Tag Archives: web 2.0


The pundits and politicians have been buzzing and posturing since last week’s Forbes article citing Memphis as number 3 among America’s 10 most miserable cities.  While Mayor Wharton whittles away at quality of life issues, and preaches that Memphis must control it’s own message and tell it’s own story; and Congressman Cohen challenges Steve Forbes to come down and have a look at Memphis, few seem to have even read the internet post of the article, citing Memphis’  high crime, high foreclosure, high unemployment, and high political corruption rates.

The message that Mayor Wharton should be thinking about fashioning should not the product of some PR hack, cranking out the usual  FedEx, Graceland, St. Jude, Mississippi River, and music copy.  If Wharton, Cohen, Herenton, or anyone else wants to send a real message, it should be a message of change – not “let’s build a new convention center,” but “let’s learn to collaborate to make Memphis great”.  Memphis is a town of great diversity, but that diversity does not have to be divisive, nor does collaboration always have to be trumped by competition and power plays.  Memphis’ lack of collaboration has allowed charlatans and snake oil salesmen to exploit this city since it’s early days.  I don’t think Memphis can forge an image until it has a Vision.  And I am not talking about a vision espoused by a handful of politicians, business folks, and marketers.  Memphians are willing to accept mediocrity, or misery, because it is the status quo.  We have had a long running dearth of leadership.  We are going to have to start feeling better about ourselves and seeing more light at the end of the tunnel before we can move forward.

Memphis’ best PR Person

Memphis best PR person is not a seasoned PR guru, politician, musician, or athlete, but a 20-something blogger.  Kerry Crawford produces the I Love Memphis Blog.  Go check it out, and get over some of that misery.

ATT still thinks it’s THE telephone Company

I am old enough to remember Lily Tomlin’s routine as the condescending telephone operator on Laugh In.  The way she handled customers strengthened the public perception of the “Omni-Potent” Telephone Company of the late 1960s.  It was no laughing matter when I opened my telephone bill the other day to find an extra $14.95 charge from a third party, that ATT was helpfully collecting for.  This was not an SMS donation, or the price for voting on a telethon, but a charge on my LAND LINE.  I called the toll-free number on the 3rd party bill insert from HBS Billing Service and got customer service promptly.  They admitted that the charge was made by someone other than me and offered me credit, but said the charge (a second charge) had already gone through for the current month and that it took 2 months to issue a credit.  I strongly pointed out that I had not authorized the charge, nor had I authorized ATT to allow such charges.  The CS person told me they would block my number for future charges.

Next call was to ATT billing where I was “helped” by a condescending CS person who didn’t even apologize for the problem, but told me he would block my number from future 3rd party charges.  When asked directly, he said he couldn’t promise me that it wouldn’t happen again.  Bottom line, worse case scenario:  They don’t get this fixed.  I don’t pay the 3rd party charges. ATT cuts off my phone and turns me over to a collection agency, all because their Policy appears to be that 3rd party vendor billing is an Opt-out, rather than an Opt-in service for the customer.  Really shows how much they value their customers.

After exchanging a few tweets about this issue, I got a tweet from @ATTJessica offering to help with my problem if I DM’d her (made her look good in the Twitter world, but I DM’d my  info on Thursday night and haven’t heard back from her as of noon Monday).  From the looks of her Twitter profile and page @ATTJessica is manager with the AT&T Customer Care/Social Media team (from the page, it looks like there are about 13 of them).  Looking at @ATTJessica’s stream, she answers lots of customer issues like she did mine:

I am sure I will hear from @ATTJessica, about how ATT values my business, and how much she wants me to be a satisfied customer, but the damage is done.  In these times of rampant identity theft and hundreds of new scams every day,  ATT seems to be encouraging the practice.  I would like to know what else I am Opted-In to without my knowledge.  What THE telephone company doesn’t seem to realize is that this is not 1967, and there IS competition.  Friends laugh at me for keeping a land line.  Maybe it’s time to free myself from those strands of copper.  Maybe all mobile, VOIP,  or Magic Jack is the way to go.

If you have a land line with ATT, be sure an check the charges on your bill.  Below you will see the normal ATT charges and the Third party charges from HOLD Billing Services.

Harold Toboggans brings humor to the Memphis non-profit scene

Check out the Mind Over Memphis, a video series that highlights the work of Memphis charities, non-profits and assorted artists with comedy. Think of it as Dirty Jobs meets Monty Python meets MIFA.

Here’s a playlist for the entire series:

OR you can check out Dr. Harold Toboggans Mind over Memphis YouTube Channel HERE.

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