Musings & Music & More... oh my!


I’ve never really understood the phrase “gobsmacked” until today.

I got that same old spammy direct message on Twitter, saying “Did you see this pic of you. LOL” and a link:"This pic of you" Spam Message

As always, I deleted the email notification, and went to the sender’s timeline.

They are a small local company, with not many followers and a pretty meager twitter feed… so as well as replying on Twitter, I took the unusual step of calling their office to let them know that they had clicked on a bad link, and they needed to change their password.

Nobody was in the office, but I left them a fairly comprehensive message, explaining (in the simplest terms possible) how they could quickly resolve their issue.

About an hour later, I got a call back, asking if I was Bob, and asking me to explain what I was talking about.

Because… you see… they PAY someone to look after their Twitter account for them.  Or, more precisely, to send spam, on their behalf.

The Twitter feed that I took as someone’s sad attempt to break into the world of Social Media… was contracted out to a “professional”… who was tricked by the “Have you seen this picture of you. LOL” tweet.

And, now I understand “gobsmacked.”

I have no issue with someone helping out with Social Media.  Heck, I have a number of businesses and Organizations that I help with that !!!

But I believe in value for money, and if you can’t do something properly and well… say so, and get out of the way.

Apparently not everyone feels that way… and some people are just Social Media vultures… taking advantage of small companies that don’t know any better.

Gobsmacked !!!


FYI… The Free Dictionary defines ‘gobsmacked’ as British slang, meaning astounded or astonished.

Are You REALLY LinkedIn

I am a fan of LinkedIn.

I have a number of connections, and have worked to use LinkedIn to promote and advance my business.

It is a powerful tool, and one of the premiere networks to advance your brand.

It is also “the source” of increasing frustration with the amount of email spam I receive, saying that So And So wants to connect to me, with all appearance of being a being a legitimate LinkedIn invitation… but is actually an attempt to phish (obtain my username and password surreptitiously) my account.

This has become so frequent, that I NEVER use the LinkedIn mobile app any more, and would never click on a link in a LinkedIn email, even f it appears to come from a legitimate email address.

It is a sad statement, that I now look at the source email, before I read ANY email on my Blackberry… and have had to employ a more powerful spam blocking engine,to try to stem the tide of spoofing (An email that has a legitimate address, but actually comes from a spammer) and phishing.

Certainly it is important to network, and not let the spammers stop us from connecting…. But it is equally important to make sure that our Networds are secure, but using caution, diligence, and a strong unique password.

Invest In Your Kids’ Future

I don’t have the domain.

Another Bob Gray, who wanted to run for some political office down in the South Eastern US, beat me to it.  And when his political aspirations ended, he sold it to a Norwegian domain broker, who wanted $2500 for it.  It has changed hands a few times, and different folks have owned it, and tried to sell it, for more, IMO, than it is worth.

THAT is why I use the BobSongs brand… because I was too late.

(And THAT was 20 years ago !!!)

It surprises me, today, how many people, who are online, still haven’t gotten around to reserving their “name” domain… or their children’s.

I have four nieces, and I reserved their domains, as soon as they settled into what they wanted to be called. *

For those who haven’t reserved a domain… there is very little cost, ($10 – $15 per year for a .com domain, a little more for .ca)

The first step is to check the domain availability using a WHOIS search.  Network Solutions has an easy to use one, on their website.

The next step, if the domain is available, is to create an account with a domain registration company, and reserve the names. 


There are a number of companies that do this.  I use Dotster for all my domains, except for the .ca domains, which I keep at

But you can also use GoDaddy,, Network Solutions… there are lots of companies out there.

A few things to keep in mind:

Take the shortest option. doesn’t roll off the tongue the way does.

Don’t use underscores, dashes or numbers: doesn’t work well.  Neither does 

And, finally… Make sure you set up a credit card, and enable the “auto-renew” feature, so that you don’t have to remember to go in and pay for it every year… it just automatically happens.

It isn’t very tough, and it can pay BIG dividends in their futures !!!

* Julia switched to Jules and Gillian to Jill

Musicians, Songwriters & Branding

I wrote this on my BobSongs Music Blog a while back, but as far as Branding goes, the message of being consistent can and SHOULD be applied everywhere…

Had a conversation with a musician the other day.  He said to me that he didn’t need to establish a brand, he just used his name.

“So” I said, “You’ve got your name reserved, for your website domain?”

Well… no.  Someone else has that domain reserved.

“But then surely, on your Facebook page…”

Uh, no… I haven’t got around to securing my name as a Facebook nickname, yet.

“Twitter…. ???”

Well, I don’t get Twitter, so I haven’t secured the name…

“Are there any other social media or business networks that someone can find you on ?”

Oh, yeah… I’m on MySpace, YouTube and LinkedIn.

“What name did you use on those ???”

Oh, they’re all different.

*Stunned silence*


Make a name for yourself:

The guy is a great songwriter, and an amazing musician… but not surprisingly, not too many folks have heard of him… because he has a different name, everywhere you look.

One of my teachers used to say, “Whatever you do, try to create a name for yourself.”



Not a string of names and clever acronyms that no one but you will understand.

I am my brand.

I am BobSongs.

BobSongs Creative Media - Bob Gray

On my Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook… even, so help me… Flickr… (you know I’m not much of a photographer, right ???) …I am BobSongs.

I have as many variations of BobSongs and Bob Gray web domains sewn up, as are available.

The ones that weren’t available, I keep a list of, and check every few months to see if any of them have become available.


Patrol the Brands you are associated with:

Google Alerts is great for this.

If anything “hits” the web with Bob GrayBobSongs, or any of a few other keywords I target… I get a weekly update, e-mailed to me.

