

B.L. Ochman: Pepsi Co CEO Says Quieter, Less Messy Lady-Friendly Doritos Are Coming Soon. Wait! What?!

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To relieve women of dreadful messy, noisy snack foods, Pepsi Co, parent company of Doritos, plans to introduce Lady-Friendly Doritos. The new chips will be quieter and less messy. Wait! What?!

The new sexist snacks certainly are a change of pace from Doritos racy 2012 Super Bowl ad. But then again, we live in strange times.

Sexist Lady Friendly Doritos Will Make Less Noise

Lady-friendly Doritos will be smaller and they’ll “make less of a crunch noise.” While they’ll surely cost as much as manly Doritos, they’ll come in a packet “specifically designed to fit inside a handbag,” PepsiCo C.E.O. Indra Nooyi told Freakonomics Radio.

Nooyi says Lady-Friendly Doritos and similar products that are in the works are based on research showing that men and women eat chips differently.

Women Would Love To…But They Don’t

“As you watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and they lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth, because they don’t want to lose that taste of the flavor, and the broken chips in the bottom. … Women I think would love to do the same, but they don’t. They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.”

Lady chips will be joining Bic For Her, Schick’s razor with boobs, #beerforher.


BL Ochman | February 5, 2018 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Power of the #MeToo Movement

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

The #MeToo movement began with a Tweet by Alyssa Milano on October 15.

It got 67,033 Replies, 24,594 Retweets and 51,697 likes within days.

And as NY Post writer Alexis Benveniste noted

That was Retweeted 58,000 times and got 155,000 likes, including mine.

A lot has been written, posted and Tweeted this week about Harvey Weinstein and the prevalence of sexual assault in not only the movie industry, but all industries.

Every Woman I Know Has a Story to Tell

I don’t know a woman who doesn’t have a story to tell, including me. They’re stories about how we didn’t tell anyone for fear of harming our careers, of being accused of doing something to bring it on, or, worst of all, of not being believed.

Some people said that just saying “Me Too” wouldn’t change anything. But as Sophie Gilbert noted in The Atlantic, the hashtag succeeded in showing the magnitude of the problem.

It takes a lot to tell these stories publicly, and there have been some very notable ones told this week.

Will anything change?

Is Bill Cosby in jail? Will Harvey Weinstein go to jail? Will the statutes of limitation change?

Maybe, if women – and men – keep speaking up and speaking out, we’ll force change. That’s a big maybe. But it’s a start.

As Sophie Gilbert says “The power of #MeToo, though, is that it takes something that women had long kept quiet about and transforms it into a movement. Unlike many kinds of social-media activism, it isn’t a call to action or the beginning of a campaign, culminating in a series of protests and speeches and events. It’s simply an attempt to get people to understand the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in society.”


BL Ochman | October 19, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

“Calling Bullshit”: The Perfect College Course for Our Times

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

Taking a course that includes the word “bullshit” in its title is many a student’s dream. Now University of Washington professors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West are making it a reality. Their 10-week seminar, temptingly named “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data” begins in March.

The synopsis of “Calling Bullshit” is listed succinctly as “Our world is saturated with bullshit. Learn to detect and defuse it.” You can access the syllabus, readings and recordings of lectures online.

If you have any trouble getting access your Ebook you might want to try Soda PDF to open it as PDF file

The professors say “We will be astonished if these skills do not turn out to be among the most useful and most broadly applicable of those that you acquire during the course of your college education.” Each of the “Calling Bullshit” lectures, says the syllabus, “will explore one specific facet of bullshit.”

In the age of “fake news” and “alternative facts” this course promises you will be able to “provide your crystals-and-homeopathy aunt or casually racist uncle with an accessible and persuasive explanation of why a claim is bullshit.”

The “Calling Bullshit” course covers “The art, science, and moral imperative of calling bullshit.” Among the course lectures are:
– Introduction to bullshit
– Spotting bullshit
– The natural ecology of bullshit
– Predatory publishing and scientific misconduct
– The ethics of calling bullshit.
– Fake news
– Refuting bullshit


BL Ochman | September 13, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

9/11 … one most important memory

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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

I lost my memory of the time between when the first tower fell on Sept 11, 2001 and when a first responder helped me and my dog get to a hospital. The 9/11 events I do remember come up less often now, mostly in bad dreams, or with the prolonged sound of sirens. Or certain sounds the wind makes.

But those are not the most important memories of the day.

I lived three blocks south and we were evacuated to Battery Park. I’ll never forget the smells, the smoke, the screams, the jumpers. But then it goes blank for a few hours and has never come back.

One most important memory

What I remember most of all about 9/11 – and will never forget – is people helping each other. Street vendors handed out water. One hotdog vendor gave out ice cream. I fed it to Sam, my Labrador Retriever, who hadn’t had breakfast before we started running. Somebody handed us towels.

People picked up others who fell when we ran. Strangers shared water, gave their jackets to people whose shirts were torn. People whose phone still had signals let other people make calls and send messages to family.

People were kind on 9/11. Because people, inherently, are kind.

I can’t explain the hate that has surfaced in so many corners since that day. What damn difference does it make what religion one practices? Or the color of one’s skin? People have been killing each other over these issues for millennia. How could a anyone want to fight over things like that? Time doesn’t seem to teach the lessons we need most of all.

Yet, I believe that most people – given the chance – are inherently good. Some lose their way, apparently. But in the end, love will trump evil and hate. That’s the memory I hope we can all keep in mind.


BL Ochman | September 11, 2017 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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