Lance Strate is director of the Public Communication graduate program at Fordham University in New York City. Occasionally, he acts as lay leader of Friday night services for a Jewish congregation.
If it wasn’t for MySpace, Lance writes on his blog, he would never have known that Canadian balladeer Leonard Cohen wrote poetry and he would not have recited If It Be Your Will before the Mourner’s Kaddish during a recent service.
On his blog, Lance includes the following YouTube video showing a segment of the 2005 documentary, I’m Your Man, with Antony performing Leonard’s poem in song. I know some fans call this blasphemy, but this rendition is absolutely mesmerizing.
If you’re like me, you’ll press play and when the song ends, you’ll whistle (I can’t) and mutter, “Wow!”
The performance haunts me and reminds me of Sinead O’Connor singing “Sacrifice,” which you’ll recall was originally performed by Elton John.
There are over 1.2 million references on Google-indexed blogs to Leonard Cohen. That’s how I found Lance, Jane Lewis, and the September 2008 cover of Rolling Stone (the German edition) featuring you know who.
The man has made his mark, from MySpace to bloggers talking about magazines. I’m sure there are others.
Why am I writing about Leonard Cohen, you ask
One of the blogs I follow and read regularly (and get ideas from, like this piece) is Social Media Today, an online community that doubles as a syndicated blog aggregate.
In other words, because I write about social media and social networking, I syndicate my posts everytime I hit an orange button labeled, “Publish Post,” and the post is sent to SMT. One of the people who screens incoming posts to verify they are suitable for the SMT community is co-founder Jerry Bowles.
Occasionally, I see some of my posts not only appear on the site but featured on the front page.
Jerry and his team use metrics to determine who gets to be featured. If you want to know the very simple metric, click here for an explanation in his words. Essentially, if you write about social media/networking, you’re fair game.
He also suggests that posts about Leonard Cohen are permissible.
That got me thinking, as the day before I’d seen a Leonard Cohen reference here. I wondered why he specified Lenny and not, say, Dizzy Gillespie or Tom Waits.
I turned to Google and found Jerry and Leonard
Two years ago, Jerry wrote an article, entitled, “Why CEOs are Afraid of Social Media,” opining “leaders do not want to operate their organizations as experiments in democracy or collective intelligence.”
He elaborated that despite the presence of blogs, wikis, and social networking tools symbolizing “internet explosive devices littered along the road to organizational stability,” business managers tend to distrust anything that can cause embarassment or confusion.
To gain an entry into the large corporation, Jerry suggested that vendors target marketing, public relations, and corporate communications departments to enhance existing networking and collaborative projects.
“If the technology proves safe and harmless enough, other departments will start demanding it…. As Leonard Cohen might put it: ‘First, we take Manhattan. Then we take Berlin.’“
If Lance Strate’s discovery of a Leonard poem on MySpace is any indication of the breadth of the internet two years later, not to mention a German picture of a magazine showing Leonard’s face on some random Herr’s blog, I’ll hazard a guess that Berlin is taken. So is the Moon.
What do you think? Does Leonard Cohen inspire you to join a MySpace group or send a tweet to your Twitter followers?
As for me, I’ll scroll up this page and listen one more time to the haunting song.