Usually it is information about other BobSongs/Bob Gray’s, or tracking something from my Twitter feed or Blog…. but every once in a while it is something I want to see, or at least be aware of.  Pennywise the Clown, from the Stephen King novel “It”, was one Bob Gray.  Another Bob Gray that pops up from time to time is the professional speaker, who talks about how to expand your memory.  There are lots of others.  But if someone is saying something about my Brand… I want to know it.


Be constant, and consistent:

I’m a bad example here, and am currently unable to follow my own rule, because TOO many of my Blog posts are NOT associated with the music and songwriting of the BobSongs Brand.  The reason for this is that I haven’t yet found an alternate Brand that I am comfortable with, that is available as a domain, and on Twitter.  As soon as I do… Whoosh… my non-music content will be transferred from this Blog, to the new site.  (Note: This was written before came to be, to resolve this issue.)

On Social Media, I try to break down the conversations by category… so I have lists for Hockey Fans, Scotch Drinkers, Musicians, etc… as, many times, the groups with similar interests tend to talk about the same things.  If I do a LOT of chatting about a subject, I would consider having a separate account for that “voice.”  In my case, with my passion for all things Vancouver Canucks, I created the NucksBob Twitter account, to stop from ticking off my “other” Twitter followers, and so I can focus my tweets, in that account.


You don’t have to do any of this stuff.

Just like you don’t have to get gigs… be successful… or sell your CD’s…

You don’t have to.

But by establishing and maintaining a consistent Brand, you make it easier for people to find and support you, and it makes it that much easier, when you find success, to further establish your Brand, and broaden your support base.

Send Me Your Username And Password

Just got off the phone with a client who had forwarded me an email she got from the “SHAW WEBMAIL TEAM”…  E-mail Notification

 This message is from messaging center to all email account owners.

We are removing access to all our mail clients. Your email account will be upgraded to a new enhanced web mail user interface provided by

 Effective from the moment this email has been received and response received from you. will discontinue the use of our mail and our mail Lite interfaces.

To ensure your e-mail address book is saved in our database.

Please click the reply button and enter your

username here (  )

Password here (  )

City (  )

Country of Residence (  )

And send it back to us, which will enable us to transfer your contacts to our new Web mail client database.

All e-mails will be safe in this transition! All your old email will still be there and you will have new unread messages waiting for you.

We are confident that you will like the new and improved web mail interface.

Failure to comply with this notice immediately will remove your access from our database.

Thank you for using

Yours Sincerely, Web-mail Services

I confirmed with my client that she should NEVER email her info to Shaw (or anyone else) who asks for it.

Shaw already HAS it, and wouldn’t need you to send it to them again.

Not Shaw Cable -

(As a further tip off, the email reply address is in China… although a more professional hacker would be able to tweak that…)

But I just thought I would quickly write this, as a reminder, that you should NEVER give your password to ANYONE !!!

My wife would ask me to add: Not even to your spouse… (because they will mess with your Facebook and Twitter accounts)

Happy May Day !

PS I contacted Shaw Cable and they became aware of this first on Sunday.

Up Close And Personable

I’ve spent the last few days playing in the shadows.

Light and shadow, actually…

Taking some very up close pictures of multi-faceted locally made jewelry, for a local designer’s Etsy online store.

Because the pieces are so intricate and small, it has taken some time to balance and properly set up the shoot… but once the pieces are in place, the rest follows naturally.

So, this…

Macro-photography lighting layout

Results in this…Macro-photography lighting result - BobSongs Creative Media

Which makes the client do this…

: )

Say What You Mean And Mean What You Say

“Say what you mean… And mean what you say…” Something my dad said to us as young children, to help us focus our thoughts, when we were trying to communicate difficult or complex thoughts.

His words came flooding back to me today, as I encountered a circumstance of someone posting a picture on Facebook that had a slur in it, and, when a few of us called them on it, the reply was that it “…was okay, because I didn’t create it.”  

Similarly, I have noticed a rash of Twitter accounts, where, in the 160 character bio, they make special note that “…any retweets do not imply endorsement.”

We are in a time where Facebook is all about liking… Twitter is all about tweeting… and Pinterest is all about pinning… yet despite the multitude of images, messages and captions we process every day, there seems to be a growing sense, that each of us are somehow an arms length away from “owning” what we are saying.

If I post something on my Facebook wall, I “endorse” that item.

If I retweet something on Twitter, I do so because I found it informative, funny or helpful. I have read and understood it, and want to share the value I found in it.

If I pin something on my Pinterest boards, the same thing…  I am sharing something that I thought had value.

If I find something rude or offensive, I will not share it unless I do so to educate or draw attention to it, as in the case of my “Not Okay To Use The ‘R’ Word” blog post.

What I won’t do is slough it off, and say… “Well, I didn’t read it” or “I thought it was funny, despite the obvious flaws or slurs.”

Everything that is part of my social media… or on my websites… is an extension of me and my thoughts, and I stand behind them.

I’m not saying that I’m infallible.  I sometimes trip up on words, and have to edit myself, or tweak a post after someone points out something I mis-spoke about.

But I look at everything I do, and run a filter, and ask, “Am I okay with this message?”

Maybe it is because I help a number of charities and organizations with their Social Media accounts, but I just do this automatically.

Some things I tweet from one account, would be entirely inappropriate for another… but that is part of Branding.

And I am proud of my BobSongs Brand, and would never think to post content to it, that I don’t PERSONALLY endorse.

And so, tonight, it got me wondering: Why is it that SO many people don’t feel that way about THEIR brands ?


“Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”

Thanks, Dad !!!

Branding 101

Branding in business, is critical. Whether “you” are your brand, or you work under a brand name, it is important to (as much as possible) retain control of the messages that come from your brand… or SEEM to come from your brand. That may sound confusing, but for example, when I was starting, I knew… Continue Reading