the math of rumors

It only takes that one mistaken word or that suggestion/false accusation to ruin one’s reputation – and a possibly eternity to correct its damage.

In trying to decipher ways of conducting research on rumors, I actually discovered an interesting article on exactly that. The article is called Rumor Has It, and it’s in The Public Relations Strategist Summer 2007 issue. The whole issue actually deals with crisis management, and outlines actual cases and various problem-solving tools and methods.

The area that I found most compelling – was learning that there’s a science to rumors. You can actually control rumors mathematically if you so desired!

According to the article, under The Basic Law Of Rumor:

A formula for the intensity of rumor can be written like this: R˜ i x a

Rumor = subject importance to individuals x ambiguity of evidence pertaining to topic

Based on this equation if either variables are zero, then there is no rumor. This is because ambiguity alone cannot sustain a rumor. By the same rules, an ‘incremental decline’ in either can result in a ‘greater-than-incremental’ decline in the scope of the rumor. One could expand on that train of thought…and say the converse for the ‘incremental incline’.

The article hosts interesting laws, axioms and arguments that are both intriguing and logical – but suggesting that one can systematically control a rumor is quite a statement.

Question: would it provide ease at any stage?


dear PATH administration…

I absolutely love Toronto and I love meandering through our streets, especially our underground streets! But navigating through the PATH can be both a nuisance and blessing. I was there recently (actually going somewhere, as opposed to meandering), and quickly found frustration. It’s easy for those who frequent the halls and know the delicate ins & outs, but for those who aren’t so familiar with the labyrinth – it can be a maddening experience.

I have five comments for the PATH communications team that I believe would drastically improve the underground experience.

1. Maps. I love maps – particularly plans of buildings. Please orient them so that north is positioned upwards.

2. More maps! Have a few more near major exits. For those who need to locate a particular street – consistently finding the same street is very annoying.

3. Signage. There are signs presently, but a few more could be installed for direction to the subway stations.

4. More signage! Place a few more signs that outline major exits.

5. Information kiosks. They are important but their orientation needs to correlate with the layout of the building – otherwise it negates the purpose.

These are merely my ideas, though I hope you will consider these as feasible recommendations.

Thank you!

Sincerely Yours…

sign in. write. track. sign out. repeat.

…all of this in an effort to obsessively monitor information.

“Oh, use google reader, it’ll help you keep track of all the blogs!” Okk…I thought that was what delicious was for?! So if delicious is for bookmarking blogs and comments…then why have the reader? Shouldn’t delicious (or nutritious, as one of my colleagues calls it) do what the reader does? Shouldn’t it track everything I need to track?

On top of my e-mail accounts for varying purposes, I am summoned to keep track of Facebook, Myspace, ‘The blogs’ (mine, my peers, the industry), Linked In, the delicious, the Twitter, the Reader, etc…one could easily spend a good three or four hours on the computer repeatedly logging on, updating, bookmarking, commenting, saving, uploading, categorizing, messaging, in-taking and out-putting – it’s verging on sensory overload. I mean, I’m in no way ‘old’, but there are just too many usernames and I’m beginning to lose track of the passwords. What does age me to some degree is when I catch myself saying, “I remember the good ol’ archaic days of pen & paper.” Maybe I need a page that tracks all my usernames and password information…

I’m tempted to suggest yet another application that is some type of combination of Facebook/Wordpress that has the capabilities of a twitter/delicious/google reader. Perhaps an application that doesn’t just serve one purpose – but several merged together! One that has a ‘real person’ setting, where I can have the music, interests, with pictures of myself happy with friends – then an optional ‘professional’ setting which is more conservative, less vibrant and less colourful. All of this, so I can micromanage my varying personas and blogs in one website, one username one password.

There are too simply many websites to tend to, and frankly at the end of the night after going into a million websites – I feel that it’s an inefficient use of my time. Isn’t technology supposed to make our lives easier and more convenient?

There has to be a better way!

push your voice

From February 5th to February 22nd, 2008, you can let the music industry know how you really feel. Now is your chance to be a part of ‘the process’ – The Independent Music Awards depends on you!

Cast your vote for your favourite indy artist, click here:

The 8th Annual Independent Music Awards
will take place on Saturday, March 8, 2008, at 8p.m. in the Canadian Ballroom at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, in Toronto. For tickets visit:

Who’s your favourite indy artist?


UPDATE: Lisa Shaw will be performing at This Is London on April 18, 2008.


“Pulling my love around, my mind says aloud…
but loud & clear’s unheard, guilty pleasures you’d say…”

This wouldn’t be a ‘soulful series’ without the presence of Lisa Shaw. Hers is the voice that revives the clubs, yet softens the scene. Her music, timeless. Her voice, haunting. Her song ‘Matter of Time’ still reveals nuances to me each time I listen to it, and continues to inspire me. Her unique sound draws from diverse range of styles, from Depeche Mode to Prince, but is truly unmistakable and becoming more and more refined. Her repertoire of songs is dynamic and fluid, passionate and introspective.

