Archive for May, 2009

Not on point, but a truly funny story….

May 28, 2009

So, this is not at all about social media, but is truly a mostly funny story-if you look at it from the no one got hurt perspective.

Tonight in LA, I was the “designated driver” and this was because one person I am traveling with does not drive and the other was further into the drinking night that I was.

I had dinner with a high school friend tonight and had a couple of mojitos with some crab cakes.  I then joined some co-workers at a bar in LA and had a couple of beers and the waitress bought the table a shot.

Outwardly I was in no way tipsy.  Inwardly I was not feeling even buzzed after all of that.  I felt pretty good about being able to drive from the bar we were at to our hotel.  Less than three miles.

So, we get to from LA to Beverly Hills and find out there is a “dignitary” at the hotel–who turns out to be President Obama.

So, in order to drive into the hotel, there is a pre-checkpoint managed by five of Beverly Hills finest.  After that there is an interior check point with three of Beverly Hills finest. 

Then there is the checkpoint where I have to turn off the car, pop the trunk and hood and have bomb sniffing dogs go through everything.  Two Bevery Hills cops and three secret service officers.

In all, I spoke with 10 uniformed officers, and three secret service agents–and the reality is I would probably have blown a failure on a breathalyzer.  Not a single one of them raised this as an issue.  they wished me a good night and I checked in.

Man–that is just flat out weird, right?

Of Mainstreaming, Shark Jumping and Building Community

May 25, 2009

Let me offer a quick glimpse into my newspaper reading habits to set the stage for this blog.  I get the NY Times everyday.  For every other newspaper I read its either on line, more likely on my BlackBerry or N95 or specific articles called out on Digg or Social Median.

Now its not unusual to find an article about Twitter in the NY Times.  In fact lately its unusual not to find an article about Twitter in the NY Times.  On Sunday’s during the off-season for my beloved New York Islanders, I like to make sure I read Newsday. Generally, that is the day where the home-town paper of the Isles will fold in some off-season coverage.  And this is a big off-season for the team (number one draft pick etc).

So imagine my surprise to see Barbara Barker writing on athletes who Twitter.  Now I am not sure why I was so surprised–probably has something to do with why I don’t get Newsday anymore at home, and why I only check for Islanders articles on Sundays–its just not a great read (with all due deference to my friends who pound the keyboard bringing the NY metro the paper on a daily basis).  

Next stop for me on my BB was the NY Post.  Kevin Kernan-whom I do not know, but writes a good sports column jumped on the Twitter bandwagon.  Again, I am not sure why I am so surprised by this–I think in this case its more that I have a hard time seeing Kevin Kernan using Twitter-much less commenting on it.  

To be clear, I have no idea if Barbara or Kevin are prolific users of Twitter. Although I will find out about Barbara, as I am not following her.

But the placement of these two stories in NY metro area tabloids made me think about the argument that many of the early adopters of Twitter (I am coming up on two years of Twittering) that Twitter has jumped the shark.

Now this is a reference to my childhood (think mid-to late 70’s Happy Days).  Remember when the Fonz jumped the shark?

This has become a term ubiquitous for TV shows hitting their downside.  As someone who saw this in real time–and was the target audience, not someone looking back at media history, I can tell you it was pretty effective.  It was a cliff hanger for the 8-12 demo.  The storyline was something we all talked about for a week, waiting for the next episode to see if Fonzie could pull it off.  And by the way, Happy Days was the number one show in Prime Time for the next six seasons, so I am not sure the metaphor actually works accept with selective amnesia.

But that is not the point here.

The point here is the critics who say that Oprah joining Twitter, or the Hollywood elite using Twitter–but having someone in their entourage post their Tweets, or seeing stories about Twitter in the NY Post or Newsday is mainstreaming this thing that we do, and now Twitter may have jumped the shark.

Jumped the shark? Because the community is growing? Clearly no one is actually listening to themselves in making the argument right? How can a social network jump the shark because people are using it? Isn’t that the point?

So, I say welcome Barbara, Kevin, the sports stars you both highlighted and anyone else–even the Fonz.  Its what makes this actually kind of fun-now I am following Barbara, Danica Patrick and Nate Robinson–that’s not all bad for a lazy Sunday, right?

–update May 26–

Right after posting this came word of a Twitter based TV show.  Now, Twitter has denied that the show will be about Twitter, still have to wonder about jumping the shark now.  I can envision a show with clues and perhaps communication 140 characters at a time.  Would be a great way to work in audience particpation as well–I am actually kind of happy that the Twitter based show appears to be more of a rumor though.

When a Tree Falls in the Twitter Forest

May 20, 2009

Twice  yesterday I encountered instances where something that was Twitter was seen and reacted to-and while the situations were completely diverse, and the reactions different-both were reminders about minding P’s and Q’s when sharing.

The broader instance was something that in the end was pretty weird, and it showed the importance for people in the media (as I am in full disclosure) to make sure we are very careful when we start quoting things we see on Twitter.

Around 1130 or so (ET) BNO, one of the better news sources (in my opinion) using Twitter put out a Tweet quoting a Florida radio station that actor Patrick Swayze had died.  

BreakingNews Florida-based radio station KissFM reports that Patrick Swayze has reportedly died. BNO News is working to get more information.

There was a flurry of email that followed this within CBS News.  Reporters and producers in Florida, California and NYC were all working to confirm. Then came an email, via a rep for Swayze who told People Magazine the actor was in fact not dead and that a full release would follow.

In the big picture, not a lot of time was spent on this–probably less than an hour.  And I can’t fault Twitter or BNO for what occured–everyone was doing their thing.  But it shows the importance of remembering beyond just shoveling information out–there are consumers.

The second example was on a much smaller scale and involved my own Twitter stream.  