The last time I interviewed Shaw was after the release of her debut album Cherry, in 2005. Since then she’s been on tour for the album, on tour with Miguel Migs for his album Those Things, and is featured on Andy Caldwell’s album Universal Truth. Originally from Toronto, Shaw’s talent has graced us for years but like many things great, they are gradually recognized by the masses. I had a few simple ‘I wonder…’ questions for Shaw and was able to catch up with her amidst her hectic schedule.

A conversation with Lisa Shaw…

Staffeen Thompson: How has the success of your album ‘Cherry’, and touring for yours and Miguel Migs’ album ‘Those Things’, inspired your work?
Lisa Shaw: The response to both pieces of work has been really wonderful. It’s inspiring enough to go back into the studio and write more.

ST: You’ve collaborated with many creative DJ/producers, and are featured on many of their albums, how does the creative process work? Do you specify the tracks or do you both ‘go with the flow’?
LS: In most cases the producer will send me a track (or tracks), and I’ll listen and vibe them out. I usually can hear an idea/melody or concept right away and then we take it from there. I have a writing partner Dave Warrin who is the producer of my next album. We also write together for other producer albums.

ST: Which DJ/producers would you still like to work with?
LS: There are a few producers who I would love to work with. I really like LCD Sound System. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a while and love their new album.

Click here for the rest of my interview with Lisa Shaw…


dudley vs dorimant

“And though companionship of the flesh pales in comparison to the strength of our love – I am but a man after all.” – Robert Dudley

One of my favourite romantic tales is of Robert Dudley & Queen Elizabeth I. Dudley was captivated by her and repeatedly asked her to marry him, each time resulting in a refusal. He repeatedly professed his love to her, and she did nothing but toy with his emotions and turn down his gestures. Though she was bonded to him in inexplicable ways, it’s believed that he was her one and only true love, despite his marriage to other women, including her cousin – which sent her into a rage. Elizabeth didn’t marry or have children, though it’s fair to say that she lived a very strong, inspiring and fulfilling life – at a great expense.

The love story and era of Elizabeth I is inspiring to me on many different levels, and was a very abstract muse for my short story, The Crutches of Desire. British actor Tom Hardy plays Robert Dudley in the movie, The Virgin Queen, and does a phenomenal job portraying Dudley, gallant in nature and eternally chivalrous. Hardy also plays the cunning and coldhearted bachelor Dorimant in a British stage play called Man of Mode. It’s these characters, Dudley and Dorimant, and Hardy himself who ultimately constitute the character ‘Dorimant’ in The Crutches.

An exploration into their worlds – the love story in The Crutches is both dynamic and excessive and exploits both Dudley and Dorimant’s polar opposite personalities and emotional tendencies, within the character Dorimant, with the unnamed protagonist.

The programmers at TVO have decided to pay homage to the day of love, with one of the sweetest of love stories — airing the first part of The Virgin Queen series on Valentines Day at 9 p.m.



“Life is imperfect, imperfect(is perfect)…”

Every so often I’m moved by a voice and impassioned by a song – and then I feel the need to share it with the world. “Imperfect,” by Joi Cardwell. It definitely has an infectious beat, but if you listen to it closely, it has incredibly intense nuances, that are haunting and infectious. The underlying message is to hold on to your faith and trust in life, amidst life’s adversities – a theme that can be found in many of Joi’s songs.

I wanted to know what her inspiration was for the song, and after communicating with Joi, learned that this song was written on the day her grandmother passed away, and suddenly it all made sense. I felt so awful for having chosen such an emotional song, but realized that it’s always the most powerful songs that are borne from a place of pain, sadness or suffering. She assured me, “She was blessed with 94 great years. And I with all her love and wisdom.”

After obtaining two degrees from University, Joi started her recording career at Arista Records in a girl group called ‘The Promise,’ and then began her career producing captivating singles – such as “Love and Devotion,” “Trouble,” “Jump for Joi,” and “Soul to Bare”. Joi’s mellow and sensual vocals, coupled with her songwriting have influenced many. Her repertoire includes the albums, ‘The World is Full of Trouble’ from 1995; and ‘Joi Cardwell’ from 1997, and her collaborations with a variety of artists, such as Kashif, LL Cool J, Paula Abdul, Ice T, and Denise Rich as both writer and producer.

Joi’s most recent album ‘The Plain Jane Project’ is available for full listening on her website, and her catalog is available on all major digital sites including itunes.

Click here for my interview with Joi Cardwell, where she discusses her inspiration, her music, the industry, and more…