My day got off to a bad start and I put out in 140-eese a Tweet that outlined my feeling at the moment.

Once again I learn about getting involved, and caring when it’s not my turn. Tuesday is going well.   Well I heard from some folks

@SarenaP texted me almost immediately and the we chatted some via IM.  @MayaREGuru sent me a DM asking if all was OK.  And I am touched that there are people I am close to out there who are worried about me–but its also a reminder–when a tree falls in the Twitter Forest, people do hear it.

IRL: In Real Life

May 14, 2009

Way back in the beginning of internet time, when AOL saturated the country with software discs, a lesson was learned by many of the early adopters–you could kind of become almost anyone and hide behind your keyboard.


Makes a nice coaster

Makes a nice coaster

I started thinking about this a couple of days ago when first I was reading about the squad the goes through all of the video and pictures posted on Facebook each day to make sure there is no porn or other objectionable material–that would cut into profits.  Then on Tuesday night I was out with two friends and we go to talking about Facebook–and I was reminded of this clip from a few years ago-when Facebook becomes real.

I dug that clip out this morning and posted it to my FB page.  Feel free to friend me up if we are not friends there yet.

Now that FB clip is not unlike a more recent item about Twittering in real life from our pals at College humor.

Of course, if you are not following me on Twitter feel free to jump in there as well.

The reason for all this nostalgia though is real.  Because you can’t hide behind the keyboard any longer.  All of what we put out into the world-cyber and IRL is out there and searchable and you can be held accountable for it.  So much like what you put in email, if you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times-don’t put it on the internet.

You think these guys really thoguht they would be fired? Probably not, but still they put it out there and paid the price.

And there are more cases–like getting fired for a 140 character Tweet even just being critical can get you in trouble .

So yeah, its great to have the freedom to self publish on a blog like this one, or on Twitter, plurk or anywhere else.  But it comes with the responsibility to self moderate-or face the consequences because no matter what we do, we are IRL.

The 140 Paradigm

May 11, 2009

So, one of the more interesting aspects of Twitter is the 140 character limit that the service has in place.  The roots of that decision go back to extending Tweets to text messages–and making sure even the most rudamentary device could support a text message from Twitter.

But now with Twittering becoming almost common place and so many people coming up with so many uses–the 140 character limit kind of acts as a safety blanket of sorts.  It keeps messages focused, cuts down on spam (although there are plenty trying to spam 140 characters at a time) and its still supported on the lowest end SMS programs.

Recently during a job review, I had a boss comment on my Twittering, and perhaps I had let my 140 limitations spill over to email–and I was not answering questions fully, instead trying to cut down the message.  Its an interesting hypothesis, and one I would love to figure out a way to test.  I think my email style is direct–the goal being short because its easier to read and the action items are not lost.  But perhaps that is in fact the case.

Just yesterday @SarenaP and I were debating communication skills and styles–and we carried on a good chunk of that debate via Twitter DM-140 characters at a time.  Its no wonder we had a tough time finding a way to reach a conclusion-the conversation was kind of choppy and in some cases delayed by internet delivery.

There is a cottage industry springing up in Twitter Marketing springing up where people actually charge to tell other people how to Twitter (I need to get in on that game).  Then there is the case of a friend in real estate. She and a bunch of her fellow sales folks created the #twitterqueens tag. And when that grew popular it became a Ning group.

All launched 140 characters  at a time.  

Sure it can be a challenge to make it work in 140, but as  a standard its not so bad.

Social Media is Like Sex

May 8, 2009

A great analogy-and one I can not take any credit for 😦


This makes a lot of sense though. More to tome.

Old School Social Media

May 5, 2009

So anyone who follows me on Twitter or Plurk, or has friended me on Friend Feed,  Facebook or My Space, or is a member of my fledgling Twitter Twibe knows my daily battle to make my train in the morning is an adventure.  And normally its kind of fun.

This morning, on a kind of rainy, foggy morning I was reminded of some old-school kind of social media driving to the train station–and despite all of those means of being connected listed above I think some very specific messages were sent an received.

So the morning routine in my house includes my taking the older one to the school bus-which is scheduled to arrive at our bus stop at 8:02.  From there I have 29 minutes to make what should be a 20 minute drive to the train station, park and get on the train.  Add in some normal traffic, and it gets close–usually around 27 minutes to parking and two minutes to make the train-its close but it works.

This morning the bus didn’t show until 8:11, so I am down to 20 minutes.  Yeah, a little aggressive driving, bending a few traffic laws and I can make it.  

Then came my encounter with someone else having (I can only suppose) an equally crappy behind schedule morning.  I slid in front of him–would not call it cutting him off and he go all bent out of shape.  Horn blaring, high-beams flashing he’s weaving in and out of traffic with the goal of cutting me off.  Me, I am mostly amused by this display-seems a bit over the top for so early in the morning, so I laugh and wave.

Then came the battle of the middle fingers.  Standing F-U’s as he tried to swerve in front of me and pulled out and then lost control of his car and onto a media.  Now he is even more pissed and there is a lot of traffic now getting out of his way.  Me, I keep an eye on him and keep on pushing, because I have about 9 minutes to make it three exits on the LIE and another two miles to the train station.

Once he recovered from the median, I got one more long horn blast, a double F-U and I left him behind–not to be seen again.

And I thought about it.

Our messages were clearly received.  He was pissed and probably would not have minded pushing me off the road and onto the median.  I was amused and somewhat bewildered by what was going on.

Simple gestures–horn blaring, lights flashing, fingers points.

So who needs all these computers, iPhones, G-Phones, lap tops, power books–just let me give you a simple middle finger salute–and message sent.

I guess its a matter of who the audience is that determines if its received.

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